Foodie parents visiting town. Recs near WLA please
I am new to LA, and my parents will be visiting town in early January. I was hoping you folks could recommend places serving great food in or near (read: up to a 25 min drive from Westwood) West LA.
Places I've been to LA and might take my parents to: Angelini Osteria (made a reservation), Jar, Josie, Cut.
Any other recs? Thoughts on Lucques and AOC.
Also, any thoughts on best Chinese food in West LA? Might be a good idea to do Chinese one night.
Hole in the wall places also greatly appreciated.
Lucques is excellent. So is AOC but most of the dishes are small plates and it's more informal than Lucques. Angelini is hit or miss and it can be so loud there on weekend nights that it's difficult to have a conversation. I'd heartily recommend considering The Foundry on Melrose and Hatfield's.
My favorite continues to be Campanille on La brea. Mark Peel continues to outdo the original Cal folks such as Wolfgang and Joe. He is deeply involved ijn every dish and drink. Been eating there continuely for almost 20 years and it is truly great. Solid reasonable winelist in a wonderful space (the first Chaplin studio....Have a ball!!!!
D Hound -- Several details will help us help you. Where are you and your parents from? Are they more comfortable in a certain high level of service and ambiance or would they enjoy and appreciate more informal places? Any food or dietary preferences or aversions? Where will they be staying (if a hotel) and for how long?
Since you have almost two months until their visit, that gives you almost a month to read through this board and perhaps survey some of the local blogs from some of our regular contributors and reviewers. (Most restaurants only accept reservations a month in advance.) You can also read the reviews in the Wednesday L.A. Times and determine how much you agree with S. I. Virbila, and check out the L.A. Weekly for J. Gold's recs. Wouldn't be a bad idea to buy the most recent Zagat as well -- their numerical ratings are pretty useless, but it is a good guide for basic info and fits in the glove box in the car.
In answer to your specific question, the best Chinese food in W.L.A. is at Hu's, in the Palms/Rancho Park neighborhood on National where it makes a 90-degree turn S/E of Overland and N/W of Motor and Palms. Get the dumplings, the kung pao shrimp or chicken, the twice-cooked pork, and the eggplant or green beans in garlic sauce. The only dim sum on the westside is at VIP Seafood, on the second story of the minimall on the N/W corner of Wilshire at Barrington. The best Chinese food in the L.A. area is out in the San Gabriel Valley, which is about a half-hour drive east on the 10 to where it turns into the 60, and then north in Monterey Park, Alhambra, or Rosemead.
For casual, Monte Alban is excellent Oaxacan Mexican regional, with several moles, located in the minimall on the N/E corner of Santa Monica Blvd. at Brockton. Shamshiri is tasty, very generous servings of Persian fare, with good kebobs, shawarma (chicken better than beef), stews, and homemade flatbreads. On the east side of Westwood Blvd., just north of Santa Monica Blvd. For wonderful croissant, quiche, soups, and other bakery items, by far the best is Amandine, on the north side of Wilshire a block and a half west of Bundy. There is all sorts of Japanese -- sushi, ramen, izakaya, curry, etc. -- on Sawtelle between Olympic and Santa Monica Blvd. -- my favorite is the small-plate fusion restaurant Orris. For excellent Cal-comfort cuisine with good service and a nice vibe but amazingly reasonable prices, my favorite is Nook Bistro, hidden in the back corner of the minimall on the S/E corner of Santa Monica Blvd. at Barry.
You don't say where your parents are from, but if they live in a pretty big US city and they are "foodies," the odds are that they already know restaurants similar to the ones you mention.
My guess, however, is that they have not had much (if any) experience with regional Mexican food -- something with which Los Angeles is abundantly blessed and most other US cities are not. I suggest taking them to Monte Alban (Sta. Monica Blvd. between Bundy and Barrington) for some Oaxacan food. It is neither fancy nor a hole in the wall; just an excellent, inexpensive restaurant with wonderful food and good service.
As to "best Chinese food in West LA": good luck. But if it's not rush hour, you can get from Westwood over to Monterey Park in 25 minutes, and find Chinese food of all sorts that will rival -- well, ALMOST rival -- Hong Kong or Shanghai. Same deal: all US cities have Chinese restaurants; only Los Angeles is the Queen City of Asia.
Any type of food is fine (the one exception is Mexican food, if only because they live in Mexico and eat top notch Mexican food regularly, esp. Oaxacan). We're all very adventurous eaters (offal is fine etc). A mix of high end, neighborhood places, and maybe one or two hole in the wall places, would be perfect.
Staying in Westwood. We can drive around, but probably not more than 25 minutes.
The recs provided here are all extremely useful. I'll definitely include Lucques in the list. And at least one place in Sawtelle. Also great - the Chinese recs in WLA (just because I'm not sure we'll end up driving all the way to Monterey Park... now, if we were to indeed go all the way to Monterey Park, where should we go to?) And from looking at Nook's website, I'm pretty sure I'd love that place.
We'll report on our chowing tour in January. As of now, I think we'll pick two from Lucques, Angelini, and Jar; one of the Chinese places you are recommending; and Nook.
Incidentally, any places in Westwood that are particularly good for breakfast?
re: D Hound
I would go to Lucques over JAR any day - though I like JAR, Lucques is a unique and special place - do yourself a favor and check it out.
I would recommend going to Amandine on Wilshire for breakfast - it's not exactly Westwood - but it is hard to beat for croissants and other bakery goodies.