West Los Angeles
My wife and I just moved from the South Bay to West Los Angeles. While we already have some longtime favorites in the area (Tacomiendo, Tacos Por Favor, Gilbert's, the numerous Japanese options on Sawtelle), I am sure that there are numerous destinations in the area worth checking out. What other good, ethnic options are in the area? We are both pretty adventurous eaters and enjoy all cuisines. Chinese (not a huge fan of Hop Li), Thai, Vietnamese and Middle-Eastern suggestions would be especially appreciated. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
Funny, my husband and I moved from the south bay to west l.a. some years ago, but have since moved further east!
I'm big into Japanese food (Mori, En, Sasaya, Kiriko), but also enjoy Middle-eastern--I'm sure you've already tried Dahab on Sawtelle as well as Javan off Santa Monica near Sawtelle? I also enjoyed eating at Gaby's Med. down towards Palms--I think it was off of Washington...can't remember, but on the same street as Versailles (Cuban food). Not a big fan of Zankou, especially after reading the article on the family in the L.A. magazine.
There's an amazing Thai place that was walking distance for us on Colby Ave & Santa Monica, across from the Kosher market. It was a little building (on Colby Ave.) I frequented there almost every week--they also had some Chinese food there. We only went to a few Chinese places--V.I.P. Harbor for dim sum (not sure if its still there)--I think it was on Wilshire...
I love Metro Cafe on Washington as well as Rutt's Inn (Hawaiian)--west on Washington--you might miss it if you blink.
For Mexican we went to La Seranada, El Cholo (valet parking), Lares (valet or street parking) Kay N' Daves (parking for both locations can also be a problem, but can park on the street)--two locations--Brentwood/Santa Monica and west L.A. on pico blvd.: http://www.kayndaves.com/--for a healthier option.
Hope this helps.
There is a Robata place on the north side of Wishire, just East of Bundy (next to Fish Grill and Rubio's tacos) that is really good, but I cannot remember the name. It is NOT Zu.
La Playita on for mariscos.
La Isla Bonita truck on Rose for mariscos.
Good Japanese abounds in this area.
I'm Vietnamese, and I like Le Saigon. It's really alright, especially since my kitchen isn't equipped for Vietnamese cooking. Also, there is Noodle Planet in Westwood, which isn't too bad either.
For Indian, Jaipur on Pico is my go-to standard.
Places I don't like are Thai Boom, Emporium Thai, or Monte Alban.
First of all, if you haven't seen this recent post then you are going to be missing a serious new player on the west side for regional Mexican food: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585334 from Sinaloa. While we haven't been yet we plan on a pilgrimage in the near future.
For Middle Eastern food we also like Sham in Santa Monica. If you are over in the Culver City area we like Brunello for Italian and Metro Cafe for Sebian/Continental food.
More Oaxacan close to Monte Alban can be found at Juquila at 11619 Santa Monica Blvd. (across the street from the car wash) just a bit east.
11188 Washington Pl, Culver City, CA 90232
716 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
6001 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
The best Chinese in W.L.A. is at Hu's Szechwan, in Palms, on National where it takes a 90-degree turn east of Overland and north of Palms. Really good kung pao, good twice-cooked pork, and sauteed eggplant or green beans. The only dim sum is at VIP Seafood, on the second floor of the minimall on the N/W corner of Wilshire at Barrington.
For Thai, my favorite on the westside is Thai Boom, on the north side of Venice Blvd. at Midvale, midway between Overland and Sepulveda. They will make the curry spicy hot if you request, their special shrimp in a dry red curry butter is a winner, and all of their food is nicely presented and a very good value. Stick with the chicken, shrimp and eggplant, avoid the beef. For inexpensive delivery Siam Chan does a nice job, on Santa Monica Blvd. at Colby. Get the mee krob, aoid the pad thai and bbq chicken. The best inexpensive option (other than In-and-Out Burger) in Westwood Village is Thai House, on Gayley across from the Whole Foods. Carpeted, real dishes and glassware, table service, good food at reasonable prices -- much nicer than the herd 'em in places and chains and a third the price of the biggies in Westwood Village.
For Middle Eastern, I like Shamshiri Grill on the east side of Westwood Blvd. a bit north of Santa Monica Blvd. Huge portions, tasty food -- the chicken shawarma is moister than the beef, the beef koobideh is excellent, and their shirazi salad very refreshing. I'm a big fan of Zankou Chicken on Sepulveda just south of Santa Monica Blvd. -- get the half chicken or tarna, shmear some of their wonderful garlic paste on a pita, and enjoy. You need that mix of dark and white meat -- the latter alone is too dry. I've had pretty good luck at Sunnin, when I can luck into some parking, but others have complained that they nuke their falafel wraps. Some people like Sheherzad, Flame, Javan, or Canary.
Philly West is a divy sports bar on the east side of Westwood a block south of Santa Monica Blvd. It has very good Philly cheesesteaks and even better halfpound, flame-grilled burgers, either around $6. Another burger option that has received very good feedback on this board recently is Hole-in-the-Wall Burgers, around the corner from the Winchell's in that stripmall on the S/E corner of Santa Monica Blvd. at Sepulveda. Big juicy burgers cooked to order, with a Counter-style choice of buns, cheeses, condiments, and add-ons -- big burgers starting about $9.95.
I'll throw in one more: Amandine Bakery, on the north side of Wilshire a block and a half west of Bundy. Best croissant in SoCal for $1.50, and a nice selection of quiches, soups, and sandwiches
the Sinai Kosher meat market/butcher on Pico just east of Robertson (near the Elat Market insanity) has decent kebabs. the one stew i had there was not my cup of tea, but the kebabs, rice, bread and roasted tomatoes are all decent and pretty cheap.
i also like Brooklyn Pizza and Pasta on Pico, closer to Beverly. they have good pizza and their sandwiches are made on freshly made bread. freshly-made as in they bake the bread when you order the sandwich.
Monte Alban is a board favorite for oaxacan mexican food. i personally thought their mole negro was a little bland the first time i went there, but i'm sure it's worth trying again.
you should also find the thread for Mariscos Chente near Centinela and Washington i believe. i haven't been yet, but lots of chatter on the board makes it seem like a winner.
you should also definitely try the Cemitas Poblanas truck (i believe the owner/truck is named Angelina) that parks in front of the Smart and Final on Venice near overland.
there seems to be a lot of Thai restaurants in the Pico Robertson / Palms area, but i haven't found any of them to be particularly good.
i don't know where exactly you live, but keep in mind that koreatown is a short trip from most of the westside after the evening rush hour is over.
welcome to the westside!!!
11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Sinai Kosher Market
8680 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Brooklyn Pizza & Pasta
9228 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035
Unfortunately Chinese (good Chinese) is a little sparse, Vietnamese even more so. There's Le Saigon on Santa Monica Blvd. near Federal and there is often a Viet place of varying quality in the plaza on Wilshire and Barrington.
Middle Eastern is easy -- it ain't called Terhangeles for no reason! Javan is excellent, as is Shamshiri Grill. I like Sunnin for Lebanese every now and then.
I'll leave Thai to someone who's lived there more recently, but you should make a point to drive east to Jitlada at some point.
re: Das Ubergeek
Regrettably, I must concur with your assessment of local Chinese food. Also, I seem to recall trying Le Saigon many years back when I worked in Century City. I dont believe that it left much of an impression. As for Thai, when we are looking for authentic we always head east (Jitlada) but was hoping there was an attractive option nearby. Thanks for the suggestions.