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Hey, Los Angelesians - where should we eat??

  • k

My husband and I are coming to LA for the first time. We love good food. We have eaten at many great upscale places (Alinea, The French Laundry, Charlie Trotters etc.), as well as many great everyday finds (roadside stands in Vietnam and Ecuador, hot dog stands in Chicago, Ethiopian communal meals, etc.). We do not care about price or fanfare or theatrics - we just want to know what you think is great about LA. We want to go there. Where should we go?

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    1. I hope you have some wonderful experiences eating in our city. Please be sure to call us Angelenos, not Los Angelesians. I've had many outstanding meals at Hatfield's, and I hear their new space on Melrose is great.

      1. Definitely narrow it down a bit. While IMO, the best things to eat when visiting are sushi, various ethnic foods (Vietnamese, Mexican, Korean, Chinese if you're not from NY) we also have some first class restaurants which are less "local." Mozza, Providence, Church and State, Drago Centro, Josie, AOC, Lucques, Jar, Gelina, Melisse, come to mind to name a few.

        8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

        8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

        Drago Centro
        525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

        1. Where are you staying? What days of the week and for how long? Will you have transportation? How long are you willing to spend in a car to get to a restaurant (and does that answer change depending on whether it is a hole-in-the-wall ethnic place or a high-end upscale restaurant)?

          LA excels at different ethnic foods that you may not get at home (I'm assuming you are from the Chicago-area based on the original post). However, the best ethnic restaurants tend to be in centralized locations (Chinese in the San Gabriel Valley, Korean in Koreatown, Thai in Hollywood or North Hollywood). Are there any types of food you are particularly interested in? Anything you want to avoid?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jwsel

            the answers to Jwsel's questions are crucial.
            it is possible to spend 90% of your time here driving from one location to another (it can easily take 3 hours to drive from one end of Los Angeles County to the other. Much good food can be found in neighboring counties as well as in Los Angeles County.)
            you will need a plan and a time schedule unless you have a helicopter at your disposal.
            we can help you, but we need information

            1. re: Jwsel

              why do we keep adding to this post when the OP does not reply to our questions?

            2. Where are you from? There's no sense in sending you to, say, Chinese if you're from Vancouver, or Cuban if you're from Miami, or a deli if you're from New York. I don't know much about our fine dining scene. I love the little holes-in-the-wall that tourists don't usually find, and so forthwith:

              1. Dinner at Mariscos Chente in Mar Vista (between Culver City and the ocean, basically). Make sure to order a whole fish (pescado zarandeado), which will run you about $18 a kilo prepared. Stunningly good. Get a cubeta (bucket) of beers and maybe a shrimp dish to round out the meal. Completely unpretentious (you'll need to call out or gesture largely for service) and completely amazing. 4532 Centinela.

              2. Park's (Korean) BBQ. Ignore the "American Kobe" and go for the prime kalbi, and if you like pork feel free to go for the Tokyo X pork. Make sure you get a bowl of their excellent mul naengmyon (icy-cold broth with buckwheat noodles and various additions, into which you squeeze spicy mustard and vinegar). 955 S. Vermont.

              3. A taco truck or a taco table. They tend to be sort of wherever and most haven't embraced Twitter the way the new fancy mobile food vendors have, but you can look at 4th and Chicago for a few, or 1st and Breed. If that weirds you out, one of the best trucks has opened a bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Antojitos Carmen, 2510 E. Cesar E. Chavez. You want quesadillas de huitlacoche ("Mexican corn truffle" inside a homemade tortilla with cheese) and sopes de flor de calabaza (simmered squash blossoms in a "saucer" of masa para tortillas) and pambazos de papa y chorizo (potato and spicy sausage between two slices of bread that have been dipped in chile guajillo sauce and grilled).

              4. Pretty much anything from Pal Cabrón, if you can make it down to Huntington Park, which is a surprisingly cool hidden huge Mexican shopping area. Get a clayuda, which is a thin crispy tortilla spread with beans and pork rendering, then topped with shredded quesillo (like a tangy string cheese), or get a cemita, which is a giant frigging sandwich with your choice of ingredients, or get a taco árabe, which is chile-marinated pork wrapped inside a large wheat pita. Make sure to have one of their insanely good micheladas, a beer cocktail with a real kick to it. 2562 E. Gage (half a block west of Pacific Blvd.), Huntington Park.

              5. Whatever they're cooking that night at Rio Brasil Cafe in the Palms district of West LA. It's not Brazilian barbecue, it's more like stews and suchlike. Sometimes they'll have feijoada, the black bean and pork parts stew that is the national dish of Brazil; sometimes it'll be bobo de camarao, which is shrimp in a coconutty curry-like sauce. 3300 Overland.

              6. Dim sum from Elite. This isn't women pushing carts around rooms; this is ordering off the menu and having it cooked to order. The price, while higher than cart shops, is still pretty cheap and the quality is three times what it is at even the best cart shops. Get the Macau-style roast pork, which has a sugar crust; get the shu mai and har gow, even though they're sort of cliché, because they're amazing here; get the hundred-year-old-egg and lean pork congee ("pay daan sau yook jook") and their brown sugar gao, which look boring but are simply amazing. 700 S. Atlantic, Monterey Park.

              7. Thai food from Jitlada. This is not going to be pad Thai; let Jazz (the owner, who is really sweet) pick for you, make clear that you aren't afraid of the power of the chile pepper, and prepare to have your mind turned inside out. 5233 Sunset.

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

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

              Antojitos Carmen
              2510 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033

              2 Replies
              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                I second the recommendation for Park's BBQ - the seasoned galbi is so tasty, and the pork belly is awesome if you loooove pork fat. As others have mentioned, the restaurant is bright and clean, the staff is efficient and friendly, and the side dishes are great.

                I however would not second the recommendation for Elite (though many people here would, to be sure) and instead suggest Sea Harbour if you're in that part of town. The dim sum at Elite is just too sloppy by comparison.

                Park's BBQ
                955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
                3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Thanks so much for your post! Everything you recommended sounds great! I appreciate the inside info. (We are from Chicago, btw.)

                2. Langer's Deii. The best pastrami you'll ever eat.

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

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wienermobile

                    As everyone has stated, it depends on where you are staying. It is not easy to get around LA particularly in traffic. As for high end places, I would suggest Providence and Spago's tasting menu. Bazaar is fun plus good food. Bouchon in Beverly Hills is excellent for bistro French fare.

                    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                  2. Animal, Providence, Hatfields for good highend
                    then go to San Gabriel for some Newport Seafood, or boiling crab (chinese style seafood)
                    then koreatown for Parks and then Bevery Soon Tofu
                    Then some taco trucks
                    then some old favorites like Langers

                    Newport Seafood Restaurant
                    4411 W 1st St, Santa Ana, CA 92703

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: samtron608

                      I forgot to mention Urasawa for the best sushi, sashimi and omakase.

                      Urasawa Restaurant
                      218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                      1. re: lizziee

                        if you follow lizziee's suggestion, be aware that it will cost you approximately $500 PER PERSON for this experience.. .

                    2. We have some people who come and want to eat everything good in LA in 3-4 days. [impossible, but they try] We have some that just want a few good/great meals. We have some that want to taste a particular kind of cuisine. We have some that want to eat at the tables of name chefs. We have some that don't want to spend more than $10 per meal. We have some that want to socialize over decent food. We have some that want star sightings. We have some that want views. Where do you fit in the scheme of things?

                      1. i'd like to recommend my favorites; as someone who as travelled and appreciated the help of other boards guiding me in the right direction, here's some suggestions:
                        sushi: little tokyo- sushi gen is great; there is usually a wait but it's a good feast. other spots in little tokyo i like are haru-ulala for izakaya; honda ya for izakaya; sushi go 55. the overall experience of little tokyo is one of my favorite parts of LA. it's nice to eat; drink some sake; and wonder around. if you are in the culver city area, i love Sushi Zo for Omakase. it's a good time :) i also love some of the places on Sawtelle for Sushi (Kiriko, i hear Mori is good) and for Ramen too.
                        korean food- we have excellent korean food. i love Soot Bull Jeep for bbq; the eel is magical. also, beverly soon tofu is delish. i also have just gotten into eating at Genwa for korean food. i feel like for someone from out of town, korean food is essential b/c it's so good here.
                        thai- jitlada. definitely. mussels appetizer for sure. if you are in the pasadena area, daisy mint is pretty great for thai.
                        mexican food- where to start... i've been eating it a lot around highland park but if you are not in the area a lot of people love Loteria - there are two locations, one in the Farmers Market on third and fairfax (which is a totally fun thing to do) and one on Hollywood blvd, which is a sit down restaurant as opposed to the stall at the Farmers Market. Also in the original Farmers Market, i am a huge fan of Singapore's Banana Leaf. Lovely curries and noodle dishes.
                        speaking of Farmers Markets... The big Hollywood one on sundays is great and so is the Wed one in santa monica depending on your time frame and where you are staying you may like to check one out; the food vendors are usually very good. look for Me Gusta Tamales, they are really good. I get them at the Larchmont Market on Sunday's but they may have them at the Hollywood one, not sure.
                        Langers Deli- yes. Get the hand cut Pastrami on Rye. The number 19 is sensational. they are closed sunday and during only open until 4pm other days. If you like Pastrami, you must try this.
                        Upscale - Grace on Beverly has my favorite Salmon; Lucques on Melrose has my favorite Tuna; AOC on 3rd street near Weho has amazing black kale; Jar on Beverly has my favorite cream corn; Comme Ca on Melrose has my favorite escargot; Bashan has my favorite oysters (they were the special of the day; not sure if they always have them) if you are in the area Montrose area- if not, no use dealing with the traffic. Watergrill downtown has good oysters and good seafood in general. Church and State downtown was an excellent meal, though a bit of a scene. Drago Centro was an all around lovely experience. Madeo on Melrose- it's a total scene with Paparazzi outside, but the spagetti alla bottarga and the salmon farfalle were two amazing pasta dishes,the burrata appetizer i could eat with a spoon.
                        hope this helps...

                        8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                        Sushi Zo
                        9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                        Soot Bull Jeep
                        3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                        3459 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA 91208

                        Singapore's Banana Leaf
                        6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                        Madeo Restaurant
                        8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                        8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                        Drago Centro
                        525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                        Me Gusta
                        6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                        5115 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Clyde

                          one more favorite place i'd like to add is Cafe Angeli on Melrose; so delish. lunchtime is really mellow- maybe 3 or 4 tables are taken. dinner on weekends you would need a reservation. during the week should be OK. the bread is amazing; and i'm in love with their gnocci of the day.

                          1. re: Clyde

                            Thank you very much for helping us out with these great suggestions. I will have a hard time narrowing down, but will just have to come back soon...

                          2. I can immediately think of at least two alternative approaches to planning your LA dining itinerary. I am sure there are other viable ones as well. The first, and most obvious, involves simply reserving and dining at LA’s most esteemed restaurants. From a Chowhound’s perspective the restaurants of most recent choice can be found here:


                            The second alternative is a bit more in-depth and challenging due to the sheer number of available options. LA is a cultural melting pot, one of America’s largest and most diverse. Seek to maximize your dining experience via some of the best ethnic venues LA has to offer. Go for an “essence of LA” if you will. Depending upon the length of your stay, try to include at least one eating venue from each of the most prevalent ethnic groups: Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Thai, among others. Great ones include, in alpha order:

                            Chinese: Elite or Sea Harbour for dim sum
                            Ethiopian: Merhaba, Merkato, Rahel (vegetarian)
                            Korean: Chin Ko Gae, Ham Hung, Ondal 2, Park’s BBQ
                            Mexican: Babita, La Casita Mexicana, Mariscos Chente, Rivera, virtually any taco truck/cart
                            Japanese: Mori Sushi, Sushi Nozawa, Sushi Shibucho, Sushi Zo, Urasawa
                            Thai: Jitlada, Renu Nakorn, Ruen Pair
                            Vietnamese: Brodard Chateau, Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa, Tan Cang Newport Seafood

                            Aside from the ethnic venues, there are a number of eateries that many feel exemplify LA due primarily to their offerings, popularity, longevity and, therefore, institutional status:

                            Langer’s Deli, Phillipe's, In-N-Out Burger, The Original Pantry, Tommy's

                            Lastly, below are some recommendations based upon my own personal preferences:

                            435 N Fairfax Ave
                            Los Angeles, CA 90048
                            (323) 782-9225

                            Animal excels in its ability to take decidedly ordinary ingredients and combine and present them in extraordinary ways. Their quail fry with grits, bacon and chard is a perfect example, their loco moco is another and their crispy rabbit legs yet another. “Farm Food”, but with a twist, a synergistic twist that enthralls. Virtually a must, particularly if, like me, you consider yourself a carniphile.

                            Church & State
                            1850 Industrial St.
                            Los Angeles, CA 90021
                            (213) 405-1434

                            Currently my favorite LA restaurant for either lunch or dinner. Located in the former loading dock of the old Nabisco Biscuit Co. Owner Yassmin Sarmadi has entrusted Joshua Smith, formerly of Anisette, to replace Walter Manzke at the helm. Just about everything on the menu is phenomenal. I’m particularly fond of the fresh Kumamoto oysters, the roasted bone marrow, the Santa Barbara prawns, the pied de cochon, the crispy pig ear and the bouillabaisse. Their puffed pastry-topped escargots are superb!

                            Marche Moderne
                            3333 Bristol Street, #3001
                            Costa Mesa, CA 92626
                            (714) 434-7900

                            In the penthouse on the backside of South Coast Plaza by Macy’s. Chef Florent Marneau and his amiable wife Amelia do an impeccable job in bringing top-notch, traditional French cuisine to SoCal. Look for sweetbreads, pork belly and foie gras on the menu for lunch and dinner. Florent is hands-on in the open kitchen daily and his presence is felt in every delicious bite. Amelia is a certified French pastry chef and her creations are marvelous. Gorgeous, upscale venue with a sophisticated, oft-demanding clientele.

                            Park’s BBQ
                            955 S. Vermont Ave.
                            Los Angeles, CA 90005
                            (213) 380-1717

                            I highly recommend Park’s BBQ. Superior Korean BBQ due largely to the quality of meats used, including Kobe (Wagyu) beef and Berkshire pork selections. Great panchan too. Excellent service. The staff all but insists upon cooking your selections for you to ensure proper preparation and doneness.

                            Pizzeria Mozza
                            641 N. Highland Ave.
                            Los Angeles, CA
                            (323) 297-0101

                            Try to fit Pizzeria Mozza into your plans for lunch, dinner or late night. Greatness personified! Start with a wonderfully flavorful antipasti followed by chicken liver crostinis with guanciale. For the main, be sure to include the fennel sausage pizza with panna, red onions and scallions. The guanciale pizza is extraordinary albeit a bit salty. The Bianca pizza with fontina, mozzarella, sottocenere and sage is awesome. Superb service and wine pairings. They are open continuously from noon to midnight daily. Reservations are essential.

                            5955 Melrose Ave.
                            Los Angeles, CA
                            (323) 460-4170

                            Perhaps LA’s premiere fine dining establishment. LA Chowhounds voted it the #1 Ultimate Restaurant for 2009. Chef Michael Cimarrusti, formerly of Water Grill fame, has succeeded in bringing the finest fresh seafood preparations to the Southland. Most offerings are small plates, kaiseki style. I suggest the Chef’s Tasting menu at the price/quantity level of your choice, with or without wine pairing.

                            Mariscos Chente
                            4532 S. Centinela Ave.
                            Los Angeles, CA 90066
                            (310) 390-9241

                            I would definitely include Mariscos Chente as a priority, probably for lunch (very casual). Incredible Sinaloan/Nyarit style seafood creations by Sergio Penuelos – an up and comer who is already a living legend among Chowhounds. Virtually all of the seafood is sourced fresh from Mazatlan and has that unique Gulf taste that cannot be duplicated. The pescado zarandeado, a specially spiced and prepared whole grilled fish, is extraordinary as are the aguachiles and other shrimp dishes. Try one of the delicious smoked marlin tacos for a rare, unique and tasty treat.

                            Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant & Market
                            1036 1/2 S Fairfax Ave
                            Los Angeles, CA 90019
                            (323) 935-1775

                            Authentic, consistently reliable, full-menu (meats and veggies) Ethiopian cuisine served in a traditional restaurant/market venue. Very good injera. One of few places, along with Messob across the street, offering dulet (beef, liver and tripe scramble) and gored-gored (spicy cubes of raw beef) among the many other selections on their menu. Most everything is cooked to order, so service can be a bit slow. Still, my Little Ethiopia favorite.

                            1050 S. Flower St, #102
                            Los Angeles, CA 90015
                            (213) 749-1460

                            Serious, traditional, alta cocina Mexican at its finest. The vibe, the drinks and the food are all world class. Genuine Jamon Iberico de Bellota Pata Negra, all that its cracked up to be. Handmade tortillas with embedded dried flower are served with a delicious guacamole, aptly referred to as “Indian butter”. The Duck Enfrijolada, Kurubota Pork Chop and Sautéed Cod are all exceptional.

                            Sea Harbour
                            3939 Rosemead Blvd.
                            Rosemead, CA
                            (626) 288-3939

                            Exceptional dim sum ordered from a picture menu. Wonderful seafood dinners prepared from live fish and crustaceans right out of the tank and delivered to your table for approval before preparation.

                            Sushi Nozawa
                            11288 Ventura Boulevard
                            Studio City, CA 91604
                            (818) 508-7017

                            You should also consider Sushi Nozawa, LA’s own, original “Sushi Nazi” - it's his way or the highway! Chef Kazunori Nozawa commands a very traditional sushi bar and serves up some of the freshest and finest sushi to be found anywhere. Mon-Fri, lunch/dinner only. No reservations. Be prepared for a brief standing wait. Sit at the bar and request the “omakase”, Nozawa-san's choice of the day's selections. Trust him, he will do you right. Whatever you do, DO NOT ask for a California Roll unless you relish being the day's entertainment. (^_^)

                            218 N. Rodeo Dr.
                            Beverly Hills, CA 90210
                            (310) 247-8939

                            The quintessential kaiseki dining experience. As many as 30+ courses created and served over four hours by Hiroyuki Urasawa, a true master of his craft. It doesn’t get much better than this, at least not in the US. Given your fine dining penchant and experience, for you, an evening at Urasawa is a requisite during your visit to LA. Be sure to reserve as soon as your travel plans are solidified. There are only 10 seats, one sitting.

                            Hiro Urasawa has been at the same location for many years. He trained under and was assistant to Masa Takayama when the restaurant was Ginza Sushi-Ko. When Masa departed about five years ago to open Masa in New York City, Hiro took over and made it his namesake. He kept much the same format but expanded the kaiseki offerings. Mind you, whereas Ginza was primarily a sushi bar, Urasawa offers much more. I have enjoyed many extraordinary dining experiences at Ginza, however, Urasawa remains on my to-go list.

                            Bon Appetit!

                            Water Grill
                            544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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

                            Ruen Pair Restaurant
                            5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                            Urasawa Restaurant
                            218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                            Sushi Zo
                            9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                            Sushi Nozawa
                            11288 Ventura Blvd Ste C, Studio City, CA 91604

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

                            La Casita Mexicana
                            4030 Gage Ave, Bell, CA 90201

                            Mori Sushi
                            11500 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                            Original Pantry Cafe
                            877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                            Sushi Shibucho
                            590 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

                            Ham Hung Restaurant
                            809 S Ardmore Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                            Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
                            3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

                            Marche Moderne
                            3333 Bristol St 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                            Newport Seafood Restaurant
                            4411 W 1st St, Santa Ana, CA 92703

                            Renu Nakorn Restaurant
                            13019 Rosecrans Ave, Norwalk, CA 90650

                            Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa
                            9016 Mission Dr, Rosemead, CA 91770

                            Brodard Chateau
                            9100 Trask Ave Garden, Grove, CA

                            Little Ethiopia Restaurant
                            1048 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                            1036 1 2 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA

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

                            Church & State
                            1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                            Pizzeria Mozza
                            641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                            Tan Cang Restaurant
                            18441 Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA 91748

                            Bon Appetit
                            1801 Century Park E Ste 330, Los Angeles, CA 90067

                            1068 E Bastanchury Rd, Fullerton, CA 92835

                            Centinela Cafe
                            4800 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: degustateur

                              Nice roundup. Funny, the software linked to Masa restaurant in Pasadena, not quite the same thing.
                              Not once, but twice!

                              Masa Restaurant
                              2063 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

                              1. re: mc michael

                                Thanks, mc michael, for the kind words and the heads up. The glitch has been removed.

                                1. re: mc michael

                                  I'll second that! What a great rundown of what's currently yummy in the Los Angelesian's chow-verse!
                                  Thanks degustateur!

                                2. re: degustateur

                                  THANK YOU for that awesome summary! I really appreciate it!

                                3. If you make it down to Venice I really recommend Gjelina for brunch or dinner.

                                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

                                  1. Welcome!

                                    There are so many great places...lots of them have already been mentioned. I'd like to suggest Musso Frank Grill. Not only because of its history (it's thought to be the oldest restaurant in Hollywood), but also for much of its food. It's an extraordinary experience overall.

                                    And, yes, we are Angelenos - and Angelenas. Although I quite like Angelesians...I may adopt the name!

                                    Best from kauma

                                    1. I would recommend a sandwich from Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica. The Godmother is amazing.

                                      Bay Cities Italian Deli
                                      1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                      1. I am a visitor from out of town (Chicago), so I can tell you what I've done but I don't have the comprehensive familiarity with a whole lot of places that locals do. I usually visit L.A. for 2-3 days at a time. When I have the ability to choose where I eat, I try to pick a mix of places - a high-end big-bucks place and/or a mid-priced contemporary American type place and/or an ethnic place. On my most recent trip a month ago, the mid-priced contemporary type place I chose was Animal, which just BLEW ME AWAY. I understand why it's so widely praised on this board.

                                        1. WOW! Thank you all so much for the great information and thoughtful recommendations! (I'm sorry for the delayed response; had a little computer trouble.) To answer some questions: We are from Chicago and we will be in CA for about 2 weeks. Staying in LA for 3 nights (Sat-Mon) at the end of April at the Millenium Biltmore. We will have a car. There is nothing in particular we are looking to eat, but rather, really interested to know what locals think are real gems. Again, I really appreciate all the information you have provided - it is very helpful. We are looking forward to our time in LA!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: kf161

                                            I hope the rest of your time in CA is spent up around wine country... :)

                                            With all the places that have recently opened up around Downtown LA, you may not need to travel too far for many of your meals. Here's a recent thread on better Downtown LA restaurants:


                                            You're also close to neighborhoods like Hollywood/North Hollywood (for Thai), Koreatown, Silverlake/Eagle Rock, Highland Park and the San Gabriel Valley (way way over-the-top for just about all things Chinese as well as Vietnamese).

                                            I could easily see you planning your stay around some great places in Downtown LA or no more than 20 minutes drive from your hotel (that is if the traffic gods are in a good mood). Three nights ain't much - you don't want to spend a lot of it driving...

                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                              Excellent logistical advice. From the Biltmore, you are in easy striking distance of good Mexican, Oaxacan, Italian, Thai, Japanese, seafood, steaks, Korean, French/bistro, lesser Chinese places, Langer's and a plethora of bars, wine bars and lounges. You really can stay within a 5 mile radius of the hotel.

                                              1. re: mc michael

                                                That's such great news. Being from Chicago, I am no stranger to wicked traffic and appreciate the advice not to spend too much time driving around. We'll narrow the recommendations to the general area of the hotel. Then, we'll have to come back! Thanks again.

                                          2. Since you will be staying right upstairs, I must add the Water Grill to my list of recommendations. The 2008 Michelin Star establishment, under Executive Chef David LeFevre, is arguably LA’s finest seafood restaurant. David is at the top of his game and consistently seeks to wow his guests and tantalize their taste buds with his innovative, yet very fundamental approach to food preparation and presentation. Food and service are exceptional, as would be expected.

                                            The Chef’s Tasting Menu, in as many courses as you can accommodate, is the way to go here. I truly enjoy the art deco ambience and suggest that you seek to reserve Booth #1 to maximize your dining experience. It affords seclusion yet affords a great view of the expansive kitchen and its impressive dynamics.

                                            The Water Grill
                                            544 S. Grand Ave.
                                            Los Angeles, CA 90071
                                            (213) 891-0900

                                            Water Grill
                                            544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                            1 Reply