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

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. re: miss chai latte

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

      1. re: sillygoosedown

        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. 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: NYCnowLA

          You move the restaurants to you, silly.

          1. re: NYCnowLA

            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

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

            1. re: sillygoosedown

              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

                "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

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

                  1. re: mrshankly

                    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

              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. Phillippe's
              Original Pantry

              ...so sue me!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Muskrat

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

                1. re: sillygoosedown

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

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

                2. 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. Langer's
                    BigMista BBQ
                    Chema's Tacos

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

                          1. 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. 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. re: Servorg

                                  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

                                    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

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

                                      1. re: Phurstluv

                                        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

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

                                          1. re: Phurstluv

                                            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

                                              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

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

                                2. Square One
                                  Pizzeria Mozza

                                  1. 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. Langer's
                                      Sea Harbour (I would kill to be able to walk to great dim sum)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: mollyomormon

                                        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

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

                                      2. 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

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

                                        2. 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

                                            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

                                              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

                                                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.

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                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

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

                                              2. 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

                                                  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

                                                    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

                                                      "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. 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

                                                    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+.

                                                  2. orris
                                                    & oh so many more

                                                    1. … 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

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

                                                        1. re: sillygoosedown

                                                          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. 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. 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. In no particular order:


                                                            1. Marouch
                                                              Cafe Verona
                                                              Los Balcones del Peru