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Jan 1, 2010 04:18 PM

Los Angeles next! narrowing down restaurants

Hi LA Chowhounders-

My wife and I (from Seattle) will be in LA next weekend, and are completely overwhelmed (in a good way) by all the exciting food on offer in LA -- maybe some of you can help me narrow my options a little before I get overexcited and hurt myself-

First, we're staying in Century City area and have a car, so anywhere between downtown and the water (or not to far afield from there) is fair game. We have Friday, Saturday and Sunday dinners and Saturday and Sunday lunches to look into (quick breakfasts would also be good). We're open minded and will eat anything, but particularly want to try to get some Mexican and Korean while we're in LA.

These are the places that look good to me based on my review of the best restaurants lists here on this site and on the LA Weekly site, plus a skim through the last few days worth of posts- which are the best? Any to avoid? Any other places I need to add?

Church & State
Osteria Mozza
Parks BBQ
Shu Feng

Shu Feng
Golden State or Father's Office
Loteria Grill
>> Really looking for recs for inexpensive Mexican / Korean places that would be good for lunch.

Thanks for any help!

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  1. Have you reviewed this thread yet? If not it ought to be quite helpful in your planning.

    1. A great option for Mexican (Oaxcan) food for lunch that's not too far from where you're staying is Monte Alban in West LA. Or, if you want to try fantastic Mexican style seafood (Sinaloan, Nayarit), Mariscos Chente in Mar Vista isn't far either. I don't think you can go wrong with any of your other choices, just be aware that driving east toward downtown around rush hour can be a real bear so plan accordingly. For a great Saturday breakfast in Century City (they're closed on Sundays), you should try Clementine.

      9 Replies
      1. re: mollyomormon

        1) want to reemphasize mollyomormon's point:
        don't plan on driving to a downtown restaurant on friday anytime near rush hour. no restaurant is worth that drive.
        also want to point out
        2) that mariscos chente is normally open for lunch and is open continuously between lunch an dinner.
        best to call before you go, though, since it is a mom and pop place.

        1. re: westsidegal

          From Century City, it's straight shot down Olympic to downtown. Used to do it for Lakers games at least once a week and it's not that bad.

          1. re: cls

            Yes, Olympic is definitely a better option than the 10 going east at rush hour.

            1. re: cls

              i took olympic a few weeks ago on a wednesday night at 5:45pm from 26th st in santa monica to downtown, and it took over an hour.
              would not recommend this trip lightly, especially since there are so many excellent options that are closer.
              i would save the trip to downtown for a weekend.

              1. re: westsidegal

                Not to get too far OT, but 26th St and Century City are very different when heading downtown in the afternoon. Probably a half hour or more different.
                If you're in Century City and want to go to Church and State, I say it's worth it, and 30-45 minutes.

                1. re: cls

                  Yes, the worst part of Olympic between Santa Monica is Bundy to the 405 and Century City is much closer than that. I've done that a number of times at rush hour and it seems like it's usually around 35 minutes, at the worst.

                  If OP decides to go for Korean, than Olympic would be an easy shot to koreatown.

                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    You guys are awesome...4 posts about food, 5 about traffic! I hope you know this does little to alter the stereotypes the rest of the country holds about you!

                    No, seriously, keep the comments coming. I realize Shufeng is really out of bounds, but I really like Sichuanese food...maybe there's another worthwhile place further west?

                    1. re: Beignets

                      Folks, we realize that traffic tips are intended to help a visitor. However, we're going to ask everyone to steer this discussion back to the chow, because that's what makes this site focused and useful. Thanks for keeping us on topic.

                      1. re: pusherman

                        No, if you want Sichuan (or for that matter anything else authentically Chinese), the San Gabriel Valley is THE place to go. You should go to Shu Feng at the San Gabriel Square (corner of Valley & Del Mar) and simply walk around and enjoy the plaza. If it's your first visit to the San Gabriel Valley, you will be overwhelmed. You probably should leave some room/time and tell us any other Chinese you would be interested in...we could point you to it, and it's all within a couple of square miles (if not blocks!). Like I wrote, overwhelming.

          2. You said anywhere from downtown to the water is fair game, but then you have Shufeng on your list (both of them).

            Do you realize that Shufeng is way out in Rowland Heights, which is about a good 15 miles from downtown and about 35 miles from the nearest oceanic body of water?

            (By the way, if you selected Shufeng based on JGold's review in the LA Weekly, I would only caution that you shouldn't believe everything you read.)

            Cheers and hope you enjoy your stay.

            1. I'd also do a search on this board on taco trucks for lunch for time/location as sometimes they vary, I really think you'd enjoy it. Many are located within 10 miles from Century City.

              1. If you are willing to go a bit past downtown (more East) - check out either La Serenata di Garibaldi or Moles La Tia for Mexican unlike what you can get in the Northwest.For the amazing delights of Mozza Pizza - the secret is to go in mid afternoon - after the lunch rush and before dinner. Excellent food. Check out Palate in Glendale, too. Focuses on what is fresh in the market with a new menu every week.