best in LA
- NYfoodie Aug 17, 2005 05:03 PM
My husband and I live in NY and will be spending 5 days in LA soon. I'd love to have some recommendations for some "musts", especially in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood. Particularly interested in Mexican (not very good in NY), and sushi, but really would consider anything that you Chowhounders adore! Both cheap and high-end are fine. Thanks!
re: profe marchetti
La Serenata has had very mixed reviews -- other than the flan, there are way better places to get Mexican food... if you want Nuevo Latino, head for Ciudad (yes, I know), but there are a few great places in Santa Monica.
La Talpa, Pico near Barrington.
Gilbert's El Indio, Pico near 27th.
Tia Juana's, Olympic between Barrington and Bundy
Gallegos Deli, Venice Blvd. between Walgrove and Lincoln
Tito's Tacos (crunchy beef tacos only good thing), Washington & Sepulveda
Sushi on the Westside:
Sushi Sasabune, Sawtelle & Nebraska
Hide Sushi, Sawtelle north of Olympic
re: Das Ubergeek
I have heard that Serenata in SM is not up to the quality of the one east of downtown. Even that being said, the one time I went to the latter, I had a delicious dish I don't think I would have seen on the menu at another Mexican place (trout filet in Mole Poblano), but it did not surpass a meal had at Gueleguetza or myriad other places for half the cost.
This may sound like coals to Newcastle (or more like coals to a Newcastler) but you might actually want to try Langer's to see if you agree with the NYT that it has better pastrami than can be found in the Big Apple!
Great chinese can be found in NYC, but I am not sure if the Thai food there is as good as in LA. Search these boards a little for Kruang Tedd, Ruen Pair, Sanamluang, and Sapp Coffee shop to see if these tickle your fancy. Those are listed in descending order of comfort, but not neccesarily any indication of deliciousness.
Ca'Brea, Campanile, and Zucca are all options for more upscale Italian.
re: Das Ubergeek
Many people swear by Tito's, I do not. The seemingly boiled and definitely tasteless brisket-type beef(?) stuffed in a fried taco shell is not even close to the best Los Angeles has to offer. You can do much better at just about any taco truck that begins to appear on the streets of Los Angeles as the sun goes down on another perfect day.
re: Das Ubergeek
west side mexican, also lares. I like tia juana's. The handmade tortillas are good.
Also, go to the stand on Lincoln near Rose called La Playita. Get the seafood cocktails. Seriously. The other stuff is good. You may have to eat it at a park though. I don't think there are tables. But it's more of an LA experience.
LA PLAYITA / MARISCOS GUILLEN
3306 LINCOLN BLVD
LARES RESTAURANT & CATERING
2909 PICO BLVD
get in the car and drive to gueleguetza on 8th (there's one closer but this one is the classic - much as the east LA serenata de garibaldi is the classic and i think better one)
3337 1/2 W 8TH ST
1842 E 1ST ST
in re Sasaubune - please scroll down and see my recent review on it here. the discussion mentiones Kiriko and U-zen for sushi on the west side as alternatives, but your choice.
11951 SANTA MONICA BLVD
KIRIKO JAPANESE RESTAURANT
11301 W OLYMPIC BLVD #102
Also consider non-sushi japanese places. a few suggestions
a tempura house, specializing only tempura, you can get omakase there, much as you can at a sushi bar - reserve for the tempura bar and go omakase see link below for a description.
1644 W CARSON ST B
Try okonomiyaki near Gardena. Sort of a make your own japanese pizza omelette thing.
2383 LOMITA BLVD 102
If you're downtown try
Izayoi for japanese bar food (they also have excellent sushi, the one place that I go too for sushi that also serves other things)
SUSHI RYO IZAYOI
132 S CENTRAL AVE
And closer to santa monica, there's another place that also has Japanese bar food (izakaya) - Furaibo
FURAIBO & THE BLEU
2064-68 SAWTELLE BLVD
If you've never had Korean food, try the bbq at Soot bull jeep (on charcoal, smoky, don't wear your best clothes) and the soon dupu (fresh tofu in a spicy soup with your choice of meats or seafood or just plain seaweed and kimchi) at Beverly Soon Tofu in Koreatown.
BEVERLY SOON TOFU
2717 W OLYMPIC BLVD #108
SOOT BULL JEEP
3136 W 8TH ST
(another bbq house -try
TAHOE GALBI RESTAURANT
3986 WILSHIRE BLVD
LOS ANGELES )
Last - umenohana has artisan house-made tofu in a myriad of styles. Beautifully served and unlike much other japanese food'
445 N CANON DR
Agree on the La Playaita reco. Their seafood cerviche is awesome and under 5 dollars....nice avacado with some great chips. Sprinkle some Tapatio...heaven.
Also love Lares for Mexican.
Ditto on Gueleguetza....I love their moles! They have this one tamale with chicken inside then the mole negro on top that's pretty good.
re: Das Ubergeek
Yes, it's definitely worth the drive if anything can be. Menu is very different from the SM location. I used to work downtown and we would head over to Serenata every month or so. This was before they opened their other restaurants. Its a power lunch spot for the local politicos. Parking can be difficult during peak lunch hours, but I have always found a spot.
re: Das Ubergeek
You have got to be kidding. You've just listed the same flavorless, leaden slop that gives Mexican a bad name the world over. This passes for Mexican in LA, but they wouldn't feed that stuff to their dogs in Mexico City -- and their dogs are starving. I'm sure I'll catch it for this, because it's trendy and "not authentic LA Mexican" (i.e; lard-based and bland), but we love Alegria on Sunset in Silverlake. The pollo en mole rules, the budin alegria or moctezuma will live in your dreams, and the burritos, if tortilla you must, could choke a horse and make him die happy. Make the drive to Silverlake and avoid the trip to the emergency room. Sorry, but I've had this argument too often and I'm tired of it.
you have traveled far...make it worth the visit!! westside sushi @ Chaya Venice - they have a sushi happy hour that beats everyone in town, and you get a very LA experience! Fantastic place! Also in Santa Monica try Rocca for Italian or Dominick's in Beverly Hills (not authentic, but very good) Just for great places, try Falcon in Hollywood (you must experience a true LA dining experience at its very best - hot new chef here!), for just fantastic eats, try AOC, Campanile, or Sona - all world class dining rooms!!!
Welcome to L.A.!! My current sushi/sashimi recommendations include:
High-end: Urawasa (Beverly Hills), Mori Sushi (West LA), Nishimura (West Hollywood), The Hump (Santa Monica Airport), R-23 (Downtown)
Moderate: Sushi Tenn (Sawtelle), Kiriko (Sawtelle), Sushi Gen (Little Tokyo), Hamakawa (Little Tokyo)
Cheap but good: Hide Sushi (Sawtelle, pay by cash-only), Sushi King (Santa Monica)
SKIP the following:
Sushi Sasabune (Sawtelle): I never got used to the warm, unpacked rice.
Matushisa (Beverly Hills): Unless you're a Nobu addict... Admittedly though, Nobu's flagship in Beverly Hills IS still his best restaurant hands-down.
Sushi Nozawa: Has seen better days.
Geisha House: All "scene"; the food takes a backseat.
Hope this helps.
JL, East-Coast transplant
These are excellent sushi recs altho I think King Sushi is over rated here. Sushi Ike in Hollywood tho more expensive is far better. Some gear shifting is required. There's nothing in the realm of Mexican food that approaches Urasawa or Mori, for example, though the Boyle Heights branch of Serenata is pretty good, especially the seafood. But the pleasures of Mexican food are largely inexpensive at stands, trucks, and chains like King Taco (great Al Pastor tacos, sopes, etc) or at Grand Central Market downtown or at various mercados. More a food on the run concept than a sit down and take your time thing. Hell, even the huge Pepsis, tamarindos, horchatas and other drinks at King Taco are respectable. For a wild after dinner take on Mexican, go for the drinks only (many, many tequilas), people and loud music at El Carmen on Beverly Blvd. Avoid El Cholo--it's mediocre at best. You can get good basic stuff (like chile colorado)including hand made tortillas at La Cabana, Lincoln & Rose, just over the line from Santa Monica in Venice.
Not too long ago was I in NY and have noticed that you won't be able to find restaurants like this there:
The Grand Central Market (not a restaurant but a collective of various Mexican food stands) in downtown Los Angeles. You probably will never have anything like this in NY!
Mako in Beverly Hills (Asian Fusion). I've had friends from NY that return to this place every time they come back. They can't find anything like this in NY either and love it enough to go back on every return trip.
Mori in West L.A. (Sushi). Though a little expensive, they have great sushi and no attitude. The fish is so fresh and the chefs really know how to cut the fish. I'm not too good on elaborating on this but it really is fantastic sushi... just take my word for it! You definitly won't find anything like this in New York.
I am not sure if New York has something like JiRaffe in Santa Monica (French Bistro), but I'm recommending it anyway since it is now one of my most favorite restaurants in Los Angeles. Thanks to the 'hounds, I have found this little jem of a bistro. I had a spectacular dinner there last night that I should post soon...
If you're craving Italian (which you can find a whole lot of in NY, so I wouldn't rec wasting a meal on something like that while you're in L.A.!), your best bet would be Angelini Osteria in West Hollywood.
I don't think that any of these restaurants mentioned have received mixed reviews. In fact, I can safely say that all of them have had raving reviews lately and of past. If anyone disagrees please post but, I'm pretty sure that those are all great restaurants that all 'hounds can agree on. In fact, those are the places I would probably miss most if I were to move to NYC.
Mike Z gave it a brief mention but you really should go to Langer's Deli at 7th Street and Alvarado and have ONLY a pastrami sandwich. Other than their pastrami it is run-of-the-mill. Specify that the pastrami be hand-cut, as during the lunch rush they sometimes use machine-cut meat. Here in LA we often get comparisons (which may be biased) from LA'ers about Langer's vs. the NY delis, but rarely do we get a review from a NY native on how Langer's stacks up against NY's finest. If you do go, please post a review. Have a great time at all the fine suggestions below.
i ate at langers, flew the next day and ate at katz's.
langers wins! hands down, so damn good! al langer is awesome.
for thai go to the thai temple on a weekend in north hollywood. the best papaya salad and grilled meats.
for mexican i like taking visitors to the big mercado in east LA to nibble on vendor food and drink beer while listening to mariachi. on first street on eastern edge of evergreen cemetary.
i'd say skip italian since you've got all the batali joints that are awesome. skip french too. actually skip most of european cuisine in LA, NYC is better. stick to asia and the cuisine south of the US.
Try looking below at the same question by, "NY Chowhound off to LA with kids - LouNY 23:23:20 8/04/05 (11). LouNY also asked about the Santa Monica area and had a good responce.
For Mexican food I would add a trip to Olvera Street. There are so many shops, stands and things to do on the oldest street in L.A. The best place anywhere for taquitos is a small shop called Cielito Lindo located on Olvera Street. The guacamole is just as special as the taquitos. It is also fun to see them being made in that big pan over that big fire. Within walking distance is the best French Dip by the place that invented the French Dip -- Phillippe, The Original. Also within walking is Yang Chow located in L.A.'s Chinatown. Try the Slippery Shrimp. Also, not on the menu is Beef lomein with tomato. Ask, they will make it. The Chicken Pan-Fried Noodles are also good.
Across the street from Olvera Street is Union Station. The L.A. "Red Line" subway at Union Station goes to Hollywood and beyond. You might plan a trip to Olivera Street, Phillippe, The Original and Chinatown on a day you are in Hollywood and use the Red Line for a fast trip downtown to Union Station or park anyplace you can along the Red Line and go as you please to Hoolywood etc. Also, some Chowhounds mentioned Langer's Deli. Langer's is good and is also just off the Red Line at "MacArthur Park / Alvarado St. Station" between Hollywood and Union Station. For Tamales go to Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe located near (almost next to) Langer's.
E-23 Olvera Street (Red Line at Union Station)
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phillippe, The Original
1001 N. Alameda Street (Red Line at Union Station)
Los Angeles, CA 90012
819 N. Broadway (Red Line at Union Station)
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe
2124 W Seventh St (Red Line at MacArthur Park)
Los Angeles, CA 90057-4001
704 S Alvarado St (Red Line at MacArthur Park)
Los Angeles, CA 90057-4020
i hesitate to say it but i think you have to be careful with much of the advice above, although there are truths interspersed. i would do some research, choose a few places, then do a keyword search on chowhound on the ones chosen. otherwise i think you'll run into several disappointments.
that said, i think if you do yr research correctly you'll discover that except for the very high end (daniel, picholine, etc.) the food is much better here (former ny'er speaking).
a few to add:
Hatfield's - fresh farmer's market fare.
Gonpachi - recently opened japanese - high drama on ambience - great drinks - overall pleasant dining.
BLD - breakfast or brunch.
Cut - Wolfgang Puck high end steakhouse - designed by Richard Meier
suggest making reservations now.