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Looking for good dinner near LAX (not impossible I hope!)

I'm on a in and out business trip and want to eat dinner next Monday night somewhere near LAX (am staying in one of the hotels on Century). Any suggestions for eiher:

-good bistro
-mexican
-vietnamese

I'm on an expense account, so price no object (within reason).

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  1. I recommend Pann's an LA classic 1950's diner with great food 5 minutes from LAX. A real treat with homemade biscuits and all.
    http://www.panns.com/

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    Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
    6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

    9 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      Just came back from Pann's tonight. They're good as ever, but kinda slow. They used to close at 11PM but our dear waitress said that things have slowed down at night so they're now closing at 10PM.

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      Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
      6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

      1. re: bulavinaka

        Pann's hours: Sunday- Wednesday. 7:00am – 9:00pm. Thursday – Saturday 7:00am – 11:00pm.

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        Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
        6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

        1. re: wienermobile

          Thanks for posting the hours for Pann's. I did go last night and the waitress said that they're already in "summer hours" mode. I didn't ask what their other hours would be, but she did say that because they've been all standing around looking at each other with nothing to do after 10PM on weekends, that they have been closing at 10PM on Fridays and Saturdays for now.

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          Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
          6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

          1. re: wienermobile

            Pann's is open 7 days a week. Don't know where you got the "closed Monday" information, but it's not right.

            1. re: Servorg

              I'm stupid, I read it wrong. Pann's is open Monday 7am- 9pm. Sorry.

              1. re: wienermobile

                Weird. Normally restaurants don't want to put off prospective customers by telling them they are closed when they're not. In fact, with Internet listings I find the opposite to be true. Restaurants routinely list being open when they are not (and which totally bums me out when I assume the info is right and get there to find them shut).

                1. re: wienermobile

                  No worries. I do stuff exactly like that ALL the time. Just don't want to cost Pann's any business. They are an LA treasure (in my mind) and hope they stay around for many years to come.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    I agree 100%. I love Pann's. Maybe the best patty melt on earth.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      And that is what I had for dinner last night. And, yet it is the best patty melt I've ever had on earth. :)

        2. We've been hitting Second City Bistro over the past few weekends. They're located in El Segundo, just south of LAX. Food, wine list and service have been very good. Their entrées can be a little pricey, but the servings are generous and the quality is great. If you like rack of lamb, they have a different rack of lamb style each day.

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          Second City Bistro
          223 Richmond St, El Segundo, CA 90245

          1. I can't think of anything Vietnamese close to the airport, but for Mexican cuisine, you might consider Mariscos Chente. Based on our beloved poster streetgourmetla, this is a superb rendition of seafood from the Pacific states of Sinaloa and Nayarit. I'll take his word for it as I wouldn't know the difference had he not given Chowpups like me the inside skinny on this type of Mexican cuisine. All I know is it's some of the best seafood - Mexican or otherwise - I've tried in a long long time. I mean really long time. There are two within striking distance of LAX. The closest one would be in the Inglewood/Lennox area which is adjacent to LAX, and home of the master chef, Sergio Penuelas. The other unit is in Mar Vista - about 10-15 minutes north of LAX. This used to be the one to go to, as Sergio was at the helm here for quite a while. Reports have been a little mixed but mostly positive that the Mar Vista location is still very very good. But since you won't have a chance to try both to compare, I'd go with the sure bet in the first place that I mentioned. But even still, you may need to call to verify if Sergio is indeed there when you plan on going.

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

            Mariscos Chente
            10820 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

            3 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              should be noted that sergio penuelas (imho, THE MASTER) is not at lennox every day.
              i call to confirm before i go:
              310-672-0226

              1. re: westsidegal

                Is he sometimes back on Centinela?

            2. Here is a link for LA food critic Jonathan Gold's suggestions for LAX area.
              http://www.laweekly.com/2010-05-27/ea...

              15 Replies
              1. re: wienermobile

                I'm surprised no one, including Gold, mentions Aliki's, easily one of the top Greek places in town, and ever so close to LAX.

                1. re: epop

                  It might be because not many of us have been (at least this goes for me!). We pick up their goods at the Mar Vista FM almost every weekend - those are pretty good. But when the weekend rolls around (when we usually go out to eat), Aliki falls off our Chowdar since they're kinda in no-Chow land. Car rentals, USPS office, light industrial, etc. around there, so they're kind of an island out there.

                  Do you know if they have any weekend specials or regular dishes that should be considered? This may put them on our map. Thanks!

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    B,

                    You've mentioned the Aliki's stand in the Mar Vista FM a few times. Which one is it? I looked for it a couple of weeks ago and didn't see them. You're not referring to the one between the bread stand and mexican food one are you? That was the closest I could find to a Greek type food but their signage didn't say Aliki's.

                    Of course I'm entirely open to the idea I'm just blind and stupid and have missed it this whole time.

                    1. re: Jase

                      Hi Jase,

                      Yes, that's that stand. Usually a couple of guys in their twenties are behind the stand, offering samples of their goods.

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        That's Aliki's? Their stuff and signage doesn't say anything about Aliki. It certainly didn't look like anything similar to what I've seen when we've been in Aliki's. Weird. Okay, Thanks for the intel. I'll have to take another look and taste this weekend.

                        1. re: Jase

                          That info about Aliki's is what the guys in the stand told us - I'm guessing it should be on the up and up...

                          1. re: Jase

                            Hi Jase,

                            I wanted to clarify my post about the stand selling Greek/Mediterranean goods at the Sunday Mar Vista FM. I spoke with one of the guys this past Sunday about their association with Aliki's, and he told me that they only used Aliki's kitchen in order to satisfy LA health code. They are Greek, but their ties to Aliki are not direct in the sense that Aliki's is making the goods themselves. Sorry to mislead you. To further the confusion, they no longer use Aliki's kitchen for their goods. They moved to a Greek deli in Hawthorne. I didn't catch the name - will try again next weekend.

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              Aliki story if I ever heard one... ;-D>

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Zinged again by the arrows of the Greek God of Satire... :)

                              2. re: bulavinaka

                                Thanks for the follow up. Glad to know I wasn't hallucinating, at least when it came to this place. What do you like from them? So far, I've only liked their garlic sauce. Their pita seems to be hit and miss. I usually get my pita from the stand across the way.

                                1. re: Jase

                                  We like their sun-dried tomato products; sun-dried tomatoes, feta with sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil, sun-dried tomato spread (I think they kick up the last two with garlic and ?), the hummus w/ jalapeno, and their tabouli is usually good - not great. Their goat's milk yogurt is is good as well.

                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                    their feta is great. I know people who love their version of mousakka. I'm speaking here of their farmers market products.

                                    I was there at Aliki recently and Peter the owner said that he's been so busy with the farmers market part of things. So I'm confused by bulavinka's post. I'll clarify it the next time I go there, which may be a few weeks.

                                    1. re: epop

                                      Sorry if I'm causing any confusion about the Greek stand at the Mar Vista FM relative to Aliki. I was told about the Hawthorne location change this past weekend - maybe it's a very recent change, or am I stepping in and out of bizarro world?

                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                        You two have me completely confused now. We like Aliki's food. But that Mar Vista stand regardless of affiliation, we haven't been as enamored of their products.

                        2. re: bulavinaka

                          Great gyros. Lots of greek specialties, including a tasty high protein mousakka (which is tasty even though I don't like mousakka). Fish specials often. They've horta (the Greek wild greens) and all sorts of things that anyone who has been to Greece will recognize. It is more like a family taverna, not just the dips and things they bring to the farmer's markets.

                    2. For Bistro fare, I would suggest either Paul Martin or Tin Roof. For Mexican, I concur on Mariscos Chente. Vietnamese is scarce in that area but there is a pretty good Thai restaurant nearby called Ayara. Pann's is wonderful but it is a diner (classic Googie architecture and great fried chicken)--also, I think it closes at about 9 on Monday, if that matters. For more upscale, not too far away, Cafe Del Rey in the Marina is an excellent choice.

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                      Cafe Del Rey
                      4451 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

                      Ayara Thai Cuisine
                      6245 W 87th St, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                      Paul Martin's American Bistro
                      2361 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 180, El Segundo, CA 90245

                      Tin Roof Bistro
                      3500 Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: New Trial

                          on my recent trip to Cozumel hubby and I were looking for dinner very close to LAX coming and going...

                          Going (to Mexico): Mariscos Chente (the Inglewood location, which was walking distance from the hotel we chose to overnight at before an early am flight. It was an accidental choice: we were walking to a nearby drug store to pick up a few last minute items for the trip, and discussing where to head for dinner and there it was, just when some rain was threatening! Woohoo!) Anyway, it was outstanding (I've eaten at the Mar Vista location twice, this was my first visit to the Inglewood location, and while I didn't ask if Sergio was in the kitchen, I am guessing that perhaps he was because it was probably the best of my three visits.) It was better than most of the food I had in Cozumel (we did have one outstanding meal in Cancun, which I hope to find time to report on soon on the Mexico board). Anyway, I've decided that the camarones a la diabla there are my favorite version anywhere.

                          Coming back from Mexico: we decided that perhaps having more Mexican seafood was a bit silly (at least hubby did, I'd happily have gone back to MC)...but were starving after landing at dinner time, so headed to Ayara Thai before hitting the road to North Hills to my daughter's place. Personally, I like Thai Boom in Culver City area better (and it would have been on our way more or less) but hubby wanted a beer (Thai Boom is dry, though you can BYO), and we were ready to eat and drink right away.

                          I was surprised how crowded Ayara was (think it was a Sat night, so perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised) but we were seated promptly. While the food wasn't outstanding, it hit the spot. I remember trying the Thai beef jerky, which was interesting. Noodles were also good. Not a bad choice for the area.

                          And I do love Pann's though hubby is not a fried chicken fan, so didn't suggest it that trip. Go figure! However, will be heading down to LA next week for a spell, so hope to reaquaint myself....

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                          Thai Boom
                          10863 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                          Mariscos Chente
                          10020 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

                          1. re: New Trial

                            second the CAFE DEL REY recommendation, even though it's a bit north of LAX.
                            the food there is excellent.
                            the bar/lounge area is very comfortable for solo dining.
                            the wine-by-the-glass list is better than solid.
                            the service has always been wonderful for me.

                            i like this place so much, it's on my regular rotation.
                            VERY comfortable for solo dining as well as for business meals.
                            if you're on an expense account, this would be the place i'd choose.
                            http://cafedelreymarina.com/

                          2. I seem to be the only one to mention "The Proud Bird".

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                            Proud Bird
                            11022 Aviation Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                            17 Replies
                            1. re: mucho gordo

                              That's because the bird may be proud, but not of its food... ;-D>

                              1. re: Servorg

                                I kinda figured that was the reason. I admit it's not haute cuisine or am epicure's dream but the couple of times I've been there, the food wasn't THAT bad.

                                1. re: mucho gordo

                                  It reminds me of a place that serves "banquet" type food on a permanent basis. Have you ever tried their AYCE Sunday (and maybe Saturday too?) brunch? Very much like the one at Shanghai Red's in Marina Del Rey. Not terrible and kind of fun on a once a year basis.

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                                  Shanghai Red's
                                  13813 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    I was there twice; once for a wedding and I don't remember too much about the 2nd time so, you're probably right about "banquet food".

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      "Very much like the one at Shanghai Red's" ... that's probably because Shanghai Red, Proud Bird and 94th Aero Squadron at the Van Nuys airport all have the same ownership :)

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                                      Proud Bird
                                      11022 Aviation Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                      Shanghai Red's
                                      13813 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

                                      1. re: HastaLaPasta

                                        Along with Luminarias, Monterey Hill Steak & Seafood Restaurant, The Odyssey, Castaway....all owned by Specialty Restaurant Group.

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                                        Monterey Hill
                                        3700 Ramona Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                2. re: mucho gordo

                                  respectfully disagree with the recommendation of the Proud Bird.
                                  imho, food not good.

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                                  Proud Bird
                                  11022 Aviation Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                    The Proud Bird serves typical restaurant food. Granted, it is not haute cuisine and I don't think it is Zagat rated, but they've been around for many years and people do enjoy the ambience as well as the food.
                                    Have you tried it more than once? Maybe you hit it on an off night or just ordered the wrong thing.

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                                    Proud Bird
                                    11022 Aviation Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                      Westsidegal is correct. I have unfortunately been to the Proud Bird numerous times and I would never ever go there again by choice.

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                                      Proud Bird
                                      11022 Aviation Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                        I worked literally around the corner from it for several years in the mid '70's and we did everything within our power to avoid eating there (and still got trapped into it a few times).

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          Can you tell me exactly what was wrong....the food....the service???
                                          It sounds like the times you've been there were for special occasions and had no choice. Few restaurants do well with banquets and it isn't really fair to judge them by that alone.

                                          1. re: mucho gordo

                                            You know how people make jokes about rubber chicken. I think this is where the joke must of started.

                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                              I can't argue with that. I was there for a wedding and some other non-memorable event. I just don't like to judge a place based solely on their banquet menu.

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                Definitely the rubber chicken circuit. Went to a couple political fund raising dinners and reason why it was held there because its a union house.

                                                1. re: monku

                                                  it used to be my go-to place for taking out taft-hartley clients/prospects for the same reason.
                                                  (i always ate before going)

                                              2. re: mucho gordo

                                                in answer to your question mucho gordo,
                                                the food is what is wrong.

                                      2. I'd go with Paul Martin's for American / Bistro type food in El Segundo / Manhattan Beach. Paco's Taco's (not the fanciest place, but great food in a sit down atmosphere) for Mexican in Westchester quite close to the airport. For Vietnamese, I'm honestly at a loss for anywhere near LAX. Backup choices would be Houston's in Manhattan Beach / El Segundo for America, and Cozy Mel's across the street for Mexican which is americanized Mexican but good none-the-less.

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                                        Paco's Tacos
                                        2242 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                        1. There is decent Vietnamese in Lawndale, Saigon Dish, just a short drive from LAX, just to let you know.

                                          Tin Roof might be the best bistro in the area.
                                          Mariscos Chente in Lennox for great Mexican seafood. Also West LA, but that location is more uneven.
                                          Pann's for fried chicken
                                          Ayara Thai for good noodle dishes. I like their drunken noodles.

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                                          Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
                                          6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                          Saigon Dish
                                          15725 Hawthorne Blvd Ste 108, Lawndale, CA 90260

                                          Mariscos Chente
                                          10820 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Ogawak

                                            I 2nd Saigon Dish. Good neighborhood Pho.

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                                            Saigon Dish
                                            15725 Hawthorne Blvd Ste 108, Lawndale, CA 90260