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If you could pick three restaurants to be within walking distance of where you live...

sillygoosedown Feb 23, 2010 06:54 PM

What would they be? Of course, they have to be in the LA area. This is different from a best restaurant in LA thread. For example, I think Spago and Urasawa are great restaurants, but I don't really care if they're close to me or not--I don't eat at them all that often. The restaurants should be restaurants you'd eat at so frequently that they would have a significant impact on your life.

I've given this a great deal of thought. Actually, I've given it precisely 10 minutes of drunken thought. My three choices:

Zelo's Pizza. I would eat here at least once a week were it not in Arcadia. In my really humble opinion, this is the best pizza in the area, beating the much lauded Pizzeria Mozza and also Tomato Pie (which deserves a shout-out for not sucking like all its peers).
Udipi Palace. I would eat here at least weekly if it were not in Artesia. I guess I'm weird. I'd kill to have their idli with coconut chutney right across the street, not to mention the dosas and everything else.
Sam's Bagels. Average bagels are not worth eating at all. But I'll eat good bagels on a daily basis. I'd probably have a bagel from Sam's 3-4 times a week were it nearby.

There you have it: three idiosyncratic choices. I thought about Joans on Third but I'm not sure it qualifies because it's not really a restaurant.

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  1. m
    miss chai latte RE: sillygoosedown Feb 23, 2010 07:01 PM

    Dai Ho
    J & J

    2 Replies
    1. re: miss chai latte
      sillygoosedown RE: miss chai latte Feb 23, 2010 07:09 PM

      Interesting. I've never been much of a noodle soup or a dumpling girl. What do you like at J&J?

      1. re: sillygoosedown
        miss chai latte RE: sillygoosedown Feb 23, 2010 07:40 PM

        J&J--love their XLB. Shio Ramen with special pork at Santouka and Dan Dan Mien at Dai Ho. Zelo's is on my list of places to try.

    2. maxzook RE: sillygoosedown Feb 23, 2010 07:21 PM

      Elite Restaurant
      Langer's Delicatessen
      Caioti Pizza Cafe

      Langer's Delicatessen
      704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

      Elite Restaurant
      700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

      Caioti Pizza Cafe
      4346 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604

      9 Replies
      1. re: maxzook
        NYCnowLA RE: maxzook Feb 23, 2010 07:23 PM

        nice choices!

        1. re: NYCnowLA
          sillygoosedown RE: NYCnowLA Feb 23, 2010 07:25 PM

          You move the restaurants to you, silly.

          1. re: NYCnowLA
            maxzook RE: NYCnowLA Feb 23, 2010 07:31 PM

            I think the idea is to pick three places you *wish* were walking distance from you and from each other, not necessarily places that *are* within walking distance.

            For example, the OP's first two suggestions are 28 miles from each other, and Sam's Bagels on Larchmont is 26 miles from Artesia.

          2. re: maxzook
            sillygoosedown RE: maxzook Feb 23, 2010 07:25 PM

            Never been to or even heard of Caioti but I will have to check that out sometime.

            1. re: sillygoosedown
              Ogawak RE: sillygoosedown Mar 4, 2010 12:04 PM

              Caioti is a legendary place. The original owner, Ed Ladou, who passed away a little while ago, was grought from SF by Wolfgang Puck to make the now famous California pizzas at Spagos. Then he was consulted by the founders of the California Pizza Kitchen chain. I hope he got a nickel for every California pizza ever served.


              1. re: Ogawak
                maxzook RE: Ogawak Mar 4, 2010 02:05 PM

                "I hope he got a nickel for every California pizza ever served"

                Don't count on it ... ;)

                He was a wonderful, sweet man, and Caioti is a fine memorial to his tastes and influence.

                1. re: maxzook
                  mrshankly RE: maxzook Mar 5, 2010 11:23 AM

                  I've never eaten at Caioti. Would do you folks recommend getting there when I visit?

                  1. re: mrshankly
                    maxzook RE: mrshankly Mar 5, 2010 01:44 PM

                    My personal all-time fave is the lamb sausage pizza, although I've never been disappointed with any of their pizzas. Also, remember that Ed Ladou invented the BBQ chicken pizza.

            2. re: maxzook
              maxzook RE: maxzook Mar 3, 2010 10:25 AM

              On further reflection, while I love Elite it's more of a special occasion place. I can more easily see myself walking to Din Tai Fung for a last-minute weekend meal.

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

            3. m
              Muskrat RE: sillygoosedown Feb 23, 2010 07:46 PM

              Original Pantry

              ...so sue me!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Muskrat
                sillygoosedown RE: Muskrat Feb 23, 2010 07:55 PM

                OK...I have a confession. I think the pancakes at the Pantry are good.

                1. re: sillygoosedown
                  mrshankly RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 05:20 PM

                  A worthy confession... the pancakes ARE good and the buckwheat pancakes are spectacular!

                  my three places... Langer's, Mantee Cafe, Golden State

                2. re: Muskrat
                  foodiemahoodie RE: Muskrat Feb 24, 2010 06:31 PM

                  What jurisdiction do I file?

                3. Kitchen Queen RE: sillygoosedown Feb 23, 2010 08:40 PM

                  Piccola Trattoria- which IS across the street from me. Handmade pastas w/amazing sauces. Wish I could eat it daily w/o it sticking to my body! ...And, I don't even like pasta.... www.piccolatrattoria.com

                  Sea Harbour - See it in my dreams! Esp. those egg white and coconut, buttery light as a feather puffs and,

                  Babita - Then I wouldn't have to bother with licking the plate 'cuz it would be across the street and not a 45 minute drive away

                  1. m
                    mdpilam RE: sillygoosedown Feb 23, 2010 09:52 PM

                    BigMista BBQ
                    Chema's Tacos

                    1. ocshooter RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 09:31 AM

                      Walking distance from home would mean I eat there for weekend brunch with the dogs, for a casual dinners, or dinner and (lots) drinks so I can walk home.
                      Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ
                      Haven Gastropub

                      1. s
                        schrutefarms RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 09:40 AM

                        Bay Cities
                        and, since were going for the wish list anyway,
                        Noura Cafe (yes, the one that closed down years ago and is now Comme Ca)

                        1. s
                          sheila1 RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 10:10 AM

                          joans on third, baja cantina, portos. walking distance means comfort food to me!

                          1. Phurstluv RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 12:09 PM

                            Animal - cuz everything's freakin' unbelievable
                            Baby Blues BBQ - cuz we LOVE bbq and that mac & cheese
                            Wilshire - cuz I want my backyard to be that patio....

                            1. k
                              kauma RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 01:17 PM

                              Excellent question...and how difficult the answer!

                              1) A restaurant in Monte Carlo (yes, I'm name-dropping - although I can't remember the restaurant's name...) where I had my first meal after being dreadfully ill. The food, the scenery...

                              2) Musso Frank - what magic - always!

                              3) Shanghai Winter Garden (if it still existed) - those who know will know.

                              1. Servorg RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 01:46 PM


                                Golden State


                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Servorg
                                  Phurstluv RE: Servorg Feb 24, 2010 02:38 PM

                                  Hey, Serv, what do you like at Golden State?? Have yet to go, since it's across the street from Animal, I can hardly pull myself away..... but heard good things re: the beer selection, which would get my DH to take me, hopefully soon!

                                  1. re: Phurstluv
                                    Servorg RE: Phurstluv Feb 24, 2010 02:55 PM

                                    GS has a great burger. This is a "very, very" casual restaurant. I want to have one of their beer floats the next time.

                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      Phurstluv RE: Servorg Feb 24, 2010 02:59 PM

                                      Okay, thanks, will definitely try them soon. And beer floats? My husband will be in heaven.......

                                      1. re: Phurstluv
                                        Servorg RE: Phurstluv Feb 24, 2010 03:01 PM

                                        I mean "beer" floats. Beer and brown bread ice cream...Like I said, haven't tried it yet but I plan on giving it a go.

                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          Phurstluv RE: Servorg Feb 24, 2010 03:11 PM

                                          Yea, I get it. Like I said, DH will love it - he believes beer is THE perfect food....

                                          1. re: Phurstluv
                                            mollyomormon RE: Phurstluv Feb 24, 2010 04:54 PM

                                            Definitely have your husband talk to the owner when you visit. He's nearly always in working at the counter and is a total beer geek. If you happen to make it there on a Friday or Saturday, they have fish and chips those days that I think are awesome. Also, I have friends who swear by this place as a good place to take their kids, although I would probably attempt that during the day time rather than at night just so you can make sure you get a table easily.

                                            1. re: mollyomormon
                                              Phurstluv RE: mollyomormon Feb 24, 2010 04:57 PM

                                              Great, thanks, MollyO. I was going to ask re: bringing the kidlets, since sometimes it's easier than getting a babysitter these days. Will definitely try to go during the day.

                                              1. re: Phurstluv
                                                schrutefarms RE: Phurstluv Mar 3, 2010 12:20 PM

                                                When you go, try the curry ketchup. I couldn't stop eating it.

                                2. c
                                  CoffeeMonkee RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 02:55 PM

                                  Square One
                                  Pizzeria Mozza

                                  1. Will Owen RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 05:30 PM

                                    Pann's (surprise!!)
                                    Le Saint Amour

                                    I've left off faves such as Langer's because they're easy to get to, either with or without a car; these are the ones that are either a schlepp or a PITA for parking or both...

                                    1. mollyomormon RE: sillygoosedown Feb 24, 2010 05:38 PM

                                      Sea Harbour (I would kill to be able to walk to great dim sum)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: mollyomormon
                                        Will Owen RE: mollyomormon Feb 25, 2010 11:43 AM

                                        I was including "accessible by rail" and "nice big parking lot" in my "easy to get to" category. Langer's, for instance, qualifies both ways, and since I'm perched on the edge of the SGV great dim sum is less than half an hour away, and parking's typically a problem only on weekends.

                                        1. re: Will Owen
                                          mollyomormon RE: Will Owen Feb 25, 2010 01:42 PM

                                          Being in Santa Monica, neither of these things are true for me, sadly. But at least Pann's and Mariscos Chente are close!

                                      2. o
                                        Ogawak RE: sillygoosedown Feb 25, 2010 05:40 AM

                                        Great post, SGD.

                                        My choices
                                        Antojitos Carmen (my new favorite Mexican)
                                        Vitos for pizza, eggplant parm sandwiches and calzone
                                        Dean Sin World for XLB

                                        Honorable mention:
                                        Vietnam Restaurant
                                        Won Kok for bao and great chao fun.
                                        Tamatebako for good everyday Japanese

                                        If i could walk to these places, I might never cook.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Ogawak
                                          Ogawak RE: Ogawak Mar 3, 2010 04:23 PM

                                          I would mention BigMista's but he moves around a lot. I'll settle for Bludsoe's.
                                          Also Sea Harbor for dim sum.

                                        2. WildSwede RE: sillygoosedown Feb 25, 2010 09:32 AM

                                          Heehee, I AM lucky - Zelo's is right around the corner from my house!

                                          My picks:

                                          Pho 79
                                          Las Fuentes
                                          The first 2 were no-brainers, but the 3rd was harder. I could come up with several more...

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: WildSwede
                                            mrshankly RE: WildSwede Feb 25, 2010 10:42 AM

                                            Las Fuentes... yes!!! Good call. It's so far from my house and I rarely get a chance to get their carne con queso tacos:)

                                            1. re: WildSwede
                                              Jelly71 RE: WildSwede Feb 25, 2010 11:21 AM

                                              that's just down the street from me, which is why i am having such a hard time answering this question. everything i love best is really close. Melody's, Fab Hot Dogs, and Tacos Corona (for their refried beans only) are 2 minutes from me.

                                              1. re: Jelly71
                                                WildSwede RE: Jelly71 Feb 26, 2010 08:27 AM

                                                Yeah, I have been going to Las Fuentes since it opened and was no bigger than my left foot. I grew up in Reseda. Now when I am in the valley and I am not going to Cupid's, I will call in an order for their Burrito de Bistek Encebollado (cooked med rare) and run in and grab it... when I have more time, I eat in. Have not had it in a while, though, since all my valley trips have recently been directly after work and going straight to a meeting.

                                            2. wienermobile RE: sillygoosedown Feb 25, 2010 11:40 AM

                                              Bay Cities
                                              Brent's Deli

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: wienermobile
                                                Servorg RE: wienermobile Feb 25, 2010 11:42 AM

                                                Brent's! One more attempt to get out there this week to try their black pastrami reuben sandwich. I have to get one of these soon or I am going to have to turn in my CH membership card! ;-D>

                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  wienermobile RE: Servorg Feb 25, 2010 01:39 PM

                                                  Brent's black pastrami reuben is one of my favorites too!

                                              2. j
                                                Jase RE: sillygoosedown Feb 25, 2010 11:55 AM

                                                Can I cheat and just pick three neighborhoods?

                                                SGV Chinese
                                                Hollywood Thai Town
                                                East LA Mexican

                                                With a bonus request of having all food trucks, gourmet or otherwise make a regular stop in my area. I would be a happy and fatter camper if I could have access to all three of those foods all the time.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Jase
                                                  Servorg RE: Jase Feb 25, 2010 12:12 PM

                                                  Jase, I think that it's even more invaluable for those who come to this thread later, and who don't know those neighborhoods at all, to learn which specific places you would be going to on a regular basis if you lived there. That way, if they happen to find themselves in one of those neighborhoods, they will then have a "destination" to plug into their GPS.

                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                    Jase RE: Servorg Feb 25, 2010 03:06 PM

                                                    What? And deprive them the joys of actually searching for what's appealing for their personal tastes in those areas? To read all the debates about what's good? This a fun thread but no there's no context to discuss the various offerings in those neighborhoods. That's why I didn't just say SGV or Hollywood or East LA. I put the cuisine right after.

                                                    Besides, I love watching you exercise your search and linking skills when you answer posts of that nature. I am but a padwan to your jedi. So in honor of your skills.

                                                    SGV Chinese

                                                    Hollywood Thai Town

                                                    East LA Mexican

                                                    1. re: Jase
                                                      Servorg RE: Jase Feb 25, 2010 03:15 PM

                                                      "What? And deprive them the joys of actually searching for what's appealing for their personal tastes in those areas? To read all the debates about what's good? This a fun thread but no there's no context to discuss the various offerings in those neighborhoods. That's why I didn't just say SGV or Hollywood or East LA. I put the cuisine right after."

                                                      Totally agree if someone is moving or has moved into a new neighborhood. Then they have all the time to explore and come up with their own conclusions. I was just seeing this thread as a bit of "food fantasy" in which, not only did we get to name which restaurants we wanted to live closer too, but also to allow those who just happened to be passing through a particular area for some reason to be able to pinpoint something that we thought was essential to our reasons to eat.

                                                      I mean, two of my picks are adjacent to each other, but the third is no place near those two (Teresitas in east LA) so I am having a bit of fantasy fun moving places together if I had the power to do so...as if I could ever be so lucky.

                                                2. m
                                                  mc michael RE: sillygoosedown Feb 25, 2010 12:45 PM

                                                  Perhaps there should be a thread on the 3 places you wish were further away from you cuz if they were any closer you'd become a total lardo. Or would that simply duplicate this thread?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: mc michael
                                                    sillygoosedown RE: mc michael Feb 25, 2010 01:09 PM

                                                    Don't put Diddy Riese anywhere near me!! I'd have to up my bulemic activity...I mean exercise...from 3-4 times a week to 10+.

                                                    1. re: sillygoosedown
                                                      mc michael RE: sillygoosedown Feb 25, 2010 01:28 PM

                                                      That's the spirit!

                                                  2. b
                                                    budlit RE: sillygoosedown Feb 25, 2010 04:31 PM

                                                    & oh so many more

                                                    1. d
                                                      degustateur RE: sillygoosedown Mar 2, 2010 04:39 PM

                                                      … An intriguing post. The first two choices were relatively easy, however, I spent a while pondering the third. I would not want my special favorite restaurants to be within walking distance of home because I would visit them far too often and soon wear out their special appeal. Moreover, there is something undeniably engaging, ritualistic even, about deciding “where to go out and eat today?” To the city or the shore? Dress up, dress down or go as I am. Drive or ride? Walk, you say. Well, okay:

                                                      Sushi Nozawa – Nozawa-san’s bulging blue crab hand rolls

                                                      Mariscos Chente – Sergio’s magnificent robalo zarandeado and tacos de marlin

                                                      Merhaba – Hanna’s tsebhie derho, kitfo, hamli and inimitable injera

                                                      … “Feets, don’ fail me now!” (sic)

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: degustateur
                                                        sillygoosedown RE: degustateur Mar 2, 2010 07:04 PM

                                                        Is Merhaba so much better than the Robertson restaurants that it's worth driving to OC?

                                                        1. re: sillygoosedown
                                                          degustateur RE: sillygoosedown Mar 3, 2010 05:12 PM

                                                          Well, sillygoosedown, the short answer is no. Merkato and Messob are both viable alternatives, perhaps even superior, to Merhaba for meat dishes. Both offer selections that I love, such as dulet and gored-gored, that Merhaba does not. Rahel is clearly superior to all three for veggies and offers a great injera as well. Merhaba serves the finest injera I’ve ever tasted and the remainder of the menu is very comforting to me, particularly the dishes I mentioned in my first response to your survey. Each of those, imho, is truly best of breed.

                                                          Merhaba is almost equidistant to me from Little Ethiopia (on Fairfax), albeit a much easier commute along with plenty of free parking. It remains, after almost eight years, my go-to Ethiopian restaurant. I’ve eaten Ethiopian food regularly for well over thirty years at many establishments nationwide.

                                                          Interestingly, if Merhaba were walking distance from my home, I would likely frequent other SoCal Ethiopian restaurants more often.

                                                      2. w
                                                        whatsfordinner RE: sillygoosedown Mar 3, 2010 07:06 AM

                                                        It's taken me days to come up with this!
                                                        1. Barbrix
                                                        2. Pizzeria Mozza
                                                        3. It's a tie between Musha and Nanbankan

                                                        1. p
                                                          Piglet RE: sillygoosedown Mar 3, 2010 03:45 PM

                                                          Seriously homesick ex-SoCal girl here--what I'd give right now to be within walking distance of –
                                                          –any of the big, good Cantonese dim sum/seafood places in Monterey Park (cuz then I'll be within walking distance of breakfast, lunch, and dinner!)
                                                          –tie between Jitlada and Monte Alban--I miss them both terribly!

                                                          I'm now three time zones away from all of this goodness. Appreciate the treasures that you've got, even if you have to sit in traffic a while to get them!

                                                          1. Steve2 in LA RE: sillygoosedown Mar 5, 2010 11:34 AM

                                                            In no particular order:


                                                            1. katydid13 RE: sillygoosedown Mar 5, 2010 08:54 PM

                                                              Cafe Verona
                                                              Los Balcones del Peru

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