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Sep 13, 2008 01:54 PM

recs for afternoon on sawtelle

houston chowhound here about to head over to sawtelle for a late lunch and a walk along the strip. i did a search for sawtelle on this board and came up with some food recs, but orris is only open for dinner. i've already had ramen at santouka and daikokuya on this trip to LA so i'll skip ramen recs. curry house sounds interesting. tofu ya sounds good for korean. i found a rec for FURAIBO on sawtelle for chicken wings/bento box/skewers.

i've already had quite a bit of japanese on this trip but can't resist the trip. besides the 2 ramen places, i've also been to musha and sushi zo. i could do izakaya again but got plenty of sushi last night at zo.

also looking for recs on shops or places to walk to/visit afterwards. TIA.

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  1. i think i've narrowed it down to lunch at blue marlin for sea urchin spaghetti, cream puffs at beard papas then shopping at nijiya market, giant robot, GR2, black market, and tokyo japanese outlet?

    comments or any better suggestions?

    1 Reply
    1. re: neverfull

      This sounds like a good plan to me. Blue Marlin is pretty unique and it sounds like youve hit other high spots of Japanese eating in town already. The cream puffs at that particular Beard Papa are quite good, but if you want super cream puffs, you could go south on Sawtelle to Venice, head a bit west (turn right) on Venice Blvd to Centinela, turn left on Centinela and get the cream puffs at Hot Cakes Bakes, which are simply amazing.

    2. Roughly north to south:

      Nanbankan: great little place; open during construction
      Cafe Dahab: Egyptian-style / Mediterranean food
      Bar Hayama: Excellent, but not sure if they're open on afternoons
      Tofu Ya: so-so food, terribly long wait at times
      Ketchy's II: good chili dogs
      Mizu 212: Decent shabu shabu
      Chabuya - best ramen in Sawtelle area, in my opinion (I know I know - no ramen)
      Orris - Don't understand why it gets so much love; it hasn't ever wow'ed me (on 5 visits)
      Yuzando: Great sushi.
      Lollicup Tea: 2nd best tea place on the street
      Hide Sushi: Cash only
      FuRaiBo: Excellent teba saki; fun tatami rooms
      Place Yuu: Closed in the afternoons
      Volcano Tea: Best tea place on the street
      Crepe Grouch: A fun time, decent crepes. Read the menu before you order. Seriously.
      Manpuku: So-so.
      Hurry Curry: I like it.
      Hong Kong Cafe: good food, fast service
      Pho-Reign: Haven't tried their pho
      Kiriko: Open for dinner - outstanding sushi & fusion
      Munch: Take-out foods
      Crepes Dusigne: Best crepes in L.A.
      Yashima: Good solid noodles
      Daichan Kaiten-Sushi: Fun experience (conveyor belt sushi)
      Zip Fusion: Rolls, nothing special
      Tofu Villa: Better than Tofu Ya
      Beard Papa's: Don't skip this.
      Curry House: My fave Japanese curry in L.A.

      6 Replies
      1. re: J.L.

        Add: Kiriko (L and D) for excellent sushi and other more "fusion" types of dishes, plus a great Izakaya; Place Yuu (dinner only).

        1. re: Servorg

          I thought I DID mention those...

          1. re: J.L.

            I'd better give up my hopes of being an editor / proofreader! Sorry for the oversight.

          2. re: Servorg

            If the OP went to Zo last night, he/she could probably skip Kiriko unless he is craving hot dishes.

            1. re: Servorg

              yes, kiriko and avoid blue marlin. i wish it were better.

          3. thanks everyone for your comments. i had a lovely afternoon in jtown. it was a lot smaller than i imagined but there was plenty to eat, do, and see.

            sea urchin spaghetti @ blue marlin was wonderful. my friend got the tonkatsu special of the day in a jalapeno tomato curry sauce which was quite good. the uni spaghetti was super rich so it was nice to also have something spicy and acidic on the table too.

            beard papas is even better here than the cafe zaiya location in NYC. the strawberry cream puff that they only offer on saturdays and sundays is better than the original vanilla flavor. there are real strawberries in the the cream and no artificial strawberry taste at all. it was so good, i went back and bought a second one. NAspy, thanks for the Hot Cakes Bakes rec. i will definitely make a trip there the next time i'm in LA.

            nijiya was fun, as was window shopping at the various shops in the area. tokyo japanese outlet reminded me of a japanese dollar store with lots of hello kitty stuff. GR and GR2 was fun for asian pop culture stuff. black market and happy six was good for trendy clothing and accessories.

            for anyone else with the same ambitions, this is a good website for sawtelle restaurants and shops:

            i'll be posting reviews and photos of blue marlin and beard papas next week when i get a chance.


            6 Replies
            1. re: neverfull

              D'oh! I forgot Blue Marlin & Restaurant 2117 (for completeness' sake)!

              Glad you had fun. Sawtelle rocks. (FYI: It's NOT jtown, though - jtown refers to Little Tokyo, adjacent to Downtown LA) Sawtelle is AKA Little Osaka by some.

              1. re: neverfull

                Along the cream puff recs which I seem to take great issue with all the time... I personally don't find Beard Papa to be a good experience. Here's one of my takes on BP on a thread that I recalled from a little while ago - it's about 2/3 of the way down the lengthy but valuable thread in general:


                I do like Hot Cakes' as well. The owner is from France and learned who craft in some Paris bakeries. Another option that is further down Centinela is Angel Maid - a Japanese bakery known more for their mini cream puffs. I don't know of a soul who wouldn't trade theirs for a box of sixteen.

                To me, the epitome of cream puffs is Chantilly. Everyone has their own criteria when it comes to this seemingly simple delight, but after having Chantilly's version, they have set the benchmark for me. In particular is their version where the choux is filled with a black sesame creme. Great debate has been mustered for and against Chantilly:


                I think the OP was totally off-base and ranting about not getting what he felt was his birthright in someone else's house. He felt different. Bottom line - if it's worth so much debate, then there must be something to this particular novelty. The only problem I see for the OP is whether or not a trip down to Lomita would be worth it - I personally feel no cream puff (or choux a la creme at Chantilly) is worth a carbon footprint indulgent drive across the county. But if the OP decides to include the general South Bay as a food experience on future visits, then please do so....


                Patisserie Chantilly
                2383 Lomita Blvd., #104, Lomita, CA 90717

                Angel Maid Bakery
                4538 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                Hotcakes Bakes
                4119 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  Bulavinaka, have you tried Gladys' cream puffs from Bellflower? Wonder how they compare to Chantilly, which I haven't tried. Gladys' is probably somewhat less refined than Hot Cakes Bakes cream puffs, but after you've eaten 12 or so, you may not notice or care.

                  1. re: NAspy

                    Hi NAspy, sorry I haven't been out toward Bellflower. How would their's compare Gladys' to Hotcakes?

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      Gladys' are slightly more doughnut like, but very light and more bite sized than Hotcakes which seems like a 21st century upscale version of the ones I used to love at the 3d street Farmer's Market in the 60s when I'd visit with my grandparents. If memory serves I think Gladys' does use real whip cream in them. A friend from work brings them in occasionally and I may have to organize a tasting.

                      And I'm almost certain GLadys' are not $1.50 or more apiece.

                      1. re: NAspy

                        A buck-fifty for Hotcakes' as well. I like the eggy choux and the light whipped cream in their version. I usually will only get them early as I don't know how soggy they will get by the end of the day...

                        I don't know what the standard size is - the ones at Hotcakes are pretty much the standard size that I've been used to in general, which actually can be quite clumsy - Gladys obviously has addressed this issue, as has Angel Maid - theirs are about pingpong ball-size and pop easily into MY mug. My typical cream puff is usually two to three bites in size, but I've always had somewhat of a love-hate relationship with these things. The challenge is to somehow get two or three bites without having the puff exact revenge by shooting back whipped or pastry cream all over the eater.