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Must Eats in Westside...Not too $$$$

First of all this is my first post to Chowhound. I've tried to look for a similar topic to this, but so far haven't found anything.

I am a recent MBA and finally am back working (and making money). I want to try and visit new, must visit restaurants on the Westside (I live in Santa Monica), but really I'm open to any suggestions in LA. Seeing as I am yet to be rolling in a ton of cash, I'd love to hit up all the places that fall within the category of great food, great atmosphere, but not necessarily $$$$. I am looking for everything from traditional American to all types of ethnic. I've heard good things about a Persian place called Darya (yet to try), Brazilian Bosso Nova, and Peruvian Qosqo. I really like Rustic Canyon, but I'd say it probably falls within the expensive group that sadly I must reserve for a special occasion (aka not all the time).

Sorry for the jumbled message, but in short I'm looking for any restaurant that has great food, great atmosphere, and/or great history to it. I appreciate the help.

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  1. Musha in santa monica is fun, not too expensive, and has a fun izakaya (japanese pub) atmosphere. Violet has good food (small plates) and I like the modern decor. For oaxacan mexican on the westide, I really like Monte Alban, but while the food is great the atmosphere is not great. It's clean and fine and all, but it's basically a hole in the wall in a strip mall setting. People on this board always recommend Nook when these kinds of requests come up, but personally I've yet to eat there. There are a number of great restaurants that are reasonably priced in the Sawtelle little tokyo area. My favorites are Orris and 2117. I was actually pretty disappointed by Qosqo...the atmosphere was nice but the food is only ok. I went once and don't plan on returning. I haven't really had any good Peruvian on the westside.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Nicole

      Just so those who come to this thread later and might look for the Peruvian restaurant under discussion its name is Qusqo. It's at 11633 Santa Monica Blvd. 90025.

      1. re: Nicole

        I second the Orris recommendation. Also, I like Tlapazola Grill on Gateway for Oaxacan. Both of these places are mid-range, as opposed to ultra-cheap. There are oodles of great Japanese in West LA, especially on Olympic, but I'm having a brain fart right now and can't conjure up the names!

        1. re: Nicole

          for peruvian, you need to head to the valley to puro sabor.

          1. re: Nicole

            responding to a zombie thread:

            i normally can't get out of musha for less than ~$30 to $40/pp all in.

          2. there's monte alban for oaxacan
            gilbert's el indio
            lares on pico

            nook bistro
            violet

            shamshiri
            sunnin lebanese cafe
            javan

            bread and porridge
            snug harbor

            on montana,
            babalu
            cafe montana
            17th st cafe
            kreation organic kafe

            agree w/ musha

            the counter
            father's office
            bay cities deli

            6 Replies
            1. re: Emme

              Chorizo and cheese tacos at tacos por favor.
              Isla Bonita taco truck on Rose between 3rd and 4th.
              Oaxacena (sp) truck on Lincoln just south of Rose after 6p.
              HH antojitos (I don't know what the current ones are) at Border Grill. I think the regular menu is overpriced and not memorable, but I like the HH food they used to have (especially the beef brisket taquitos) and the HH mojitos.
              HH food and drinks at Wilshire.

              1. re: Emme

                fwiw, shamshiri grill offers weekday lunch specials at extremely reasonable prices.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Are they finally done for?? Seems like only a few weeks ago, while at TJ's I saw the neon light still shining. Oh well, another one bites the dust.

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      Bite Bar & Bakery is in the space where Violet was!

                      -----
                      Bite Bar & Bakery
                      3221 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        Aaaah, right, right, right!!! Thought it looked familiar!! Thanks for the reality check MollyO!!

                1. You've got a lot to work with here!

                  I'll put in a good word for Musha and it's a lot of fun.

                  Violet makes good food, but I have a hard time recommending that place. First, while I like the look of the decor, the acoustics are awful and it sounds like you're eating in an echo chamber/wind tunnel. Also, check out the website. The owner chef is the definition of a douche. Sorry to be crass but it's true. That said, the food is nice if not inventive and they have a great deal on Monday nights -- 3 course prix fixe for $25 and a refillable wine glass for $10 more.

                  Nook is kind of like Violet without all the crap. Good solid comfort food done well in a clean and modern space. I've always had very good, though never truly outstanding, meals there.

                  Monte Alban is a must try, unless you are averse to Oaxacan food, for no other reason than to see if all the love it gets on this board is justified (it is).

                  Guelaguetza is also another excellent Oaxacan choice but has lost favor to Monte Alban to many. It's still excellent though and you might like a point of comparison.

                  Tlapazola Grill is great! I'll second mandelabra's rec. You should be warned that this is more of a Oaxacan bistro than a traditional Oaxacan restaurant. They have the best tequila list I've seen, too.

                  Orris is just a great little restaurant. Small plates of franco-japanese fusion food that actually works with a smart little wine list. Some plates are excellent and memorable. Others are just okay. You might strike out now and again but I really like what they do there. No reservations taken so go early, go on an off-night, or be prepared for a short wait.

                  Torafuku is wonderful if you like Japanese rice. It's nearly a fetish at this restaurant but I love the dishes here and the sake flight is nice. They do have some sushi, although it's not their calling card.

                  Place on Sawtelle has been my favorite izakaya for years before I knew what the hell izakaya was. Not as fun or as inventive as Musha but has great food, very reliable sushi, and is much more mellow.

                  For ramen, please stay away from Sawtelle. All of the ramen-yas there are just a small step above packaged stuff. You really must try Santouka in the Mitsuwa mall on Venice and Centinella. I strongly prefer the shio broth to the shoyu, but to each his own. Santouka has by far the best ramen on the westside and it's no contest either.

                  I like Darya and I think you will, too. However, I prefer Javan just down the road a bit. Shamshiri Grill is nice, too, but I choose Javan over it every time unless I'm with a vegetarian. If you like Persian kabobs then I think Flame does the best job with those, just not anything else.

                  Sunnin is great for a quick bite, although some posters have claimed they had their falafel reheated in the microwave. Keep you eyes peeled and if they try that then ask for fresh ones. I should note I've never seen this happen and I've been maybe 20 times. They have my favorite hummos and they have a nice baked kibbeh dish, as well as the deep fried iteration.

                  Everything wolfgang said is right on. {The truck on Oaxaquena on Lincoln and Rose and it's probably my favorite in town}. I would add the Juquila truck on Stoner in the evenings (right by the park). They do a nice job and the serve a great atole there which is perfect for dessert, especially as the weather get cooler. Also, wolfgang mentions some great happy hours. Other budget friendly options can be found at Josie's and Jirafe when they offer reasonably priced prix fixe menus. Check out their websites for detials.

                  I'd also add El Super Taco, right next to Monte Alban for some nice tacos. (They have a new location on Olympic near the 405, too.) Get the clayuda there. It's heavenly.

                  While I'm a huge Father's Office fan, everything else on Montana is just not good. It's so painfully average. Maybe Pradeeps is okay *if* you walk in knowing that it's Cal-Indian food and not traditional. It's tasty, it's just not what most people want when they think Indian.

                  Two Indian places that are good are Annapurna's on Venice and Ambala Dhaba on Westwood (right next to Sunnin). Annapurna's is Southern Indian and is a must try for the dosas and the coconut chutney. Ambala Dhaba does some excellent channa masala, kulchas, okra, and *goat*.

                  And Bay Cities does have my favorite sandwiches around. Avoid the lunch rush if you can. You can also fax in orders for pick-up to save yourself from the mob.

                  Metro Cafe in Culver City does some interesting Serbian dishes.

                  There are more but I'm out of gas.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Frommtron

                    Nice rundown for us newbs, frommtron!!

                    1. re: Frommtron

                      I agree, Santouka isthe ONLY place to go for ramen in the westside

                      -----
                      Santouka
                      3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                      1. re: yinyang

                        I went to Ramen Yamadaya and I would put it on par with Santouka.

                        -----
                        Santouka
                        3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                        Ramen Yamadaya
                        3118 W 182nd St, Torrance, CA 90504

                        1. re: Frommtron

                          Excellent words by Frommtron...

                          2011 update:

                          Violet is dead and gone. Even its successor, Bite Bar, has come and gone(?)
                          Nook is less popular now, and Westside Tavern has stolen a lot of its thunder.
                          Santouka #7 ramen is still the best Westside ramen.
                          Metro Cafe is still rockin'.
                          The mob scene at Bay Cities is unbearable.

                          -----
                          Santouka
                          3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                          Westside Tavern
                          10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                          1. re: J.L.

                            I like this thread, and I really like Frommtron's great summary of go-to WS spots.
                            Smashingly great list! Espec. when combined with the list in all the other posts in the thread.

                            Quick Hits, updates and my own silly takes -
                            I like Upperwest, which is at 3321 pico, good drinks, good (not incredible) food, good HH prices, and nice folks.

                            The Six on pico just east of the WS pavillion is great for a bar with good food - a low key gastropub is probably about right if I had to peg what it is. I've just had snacks there which were good but everyone around me was happy with the larger dishes they were having.

                            Agree with Place Yuu (mentioned above as Place) for casual, solid Izakaya, less $$ than musha and good all around

                            Guelaguetza in Palms is closed, but I think Monte Alban has better Oaxacan food than this branch of GG had...

                            For Bay Cities, the trick which saves the place for me is to just grab a sandwich from the baskets on top of the deli case (Godmothers, hot or mild) or from the cooler to the left of the deli when you enter (turkey and other combos), chips, drinks, and then just pay and go. I'm in and out in < 5 minutes even on peak weekends. Parking turns over faster than you might think - it's really not a problem. And the Godmother's are simply one of the best things in this town for me.

                            Tender Greens in CC is also always solid, their special desserts always rock, too, and good value given the quality, nice folks and the overall experience.

                            For what I'd consider traditional american, I still really like the Nook. Better follow through, quality and more interesting food than any other spot like it in the area - I like the feel of Westside Tavern and it's nice near the windows on an afternoon, but food is >> for me at Nook.

                            So many spots and so much variety, this list could go on forever.

                            -----
                            Monte Alban
                            11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                            Place Yuu
                            2101 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                            Westside Tavern
                            10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                            Tender Greens
                            6290 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                        2. ... And don't forget Sawtelle's "Little Osaka"!

                          1. Thanks everyone. I've definitely got a very full list of ethnic restaurants to try. Any more traditionally American places? I'd also love to find some hole in the walls or restaurants that are not necessarily trendy too. For example I really like Bagel Nosh in Santa Monica. Thanks again for all the suggestions.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: bobrayburn

                              You might want to try Cora's Coffee Shop too in Santa Monica.

                              1. re: Emme

                                Cora's Coffeee Shop was great for years..classic breakfast joint till Marder bought it and ruined it with $15 omelettes.

                                1. re: lapizzamaven

                                  You're kidding, Marder runs it?? Oh, forget it, I was planning on trying it , now no longer.

                                  1. re: Phurstluv

                                    Oh dear, I love Cora's. I don't think I could ever stomach the prices at Capo, but I love brunch at Cora's and always take out of town visitors there. I don't think $12 for an omelette there is out of line for pricing in the neighborhood.

                                    http://www.corascoffee.com/03_menu.html

                                  2. re: lapizzamaven

                                    Just can't get with this place. Tried it several times and get annoyed every time because it's just not very good and they charge so much. Head up to Pico and Broadway and go to Swingers. They serve a surprisingly good breakfast at good prices though the music might be a little much for some.

                                2. re: bobrayburn

                                  Nook's already been recommended here but if we're talking about solid American food, you have to go. It really has no equal when it comes to American comfort food (with a twist).

                                3. What about Chez Jay? Great dive bar and good seafood last time I checked!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: mandelabra

                                    Valentino has recently opened up Vin Bar, their casual dining experience. You can either sit at the bar or one of the tall tables with tall chairs that have backs – much more comfortable. The food was delicious – particularly the crudo – sushi grade quality fish and the fried calamari. Both dishes were meant to be split and the portion size on the calamari was very, very generous. I also liked their sweet corn ravioli. You could go for a glass of wine and the crudo plate and calamari and be very happy.

                                    See pics here:

                                    http://lizziee.wordpress.com/category...

                                    1. re: lizziee

                                      Just curious...how expensive was Vin Bar?

                                  2. Top of the list, though probably a little more expensive than you're looking for, would be Il Carpaccio in the Pacific Palisades -- some of the best meals I've ever had. Save it for a special occasion, but definitely check it out...

                                    Others:
                                    Second (or third) rec for Orris on Sawtelle -- wonderful, fun, small plates
                                    Guelaguetza in Palms -- like Tlapazola, excellent Oaxacan
                                    Serenata de Garibaldi in Santa Monica -- fancier, but best Mexican in town
                                    SugarFISH in Marina del Rey -- super-fresh, cheap sushi
                                    Sushi Masu on Westwood -- less cheap, but still affordable, excellent sushi
                                    Yabu on Pico for soba, though the La Cienega location is better
                                    For great history and warm, dive-y coziness, The Galley in Santa Monica
                                    Cafe Luxxe in Santa Monica for the best coffee in LA

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: t0mk7d

                                      God! The GALLEY! I haven't thought of that place in years. Now in Oakland, used to live in Ocean Park when it wasn't trendy and expensive. You used to have to leave your name and then go home and wait it was so popular. They didn't take res. Memories of the food are fuzzy now. Steaks.

                                      1. re: t0mk7d

                                        respectfully disagree with the recommendation of sugarfish

                                      2. westside is the place to be for food!

                                        since i don't have the time/energy to type out my fave places, here's a map i made:
                                        http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?f=q&am...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: greengelato

                                          bobrayburn - i love to eat good food. i live on the westside. and all on a lowly assistants salary. here are my personal recs to you from $10-15.
                                          FURAIBO on sawtelle for chicken wings/bento box/skewers
                                          ZANKOU CHICKEN on sepulveda/santa monica. Shawerma. Chicken wraps. Hummus. Delish.
                                          FEAST FROM THE EAST on Westwood Blvd for their sesame chicken wings and tasty Chinese Chicken salad
                                          SPRAZZO Italian for their consistency. It's a casual family owned restaurant. Tasty balsamic vinaigrette.
                                          Noodle Planet - near UCLA 1118 Westwood Blvd for cheap, fast, and decent pho/bun. only accepts cash.
                                          Diddy Riese - near UCLA. cheap freshly baked cookies/ice cream sandwiches. it costs $1.15...very popular with UCLA students and a cheaper alternative to Pinkberry or gelato.

                                          FYI for decent Korean food - go east to Ktown. Enjoy!

                                          1. re: greengelato

                                            Thanks so much for posting the link to your food map. I have just begun to look at it, but if I can't find something new to try on it then I'm definitely doing something wrong.

                                          2. Since no one's mentioned any Korean, I'll throw in Tofu Ya on Sawtelle. May be the only place to get decent Korean on the west side.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: noahbites

                                              I also find Tofu Ya to be good Korean, especially considering its location. While the prices may be a bit higher than K town and the portion sizes may be slightly less generous, Wharo on Lincoln Blvd. at Washington in pretty good K food. Have you tried the Korean "izakaya" (for want of a better term) Raku in the little mini mall on the SE corner of Olympic Blvd. and Barrington? Damn good food.

                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                Late response-- but yes. I have been to Raku. Some stuff I loved, some I was disappointed by. It was a while ago, though, so I may have to make a repeat visit.

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  NO! Don't go around blabbering about my favorite hole-in-the-wall! I don't wanna have to wait for a table there!

                                                  Hehehe... Seriously, Raku is awesome. 95% of the menu is rockin', 5% is more of an acquired taste (a la pickled pigs trotters). Their okonomiyaki is very, very decent.

                                                2. re: noahbites

                                                  Yeah I love Tofu Ya too. I tried the newer place in the same strip mall as Nijiya but it wasn't quite as good.

                                                  I'll add/ concur in the following for great and reasonably-priced food on the Westside:

                                                  Musha for izakaya
                                                  Orris for Asian fusion
                                                  The Nook for "American" food; great mac n cheese -- well, everything's great
                                                  Nawab for Indian
                                                  Emporium Thai for (you guessed it) Thai
                                                  Paco's on Washington for their homemade, fresh flour tortillas
                                                  Gallego's Deli on Venice for their chicken chili verde tamales
                                                  The Galley for seafood
                                                  Fritto Misto for casual inexpensive italian
                                                  Santino's on Lincoln for panini sandwiches and a large beer selection
                                                  Uzen for sushi/cooked Japanese food (used to rec Hide and Niko Niko for sushi but Hide disappointed last week, and haven't been to Niko Niko recently enough to keep defending it.)
                                                  The Fish Co. for their midweek lobster special
                                                  El Cholo ONLY for their green corn tamales, when in season

                                                  Outside the Westside, the best deal for sushi is Sushi Don in Valley Village (near Studio City. Fill up on fresh sush for under $10.

                                                  For various Chinese cuisines the San Gabriel Valley has too many great, affordable places to mention.

                                                3. Go straight to Anisette for lunch and order the "Menu du Market" - which is the daily special. You will get a first course and a main course and it's usually about 20 bucks. It's a casual haut cuisine bargain - which is usually an oxymoronic use of words.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. The Wet side isn't the best side for great value restaurants. Lots of average high-end restaurants around here. Still, I'll take a stab at answering.

                                                    $20 prix fixe lunch at Zengo in Santa Monica Place
                                                    Lemonade on Abbott Kinney and Venice Blvd
                                                    Momed in Beverly Hills
                                                    Amelia's on Main. Very nice Mediterranean-style sandwiches.
                                                    Mariscos Chente, perhaps. I haven't been back since the CH-acclaimed chef left.
                                                    Mao's Kitchen on Pacific in Venice. True, it's not authentic. True, some dishes are lame. Still, some dishes are quite good.

                                                    -----
                                                    Mariscos Chente
                                                    4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                    Momed
                                                    233 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                    Zengo
                                                    395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: sushigirlie

                                                      sergio, the acclaimed mariscos chente chef, these days, is normally cooking at the mariscos chente in inglewood on imperial highway near yukon.

                                                      1. re: sushigirlie

                                                        Seeing that you want "great atmosphere," I retract all of my suggestions except Zengo.

                                                        -----
                                                        Zengo
                                                        395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                      2. Some reasonably priced places with food that I like that I think have yet to be mentioned - the poster is also looking for great atmosphere, which can be very subjective. But in my eyes, the food is the priority.

                                                        Mezza - Well-executed Lebanese actually does exist outside of the San Fernando Valley.
                                                        Amandine - Bakery/cafe with a French flair interpreted through Japanese eyes.
                                                        Mendocino Farms - Sandwiches/salads with flavors and combinations with food lovers in mind.
                                                        Abbot's Pizza - Bagel crust pizza, great toppings, don't miss their salad pizza.
                                                        The Good Pizza - Bros from Naples bring good pizza to Westchester - French fry pizza, anyone?
                                                        Pitfire Pizza - Artisan-style pizzas, salads, Racer 5 IPA on tap.
                                                        Grand Casino Bakery & Cafe - Argentine bakery with great bakes, cafe fare and killer alfajorés.
                                                        Chego - Roy Choi's first attempt at shedding his nomad ways and it works.
                                                        Lilly's - Venice's current take on good French cafe food (really like their patio).
                                                        French Market Cafe - Venice's first take on French food - casual, lots of French spoken here.
                                                        Marla's - From tacos to shrimp pasta to lamb chops it's all good (BYOB saves poster some cash).
                                                        Bite Bakery & Bar - Well-executed breakfast/lunch menu and exceptional baked goods.

                                                        -----
                                                        Grand Casino Bakery
                                                        3826 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232

                                                        Pitfire Pizza
                                                        108 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                        French Market Cafe
                                                        2321 Abbot Kinney Blvd Ste 200, Venice, CA 90291

                                                        Good Pizza
                                                        7929 Emerson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                                        Mendocino Farms
                                                        300 S Grand Ave Ste Lp40, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                        Chego
                                                        3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                          Hey, Bula - if you're going to put Chego in there (a place we do like) you might as well add Santouka at Mitsuwa in Mar Vista. I think the Mitsuwa food court has at least as much "atmosphere" as Chego... ;-D>

                                                          -----
                                                          Santouka
                                                          3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                          Chego
                                                          3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                            I think someone upthread already mentioned Santouka. But your point is well taken. Maybe it's just me, but I can compromise on "atmosphere" for the sake of good food.

                                                            -----
                                                            Santouka
                                                            3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                              I'm not likely to switch up my allegiance to "Atmospherehound" at this late date... (g)

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                I think that would be AKA yelp. ;)

                                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                  As a whole, Yelp is more dependable than this site, because the people have a broader range of culinary interests than pastrami, offal, and other embodiments of mammals.

                                                                  1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                    Yelp is about as "dependable" as the Lucas electrics on a 1967 MGB...("Lucas Electrics Keeping British Beer Warm for the Past 100 Years"...)

                                                                    1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                      I think what one can argue about yelp is that one can get a general idea of what the broader public feels about a particular place. Numbers are statistics, and statistics do speak loudly. But with no back-and-forth, no focusing on finer points, it's like attempting to paint a masterpiece with a paint roller. And being polite, I think your general statement can successfully contested by members of this board.

                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                        I bet some of the posts are going to get pulled. I have found Chowhound much more dependable because there are several posters here I can generally agree with in their assessments of various dining places. That other board has lots of "casual posters" who if you read their reviews have the dumbest reasons for their rating. Some even mention they haven't even tried the food, but in some way they either were impressed or didn't like the place. In general the posters on this board usually give a place a couple of tries or indicate a strong first impression.

                                                                      2. re: sushigirlie

                                                                        Everything about this post is hilarious! I mean, I can't tell if it was meant tongue in cheek, but I was belly laughing my brains out. Let's be honest, Yelp is absolute tripe, but you certainly cut straight to the heart of what a lot of 'hounds fetishize.

                                                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                          Those were offal puns. However, I should note that tongue, while often classified as offal, is closer to pastrami (at least in the Deli case).

                                                            2. 3 Square would be my choice. I like the three sandwich sampler. But there's a lot of good, reasonably priced food there. Also, Blue Plate Oysterette. You can get away for not much money at Robota Bar too. And the biggest bargain of all is the 3 course lunch at Joe's on Abott Kinney for 18 bucks.

                                                              Pitfire pizza on Washington in Culver City-ish

                                                              Would like to know what the budget it is. Does Waterloo & City fit the bill?

                                                              -----
                                                              3 Square Cafe
                                                              1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                              Blue Plate
                                                              1415 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                Do you mean Robata-Ya or Bar Hayama, foodiemahoodie?

                                                                -----
                                                                Bar Hayama
                                                                11300 Nebraska Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                  What? You are asking about Bagel Nosh in SM and asking about another alternative? That would be Rae's on Pico and Stewart. The wait for tables on the weekends is bad, but you can get a seat at the counter fairly quickly. My tip is try the stawberry shakes because the make them with whole strawberries and there are big chucks left in the canister. If I've mis-shot I apologize, but it sort of sounds like you are looking for kick-ass diner-food and not the Michelin star.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Bagel Nosh
                                                                  17271 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA

                                                                2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                  i don't think Blue Point Oysterette is very economical.
                                                                  portions are tiny.
                                                                  i leave there with a hefty tab searching for more food to fill the residual hungar.

                                                                  if i'm willing to leave a restaurant hungry, i'd go for the happy hour oyster special at ocean ave seafood which is $1.75/oyster from 4pm to 6pm

                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                    When I want complete satisfaction for $8 I go straight to Tacomiendo onGateway? OP near Pico?...Oh the carnitas tacos! id like to order other things but cant get past 2 tacos..the tortillas are awesome, too!

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Tacomiendo
                                                                    11462 Gateway Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                    1. re: lapizzamaven

                                                                      I second Tacomiendo (corner of Gateway and Pico).

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Tacomiendo
                                                                      11462 Gateway Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                      1. re: Hillbilly Moonshiner

                                                                        Agree with either Tacomiendo location (I am partial to the Pambazo w/ lengua).
                                                                        Other cheaper and tasty eats in the area include Simpang Asia (now w/ expanded seating and has convenient late-night hours), Bawarchi (especially for the chaat), Annapurna (now w/ more frequent buffets which include dosa), Jasmine, Tofu-Ya (for soon tofu on Sawtelle...not the bbq one), and Sazon Latin Fusion.

                                                                3. Try City Tavern in Culver City especially for HAPPY HOUR which I believe is 3-6 or 3-7. Fantastic selection of beers. If you want just good sushi no frills and CHEAP try SUSHI STOP on sawtelle just north of Olympic. Actually all the restaurant in that row are pretty good

                                                                  -----
                                                                  City Tavern
                                                                  9739 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232