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Dinner I can find nowhere else

I'll be in town in about a week and a half, coming from Boston. I'll be meeting up with a few old friends (3-5 of us) for a Wednesday dinner. Looking for a place that's fun, but quiet enough to talk. I'll be staying near the Staples Center, but I think anywhere within ~30 mins of there would work. Above all else, I'd love this place to offer food I would have a hard time finding elsewhere, or at least in Boston. I eat everything, but one in the group is allergic to fish. Someone recommended Cha Cha Cha. Any suggestions?

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  1. For Mexican, I would recommend either Babita (alta cucina), Chichen Itza (Yucatan) or Guelaguetza (Oaxacan).

    For Korean, you might try Soot Bull Jeep, Tahoe Galbi or Yong Su San

    For Californian Lot 1 might be fun and interesting but it is tiny. Other great Californian choices would be Animal, Grace and (at the extreme of your 30 minutes, if traffic is off) Josie.

    1823 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

    Grace Restaurant
    7360 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

    Soot Bull Jeep
    3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

    3014 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

    Tahoe BBQ
    3986 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

    Chichen Itza
    2501 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

    Lot 1 Cafe
    1533 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

    435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    Yong Su San Restaurant
    950 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006

    2 Replies
    1. re: New Trial

      UPDATE: I just read in another posting on this Board that the wonderful chef at Lot 1 is leaving and "going underground" for a while. Without him, Lot 1 should be scratched from the list.

      1. re: New Trial

        I second Babita's! Greatttttt food.. though I'm not sure if that's within 30min of the Staples Center.

      2. Rahel's Ethiopian or MEssob Ethiopian

        Chinese dinner in the San Gabriel Valley (just about 30 minutes away)

        Wander around the Grand Central or the Origianl Farmer's market. Well, central more for lunch, buut the Original Farmer's Market is iopen for dinner and provides lotsa options..

        Mozza (not my fave, but a popular palce for people to go) OSetria or Pizzeria.

        Musha in Santa monica for Izakaya.

        Is Clifton's open for dinner? Definitely not the best food (but OK), but a place NOT foundin boston

        Can you do Lunch? Go to Langer's for pastrami!

        Mr. Pizza Factory in koreatown on Wilshire. Korean Pizza, very, very different.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Diana

          Since the OP asked for a place that's "quiet enough to talk," I'd remove Pizzeria Mozza from that list.

          1. re: PlatypusJ

            if there are 5-6 people, they can reserve one of the tables in the back room at o'mozza. then again, he can take the acela to nyc and hit up babbo. =)

          2. re: Diana

            although musha is one of my favorite restaurants, it definitely fails as a 'good place to talk with old friends' unless kip can reserve the back room (seats 10) for this dinner.

            unless you're in the back room, the tables are small and crowded, the chairs are not very comfortable, the room is noisy, and there is pressure to vacate your table as soon as the food is done.

            the food at musha, is wonderful, but, i would not recommend it for this occasion.

          3. A.O.C. is fun and different.

            The Pantry is a Los Angeles staple, it never closes and there are no locks on the front doors! It's more diner type food. Food is okay, it's more about going to The Pantry.

            Nick and Stef's is good for steaks.

            Cuidad downtown has a Cuba flare. I think they have a patio which ashould cut down on the noise factor.

            1. While you're in town you should try Din Tai Fung, it's a Chinese restaurant like no other and almost always a hit. Their specialty is xaio long bao (juicy pork dumplings) and they have wonderful noodle, fried rice and vegetable side dishes as well. It would be about a 25-minute drive from downtown.


              I wouldn't try it on Wednesday night, however, because Chinese could be a little risky for someone allergic to fish! And it can be a little crowded and noisy.

              1. I'd skip pizza, McSkipster. If you've ever driven down to New Haven for America's greatest pizzas, you wouldn't recognize ours as part of the edible kingdom.

                My recommendation for a nearby dinner that, as requested, you won't find anywhere else is a delicious (and expensive) steak at the Pacific Dining Car **around three in the morning.** The PDC restaurants, near downtown and in Santa Monica, are to my knowledge the only top-quality steakhouses in the country open 24/7, including normal dinner hours.

                Pacific Dining Car
                1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                1. Kip, I live in Boston also and will be in LA (and San Diego) for a week in Sept. Would you recommend any of these suggestions as "you have to go or your trip will have been a waste" experiences? Thanks

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kate used to be 50

                    Unique to LA - Langer's pastrami sandwich for lunch is a must have - the best in the world and mintes from downtown. Then head West on Venice Blvd to Versailles - their roast chicken is amazing. None better in LA.

                    1. re: Jeryy

                      be aware that langers is not open for dinner.
                      the set-up is that of a typical jewish deli--not particularly conducive to catching up with a group of old friends.

                      also, imho, the dining experience at pacific dining car is in no way 'unique.' it is a normal high-end steak house much like many of the high-end steak houses that can be found in any major u.s. city.

                      1. re: Jeryy

                        Ditto on lunch at Langer's rec. Fantastic pastrami AND rye.

                    2. Try Sanamluang in North Hollywood, great thai food and open late. Also The Original Thai BBQ, several locations near LA/Staples, and order the No.1 (Thai BBQ Chiken) Also, second on Babita's, awesome food, awesome place.

                      For chinese, almost any place in china town will make your tongue smile, but try Full House, it's right off the Chinatown exit (Hill St) on the 110, order the crispy chicken with the salt/spice dip.

                      Great vegan must-trys over at RFD in West Ho, you should be able to get there in 30 mins after rush hour. Great food and great atmosphere too.