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Dinner near LAX/Westside with picky teen from out of state?

Heading up from Orange County for dinner with relatives over the weekend. They are staying near LAX, and have a car, but we'd still like to try to meet up somewhere near their hotel. I figured our range would be from Santa Monica to the South Bay, and under $30/person before t&t. I've been told that the teen in the group isn't all that adventurous, so my options have been limited to Mexican, Italian, and burgers/steak/etc. Any Asian food is out, and even seafood may be problematic.
At first I thought of Mariscos Chente (because I haven't been and selfishly would like to try it), but the sight of fish and shrimp with heads intact while on the table may frighten the young lad. My other thoughts were Monte Alban, Guelagetza, Cafe Del Rey, 3 Square, 26 Beach, or C&O's for some Italian that won't scare the kid.
Any additional suggestions or input would be much appreciated.

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  1. I just went to Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach. There is a consensus that it is among the best restaurants in the El Segundo/MB area. I had the hamburger, which, though more gourmet, would appeal to a teen, as would the variety of pizzas. My wife had the short rib sandwich which was delicious.

    I feel similarly about Paul Martin in El Segundo, but I prefer Tin Roof.

    I haven't been to 26 Beach yet, but the menu variety there would appeal to adults and teens.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ogawak

      I live in this area & would have to strongly disagree on Tin Roof Bistro. I had dinner with 4 people there about a month ago & everything was pretty mediocre at best. Prices certainly don't match quality, which is a nice way of saying we overpaid.
      I would much rather have a burger, fries & free refills at Islands Burgers which is right across the parking lot.

    2. I think 26 Beach would br pretty perfect for you. The menu is huge and a picky eater can easily find something there. Plus, it's in your price range. Down Washington there's also Mercedes' Grille where many a picky eater from my family visiting from out of town has had a very good meal.

      C&O's would work too, but I think the food is consistently mediocre.

      5 Replies
      1. re: mollyomormon

        If the kid likes big burgers, 26 Beach is the way to go.

        1. re: mollyomormon

          i agree that of the places listed 26 beach is a great choice. safe, but solid enough in what it does not to bore the adults and more adventurous.

          i know you said "Mexican" was safe, but Monte Alban is Oaxacan and probably not quite as "safe" a choice, even tho it's one of my faves.

          1. re: Emme

            Monte Alban might have enough regular burrito, taco type dishes with a side of rice/beans that might make it safe enough for the teen.

            1. re: Jase

              I tried taking a lot of out-of-towners to Monte Alban, and if they're only familar with tex-mex and they're picky, I foung Monte Alban to be just a tiny stretch too far.

              Also, I'm sorry to also say you're right not to take them to Mariscos Chente. The picky eater types would really struggle there. You'll just have to come back up from the OC again to try it!

              1. re: hyacinthgirl

                I agree. Actually, alot of the "tex-mex" and "americanized Mexican" eaters I've taken there haven't been too fond of Monte Alban. One even referred to his dish as tasting like dog food.

                I like it though.

        2. There In and Out Burger right near the airport :)
          there is also Alejo's on Lincoln-good food -cheap-fun-family

          2 Replies
          1. re: kandykane

            respectfully disagree with the alejo's recommendation.
            cheap-yes
            good - no
            in order to disguise the poor quality of the ingredients and of the preparation, they use a mixture of cheap oil and minced raw garlic on many of their items. as a matter of fact, they serve this concoction at the table as a dipping sauce for the bread. gotta admit, i does cover a multitude of sins, but, imho, it doesn't elevate the food to "good."

            1. re: westsidegal

              I go and eat the bread and olive oil until I'm full and supplement with the pasta. =P I wonder where they get their baguette.. Or if they make it in house?

            1. re: shelbo

              Extremely mediocre Mexican. If you want better Mexican, I'd go to Tlapazola on VeniceBlvd/Abbot Kinney or Lula's on Main St. in Santa Monica.

              As to LAX area: Truxton's on Truxton Blvd just south of Manchester; good food, some of the usual stuff, some different, or go to the Howard Hughes Promenade on Getty Center Dr and Sepulveda, where there's Kabuki (our local sushi/sukiyaki joint), Wild Thai, Callender Grill (a more upscale Marie Callendar's), and if your teen wants something more common, there's an Islands and a Johnny Rockets there, plus the movie theatre and a GameStop and Borders.
              Parking:$2.

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              Getty Center
              1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049

              Main St Cafe
              450 Main St, El Segundo, CA 90245

              Wild Thai Restaurant
              6081 Center Dr Ste 209, Los Angeles, CA 90045