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Feb 17, 2009 12:22 PM

Westside Challenge

I have a friend in town, working on a Bravo TV food show (a food producer - I mention this so you know what I am up against).

We're going to have dinner on the west side (Santa Monica, Venice...maybe even Culver City if it's right) this week.

The caveat - we're both on a budget. If we were on my side of town we'd go to My Taco or The York...

Anything but Chinese will do (Sushi's out because of the budget - $20 per person)

It's been forever since I was on that side of town and all I can think of is Lares. I know there is better/more out there (don't get me wrong - I do love their potato tacos...)


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  1. Go to Cha Cha Chicken - the food and the atmosphere are so unique and it's such a cute little place it's impossible to hate on even if you're a food snob, not to mention it's tasty and cheap (and BYOB!)

    1. Taco Miendo excellent food , best chile verde I've had anyhere . The pork is very tender the sauce has complex flavors and they add nopales which give it an added zing , hand made tortillas, prices are good , no atmosphere. They have two locations on the west side.

      1. you can also check out monte alban and/or tacos por favor.

        if you want quick izakaya, check out terried sake house.

        5 Replies
        1. re: wilafur

          I'd take him to Father's Office.

          1. re: Wolfgang

            Tough to get out of FO for under $20pp, especially when the famous FO burger is involved.

            1. re: J.L.

              i don't think so at all and did it just the other night. you could easily each get a burger and split an order of sweet potato fries and still come out under budget (we split a burger, an order of fries and one of their fantastic warm mushroom salads and came out under $40). tougher if you want beer, though...

              1. re: mollyomormon

                Sorry I forgot to add that I assume the original poster would want to wash his burger down with some suds.

          2. re: wilafur

            Ditto on Monte Alban for good Oaxacan Mexican food.

          3. if he is open to sinaloan seafood, there could only be one answer: mariscos chente.
            $20 would get each of you an entree, tortillas (you need to ask), and a beer . $20 would include tip and tax.

            imho, i would try to time the dinner so that it is not tonight, tuesday. any other day is good.
            also, if the restaurant is quiet, they sometimes close early, so if you're looking for a
            late dinner, this probably won't work.


            dishes i've tried and loved there:

            shrimp cocktail
            shrimp and octopus coctail
            shrimp a la diabla (spicy cooked dish
            )shirmp checo (garlicy/tart cooked dish)
            mojarra frita (deep fried whole tilapia done perfectly slightly more fish than a normal person would eat at one sitting, but i've been known to polish one off by myself)

            1. if you are open to vegetarian indian food in a place that serves on paper plates, head to SAMOSA HOUSE on washington near berryman. (west of the 405).

              they sell a 'combination plate' for about $8. for each plate you get to choose 3 entree dishes; each plate comes with rice, raita, and roti.
              take my advice and order 3 such combination plates to split between the two of you so that you can taste more items .

              also ask if they have any of their terrific banana/mango/pistachio soup behind the counter. for reasons i'll never understand, they don't necessarily post a sign when it's available.