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Visiting LA...where are my must-eats?

  • m

Hey LA

I'll be in town for 5 days next week and want to know where people's best eats are. I'm more interested in mid-range to cheap than fancy. I eat anything/everything, especially Mexican. I'll be staying in Los Feliz and would love to hear about local spots around there. I'm also definitely going to the farmers market in Santa Monica...any tips about that place?

I already know about Yuca's!

Love from Brooklyn,

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  1. "I eat anything/everything, especially Mexican."

    If you don't have access to much Oaxacan food in Brooklyn, let me suggest Monte Alban, on Santa Monica Blvd. between Barrington and Bundy, in West LA -- close to the Santa Monica/West LA line. Not terribly close to where you will be staying, but perhaps a good stop for lunch after the SM farmers' market, or for dinner if you spend the rest of that day on the west side. It is not fancy, but far from a dive, and the food is terrific; great moles, wonderful chicken soup, and (my favorite) the barbacoa de chiva -- a braised hunk of tender, sweet goat meat in a dense, red, spicy-but-not-hot broth, served with a plate of chopped onions and herbs to stir in. Everything I've tried there has been good, and the prices are more than reasonable, especially for lunch (lunch specials are, I think, $7, and include pretty much everything on the menu). If "Mexican," to you, denotes tacos / burritos / enchiladas / combo plates with beans and rice, Oaxacan food will be a revelation.

    1. A little light reading for those visitors looking for excellence in Mexican food in LA:


      Finally - there is a new Sinaloan seafood place in Mar Vista called Mariscos Chente that is brilliant. If you'll click on the place link below and then scroll down past the basic info you will see the threads that have been written about by various hounds on their visits here and what they ate.

      Mariscos Chente
      4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

      1 Reply
      1. re: Servorg

        Near by in Los Feliz is "Mariela's Taco's" Good Mexican food at a reasonable price.

        They are located at Sunset and Coronado in a mini mall. Good carne asada!!

        You may also want to try any taco trucks that are parked on the side of the road. They can be surprisingly good.

      2. I'll stick with Mexican recs since you keyed on that. I hope you don't mind travelling since that's just what we do here.

        1. Moles La Tia -- this place has a lot of recent buzz for good reason. If you are looking to try a variety of authentic mole then this is your stop.

        2. Chichen Itza -- Yucatecan food of a very high quality. Cochinita Pibil is maravillosa.

        3. Monte Alban -- Second Ozhead's review. My favorite dish is the estofado, but the mole negro and chivo are awesome, too.

        4. Mariscos Chente -- Servorg's rec is a good one. To my mind, what makes the place special is the shrimp that the chef uses. They are cooked with the head on and they are really high quality. That infuses the sauce with a natural shellfish stock so the flavors are just wonderful.

        5. TACO CRAWL! There are some awesome taco trucks and tables all over the eastside of Los Angeles. Plan a tour of several of them and have a taco at each. End the evening at a bar and you've got a first class LA night. Except for the driver, I guess. If that seems like fun then let us know. There are tons of people on the board that have their favorite stops.

        1. Here's an anything/everything (but not Mexican) option for you....In-N-Out...you guys don't have that in NY. Love the burgers...love the shakes! It's a chain, so there's bound to be one near you.

          1. Two of my favorite restaurants in Los Feliz are Palermo's (Italian) and Electric Lotus (Indian). I'm sure if you search around here a bit using Los Feliz you'll find tons of other recommendations.

            1. Do a search for Bandini's "The Great Taco Hunt" on blogspot -- it is a wonderful review of many of the best taquerias, shacks, and trucks in the L.A. area, divided into geographic areas. Note that Bandini stopped posting over a year ago (he is missed) so some of the info and ratings may be a touch out of date. My favorite place is his last winner for 2007 -- Carnitas Michaocan, the branch above Chinatown and below Lincoln Heights on North Broadway on the N/W corner of 19th, open 24/7 (though keep your eyes open really late at night). Great carne asada, even better al pastor sliced from a rotisserie spit. But the highlight there is their hot sauce, their salsa roja -- brickred, thin, spicy, hot, complex, smoky -- fantastic, the absolute best in town. Tacos are small there, I get the burritos (without beans, extra hot sauce), and they also do some great special nachos with meats and guac on top along with the cheese and salsa. Fantastic place, not too far from Los Feliz, don't miss it, and report back.

              1. just read jonthan gold's 99 essential LA. http://www.laweekly.com/2008-11-13/ea...
                There are plenty of cheap to moderate eats

                1. Mario's Peruvian

                  in and around los feliz
                  Cobras y Matadors - tapas
                  zankou chicken - armenia roasted chicken and killer garlic sauce
                  bambou house - good hole in the wall thai restaurant

                  1. When at the Farmer's Market in SM, go to Anisette (before or after, lunch or breakfast) on Santa Monica near 3rd.

                    1. Thanks everyone! I'm more than familiar with In N Out. I plan on stopping at one on the way to Los Feliz from the airport! I'll take all your suggestions under advisement...I've spent lots of time in Mexico (mostly in Oaxaca actually), and can't wait for the quality Mexican food thats available in LA!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mersy

                        "I'm more than familiar with In N Out. I plan on stopping at one on the way to Los Feliz from the airport! " Prepare to be underwhelmed... (Good fries though).

                        Since it's in proximity to Los Feliz, you should also check out some of the restaurants in Thai Town - especially if Thai Elvis is still doing his thing. As for Mexican, you'll be about 10 minutes or so from Highland Park, home of some of L.A.'s best Mexican food - notably My Tacos (barbecoa) & Huaraches Azteca.

                        1. re: Briggs

                          Don't forget about El Arco Iris on York or La Estrella tacos on Fig.

                      2. at the farmers market do you mean the one in LA off 3rd & fairfax or the actual farmers market? If the one off 3rd & fairfax many greats there, the Gumbo Pot is typically a fave, lots of places to try! And you should make your way a bit west to Carney's on Sunset, their hot dogs are fantastic, might give the NYones a run for their money :) Happy eating...