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Jan 21, 2009 06:54 PM

Low-Key and Tasty in West LA.

Hey all,

This post is inspired by the fact that on Fridays after a long week at work, my husband and I often feel like going out to eat, but sometimes get lazy. We usually don't have a reservation or don't know where to go, and definitely don't feel like changing out of jeans, so we end up limiting our options or not going out. .
We like Tlapazola because it is walking distance for us, they have good specials, and great house margaritas.
We have tried Nook a couple of times, but have received things overcooked each time and are not dying to go back.
We got both these suggestions off Chowhound and are looking for any more that you may have!
-Must be casual or have take-out.
-Any cuisine is okay
-We live in West LA near the intersection of the 10 and the 405


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  1. That's the same routine that my wife and I have on Fridays most of the time. Casual and catch up to each other after a long week.. We lived on Sawtelle near you for a while and I still work in that area. With your criteria, there's a bunch of places. Most of these have been mentioned before so I won't go into super detail.

    On the Sawtelle little Osaka stretch are several options with takeout. The two curry places, both have their supporters, go to both and see which you prefer. Sawtelle Kitchen we liked to pop in for even just a quick dessert.. Blue Marlin I've done lunch take out so dinner should be no problem. There's also a decent conveyor belt sushi place inside the Olympic Collection.

    Depending on how early you get going, you won't have to wait too long to grab a table at Furaibo. That's a great place to relax and start the weekend. Get a pitcher of beer, start sampling all the different small plates.

    In the general direction of Nook, there's Monte Alban if you like moles. Definitely better than Tlapaloza. It's a longer walk but I think it's worth it and you work off the meal.

    Have you tried the happy hour at Il Moro? I've been in there with jeans but a button down shirt and I fit in. Live music on Fridays and they have some better than average finger foods all for the price of one drink. Good beer selections too. Cool place to start the evening before walking to some place on Sawtelle.

    That's what I can think off the top of my head with your casual or take out criteria in mind.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jase

      update on monte alban.
      because of a fire they are closed.
      maybe someone else on the board knows when they are due to reopen.

    2. I'm sorry to hear you've had bad experiences at Nook, as I like it very much. I do have to report that I sent a friend there for dinner tonight and he just told me they took the shrimp and grits off the menu, which is one of my favorite dishes in the city. Heartbreaking. Second all of Jase's suggestions and would add Don Antonio's and Gilbert's not too far down the street.

      5 Replies
      1. re: mollyomormon

        No more Nook shrimp grits? Boo-urns! Orris might be worth a try...

        1. re: a_and_w

          wow, nook had shrimp and grits, the low country favorite? how come no one told me about it??? darnit.

          1. re: kevin

            Not only did they have shrimp grits, it was arguably the best thing on the menu. I think Nook has a southern influence -- see, e.g., the boiled peanuts.

            1. re: a_and_w

              anything else good on the menu, besides the burger and steaks.

              i haven't been in at least three to four yeras or so.

              1. re: kevin

                I've liked just about everything I've tried at Nook, but some of their menu decisions are disappointing. I loved their shortribs, which they changed a year or so ago to a potroast. Now that I understand, but they also altered the comforting rich wine-gravy by adding a frou-frou horseradish gremolita. Their panko-topped mac'n'cheese is excellent, a great dish to share as a starter. I'm not a mussels lover, but those who are have said Nook's version is one of the best. I've enjoyed their chicken paillard, though I thought the mustard in the sauce was strong and would have preferred more lemon. Good soups and salads, and I love their fried onion strings. Don't understand them taking the shrimp and grits off the menu at all -- it was a distinctive and tasty alternative.

      2. I really enjoy Yabu on Pico just west of Barrington on the south side of the street.....almost walking distance. They have a limited sushi menu but I really enjoy their soups (with house made soba), beef tataki, asparagus, miso cod & many other menu items. I usually call for a reservation even if it's just a short time before dining (30 minutes) as they are small & often busy.

        1. Ultra-casual, almost a dive -- Philly West on the east side of Westwood Blvd. just south of Santa Monica Blvd., free shared parking in the back. The Philly cheesesteak is good, the half-pound flame-grilled burger even better, either about $6.

          Hu's Szechwan, National where it makes a 90-degree turn in Palms, east of Overland and just north of Palms. Get the spicy dumplings to start, the kung pao shrimp or chicken and the eggplant or stringbeans in garlic sauce, or the twice-cooked pork. Great lunch combos.

          Thai Boom -- north side of Venice at Midvale. Get the yellow chicken curry spicy, or the special shrimp in dry red curry butter, or the pad se eu. Get the eggplant, chicken or shrimp dishes, avoid the beef -- tends to be dry.

          3 Replies
          1. re: nosh

            if you end up at thai boom, i would recommend their salads as well as their prik pao.

            1. re: nosh

              is hu's szechwan a stone's throw form the indonesian cafe?

            2. I echo Monte Alban

              Fritto Misto for low key Italian in SaMo

              Gaby's Mediterranean

              Cafe Dana on Montana

              Shamshiri in westwood

              Sunnin Lebanese Cafe



              Baby Blue BBQ

              Jack Spratt's Grille on Pico

              Babalu on Montana (though sometimes a wait)

              Enzo and Angela at Wilshire/Barrington

              Mao's Kitchen in Venice