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Just moved from NYC to LA...need help!

Hi there chowhounders.
I need some advice on where to look for an apartment in LA. I'm having a bit of culture shock just having moved from NYC to LA. I would like to live in a neighborhood that you can walk around, shop, and eat without getting in a car too often. All the hoods that were recommended to me by New Yorkers are a bit too gritty (I think Silverlake has no central hub and it's not very pretty, Echo park seems boring). Any suggestions as to where I should look? I really need a place where there is lots of good food and grocery shopping to be found.

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  1. West Hollywood? I'm from NY originally and have lived in West Hollywood for the past 10 years...and love it! Very convenient to lots of restaurants and grocery stores.

    1. I guess I would look in the Park La Brea area, or else in West Hollywood. It depends on what your definition of "good food" is. If "good food" is upscale-ish restaurants, then those neighbourhoods will do you fine. If "good food" is cheap ethnic joints (which is really what we do best here in LA), WeHo and Park La Brea are not for you.

      Another option would be Santa Monica. I used to live on 14th near Wilshire and could walk to the ocean (I assume as a New Yorker that 14 blocks is not a big deal to you), there were grocery stores nearby, there's plenty of restaurants (especially if you have a bike and can head down to Main Street, where it's a bit less touristy than Third Street), and the public transit in the form of the Big Blue Bus is actually pretty good. Again, though, not so much with the cheap ethnic joints, though you will find if you haven't already that eating in Los Angeles is MUCH easier on the wallet than eating in Manhattan. Just be aware that apartments in Santa Monica fall into two categories: un-Godly, usuriously expensive, fancy and new, or merely expensive and in various states of unremodelled-ness. Santa Monica still has modified rent control (where once you move in at market rates, the government sets the yearly rent increases) and this means that there is not a lot of money for capital improvements of apartments.

      Honestly -- and please don't take this the wrong way -- it would be better to just embrace the Los Angeles way of living and accept that you're going to need a car. We don't have the central hubs and built-up places like New York, nor does our transit system work as efficiently as you are used to. Ethnic groups cluster in tightly-knit communities, the way it used to be in Manhattan eighty years ago, so for great Chinese you must go (which means drive) to the San Gabriel Valley; for great Korean you must go to Koreatown; for great Thai you must go to Thai Town or to North Hollywood, etc., etc.

      1. Beverly/Fairfax a -South of Melrose between La Brea and Fairfax area is great for walking to food. Tons of great restaurants on Beverly, you can easily walk to the Farmers Market on Third/Fairfax. You can walk to Whole Foods. On Farifax there are a few groceries, and other places to eat there too. I'm originally from NY also, so chinese food, bagels, pizza... (with a few exceptions) are hard to come by the way I like it. But, LA does have Korea Town (try soot bull jeep!), great Thai, Sushi, and lots of Farmers Market based restaurants.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Clyde

          I agree with Beverly and Fairfax neighborhood. I moved there from SF back in '95 and was extremely happy. I also think Los Feliz would be a good neighborhood.

          1. re: lotta_cox

            I just moved from Los Feliz to Beverly Fairfax area and like it a lot. In los Feliz I could walk to plenty of stuff and here is the same only more, nicer restaurants.

          2. re: Clyde

            I live in this neighborhood as well (having moved from NYC 3 years ago) and I'd agree. The Farmer's Market is a great resource -- we walk there a lot, for brunch at Du-Pars, or dinner at Ulysses Voyage, and sometimes for grocery shopping (the butchers are actually great, and you can get fine imported cheeses, etc. at Monsieur Marcel. There are also a lot of apartments open in the neighborhood right now -- walk around and call the numbers on the for rent signs.

          3. Spend some time getting to know the flavor of the communities before adopting these positions. All the neighborhoods are quite different, and all have their benefits. For instance, Echo Park is a good walking neighborhood and new businesses and restaurants are sprouting up all the time. Also, both Echo Park and Silverlake have an abundance of ethnic cuisine and are close to neighborhoods with dense non-American populations and accompanying restaurants and grocery store, in addition to being very freeway convenient. Think about things from more than one perspective.

            1. Like everyone else is saying... get a car. LA is the one place in the world that people feel like they can come and ask for things they had back home. Sorry, we don't have NY-style bagels, St. Louis-style BBQ, New Orleans-style creole. This is LA. We use cars. We love tacos. And we have our own way of doing things out here.

              I live by MacArthur Park which is kind of a crappy neighborhood, but it's close to everything. I'd recommend downtown. If you refuse to get a car, you can still take the metro to Hollywood for the farmer's market, Little Tokyo, Highland Park, Koreatown, and you're close enough to the SGV.

              Or you can become a westsider and have no culture.

              *edited to try to better convey my point.

              5 Replies
              1. re: andytseng

                LOL at the westside having no culture. I do agree, we may not be NYC or Chicago, but you cannot beat our taco trucks, sushi or thai, or kalbi.

                1. re: andytseng

                  There's really no need for that kind of talk. Anyone is entitled to search for the best of what LA has to offer, and Chowhound is here to help with the search. When people complain that the New York-style pizza here doesn't measure up to what's available in New York, or the Creole cuisine isn't as good as in New Orleans, then it's time to do some expectation management.

                  There are, of course, endless threads about the best of what's available, most of which contain at least 20% sniffing about "well, it's no Lou Malnati's" or "it's definitely not Totonno's" or "Commander's Palace it isn't".

                  Downtown's not a bad suggestion, and it is transit-friendly (even the buses mostly head downtown), but the grocery shopping is not good downtown -- there's just the one Ralphs.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Best NY-Style pizza in LA: LAMONICAS in Westwood. Mmmmm... There is no other.

                    1. re: seanag

                      Meh. The last two times I went, the oil on my pizza tasted like old grease. It was OK once I blotted it off, but... meh. I like Vito's the best.

                  2. re: andytseng

                    at least you live by mama's hot tamales and langer's which i never did try...i was too busy eating mexican!

                  3. Welcome to LA... fellow NY-er here with 5 years of LA experience... it's still trying to grow on me. Several recommendations for areas:

                    Fairfax District - (sometimes cramped) area near Fairfax between Melrose & Beverly (lots of apartments west of Fairfax in this neighborhood) walking distance to all the restaurants on Fairfax & Beverly: Canter's Deli, Damiano's Pizza, Benito's Burritos (try the california burrito), the Farmer's Market at the Grove (which houses a bunch of great food places); good markets: Whole Foods (upscale supermarket), Ralph's (normal supermarket), Trader Joe's, Erewhon (small health food market), and more in walking distance. There's a park, The Grove ('lovely' outdoor mall), lots of movie theaters. Used to live in this neighborhood and loved it.

                    Larchmont - Larchmont near Beverly Blvd (pricey and non-sketchy with a solid strip of nearby restaurants) Larchmont Pizza (totally decent), Wild Oats Cafe, Noah's Bagels (they have bagel dogs), a bunch of others... not too sure on the supermarket scene here, but there are shops on the block too.

                    Franklin Blvd. and Bronson - Super nice area, some deals to be found for apartments. Good restaurants: Birds, Leaf, a sushi place, a coffee shop, okay chinese, newstand, UCB Theater (upright citizens' brigade comedy troupe), near Griffith Park; Gelson's (upscale market), a video store, etc.

                    Thai Town/Los Feliz - Franklin btwn Western and Vermont is nice... the closer you get to Hollywood, the sketchier it gets, but there's a ton of restaurants all in walking distance. Thai Patio, Red Corner Asia, il Capriccio (good wood oven pizza), Fred 62... movie theaters, griffith park in walking distance...

                    anyway, hope these help!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: foodcorejunior

                      I second the suggestion of Fairfax District. You can walk to the Farmers Market, which has excellent food choices, particularly Singaporean and Mexican, and there are a number of decent places on Beverly such as Cobras & Matadors or Ita-Cho. I would look for a place on the streets immediately north of Beverly and east of Fairfax, such as Curson, Spalding, etc. There are some very aesthetically attractive buildings there, although the condition of those building can vary greatly. You also have a large park nearby, Pan Pacific Park.

                      Also check out the blocks immediately adjacent to Joan's on Third (http://www.joansonthird.com/). There are a number of decent places to eat right around there, plus you have the Cook's Library bookstore and Travelers Bookstore.

                      1. re: foodcorejunior

                        Great suggestions. Larchmont and Franklin/Bronson are amazing areas that somehow don't feel like LA to me, but rule nonetheless. I 3rd the Fairfax suggestion. Definitely walkable. Erewhon is great. The poster, however, did request access to a 'central hub.' If not for the anti "gritty" criterion, I'd suggest East Hollywood/Wilshire Center/K-Town (or what I call the 'Jons' dominion). BTW, I play soccer at Pan Pacific Park (Fairfax); the field (south end) is dirt and very gritty, i.e. Mac Arthur Park style. Anyway, back to the Jons...

                        Very central. Red/Purple Line access. Working class. Hipster villages close by. Growing "messenger/fixie" scene at Hel-Mel. Multi-ethnic (Salvadorian, Guatemalan, Armenian, Eastern European, Baltic, Eurasian, Thai, Filipino, Korean). Where else can you get thai jerkey served w. a rich salsa roja? Answer: Prael on Melrose all the way. Hole-in-the-wall Armenian. Who needs Glendale? Awesome Pupusas. Legit Catering Trocas. Nasty Korean Pho, anyone? Don't bother when you can rock a mustardy Chu-eo Tang. Secret: if you befriend any Korean neighbors, you can demand they call in delivery orders for you 24/7/365. Koreans deliver anything and everything, even cigs/booze, if that's how you roll. Oh yeah: easy 101/10 access for forays into the SGV/East LA.

                        By 'groceries,' I'm guessing the poster wants produce. Jons is OK. The best Farmers Market in LA (Sundays @ Ivar/Selma) is in biking distance. Local Vons (Sunset/Virgil and Vermont/3rd) have great organic sections. Not as much local as WF, but more organic, believe it or not. Nature Mart (Hillhurst) has excellent produce (almost all local/organic), great selection of supplements, and an awesome Bulk annex.

                        If you (poster) just can't get past the gritty thing, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood are pretty accommodating, though I'm told these days there are some areas where bike traffic is prohibited (Hollywood too). Did anyone suggest Venice (Abbot Kinney) yet? What about Palms along Venice Blvd? Used to be a chow wasteland, but I hear it's blowin' up. Lastly, don't be put off by bars on 1st floor windows. Even upscale areas replete with starter castles feature rows of houses (especially corner houses) with barred windows.

                      2. I've gotten a bit of a rep around here as the weirdo who manages to live a full social and gastronomical life in L.A. even though -- horrors -- I don't own a car.

                        The best L.A. neighborhood I've lived in for exactly what you're looking for is where I live today -- Los Feliz.

                        I might want a better upscale market within walking distance, and more decent Chinese (although the best of Thai Town is near at hand). But in general it can't be beat for restaurants, shopping, walkability, a reasonable cost of living and general good vibes.

                        The central axis of so-called Los Feliz Village is between Vermont and Hillhurst, north of Hollywood Blvd. and south of Los Feliz Blvd. The closer you can get to there, the better.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: maxzook

                          One thing I liked about los Feliz that I miss now at Fairfax and Beverly is I can no longer walk to the red line to go down town or to hollywood

                          1. re: maxzook

                            I 2nd this. Los Feliz Village is probably the closest vibe/lifestyle you can get to living in NYC, especially if you were from the east village area.

                            restaurants, bars, movie theaters, grocery stores, bookstore, clothing stores (although very limited) all within walking distance. Not to mention the red line, plenty of cabs, and banks.

                          2. No one really walks in LA. Get a car, and get used to it.

                            That said, one 'hood that hasn't been mentioned is downtown LA. Lots and lots of eateries opening up it seems like every other day. And with the economy tanking, a nice loft can be had for a steal. Plus, downtown LA is pretty much as centrally located as you can get in LA County.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Note that the OP didn't say he wasn't going to own a car, just that he'd prefer living where he didn't have to use it every single time he had to go anywhere. A very reasonable p.o.v. given the economy and gas prices.

                              And especially for downtown, which is a good area for walkers and a bad area for parkers.

                              1. re: J.L.

                                Absolutely agree. The OP indicated that he/she did not want to live someplace "too gritty," so that may rule out many of the other areas recommended on this page. When I moved to L.A. from N.Y. 18 years ago, I found Westwood to be the neighborhood that felt most comfortably like home (which had been Manhattan, East 30s). While Westwood Village would certainly not make the top of the list from the most rarefied of Chowhound perspectives, and many people find it to be overly "vanilla," it has more than its share of excellent food, shopping and entertainment options. You can walk around Westwood quite safely 24 hours a day, it never feels completely shut down, and you won't require a car for your general everyday needs in this well-stocked community.

                              2. West Hollywood, Firfax Palr/La Brea area or Westwood. Westwood if you will be going to the West side more often. I lived there for years and loved it.

                                1. Another option is Studio City. Yes, it's hot in the summer, but it's a nice walking town, with shops, restaurants, good mass transit, and freeway access. I moved from NYC 15 years ago and have never left SC.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: tagsiemers

                                    Absolutely agree. I'm another ex-New Yorker who, upon moving to Studio City, has never left. Food, shopping, good grocery stores and markets within walking distance (or a short drive).

                                    I'll just steal Arthur's comments about Westwood and apply them here.

                                  2. I am all up for driving. I have a car already, I just would prefer to live somewhere that on weekends I can walk around. I've been thinking about Venice. What are the chowhounders thoughts?

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: butterqueen

                                      Great location with a "huge" upside. Cooler in the summer by a wide margin with much, much better air quality.

                                      1. re: butterqueen

                                        Venice is an excellent option for food and walking around - at least during business hours. Just be advised that, depending on your own standards, some find it to be "too gritty," as you put it at the top of the page. Venice is a wonderful neighborhood that also has an enormous homeless population, not to mention quite a bit of drug-dealing and gang activity.

                                        1. re: butterqueen

                                          Depends on where in Venice, honestly -- there are parts of Venice that I, a six-foot ex-rugger, would not want to be found alone in at night, but there are some really nice parts of it too. Santa Monica is right next to Venice and is a little, um, better in terms of the grit-factor. It's easy to bike from Santa Monica to Venice (and on up to Malibu, and on down to Redondo Beach), which will give you a chance to see why it is people pay a half million dollars for a tiny place, just like home in New York :)

                                          1. re: butterqueen

                                            Just made the same move myself and am happily ensconced in Chinatown/Elysian Park. For walking around and eating and general life without getting into a car I think you're friends suggestions on the east side (relatively speaking) were well-informed. As far as grocery shopping goes you've got the A-grocery on Sunset and Laveta which is far and away the best grocery store (on a price and meat/produce quality basis) in LA and you can still hit off the Mitsuwa downtown and the Trader Joe's on Hyperion. Fairway it ain't but you eats what's on your plate right?

                                            If those are too nitty gritty for you then I have to agree with the Fairfax area. Farmer's market is great and if you like to shop in places that vaguely remind you of Disneyland then the Grove proximity is a good thing.

                                            I used to live near LaBrea and Santa Monica in WeHo and found I could do a lot on a bike or on foot there. Good places to eat and bars all within spitting distance. But, practically speaking you're probably going to end up in a car for any trip more than two blocks in that neighborhood. If avoiding urban blight is high on your list then you could look into the West Side but if you're coming from NY then the West Side can quickly become an inescapable suburban labyrinth. Also besides Venice there are not a lot of places that have a worthwhile density of restaurants and bars for weekend walking.

                                            So... onto Venice. A great neighborhood but the thing is you're whole life will revolve around Venice as it is pretty dern far from everything else. It also ranks up there on the gritty scale with Silverlake/Echo Park. You might want to think about planning the place you live in accordance with where you work more than anything else. A miserable commute will have you dreaming of Russ and Daughter's faster then you can say sable.

                                            1. re: mrgreenbeenz

                                              I live near where you live. A-Grocery is my favorite grocery store, hands down. Also, you can walk to Park restaurant, Masa, El Compadre, and there is a much needed bookstore and coffeehouse opening up by The Echo.

                                          2. As an ex NYer myself, I strongly recommend the part of WLA near Sawtelle Blvd. Lots of food options, very walkable, and you still get the good weather from the ocean. BTW, don't listen to people who say you must embrace the car culture in LA. It is entirely possible to live life here with little car usage, particularly if you don't have to drive to work.

                                            1. Contrary to popular belief, there are a number of great neighborhoods in Los Angeles where you can take care of groceries, errands, shop and eat on foot or by bike without any problems. Many of them have already been mentioned in this thread, and it's a question of spending some times in each of them to determine where you're most comfortable.

                                              However, also as already noted New York is New York and LA is LA (believe me, I know... I grew up in LA and lived in Manhattan for 10 years). It's hard (not impossible, but hard) to enjoy a lot of what is unique and wonderful to LA without venturing out in the car. The great Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Ethiopian, etc. restaurants in LA are almost all in immigrant enclaves, and unless you live there, you will probably need a car to get there.

                                              Although I can and do do a lot of my shopping and errands on foot with no problem (I live in Hancock Park and love it), if I restricted myself to eating mostly in that area I would probably cry.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: sidwich

                                                Some of the best Japanese, Thai, and Ethiopian in LA is readily accessible by bus. For the most part, however, the best Mexican and Chinese does admittedly demand a car

                                                Good point re the groceries. I have an Albertson's, Ralph's, and Whole Foods all within a mile of where I live (i.e., along Wilshire on the border btw SM and WLA). There's an enormous Long's Drugs the size of several Duane Reade's right down the block. Nor do I think this is all that exceptional, depending on where you live.

                                                I'm telling you, butterqueen, check out the Sawtelle area -- great Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Mexican options all within about a mile radius. You're also just a short bike or bus ride away from Westwood, which someone also mentioned.

                                                1. re: a_and_w

                                                  I will concede that if you live in an area served by Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus, you have a leg up on other transit users -- it is easy, it is usable, it is relatively quick and it goes where you need it to as long as you're on the northern Westside. Culver Citybus is nearly as good.

                                                  Metro buses are just... ugh. I learned quickly, when commuting on the buses in LA proper, that "one bus every six minutes" usually meant "a pack of three buses every 18 minutes".

                                                  It is certainly possible to live near stuff, it's just not possible to live near ALL stuff.

                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                    DUG, I find the metro rapid buses run even more frequently than Big Blue Bus. It's very easy to get to Hollywood for Thai, Fairfax area for Ethiopian, or K-Town for Korean. But for short trips (e.g., lunch at Attari in Westwood) I agree that Big Blue Bus is great.

                                                  2. re: a_and_w

                                                    I was in Sewtelle last night! It was an incredible hub of food choices! I went to Hide for sushi. It was delicious, as well as my first sushi experience in LA. Any other suggestions on where I should eat in this hood?

                                                    1. re: butterqueen

                                                      Excellent! I love Orris for high-end Japanese fusion cuisine, Hurry Curry and Sawtelle Kitchen for Japanese curry, and Little Hong Kong for Chinese. Also, if you head west from the intersection of Sawtelle and SM Blvd, there are some tasty places along the latter, including decent Vietnamese at Le Saigon and excellent high-end bistro food at Nook. You'll also find there are two movie theaters and a couple of video rental places along SM Blvd.

                                                2. i moved from nyc to venice and am very happy. you can walk or better yet, bike to everything. good food and groceries abound and personally, i don't think it is too far from anything. two years and only been in traffic once! plus new restaurants are opening as well as wine/cheese shops. why move to la and not be near the beach??

                                                  6 Replies
                                                      1. re: NYCnowLA

                                                        "Why not live near the beach?" Says it all.

                                                        1. re: Akitist

                                                          Yeah, i think people forget about that little thing called the pacific ocean.

                                                    1. re: NYCnowLA

                                                      What restaurants should I try in Venice? Looking for a fun and delicious place to go Friday night.

                                                      1. re: butterqueen

                                                        Gjelina, Sit on the patio. Went last night it was very good.

                                                    2. The Culver City area should be a consideration, though there's not a great grocery store in the area, there is a pretty good Farmer's market every Tuesday and smaller grocery stores.

                                                      Just tons of walk-to dining options in downtown Culver City itself (M Cafe de Chaya, Tender Greens, Nove Cento, Rush Street, Bottle Rock, Fraiche, et al) plus numerous hole in the wall type places nearby on Venice Blvd like Bamboo (fancier than hole in the wall actually), Annapurna, Natalee Thai, Cafe Brasil, Gaby's Mediterranean, Giovanni's Trattoria, India Sweets and Spices.

                                                      1. Folks, we removed some discussion of the merits of public transportation in LA versus other cities. While we understand the desire to welcome and inform new neighbors with all sorts of tips for living in this city, we ask that everyone refocus the discussion on the food.

                                                        Tips on which neighborhoods are known for what food, specific choices of restaurants, grocers, etc are all on topic. Specific restaurant recommendations accesible via public transit is also helpful.

                                                        Here are a few such topics from the archives:

                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/515188

                                                        Gold and Red Line eating:
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/523605
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/524392

                                                        Eats off the Orange Line in the Valley:
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/535962

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                          Oh hey hey! I live in Echo Park, it's not boring here, AND I ride my bike AND if you ride the DASH bus, so much is waiting for you! Already on Echo Park alone we've got 3 coffee shops: FIX, Delilah's and Chango. You can walk all around Elysian Park, visit the Time Travel store, go to dinner at 15, Masa, Rodeo Grill, Brite Spot, TAIX, The Taco Zone (taco truck), and we have a farmer's market on Fridays from 3 to 7 on Logan Street!
                                                          As far as a "central hub" I've got news for you: we don't have one! LA is made of micro communities, little tiny towns all squooshed together. I've been here 18 years, and the thing I like to say is "You can't wait for the Los Angeles you need, you gotta build the Los Angeles you want." So poke around, find the section you like, and if you don't like it, try another section. No part is boring, none of it will be as you think it is, like the desert, it fools many people, but look closely, and discover an extraordinary city.

                                                          1. re: dithernot

                                                            well said dithernot, and this is what i love about LA: it's a city w/in cities. granted, many of them are chock full of strip malls and box stores, but many surprises abound to those willing to take the time, especially on the food tip! LA, and the west coast in general, has such a different feel, but i digress...i guess i just miss cali!

                                                          2. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                            The purpose of my removed post (which *was* relevant to the topic) was to show that it is very possible to enjoy the various neighborhoods and culinary offerings of the entire Los Angeles area without owning a car.

                                                          3. Neat thread. Reading through the replies found myself going back and forth between outrage and righteous agreement in the same posts. Totally agree w/ Dithernot - this is a highly-mobile city. Particularly if they don't have families, people test out different neighborhoods on a regular basis.

                                                            Here's a distillation of chowish hoods and their stand-out cuisines, which I've arranged by my totally-subjective and open-to-debate grit-o-meter (just based on living and/or working in many of these areas). Hey, and you might be the first person I've heard describe Echo Park as "boring" ; )

                                                            Not gritty:
                                                            "Sawtelle Corridor" (Sta. Monica to Olympic) - Japanese
                                                            Westwood (so. of Wilshire) - Persian
                                                            Culver City (downtown, e. of 405)
                                                            Santa Monica (Wilshire/teens)
                                                            Studio City/Sherman Oaks (Ventura Blvd.)

                                                            Sort of gritty:
                                                            West Hollywood
                                                            Fairfax/Park La Brea
                                                            Los Feliz (Vermont/Franklin) - Thai/Armenian nearby
                                                            Venice (Abbot-Kinney) -

                                                            Gritty:
                                                            Silverlake/Echo Park (Sunset Blvd.)
                                                            Koreatown
                                                            Downtown - Asian (Little Tokyo to south, Chinatown to north)

                                                            1. Brentwood - lots of condos and rentals between Wilshire and Sunset, and Bundy and Barrington. Markets are in walking distance (ralphs, vicente foods, whole foods). Lots of neighborhood restaurants to walk too as well.

                                                              1. This is a great website to discover things within walking distance where ever you choose to live.
                                                                http://www.walkscore.com/

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: xox

                                                                  That is an awesome website, I checked out my neighborhood and was excited to find some new places.

                                                                2. I concur that Santa Monica is your place. If you park yourself around, say, Lincoln and Santa Monica; you will have the Farmer's market to hit, you can walk to Whole Foods, and for fine dining you will have, within walking distance Melisse, Michael's, Annisette, Cezanne (at the Merigot hotel), Capo's, Cora's, Chinois, 1 Pico, Catch, La Botte, the place at the top of the Huntley and a dozen other lesser, but very decent restaurants. A short cab (or bus) ride takes you to Mori Sushi, Valentino, Piccolo, Josie's, Sam's, Giorgios, Delfini, Gjelina, 3 Square, Hal's, Axe, Joe's (I haven't been there in years, but people who should know better swear by it) and forgive me if I'm probably missing a few places.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                    Hey foodiemahoodie,

                                                                    What did you think of Gjelina? I missed your thoughts on this place. :)

                                                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                                                      I've only been once but I liked it a lot. Good, simple, seasonal food, done right. With a hopping bar scene. I like the energy. Thanks for asking!

                                                                      What'd you think?

                                                                  2. So...where did butterqueen end up?

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                                                      hi just looking at this thread. wow.
                                                                      frankly as a friend who used to commute to san francisco weekly for work - if you try to copy the life you had in your previous city once you move, you'll end up disappointed. ny'ers who do this end up bitching about pizza. ny isn't paris isn't chicago isn't istanbul isn't la. if you don't want to drive, consider menupages.com - the la version and have food delivered. let someone else drive.
                                                                      as well, if you're crazy about chinese food, move to alhambra. if you prefer not to drive realize that the food you'll get in your neighborhood will most likely cater to the ethnic and economic groups there, and that the food which ends up being "exotic" will be a sad shadow of what you could have had if you'd driven for twenty to thirty minutes (how long does it take to get from 116th and broadway to chinatown on the train? you'd be surprised how far you can go).

                                                                      I'm against a new arrival moving to venice. Unless the arriviste is in total love with Venice. Because once you're there, the hassle of leaving means you'll be enjoying your life west of sepulveda, definiltey west of lincoln. It's like someone moving to new york and first living in flatbush. which is quite nice.
                                                                      I agree that third and fairfax, robertson and beverly, sawtelle and olympic are all fine. Heck - live in studio city and you can walk to a huge number of places in 20 minutes you'll be the only person walking but a mile radius has a large number of choices. (why not the valley?). Honestly, economics will have a greater bearing on what is realisitc for your situation. And i"m with Das Ub'geek: figure out your relaxing radio station of choice, load up the car with suggestions from this board and a good thomas bros or aaa selection of maps, and use the impetus of amazing food to let you EXPLORE!!!! (continental restaurant in glendora for basque set-ups, anyone?).

                                                                      1. re: Jerome

                                                                        Jerome, I'm curious. How much did you actually try chowing LA by foot and bus before reaching these conclusions?

                                                                        1. re: a_and_w

                                                                          actually - within an area - you can do it. However, i would never go to the san gabriel valley from studio city, westwood, or hollywood (where i have lived except when not in LA , beginning as a baby many many years ago) on a lark or on a regular basis by public transportation, anymore than a new yorker living in manhattan or in brooklyn would get on the LIRR to go explore an area 20 miles away on a regular basis.
                                                                          When in New york, i have gone to queens for chinese food, but the people I knew in new york who explored the most had a garaged car and woudl go to jackson heights for colombian food (or wherever) and to the outer boroughs which aren't as easily servedby public transport.
                                                                          the red bus is fine and i use it on occasion as i use the red line to go downtown on occasion. in manhattan (where i lived VERY BRIEFLY) i would tend to note places when i was on an errand but i rarely just walked through say hell's kitchen or would rarely walk up say 1st avenue on the off chance of finding something. Here, i find that i'll notice something while driving and can quickly stop and check it out if it's really fascinating. I can't get the bus to stop as easily.

                                                                          Last - if your idea of chowing is to go to places recommended on thsi board or by jonathan gold, then yes, foot bus car zeppelin light rail rickshaw pedicab will all do. it's just a matter of time, patience and willingness to get there. If you want to explore and if you want to get to an area that is unfamlliar to you, the car provides a comfort and an ease which the other systems do not.

                                                                          (when i lived in westwood, i would find a few places by walking around. but since the design of the city is such that there are commericial and residential streets, and the retail and restaurant spaces are bigger with more frontage than in say New York, i would find more places when pico blvd is only 5-10 minutes away rather than 20-40 minutes away).

                                                                          I read your earlier statement. Yes you can live a lovely life in a neighborhood here without a car. I have friends who get around with bicycles, public transport and the ride from a friend with a car (i'd hope you aren't averse to those ;-) ) . A person can spend years in santa monica, or venice, or pasadena or eagle rock or north hollywood/studio city or hermosa/manhattan or long beach and see movies and go to plays and restaurants and the library and bookstores and live online as well with very little need to go elsewhere.

                                                                          I think that the diversity of the city is such that different kinds of food peak in different neighborhoods. If you live near a fantastic jewish deli, what are the chances that you live in walking distance to komatsu or otafuku? I prefer to be able to enjoy those as well and at night, public transportation doesn't come along quite as often - even in new york where i recall once waiting over 45 minutes at night for the 1 train.

                                                                          One of course can compromise and get a bike or a motorcycle. But why make it so difficult to gain access to those parts of the city and county where you can explore and experience all kinds of things at a high level? One could eat all one's meals in places run by French ex-pats when one goes out - Lilly's, French Market Cafe of Venice, is it marguerite or the terrace cafe in venice, cafe angelique downtown, pastis, etc. But then one could miss the variety and diversity that makes this place an interesting and exciting place in its own right, rather than just a disappointing second-rate new york, or london or hong kong or whatever it is the transplant misses.

                                                                          That's my experience, a_and_w. I'd love to read about yours.

                                                                    2. Don't knock Silverlake--it is a fabulous neighborhood--easy to get downtown and lots of walking to restaurants and coffeehouses, eclectic and diverse. Plus its got Malo, Tantra's lounge, Tacos Delta, Intelligentsia, good thai not far away, and lots of eye candy!