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Jan 11, 2009 07:38 PM

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.

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  1. 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.

    2 Replies
    1. 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.

      1. re: anothernotch

        Le Saigon does very tasty bun -- definitely worth a try. I love the Persian food in West LA, but would personally go someplace arabian like Sham or Sunnin for falafel, shawarma, and the like.

    2. 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!!!

      Monte Alban
      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

      1. 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

        1 Reply
        1. re: nosh

          if you go to shamshiri grill, i recommend that you also try their adas polo made with brown rice and their hummus.

        2. 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: 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.

          Metro Cafe
          11188 Washington Pl, Culver City, CA 90232

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

          Brunello Trattoria
          6001 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

          1. 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.

            5 Replies
            1. re: jaykayen

              does le saigon serve Cafe Sua Da (sweetened iced vietmanese coffee). thanks.

              1. re: kevin

                Sorry, I always go for dinner, so Cafe Sua Da is not really on my mind.

                I'm pretty sure Noodle Planet in Westwood would, though. They have boba and other things, too.

                At home, you'd just do coffee, add sweetened condensed milk to taste, and add ice.

              2. re: jaykayen

                What items do you particularly enjoy at Le Saigon? I'm willing to give it another try. Thanks.

                  1. re: anothernotch

                    My BF likes nem nuong. It's not Brodard, but it's fine.