Chowhound Lost in West Los Angeles
I am a Philadelphia Chowhound who will be visiting the West Los Angeles Area (near UCLA) for the first time while on a business trip. I like all types of food and especially enjoy local cuisine. I will have access to a car. Can fellow Chowhounds suggest any places worthy of a Chowhound visit in the West Los Angeles/UCLA area? Thanks in advance.
Hi Richard, welcome to Los Angeles. For what it's worth, though West Los Angeles is indeed nearby to UCLA, the community and neighborhood usually associated with UCLA is called Westwood. Also extremely nearby to UCLA is the tonier area known as Brentwood. And Santa Monica, the nearby beach community is a mere 10 minutes away. As you see, the UCLA/Westwood area is within ten minutes of many enclaves under the umbrella of the 'westside', and this includes Westwood, West L.A., Brentwood, and Santa Monica/Venice. Within these interweaving borders, there are dozens upon dozens of great casual and haute dining experiences. Los Angeles county may be vast, but the area you mention is very accessible and doesn't require time loss on the jammed freeways. And with a car, the UCLA area is less than 15 minutes from the ocean. Others here can offer great suggestions, but i wanted you to know that the geography is in your favor, as regards westside options...
In the UCLA area, Persian food is the best thing going. The best I have found are Sherahazade (sp?) for food, and Shamshiri Grill for atmosphere (and great food).
Persian food is really tasty, if you're not familar with it, it kind of stradles the line between Middle Eastern Med food and heartier Afghan/Pakistani/Indian food. Lots of rice dishes and grilled meats. YUM.
And you can't ask for anything more 'local'! LA has the best Persian restaraunts in the States.
re: Ted S.
for great, cheap Persian in Westwood, don't miss Attari Sandwich Shop. It's just east of Westwood on Wilkins, which is the street SOUTH of Borders, you enter through a little courtyard on the north side of the street. they have wonderful Persian sandwiches on baquettes - think of banh mi and you'll get the idea. I like something called kuku which is kind of like a fritatta very intensely herb-y and spinach-y, also the chicken sandwich is good. They have several other items which I'm dying to try. Their soup, or Ash, is a thick moosh of lentils beans, greens, spices, with crispy onions and a dollop of sour cream on top - one bowl is a whole meal for a small person! If you search this board you'll find some more reviews. It's a little-known jewel.
In West LA, there's also the Sawtelle strip (a smaller version of Little Tokyo), which is just a few blocks west of the 405, on Sawtelle between Santa Monica and Olympic. Lots of great choices of sushi, noodles, fusion, curry, even yakitori and shabu-shabu. I recommend 2117 for fusion, and Sawtelle Kitchen for homey Japanese cooking. Do a search on Chowhound for "Sawtelle" and you'll find plenty of recs.
When I'm in Westwood, I also like to hit Ambhala Dhaba for Indian, and Diddy Reese for their $1 ice cream + cookie sandwich. Can't beat that deal.
Having spent my grad school years in Philly (a great eating town, in many respects better than here), I'd say that what we have that you don't is great Japanese food, and great Mexican food. You've already been steered toward Sawtelle; Hump at the Santa Monica airport is also good for sushi and a fun atmosphere; Echigo and Sasabune are also talked about a lot on this board. I like Kiriko on Sawtelle. Mexican recs are plentiful on this board, I like Lares on Pico and 30th in Santa Monica for good food and live music (usually classical guitar) on weekends; Tlapazola Grill on Gateway has more upscale (and delicious) dishes, but in a casual atmosphere; and people on this board also seem to like Juquila on Santa Monica Bl, which is more of a hole in the wall. Border Grill in Santa Monica is popular for "Cali-Mex." I wouldn't bother with Italian in LA - you have much, much better in Philly.