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Apr 4, 2009 03:04 PM

My "To Dine" List

I made a "to dine" list of all the places I would like to try in LA. I was wondering if anyone had any comments about the restaurants listed or if they would suggest something different for that type of cuisine? If you think its really worth trying out? its a long list and im trying to narrow it down!! Thanks!!

Mon land hot pot
Mei long village- shanghai style dumplings
Hawaiian: Bruddah’s
Japanese french: Maison Riz- couldnt find any reviews
Thai: Yai restaurant
Thai: jitalda
Singaporean: Savoy kitchen
Thai: Bahn Thung
Ronin izakaya
Go’s mart
The Open Door (SGV)
Filipino: Magic wok
Asian French: la vie
Indonesian: Ramayani
Northern thai: spicy bbq restaurant
Vietnamese: Banh mi my tho

Soul food- Chef Marilyn’s place
Soul food- Bertha’s soul food
Apple pan
American(new): Jar
Burgers: Lucky devils
Wine bar/bistro: Palate
Owen’s bistro

Latin American:
Mexican: Yuca’s ]
Yucatecan: Chichen Itza
Mexican/salvadorean: gloria's cafe
Oaxacan: Guelagetza
Cuban: El Cochinito

La Cachette
Café Beaujolais
Chez mimi

Middle Eastern/African:
Moroccan: Chameau
Middle eastern: al hamra halal cafe
Middle eastern: Hungry pocket
Lebanese: Marouch

Italian: La Botte Restaurant
Polish: Warszawa

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  1. Warszawa was meh when I went there, but have been meaning to give them a second try. I think they do things with apples well.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Cinnamon

      The duck there is really delicious.

      1. re: mollyomormon

        I think that's what I had, with apple. The duck I had was really dry, but it had the makings of good duck. I would go back, on a night I knew the main chefs were working!

        1. re: Cinnamon

          Ugh, that's too bad! Sounds like it didn't turn you off enough not to try it again, hopefully, because it can be really excellent. The hot borscht, which is only served during winter months, is also great. Not a huge fan of the cold borscht, though.

          to the OP: for Japanese French, consider adding Orris.

          Agree that you should try Bincho for izakaya.

          This isn't a bad place to start for a list of Chinese places/dishes to try:

    2. For burgers (instead of Lucky Devils - though admittedly I haven't been - or maybe in addition to), I'd do Umami and Father's Office. FO also has good beer.

      Also, I love tacos and LA has alot of great ones, so I'd do atleast one taco spot (El Chato, Chema's or Taco Zone).

      1 Reply
      1. re: mdpilam

        I have tried FO and agree.. yum! will have to put those other mentioned on the list, thanks for the input! oh, and I forgot to put kogi's korean taco truck on there as well...

      2. Add Mariscos Chente in Mar Vista for Mexican food (specifically Sinaloan seafood) and may I ask what your plan for getting into Totoraku is going to be?

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: Servorg

          No I dont know how I'm going to get into Totoraku... why, would you like to help? :)

        2. Go to Monte Alban rather than Guelaguetza.

          Skip Warszawa until you've got way down your list, honestly.

          Go to La Terza or Angelini Osteria instead of La Botte.

          Skip Marouch and go to Sunnin (if you want to stay in LA) or Skaf's, Carnival, or Alcazar if you're willing to go to the Valley.

          Make a special effort to get to Babita, La Huasteca and Mariscos Chente for Mexican.

          I haven't been, but I trust exilekiss and so would send you to Torihei or Bincho for izakaya rather than Ronin. I just went to Okidoki tonight and it was better than Ronin. West Hollywood is not where you go for izakaya.

          You need an invitation to go to Totoraku, you can't just waltz in and ask for a table, they won't open the door.

          Go to Jitlada; also go to Renu Nakorn or Thai Nakorn or Bangkok Taste. If you go to Bangkok Taste get the green mussel omelette, it is a must-order. Also, any of the places on Sherman Way between Woodman Avenue on the west and the 170 on the east will do you proud.

          You've skipped Peruvian. On the LA side of the hill is Mario's, but make a special effort to go slumming in Van Nuys and go to Puro Sabor and be blown away.

          While Banh Mi My Tho is very good it is hardly the pinnacle of Vietnamese food -- there are so many places in Little Saigon and the SGV I hardly know where to start, but try Xanh, try My Hanh, try Vien Dong, try Com Tam Tran Quy Cap, try Pho Thanh Lich or any of a number of great pho shops in the SGV, try clay pot fish at the unfortunately-named My Dung.

          You haven't got any Korean -- Korean is one of the things LA does better than any other city in this country, because our Koreatown is absolutely enormous. Go to Park's BBQ and have prime kalbi and Tokyo X pork; go to Ham Ji Park and have pork belly and the pork neck soup; go to Sokongdong or Beverly Tofu House and have spicy tofu stew; go to Corner Place and have noodles (but be aware they won't let you take them out). That's barely scratching the surface, too.

          I don't even know where to start you for Chinese. Dumplings of all shapes and sizes, Shanghainese food far beyond xiao long bao, Hunan food that will blast your head off, Sichuan food that will blast your head off and then leave it numb, hand-pulled noodles, dao xao mian (knife-cut noodles), Islamic Chinese lamb hot pot with sesame-scallion bread, outstanding dim sum, fresh seafood in simple sauces, steamed fish with ginger, Taiwanese pei gu fan or thick, murky beef noodle soup with preserved mustard greens, I mean, how do you even begin to start?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            wow, thanks Das Ubergeek! I will be making a lot of changes on my list! as far as izakaya, i wanted to find something closer to home even though I totally agree with you that west hollywood is quite "bleh" for any type of asian food. I also omitted the korean because I am korean and have tried pretty much everything that k-town has to offer. Thank you very much for your suggestions, much appreciated!

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              All respect to Ubergeek, but do not skip Marouch in favor of the others mentioned. Marouch is the best and most authentic Lebanese in the city. Large, varied menu and dishes are prepared with care. Go with a group and ask for the mezze spread and you'll see what I mean.

            2. Mei Long Village: Don't stop at xlb. In fact, I've been disappointed with the "torn skin" ratio of their xlb on our last two visits. Their menu is pretty broad, so give the other goods a try. Jade Shrimp is an easy transition to their soups, okra dishes, lion's head meatballs and pork pump. You can also try Dragon Mark and J&J in the same shopping plaza if you want to do a side-by-side on the xlb action.

              Singaporean: A lot of Singaporean cuisine entails Malaysian cuisine. Belacan Grill in Redondo Beach/Torrance is very good for Malaysian. Let me temper this though as we haven't been in about a year.

              Indonesian: We like Ramayani. It's family run and the dishes for the most part are very homey. Another rec that is in an adjacent part of town - Palms - is Simpang Asia. Definitely more cafe-like with an adjoining minimart.

              Yucatecan: La Flor de Yucatan Bakery is a lot more than a bakery when it comes to food. They're famous among regulars for Cochinita Pibil and other Yucatecan dishes. Dommy!, the food goddess of the Yucatan (and just about all other destinations) needs to kick in on this one for more info, but this should also be on your list as well.

              Belacan Grill
              2701 190th St Ste 100, Redondo Beach, CA 90278

              J & J Restaurant
              301 W Valley Blvd Ste 109, San Gabriel, CA 91776

              Simpang Asia
              10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

              Mei Long Village
              301 W Valley Blvd Ste 112, San Gabriel, CA 91776

              La Flor De Yucatan
              1800 S. Hoover Street, Los Angeles, CA 90006

              Dragon Mark (Yitiao Long)
              301 W Valley Blvd Ste 110, San Gabriel, CA 91776

              Ramayani Westwood
              1777 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

              2 Replies
              1. re: bulavinaka

                My favorite westside Chinese is at Hu's for the lunch combo, by far. But parking there is even worse now, since they had to lose two of their few spaces to a handicapped spot. So tell me, b, what dishes do you like at Simpang? Do they do any lunch specials? I like spicy, hate tofu and hardcooked egg.

                1. re: nosh

                  I haven't eaten at Hu's in over 20 years - it's time to revisit them. Our usual Westside Chinese are Hop Woo on Olympic and Lin's on Pico. Hop Woo has very good specials (usually written in Chinese on their board), very good renditions of the basics and bbq, and has a pretty regular Westside Chinese customer base. Lin's is more like NY-style Chinese (according to my NY friends). Light on the salt and oil, they also serve those crispy (Chung King-like) chow mein noodles with sweet&sour sauce, and they do lunch specials as well. We usually order some things on the menu, but also order off-menu - I encourage this off-menu ordering at Chinese restaurants as it's one of the few places that they're happy to accommodate you. I rarely see Chinese customers here - their brown sauce dishes probably scared them off years ago but my parents like this type of "Chinese" food. :)

                  Simpang Asia serves mostly basic dishes that one would expect to get at roadside stops or hawker stalls in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. So much of the food is deep-fried, stewed or steamed. These types of preparation are conducive to the climate there, and the results tend to keep well.

                  Protein is a precious commodity in Asia. Being that soy products and eggs are economical protein sources, it's so common to see these. Various forms of soy (tofu, tempeh, etc.) are hard to completely avoid as they show up in one form or another in so many dishes, either as the main component, or as one of many sides.

                  I'm with you on the hardcooked egg - I have a serious aversion to this (stemming from my childhood - therapist action needed). Here's an entry recounting my most torturous face-off with those feared orbs:


                  Being that hard-boiled eggs keep well even in warm humid climates, they tend to show up a fair amount as well. Often as an accompaniment to the basic nasi lemak (coconut rice), or more complex rices like nasi uduk (coconut lemongrass rice) or nasi kuning (yellow rice) these eggs will often appear along with tofu-like sides. So if tofu and hardcooked egg are culinary land mines, then this type of food can be a virtual mine field. At the same time, the tofu/soy components here are not the "naked" blocks of tofu with a slight shimmer of seasoning you might associate with much of Japanese or even some Chinese cuisines. They tend to be deep-fried and adorned with complex sauces - more toothsome than the basic tofu. Also, tempeh can be more nutty-like and has no resemblance to tofu.

                  Of the dishes that might accommodate your preferences, consider these:

                  Nasi Bungkus. Basically translates into "rice wrapped in banana leaf." This type of wrapped meal is very traditional and is also known as nasi lemak in Malaysia and Singapore. It transports well and will keep for at least half a day. The coconut rice is the main part of the meal, with small portions of various sides to add flavor and dimension. Simpang Asia's specific version of nasi bungkus has a good assortment of traditional sides and curries. In fact, they probably have at least six different versions of the classic nasi lemak/bungkus meal. The only differences for the most part are the type of sides that come with it. I would suggest looking over their menu and where you see a combo of your liking that includes tofu and/or hardcooked egg, ask for a substitution. They do scrambled/shredded eggs in some of the nasi lemak combos, and these go very well with sambal. Also, I'm not sure if you're aversion includes tempeh, but if not, the tempeh is good here. They usually prepare it with a sweet soy sauce (kecap) and the sambal goes well with this too.

                  Soups: Their oxtail soup is pretty good but it's a bit gamey. I think one either likes or dislikes oxtail.

                  I also like their laksa, but this always comes with a hard boiled egg. Again, I don't think they'd have an issue with omitting or replacing it.

                  Their soto bitawi is classic Indonesian soup but I have yet to try it. It has things like tripe and beef tendon in it - not for the "chicken breast and hamburger" crowd.

                  Kangkung: Also called, water spinach, it's a common dish that's done in a wok with garlic and belacan (femented shrimp paste).

                  Beef rendang. Beef simmered in a "dry" curry (as opposed to wet soupy curry sauce). Very complex flavors, usually with strong notes of coconut milk, galangal, chile, lemongrass, and even kaffir lime leaves. A little goes a long way, and often found in the nasi lemak-type meals. This is probably my overall favorite dish. To me, beefy + complex = nirvana.

                  Ayam goreng kuning. Pieces of fried chicken where the batter is infused with turmeric. This is another common dish and is also commonly eaten with nasi lemak.

                  When the weather warms up, you might try their cendol and campur. These drinks straddle dessert - they're more like shaved ice concoctions that one could really appreciate on a hot hot summer day. They also have an avocado drink - I don't remember the name, but it has some complexity as well with coconut and other fruits mixed in, and is very good.

                  Their hot drinks are traditional - ginger tea is a very common hot beverage in this part of SE Asia. Ginger tea is tea that has a strong dose of ginger and is mixed with condensed milk. Sweet and pungent - you have to like ginger. Kopi tubruk is a very basic form of coffee beverage - hot water poured in a cup of ground coffee and sugar. If you're a coffee snob, this won't work. If you like deep rough primal coffee flavors, then this might be for you.