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Moving To Santa Monica and searched a lot! Check my list?!

I've been living in OC and NYC for years and haven't been a part of LA in a long time! I'm moving to Santa Monica soon and can't wait to try all the restaurants. I've done a lot of searching through the LA board for Santa Monica (and close surrounding areas) and have come up with this list! Please let me know what you think...should I take any of these off the list? Or are all they good choices? Anything I forgot that should be on there? And which ones would you suggest I run to first? :) I'm into full-flavored, authentic foods from around the world (especially from the Mediterranean region, Mexico, and the Indian subcontinent) and not interested in trends that have been done to death or chain-style restaurants. I've had enough of that in South OC! :)

mexican:
monte alban
border grill
tacomiendo
tacos por favor
Mariscos Chente
Gilbert's El Indio
Lares on Pico

indian:
akbar
surya
ambala dhaba
annapura’s cuisine
nawab of india
gate of india
Mayura's
agra indian kitchen

italian:
il piccolo
valentino
via veneto
Joe's of Bleecker
Abbot's Pizza Company
bay cities italian deli
fritto misto

japanese:
torafuku
musha
The Hump
Mori
Kiriko
Sushi King
Sasabune
Hide

middle eastern/persian:
Javan for Persian
Cafe Dana
sham

misc:
fraiche
bite bar
umami burger
huckleberry
jiraffe
sawtelle kitchen
blue plate oysterette
r&d
ocean seafood
whist at viceroy for brunch
fathers office
fig
drinks @ the penthouse in huntley
anisette
swingers
warszawa
Quasi-Cuban at Babalu on Montana
ocean ave seafood happy hour for oysters/wine
Bar Pintxo
amandine bakery
Port Royal Cafe
Thai Boom

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Kiriko
11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Thai Boom
10863 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

Babalu
1002 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Port Royal Cafe
1412 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Gilbert's El Indio
2526 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Mayura
10406 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

Bar Pintxo
109 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Sushi King
1330 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

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

Cafe Dana
1211 Montana Ave Ste A, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Sasabune
12400 Wilshire Blvd Ste 150, Los Angeles, CA 90025

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  1. Yay for people using the search box. Pretty good list, three notes

    Hump and Surya have closed
    I'd throw Mezza in there for Middle Eastern
    Under misc, you didn't seem to have any Abbot Kinney spots. There's a ton of very good (though not ethnic) places within walking distance of Santa Monica: Gjelina, Tasting Kitchen, Joe's, etc.

    -----
    Gjelina
    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

    1. Since you have both Kiriko and Sawtelle Kitchen on your list there are quite a few other interesting places on that "Little West LA Tokyo" stretch of Sawtelle that would bear exploring. Places like Orris and Furaibo and Place Yuu and 2117 (among others). Very close to that stretch, but actually on Olympic Blvd. at Barrington is a Korean style Izakaya called Raku that would also be a good place to check out.

      Other than Mariscos Chente in Mar Vista (which may have gone downhill since Sergio and his wife left) are places like the excellent dive (oxymoron?) Pepy's Galley for breakfast and for upscale the newish Waterloo & City are worth some time and attention.

      Culver City has a ton of new and old interesting choices too. Gloria's Cafe and Brunello's and then Sushi Zo and the more fusion-y Sushi K-Zo (different places with similar names) Akasha and Green Peas and on and on and on. Hopefully someone else will add more in the CC arena.

      -----
      Gloria's Cafe
      10227 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

      Sushi Zo
      9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

      Raku Restaurant
      11678 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

      Furaibo
      2068 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

      Pepy's Galley
      12125 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

      Restaurant 2117
      2117 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

      Place Yuu
      2101 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

      Akasha
      9543 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

      K-Zo
      9240 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

      Brunello Trattoria
      6001 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

      Raku
      424 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

      Green Peas
      4437 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA

      Waterloo and City
      12517 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90066

      1. It's a good list, but I wouldn't go running to some of these places (like R+D or Fritto Misto or Babalu).

        Missing are Via Portofino, Rustic Canyon, Zenga and La Sandia, Catch at Casa del Mar, The Yard (the chef, CJ from Top Chef, has been doing some really interesting things and is turning this into a true gastropub) and (as mentioned) the Abbot Kinney restaurants.

        1. I'd skip Lares and Akbar. For Italian, definitely add Ado on Main St by Abbot Kinney. Shamshiri is excellent for Persian.

          I'd also recommend Robata Ya and Sakura House for kushiyaki.

          Also, don't miss a couple of fantastic trucks in the area, La Isla Bonita on Rose between 3rd and 4th during the day and La Oaxaquena on Lincoln South of Rose after 7pm.

          1. Great research, junglekitte, and a lot of great additions to your list. You might also consider Gallegos Mexican Deli on Venice in Mar Vista. The family has been in business starting in Santa Monica for ions. They have lots of great tamales and chile rellenos, their barbacoa is wonderful, and their chips are always perfect.

            I'm glad to see Bite, Huckleberry and Amandine on your list - all very good places. For more sweet bakery desserts, you might also consider SusieCakes on San Vicente on Brentwood, Jamaica's Cakes on Pico in West LA, Angel Maid on Centinela in Mar Vista, 3 Square Bakery + Cafe (very good cafe meals) and Jin Patisserie on Abbot Kinney in Venice, and Belwood Bakery on Barrington Ct in Brentwood as well.

            Washington Blvd is becoming a very food-friendly street. From Downtown Culver City, the eateries of all levels have been popping up. Some have already been mentioned (Brunello, K-Zo, Fraiche, Mezza, Waterloo and City), and another place that is pretty good is Pitfire Pizza, in the old Shakey's building. The pizzas, pastas and salads are very serviceable, it's really casual, but I really like the fact that they are also putting an effort into offering some good wine but particularly good beers on tap. Racer 5 IPA is a totally different animal when it's on draft, and I'd return just for that. They do get crowded, so twilight time is the best time to go.

            Another long-standing favorite on Washington for burgers and salads is 26 Beach, about a couple blocks west of Lincoln. The quality of their ingredients and the execution is very good, and the iterations on burgers will turn your head. I've recently had and enjoyed the California Roll Burger and the Hot Fudge Sundae Burger. They're not for everyone, but if you like a place that is not afraid of whimsy that works, 26 Beach is pretty fearless.

            Another choice for good dining in a nice locale with good quality/price ratio is Cafe Del Rey on Admiralty in Marina del Rey. I'm not sure if they are still offering a killer happy hour - poster Westside Gal would know best - but even without, it's a nice place to dine. Their seafood is always fresh, the service is very good, and the dining room is subdued but stylish.

            Samosa House on Washington Blvd in Culver City is both a storefront and food counter offering vegetarian and vegan Indian cuisine. I'm a sucker for there samosas and mango lassi. They now have two locations - the other on Washington by Overland - but the former is much much easier to access.

            Japanese can be an easy-do and not far from Gallegos - the Mitsuwa Marketplace on Centinela north of Venice Blvd has a food court with some very respectable counter, namely Santouka Ramen and Sanuki Sandou Udon. I think most who enjoy ramen would agree that Santouka has some of the best ramen in SoCal. The parking lot can be a mess, but parking is usually available on Centinela.

            I know you're in Santa Monica but for some really excellent Japanese choices, you might consider heading to the South Bay area. LA Chowhound poster exilekiss has an excellent blog that is worth bookmarking for Japanese and lots of other great food recs all over SoCal.

            http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/

            exilekiss is very passionate and thorough in his coverage and views of places. He covers a broad swath of places to eat, from low-brow to high-end and everything in between. In fact, I was a very thankful beneficiary of one of his write-ups - Bludso's Barbeque in Compton - where I enjoyed some of the best 'que I've ever tasted. Give his site a whirl, and I think you'll be impressed.

            -----
            26 Beach
            3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

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

            Jin Patisserie
            1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

            3 Square Cafe
            1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

            Gallegos Mexican Deli
            12470 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

            Santouka
            3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

            Jamaica's Cakes
            11511 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

            Samosa House
            11510 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA

            1. Unbelievably great list. I do hope you keep this post alive and report back on your experiences. I will save this post for my own purposes.

              Antica Pizzeria in Marina Del Rey should be on your list. Also the similarly named Pizza Antica in the Santa Monica Place, but the MDR pizza is better.

              26 Beach in MDR has a great California Roll Burger, among other things

              Thyme on Ocean Park is a nice option as a bakery and breakfast place.

              -----
              26 Beach
              3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

              1. welcome to the 'hood :) between your searches and the additional recs this is such a thorough and awesome list i honestly can't think of very many to add. the following are worth checking out at some point:
                Axe...if they reopen - they're closed indefinitely due to a fire on Aug 4th :(
                Chinois
                Primitivo
                Chaya Venice (great happy hour)
                Beechwood
                La Serenata de Garibaldi

                -----
                Chaya Venice
                110 Navy Street, Venice, CA 90291

                La Serenata
                1416 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                Primitivo
                1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

                3 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Yes I agree about Wolfgang Puck's Chinios on Main. I know it's been around a long time but it still has great food and service. I love the Shanghai lobster with curry sauce and the Whole sizzling catfish with ginger and ponzu sauce.

                  -----
                  Chinois
                  2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    wholeheartedly second the recommendation of the catfish, although, sadly, they seem to have reduced the portion size over the years.

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    These are all great additions - definitely put them on your list. Chinois remains one of my favorites, and I was at Beechwood last night and wondered why I don't go more often, it's great. Chaya Venice is a constant - great (all night) happy hour.

                    -----
                    Chaya Venice
                    110 Navy Street, Venice, CA 90291

                  3. I, and many other Hounds, listed a few places in West LA on the following thread a while back...

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6372...

                    1. A few more for your list (in addition to the excellent suggestions by others):

                      Alcazar Express - Middle Eastern
                      Josie--high end Californian with some game dishes
                      Melisse--high end French
                      Tavern--high end Californian
                      Vincenti--high end, alta cucina Italian
                      Westside Tavern--mid-priced Californian
                      Wilshire--high end Californian with a lovely patio

                      For some reason, the link to Tavern will not pull up (though it exists) so Tavern is at 11648 San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood with a website of: www.tavernla.com

                      -----
                      Josie
                      2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                      Melisse Restaurant
                      1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                      Wilshire Restaurant
                      2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                      Vincenti Restaurant
                      11930 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                      Westside Tavern
                      10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                      Alcazar Express
                      1303 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                      1. Thanks for the compliments and great suggestions! I'm a long time chow member so I try not to bother people with asking without doing some research ahead of time. :)

                        Are there more Middle Eastern options in the close vicinity? I've been to Sunnin and Cafe Dahab (loved Dahab, not Sunnin so much).

                        Also more happy hour suggestions? I love happy hour! Maybe something with a 30+ crowd and good apps/drinks?! Thanks again.

                        -----
                        Cafe Dahab
                        1638 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: junglekitte

                          Wilshire Restaurant is probably the happy hour vibe you're looking for, though there is a burgeoning scene at the Sonoma Wine Garden on the roof of the new Santa Monica Place... at least, that's what I'm told.

                          Middle Eastern:
                          My personal vote is Sunnin, but as people have mentioned, Alcazar Express is awesome, as is Attari sandwich shop. Zankou Chicken is also good and quick.

                          -----
                          Wilshire Restaurant
                          2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                          Zankou Chicken
                          1716 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA

                          Sunnin Lebanese Cafe
                          1779 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                          Attari Sandwich Shop
                          1388 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                          Alcazar Express
                          1303 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                          1. re: junglekitte

                            One other good Persian option at Darya on Santa Monica Blvd. very close to Bundy.

                            -----
                            Darya
                            12130 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                            1. re: junglekitte

                              For Persian, Shaherzad on Westwood Blvd and Javan on Santa Monica Blvd get high marks from our Persian friends.

                              As for Middle Eastern, I think my top two in the Westside have already been mentioned - Alcazar Express and Mezza. For more great choices, I think you'd have to head out to the San Fernando Valley (Hayat's or Skaf's for Lebanese in NoHo, Hummus Bar & Grill inTarzana and Itzik Hagadol in Encino, Simon's Cafe in Sherman Oaks for Moroccan), or even deeper into Glendale/Studio City area (Mantee in Studio City for Armenian/Lebanese).

                              -----
                              Shaherzad
                              1422 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                              Alcazar Express
                              1303 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                              1. re: junglekitte

                                I love the Happy Hour at Angels, which is next door to The Wilshire, which also has a great happy hour.

                                All of the hotels have good ones, too: Viceroy, Casa del Mar, Shutters, ShangriLa...

                              2. Yeah, I think you're missing some of the best Italian in the area, which is concentrated around Brentwood. Vincenti is the best of the bunch, but Osteria Latini and Palmeri are also very good.

                                In Santa Monica, Il Forno holds a special place in my heart.

                                Sushi King is gross, but definitely add Takao to your list.

                                -----
                                Vincenti Restaurant
                                11930 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                Palmeri Ristorante
                                11650 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                Il Forno Caffe & Pizzeria
                                2901 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                Osteria Latini
                                11712 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                Takao
                                11656 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                1. very nice list. I'd add the following, both are a bit out of the Santa Monica area, but not by too great a distance:

                                  Jaipur, really nice Indian buffet, my favorite on the westside. A few doors down is the Westside Tavern, also worth checking out.

                                  -----
                                  Westside Tavern
                                  10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                  1. Great list and research. The additional suggestions by others are very good. I'd also throw in:

                                    Metro Diner, Serbian food with great people and service. I love their grilled mushroom salad. The cevepachi is a fun dish to share. The burratta appetizer is just amazing.

                                    Tara's Himalayan grill. Right next to Thai Boom. Quality food, also good service

                                    Rincon Criollo for Cuban. There are some misses on the menu. I've never had great luck with their chicken dishes finding them on the dry side. But any of their pork dishes or the oxtail is really good. I much prefer this place over Versailles for Cuban.

                                    Nanbakan for japanese skewers. They prefer that you make a reservation.

                                    If you're into trucks, the one on Rose/Lincoln for Clayudas. This is a night time truck, great for late night snacking before heading home. The one in front of Smart/Final on Venice for a Cemitas sandwich, get the beef milanesa. This truck is a day time one.

                                    Welcome to the neighborhood.

                                    -----
                                    Thai Boom
                                    10863 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                    Tara's Himalayan
                                    10855 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                    1. For your japanese list, I would switch out Sasabune for Echigo, which I think is better. They have a $13 lunch special that's a good deal. Also, lunch is a great way to check out Mori, which otherwise pretty expensive (although I think completely worth it). Great research; can't wait to hear back on your meals.

                                      -----
                                      Echigo
                                      12217 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 201, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                      Sasabune
                                      12400 Wilshire Blvd Ste 150, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: mollyomormon

                                        Respectful yet dissenting voice, requesting you switch from Echigo back to Sasabune.

                                        1. re: J.L.

                                          Respecfully, I beg to differ. I won't step into Sasabune again.

                                          Echigo.

                                          -----
                                          Echigo
                                          12217 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 201, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                          Sasabune
                                          12400 Wilshire Blvd Ste 150, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                          1. re: epop

                                            Then we both respectfully agree to disagree.

                                          2. re: J.L.

                                            isn't sasabune the place that preslices their fish?

                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              Yes it is pre-cut, but strangely, it tastes just fine, which is the desired effect (for me).

                                          3. re: mollyomormon

                                            fwiw, i LOVE LOVE LOVE echigo, but the lunch special leaves me cold.

                                            the rice/fish ratio they use for their lunch special is much more ricey, than the ratio they use for the dinner sushi.
                                            the dinner sushi is sublime, the lunch stuff, imho, not so much.

                                            also, if you like monkfish liver, be sure not to leave echigo without having theirs; it it superb.

                                          4. Amandine Patisserie a Japanese run French bakery 12225 Wilshire.
                                            My favorite is the chocolate and banana danish.

                                            1. My favorites you didn't mention

                                              Jin Patisserie (for afternoon tea)
                                              Primitivo Wine Bistro
                                              Cora's Coffee Shoppe
                                              26 Beach (for dinner the burgers are one of a kind, weekend brunch is also a great experience, they make all their own bread in house and the complimentary sourdough is among the very best in los angeles)
                                              Hamakaze Sushi Izakaya (Great happy hour prices!)
                                              Conservatory for Coffee Tea and Cocoa (The only place I will buy coffee beans from)
                                              Mezza
                                              N'Ice Cream
                                              Westside Tavern
                                              Santouka Ramen

                                              And Wally's Cheese Box should be considered a destination for its phenomenal sandwiches and extremely well curated cheese, charcuterie and specialty food selection. Easier to get to than BH Cheese Store, and way less crowded than trying to shop at Bay Cities. Plus you're at Wally's then for all your wine needs. :)

                                              -----
                                              26 Beach
                                              3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

                                              Santouka Ramen
                                              21515 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                              Jin Patisserie
                                              1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                              Cora's Coffee Shop
                                              1802 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                              Westside Tavern
                                              10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                              Wine Bistro
                                              11915 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                              Hamakaze
                                              13327 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                              Primitivo
                                              1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: jadekarrde

                                                Although since you're already in Santa Monica, also be sure to check out Andrew's Cheese Store on Montana, which also has a fantastic cheese selection and delicious sandwiches.

                                                1. re: jadekarrde

                                                  Gotta say, every time we go to Hamakaze, happy hour or not, the check is at least $70+ for two and I feel... let down.

                                                  -----
                                                  Hamakaze
                                                  13327 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                2. I'd pass on Lares, though the downstairs has a charming room and it does have the loyalty of some promiment local artists who have been going for years. Melisse is conspicuously missing and is easily the best restaurant in Santa Monica. I'd throw in 3 Square on Abott Kinney (they have a new chef there - Michael Wilson formerly of 5 Dudley and other places) - for very good, but casual and not expensive meals. Gjelina has great good and a great scene. Hal's has decent food and an interesting Sunday brunch where you might run into a variety of interesting local celebs. (and great French fries!).

                                                  -----
                                                  3 Square Cafe
                                                  1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                  Gjelina
                                                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. To me, the most exceptional restaurant in Santa Monica is Real Food Daily. Sure, the food is more healthy than delicious. But most of the food in Santa Monica is mediocre and not worth the indulgence -- at least in my opinion

                                                    Another exceptional place is Le Pain du Jour. Very good, legit croissants.

                                                    -----
                                                    Real Food Daily
                                                    514 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: aventinus

                                                      Yes, sorry, but I have to say it. It is the most exceptionally awful restaurant in town. Vegan. You couldn't pay me to go back there. My friends try. I won't even let them try.

                                                      1. re: epop

                                                        Epop is right. Aventinus trashes all other Santa Monica restaurants for being mediocre and gives his thumbs up to Real Food Daily? A place that features tempeh bacon? Really? It boggles the palate!

                                                        -----
                                                        Real Food Daily
                                                        514 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                      2. re: aventinus

                                                        I'd rather eat a paper bag than eat at Real Food Daily.

                                                        1. re: yogachik

                                                          Well stated. Somehow it is crowded. Go figure.

                                                      3. Nice list and additional recommendations.

                                                        I would add to the mix;

                                                        * Versailles Cuban even though Jase prefers Rincon Criollo.
                                                        * Chego or Alibi for Kogi BBQ chef's Roy Choi's stationary restaurants.
                                                        * Simpang Asia for Indonesian cafe style food
                                                        * Pho 99 for the Westside's best attempt at Vietnamese Pho

                                                        -----
                                                        Simpang Asia
                                                        10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                        Kogi
                                                        Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

                                                        Chego
                                                        3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: altstarr

                                                          We just had a few bowls again at Chego last night. Quick service, small dining area, great tastes. Go early or order out...

                                                          -----
                                                          Chego
                                                          3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                          1. re: altstarr

                                                            We had a lot of fun at Chego last night. Very casual - feels more like a bar than a restaurant. The food really explodes with flavor, and the overall experience is just - fun!

                                                            -----
                                                            Chego
                                                            3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                            1. re: aching

                                                              I agree with the flavors at Chego - really yummy. I wish the quality of the meats was better. I had very gristly steak and overly fatty pork belly (I know, I know - but there should be a little more of the flesh than one bite's worth, with the rest fat).

                                                              -----
                                                              Chego
                                                              3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                I concur on the quality variability of the meat at Chego. If I'm not feeling adventurous I go for the chicken bowl. But, on the flip side, their prices are really in the "saving a buck" category.

                                                          2. Hard to believe all the chowhounds have left off tiny, authentic Locanda Portofino on Montana. They have positivly the best vodka penne in LA. Also good for celebrity spotting.

                                                            -----
                                                            Locanda Portofino
                                                            1110 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: stevedi

                                                              Left off for a reason. Maybe that dish is good but I had a perfectly average but expensive meal there years ago and decided never to return.

                                                              1. re: epop

                                                                I'm with epop on that - food is okay, it has a great local find feel, but the food isn't particuarly special. They had a good caesar, but the lettuce would be a little rusty - what's that all about? I expect that at Olive Garden and I probably wouldn't even get it there.

                                                                And there used to be a funky smell up near the front by the wall. Maybe it's gone, but it was there for years and I finally just gave up on the place. (I did go earlier in the summer with a friend who loves the place for some reason - and the food was good. Still, it's not in my top ten Italian places to eat in this part of town)

                                                            2. Sunin in Westwood is must for Lebanese .... Mezza Combo and their chicken skewers.
                                                              North Hollywood - Swan is the best Thai (Nam kao tod, cry tiger, Plah Goong, rice soup and TONS of other dishes).
                                                              Also - Hole in the Wall Burgers, Empanadas Place .... and of course Umami Burger (there's one in Santa Monica).
                                                              My two cents ....

                                                              -----
                                                              Umami Burger
                                                              850 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                              Empanadas Place
                                                              3011 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                                                              1. So I've been here about a month and have eaten in some spots. I thought I would report back to those you asked. :) I have to be honest.......I'm pretty disappointed in the quality of restaurants I've tried so far. Here's where I've gone:

                                                                The BEST place so far was Bay Cities. The Godmother was delicious and I have also tried their eggplant parmesan, which was also good! I tried the frozen black truffle pizza someone recommened on another site I read, but did not like that! I love Bay Cities though!

                                                                Mayura- While I liked it, I didn't see what was so special about the fish curry everyone recommends. The food was decent if you have a hankering for South Indian, but by no means the best South Indian I've had. :/

                                                                Samosa House was downright awful! Canned mushrooms swimming in oil, jackfruit was OKAY, and the sambhar was decent.

                                                                Pradeeps- went here because we happened to walk by and thought it was terrible. Ugh.

                                                                Fig for lunch. I was hopeful for this spot because it is so beautiful, with a delicious sounding menu.....NOPE! :/ Awful lasagna. I didn't know there was such a thing as too much cheese, but there is! It was a sprinkling of vegetables with too much cheese.

                                                                The Yard I was also very hopeful about! The menu looked fantastic! The fish tacos, which the server said they were most famous for, were okay. The fried chicken with collards and cornbread was not good at all, the risotto was cold, the chocolate cake was very dry, and the service was terrible.

                                                                Attari Sandwich shop for the tongue sandwich and soup. While they were both pretty decent, they weren't aaaamazing either.

                                                                Swingers was good for late night eating. I went here twice after a late night out and really liked my omelette!

                                                                Huckleberry was really promising. Cute place, great menu, but the food did not deliver for me. I also felt like it was way overpriced. The salted caramel bar, however, was awesome. I would go back just for that!

                                                                Lares was the worst of the lot! I am still scratching my head as to why anyone would recommend this place. :/

                                                                Joe's pizza had a good slice, but the garlic knots and grandma slice were both not good at all.

                                                                Real Food Daily was pretty good! We tried the nachos and enchiladas and liked them both.

                                                                Umami burger was good!

                                                                Sushi King was very good. I think this is a good spot with fresh and delicious sushi.

                                                                Sunnin was good, but not great. I like Cafe Dahab MUCH more a few streets away.

                                                                I've previously gone to Josie, Melisse, and Jiraffe and loved all three of those. I will have to return to them in hopes to try something good again!

                                                                Please tell me what I'm doing wrong. Am I just too picky? I really am dying for good Indian food...

                                                                -----
                                                                Jiraffe Restaurant
                                                                502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                Cafe Dahab
                                                                1638 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                                Attari Sandwich Shop
                                                                1388 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                                                                Mayura
                                                                10406 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                                                Sushi King
                                                                1330 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                Samosa House
                                                                11510 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA

                                                                Real Food Daily
                                                                414 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

                                                                M Restaurant - Hotel Metropole
                                                                205 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704

                                                                18 Replies
                                                                1. re: junglekitte

                                                                  Have you tried Oaxacan food before? Try Monte Alban on Santa Monica Blvd. just a block east of Bundy on the N side of the street. You really need to explore Sawtelle and the myriad of Japanese places it holds. On Westwood Blvd. Shamshiri Grill is a Persian place worth the visit and for take away Indian we really enjoy the meat samosas and the family style chicken dinner they offer at Chutney's. It's in the tiny little mall on the SE corner of Pico and Barrington. Don't forget about Tacomiendo for Mexican food on Gateway Blvd. in among all the car repair places just west of Pico on the S side of the street.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Shamshiri Grill
                                                                  1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                                                                  Monte Alban
                                                                  11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                  Chutneys
                                                                  2406 S Barrington Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                  Tacomiendo
                                                                  11462 Gateway Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                  1. re: junglekitte

                                                                    value for dollar is not so good in SM. some places which I really like and my wallet also likes are:

                                                                    Hide sushi. best no frills sushi. Sushi Masa if you want a nicer atmosphere. Santouka ramen, Furaibo. bay cities.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Santouka
                                                                    3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                                    Masa Restaurant
                                                                    2063 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

                                                                    1. re: junglekitte

                                                                      I agree w/ the Tacomiendo and Monte Alban recs for good, cheap Mexican food nearby.
                                                                      For indian food I would choose Bawarchi at Venice and Motor over Samosa House for steam table food, although their strength is really their chaat. For South Indian Annapurna a few blocks further East on Venice is much better than Mayura in my opinion. For North Indian food I have enjoyed India's Oven on Wilshire near Barry, and to a lesser degree, Taj Mahal of India on PIco near the LACMA. If you feel up for going to Artesia, Surati Farsan is good for chaat/sweets and probably worth the drive on its own. Ashoka the Great may be the best N. Indian restaurant there. I was not that impressed w/ the other restaurants there including Bhimas. Also a drive, but probably the best North Indian food that I have found in LA is at Manohar's Dehli Palace in La Puente. Good luck!

                                                                      1. re: emp2b3

                                                                        I'm looking for local only. I've been to Artesia and tried almost every restaurant there happily, but sometimes I just want to run over to something that's only a few minutes away! :) I will have to respectfully disagree about Ashoka the Great...I thought it was awful! Absolutely the worst Indian I had in Artesia. In fact, the Indian in South OC I've tried was miles ahead of Ashoka!

                                                                        I will definitely try Annapurna- thank you!!!!

                                                                      2. re: junglekitte

                                                                        I live in WLA, and deal with the same problem (I don't like Japanese or seafood). When I eat out (about once or twice a week), I generally end up driving a decent distance. I generally go to ELA for Mexican (or hit up a taco truck), and go to Artesia when I am willing to make the drive (I could eat Indian every day).

                                                                        The only Indian that I really think is worthwhile, is Ambala Dhaba (though I'll occasionally do Samosa House for fast food Indian).

                                                                        I'm not really happy with any of the Mexican over here; Monte Alban is pretty good, but I'm not a huge fan of Oaxacan food. I've yet to try Border Grill, but it looks kinda pricey. Tacos Por Favor and Tacomiendo are solid for westside Taquerias, but every time I go I feel like I could be getting much better food in ELA-ish.

                                                                        Not sure if they've been mentioned, but Clementine's in Century City is good for lunches, as is Mendocino Farms in Marina Del Rey. Mezza is good for Lebanese in CC. And 26 Beach is good for burgers and breakfast (?).

                                                                        -----
                                                                        26 Beach
                                                                        3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

                                                                        Border Grill
                                                                        1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                        Monte Alban
                                                                        11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                        Tacomiendo
                                                                        11462 Gateway Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                        Tacos Por Favor
                                                                        1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                                                        Ambala Dhaba
                                                                        17631 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

                                                                        Samosa House
                                                                        11510 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA

                                                                        Mendocino Farms
                                                                        300 S Grand Ave Ste Lp40, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                                        1. re: mdpilam

                                                                          Oh yes, I also tried Border Grill. It was okay. I've been to Monte Alban years ago and remembered really liking it. I will return someday soon.

                                                                          Thanks for the rec for Ambala Dhaba. I'll try that next!

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Border Grill
                                                                          1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                          Monte Alban
                                                                          11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                          1. re: junglekitte

                                                                            What did you get at Huckleberry? I would agree with you that it's pretty generally overpriced, but I think the 3 salad sampler is the way to go there and totally enough for two meals. I'm completely with you that the salted caramel bar is awesome and I would add that I think the whole wheat fruit bar is excellent, as our their rustic country boules (although pricey!). I am not a Lares fan either; I always end up at Gilbert's El Indi for either Fernando's burrito or the Valencia chicken. Definitely request that they bring you some diablo sauce. At Monte Alban, I think the ranchero consomme is probably my favorite chicken soup ever and is what I crave when I'm sick. Oh, and FIG: right now they have a happy hour where everything on the menu is 50% off between 5-6 and the chicken liver parfait there is absolutely one of my favorite dishes in town.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Monte Alban
                                                                            11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                          2. re: mdpilam

                                                                            I can't believe that Ambala Dhaba is still open because there's never anyone in there but please go there because it is easily the best Indian food on the West side. You can usually find a meter on Westwood pretty easily. They do all of the U.S. favorites but you can also get some harder-to-find dishes and they serve a lot of goat dishes.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Ambala Dhaba
                                                                            1781 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                                                                          3. re: junglekitte

                                                                            I think one problem with such a long list, is, once you have the list, you might need to prioritize which places are the "musts". I'm just one person, but from your list, this would be my priority:

                                                                            Monte Alban
                                                                            Mariscos Chente (Lennox)
                                                                            Bay Cities
                                                                            Joe's
                                                                            Musha
                                                                            Mori
                                                                            Kiriko
                                                                            Bite
                                                                            Father's Office
                                                                            Umami

                                                                            Aninisette and Hump are gone

                                                                            I'm not much for Indian food so I'm no help there.

                                                                            Not on your list
                                                                            Pizza Antica (Marina)
                                                                            La Isla Bonita taco truck at 4th and Rose (lunch)

                                                                            I don't generally splurge on meals, so except for the sushi bars, my selections are small budget oriented.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Kiriko
                                                                            11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                            Monte Alban
                                                                            11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                            Musha
                                                                            424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                            Father's Office Bar
                                                                            1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                                                                            Mariscos Chente
                                                                            10820 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

                                                                            1. re: junglekitte

                                                                              go to Jasmine in Culver City for some great burmese
                                                                              Indian, you'll probably have to go down to al watan and alnoor in lawndale.
                                                                              agree with you about samosa. quite mediocre.
                                                                              ive been impressed with some fig take out for lunch.

                                                                              1. re: echoparkdirt

                                                                                I read or heard that the original owners of Jasmine have sold their business and have moved to Inglewood - Mutiara on La Brea is their new location.

                                                                                Al Watan and Al Noor are good, but they're Pakistani cuisine. Definitely give them a try for very hearty food.

                                                                                Samosa House is good for their namesake IMHO - samosas. And their mango lassi is good as well.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Al Watan
                                                                                13619 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250

                                                                                Al Noor
                                                                                15112 Inglewood Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260

                                                                                Samosa House
                                                                                11510 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA

                                                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                  I recently tried Al Noor and LOVED it. I actually have been there twice now. Luckily I drive down the 405 past it at least once a week. :) But the amount of cream they put in their dishes is so large I don't think I should be eating there very often. But their palak paneer is pure heaven!

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Al Noor
                                                                                  15112 Inglewood Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260

                                                                                  1. re: junglekitte

                                                                                    damn. why did you have to mention the amount of cream they put in?!? it makes it harder for me to delude myself!

                                                                                    1. re: echoparkdirt

                                                                                      It's so creamy -- even whitish -- that I can't delude myself. But it's still really good.

                                                                                  2. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                    I agree. The samosas are the best thing I've had at Samosa House. Al Watan and Al Noor are the best Indian/Pakistani restaurants of any variety outside of Artesia, IMO.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Samosa House
                                                                                    11510 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA

                                                                                2. re: junglekitte

                                                                                  You're not doing anything wrong. Except in how you use Chowhound. Note the people who liked restaurants you didn't like - and realize their tastes cannot be trusted. Then note the people whose tastes are in line with yours. That's how it works. Most people here I don't agree with, but there are few, a handful whose names pop out and mean something (but I find myseld disagreeing with all them at one time or another). It's like movie critics - after a while you get to know their tastes and how to use them as a reliable predictor of quality.

                                                                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                    So true. Unfortunately I lived in NYC for the majority of the years I've been on chowhound. I'm new to LA again and really didn't know who to listen to. Now I am finding which critics are in line with my tastes. :)

                                                                                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                      True, but it would make things a lot easier if you could make notes on or ignore users. Is there a firefox add-on that allows you to do this?

                                                                                  2. Anisette is closed...I miss Yannick already
                                                                                    If you're gonna go to sawtelle, I would definitely add Orris, franco-japon small plates

                                                                                    1. The three non-food-court restaurants I've tried in Santa Monica Place (Zengo, Antica, Sandia) have been at least decent.
                                                                                      Real Food Daily is hit and miss on tastiness but always healthy and wholesome.
                                                                                      Sham has good Middle Eastern vegetarian dishes. (Less good, IMO, are the seafood and chicken.)
                                                                                      Amelia's has delicious sandwiches.
                                                                                      Bay Cities is one of the best gourmet stores in LA. Along with Le Pain du Jour, the best place to go for bread.
                                                                                      Le Pain du Jour has the best croissants in LA.
                                                                                      Andrew's Cheese Shop is easily the best place to go for cheese.
                                                                                      Santa Monica Seafood is easily the best place to go for seafood.
                                                                                      Musha is a good experience, though I don't quite understand some of the raves on this board.
                                                                                      Chaya is good with raw fish dishes. Otherwise, I think it's generally disappointing for the price.
                                                                                      Il Forno has yummy Italian.
                                                                                      Urth Caffe has generally decent, wholesome food and strong French Press coffee.

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

                                                                                      Real Food Daily
                                                                                      514 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                      Chaya
                                                                                      525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                                                      Il Forno
                                                                                      619 N Azusa Ave, Azusa, CA 91702

                                                                                      68 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                        As much as I like Le Pain du Jour, I tend to have issues with them. Their hours are somewhat limited, and even if I get there in plenty of time before closing, there's a strong likelihood that they will be out of many of their breads - at least that's been my experience. With that being the case, if I'm around that general area, I'll head to Huckleberry - they have excellent bread and seem to always have enough inventory to last most of the day.

                                                                                        And while I do like LPdJ's croissants, I also like Bite's version even more. What I really like about LPdJ is their selection of croissants and other nice pastries.

                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                          I am having a bit of an issue with Bite and the morning availability of their chocolate croissants. Twice I have been there at opening on the weekend and they don't have them ready to sell. Once they didn't have either the regular croissants either. 8 AM is not exactly the crack of dawn in terms of having some of their main items ready to go. And I am so primed to get home and tear into one of the chocolate ones it leave me gnashing my teeth in frustration!

                                                                                          Rant over...(for now) ;-D>

                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                            For a nutcase who is COMING HOME on his bike at what - 5AM? - 8AM is lunch time for you. I concur on their croissant schedule. There have been times where I've seen one or two lonely croissants when I've walked in for breakfast at 9AM, and 45 minutes later when I'm about to leave, only then I see a new batch - pretty small batch at that - come out. But for me, I'll wait. :)

                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                              Yummy. I'm lucky enough to work near there, so always there's a chocolate croissant available when I go in - my waistline, however, doesn't feel so lucky. I tend to go about 10, sometimes around noon.

                                                                                          2. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                            I tried to go to Sham the other day, but they were closed even though it was during a regular business hour. Too bad!

                                                                                            Bay Cities was awesome. Easily the best bites of food I've had in SM so far.

                                                                                            Tonight I tried Mariscos Chente and thought it was average.....like the rest of the food I've tried! The Westside is just an averaged food area I guess... Sheesh! :(

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

                                                                                            1. re: junglekitte

                                                                                              Santa Monica is culinarily lame. (And I live here!) Sham isn't that great but it's the only halfway decent Middle Eastern food in the vicinity. I've had better than average experiences at Mariscos Chente (which is quite a drive from Santa Monica), but that was before the head chef left.

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

                                                                                              1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                I disagree with sushigirlie. Santa Monica has some great food and it's not hard to fine. Chinois, Melisse, Josie, Valentino, Capo, Rustic Canyon, Wilshire, Gjelina, Tasting Kitchen, Jiraffe, Michael's, Drago, Stefan's at LA Farm, Amici, Vincenzo, La Botte, Fraiche, Catch, Mori Sushi, Cezanne, One Pico, Whist, Border Grill, Waterloo & City (okay, it's not quite Santa Monica, but adjacent). And I'm sure I'm missing a few...

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Border Grill
                                                                                                1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                Jiraffe Restaurant
                                                                                                502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                Mori Sushi
                                                                                                11500 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                                                One Pico
                                                                                                1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                                                Drago Restaurant
                                                                                                2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                                Gjelina
                                                                                                1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

                                                                                                Vincenzo's
                                                                                                10364 Mason Ave, Chatsworth, CA 91311

                                                                                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                                    Oh, and I'd add Joe's, Il Grano, 3 Square, and Kirkiko.

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Il Grano Restaurant
                                                                                                    11359 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                                                                    3 Square Cafe
                                                                                                    1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                                                                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                                      Map check... Mori, Il Grano and Kiriko belong to West L.A., not in Santa Monica.

                                                                                                      But we West Los Angelenos, being neighborly neighbors, will let you Santa Monicans dine with us every once in a while, I suppose... hehehe :-)

                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                      Kiriko
                                                                                                      11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                                                      Il Grano Restaurant
                                                                                                      11359 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                                                                    2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                                      I don't find Santa Monica and its environs lame in a culinary sense at all, but it is limited and more homogeneous than regions to the east. You have to go out of your way not to find good food on the westside. It's just the good stuff might not be the food you or your wallet is looking for.

                                                                                                      1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                        "You have to go out of your way not to find good food on the westside."

                                                                                                        I have no doubt that you'd agree that there are tons of crappy to mediocre restaurants within a three block radius of my abode in SM, most of them substantially more expensive than the restaurants in the SGV. And then there are some well-regarded restaurants whose credentials I question. Fig, for example. I spent about $100 on a meal there, and the chef severely overcooked -- and literally ruined -- my fish. That's just unacceptable. I've never once had overcooked fish in the SGV, and I've never once spent more than $30/person for a meal there.

                                                                                                        1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                          SGV is a totally different world. I've never had overcooked fish in SGV, but I've had fish past its prime that was otherwise prepared properly. The main criterion with most places out in SGV is price. The typical diner who lives out there is very price-conscious. This leads to many places cutting a razor-thin cost structure that can result in food that is subpar in quality for the sake of reducing costs. And if you haven't spent more than $30 for a meal in SGV, you might want to give some of the Cantonese seafood houses a try. $100+/per is commonplace. But at least the fish will still be in its prime.

                                                                                                          1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                            Exactly like sushigirlie says. Lots of hype. Nowhere in Santa Monica proper to have sushi. Please don't mention Roku as an option. How about some halfway decent Chinese or Thai? Too tall an order for this town of many?

                                                                                                            1. re: epop

                                                                                                              No halfway decent Indian, Persian, Middle Eastern, African, Latin American, Vietnamese, or Korean restaurants either. I'm not trashing the whole West Side though. Once you get east of SM proper there's a ton of good stuff.

                                                                                                              There are some nice under-appreciated spots in SM, however. I like the baked goods at the Tudor House (good curried chicken pot pie). I like Amelia's for at least the turkey sandwich. http://www.ameliascafe.com/menu.html . I like Real Food Daily for healthy food (so sue me).

                                                                                                              1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                you'll be hearing from both of my lawyers for that one.

                                                                                                                It discounts our whole contention. They win, sushigirlie.

                                                                                                                1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                  If you like tuna sandwiches, Tudor House has an excellent one. I also really like their sausage rolls.

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Tudor House
                                                                                                                  1403 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                                2. re: epop

                                                                                                                  I liked Sushi King in Santa Monica. Probably the best meal I've had since moving here!

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Sushi King
                                                                                                                  1330 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                                                3. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                  I will say that this argument always gets parochial in a very strange way. We compare the entire San Gabriel Valley to the strict city limits of Santa Monica, or worse, a 3 block radius? Odd. A diner is expected to drive from Arcadia to Monterey Park to San Gabriel for various incarnations of XLB and dan dan mein, but Mori and Kiriko is out because it isn't Santa Monica proper? As if anyone actually cares about such borders.

                                                                                                                  It's such a silly comparison, eastside v. westside. I lurve the eastside. But it's just a fact: you have to willfully avoid good food on the westside.

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Kiriko
                                                                                                                  11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                                                                  1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                    Well said. West side dining bashing is fashionable. I have to believe it stems from some type of inherent inferiority complex (or self loathing in the hearts of "loft loving" wanna be artists who live over here under protest)... ;-D> Good food and good times can be found throughout the entire extended Southern California area, if you just put away your preconceived notions and look.

                                                                                                                    1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                      I'm only comparing west LA to Santa Monica. As in simple walking distance from work (a mile or two). Some of us care about that. There is plenty of decent food in Santa Monica. But nothing that I crave too often. A Bay City sandwich. Pizza from Joe's, for sure. Melisse on occasion, but more for the experience/service than the food. Jiraffe.
                                                                                                                      It has nothing to do with preconceived notions.

                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                      Jiraffe Restaurant
                                                                                                                      502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                                      1. re: epop

                                                                                                                        Assertion 1: The Westside only has mediocre food.

                                                                                                                        Rebuttal: No it doesn't. There are many examples of quite good food. Much of it is expensive whitey food, but it is often very good. Some of it amongst the best in the city.

                                                                                                                        Assertion 2: There is no (list multiple ethnic cuisines) that is any good on the Westside. And don't even mention Chinese food. The SGV is definitely better.

                                                                                                                        Rebuttal: For many of those, that's true. But there is actually some very good Persian, Middle Eastern, and Japanese places. Places that the Eastside doesn't always excel in.

                                                                                                                        Assertion 3: No. I know we were discussing the Westside as a whole, but there aren't any good authentic ethnic eats within the municipal borders of Santa Monica.

                                                                                                                        Rebuttal: That's also largely true, but plenty of great places are easily traveled to, even if you live on the edge of Santa Monica.

                                                                                                                        Assertion 5: No. I want to limit the discussion to the area near where I work in Santa Monica.

                                                                                                                        Other favorites:

                                                                                                                        1. The Westside sucks because the Eastside is better.
                                                                                                                        2. I'm willing to cover several hundred square miles to get Korean food, then Shanghainese food, then Sinoloan food, but I refuse to move beyond my admittedly unexciting stretch of the Santa Monica.
                                                                                                                        3. I ordered food one time and it was not good, but I refused to send the item back. Now I think all of the places on the Westside are overhyped.

                                                                                                                        So your individual facts I often agree with. The problem is I don't think they are adding up to anything that helpful when the general point changes so frequently.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                          Is your report helpful?

                                                                                                                          You mention no places and examples.

                                                                                                                          There are no Persian places in Santa Monica. Sham is ok and that's Levantine.

                                                                                                                          Try ordering in some halfway decent Thai or Chinese food. I'm not talking SGV quality. Just something edible.

                                                                                                                          All I said was that in Santa Monica itself I don't find a lot to recommend. I get hungry and instead of being able to order in once in a while I have to go out of Santa Monica. I even gave my exceptions to that rule.

                                                                                                                          1. re: epop

                                                                                                                            No Persian in SanMo? Darya on Santa Monica. Smack dab in the middle of town. Ramsar?

                                                                                                                            Hm. Decnet Chinese food in Santa Monica. Have you tried Xino?

                                                                                                                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                                                              Map check (again). Darya belongs to West L.A. (zip 90025), not Santa Monica.

                                                                                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                Distinctions without differences (again).

                                                                                                                                1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                  The way some hounds act you'd think you had to clear Check Point Charlie leaving East Berlin heading into the West at the height of the cold war to dine around the west side. No one is asking for anyone's papers here. No dogs sniffing your car for contraband. No passport or visa (except maybe for the kind with high dollar limits) required.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                      That problem knows no borders or zip codes. It is what it is. But west side to east to the Valley - everyone has to deal with it...

                                                                                                                              2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                                                                Haven't tried Xino but I'm sort of obsessed by the fact that I can't order in any decent Chinese or Thai. I'm not saying it has to be great but places like Thai Dishes don't cut it. They don't deliver.

                                                                                                                                1. re: epop

                                                                                                                                  On this we can completely agree. Chinese on the westside is truly a dire situation. I've come to terms with it and have given up entirely.

                                                                                                                                  Thai that is pleasing enough can be found but it's not at a high enough density to ensure everyone lives within a delivery radius of something decent.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                    Shall I say thank God, Cacio?
                                                                                                                                    Anyhow, hopefully someone will figure this out and make a killing with some tasty and healthy Chinese or Thai food.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: epop

                                                                                                                                      I don't really want to go to bat for Mao's, but the dumplings are surely decent and I think they do fried rice particularly well.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: epop

                                                                                                                                        "healthy Chinese"
                                                                                                                                        I have no interest in healthy Chinese food.
                                                                                                                                        I don't need arsenic in it, but a fairly unhealthy, and immoderate amount of oils, fats and pork - as well as carby, greasy noodles and dumplings - is closer to the real Chinese that I crave and that the Westside lacks.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                                          point taken, Ciao Bob. By healthy I was thinking more of Thai. As far as Chinese I just want super fresh. I eat mostly seafood.
                                                                                                                                          At this point I'd settle for a place as decent as takeout at hundreds of places in NYC.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: epop

                                                                                                                                          Hey! Two foodophiles have got to find some common ground at some point, right?

                                                                                                                                          And here's to keeping hope alive. Perhaps it can even happen in our lifetimes.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: epop

                                                                                                                                        I don't really want to go to bat for Thai Dishes either, but I find some of the dishes at the location on Santa Monica Blvd and Ocean Ave decent to good. I like the chicken satay and the coconut milk curries generally. Lattitude Thai is also decent, and the summer rolls, which are made from homemade rice-flour wrappers, are in fact quite good.

                                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                                        Lattitude Thai Restaurant
                                                                                                                                        2906 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                                                                                        1. re: epop

                                                                                                                                          Delivery in Santa Monica is truly dreadful. There's not a single restaurant that delivers to me -- not through a service like LA Bite, and not for any fee -- that I consider very good. That's a big part of my complaint about the SM food scene.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                            For a delivery service in Santa Monica you might check out Grub Hub http://www.grubhub.com/ and see what they offer. I know that they will deliver food from Javan, for instance (depending on what part of SM you live in). Have you tried any of the sandwiches from Classic Pizza on Pico? Especially their chicken and pesto or their vegetarian sandwich.

                                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                                            Classic Pizzeria
                                                                                                                                            2624 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                              Thanks for your post. Yes, I use Grub Hub, as well as Eat 24 Hours and LABite. I live on the west-est edge of Santa Monica, and the places you mention don't deliver to me. If Javan did deliver to me, I would consider it the best restaurant to do so.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                Urban Spoon http://www.urbanspoon.com/tn/5/6/462/... has a nice list of SM restaurants that deliver. Have you tried Abbot's for pizza delivery?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                  I like Abbot's, especially the wild mushroom pizza. I don't think I'd call Abbot's "very good," but I do like it. I'd be a bigger proponent of Abbot's if they had something else to offer besides pizza. I've found their salads, in particular, to be just passable. Thanks again for the good suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                  Honestly, I've tried almost every restaurant that delivers to me, although there are some surprises on that list. (For example, Bar Pintxo delivers...?) There are a few places I haven't tried because they haven't struck me as worth a shot. e.g., Upper West -- I doubt I would like it more than Chaya (probably my #1 delivery option at the moment).

                                                                                                                                                  Il Forno used to deliver to me through LA Bite, and it was far and away my favorite delivery. The seafood salads were particularly good. But now, sadly, this delivery is no longer.

                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                  Bar Pintxo
                                                                                                                                                  109 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                    For salads you might give 17th Street Cafe on Montana Ave. a try (if you haven't yet done so). Have you dined in at LA Farm http://stefansatlafarm.com/ on Olympic Blvd. by any chance? We haven't been yet but it sounds interesting.

                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                    17th St Cafe
                                                                                                                                                    1610 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't tried either. 17th Street only delivers for lunch. I'll put both on my list of places to try.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                      I really liked the curried chicken salad I had at Upper West last week, but most of the other food was hit or miss. But I'm definitely going back for that salad.

                                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                                      Upper West
                                                                                                                                                      3321 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Juji

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks. I'll give it a chance sometime.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                        And their lobster raviolis are no longer.

                                                                                                                                      3. re: epop

                                                                                                                                        Those were the best meals in SM proper I've had so far.
                                                                                                                                        Bay Cities Godmother was awesome. Jiraffe and Meliise are great, but who wants to eat fine dining all the time? (I don't!) And the NY slice at Joe's was pretty good, but the grandma slice and garlic knots were awful!

                                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                                        Jiraffe Restaurant
                                                                                                                                        502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                                                        1. re: junglekitte

                                                                                                                                          I don't get Joe's. I live on the same block as Joe's and never eat there. It's not even as good as ordinary NYC pizza IMO, which is like...filler. I think the garlic knots are inedible. Bay Cities is an excellent store and one of the highlights of Santa Monica. Musha is a good and interesting restaurant in SM.

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

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                            Joe's is better than the ordinary NYC slice but maybe isn't the best in NYC. Try it again, if you want to like it. I've come to admire their bottom crust a lot.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: epop

                                                                                                                                              I don't know why I was so harsh on Joe's. Sometimes I'm just too negative :(. I think the pizza is pretty good (though my comment about the garlic knots, while a bit hyperbolic, stands). But I've had it probably 6 or 7 times now, so I don't think I'm ever going to be as big a fan as so many people on CH. I think the big pizza fans on CH are more concerned than I about the crust being a certain thin and crispy way, which doesn't do a whole lot for me. I tend to be happier with floppier, oilier pizza. My favorite pizza ever is from the Cheeseboard in Berkeley, which is chewy and floppy and has very high quality toppings.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                oh yeah, i forgot your Mozza take too. How could I?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: epop

                                                                                                                                                  I've come around to Mozza a little. I have a tendency to exaggerate my opinions sometimes. There's such a pronounced bandwagon effect on this site. Everybody raves and raves about the newest restaurants, and then it's on to the next ones, and then the next ones. You look at people's lists of the top LA restaurants and most of them, not coincidentally, just recently opened. Well I'm here to say: the Lazy Ox SUCKS.

                                                                                                                                                  Mozza is a legit restaurant though. I like the place and eat there pretty frequently. I still think their white anchovy pizza is lame, but the last two pizzas I've had there have been truly excellent. Still, I think the best pizza has a softer crust that soaks up the oils and juices of the toppings and thus becomes one big cohesive whole!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                  i just got the sicilian pizza from joe's as my farewell from carbs for a while. i think it was quite good, and the thin crust is as well. it's no Vito's or Bollini's, but it and Antica are my WS pizza places

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: echoparkdirt

                                                                                                                                                    To me, the Sicilian pizza at Tomato Pie is way better. It has a much more flavorful crust, redolent of olive oil.

                                                                                                                                      4. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                        So there's not a single restaurant in all of SGV that has overcooked a fish or charges more than $30 for a meal? Awesome. I'm packing my bags.

                                                                                                                                        There are plenty of great places for food in SM and nearby, some of which you already acknowledged. Interestingly, most of these have nothing even remotely similar in SGV, so does that make SM superior and SGV lame? Both areas have great food, but they're obviously going to be of a different character.

                                                                                                                                        My list, in no particular order:

                                                                                                                                        - Rustic Canyon (Cal cuisine and a great wine list)
                                                                                                                                        - Josie (similar to Rustic Canyon)
                                                                                                                                        - Musha (fun Izakaya with very good bar bites)
                                                                                                                                        - SM Seafood for retail (you have to pick carefully, but there's always something fresh)
                                                                                                                                        - Tasting Kitchen (good Cal. food, but terrible wine list)
                                                                                                                                        - Blue Plate Oysterette: (seafood counter...try the grilled/chilled prawns!)
                                                                                                                                        - Bay Cities (godmother is overrated because the bread is lame, but it's still a great Ital. deli)
                                                                                                                                        - Andrew's Cheese Shop
                                                                                                                                        - Monsieur Marcel's (best bet on the promenade...the burger is amazing)
                                                                                                                                        - Chinois (dated interior and menu, but you the lobster is still an awesome dish)
                                                                                                                                        - Mendocino Farms in MDR (best sandwiches around. Sorry, Bay Cities)
                                                                                                                                        - Melisse
                                                                                                                                        - Bar Pintxo for the jamon iberico and gambas

                                                                                                                                        I'm sure I'm forgetting some...

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

                                                                                                                                        Bar Pintxo
                                                                                                                                        109 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                                                        Blue Plate
                                                                                                                                        1415 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                                                                        Izakaya
                                                                                                                                        8420 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                                                                                                        Mendocino Farms
                                                                                                                                        300 S Grand Ave Ste Lp40, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Nootka

                                                                                                                                          I actually quite enjoy the wine list at Tasting Kitchen because it has wines I don't have much experience with. Of course, Josh at Rustic Canyon is an awesome sommelier so I choose their list by a wide margin.

                                                                                                                                          Then again, at Tasting Kitchen one should really be drinking the superior cocktails as much as possible.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Nootka

                                                                                                                                            Bread "lame" at Bay Cities? I couldn't disagree more! i look forward to trying Musha though.

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

                                                                                                                                            1. re: junglekitte

                                                                                                                                              Yes, a controversial opinion. Don't get your hopes up too high for Musha.

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

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Nootka

                                                                                                                                              Oh good for you, Nootka. The Godmother bread is awful.
                                                                                                                                              I have seen the Godmother revered for years, and i ate it often when I did meat,
                                                                                                                                              some 35 years ago! The bread sucked then too.
                                                                                                                                              What I want to know is why are you the first person I've heard acknowledge this???

                                                                                                                                              1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                                                                                                Seriously beg to differ on the bread. Bay Cities' bread alone draws some serious crowds - our group of friends have vowed that if any of us drop by there, that we are to always pick up enough loaves to where each household gets one. Your tastes may differ, so I'm wondering what is good bread to you and Nootka?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                                  I agree, some of the best bread in LA and it's baked hourly.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                                    I've said it before and I'll say it again. The bread at Bay Cities is pretty lousy and reminds me of the bread I used to get at my local Met Food in Brooklyn. Its a machine made product that may have been good in 1975 when the only other choice was wonder bread. If you want to buy a good Italian bread with flavor head straight to Wally's who has the goods from Bread Lab.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: josh L

                                                                                                                                                      It's funny you mention they bread comparison in Brooklyn. Our friend who is from there and is Italian really likes the bread you dread. I guess at least I will know where to find bread I like in Brooklyn? To each his/her own...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                                        I love that fresh bread from Bay Cities. Driving home with it in the car? That smell? I sometimes get through half a loaf - and I leave nearby.

                                                                                                                                                        So, I disagree, strongly with that opinion. In fact, the much lauded sandwiches from Bay Cities is lauded largely because of the bread (the rest of the ingrediants are good quality, but like Boar's Head stuff. )

                                                                                                                                        2. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                          to sushigirlie:
                                                                                                                                          sergio, the head chef of mariscos chente, now, on most days, can be found cooking at the inglewood location which is on imperial highway near yukon.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                            Sadly and regrettably I agree about the Santa Monica judgment. Far better outside of the SM border. I don't find all that many places that I crave the food of.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: junglekitte

                                                                                                                                            Have you tried Simpang Asia yet for Indonesian, junglekitte?
                                                                                                                                            It is a genuine little genuine gemstone in what is, otherwise, a cz-dominated world of Westside ethnic waste. There are a few other notable excepetions -- same fine Japanese, a few Mexican spots come to mind -- but if you want good Indian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese you will have to travel (as you seem to be learning).

                                                                                                                                            Gjelina is well worth your attention.

                                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                                            Simpang Asia
                                                                                                                                            10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                                                                                                            Gjelina
                                                                                                                                            1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

                                                                                                                                        3. Hi I'm not sure if you like of steakhouses (i didn't any in your list) but when I went to santa Monica I had tha opportunity to visit the Boa Steak House. And I loved it...

                                                                                                                                          I've read many good reviews and bad reviews about this house. But my testemonial is that place worths to pay a good medium rare steak.
                                                                                                                                          Voilà.

                                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                                          Boa Steakhouse
                                                                                                                                          101 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: hctupper

                                                                                                                                            I don't eat steak, and maybe it excels at that. The food I have eaten there was terrible. Recently, I had a mealy shrimp cocktail and much worse, bruschetta with wild mushrooms. This latter item was something from a culinary horror film. I had trouble cutting the bruschetta with a steak knife. I'm not totally sure what exactly I was eating, to be honest -- it was so stale and dense and creepy. Probably spent about $60-$70, with a drink and tip, on this fine meal. I make good money but I'm tired of throwing it away to corporate owners of garbage restaurants.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                              i've had a couple of passable meals at BOA - once in SM and once at the former Sunset location in the Grafton hotel, but nothing that made me want to go running back there again. there are certainly many better options for steak (and everything else) in this town, and the service at the SM location is absolutely horrendous.

                                                                                                                                              but, if you find yourself stuck there for another meal, try the Chop Chop salad (hold the salami) - it's actually not bad.

                                                                                                                                          2. Since I love Bay Cities, too, and you can't eat goumet food every day, I'll mention some restaurants that I don't often see listed by other Chowhounds, but that I've found to be reliably good over the years:

                                                                                                                                            Pizzicotto in Brentwood for great Italian at reasonable prices
                                                                                                                                            Lula's on Main Street in SM for Mexican and great margaritas
                                                                                                                                            The Galley on Main Street in SM esp. for half-priced burgers off their bar menu at happy hour
                                                                                                                                            The Counter on Ocean Park Bl. the rest of the time for good burgers
                                                                                                                                            Library Ale House on Main Street in SM for great beer on tap and nice back patio
                                                                                                                                            Ocean Avenue Seafood in SM for everything
                                                                                                                                            Jinky's on 2nd Street in SM for breakfasts and chili
                                                                                                                                            Mr. Cecil's on Pico in WLA for ribs
                                                                                                                                            All India Cafe in WLA for Indian (they deliver to SM)
                                                                                                                                            Noma's in SM for sushi and other Japanese dishes
                                                                                                                                            John O'Groats on Pico in WLA for the best breakfasts
                                                                                                                                            The Hungry Pocket on Pico in SM for falafels
                                                                                                                                            The Firehouse at Rose/Main in Venice for breakfast (I love their huevos rancheros)

                                                                                                                                            And I'm sure Langer's in downtown LA would be the best place for tongue sandwiches, though I stick to their pastrami and corned beef.

                                                                                                                                            Welcome to Santa Monica!

                                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                                            All India Cafe
                                                                                                                                            39 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

                                                                                                                                            John O'Groats
                                                                                                                                            10516 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                                                                                            Jinky's Cafe
                                                                                                                                            1447 2nd St Fl 1, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                                                            Ocean Avenue Seafood
                                                                                                                                            1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                                                            Hungry Pocket
                                                                                                                                            1715 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                                                                                            Main Street Cafe
                                                                                                                                            12939 Main St, Garden Grove, CA 92840

                                                                                                                                            Pizzicotto
                                                                                                                                            11758 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049