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Flying in to Long Beach for a long weekend and looking for some advice....

We are coming for a Sat wedding in Rancho Place Verdes, but would like to explore options for the rest of the weekend. What we are hoping to find is value oriented food ranging from $ to $$ (or even $$$ if it is an exceptionally good value) that would be tough to beat in San Francisco, such as Mexican Seafood or Korean Fried Chicken. I know we are not in the primary location for those things, but we will have a car.

Friday evening: will be arriving around 7:00. We figure to hit up Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles in Long Beach before heading to our hotel in San Pedro.

Saturday: Maybe breakfast at Gaffey Street Diner before heading to a noon wedding. The reception will be apps in the early afternoon, so we could use a rec for a late dinner somewhere in the vicinity.

Sunday & Monday: Wide open. Where are the closest spots for great...
Mexican seafood?
Korean Fried Chicken?
Thai?
Ramen?
Pastrami on rye?
Cheap Chinese lobster?
others?

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Gaffey Street Diner
247 N Gaffey St, San Pedro, CA 90731

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  1. Have you ever eaten at Enrique's in Long Beach before? Not seafood, but still a top spot in all of LA for Mexcian food. No reservations and very popular so go early if you can. I think the pork shank is amazing but they have a lot of great things to eat.

    ADD: As to Ramen in the South Bay. You need to look over this recent review by X-ile-Kiss and then get yourselves over to this place: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7211...

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    Enrique's
    6210 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90803

    6 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Enrique's Sea Bass and Salmon are both off menu (along with the previously mentioned pork shank) but they always have them and they are fantastic. Also, try their eggplant appetizer.

      1. re: JAB

        His garlic shrimp is also off the menu. Very good.

        1. re: susans

          Thanks, I'll definately give that a try next time.

          1. re: JAB

            what the eggplant appetizer? never heard of that in mexican cuisine, interesting.

            1. re: kevin

              My thoughts exactly. However, it's so good that I remarked that I could be turned vegetarian by this dish.

      2. re: Servorg

        Thanks, it sounds like I must give this place a try!

      3. Pastrami on rye? Only one place to go Langer's. The best pastrami you'll find anywhere. Not far from downtown LA and worth the trip. They do close at 4pm and are closed on Sundays. Enjoy LA.
        http://www.langersdeli.com/

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        Langer's Delicatessen
        704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

        1 Reply
        1. You'll be very close to all the great Japanese places in the South Bay.

          Some interesting places that come to mind are Ichimian for great handmade soba/udon and Gaja for tabletop okonomiyaki which I don't think is very easy to find here in the US.

          I consider exilekiss the ultimate authority on Japanese food in LA so just read his blog to get some idea of the best eats in the area:

          http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/

          For Chinese food, you'd be better off heading to another neighborhood as the Chinese food scene in the South Bay is not particularly impressive.

          7 Replies
          1. re: huaqiao

            I second the Japanese food choice. If I'm in the US, I don't eat Japanese outside of the South Bay Los Angeles Area--ever. I've simply never found anything better than the stuff I get here. Although I'm probably also biased, being a Torrance resident and all. =)

            1. re: mstinawu

              what about Urasawa in Beverly Hills, or Mori in West LA, or Shibucho on Beverly?

              I think there's at least a lot of great sushi that's not in the south bay.

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

              Shibucho
              3114 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057

              1. re: kevin

                OK, there's more in greater quantity in South Bay. Semantics. =P But yes, Urasawa >>>>>>>>>>>> *. :o Not sure if OP feels like spending $400 on a meal though.

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

              2. re: mstinawu

                I find that Gardena/Torrance is great when it comes to places for tempura, udon, ramen and everyday Japanese food, but not much when it comes to sushi bars. I like Kanpachi, though. Do you have any favorite sushi bars?

                Sawtelle is much smaller but has a nice selection of Japanese restaurants, including sushi bars.

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                Kanpachi
                1425 W Artesia Blvd Ste 27, Gardena, CA 90248

                1. re: Ogawak

                  I rarely if ever go to sushi bars since I've been to Urasawa--it's sad really. I'd rather eat there once a year then eat at several different mediocre sushi bars throughout the year, but I DID used to go to this sushi joint on Hawthorne next to the World Market (forgot the name) every now years back. But you're right about the sushi bars, I think that one I mentioned is the only one I really really liked. But I will always go to Sakae Sushi in Gardena for good home style take out sushi. Kanpachi is good too, but the last time I was there was probably > 2 years ago.

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                  Sakae Sushi
                  1601 W Redondo Beach Blvd Ste 112, Gardena, CA 90247

                  Kanpachi
                  1425 W Artesia Blvd Ste 27, Gardena, CA 90248

                  1. re: mstinawu

                    Oh, looked it up. I was talking about Sushi Ken in the World Market plaza. =)

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                    Sushi Ken
                    22831 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

              3. re: huaqiao

                Third that Southbay Japanese is excellent, and exilekiss is our resident expert. My personal favorite places are Musha for izakaya fare, Torihei for yakitori and oden, Patisserie Chantilly for sesame cream puffs and other pastries, and Ramen California for a modern take on Ramen involving lots of fresh ingredients (not traditional). Musha and Torihei are in the same shopping center, and both are really great. And none of these suggestions are expensive.

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                Patisserie Chantilly
                2383 Lomita Blvd., #104, Lomita, CA 90717

                Musha
                424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                Torihei
                1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

                Ramen California
                24231 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

              4. For Mexican Seafood, try the Mariscos Chente in Inglewood near LAX.
                In San Pedro, I can't say enough about Pavich Brick Oven Pizza. A tiny hole in the wall that serves amazing Croatian style pizza and sandwiches. No place to sit, takeout only. Not on your list, but a unique place nonetheless.

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                Mariscos Chente
                10020 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

                9 Replies
                1. re: Ogawak

                  I don't get the hype about Mariscos Chente. It's decent, but it's not something I'd drive > 15minutes for.

                  1. re: mstinawu

                    Just curious what you didn't care for about MC. I love the place, but not its signature dish, the Pescado Zarandeado. I like Japanese style broiled fish better.

                    I really liked the langostino, the marlin tacos and the shrimp dishes.

                    1. re: Ogawak

                      There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but it's just something I wouldn't drive out of my way for. The food is not amazing or particularly unique. It's not like every ingredient is super fresh and wonderful though I do love the hot salsa (the one apparently you have to ask for now since they default to the non-spicy one)!

                      1. re: mstinawu

                        Wow, "not unique"? I can't think of another restaurant like MC. Civil Bear, I heartily recommend MC.

                        A good Mexican restaurant in the South Bay is Teresa Mosaic in Manhattan Beach/El Segundo. Not much seafood, though. but some good oahuacan (sic) dishes to go with the normal gringo offerings.

                    2. re: mstinawu

                      Is there a better place you can recommend that is close to the same distance from San Pedro?

                    3. re: Ogawak

                      Pavich's new Pizzafe has seating.

                      29701 So. Western Avenue, Suite 103, Rancho Palos Verdes; (310) 832-1200.

                      1. re: Ogawak

                        They also have a new sit down location in Rancho Palos Verdes.

                        1. re: JAB

                          The post just above yours from annapurna7 covered that (Pavich's new location in RPV, with seating).

                      2. The only place that comes to mind when I think of San Pedro is the Whale & Ale for great fish n chips and several imported on tap beers and ciders.

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                        The Whale & Ale
                        327 W 7th St, San Pedro, CA 90731

                        1. I'm surprised no one's mentioned Jongewaard's Bake 'n Broil. They have excellent pancakes, very good chicken fried steak, and spectacular pies and cakes. I almost always try to stop in when travelling through LGB.

                          -----
                          Bake 'n Broil
                          3697 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Peripatetic

                            Agreed. I love their hamburger/pie combo, especially the lemon lush. And red velvet cupcakes for the road.

                            1. re: Peripatetic

                              I don't know why, but I love their french onion soup, not that that's any reason to go to a restaurant, but they've also got wonderful desserts.. I've had the red velvet and carrot cake.. Both wonderful.

                              1. re: Peripatetic

                                Love Jongewaards!! Definitely hit that spot!

                              2. Cheap Chinese Lobster....
                                Zen Mei Bistro in LA Chinatown....hole in the wall kind of place $9.95
                                or
                                Sam Woo BBQ Alhambra....they've been having lobster specials for around $10-$12. Lobster alone, lobster yee mein, etc...

                                -----
                                Zen Mei Bistro
                                800 Yale St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                Sam Woo Cafe
                                727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                1. Sorrentos Italian is great pizza on 25th and Western in San Pedro
                                  Terranea Resort has coffee that is just as much as any other coffee and a beautiful view, in RPV on the water. There is a subway nearby if you are staying at Terranea.

                                  Tashiro Sushi on Western is good $$, Asaka Japanese fast food on Western is okay
                                  ($4.95 rice bowl, etc. $8.00 grilled salmon).

                                  For Chinese, you need to go all the way up to Manhattan Beach to Szechwan on Sepulveda to get out of the mediocre range...

                                  The salad and burgers at Terranea at Nelson's are great ($$$) but has an awesome view, reservations recommended.

                                  -----
                                  Terranea Resort
                                  Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

                                  Tashiro Restaurants
                                  29050 S Western Ave, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

                                  1. I see on your profile that you really like BBQ and list the Germantown Commissary in Memphis as your favorite restaurant. In that case, I strongly recommend a BBQ breakfast on Saturday at Big Mista, which sets up at the farmers market in Torrance that day. See http://bigmista.com/vending/ for details. If you're interested, you should send an email to them at BBQ@bigmista.com to confirm they will be in Torrance this week.

                                    In my experience, they compete well with the best places in the country, especially on ribs and brisket. Having lived and eaten barbeque in your part of the state for four years, I think you'd immensely enjoy Big Mista's food and the family that makes it. The Torrance FM is about a 15-minute drive from the Gaffey Street Diner, which is a fine place but, IMO, not nearly at the level of Big Mista, which you'll find reviewed many times on this board. For example: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/601722 .

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: hnsbmg

                                      I do love barbecue, but I cook it so often that I am not sure I can get the wife to use up a meal spot on it! You have certainly peaked my interest though...I'll have to see what I can do...

                                      1. re: Civil Bear

                                        I go to lots of places just to get ideas for cooking at home -- you might want to sell Big Mista to your wife that way. ;-) The owner/chef, Neil Strawder, is a good guy and fun to talk to about BBQ or any number of subjects. I don't run into many people out here who even know what Germantown Commissary is, so I hope you get a chance to try Big Mista.

                                      2. re: hnsbmg

                                        I noticed that they have replaced Smokin' Joes which I absolutely loved for their smoked turkey legs.. I haven't tried them in fear that I only wish more that Smokin' Joes comes back. How is it? Should I at least try it? Eek!

                                        -----
                                        Smokin
                                        12514 Burbank Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607

                                        1. re: mstinawu

                                          "Should I at least try it?"

                                          mstinawu, I humbly recommend that you try Big Mista -- I'm confident you'll like it.

                                      3. For Korean fried chicken check out Kyochon. Unfortunately I'd read on the boards that the location in Torrance is closed. So the nearest one would be near downtown LA.

                                        Kyochon
                                        3833 W. 6th St. Los Angeles, CA 90020
                                        213-739-9292

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: monku

                                          Culver City one might be a bit closer. Westfield Mall, I believe?

                                        2. Anything good to eat with the word "Chinese" in it does not exist around the location you are staying in (South Bay). I've lived in Torrance for almost 6 years now and there's pretty much been nothing so I've "resorted" to cooking at home. If I have a serious hankering then I'll go to Sue's Kitchen for the beef noodle soup (and the beef noodle soup ONLY) or Ju Ju Shine for two or three semi decent things they have on their menu. Chinese lobster noodles? Heh.. Go to the San Gabriel Valley and steer clear of the South Bay for it!

                                          -----
                                          Sue's Kitchen
                                          23918 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

                                          Ju Ju Shine Restaurant
                                          1631 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

                                          1. Also, I think the Korean fried chicken in SF is much better. You don't like the ones at San Tung on Irving street? Those are by far the best that I've had. Kyochan pales in comparison.

                                            I assume you're from SF since you mentioned it in the above post.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: mstinawu

                                              I have tried the dry fried wings at San Tung, but find the sauce a bit gloppy and too sweet for my taste. Didn't realize that was a Korean version since the restaurant is primarily Chinese. The only time I tried Korean fried chicken, while knowing it was Korean fried chicken, was from the counter of a small korean grocery on Geary. It was pretty good, but I heard I can find better in and around LA

                                              1. re: Civil Bear

                                                Get the "dry" ones and ask them to use less sauce is what I do. =) They're definitely quite rich. Yea, the place is Chinese, but their dishes are all Korean Chinese from the way they make the kimchee to the dry versions of their hand pulled noodles. I wouldn't classify that place as a true Chinese restaurant.

                                                1. re: mstinawu

                                                  I went back to Sun Tang last night and tried your ordering suggestion (i.e. less sauce). The were much better than I remembered. Thanks!

                                              1. My experience at Long Beach earlier this year:

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6924...

                                                Don't miss Alegria Cocina Latina if you're after Mexican :-)

                                                1. Thank you all for your suggestions. We did a pretty good job getting to many of them.

                                                  Jongewaard's Bake 'n Broil: Got off te plane and headed straight there. Met with a long line, so we figured it will be worth the 1/2 hr wait. Found the place to be quaint, with nice wait staff. The food was so-so (sort of semi-homemade), but big portions for the price. The onion soup was quite unique. Some sautéed onions in a Lipton soup base toped with croutons and a single slice of mozzarella. Sounds odd, but actually quite tasty. Unfortunately the wonderfully looking side of onions rings was super greasy, and the CFS was kind of mushy.

                                                  Big Mista BBQ: Went for Sat brunch. I though I recognized the name, as we are both CA BBQ Association members and have competed in similar contests. Great smoky brisket that was both moist and tender. Ribs & sides weren’t too shabby either. Nice folks too.

                                                  Thai Patio: Not listed in this thread, but we had visited this place in Thai Town ages ago and vowed to return some day. The place was packed and the menu was as huge as we remembered, but the food didn’t quite live up to our memories. Everything we ordered seamed to be overpowered by one individual note. I think the similarly menu-ed Les Ros in SF may now have this place beat.

                                                  Gaffey Street Diner: Wow, not much in the way of atmosphere, huge portions for the price, plus most items and sauces appeared to be made from scratch. I made the mistake of ordering the Chili Colorado Omelets which came with a biscuit. “Do you want sausage gravy on the biscuit?” “Sure,” I say. The next thing I see is a big platter with a giant softball sized biscuit, split in half, and covered with gravy. I lap it down like a starving dog, and then comes an even larger platter with the omelet and a mound of home-fried potatoes! Tasty yes, but what a shame having to watch most of it go to waste. I guess next time I need to make sure I book a hotel with a fridge in the room...

                                                  Musha: I had no idea what izakaya fare was, but now…well , I am still not sure. We ordered a warm kimchee & mushroom dish, something else with braised pork belly, and an udon dish that looked like it had little wiggling bugs on it when it came to the table (bonito shavings?). The food was pretty tasty (particularly the pork belly), but the service was a disaster. We actually ordered a forth dish that was forgotten, and so were we after the first two plates came.

                                                  San Pedro Café & Deli: This place was suggested by the Bride’s dad over Gaffey Street Café. The place certainly has a warmer feel to it, and the food, albeit with smaller portions, was pretty good. My Belgium waffle & eggs where just so-so, but the wife’s machaca & eggs with biscuit & gravy were very tasty.

                                                  Enrique's: With time running out we hit this place up on the way to the airport. We found it pretty much empty with a rather pedestrian menu, so we wondered if we were in the right place. Then the friendly waitress mentioned the specials, which prompted me to ask about the pork shank and garlic shrimp. No problemo she says. The huge shank was oh so tender and smothered in a chili verde sauce, we had to take the leftovers on the plane.

                                                  Thank you all again for the rec’s. We ha a great time!

                                                  -----
                                                  Gaffey Street Diner
                                                  247 N Gaffey St, San Pedro, CA 90731

                                                  Musha
                                                  1725 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

                                                  Thai Patio
                                                  6332 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                  Bake 'n Broil
                                                  3697 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: Civil Bear

                                                    Thank you for reporting back! =)

                                                    1. re: Civil Bear

                                                      Ditto what OCAnn said.
                                                      Always nice to know what might be good to try - Gaffey St. Diner is new to me and hubby loves biscuits and gravy - we'll try it. Thanks for posting on it.

                                                      Glad you enjoyed Enrique's - yes, they have some "pedestrian" staples at the bottom of the menu but they always have specials and very few of their entrees on the top right side of the menu seem pedestrian to me. What other Mexican places offer quail? They're also very accommodating most of the time if you need to change something. And good iced tea. And great FRESH salsa. And our friends who are gluten intolerant can eat there.

                                                      1. re: Civil Bear

                                                        Eek! You skipped Torihei in lieu of Musha! They're both facing each other in the same plaza.. Even though their foods are different, they're both foods that should be served with a pitcher of beer and for that I've never felt the urge to go back to Musha since I've been to Torihei. Maybe next time!

                                                        -----
                                                        Musha
                                                        424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                        Torihei
                                                        1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

                                                        1. re: Civil Bear

                                                          Thanks for the report. Sorry to hear about your experience at Jongewaard's. I hope it was just an off day. I haven't been there in about six months -- maybe there have been changes in the kitchen recently?

                                                          1. re: Civil Bear

                                                            Sorry to hear of your disappointment with Jongewaard's CFS, but that was my opinion too and the worse thing I've had there. Their desserts to finish off your meal are the highlight.

                                                            The CFS you should have had was at the Gaffey Street Diner. That's a true to form CFS and you order the breakfast and you'd get that hunking biscuit and gravy with it. Biscuits used to be better, the guy who used to make them left a few months ago.

                                                            -----
                                                            Gaffey Street Diner
                                                            247 N Gaffey St, San Pedro, CA 90731

                                                            1. re: Civil Bear

                                                              My favorite at the Bake 'n Broil has always been Swedish meatballs (on Tuesday nights, usually). They're great with a baked potato.

                                                              As I noted a couple of years ago, BnB beats the hell out of their chicken-fried steak, which makes it unappealingly ragged ... I'm sorry to hear it's descended all the way to "mushy." I am a bit perplexed by your reaction to the onion soup, IMHO the worst item on the menu because the onions are not cooked long and slow to caramelize and develop color and flavor depth. It's milky, for Pete's sake.

                                                              But my real favorites are the pies and cakes. You must not have had peach pie, or you'd be raving about the tender, firm, juicy, and thoroughly ripe peaches (at this writing). I had a slice last week and have been kicking myself for not bringing more home.

                                                              1. re: hnsbmg

                                                                Agree with your assessment of the french onion soup, except that it actually tasted pretty good. But then again I was pretty hungry and I also like the flavor of Lipton Soup (perhaps a throwback to my military days?). I did forget to mention that we ordered the red velvet cake to go, which was very good.

                                                                1. re: Civil Bear

                                                                  The only foodstuff I learned to love in MY military days was the great Carolina country ham in Fayetteville and other small towns near Ft. Bragg. Thin-sliced, a little tough, salty, and bitter -- truly fabulous. If the Bake 'n Broil were Southern, they'd have it.

                                                                  Since you like cake, I recommend that the next time you stop by BnB you should try their German chocolate. It's outstanding, especially if you eat it like a kid, cake first, then icing. (At least I've heard that. ;-) But I hope my fellow LA Hounds go for a slice of that peach pie while it's still in season. If you want great fruit encased in a deliciously simple crust, this is your item.

                                                              2. re: Civil Bear

                                                                Well, I've always maintained that you only go to Bake N Broil for breakfast (or to buy some dessert). Lunch and dinner are really mediocre diner food, although some people like that, and there is a fanboy here always pushing the burger special. So no surprises to me.

                                                              3. You are in Pedro, then go to Neil's Seafood and Pasta House for dinner--best Italian in the area, on 5th street near the harbor
                                                                Whale and Ale has awesome burgers, too, and great tap beers..
                                                                Utro's for a tuna melt and pitcher of beer outside, Ports of Call Restaurant for happy hour with reasonable drinks and free hors doeuvres + a view.
                                                                Breakfast is the Pacific Diner, near 39th street.

                                                                -----
                                                                Utro's Cafe
                                                                73 Berth, San Pedro, CA 90731

                                                                Pacific Diner
                                                                3821 S Pacific Ave, San Pedro, CA 90731

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: peterboy

                                                                  IMO Neil's in San Pedro ( www.neilspasta.com ) is a really solid (nice, sit-down) place in a great town filled with appealing casual restaurants that too often just don't deliver quality. I've had excellent pasta and fish at Neil's and should write myself a note to go more often.

                                                                  1. re: peterboy

                                                                    I second Whale & Ale for great beers and ciders on tap. Their food is not too shabby either.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    The Whale & Ale
                                                                    327 W 7th St, San Pedro, CA 90731

                                                                  2. Agree on Enrique's their pork shank is fantastic! Michael's on Naples (on 2nd street) is out FAVE a bit pricier but soooooo worth it!