visiting from nyc. staying at hyatt century plaza.. recs??
I will be staying at the Hyatt Century Plaza on a business trip from June 22-26. My food budget is about $50-60/day but I can certainly pay more out of pocket if necessary.. though I'd like to keep it reasonable. Can anyone recommend some nearby restaurants? I have a rental car but have heard nightmarish things about LA traffic so I'd like to avoid it if possible.
I love Mexican, American and Italian.. not a huge fan of Asian (Thai, Japanese, Chinese, etc) or Seafood.
LA traffic is not as bad as you might have heard, especially at non-rush times. Indeed, my experience is that driving in LA is, by and large, easier than in midtown Manhattan -- though that isn't saying much, is it?
That being said: Get in the rental car, zip over to Santa Monica Blvd., turn left (west) and head to Monte Alban. It's on Santa Monica Blvd. in west LA, between Barrington and Bundy, on the north side of the street -- that is, on your right as you are heading toward the ocean. Probably a 15-minute drive from the Century City area if it's not rush hour. Excellent Oaxacan food. My fave is the barbacoa de chiva (a nice hunk of tender braised goat, sweet and not in the least gamy, in a dense red broth), but all of their moles are also excellent. Everything I've ever had there is excellent, and the prices are well within your budget. Not a fancy place, but by no means a dive. If you have never had Oaxacan food, you are a in for a treat.
I worked for a time directly across the street from the Century Plaza.
On the upper side of things there's Clementine, across Santa Monica Blvd. from the Century City Mall, and Breadbar actually in the mall, and Craft on Ave of the Stars and Constellation behind the CAA building. Houstons steakhouse is in the mall as well and is pretty good. Honestly though on $50 a day these places can be difficult. (You're in a pretty high-rent district.)
Agree on the Monte Alban recommendation -- it's only 10-15 minutes by car unless you are truly unfortunate with the traffic, and it will fit your budget just fine.
On Venice Blvd., just down Motor Ave., is Cafe Brasil which has tasty Brazilian food in a sort of shack-like atmosphere. I'm not the world's biggest fan of Versailles Cuban on Venice but I know a lot of people really like it.
You could get easily into Beverly Hills and try Enoteca Drago for Italian...
For pure fun you could have the classic McCarthy Salad at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel.
In nearby Westwood is the Nook Bistro
Tom Colicchio's restaurant Craft is in Century City. While that is probably out of your allotted daily price point, he has turned part of the restaurant into a tapas sort of place, Craftbar, so you could have some small plates and a drink and still pick up some of the Craft experience.
I know you have one in NYC, but go across the street to Craft.
Monte Alban, for sure.
Driving isn't a hassle at all on surface streets, head to Mozza, eat at the bar.
10100 Constellation Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067
6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA