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Quintessentially Los Angeles Dinner?

Hi - Have some Aussies in town and want them to enjoy a quintessentially Los Angeles diner before they go home. Needs to be t-shirt and jeans friendly, and under an hour, preferably somewhere between Van Nuys and LAX.

Roscoe's comes to mind, maybe Pinks....what else?


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    1. Your making it kind of tough but I think you could get by at the Valley Inn which I used to go to 57 years ago with my folks.

      1. While I am thinking about it you could also go to the Buggy Whip near LAX. This is so qunitessential L.A., Mickey Cohen used to eat there.

          1. re: Servorg

            my exact thought when I read this post!

            Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
            6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

            1. re: Servorg

              The OP uses "dinner," in the title, and "diner," in the body of the post. Dinner diner or diner dinner, I agree - Pann's would fit. Googie architecture, the standard of what all coffee shops/diners should be, on the way to the airport, great menu choices, should be in and out within an hour, casual place, and I think the OP's Aussie guests might enjoy the split-pea soup, the chicken wings and waffles, and the shakes...

              1. re: bulavinaka

                To your food recommendations at Pann's I would add the 3/4 lb. patty melt done medium rare and dripping with meat juice soaked rye and the fried chicken dinner. Pann's is one of the few remaining LA jewels and deserves our support.

                1. re: Servorg

                  Slapping my forehead and looking up in self-disgust... How could I forget the patty melt - that's what I had the last time I was there. Great menu recs...

              1. Thai Elvis at Palms?

                Marty & Elaine at Dresden Room? (not really food, but really, go see them before they either call it quits or buy the farm)...

                Pacific Dining Car (downtown)?

                3 Replies
                1. re: J.L.

                  must disagree w/ pacific dining car.
                  it's a good upscale steak house. nothing, imho, particularly LA about it.
                  there are tons of other similar upscale steakhouses in the world.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    PDC (Downtown location) is soooo not upscale. The dining car has been in need of a re-design for years, IMHO. But, it hasn't changed.

                    It's the very old school-ness of it that I like. Also very L.A. because many of the power players in City Hall & Parker Center (LAPD brass) dine there regularly.

                    Their Santa Monica location is nothing special, I agree.

                    1. re: J.L.

                      The dining car section where you first walk in is still on wheels.

                2. In'N'Out Burgers in Westwood, followed by ice cream sandwiches from Diddy Riese. Then drop by Stan's for some donuts for the plane.

                  I'm not a big fan, but The Apple Pan is easy from the 405 Freeway -- get off at that Olympic/Pico exit and then it is just a bit east of the freeway on Pico.

                  Zankou Chicken would work, either at the beginning of your trip in Van Nuys or just south of Santa Monica Blvd. on Sepulveda in W.L.A.

                  For the best food, take Manchester east about five minutes east past La Brea and stop into Porky's on the north side just before you get to the Forum. Fantastic pulled pork, good ribs, tasty brisket, nice sides -- and they serve beer.

                    1. Eat outside at Tommy's on Santa Monica. Chili cheese burgers & a large ice cold coke.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: lotta_cox

                        There is a Tommy's in Santa Monica on the S/W corner of Lincoln and Pico. It serves the same food as the original on Rampart closer to downtown, with the same chili. It has a couple of tables outside, and more seating inside -- a bit hot when it is warm and sunny, but more comfortable than standing up. Their fries are particularly good ordered welldone, and you need to get a double-cheeseburger -- a single patty gets lost in the chili, thick tomato, and other garnishes. This Tommy's is not convenient to the 405, though you could take Lincoln down to the airport. I'm almost certain that this Tommy's sells Pepsi.

                        Their is another Tommy's clone just off the 405 to the west on the N/E corner of Pico at Sawtelle. This would be convenient to the 405, but I don't think they are associated with the original. They have a bunch of signs in their windows about breakfast specials and burger combos that just don't seem to match up with the original Tommy's limited offerings.

                        I am unaware of a Tommy's or Tomy's or any other variation on Santa Monica Blvd. or convenient to the 405 from the Valley en route to LAX.

                        1. re: nosh

                          Phew! Thought you were talking about that crappy private concierge company!...

                          1. re: nosh

                            i was thinking of the one on rampart. my husband and i had a conversation about whether it was on rampart or santa monica, and he convinced me it was on santa monica. durn it. i was right!

                            1. re: lotta_cox

                              The original Tommy's on Rampart is very inconvenient as a detour from the valley to the airport. The one on Lincoln in Santa Monica serves the same food, admittedly without the history, and is much more comfortable.

                            2. re: nosh

                              There's an original Tommy's ("don't see the shack, take it back!") right off the 405 on Roscoe in Van Nuys, right across the street from the Budwieser brewery. Open 24 hours too. Doesn't get more convienant than that.

                              1. re: nosh

                                There is a Tommy's on Roscoe right off the 405 fwy. I've been going there since high school way back in 197? so it's been there awhile and very good. Open 24hrs. last I heard.

                            3. With a word of warning...
                              Dinner or diner. Roscoe and pinks very different.

                              Between Van nuys and LAX - i'd say go carefully to Chez Jay.
                              First off- your aussie friends can drink themselves silly.
                              It's a convivial place. Best food? No. but you will order them to eat only the following.

                              Sand Dabs.
                              Main Course - Sand Dabs.

                              First course - get a house salad. Great? no. but the other options aren't better. the house potatoes aren't to my taste, something tastes funny, but you can't get more LA than sand dabs.

                              Dessert - ice cream, or something simple. YOu can always drive down main st from pico near chez jay's and stop at an ice cream place.

                              This is dinner - not diner - but it's fun, surfy, and the sand dabs are pretty darn good.

                              And the bar makes a killer bloody mary.

                              Chez Jay Restaurant
                              1657 Ocean Ave
                              Santa Monica, CA 90401

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Jerome

                                The sand dabs are the thing to get here. Potatoes au gratin have bananas mixed in. Sometimes you get a bit too much banana and not enough potato. My feeling about Chez Jay's is: a good place to drink - not so good to eat at.

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  yes bananas.

                                  they're vile.

                                  But the sanddabs are really really good.
                                  and drink.

                              2. Has to be taquitos at Celito Lindo in Olvera Street where Los Angeles first began.

                                Then for fun go to Phillipe's.

                                  1. re: bosanova99

                                    it's fun - but not really between Van Nuys and LAX.

                                    1. re: bosanova99

                                      Please, we want the Aussies to LIKE Los Angeles... Do them a favor and avoid The Pantry.

                                    2. A stick of celery and a tic-tac... lol

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: valleychowhound

                                        don't forget the latte and a cigarette!

                                      2. Thanks all, good recs! Well, except for the Pantry. I'm pretty sure I was served rancid horsemeat the one time I went there! And I did mean DINNER the meal and nor DINER the place.