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The stomach wants what the stomach wants -- but I need your help anyway.

Disneyfreak Mar 25, 2010 11:03 AM

I have been reading this board extensively lately while trying to come up with my dining plans for my upcoming trip to Los Angeles. I am staying downtown (at least I think its downtown -- this will be my first visit to LA) at the Marriott at LA Live. I will not have a car. I am a female dining solo.

My list of possibilities keeps getting longer. Right now the only reservation I have is for dinner at Jose Andres Bazaar. I understand that nothing in La is close -- or that's what I've been told, but I think I can take the bus to the general area. My spending should cap at around $75 with tax and tip.

Here are my other choices:
Lazy Ox Canteen, Animal, Rivera, Cuidad, Kaysuya, Café Des Artistes, Angelini Osteria,
Osteria Mozza, Tavern, La Market and Lucques.

What do you think? I have 5 nights to account for. Thanks for the help.

-----
Angelini Osteria
7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

Lucques
8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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  1. a
    attran99 RE: Disneyfreak Mar 25, 2010 11:36 AM

    You have some excellent picks. Some of your locations are a bit of a ways away from your hotel. The Bazaar is in Beverly Hills, and though, there are buses....navigating and timing might not be as convenient as you think. I would suggest a cab or car rental if you are set on your choices.

    1. A5 KOBE RE: Disneyfreak Mar 25, 2010 12:03 PM

      Animal is a must while in LA. Definitely go there.

      I would also suggest Church and State, great food and also relatively close to where you are staying.

      1. w
        whatsfordinner RE: Disneyfreak Mar 25, 2010 12:09 PM

        You have a nice mix! Tavern is quite a distance from where you'll be staying and though it has its fans on this board, I don't think its worth the trip. I love Osteria Mozza and prefer it over Angelini Osteria.

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        Angelini Osteria
        7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

        1. b
          Bjartmarr RE: Disneyfreak Mar 25, 2010 12:14 PM

          Try looking for food that's located near the stops on the red line (or purple line) subway; the territory it covers is limited, but it's fast and it goes close to some great Thai and Korean food.

          Whatever you do, make sure to read up on what to order at Jitlada before you stop by. It's not in the same league atmosphere-wise as what you have listed, but the food is spectacular.

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

          6 Replies
          1. re: Bjartmarr
            c
            cjla RE: Bjartmarr Mar 25, 2010 02:09 PM

            I'd recommend using www.mta.net for trip planning over google maps. The MTA site gives a better idea of how long it can be between buses. (Not a slam! I've been happily relying on public transport in LA for three years now.

            )

            What kinds of food do you have access to? Does your stomach go towards anything specific?

            1. re: cjla
              Disneyfreak RE: cjla Mar 26, 2010 07:50 AM

              Thanks! I will check out the MTA website to try to plan out transportation and see how long it will take me.

              My stomach says "get your money's worth!" lol. On a day to day basis money is tight and I wouldn't be looking to spend $75 a night on dinner for myself, but on a business trip it is kind of a reward for working so hard -- even on the weekend when I would normally have time off.

              I've now made reservations at Bazaar and Animal and I am very excited about both. So I have three others to plan.

              1. re: Disneyfreak
                Ciao Bob RE: Disneyfreak Mar 26, 2010 09:49 AM

                Maybe I can help you narrow down your list.
                Is Kaysuya meant to be Katsu-ya? If so, puh-leez don't bother.
                And Café Des Artistes is really nothing at all to spend your cab fare or bus time on. Tavern and Luques have the same chef-owner - Luques is much closer to downtown and better. You have so many fantastic options in and near downtown to try, but if you feel compelled to travel more you ought to consider Spago as well.

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                Spago
                176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                1. re: Ciao Bob
                  wienermobile RE: Ciao Bob Mar 26, 2010 10:05 AM

                  I would second Spago, it's worth the trip. And I would add Pizzeria Mozza for some wonderful LA only tastes.

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                  Spago
                  176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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

                  1. re: wienermobile
                    Jennalynn RE: wienermobile Mar 28, 2010 02:41 PM

                    I will third Spago.

                    It's a classic of LA. And the food is superb. One of the few that consistently lives up to it's hype.

                    -----
                    Spago
                    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                    1. re: Jennalynn
                      WildSwede RE: Jennalynn Mar 31, 2010 03:50 PM

                      Third for Spago. Also, agree Pizzeria Mozza (for their apps, more than their pizza, tho).

                      -----
                      Spago
                      176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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

          2. m
            mlgb RE: Disneyfreak Mar 26, 2010 12:42 PM

            Since you can walk to it, I'd definitely include Rivera. Anything with mole, anything with black cod, duck enfrijolada, crema Catalana.

            If you can time it for lunch or late night, it's a better value than dinner.

            1. t
              terwilliger RE: Disneyfreak Mar 26, 2010 01:21 PM

              Absolutely go to Rivera. Both the food and the cocktails are excellent, and it's about two blocks from your hotel. Don't bother with Katsu-ya or anything else in the LA Live complex.

              There are a lot of places in Downtown that you could walk/cab to: Church & State (cab), Nickel Diner (longish walk), The Gorbals (longish walk, but inconsistent food), Lazy Ox (cab). Church & State would be good for a solo diner because you can eat at the bar if you want.

              I know some people aren't too hot on it, but I think you absolutely have to go to Lucques. You may also want to consider adding Providence to your list.

              -----
              Lucques
              8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

              Nickel Diner
              524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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

              3 Replies
              1. re: terwilliger
                s
                schrutefarms RE: terwilliger Mar 26, 2010 06:09 PM

                I highly doubt the OP could get out of Providence for $75 including tax and tip. But totally agree with Curch and State. And a cocktail at Trader Vics at LA LIve might be kind of fun. But what about Philippes, The Pantry, and Pacific Dining Car? Maybe not culinary nirvana, but nonetheless quintessentially LA.

                -----
                Pacific Dining Car
                1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                Trader Vic's - Mai Tai Lounge
                9876 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                1. re: schrutefarms
                  m
                  mlgb RE: schrutefarms Mar 27, 2010 11:12 AM

                  From OP's intial listing, she seems to care about food quality, so no, NOT the Pantry. I do like Phillipes. Steak usually isn't much of a girl thing.

                2. re: terwilliger
                  Jennalynn RE: terwilliger Mar 28, 2010 02:42 PM

                  Yes... many of those are walkable. But I wouldn't walk as a woman alone after dark to those places.

                3. j
                  Jwsel RE: Disneyfreak Mar 27, 2010 05:14 PM

                  Don't bother with Cuidad either.

                  Definitely look at the downtown restaurants. Rivera is close to your hotel. Other options within a 5-10 block walk are Chaya Downtown (they have a very nice bar menu which would be great for solo dining), as well as high-end chains Roy's and Morton's. Look at the threads here for downtown restaurants for other options. A closer alternative to Angelini Osteria is Drago Centro. Water Grill is also downtown and has fantastic seafood.

                  Most of the places on your list are going to be a substantial distance, so you would be spending a lot of time on subways/buses if you try to get to them. You might want to select two or three places outside of downtown that would be worth the travel. Bazaar and Animal are probably the top places from your list, though you may have trouble getting out of at Bazaar with a $75 cap. Remember that tax in Los Angeles is 9.75%, so figure that tax and tip is going to be close to 25% of your bill (or 30% if you tip 20%). A place like Bazaar that specializes in small plates and drinks will add up quickly, so you might want to balance a few really expensive restaurants with some inexpensive places.

                  If you have any interest in ethnic dining, downtown is just east of Koreatown, You can take a bus along Olympic (the street next to the Marriott) or the Metro from the Metro Center stop to Koreatown and get great meals for a good price. If you like Oaxacan food, Guelaguetza has very nice moles and is about 2 miles down Olympic, at Normandie. (I hosted a lunch at Guelaguetza last year for people attending an event at the Convention Center, right next to the Marriott, and it was very easy for them to reach by bus.) Jitlada for Thai is fairly accessible by taking the red line to the Vermont/Sunset exit and then a bus the ten or so blocks west to Jitlada (try a dish or two off the Southern Thai menu, which has foods that you cannot get elsewhere in the US).

                  If you like tacos or want to try goat birria, El Parian is a tiny hole in the wall about 5 blocks from your hotel. It is on Pico, and not in a great neighborhood, so I would be very careful about walking there alone. Another taqueria option is to take a bus along Pico to King Taco or along Olympic to El Taurino. IIRC, both are at Hoover.

                  Also consider going to Monterey Park or Alhambra for Chinese food. LA has some of the best and most varied Chinese food in the world. Look at some of the threads about the San Gabriel Valley. You can take the gold line to the Atlantic exit and then take a bus on Atlantic to restaurants like Elite and NBC Seafood. (You also may want to look at the Foothill Transit System buses, which run east from downtown LA into the San Gabriel Valley.)

                  -----
                  Angelini Osteria
                  7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                  NBC Seafood Restaurant
                  404 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                  Water Grill
                  544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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

                  El Parian
                  1528 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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

                  El Taurino
                  2306 W 11th St, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                  Chaya Downtown
                  525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Jwsel
                    m
                    mlgb RE: Jwsel Mar 28, 2010 10:21 AM

                    Not sure why the hate for Ciudad. Instead of trekking thru sketchy neighborhoods for tacos, I'd go to Ciudad's Mon-Thurs happy hour ($3 tacos and 1/2 off Mojitios). Sunday tapas is also an option.

                    http://www.ciudad-la.com/

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                    Ciudad
                    445 S Figueroa St Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                    1. re: mlgb
                      j
                      Jwsel RE: mlgb Mar 28, 2010 12:20 PM

                      I'll admit that I haven't been to Ciudad for Happy Hour, but I find the food very lackluster overall. There are a couple good dishes -- the goat cheese fritters and the romaine salad -- but it seems that every time I go there, we see items that sound great in description and are invariably disappointed by the execution. Since I have not had Ciudad's tacos (I don't recall those even being on the regular menu), I can't speak to those.

                      As for "trekking thru sketchy neighborhoods," I always considered part of the wonders of Chowhound. El Parian's goat birria and carne asada tacos are considered among the best in the city. And it's hard to go to a King Taco without going into a neighborhood some would call "sketchy." I can't think of a great taco place in the city that isn't in a "sketchy" neighborhood. And how many other foodie gems are in "sketchy neighborhoods"? Of the recs in this thread alone, Church and State, Lazy Ox, Phillipes, and Jitlada are all in somewhat sketchy neighborhoods.

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

                      Ciudad
                      445 S Figueroa St Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                      El Parian
                      155 E 7th St, Oxnard, CA 93030

                      1. re: Jwsel
                        cant talk...eating RE: Jwsel Mar 28, 2010 02:30 PM

                        Re: "sketchy" - the OP specifically mentioned no car, and dinner.

                        That means waiting for buses on the street, at night, alone and as a woman. Would you really recommend this to someone, esp. someone from out of town? This isn't Manhattan, and our bus system is not set up for first-world comfort, period. As someone who's taken a lot of buses across L.A./SGV day and night, I wouldn't do it to and from downtown at night, period (and I'm a pretty brave guy!). Taking buses around the San Gabriel Valley (also at night) would really take forever, as the volume is so much lower.

                        Either way, I'd suggest this - take a cab the first night to one of the far-flung spots recommended (like Bazaar, for ex.), and as you go back along Pico or Beverly, look around, and if you feel comfortable standing there at night (no benches, sorry!), go for it. Millions of people do each year, and live.

                        And while I'm complaining : ) I don't know about solo Chinese dining in the SGV. Unless you can round up a few friends or don't mind a ton of leftovers, maybe save it for your next trip? I could see doing dim sum in Chinatown one morning (infinitely easier to get to from L.A. Live), but schlepping out to Monterey Park for a banquet for 1 might be uncomfortable and not as memorable as, say, a killer small-plates meal at the bar at AOC or something.

                        1. re: cant talk...eating
                          j
                          Jwsel RE: cant talk...eating Mar 31, 2010 07:57 PM

                          I didn't see where the OP said she was only eating dinner.

                          After dark, you're right about probably not walking or waiting for buses. However, sunset isn't until 7 pm right now, so the OP could probably get to most of the locations before it gets dark and could call a cab to go back to her hotel. A place like Guelaguetza or El Taurino is a 5 minute bus ride from just across the street from her hotel, and the bus drop-off is immediately in front of her hotel. Intersections like Olympic and Normandie and Olympic and Hoover are going to have other people waiting for buses.

                          It's obvious the OP is concerned about cost. To take cabs to West Hollywood or Beverly Hills repeatedly is going to be $20-$25 each way with tip. That's a considerable added expense that may be worthwhile once or twice, but I'm not sure the OP will want to spend that extra amount for every dinner.

                          1. re: Jwsel
                            m
                            mlgb RE: Jwsel Apr 2, 2010 06:22 PM

                            I dunno the words "5 nights to account for" made me think she was asking about dinner.

                  2. t
                    terim1 RE: Disneyfreak Mar 27, 2010 08:24 PM

                    Just had a wonderful dinner at the Lazy Ox. I'd like to add a couple of comments since you are a solo female diner. The food was excellent and since they have a lot of small plates, you can get a variety of tastes - which is a plus. Food was very good and ambiance fun, lively but not overly so. But what I also enjoyed beyond the food was the very warm, casual and unpretentious service. As a female, I think I'd feel very comfortable sitting at the bar or at a table - enjoying the fact that you are greeted as though they are genuinely happy to see you. It's close enough to LA Live (cab ride as someone suggested). Two of us had dinner for $75 each including tip, a shared bottle of wine plus two separate glasses of wine. I feel you can easily do this for under $75. I have not been to all of the other places on your list - but have been to Luques and Osteria Mozza. I rate both of these restaurants high on my list of places I enjoy, but for me, there was a comfort level at the Lazy Ox Canteen that I just really liked. My opinion...but hope it helps.

                    -----
                    Lazy Ox Canteen
                    241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                    1. d
                      dvsndvs RE: Disneyfreak Apr 1, 2010 06:56 PM

                      To the OP, please don't underestimate downtown. This is NOT a place for you to walking around in alone at night. Period. You also should not be taking buses alone at night and our bus system is not simple to understand. Call the conceirge at the hotel. Maybe they offer a shuttle? If not, get a list from him of places that you can safely go on your own at night. Post the list and we will tell you which ones are good!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dvsndvs
                        Disneyfreak RE: dvsndvs Apr 3, 2010 01:46 PM

                        Right now I have reservations at Bazaar, Animal, Rivera, and Lazy Ox Canteen. I will take a cab if neccessary. The other one I want to go to., but i don't have a reservation is Osteria Mozza.

                        -----
                        Lazy Ox Canteen
                        241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                      2. f
                        Fru RE: Disneyfreak Apr 4, 2010 06:55 AM

                        Listen to dvsndvs. A taxi won't be cheap but you do not want to be walking around downtown alone at night. Devote part of your budget to transportation so that you can devote your energies to having a good time and not worrying about your safety. I see you didn't put Church and State on your list. It is one big room but there is a bar and there are tables for 2 that hug the wall and the windows. And like said previously, it is relatively close and a taxi ride there won't break the bank. Also, instead of Osteria Mozza, maybe consider Pizzeria Mozza as you can eat at the bar as well. Since $$ is a consideration, Lucques has a $45 Sunday Supper. Have a great trip!

                        -----
                        Lucques
                        8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Fru
                          p
                          POY RE: Fru Apr 6, 2010 02:25 AM

                          As a single woman on my way to LA for a conference in July, this post has been very helpful. Thank You

                          1. re: Fru
                            j
                            Jwsel RE: Fru Apr 6, 2010 03:22 AM

                            I'm going to play devil's advocate a bit. While I am all for being cautious, a lot of people -- Angelenos included -- tend to overstate the dangers of downtown. Part of that has to do with the history of downtown being very empty at night and filled with vagrants. While there are still some areas of downtown that are unsafe, others are quite active. The LA Live area, which is where the Marriott is located, is now very active, especially when there is an event at Staples Center. I spent a week last March attending the figure skating world championships and walked daily along Figueroa to Roy's/Arnie Morton's/parking lots. Despite being a woman alone, I always felt safe, because there were always a lot of people along those stretches. That is the route to the red line stop at Metro Center and I saw that the bus stops on Olympic seemed to always have people waiting. So for someone on a budget, it really should be feasible to use public transport, particularly to get to restaurants when it is still light outside. (FYI, I knew several women who walked alone after dark to hotels on Main Street without incident. I would not recommend that so much, because the area east of Flower does have some pockets that are very empty at night.)

                            1. re: Jwsel
                              Disneyfreak RE: Jwsel Apr 6, 2010 07:22 AM

                              Thanks to you all for all the insite. I'm a bit nervous because I've never been to LA before and don't have a frame of reference for it -- or getting around. I will try to go early to places so I can take public transit if convenient while it is still light. And I will cab it back after dark.

                              POY -- enjoy your trip too!

                          2. Disneyfreak RE: Disneyfreak Apr 17, 2010 02:21 PM

                            HI all! I'm back from the trip. I will try to work up a dining report for my LA meals, but I wanted to pop on and thank you for all your help. I ended up changing a few of my meal plans once I realized how much money I would be spending on taxis (and yes you warned me.) and my office lowered the per diem at the last minute.

                            I went to: Rivera, CBS seafood for dim sum, Philippe's, Bazaar, Drago Centro, Chaya Downtown and Rivera again. I also went to the Pantry for breakfast one morning -- a friend who lived in LA 16 years ago used to go there and she sent me - the hash brown potatoes and the sourdough bread were yum. I really enjoyed everything.

                            Thanks for all the help.

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

                            Chaya Downtown
                            525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Disneyfreak
                              Jennalynn RE: Disneyfreak Apr 17, 2010 05:18 PM

                              Sounds like you got a real nice cross section!

                              Glad you had a good time.

                            2. d
                              dvsndvs RE: Disneyfreak Apr 17, 2010 02:35 PM

                              Did you manage to take public transit to any of the restaurants?

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