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Pick my places to eat!

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I will be in Los Angeles Sept 2nd and 3rd. (Tues, Wed). We are staying in Century City, but will have a car. We plan on doing the whole tourist thing - Hollywood/Beverly Hills/Santa Monica. Here is my delima - there are sooo many fabulous places to eat!! I only have time to do 2 lunches (possibly 2 breakfasts) and 1 dinner. We are going to the Dodgers game on Tues.

So, here's the challenge: if you were me - where would you eat if you only had ONE dinner place and TWO lunch places??? Any area is fine!

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  1. I think a lot depends on your budget so just a few ideas...lunch at Musso and Frank's (not for the food but for the history). Breakfast at Dupars in the Farmer's Market. A burger at Father's Office for lunch...and splurge on a dinner at Spago's, or Mastros. But you will want to get on reservations right away for any higher end dinner places. Have a good time and enjoy the City of Angeles.

    3 Replies
    1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

      steak and chop houses like musso and frank's and mastros can be found in any major city. don't know where mandy08987 hails from, so no way to know if s/he'd be interested in steak or chop houses (history or no).
      i do like your spago's recommendation as imho it is more unique to california.

      1. re: westsidegal

        I guess I interpreted the "doing the tourist thing" might warrant a stop at Musso and Franks and the Farmer's Market. But you are correct, not the best food choices. And Mastro's just feels like Beverly Hills to me, but I'm sure that is true of other places. Enjoy Dodger Statium..another spot that is touristy without the best food.

      2. re: LA Buckeye Fan

        Note that Father's Office is not open for lunch on Tues. or Wed. I would only suggest it if the OP is interested in an excellent selection of both craft and Belgian beers on tap and excellent gastropub chow!

      3. agree that budget would help too. also, where are you coming from, so as to avoid eating here what you can get done well at home?

        if you want to do mexican, i'd hit up Monte Alban for Oaxacan for a lunch.

        agree with Spago or if you can really splurge, Urasawa.

        in beverly hills, porta via does a great breakfast. there was a recent thread on bev hills breakfasts, and barney greengrass is another LA option.

        with more info, we can help you pick better!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Emme

          emme:
          i LOVE your recommendations!
          i second ALL of them!

        2. If you're looking for an L.A. old school breakfast...might I suggest the Pantry in downtown L.A. I went there a lot while I was in college. Loved getting breakfast there...still do when I have a chance.
          The Farmer's Market does have great finds. Love the crepes and the homemade ice cream there.
          I'm not so sure how touristy you want to get, but a thing I loved to do every now and then was have drinks at the 360 lounge at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown. It's been in a lot of movies...and the bar is on the top floor and revolves for a 360 view of downtown L.A.

          2 Replies
          1. re: attran99

            Beware: Opinions differ on The Pantry, IMO, The Pantry is, for lack of a better word, crap.

            1. re: J.L.

              if you read the LA times interview of riordan about his methods of managing his restaurants, you'd quickly understand why that is the case and will always be the case as long as he owns it.

          2. First of all, have a grilled not steamed Dodger Dog! They are the best! I recommend A.O.C. for dinner. The food is terrific and the vibe is fun. For lunch I would say go to Larchmont Village, walk from end to end (it won't take long, it's just a couple of blocks) and eat at Prado. Great cuban food. Another fun place is Border Grill in Santa Monica. Right near the 3rd St Prominade, another "tourist" place to walk around.

            1. I'm from Nashville - so no food options are out - and also I am open on dudget - it's for my 30th birthday (driving to Vegas after LA), so we are more than willing to splurge.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mandy08987

                OP Mandy,
                I hope you'll be asking (on another Chow board) about Las Vegas recommendations.
                See, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/471484

                I'd do at least some historical restaurants/touring around LA and go for the high-end dining in Las Vegas when there's more time in a day. So many great restaurants there these days. They have a Spago's that's just as good as Beverly Hills. and more.

                Happy birthday . . . . early!

              2. Considering you're coming from Nashville I'd get a good seafood fix while you're out here. Providence if you really want to splurge. Notexactly seafood but AOC is also a wonderful and unique choice for dinner. Lunch at DinTai Fung just because you'd never have another meal remotely close in Nashville. If you're craving good Japanese I love the bento box lunch special at Izayoi or the sashimi lunch platter at Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo, or a lunch special at Kiriko in WLA. Du Pars is a good breakfast spot (for panckaes), as is Doughboys (although I hear they might be closed?) Pantry is a very LA breakfast spot, and I also love the open face omlettes at Rutt's Hawaiian Cafe on Washington in Mar Vista.

                Have fun!

                6 Replies
                1. re: chowmominLA

                  i would imagine that the dupars-type of buttermilk pancake and all their other breakfast options could easily be found in nashville.
                  on the other hand, nashville probably doesn't offer the baked, huge german pancake nor the baked apple pancake that is served at dinah's family restaurant which is near LAX.
                  another breakfast option would be nate 'n al's in beverly hills for their terrific matzo brie.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    if we're talking decadent breakfasts, i think The Griddle Cafe has to be thrown in the mix.

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      westsidegal, have you tried the apple pancake at 3 Square? Curious as to how you would compare the two. Thanks!

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        haven't tried it yet, but it's definitely on my 'to do' list!
                        have you tried it? do you recommend it? if so, i'll get there faster. . .

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          I have tried it and I love it! Love the one at Dinah's too, but it's always great to have more apple pancake options!

                    2. re: chowmominLA

                      Liking the Little Tokyo recommendation for lunch.

                      If OP Mandy wants "touristy" Little Tokyo and Chinatown are fun - AND, so close to Dodger Stadium, they should include it that Tuesday. I'm sure she doesn't have a clue about traffic getting to a weekday Dodger game and will be glad she was already in the area eating lunch and touring there.

                      The extra time between late lunch in Little Tokyo and game time at 7 PM can be filled seeing the oldest original downtown Los Angeles (seeing historical Angel's Flight, etc.), drive past the new Disney Concert Hall - an architectural wonder - as is the Bonaventure Hotel.

                      Another choice for lunch Tuesday before the ballgame is in Chinatown. It looks like a hole in the wall (but very clean inside actually) with excellent fresh fish options, including live crabs to cook, excellent very authentic Hong Kong Cantonese food. Prices for lunch are incredibly reasonable. And, service there is friendly and glad to accommodate visitor's questions about the menu. The name of the place is

                      New Dragon
                      934 N Hill St
                      Los Angeles, CA 90012
                      (213) 626-6050

                    3. Hi Mandy. My inlaws are from Nashville so I visit there so I wont recommend any bbq or pulled pork houses in LA. Give us some more info. Do you miss good sushi, or seafood? Do you want high end, supper high end, family style, French what? Here are some suggestions. First, make sure you have a gps! Getting lost is LA is no fun. Lucques is one of our best restaurants and this time of year is best for wonderful local produce. Heirloom tomatoes and the like.You can get good steaks back home, so I wont suggest any of our steak houses, but if that's your thing, check out Cut and and Wolfgangs in Bev Hills. Spago is a good suggestion for wonderful food and star gazing. Both Spago and Lucques are close to century city. You also cant go wrong with Providence, Sona, Melisse. Check out their web sites for more info. Chinatown is near the Stadium so you have some choices there. I would not suggest Musso and Franks. As for Urasawa: if you cant live another day without spending $400 per for great sushi then go for it. I've had your Nashville sushi and you have my sympathy. Also, lunches at places like Spago instead of dinner might be considered.

                      1. Before or after the Dodger game: burritos at Carnitas Michaocan, just east of the stadium on North Broadway on the N/E corner of 19th, above Chinatown, right where the 5 freeway passes under Broadway. Good carne asada, even better al pastor from a rotisserie spit, and the best salsa roja ever. Parking in the back.

                        Since you are driving from Century City to Las Vegas you have the perfect opportunity to sample some of the best dim sum for a late breakfast/early lunch. You will undoubtedly be taking the 10 freeway east (turns into the 60, or jogs north and stays the 10 parallel) until you hit the 15 and go N/E to Vegas. Either the 60 on the south or the 10 on the north take you through the heart of the San Gabriel Valley, home of a zillion dim sum places (either cart service or menu) or dumpling places (a branch of Din Tai Fung, other noodlehouses). You will not want to do this drive early before 10 -- too much traffic. You'll want to get to Vegas before afternoon rush. Voila, your opportunity for a very special feast. Search the board, you'll see a number of elaborate reviews with links to blogs with pics and more than enough recommendations to satiate and confound you.

                        Century City is bordered by Santa Monica Blvd. on the north. If you take it west (in the direction of Santa Monica) you will pass under the 405 San Diego Freeway, then pass Barrington, and a few blocks further west two blocks before Bundy on the north will be a minimall (N/E corner of Brockton) with Monte Alban, perhaps L.A. chowhounds' favorite Oaxacan (regional Mexican) menu. Search the board for suggestions of what to order. Two doors away is El Super Taco, a good cheap little taqueria with a dynamite habanero salsa on its salsa bar and tacos for $1.25 -- carne asada inconsistent, carnitas good, al pastor variable) -- where most of the locals order tortas grilled on a press for takeout.

                        1. Another great breakfast or lunch can be found at Clementine's in Century City.

                          1. Oh my!! Thank you all so much! These are excellent suggestions...Now. How to decide? LOL - Thank you!!

                            1. I would do the following:

                              Tuesday brunch at Monsier Marcel at the Farmer's Market on your way across town to the Dodger Game.

                              Tuesday evening dinner at Palate food & wine in Glendale after the Dodger game. It's new and it's PHENOMENAL.

                              Wednesday lunch at Urth cafe, usually a star sighting, great healthy food and the outdoor atmosphere is very LA and lovely.

                              Wednesday dinner at Luques on Merlrose. Goin is one of LAs top chefs, I love the food and I love the room.

                              I don't really do breakfast, so I defer to others' greater wisdom.

                              1. i did a quick scan of all the recs here, and there's one missing that i'll throw in for the hell of it. now, before all the haters start trashing it [and me], i'm merely suggesting it because it's *such* an "LA" experience, and the OP did state that she would be doing the "tourist" thing, so it might be fun for her.

                                lunch at The Ivy [either location will do]. yes, it's very pricey. and yes, there is better food to be had elsewhere in LA...but that can be said of a lot of places that get frequent recs on CH. and above all else, The Ivy really is an LA experience, and if you order well, it can also be a very enjoyable meal.

                                just a thought.

                                and happy 30th to mandy! enjoy your trip...and good luck in Vegas ;)

                                oh, and a nod to all of Emme's recs as well...she knows how to pick 'em.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  i do love some of the food at the ivy. we went to ivy at the shore a few weeks ago during a heat wave, sat at the bar, enjoyed the a/c and got pampered by the bartenders and the biscuits.

                                  1. re: lotta_cox

                                    right...*some* of the food - that's the key, you have to know what to order. there are a lot of haters, but the Ivy does some things very well. even though i have access to all of NYC's culinary treasures, i've been craving that grilled vegetable salad all summer.

                                    plus, it's a great place to take people who are into the celeb scene - i can't recall ever eating at either location without spotting at least one hollywood heavyweight.