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Dec 26, 2008 02:09 PM

visiting Santa Monica - need recs for persian greek and great food

we're staying in Santa Monica starting Sun (visiting from Ssan Francisco area so have experience of good food :). I'd love to get some recommendations for great ethnic - greek, persian, indian - not mexican or asian - apart from japanese - lots of that in SF
also interested in good CA or Cal Asian dining. We're reserved for Hatfields and I've been to Lucques and Jirafe before
We're fine with driving 15 20 mins but not an hour

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  1. The closest Persian would be Javan on Olympic near Westwood (in West LA). Nothing in SM for Persian nor Greek, sorry. We wish!

    For Indian, the best would be (to me) Pradeep on Montana Avenue or Daba on Main Street.

    Be sure to visit Anisette for great French Brasserie (any meal - bfast, lunch, dinner).

    Sort of the definitive restaurant list:

    1. Sham for Arabic / Lebanese food.

      For California cuisine give Josie a try. 2424 Pico Blvd. on the eastern edge of Santa Monica. Short ribs, Camp Fire Trout, Venison are all great and if you like chocolate desserts then get the chocolate bread pudding.

      Sham Restaurant
      716 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      1. There's a place in Westwood that does a fabulous roasted cornish hen. It's Canary at 1942 Westwood Boulevard. Our pulitzer prize winning food writer from LA Weekly wrote a review that raved about their dishes and said they were one of the best Persian's in LA. I agree! They roast the hens and serve them over rice with roasted tomato and a squeeze of lime. Soooooooo good! Have a great trip.

        1. I tend to lump Santa Monica and West LA together so . . .

          Greek does not exist in this dojo. And by that I mean all of Los Angeles COUNTY. You may find a few restaurants here and there but you don't want to pay the opportunity cost to eat there.

          Persian abounds and is excellent in this area. You have Javan (on Santa Monica Blvd.) which is wonderful. especially for stews and rice. If you're looking for extensive vegetarian options then I'd recommend Shamshiri Grill on Westwood Blvd. Lastly, if kabobs are you're interest then I'd say try Flame, also on Westwood Blvd. If you're looking for lunch, then try Attari sandwich shop, again on Westwood Blvd.

          Indian is supposedly much better in the Bay Area than anywhere in Southern California. However, I can list my favorite places in the area you specified. I'll second the rec for Pradeep's with a major caveat: this is not traditional Indian food. It's a light, healthy take on traditional Indian dishes. You probably won't find a new dish here but they do the classics well considering they are trying to lighten things up. The drop in flavor is undeniable, though. I like Ambala Dhaba on Westwood Blvd. (Alright, no more places on Westwood). They offer a variety of goat dishes, which is not all that common in these parts. Annapurna's has my vote for top Indian place on the Westside but we are getting a ways away from your home base (30 min). It's a vegetarian place and they seem to specialize in dhosas.

          Japanese is pretty decent on the Westside. Mitsuwa market on Centinella just north of Venice houses a Santouka. I can't tell you how delicious the shio ramen broth is. Very rich. Get the small bowl for a snack or the large for a meal. Orris is the ultimate locals Japanese small plate bistro. Which means that we love the place but we also have ordered the misses and know to avoid them. It's not izakaya but rather it bends very heavily towards the chef's European influences. For Izakaya, I'd try Musha near the Promenade on Wilshire. The staff is incredibly friendly and the food is adventuresome (not in an Andrew Zimmern sort of way). I'd rate them highly. There is aslo Torofuku on Pico. They indulge a very serious rice fetish so be sure to focus on those dishes. Sushi is so so there.

          Lastly, head in to Culver City to Fraiche if you're looking for something from the western tradition.

          Really though, you need to get in the car and drive and open up your criteria to enjoy LA. Mexican food in LA is totally different and worthy of consideration. And once you get out to San Gabriel Valley, San Francisco just can't keep up with the Chinese food out there. It's that good.

          Let us know if your criteria narrow and we can fine tune the advice a little.

          Enjoy LA.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Frommtron

            just to make a tiny correction to frommtron's post:
            attari sandwich shop, although their address is on westwood blvd, i believe the entrance to the shop is around the corner from westwood blvd on wilkins.

            fwiw, to me, the shirazi salad served at attari is superior to the one served at shamshiri.

          2. for cal-asian, i'd go to Chinois on main.
            order the deep-fried catfish entree and the mushroom side dish.