The Eateries of Old LA
I was born in LA but moved away about 13 years ago - so I'm completely out of the loop as to what still exists and what has been bulldozed to make way for strip malls.
This Christmas I'll be visiting LA and I've set myself a mission: TO DISCOVER OLD LOS ANGELES
This would include dining in some of the old classics. I remember as a little girl being taken to the Tic Tock by my grandmother and her mah jong playing friends. I also remember being taken for a special meal at Chason's. I hear that they are both gone now - sadly. I understand that Musso and Frank's is still there, as is the Formosa (though I hear that the Formosa is not a place to go to eat). Does anyone else know what is in existance? I'm not expecting culinary genius, just comfort food.
And on that note, does anyone know if there's anything worthwhile happening in LA over new years eve? Or is asking that a complete joke in itself? Any suggestions for unique or even good experiences for that night?
Many people here denigrate Zagat ratings, but it is indisputably a handy resource for basic information. I haven't seen the 2004 edition yet, but in the past it has always had an "historic places" index, although the online edition's definition of historic appears to be pretty vague...Benihana?!?!
In addition to places mentioned in the posts below, add Restaurant Taix (on Sunset), Lawry's & Tam O'Shanter.
I don't know what neighborhood you were from, but a few places I enjoyed in childhood that still exist are: Dan Tana's, the Polo Lounge, Nate 'n Als, Callahan's coffee shop in Santa Monica, Snug Harbor in Santa Monica, Tommy's burgers (oh, I know, heartburn, whatever), Philippe's, DiVita's Pizza in West L.A., DuPar's, Farmer's Market in general, Lucy's El Adobe on Melrose. They're not all historic but anything that sticks around more than 25 years in this town must be there for some reason...
Add to that list, Trader Vic's for polynesian food and scorpion bowls (at the Beverly Hilton Hotel); the Polo Lounge for drinks in your own booth, with a phone (at the Beverly Hills Hotel); the Apple Pan for burgers and pie (Pico/Glendon); The Galley for martinis and steaks (Main St. in Santa Monica); Olvera Street (downtown), Casa Escobar (Santa Monica), Tia Juana (Olympic/Bundy), El Cholo (Western) and the Talpa (Pico in West LA) for 'mexican' the way we ate it as kids; and Dal Rae, for steaks and martinis (in Pico Rivera).
Gone are: the Nickodel (although you probably didn't go there as a kid, as it was a bar), the Swiss Cafe, the Brown Derby, La Scala, La Famiglia, and the Stew Kettle, to name a few. I've linked an extensive thread from last year containing many reminiscences of these and other lost Los Angeles favorites.
Nickodell was a bar???? Whaddya mean? I used to have dinner there all the time--good food at great prices. The food was not that different from Musso & F.'s today (okay, a cut below). Shrimp cocktails, chicken a la King, roast beef. Terrific place. It was never empty. Why do these things close??
Chili John's in Burbank. Cole's PE Buffet on 6th (or is it 5th) cassell's burgers, the hms bounty on wilshire, Philippe's on Alameda, (someone already said Musso's I"m sure), the Odyssey in the Valley, Langer's for pastrami, El Cholo and El Chavo for Cal-mex, the juice bar if it's still there in the Grand Central Market, Andre's Italian Cafeteria in the Town and Country Mall on 3rd across from the Farmers Market, Pink's and tail of the pup, is Irv's Burgers still on Santa Monica? DuPar's on Ventura and at the Farmers market, etc.