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Unusual Eating Experiences in the Los Angeles Area?

I am thinking about trying interesting food places in the Los Angeles Area: one place a week (mostly on weekends) with up to 30-40 dollars per person for the food. I am not looking for the absolute best food but for a variety of really interesting and unusual eating experiences. By interesting I mean anything that is different from being served food on plates. E.g. I consider a Sunday brunch buffet, cheese fondue, Japanese BBQ (where one grills one's own food at the table), and so on, to be interesting and unusual. I am also interested in unusual food. I am looking for suggestions where to go in the next couple of weeks. Please help!


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  1. Not Japanese BBQ, but Moodaepo all you can eat Korean BBQ for $16.99/person add seafood and it's $19.99/person, cook your own. I've been to the #2 location the newer one several times.


    1. Bazaar at the SLS Hotel. Unusual, to say the least....

      1. Truck food. Street food. Unusual is where you find it. Chicken feet at Chinese restaurants.

        1. Feng Mao Mutton Kabab

          Feng Mao Mutton Kebab
          3901 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

          1. Try sannakji (live octopus) at Masan.

            2851 West Olympic Blvd.
            (213) 388-3314

            Masan Restaurant
            2851 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

            4 Replies
              1. re: epop

                I think I like the sea squirts at Ondal 2 better.

                Ondal 2
                4566 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

                  1. re: mlgb

                    I'm not a big fan of sea squirts either, but they definitely qualify as unusual. If you find offal to be unusual, Bistro LQ has a wide range on the menu.

                    Bistro LQ
                    8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            1. Every Thursday night Papa Cristos does a "Big Fat Greek Dinner", it's like being a guest at a greek wedding. Good food, lots of fun and around $25 a person. Reservations are a must.

              Papa Cristos
              2771 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

              1. ..."I am also interested in unusual food"....

                How about bugs for dinner ?


                1. 1. Izakaya Bincho - Redondo Beach - Japanese Tapas
                  2. Multiple Seafood places on the Redondo Beach Pier - One of the more popular places is Quality Seafood. Basically, you order seafood, they cook it, you eat it on picnic tables, and you can rent mallets to smash open crabs, etc.
                  3. Gyu-Kaku - Multiple Locations - Japanese BBQ. DIY cooking
                  4. Typhoon - Santa Monica - They serve insects.
                  5. Little Ethiopia (A section of LA) - Look for Nyala or Merkato.
                  6. Chalet Edelweiss - Westchester - Swiss Raclette, Swiss Fondue
                  7. The Melting Pot - Multiple Locations - Basically, a fondue restaurant, not just cheese fondue
                  8. Taverna Papadakis - San Pedro - Greek food, yes it's on plates, but the entertainment and host make it loads of fun, particularly when they flame the saganaki... you'd think the fire dept would have to be called.
                  9. Dar Maghreb - Los Angeles/Hollywood - Moroccan food, belly dancers, good times
                  10. Check out this LA Times article: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...
                  11. Ford's Filling Station - Culver City - Just about every part of the pig is served
                  12. Jitlada - Los Angeles - Very tasty Thai food. I'm sure there are some interesting foods that you haven't had before.
                  13. Stinking Rose - Los Angeles on Restaurant Row - Most everything has garlic in it, including dessert. I love their Bagna Calda. The rest of the food is just okay.
                  14. Benihana - Multiple Locations - I enjoy their style of teppanyaki.
                  15. Din Tai Fung - Arcadia - Soup Dumplings
                  16. Look up reviews for Dim Sum in the San Gabriel Valley (Monterey Park) or Chinatown - I'm not a dim sum expert so I couldn't tell you which is the best.
                  17, Clifton's Cafeteria - LA - It's cafeteria style dining since 1888.
                  18. Gyushintei - Torrance - Shabu Shabu, another DIY cooking but instead of grills, you get a pot of boiling broth.
                  19. Opaque - LA - It's dining in pitch black which makes it unusual to say the least. However, it's out of the price range you've suggested. It's on my list of places to try when I'm bored. I've never been. I'm read the food is just so-so. There many other places you should go to before this one unless the concept just fascinates you.

                  Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                  1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                  Ford's Filling Station
                  9531 Culver Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90232

                  5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                  Clifton's Cafeteria
                  648 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                  Dar Maghreb
                  7651 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                  Quality Seafood
                  130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

                  Stinking Rose
                  55 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                  1036 1 2 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                  Izakaya Bincho
                  112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

                  8420 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                  Chalet Edelweiss
                  8740 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DrBruin

                    Was going to suggest Dar Maghreb as well, or rather I was going to rec Mouns-of-Tunis, as it's a little cheaper.

                    Second Jitlada Thai as well.

                    Personally I'd pass on the Stinking Rose. I've never had a good meal here, and it's so overpriced for the novelty/kitsch factor.

                    Does oversized pancakes and waffles and breakfast foods with absurd combinations seem unusual? Try The Griddle Cafe.

                    For Mexican seafood that's outstanding, try Mariscos Chente.

                    Maybe consider saving up for two weekends (to increase your budget) and do an omakase -- I'm sure you'll get some unusual seafood.

                    Musha for a good izakaya

                    Perhaps Rahel on Fairfax for Ethiopian

                    Father's Office for the unusual experience of being unable to alter your order or have ketchup on your burger

                    5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                    1725 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

                    Dar Maghreb
                    7651 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                    Stinking Rose
                    55 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                    Mariscos Chente
                    4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                    Father's Office Bar
                    1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                    718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

                  2. Izayoi, try the fish bones and good izakaya in general.

                    Kagaya for shabu shabu.

                    132 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                    418 E. 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                    1. For some very different international cuisine, go to:


                      In the San Gabriel Valley, one can find many unusual - at least to Western tastes - dishes: Stinky Tofu, Pig Blood Cake, Harsmar.

                      1. Animal. They have all parts of the pig (ear, tail, belly, etc.)

                        1. There is always the Korean "Mr. Pizza Factory" if you feel up to decoding the Rosetta stone trying to figure out the menu. Take a look at some of the Yelp reviews for assistance with ordering before you go - it makes things a little clearer I think:


                          2 Replies
                            1. re: Servorg

                              Thank you for that link. That was the best thing I've seen today! I especially liked the "For Women" section.

                            2. You just missed a very unusual meal opportunity. The annual Lutefisk dinner at the Van Nuys Sons of Norway just took place this past weekend.

                              Sons of Norway
                              14312 Friar St, Los Angeles, CA 91401

                              1. Gaja, for 80-odd different varieties of DIY okonomiyaki (and a wild menu in general; my favorite bit is the "shaved ice for adults")

                                Guelaguetza, for the chapulines (crickets), chilacayote (chewy pumpkin drink), and empanadas with huitlacoche (not really exotic around here anymore, I know, but still good)

                                1. I just went and ate live uni (sea urchin) at the Redondo pier. They open it up for you, clean it and you eat it out of the shell with a spoon while its spikes are still moving... It is not a real restaurant, more like a fish market kind of place. They have lots of different kinds of oysters, too.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: jugglesmiles

                                    That is one of the places that Dr. Bruin recommended above (Quality Seafood) and a long time LA board favorite.

                                    1. re: jugglesmiles

                                      Sounds great. Do you recall what other seafood they have?

                                      1. re: epop

                                        Quality Seafood at the Redondo Pier has almost every other seafood - the basics for sure. Oysters, clams, mussels, lobster, crab, fish. They also have a case of prepped food - mostly deep fried seafood.

                                        1. re: burumun

                                          Thank you for the response, Burumun.

                                          1. re: burumun

                                            On the Redondo Pier, my pick would be Pacific Fish Center. Lots of steamed and boiled seafood, all fresh as can be - out of their live critter tank.

                                        2. re: jugglesmiles

                                          didn't like the uni there...the guy didn't clean it out well...it was very fishy, "bloody"
                                          masan's live uni is much better

                                          1. re: peppermonkey

                                            friends went to Masan last weekend and also said Masan's uni is incredible. Have to make it back there soon...

                                            1. re: mollyomormon

                                              The first time i went I had it by itself...no joking as good as urasawa..buttery and sweetest I've had....the second time wasn't as great but still good and improved with the rice and nori mixture. You can get either option for only $7. The monkfish soup is ok. Very healthy, like my mom's bean sprout soup. The fish was cooked way too far. I'm actually starting to really like the live octopus esp with a dab of sesame oil or chojang (fermented red pepper paste mixture). They're pretty nice there too, always getting comp'd some sashimi and others.

                                          2. For BBQ served on a trash can lid try: http://www.famousdaves.com/; if this is unusual to you......