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Moving to LA. Which neighborhood for a Hound?

Hello,
This summer, my partner and I are moving to LA from Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
I don't know LA that well, so I've been having fun learning about the neighborhoods, and trying to decide where to look for a home.
I realized that many of our preferences revolve around food, so I thought I would turn to all of you for suggestions.
Non-food requirements: Under 30 min commute to Westwood. Two-bedroom apartment under $2000/mo.

Here are the food-related desires:
- Friendly, good coffee shop in walking distance (comfortable for sitting and reading/working)
- A neighborhood watering hole or two -- we prefer the quiet and friendly to loud and overcrowded.
- Tasty, inexpensive takeout
- Nearby variety of groceries (Whole Foods or TJs?)
- At least one very good, interesting restaurant (tasty and good, but not fine dining/expensive) that we're excited to take guests to when they come to visit.

Your thoughts? Los Feliz, Ktown, MidWilshire, West LA...?
Thanks!

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    1. re: J.L.

      We used to live in WLA near Westwood (near Santa Monica and Westwood), a 15-20 minute walk or 5 minute bike ride from Westwood Village. We found a 2 br for about $1600-1700, and liked the area quite a bit more than we thought we would (we're mostly east-siders). Philly West is nearby as a neighborhood bar and for their sandwiches / burgers, and it's not too bad a bike ride to the Daily Pint. Not the greatest takeout; Sunnin for Lebanese food is pretty good, and there's some so-so Thai places nearby.

      Coffee places... so-so. There's a Peets on Westwood just south of Santa Monica; maybe a couple of similar places. Up in Westwood Village there are some more relaxed places, but I imagine the coffee is only so-so. Funnel Mill (in Santa Monica) is worth a visit, but not quite walking distance. There's a Whole Foods in Westwood Village, and the little Middle Eastern markets nearby are actually very convenient, and sometimes have some great deals. Also, the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica Farmers Markets are probably two of the best in the city.

      Aside from the Persian places along Westwood, there's nothing super exciting as far as somewhat nicer places, but there is some good food around. Also, that area is very close to both Santa Monica and Culver City; since Westwood is a huge pain to commute to, I'd recommend living closer to work / school and then driving a little more when you want to eat something special.

      I think Los Feliz is a great, really walkable neighborhood with a lot of what you're looking for. The commute could be < 30 min on a good day, but I think you'd be looking at 45 min more of the time.

      -----
      Funnel Mill
      930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

      Daily Pint
      2310 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

      1. re: will47

        The commute is king. Westwood is a 0-minute drive from Westwood. Not having to get in the F$%^in' car... priceless.

        Alcazar Express, Javan, Literati Cafe, Amandine, Sawtelle, Wakasan are all close to it.

        -----
        Wakasan
        1929 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. In case you didn't know, Mitsuwa in Little Tokyo is gone. I think the Korean H-Mart chain took over the space.

        1. In response to coffeebrownies:
          For groceries, there is a Trader Joe's in Hollywood, 10 mins from DTLA on the red line subway (ultra convenient since you don't have to worry about parking). Not to mention the Little Tokyo Galleria Marketplace in Little Tokyo, which is excellent.

          For movies theaters, the LA Live complex has movie theaters galore.

          Regarding the statement that the "community shuts down" at night, here's an LATimes article that talks about downtown LA, which provides a different perspective about nightlife in DTLA:

          http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

        2. You should check out Culver City. Much better air quality (read cooler and cleaner) than downtown and it has become the hot restaurant mecca for the west side.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Servorg

            Culver City is a great suggestion. Also, you may want to consider the area around Olympic and Sawtelle in W.L.A.

            1. re: maudies5

              I like both of these recommendations.
              Literati is the coffee shop you want in West L.A. (Bundy/Wilshire). Bar Food is a fabulous hang for casual drinks. and 118 restaurants deliver to the area (90025)

              The only two real problems with Westwood traffic are UCLA and the 3-year 405 fwy renovation. Your ability to stay OFF the freeway is key. And, traffic is always tolerable on Wilshire as long as UCLA is not in session (or god forbid, the president is in town. hah)

              1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                Literati is cool, but the tables are kinda small.

            2. re: Servorg

              third the culver city area
              less congested than westwood
              FAR better traffic/air quality conditions than downtown
              absolutely terrific choices for food locally and within EASY driving distance to all of the westside.
              good freeway access (because, let's face it, if you are food adventurers you will be driving some of the time).

              1. re: westsidegal

                some things i like in culver city:
                surfa's
                conservatory coffee and tea
                akasha
                father's office
                proximity to gjelina in venice :)
                mariscos chente (not it's not quite the same, though i've had good meals, since S left)

              2. re: Servorg

                Folks, we realize this topic is discussion is going to stray into non-food territory and that's allowed to some degree. However, we removed a tangent about air quality, and we're going to ask everyone to steer back toward food discussion, since that's what we're best at.

              3. My vote is the Santa Monica/Venice area. A little more money but worth it and not just for the air quality.

                1. Lots of Westsiders chiming in, which makes sense if you're commuting to Westwood. Agree that downtown, while great for all things food and culture, will be rush hour drag. I would allow 40 minutes for that trip. (of course on a Sunday morning it would be 15). Western Ktown would be a good eastside option. Definitely the most interesting food, especially if you love Korean. Loads of great Asian and Mexican food (taco trucks galore). But It may be more ethnic/urban than you're looking for if Whole Foods, TJ's, lattes, and martinis are your thing. Not sure what prices in West Hollywood are for 2-brs these days, but it would be close to Westwood and has loads of all that.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jesstifer

                    The problem I have with the general KoreaTown area is that traffic is a nightmare. If there were any part of town that I would implement a local mass transit program as well as levy stiff tolls on drivers, it would be this area. There is no easy way to get in and out of this area, if the Westside is the target. Relying on major boulevards around this neighborhood as pathways to and from is a date with insanity.

                    1. re: jesstifer

                      it has taken me 40 minutes to get from one downtown location to another downtown location at rush hour.
                      to top it off, bottega louis, the restaurant that was the destination of that horrible trip, served me an equally horrible meal.