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Moving to West Hollywood

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I'm a very long time poster in the NY outer boroughs board in NY and after 8 years in NYC I am moving with my husband, son, and dog to west hollywood (N Laurel near Melrose). Never lived in LA before though have visited frequently over the years.

Would love any advice for restaurants, bars, food shopping. We're avid cooks and plan to do so frequently. We will eat and do eat almost anything, the more unusual the better (we cook offal dishes frequently, though have also tried to curb our excessively carnivorous ways a bit and have gotten very into vegetarian cooking too). Love Indian, Ethiopian, Mexican, South American, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Sushi, Izakaya, Greek...you name it.

I realize that's a pretty wide mark---but I'm mainly hoping to find the true gems that LA does best (i.e. I know I'm not going to find bagels and pizzas like we get here but the Mexican food will be out of this world), esp the ones not far from where we live. We're hopelessly NYers in thinking we can find some places that we can walk to. Planning to hit Animal as soon as humanly possible (must haves?) and discovered a great little tapas place, Vinoteque on Melrose, when we were in town last renting our home. For perspective, that's walking distance for us from our house.

And to the other home cooks, any advice on butcher shops, cheese shops, farmers markets for fruit and veg would be greatly appreciated.

And of course, if anyone needs any Brooklyn/Manhattan tips, please ask.

Vinoteque on Melrose
7469 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

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  1. Too much to list, of course.
    You're in a great area. You may find most Mexican food in that area disappointing, though you may want to try Gardens of Taxco for the experience.
    For starters, the Whole Foods on Santa Monica, or the Bristol Farms on Beverly are the best all around supermarkets. For specialty meats, Marconda's in the old Farmer's Market will love you if you special order the organs. You're not far from Cheese Store Beverly Hills. My favorite "hidden" sushi in the area is Jinpachi on Santa Monica. For a local bar, happy hour at Mirabelle on Sunset is a good one. Curry Palace on Sunset is a good representation of the state of local Indian (or head to the Coach and Horses next door and eat at the bar.) There are so many farmer's markets now, near you, Hollywood being the best of the large ones IMO and you're not far from Larchmont. Of course, you're close to Mozza, Jar, AOC, Lucques, etc.

    8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

    Gardens of Taxco
    1113 N. Harper Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90046

    Curry Palace
    7617 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

    8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

    8711 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

    1. Evidently there is a pretty new Farmers Market in West Hollywood that started up just last month. We haven't been, but probably worth checking out since it's in your nabe.


      1. We live very near where you are moving and 2 of our favorite restaurants of the moment are House Cafe: http://housecafe.com/

        and Eva: http://www.evarestaurantla.com/

        In terms of non-restaurant stuff , you should definitely check out the new farmers market at Yamashiro's on Thursday night. It is an amzing view over the city and they do valet parking for $2. You can buy stuff to picnic on. The best thing to try though is the Bulgarini Gelato (listed on J. Gold's list of 100 things to eat in LA before you die. He is one of our well know food writers here), the goat milk gelato with cocoa nibs is amazing!

        The other place that might interest you is Hadar Kosher Meats near you on Fairfax:

        They have really good merguez (my hubby is French so I like to make cous cous :) Their prices are about half what the Farmers Market's Chez Marcel charges for the Delices de France brand-although I will confess the more expensive one has the more typical red coloring that Hadar's does.

        Bulgarini Gelato
        749 E Altadena Dr, Altadena, CA 91001

        1999 North Sycamore Ave., Hollywood, CA 90068

        1. For adventurous food, you may want to try District. Their menu is constantly changing and experiments with a wide variety of cuisine and meats. For example, they have a pig heart carpaccio, venison rellenos, and grilled octopus. They were recently reviewed by the LA Times.

          Here's the link: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

          Good luck with the move and welcome to LA :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: LAM7319

            Yes, District is great, as is the Mercantile, next door. Definitely, definitely try the Mercantile's brunch.

            1. re: LAM7319

              Mmm that sounds awesome! Thanks everyone for the wonderful suggestions, so excited about a new terrain of restaurants (for us) to explore.

            2. Welcome to WeHo, Nehna.
              Here is a good thread that includes a lot of my fav spots in and around WeHo
              As for your specifics:
              Indian - not much great in WeHo but search the board there is a lot of excellent Indian in LA but you have to drive
              Ethiopian - Fairfax just S. of Olympic (Little Ethiopia) is close by
              Mexican - Included in the link above
              South American - Mario's Peruvian Seafood and Los Balcones Del Peru are close
              Thai - Talesai in a pinch if you got bucks to burn, otherwise go to Thaitown - Jitlada/Palin/Nadpob Thai Cafe/Sapp Coffee Shop/Spicy BBQ are some of my TTown favs
              Vietnamese - nothing doing in WeHo - 9021Pho in B Hills is the best local bet, otherwise it is San Gabriel Valley or Westminister in OC
              Chinese - Genghis Cohen for NY style, Hunan Taste (meh), some lousy takeout spots but really nothing good - head for San Gabriel for the real stuff
              Sushi - covered in link but for expensive you've got Jinpachi and Nishimura - "bargain" Yabu and many others
              Izakaya - Yatai, Yabu, Katana, Izakaya on 3rd
              Greek - nope.

              Los Balcones Del Peru
              1360 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

              Hunan Taste
              6031 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              8684 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069

              Mario's Peruvian
              15720 Imperial Hwy, La Mirada, CA 90638

              Genghis Cohen
              740 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

              8439 W. Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

              Yabu Restaurant
              11820 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

              8711 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

              9043 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

              8420 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

              3 Replies
              1. re: Ciao Bob

                There are two Greek restaurants nearby: Ulysses Voyage and Sofi's. Your opinion of them may vary depending on what you are used to in Greek food.

                Sofi Greek Restaurant & Garden
                8030 3/4 Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048

                Ulysses Voyage
                6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                1. re: New Trial

                  Sadly I am used to Astoria in NY and nothing I've had here comes close but i never tried UV. Sofi never impressed me but quite honestly it has been a decade. Papa Cristos is OK.

                  Papa Cristos
                  2771 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    Ulysses Voyage is quite good. Their lamb dishes especially. And I used to live in Astoria.

                    Ulysses Voyage
                    6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              2. Welcome to the neighborhood! I like Vinoteque a lot, have been going there since soft opening.

                You're smack in the middle of two Trader Joe's; one on Crescent Heights and Sunset Blvd, the other Santa Monica Blvd and Fuller Ave. The best news is, our grocery stores have wine. I never understood that about NY. The Farmers Market, although filled with tourists, is still a great place for the home chef. The bonanza of farmers markets is Sunday morning in Hollywood at Sunset and Ivar.

                I'll second someone's suggestion for Sofi Greek.

                Jitlada is excellent for Thai but as far as delivery, we've tried all of them and Pink Pepper (on LaBrea/Hollywood) still wins. Many people like Chao Krung on Fairfax across from CBS.

                We can call Vito's NY Pizza all we want but it's still not from NY. It's quite good at its attempts at trying. LaCienega between Willoughby and Waring.

                A nice girls' day out lunch is at Mauro's, the cafe at Fred Segal "department" store, just down the street from you. Very good Italian food. It's very family oriented but my husband always says "that's your place, honey".

                People are very mixed on The Foundry (as am I) but it's a great "date night" place with live music. The grilled cheese does not disappoint. It's next door to Vinoteque.

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

                Chao Krung Restaurant
                111 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                1. although hipster places like ANIMAL are close (on fairfaxs), teh richest selection where you are is the russian stuff. Tons of little delis, counters etc. Santa Monica from Crescent heights to La Brea. There's a place on the north side near Curson - begins with a K... - huge selection of food to go in the deli (salads, hot dishes soups etc) and has a restaurant adjacent with russian and uzbek specialties. Also - traktir at Cresecnet Heights and Santa monica is good for a quickie.
                  Ehtiopian -= very close - check out Fairfax ave between olympic and pico. at least 6 maybe 10 restaurants. Some will even do the ritual coffee service with incense.

                  explore. For something a little odd but fun - Norton and Olympic - Feng Mao - central asian/uyghur style skewers as interpreted by ethnic koreans from northeast china. Both teh chinese dishes and the central asian lamb skweres are killer. liked the quail as well.
                  Have fun.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Jerome

                    Excellent, thank you Jerome, had no idea we would be close to Russian food. Much of my ancestry is Russian so I grew up with a lot of Jewish/Russian peasant food classics. Will absolutely be checking that out. And thanks on the Feng Mao suggestion too, that sounds fantastic.

                    Another question---where can we get our best bet for a Bahn Mi craving? We have a great spot around the corner from us in brooklyn and would hate to think I have to give that up. And is Stumptown coffee impossible to come by in LA? Figuring I'll have to order online to get my fix.

                    1. re: Nehna

                      Bahn Mi I think you have to go to San Gabriel or Little Saigon in the OC - there is a vietnamese food truck called Nom Nom http://nomnomtruck.com/ that I have tried and liked, once near a regular food truck convening location in front of the E! studios on Wilshire (lots of food trucks now in LA, another discussion thread


                      And don't let the haters dissuade you from Animal - it is worth the hype. They have a foie gras biscuits and gravy that is honestly one of favorite dishes, ever. The poutine is good too, the whole menu is usually very seasonal and yes meat-heavy but worth a visit

                      1. re: hboy

                        animal is great. I would save it for a grown up night out..

                        Banh mi are great. there are a few places in the west valley (san fernando valley) and I believe there's something in west la. The biggest variety is in orange county. and of course, decent in the san gabriel valley.
                        Banh mi Ba Le is in reseda. If your' in the valley, worthwhile. There was a place in wesetwood village - closed. Stuff is constantly opening though, so keep your eyes open.
                        http://www.littlesaigonnow.co is an onlineyellow pages that might be of assistance. It's late and i' don't think i'm going to search it myself but good look.

                        1. re: hboy

                          If the Phamish truck is still operational I "enjoyed" that Banh Mi more than nomnom's: enjoyed is a relative term though - they both kind of suck. You can get very fine Banh mi in Reseda which is a bit closer than than the SGV or Little Saigon.
                          Sandwich Express seems to be the standard bearer there:

                          Sandwich Express
                          18575 Sherman Way, Reseda, CA 91335

                    2. There is a new Malaysian on Santa Monica Blvd called (of all things) Manja. Buon giorno!

                      1. I live in your area, have a 22 month old and love food. My few local faves:

                        (sorry about the 1, 2, 3's)

                        1. on Sunday's from 9am to 2pm on Melrose Place there is the best farmers market. Delicious fruit and veggies, fish and meat. Prices are great and my son loves going there.
                        2. Joan's on 3rd- great but pricey deli- sandwich place
                        3. Butchers are best at the Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfax- Marcondas was mentioned.
                        4. There is a Joe's Pizza on Bleeker street that opened on Sunset and they deliver in our area.
                        5. Haru Sushi on San Vicente, also close but just a bit too far to walk is amazing- really nice, fresh fish and the owner is super sweet and wonderful
                        6. Golden State on fairfax is a great burger option
                        7. Soda Pops is good option for Sandwiches- the owner is a Boston native and hates all things Lakers.

                        I know there are so many more options but I just can't think of them right now. If you have any other questions feel free to contact me.


                        The Golden State
                        426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                        Haru Sushi
                        2515 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503

                        17 Replies
                        1. re: LakerLover

                          Hi Helen,

                          Thanks so much for the advice. Our son just turned 22 months a day ago!

                          We didn't get to go to the farmers market last weekend so I'm definitely planning to check that out this sunday.

                          We just got our bbq so I will be hitting up the butcher at the grove per suggestions too.

                          Few other q's:

                          - I love ethiopian and would love some pointers on which spots to hit/miss in little ethiopia
                          - best grungy mexican spots for tacos and margaritas
                          - any favorites in the korean area
                          - where to go for great papusas, tamales
                          - noticed the aforementioned russian places around us, esp near the whole foods on santa monica --- any other tips on these? the challahs at the bakery next to WF look very good and my husband loved the poppy seed bear claw he got there.

                          1. re: Nehna

                            Ethiopian: Meals by Genet, to me, is the best.

                            Tacos/Margaritas: I find, in LA, it is very hard to marry these two -- seemingly well matched -- items. Either the food stinks and the drinks rock (El Coyote) or vice-versa (tons of great Mexies no booze or just beer and wine). I guess El Compadre on Sunset or Antonio's on Melrose work. Haven't been to the new place on Sunset yet - Borracho Cantina.

                            Korean area: I assume you mean Ktown. Here's a good place to start http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6004...
                            Closer to WeHo is a place on Wilshire and La Brea, cannot remember the name, I haven't been but someone on chowhound championed it recently I believe.

                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                              Hi again all -- I'm looking for something a bit more traditional and with a more extensive ethiopian selection than Meals by Genet. Place looks a little to americanized for me (esp with pastas and stuff on the menu??). I want a place that I can go with big platters of food, piles of injara, honey wine. In college I used to go to a place called Addis Red Sea in Boston and I like Ghenet in NYC. If that helps at all. I might just have to go exploring though I hear parking is horrible over there.

                              1. re: Nehna

                                You might check out Rahel and see if that fits you better...

                                Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine
                                1047 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90019

                                1. re: Nehna

                                  just walk up and down the street. there are at least five places if not more on the block.

                                  1. re: Nehna

                                    The pasta stuff is because Ethiopia was colonized by Italy.

                                    1. re: mollyomormon

                                      thanks guys, planning to wander the street over there this weekend.

                                      another q -- where can I go for some hand pulled high quality soba noodles? I was obsessed w/ Honmura An in NYC before the owner moved back to Japan. Where can I find similar quality in LA? Prefer the super thin buckwheat kind that they did there.

                                      1. re: Nehna

                                        Hi Nehna,

                                        It's not in West Hollywood, but my favorite Teuchi (Handmade) Soba Noodles (made fresh every morning) is at Ichimian (Honten (Main Branch)).

                                        Click on the Chow Place Link and you'll find related discussions and people's thoughts on the place. :) Enjoy~

                                        Ichimian (Bamboo Garden)
                                        1618 Cravens Ave., Torrance, CA 90501

                                        1. re: exilekiss

                                          check out otafuku in gardena. This place has been written about quite a bit here and is supposed to be buckwheat soba supreme
                                          here's an old latimes description as well
                                          but there's a lot on this site.

                                          1. re: Jerome

                                            Strongly agree with this recomendation.
                                            Closer to home is a place that will likely soon be out of biz -- and it is a real tragedy how badly they handled everything EXCEPT the soba -- Gonpachi on La Cienega.
                                            If you like udon too, and don't mind the dirve, try Oumi Sasaya in Lomita.

                                            134 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                                            Oumi Sasaya
                                            2383 Lomita Blvd, Lomita, CA 90717

                                            1. re: Jerome

                                              mm that place looks awesome Jerome -- might have to hop in the car soon and check that place out (looks like a bit of a hike, but I have to get used to that being the way out here vs NYC).

                                              1. re: Nehna

                                                to be fair, i live off laurel canyon and really, gardena is a shlep beyond the comfort zone of most in hollywood and west hollywood - and i grew up here.
                                                But IT"S WORTH IT (as is komatsu).

                                            2. re: exilekiss

                                              Strange. The Chow Place Link didn't show up. Trying again...


                                              Ichimian (Bamboo Garden)
                                              1618 Cravens Ave., Torrance, CA 90501

                                    2. re: Nehna

                                      i second meals by genet; i also love Merkato, right across the street for more homestyle cooking, if you happen to go on a monday or tuesday (meals by genet is only open wed-sun)

                                      1036 1 2 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                                      1. re: Nehna

                                        my neighbor loves the breads and pastries and cookies at the bakery right next door to WF (Stolichnaya)... he esp loves the peanut butter cookies, napoleons, piroshki, chocolate cigars, cream puffs, and black and whites...

                                        1. re: Nehna

                                          so agree.
                                          The best tacos are in small "grungy" places that don't have liquor licenses and don't cater to the margarita-loving clientele who for the most part would seem happy with chicken carnitas (gag? you bet).
                                          la parrilla in silverlake and on wilshire might have decent margaritas. In general, though, mexican places catering to mexicans that would have great tequila and liquor licenses aren't only serving antojitos like tacos. La Parrilla specializes in molcajetes. I bet you'll find some great places in baldwin park if you look. But not anywhere near west hollywood. (for GREAT tacos).
                                          Of course - the easiest thing is - send someone out for tacos or the wonderful tamales the ladies sell at 8th and irolo, someone else stay home and make a pitcher the you like it - and eat in your lovely backyard or on your balcony or in the living room if all else fails.

                                          1. re: Nehna

                                            Hi Nehna,

                                            I recently moved from the Los Feliz area to Weho and even that move feels like I'm moving to a completely different city. I got to second that great mexican food and margaritas rarely coexist in LA. A couple thoughts when considering mexican in LA...

                                            1,Cactus #1 on Vine St. is my FAV place to get tacos just go and ask questions later. 24 Hours. Cash only. Asada, Al Pastor, and Carnitas are favorite.
                                            2. Via Mar has the best fish taco/Shrimp Taco but is in Highland Park which is pretty far. Highland Park also has bakeries that have the best Tamales only on Sundays.
                                            3. Favorite sitdown Mexican in LA INHO (with Margaritas) is a place called Mexico City. That's in Los Feliz.

                                            Surprisingly, I had a real decent happy hour experience at Borracho Cantina in West Hollywood and they have tacos, margaritas, and two happy hours a day with 1/2 price everything. Surprising decent but the margaritas are only ok. About as good as cheap tacos and margs get in Weho

                                            Hope this helps! Enjoy LA!


                                            Mexico City
                                            2121 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                            950 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                                        2. West Hollywood park has a good toddler area. Very popular. And join the yahoo peachood group until you get your bearings.

                                          Farmers market is good in a pinch but better meat and offal is to be had at Harvey Guss, whole Foods, or the new butcher Macalls. The last is a bit of a drive. They have good fish too which is generally lousy in la. The best produce is st the Hollywood farmers market.

                                          1. A lot of great suggestions. I moved to the area fairly recently too, but usually find myself eating in the city's outer reaches anyway. When I eat locally, I wind up at Angeli Caffe for truly wonderful ricotta gnocchi, and Golden State for a burger, a beer, and maybe a beer float.

                                            Angeli also has just started doing Street Food Mondays every so often -- where different highly regarded vendors take up shop for a night. The first one was last week I believe, and they had Ricky's Fish Tacos, which were great. The next one will be Sri Lankan string hoppers I think, but I'm not sure if the date is set.

                                            Another nice development coming to the area is that there will be a couple of new and much appreciated options for buying meat. Salt's Cure, which is a restaurant that will have a small meat counter (with ever-changing product) should be opening in the next week or so on Santa Monica and VIsta.

                                            Then Lindy and Grundy's will be a little longer to open, but they will be a full service butcher shop supposedly using good quality meat from responsibly cared for animals. They'll be on Fairfax, just north of Melrose.

                                            The Golden State
                                            426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: noahbites

                                              My toddler and I were playing kitchen the other day and he was naming the various flavors of ice cream. "Brown bread" was the fourth flavor named. I was so proud.

                                              So, yeah, he has been to Golden State a few times.

                                              The Golden State
                                              426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                            2. Well just a couple of boulevards north on Laurel at Sunset is Vivoli Cafe, a local neighborhood gem for Italian cuisine. Not only is the food fantastic, but the service is personal, warm and attentive. Nearly all of the staff is Italian, and often you'll find them socializing with locals and cafe regulars at an impromptu table and chairs set outside the restaurant.

                                              One of their long-time staffers, Luigi, was one of the best reasons to go there. Incredibly entertaining and delightful with a fantastic wit, he reminded me of Roberto Bernigni (of "Life is Beautiful" fame) in both looks, wit, and character. What impressed me most is that he would remember me and my family from infrequent visits spread well over a year apart. I believe he's no longer there, but I'm sure that this tiny restaurant is still a worthwhile draw for locals looking for a neighborhood night out.

                                              (One note, however: their parking lot is absolutely tiny! They'll have someone out there just to park your car, or you can alternatively brave trying to find parking on the crowded streets of the area.)

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: cgfan

                                                DITTO!!! I *heart* Vivoli for all these same reasons.

                                                1. re: Obessed

                                                  Obsessed: Did you ever know Luigi? I've been wondering where he might have ended up... I think he'd be a godsend for the front of the house of any restaurant...

                                                  1. re: cgfan

                                                    Yes, I did know him...and I didn't know he left as we haven't been there in awhile (but planning to go next week). He was awesome - always remembered us. I don't know where he went; I know they opened a bunch of other locations so perhaps one of them? This is just a wild guess. When I goI will ask :)

                                              2. Sorry but I agree with Ciao Bob: Meals By Genet is the best bet for Ethiopian in that Fairfax area. I can't speak about the pasta; who would order that in an Ethiopian restaurant anyway? But Genet's version of injara and all her meat dishes are refined, clean, and tasty, which is much more than I can say for those other places on Fairfax you might happen to wander into. If I had a guest from Addis who just had to have Ethiopian, this is still the place I'd go to if in LA.

                                                Meals By Genet
                                                1053 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                                                1. Would love an update from Nehna as to what she's liked in the neighborhood, etc.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Jerome

                                                    Hi there---

                                                    Well with our 2 year old and work, we don't have nearly as much time as we would like to explore, but here is what we're enjoying so far:

                                                    Traktir for Russian-loved the chopped herring and the borscht
                                                    Garden of Taxco for bizarro but fun mexican
                                                    Enjoying the recommended meat market at the grove, though disappointed in how difficult offal is to come by without preordering in weho/LA (still miss our brooklyn butcher, need to do some more searching)
                                                    Mao's has been a reliable chinese delivery
                                                    Haven't had a chance to delve into the sushi scene yet, other than a couple of local small spots
                                                    Had a solid meal at Providence
                                                    Anxious to check out The Bazaar as we keep being told about it by friends/colleagues
                                                    Had some good food at the bar at Red O (though hated the scene at the door)

                                                    8151 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

                                                    Bastide Restaurant
                                                    8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                                                    Taxco Restaurant
                                                    29050 S Western Ave, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

                                                    Red O
                                                    8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                                                  2. The best butcher shop just a little more of a drive down Fairfax from the grove is Harvey Guss's Meat Co. They are only open from 7am to noon Monday through Friday. You also have to call in your order 24 hours in advance but it's well worth the effort. If you have something in particular call ahead and they can usually source the meat.

                                                    Harvey's Guss Meat Co
                                                    949 S Ogden Dr, Los Angeles, CA