Favorite spots off the 405? (West LA --> Long Beach)
I commute from West LA to Long Beach a few times a week and often times, I try to time it around lunch so I can stop somewhere along the way. The problem is that I'm starting to exhaust my "usual suspects" list of places to eat and would gladly welcome other suggestions.
Right now, I tend to hit up either:
Jasmine Market (Culver City, Washington/Culver exit)
(Tito's is right there too)
Santouka (Mar Vista, Venice exit)
In the past, I've also done:
Al Watan (Hawthorne, Rosecrans exit)
Gardena Ramen + Shinsengumi Hakata Ramen (Western exit)
The main criteria is that the food be 1) relatively fast, 2) moderately priced (or cheap!) and 3) within 5 minutes of a 405 exit. A superior taqueria is most welcome, as is any Asian ethnic places.
For Cuban, Havana Maria is very good for lunch and dinner. You can get coffee and a quick snack of empanadas or Cuban sandwiches at the Varadero Cafe (closes late afternoon).
Varadero Cuban Cafe and Bakery
14201 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250
3615 Inglewood Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90278
I'll agree with DriveFan on Havana Mania. Solid Cuban grub.
El Gaucho Meat Market in the same plaza as Havana Mania serves up pretty good steak sandwiches ("Lomo" on the menu) and empenadas. You can also find 2 liter of Inca Cola and the regular bottles of Cola Champana. Head to the back counter to place your sandwich and empenada order. Don't forget to add chimichuri sauce, on the counter, to your sandwich. Not sure if they have small containers to go for sauce.
Saigon Dish at Hawthorne and Manhattan Beach Blvd for Pho. maybe the best pho in the South Bay. N on Hawthorne, just a few blocks.
Bruddah's at Gardena Blvd and Vermont. N on Vermont, left at Gardena. Maybe the best plate lunch in LA. Maybe a bit out of range.
Kanpachi has an adventurous omakase lunch special for $35. Pricey, but in case you ever wanted to splurge.
Flossie's for fried chicken on Redondo Beach Blvd near El Camino college
Shin Sen Gumi Yakitoriya just N on Western.
Some people like Five Guys Burger at the Carson South Bay Mall near the Target Store. It's not my favorite, but worth a try. The fries are good, but the bun on the burger turns to mush.
Family Fish Market, take-out only N on Avalon. Good fresh fish fried Louisiana style.
Back Home Lahaina and Rosarios. BHL has decent plate lunch. I like the Hawaiian fried chicken and fried rice. Rosario's has good down home red sauce Italian pasta and pizza. Both on Carson Blvd. near the exit.
I second Jongwaard's for diner food: The burger and pie special is tops.
Really good list, Flossie's is a must. It is beginning to look like living near a 405 on-ramp would be a Chowhound dream come true. Also, El Segundo has some good sandwich shops for Subs and Cheese Steaks. Culver City has Rutt's for some good island style plate lunches.
Original Rinaldi's (Boars Head Meats, Italian combo , Meat Ball sandwich, Hot Chicken sandwich, Turkey w/ liverwurst)
323 Main St.
El Segundo, CA 90245
From N. Sepulveda Blvd go West on E. Grand to Main St.
From W. Imperial Ave. Go South on Main
Right across from the Fire Department
Big Mike's Philly Steaks and Subs,
507 Main St.
El Segundo, CA 90245
Some good food has been listed so far. Also consider Bake & Broil. Good food including pies and cake by the slice or whole. IMO, the burger special which includes a soft drink and slice of pie for about $8.50 is the best food deal in LA. Check out the board for other daily specials.
Jongewaard's Bake & Broil -- try the burgers, chicken fried steak, banana cream pie, lemon lust pie, chocolate cake and red velvet cake
3697 Atlantic Ave. (just a few blocks from the 405)
Al Noor is right off of the Inglewood Ave exit in Hawthorne. Tikka Massala and palak panner are, imo, the standout dishes. Only grip is that sometimes the restaurant is inconsistent in its food, but overall, this place is in my top 3 in LA (like it better than Al Watan).
Also, El Pollo Inka is close enough off the freeway on Hawthorne blvd (Much better than the other locations). I stick to the saltados. The pumpkin donuts though are also quite tasty.
Oh, and just remembered Zankou on sepulveda and santa monica blvd.
1) I don't usually go that far north (since my commute starts at Overland and then rolls south but more importantly 2) I've exhausted all the Sawtelle options. Not that they're bad, mind you, I just want something new.
Thanks for all these suggestions, I shall put them to work in short order!
Oh, I've been lightly obsessed with Lousiana Best Seafood lately. It's off of Atlantic Ave, easily a 5 minute drive south of the 405.
Expertly fried, southern style (cornmeal dredged) seafood. Basic but brilliant. Food is slow because of the care they put into the frying. Expect 15 minutes from the time you order under ideal conditions. More if you hit them while they're busy. Call in your order ahead of time, you'll thank me later.
Louisiana Best Seafood
2400 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA
I haven't timed the drive from I 405 but El Taco Loco #3 is just west of Long Beach Bl at Anaheim. It has a great selection of tacos at $1.50 I believe, maybe less (the usual suspects plus things like tongue, brain). Tortillas are hand made. Tortas are great. Combo plates run from simple to fairly elaborate. The salsa varies from visit to visit but is always great. The best hole-in-the-wall Mexican food in Long Beach
El Taco Loco #3
1465 Magnolia Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813