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Mar 12, 2009 07:43 AM

Help Out a Chicago Hound Visiting Santa Monica

OK west siders--wife son and I are coming out and will be staying by Wilshire and Ocean but will have car and are willing to go all around westside to find great, reasonably priced (read non-chi-chi/fine dining, but willing to pay for really good quality) food: Here are some of the food goals for the trip:

1. great and preferably fun sushi/japanese place to belatedly celebrate wife's bday;
2. Great Dolsot Bibimbop's for lunch
3. fantastic mexican
4. good salad place/deli to pick up tasty items for hotel fridge
5. Best straighforward breakfast place;
6. one great thai and one great indian place
6. Anyplace else we just can't miss

I know a lot of requests so thanks in advance for your help! Also, does anyone know if my favorite hangout place when I use to live there about 20 yrs ago--The Terried sake House on santa monica blvd. is still around/decent?

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  1. As to 3: Monte Alban, on Santa Monica Blvd. between Barrington and Bundy in west LA, not far over the dividing line between Santa Monica and WLA. Terrific Oaxacan food, quite inexpensive. Completely fills the bill for "fantastic Mexican."

    As to 4: Bay Cities Deli, on Lincoln between Colorado and Santa Monica Blvd. -- pretty much walking distance from your hotel. Not for salads, but "tasty items for hotel fridge?" -- you betcha.

    Enjoy your stay!!

    1. Down on Lincoln for Mexican seafood is La Playita, it is a stand but good. Many on the board have been talking about Mariscos Chente, supposedly excellent Mariscos and Ceviche. Bay Cities has a great sandwich in the God Mother, I hear the veggie Po 'Boy is also a treat. 26 Beach down in Venice does Awesome Burgers, the best in LA, amazing entree salads, they will not fit in your hotel fridge unless it is big, they also do an amazing breakfast/brunch of outrageous french toasts, . There is an Indian place across from 26 Beach, westsidegal help me here. I would go to Chez Jays in Santa Monica for a classic old school LA experience. There is a cute little place for Paninis and salads in Santa Monica called Amelia's, on Main. You should go under the Santa Monica Pier for a Hot Dog on a Stick and a Lemonade, original location. If you decide to travel a bit east, 20 miles, there are some amazing chinese, vietnamese and mexican. Let us know and we can reccomend.

      Chez Jay
      1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      26 Beach
      3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

      Amelia's Espresso & Panini
      2645 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

      La Playita
      3306 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

      Hot Dog on a Stick
      1633 Ocean Front, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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

      Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
      1517 Lincoln Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

      1. I would try Akbar on Santa Monica for Indian food - was written up in Gourmet when it opened in Pasadena a few years back. The lamb vindaloo & frankie's are delicious!
        We have lots of great sushi places - Katsuya in Brentwood is quite a scene, tho maybe not the best sushi place, but great for people-watching. Or you can try the robata grill on wilshire (i think!).
        The best Thai IMHO is Jitlada, but that's in Hollywood, not the westside. But do look them up if you're sight-seeing in the area.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Phurstluv

          I have to strongly disagree with the Akbar rec for Indian. I live walking distance from the SM Blvd location but always order from Nawab or (if I'm in the mood solely for chicken tikka masala) All India Cafe. One place I'm still curious to try is Gates of India.

          1. re: a_and_w

            You're right - I meant All India Cafe, not Akbar! Thanks for the correction!

            1. re: Phurstluv

              I would skip both the above and go to Chandni myself, on 19th and Wilshire in Santa Monica.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Phurstluv, now the frankie reference makes sense!

                DUG, Chandni is the vegetarian place, right? I keep meaning to try but haven't. How is the saag/palak paneer? How processed are the greens? Do they fry their cheese?

                1. re: a_and_w

                  I don't think they fry their cheese, and I'm a sucker for palak paneer -- they had really excellent chana masala last time I went.

                  Yes, they're vegetarian.

          2. re: Phurstluv

            Is "...the robata grill on wilshire..." the place next to Amandine? If so it is permantly closed.

            1. re: sel

              Thank goodness. One very regrettable, forgettable dinner at that place (Z Robata?). Now that space seems to have a curse on it. That really bad, supposedly "gourmet Mexican" place came and went in a heartbeat and now the Z nodded off.

              1. re: Servorg

                Yes, that's the one. Never went, but yes that space seems to be cursed!

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  Although it was the "Bicycle Shop Cafe" or some such name for quite a while (they had the really pretty Koi pond in the back of the restaurant).

          3. Hi pouletbuffet,

            1. "great and preferably fun sushi/japanese place"
            * Musha (Non-Sushi) - is a great and rowdy/fun Japanese Izakaya (Japanese-style Pub) that has a good selection of Small Plates and good Beer / Sake. :)

            * Mori Sushi - Do a search on this board and you'll find lots of reports on the quality of Mori.

            * Sushi Zo - Another very good quality place in So Cal for Sushi.

            3. Mexican cuisine: I second ozhead's rec for Monte Alban, and Burger Boy's rec for Mariscos Chente. A great Sinaloan Mexican Seafood restaurant (down-to-earth, great food). :)

            Sushi Zo
            9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

            Monte Alban
            11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

            Mori Sushi
            11500 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

            1 Reply
            1. re: exilekiss

              my comments on exilekiss's suggestions:

              1) sushi zo is one of my favorite restaurants in the entire country. that said, they are geared to omakase as opposed to ordering piece by piece. absolutely get a reservation before going. this is not going to be a cheap restaurant--it takes me about $70-$100/pp before tip to get out of there and i never order expensive sake. still, i ADORE this place. the name of the game here is the taste of the fish--it is not a place for wild and crazy flavor combinations that mask the flavor of the fish. my new york friends agree with me about the TASTE OF THE FISH at sushi zo--they usually try to make a bee line from the airport to zo whenever they come into town.

              2) mori sushi is excellent and it's also more expensive than sushi zo. with mori, also absolutely get a reservation before going.

              you can't go wrong with either of these places.

            2. 1. musha is fun

              3. juquila is fantastic oxacan also la playita on lincoln

              4. bay cities or santa monica sefood

              5. jinky's or blue plate on montana