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Good food options tonight in *eastern* Manhattan Beach or Lawndale?

c
Cinnamon Jun 30, 2009 06:30 PM

Will be in the area, anything tasty to recommend? (Don't want western Manhattan Beach tonight.)

Can be American, Thai, Mexican, whatever, someplace decent to sit down at for a casual meal. Hole in the walls are fine but no *true* dives please. (I'm fine with them for exceptionally great food. My dining companion probably would want to scrub.)

  1. Foodandwine Jul 3, 2009 07:19 PM

    I actually like Al watan over Al Noor any day of the week. Food has much more flavor to me and the setting is nicer as well.

    1. wienermobile Jul 1, 2009 09:23 AM

      I really like El Pollo Inka and Saigon Dish both on Hawthorne Blvd in Lawndale.

      9 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile
        c
        Clinton Jul 1, 2009 12:40 PM

        I like the Lomo Saltado better at this El Pollo Inka rather than the one in Gardena. The food and atmosphere seems to be a lot better too.

        1. re: wienermobile
          b
          bulavinaka Jul 1, 2009 07:26 PM

          I don't know if this is still the case, but one heads-up for this location. Although I give this location credit for roasting the chickens with wood, the ahi is super heavy on iceberg lettuce - IMHO, it borders on inedible. Since many who love Peruvian consider the ahi to be an essential component to their meal, please consider this.

          1. re: bulavinaka
            c
            Clinton Jul 1, 2009 09:27 PM

            Not being too familiar with Peruvian cuisine in general, the first time I've ever tasted the green ahi was quite a surprise. I tried to compare this to guacamole which is Mexican and was sort of turned off by the strange taste. I could not figure what that "main ingredient" was until someone told me that it was lettuce and not green peppers. After a while it really starts to grow on you. We'd kill the whole plastic bottle on the table by the time we're finished with the meal. I guess to each his own if you like it or not?

            1. re: Clinton
              b
              bulavinaka Jul 1, 2009 09:39 PM

              Just my opinion, but it's the most lettuce-y ahi I've ever tried. I think you're in the South Bay - you might try Kotosh in Lomita, or El Rocoto in Gardena - their versions of ahi are more to my liking - a more balanced approached to the various ingredients. Also, El Rocoto has a red salsa, which is the namesake of the restaurant. I just ate at Puro Sabor in Van Nuys two weekends ago, and theirs is at the other end of the spectrum. Very chile-intensive and picante. Goes well with the food but it should be used more judiciously. I'm guessing ahi recipes are probably like sambal recipes in Malaysia, poki recipes in Hawaii, okonomiyaki recipes in Japan, and mole recipes in Oaxaca. Every family has their way of making it - each swears by theirs - to each his or her own. :)

              1. re: bulavinaka
                c
                Clinton Jul 2, 2009 08:47 AM

                Very true of what you're saying. Tried El Rocoto once a long time ago when they first opened and thought that El Pollo Inka had better Saltado. Maybe because I wasn't too familiar with Peruvian cuisine at the time, I couldn't distinguish what was good and what was bad? Goes true with Cuban food also. Tried to compare their roast pulled pork with Hawaiian style kalua which was not even close.

              2. re: Clinton
                m
                mlgb Jul 2, 2009 09:41 AM

                A lot of the green aji sauces have cilantro in them, could be that was what you didn't care for?

                1. re: mlgb
                  c
                  Clinton Jul 2, 2009 10:07 AM

                  No, I love cilantro and know the taste. It was more of a "greenish" woodsy aftertaste which was peculiar. Kind of like puree'd fern shoots? Never occurred to me that it was iceberg lettuce.

                  1. re: Clinton
                    m
                    mlgb Jul 2, 2009 01:54 PM

                    There is another green herb called "huacatay" and although they call it Peruvian black mint I didn't really think it had a minty taste. Very different than anything I could think of. I can't imagine iceberg lettuce adding anything more than color. Does iceberg even have a flavor?

                    1. re: mlgb
                      b
                      bulavinaka Jul 2, 2009 07:18 PM

                      I'm positive it's lettuce in the Lawndale EPI's ahi. If it ain't iceberg, then it's romaine, but whichever it is, it's way overboard.

          2. o
            Ogawak Jul 1, 2009 08:56 AM

            For your future trips I might recommend Saigon Dish, good Vietnamese for if you cannot make it to the OC or SGV. I'm a vermicelli person, but people like the pho.

            15725 Hawthorne Blvd at Manhattan Beach Blvd in a strip mall.

            Never been, but others like Havana Mania
            3615 Inglewood Blvd at Manhattan Beach Blvd.

            1. b
              bulavinaka Jun 30, 2009 07:01 PM

              Al Watan is in the same general area as well. I think you couldn't go wrong with either.

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              Al Watan
              13619 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250

              2 Replies
              1. re: bulavinaka
                Servorg Jun 30, 2009 07:02 PM

                I thought about Al Watan too, but it is much more of a dive than Al-Noor IMO. Which isn't a bad thing normally but Cinnamon wanted to avoid the outright dive type of place tonight.

                1. re: Servorg
                  c
                  Cinnamon Jun 30, 2009 09:59 PM

                  So much for plans, lol. We ended up at Tomboy's for chili dogs - sort of clean-divey fast food - good dogs! The chairs were folded up against the tables for near-closing outside, and I think there was a mop pail with mop stuck in it somewhere in the middle of the indoor dining section and everything.

                  Dining companion was hungry enough to go with it, plus it's a "hot dog joint" so hey.

                  I will need to be back in the area in a few days and am sending both of those restaurants' names and locations to my phone!!! Thank you both. The menu at Al Noor looks terrific. Never been to either, will make it a point to go to both. Not the same night.

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                  Tomboy's
                  5111 Marine Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260

              2. Servorg Jun 30, 2009 06:51 PM

                If you haven't been it's probably a good opportunity to give Al-Noor a try.

                http://www.alnoor-restaurant.net/

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                Al Noor
                15112 Inglewood Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260

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