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A Chow-worthy neighborhood to move to?

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mdpilam Apr 1, 2010 10:27 AM

I am looking at buying a place in the near future, and was looking to CH to get some recs as to some good "chow-worthy" neighborhoods that would have good food close by, preferably walking distance (I enjoy walking, so, say within 1.5 miles or so). I currently live in WLA, and prefer to stay on the Westside, and preferably in SaMo (though North of Montana is out of the question).

Thanks!

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    bulavinaka RE: mdpilam Apr 1, 2010 10:48 AM

    I think a lot of it depends on what you favor, your average meal price range, etc., and what you define as Westside. To me, the Westside goes from LA 90045/Inglewood to Santa Monica/Brentwood/Bel Air (Pali and Malibu are kinda Westside but are more of a geographic subset), from the beach but its east border is very vague. Beverly Hills, Palms, the Robertson corridor and even parts of the Fairfax area kinda straddle Westside and midtown areas. I grew up reading the LA Times and received the "Westside" section every thursday, reading it extensively. Those areas that I mention were roughly the areas covered by the "Westside" section.

    You already live in an area that has quite a good selection of food choices. Why not stay in West LA? Pico Blvd, Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica Blvd, Wilshire Blvd, Sawtelle Blvd, Westwood Blvd, La Cienega Blvd and San Vicente instantly come to mind as streets that have a fair amount of choices. Those areas around these streets have a great range of food choices.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bulavinaka
      m
      mdpilam RE: bulavinaka Apr 1, 2010 09:48 PM

      I know the "Westside" is loosely defined, and most have a different definition of where it ends, but typically, I think of it as West of the 405, but for this sake, let's assume West of Overland (give or take a few blocks) and North of Jefferson.

      I do like where I live now, and I am considering WLA as well, but was hoping to get some other viewpoints on other areas. Though I live blocks from Sawtelle, I rarely eat there, b/c most of the restaurants are Japanese or fish/seafood restaurants, and I don't care for Japanese (or Ramen or Pho) and I hate fish/seafood. I kinda like Tofu-Ya, but I always feel a bit disappointed b/c I know I can get much better food in K-Town for similar or cheaper prices.

      1. re: mdpilam
        b
        bulavinaka RE: mdpilam Apr 1, 2010 10:22 PM

        I personally think that the further east you go in the Westside, the more options open up. Using West LA as a base, places that get Chow props are in within a 2-3 mile radius of Sepulveda and Santa Monica Blvd. If you go further east, you start getting into mid-city. And at this point, Downtown LA, Silverlake, etc. are a short drive off the 10 - SGV is another 15 minutes past DTLA. Koreatown and east Hollywood is tough from just about anywhere. Santa Monica eats are just a short drive to the west, Venice a little further to the south. I think the general South Bay area comes up a little harder for you, but you've already said you don't do Japanese or seafood. The Valley is dependent on traffic flow more so than just about anywhere since the Sepulveda Pass is really the only practical option from most parts of the Westside. Somewhere between Sawtelle and Overland, Pico and Santa Monica seems to be a good fit. Now if noise and air quality are an issue, stay as far away from the 10 as possible, and stay west of or further east of the 405. And speaking of traffic, that's the one thing I find constantly irritating about so much of the general West LA area - it sucks during so much of the day. :)

    2. Servorg RE: mdpilam Apr 1, 2010 10:54 AM

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/402949

      1. a_and_w RE: mdpilam Apr 1, 2010 12:27 PM

        I think the WLA stretches of Santa Monica Blvd. immediately east and west of the 405 are both very walkable and chow worthy. On the east side, there's Westwood Blvd, and to the west, you have Sawtelle. As a bonus, you have access to excellent public transportation, both local and express. The area around Olympic has two spots that host different trucks on regular basis. Plus, there's a Ralph's and Trader Joe's for shopping needs. There's even a small farmer's market by the library, and the SM one is a short bus or bike ride down SM Blvd.

        The other area I'd consider is Wilshire/26th in Santa Monica. You have a Whole Foods and some restaurants, including the Shack, Wilshire, and CCC right there. And the stuff on Montana is just a short walk away. Between the two, I'd pick WLA, but the SM option isn't too shabby either.

        1 Reply
        1. re: a_and_w
          m
          mdpilam RE: a_and_w Apr 1, 2010 09:53 PM

          Thanks, Wilshire/26th (Mid-City) is one of the areas I'm looking at.

        2. J.L. RE: mdpilam Apr 1, 2010 02:05 PM

          You may be interested to know about this thread...

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/637266

          It's a good time to buy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: J.L.
            J.L. RE: J.L. Apr 2, 2010 09:14 PM

            Interests rates are creeping up... Buy soon!

          2. m
            mc michael RE: mdpilam Apr 1, 2010 03:29 PM

            If you're looking high end, you'd go BH-WeHo. If you are a lowend theorist, you look to Monterey Park-Arcadia-Alhambra. If you want a mix, downtown.

            4 Replies
            1. re: mc michael
              westsidegal RE: mc michael Apr 1, 2010 03:40 PM

              all three of those choices would be too far from mariscos chente for me to be happy.

              1. re: mc michael
                m
                mdpilam RE: mc michael Apr 1, 2010 09:58 PM

                What about a low-end theorist (with some mid-range forays) who wants to stay on the Westside?

                1. re: mdpilam
                  m
                  mc michael RE: mdpilam Apr 1, 2010 10:20 PM

                  A lot of interesting things seem to be happening in and around Culver City. Mariscos Chente is not far from there.

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

                  1. re: mc michael
                    westsidegal RE: mc michael Apr 2, 2010 12:06 PM

                    second this recommendation.

              2. a
                annapurna7 RE: mdpilam Apr 2, 2010 02:20 PM

                Palms and Culver City (near Downtown Culver City) is a good chow-worthy area.

                Venice Blvd from Sepulveda to National Blvd has a ton of Ethnic restaurants - Cafe Brasil, Thai Boom, Fidel's, Miyako, Gaby's Mediterranean, Annapurna. I used to walk this stretch of Venice all the time and chose where I wanted to eat while I was walking. It's not the prettiest area, but the food is good. In Downtown Culver City, you have more upscale restaurants and more of a "scene." They even have a farmer's market her eon Tuesday afternoons.

                There are a international grocers too. My favorites are El Camaguey and Payless Produce Market (Halal).

                -----
                Thai Boom
                10863 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                Gaby's Mediterranean
                10445 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                Cafe Brasil
                11736 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90066

                23 Replies
                1. re: annapurna7
                  westsidegal RE: annapurna7 Apr 2, 2010 02:27 PM

                  i'd add to your list:
                  bawarchi
                  m cafe de chaya
                  samosa house
                  samosa house east.

                  1. re: westsidegal
                    a_and_w RE: westsidegal Apr 3, 2010 10:40 AM

                    I'm addicted to Bawarchi... still can't believe how tasty it is.

                  2. re: annapurna7
                    b
                    bulavinaka RE: annapurna7 Apr 2, 2010 02:56 PM

                    Metro Cafe
                    Jasmine
                    Gloria's
                    Sofra
                    Green Peas
                    Mayura
                    Brunello
                    X'otik
                    Sublime Food Lounge
                    Beacon
                    La Dijonaise
                    Blue Bird Cafe
                    Simpang Asia
                    Tito's

                    -----
                    Mayura
                    10406 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                    La Dijonaise Cafe
                    8703 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                    Green Peas
                    4437 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA

                    Sublime Food Lounge
                    8631 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                    1. re: bulavinaka
                      Dommy RE: bulavinaka Apr 2, 2010 04:15 PM

                      And now Mezza! :)

                      http://www.laweekly.com/2010-04-01/ea...

                      With their awesome fried cauliflower!

                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                      --Dommy!

                      1. re: Dommy
                        b
                        bulavinaka RE: Dommy Apr 2, 2010 05:44 PM

                        WOHWAH! Looks like you've been already - how was it?

                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          Dommy RE: bulavinaka Apr 2, 2010 08:25 PM

                          I pretty much agree with Mr. Gold. I like Hayats better, but that's no where NEAR bike distance for me. So far thumbs up on the spicy humus, the fried cauliflower, the tabouli (Which is really phenominal) and the fafel which falls into the same type as Hayats....

                          So I'm thrilled to have it in the neighborhood... We look forward to exploring more of the menu, plus It's a really great change of pace from all the Indian and Sandwiches on this side of town...

                          --Dommy!

                          1. re: Dommy
                            b
                            bulavinaka RE: Dommy Apr 2, 2010 08:42 PM

                            You took too long in responding so we had to go ourselves to quench our serious curiosity. ;-)/ We already had plans to head down to Torrance for some Torihei-in' but after seeing your post and accompanying photos, I told the family we were changing course to Culver City. Are we glad we did. I don't need to head to Westwood to scratch this itch anymore. Really great rec, Dommy! - Thanks very much.

                            1. re: bulavinaka
                              Dommy RE: bulavinaka Apr 2, 2010 09:31 PM

                              Hurrah! So glad you enjoyed it! I forgot to mention they are also working on getting a Beer and wine license... I totally LOVE Falafel and beer! So few places even give me the option! :D

                              --Dommy!

                              1. re: Dommy
                                b
                                bulavinaka RE: Dommy Apr 2, 2010 11:23 PM

                                I just posted my first thoughts on Mezza. I hope it's worthy of this delicious place and your reading. :)

                        2. re: Dommy
                          a_and_w RE: Dommy Apr 3, 2010 10:40 AM

                          Wow... those pictures look good enough to eat, Dommy!!

                        3. re: bulavinaka
                          Discokill RE: bulavinaka Apr 3, 2010 06:45 AM

                          Skratch
                          Akasha
                          Tender Greens
                          Tacos Don Jorge
                          Taqueira Sanchez
                          Taco Miendo
                          The Smart & FInal Cemitas Truck
                          Father's Office
                          Pitfire Pizza
                          Curious Palate
                          Surfas Cafe

                          Furthing my theory that a disproportionate number of Chow posters live in the CC/Palms area.

                          1. re: Discokill
                            Dommy RE: Discokill Apr 3, 2010 08:54 AM

                            If you are going down to pitfire....

                            Sazon Latin Fusion (The best flan EVER! I bought P. a whole tray for his birthday!)

                            http://twitpic.com/196q62

                            Rockenwager Bakery (We actually were glad to move from THAT end of Culver City because we lived right behind it and it was getting TOO tempting just to hop over for a bacon twist or raspberry white chocolate scone....

                            --Dommy!

                            -----
                            Sazon Latin Fusion
                            12406 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                            1. re: Dommy
                              a_and_w RE: Dommy Apr 3, 2010 10:43 AM

                              Those Rockenwagner bacon twists are delish! My friend also raves about the coffee.

                            2. re: Discokill
                              a_and_w RE: Discokill Apr 3, 2010 10:43 AM

                              Sadly, the cemitas at the Angelica Truck in front of the Smart & Final have been off my last few visits. I'm reluctantly shifting back to the tacos.

                            3. re: bulavinaka
                              a_and_w RE: bulavinaka Apr 3, 2010 10:38 AM

                              A friend of mine was just raving about the lunch he had at Green Peas.

                              -----
                              Green Peas
                              4437 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA

                            4. re: annapurna7
                              j
                              Jase RE: annapurna7 Apr 3, 2010 08:54 AM

                              We live near the corner of Inglewood and Washington where The Wood is located. We have an informal two mile radius for walking to a meal. From there we can range to Overland and Venice going east or Washington and Lincoln going west. There is so much great food within walking distance. Most of which is already listed by the other posters. Having a bike and willingness to hop on public transportation also makes it really easy. Even if you have to drive, the distances are short enough the traffic doesn't get to you.

                              I'd also add Top Valu to the grocery store list. They have fresh made tortillas daily for cheap. A Cemitas truck that is parked out there most evenings. It's related to the Smart and Final one I believe.

                              And if you care, there's some decent bars and divey bars. Have a few drinks and stumble home. Personally we prefer to go to Marisco Chente, get a cubeta and some seafood and walk home if we're in a drinking mood.

                              I also think the prices around the Mar Vista area is some of your better values for the Westside. But I'm biased.

                              1. re: Jase
                                b
                                bulavinaka RE: Jase Apr 3, 2010 09:24 AM

                                I normally hit up the cemitas truck (Angelica (sp.?)) for cemitas - they're very good. I saw a small hand-written sign in one of the windows: "Torta Cubanas," with a brief list of the components. I personally enjoyed it, but it's definitely got more heft than their other sandwiches. I posted this under the "Best Sandwich" thread:

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/405651

                                >>I also think the prices around the Mar Vista area is some of your better values for the Westside. But I'm biased.<<

                                I don't think you are. Every area and neighborhood in LA has its pluses and minuses - the Westside area west of the 405 is no exception. The one general factor that becomes increasingly important is weather and air quality. Yes, it's declined some over the past 10 years as population and traffic density have increased, but most parts of this general area still have air quality and weather that just can't be compensated for in any way in other parts of LA. My dad travels a lot over most of the US, Asia and Latin America; sometimes to Europe and even Africa - pretty much the whole world. Invariably, after he returns, he can't help but comment on how he considers the weather specifically in the Westside area around Mar Vista is consistently the best in the world to him. Throw in the ethnic diversity, job availability and ever-improving Chow factor, and it adds up to great value in the long run for those who seek these things.

                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                  j
                                  Jase RE: bulavinaka Apr 3, 2010 09:47 AM

                                  We hit the Angelica truck when we do our S&F runs, will definitely have to give the Torta a shot, thanks! We like the Tortas at El Super Taco, how do you think they compare?

                                  Not to get too far off chow topic, but in addition to work proximity, etc, the air and weather was a good bonus in our decision process. We are very grateful for the combination of factors that allow us access to good chow in a nice area and ability to walk or take public transportation to most things. People are always shock I take the bus to work and walk home most days. Very un-LA like.

                                  1. re: Jase
                                    b
                                    bulavinaka RE: Jase Apr 3, 2010 09:50 AM

                                    I haven't tried El Super Taco's. Which one do you usually go to? I'll give it a shot.

                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                      j
                                      Jase RE: bulavinaka Apr 3, 2010 09:58 AM

                                      We're closer to the one near Jefferson and the freeway entrance but find that one inconsistent, probably due to the lack of traffic.

                                      I generally prefer the original one near Monte Alban but since the one on Pico/Sawtelle is walking distance from my work, I end up at that one more frequently. But between those two, I think I'm just splitting hairs which one I prefer whether it be tacos or Tortas. Wife loves the cubano and gets that much more than the tacos. But she loves Cemitas and Tortas though.

                                      -----
                                      Monte Alban
                                      11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                        m
                                        mdpilam RE: bulavinaka Apr 3, 2010 11:55 AM

                                        I like the tortas at El Super Taco as well, and I prefer the original next to Monte Alban. But comparing the two (cemitas and tortas), I prefer the cemitas at the S&F truck.

                                        -----
                                        Monte Alban
                                        11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                        1. re: mdpilam
                                          b
                                          bulavinaka RE: mdpilam Apr 3, 2010 03:50 PM

                                          I was hoping the one in Culver City would be a nice addition to the lower Westside, but considering how long the delay in construction went and the less than optimal location for turnover, I was fearing they might have consistency issues at best. I personally prefer cemitas as well, but I've only been exposed to the examples from the local trucks. Seems with tortas, one can get quite a few different styles as they are found in so many places.

                                          Seems north-central CC/Palms has a pretty good run on this thread. Don't know what your price range or other priorities are in your search, but there are some pretty neighborhoods in many pockets of CC, albeit kinda smallish lots, and the Palms area between Sepulveda, Charnock, Westwood and National have a nice feel to them. The lack of sidewalks around many of the streets has as much a country road feel to them as one can get around that part of the Westside. Good luck in your search. :)

                                2. re: annapurna7
                                  a_and_w RE: annapurna7 Apr 3, 2010 10:39 AM

                                  I've been chowing in this area a lot recently, annapurna7, and I totally agree that it's very chow-worthy.

                                3. ellaystingray RE: mdpilam Apr 3, 2010 07:35 PM

                                  Luckily, there is little reason to live North of Montana if you want to walk to things other than Giorgio Baldi, Sam's, Defini or the Golden Bull. However, just South of Montana is golden. Sure, some will say go Downtown or to the SGV but seriously, if you have the means, stay in this part of town. Sure, haters love to say the Westside has no good food but...

                                  Melisse, Bay Cities, Rustic Canyon, Fig, Cora's, Joe's Pizza, La Playita, Musha, Huckleberry, Wilshire, Caffe Luxxe, Father's Office, Chinios, JiRaffe, La Cachette, Cache, Bar Pinxto, Annisette, Stefan's on Montana, Michael's, Border Grill, Blue Plate Oysterette....and that is before you get into non-purist catagories like, Scene, Cocktail, Chain but good, Time Machines and such that are right here. Penthouse and Whist, Lobster and Ivy By the Shore, Catch, the restaurant at Shangri La and One Pico/Peddles, Chez Jay, Big Dean's, The Galley, Copa d' Oro and Chloe, Boa, R&D, Robata Bar, Ocean Ave., I Cugini. I am leaving tons of things behind.

                                  Get bread at the corner of Lincoln and Montana at Pioneer Boulangerie, at Bay Cities or at Le Pain Quotidien. In a pinch there are two Whole Foods in Santa Monica and one just East in Brentwood.

                                  And if coffee means that much, just get in a car for quick trip to Intelligensia in Venice. And speaking of cars, within 10 mins are amongst others: Sasabune, Etchego, Hide, Hiko, Orris, Nook, Joe's, Primativo, Valentino, Vincenti, Piccolo,...okay, I think you get the point.

                                  AND, think of all the food trucks that love the Westside.

                                  -----
                                  Chez Jay
                                  1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                  Border Grill
                                  1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                  Wilshire Restaurant
                                  2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                  La Cachette
                                  Little Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

                                  Musha
                                  424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                  Pioneer Boulangerie
                                  804 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                  I Cugini
                                  1501 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                  La Playita
                                  3306 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                  Caffe Luxxe
                                  925 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                  Vincenti Restaurant
                                  11930 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                  Blue Plate
                                  1415 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                  Father's Office Bar
                                  1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                                  Golden Bull Restaurant
                                  170 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

                                  Sasabune
                                  12400 Wilshire Blvd Ste 150, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                  Robata Bar
                                  1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ellaystingray
                                    ellaystingray RE: ellaystingray Apr 5, 2010 12:37 AM

                                    Just a few highlights I forgot that are in the immediate area,

                                    Fraiche
                                    La Botte
                                    Via Veneto (tons of controversy here and I agree, but if you know what you are doing...)
                                    Cha Cha Chicken
                                    Santa Monica Seafood

                                    And in a car for a few seconds...

                                    Heck, all of Sawtelle, Zankou Chicken, Taco Miendo, La Flama, Curious Palate, dang--all of Abbot Kinney and Culver City....I haven't even gone East of the 405 yet! Wait, Zankou is just on the "other side." Brentwood has a few good eats too. It might not be a short jog but the scenery along San Vicente would be worth it on most days. I am talking about the houses and fancy cars and watching people get pulled over for speeding who have more money than some small countries.

                                    Also, some Westside lifer secrets...Le Petite Cafe, the Shack Burger at the Shack on Wilshire just West of 26th, Capo (for that night when you need to impress her with how well you can provide for your offspring and lighting money on fire seems like a good idea), Modo Mio in the Palisades and the Scottish breakfast at the Cock & Bull--painfully authentic...or maybe that was the hangover.

                                    We also know that whatever goes into the Brentwood Country Mart will at least be interesting and there are two spaces South of Ivy at the Shore (just North of Il Forniao) right now begging for chow-worthy proprietors. Oh, and I haven't been to Ado on Main just South of Rose...and in that area, the taco truck at Fourth and Rose and the one just South of Rose on Lincoln are nice!

                                    I guess what I am saying is that, you are here. Stay on the Westside. Sure, there is great food all over the greater Southland area but there's tons of exploration right around the supposed black hole of Santa Monica. Don't let the chatter drown out the reality, which at least according to Michelin, says the three best restaurants in Los Angeles are a 15 minute drive (Spago and Urasawa) or a 15 minute walk (Melisse) away. And once you can't afford to eat out any more, try Gallegos Market and Guidi Marcello.

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

                                    Wilshire Restaurant
                                    2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                    Via Veneto
                                    3009 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                    Guidi Marcello
                                    1649 10th St, Santa Monica, CA

                                    Cha Cha Chicken
                                    1906 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                    The Curious Palate
                                    12034 Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista, CA

                                    Modo Mio
                                    15200 Sunset blvd., Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

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