1 night in W. Hollywood ~ 1 Night in Santa Monica/Venice
My best bud and I will be in L.A for 2 days only and were wondering what your best recommends.
I eat just about everything but by nature not a heavy meat eater; my bud eats only fish and/or vegetables. Serving some organic and local would be a bonus but not necessary. In Toronto, we're used to a good variety of restaurants but when we eat out it's usually north american or mediterranean / italian for great fresh fish (He's Indian and I'm Chinese-Korean so we do much of that already at home).
Our budget is moderate I guess, looking at a dinner entree for around the 20$ mark.
So specific questions I guess would be:
1) Great breakfast/brunch - he's big into pancakes/waffles; me eggs. No diner styles please.
2) Great dinner place for an awesome fish dish
3) Funky but casual bar
4) Best ice cream/gelato
5) Any caribbean and/or jamaican places in weHo or Santa monica/venice?
5) Not related, but throwing it out there - any good places for reggae in these areas?
2nd the rec for cha cha cha, also gjelina in venice is excellent but i don't recall there being fish on the menu - they definitely had squid & other seafood but the menu changes daily. for fish i'd go to hungry cat in hollywood - not weho but only ten minutes east - then if you don't mind heading another few minutes out of the way you can hit up scoops or pazzo gelato. doesn't the golden state have scoops?
Gjelina's whole grilled Branzino is - by leaps and bounds - the best version of that often-served-more-often-frozen-and/or-ruined dish that I've had on the shores of the Pacific; one might need to be on the shores of the Med to get better, IMHO. Of the school of fish I have tried thus far in '09, only the PZ at Maricos Chente haunts me to the same degree. Gjelina started as a people-watching, architecturally interesting above average place in a neighborhood that cried out for above average. But it has morphed, I really think, over the last few months, into one of our finest restaurants.
It has continued to focus and inprove, astounding me.
Kassava, which I just heard about from Obessed, indeed looks promising. Prior to that I would have said Port Royal Cafe in Santa Monica was the best choice for Caribbean. Heard good things about Derrick's too, but haven't been.
Agree with the Griddle for breakfast brunch. Research a little before you go, find out the best time to get there as the waits can be a a major deterrent.
Funky, casual bar - hmmm, not something WeHo is known for but I guess Barney's Beanery is that (and more -- way more). A great sight of SoCal, IMHO, is The Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset. It is funky and casual, a rock and roll icon. If what you mean by casual is you don't have to wear anything special both of these work; if what you mean is quiet, forget them. The new Mexico Restaurante y Barra is funky, quiter than the other two and, perhaps, better for conversation.
Hungry Cat is a really good suggestion for fish. If you want a great bargain the Yellowtail Collar at Yabu on La CIenega is the best fish deal I know of in West Hollywood. Most of the sushi is expensive as hell there but the cooked dishes and that collar, as well as fabulous soba make it a very cool, affordable meal in a great setting.
1) West Hollywood brunch: The Griddle for the best pancakes or Hugo's for organic ingredients
2) West Hollywood fish dinner: This may be a tad above your budget for entrees, but it is definitely worth checking out: Hungry Cat (in Hollywood, but close to WeHo)
3) West Hollywood bar: I kinda like Sunset Trocadero Lounge; they have a great happy hour (all drinks 1/2 price)
4) A new Caribbean place opened recently in W. Hollywood, but I have not been yet so can't offer my opinion. It's called Kassava
1) it really depends on the atmosphere you're looking for (and whether you might be willing to "splurge" on this one), but my first thoughts are Joe's or 26 Beach (both in Venice), Anisette in SM, or Cafe del Rey in Marina del Rey.
4) you won't find it in that area - though the debate about who has the "best" ice cream or gelato is endless, all the contenders are well inland/East of the beach.
5) Cha Cha Chicken: http://chachachicken.com/
ETA; ok, so i'm an idiot - i just noticed the "West Hollywood" part of your post!
Obsessed beat me to the punch with the brunch recs. Hugo's is my favorite. i didn't love" the Griddle when i was there, but it's a very popular spot. other WeHo options: Basix, Eat Well (though Eat Well may be too diner-ish for you) or, if you want good coffee, Kings Road Cafe.