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What to eat in LA if you're not from the US...

I have some family friends coming to town in a couple of weeks and they'll be staying in LA for a day or two at the beginning and end of their trip. I've been tasked to make a list of LA eats and I'm mixed about what to suggest.

What are the best LA eats that really give an out of towner a taste of LA? I think their budget ranges from $ - $$$$ so anything goes. And I'm not sure what cuisines they enjoy or if they'll try anything so I want to be able to suggest a bunch of places.

Try to keep the suggestions to the Hollywood/Santa Monica/Malibu areas (possibly Koreatown & Downtown as well). They're staying at the Standard in Hollywood. I should probably add a good Mexican and Korean place as well. Just starting the list but so far I have...

$
Pink's (touristy I know, but for someone from the UK I'm sure an American hot dog would be interesting)

$$
Father's Office

$$$
Pizzeria Mozza
Osteria Mozza

$$$$
The Bazaar

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

Pizzeria Mozza
641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

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  1. Spago seemed very LA to this out-of-towner. Wolfgang stopped by to talk to each table the night I was there, which was neat.

    As an out-of-towner who will be visiting LA in the near future, I've got Animal and a half dozen Mexican places on my shortlist.

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    Spago
    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    2 Replies
    1. re: phoenikia

      Good idea about Spago. I'll suggest that in case they want the whole celebrity chef experience. Any great Mexican suggestions?

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      Spago
      176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

      1. re: cincodemayo1

        When I posted my request for suggestions, I was asking about decent Mexican options that were located near the Grove, so I have no idea what the good or great Mexican restaurants in/near Hollywood/Santa Monica/Malibu would be. Loteria, Pinche's on Sunset and Tere's Mexican Grill were recommended to me, but I haven't had a chance to try any of them yet. I realize they might not be great, or the best, but they're considered to be good by the CHs who recommended them.

        I'm sure some other CHs can suggest where to find the best Mexican options closer to Hollywood/Santa Monica/Malibu.

        I would expect the Thai food in LA to be much better than the Thai food in the UK. Jitlada and Nakkara are 2 Thai restaurants that found their way onto my shortlist. Jitlada is located in Thai Town in the eastern part of Hollywood.

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        Tere's Mexican Grill
        5870 Melrose Ave Ste 1, Los Angeles, CA 90038

    2. In Koreatown, Park's BBQ is a great meal for meats and Korean BBQ such as short ribs. Great service, full meal with all the sides.
      http://www.parksbbq.com/

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      Park's BBQ
      955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

      1 Reply
      1. re: wienermobile

        Park's is a good idea too. I also like Genwa. I think sending them to one of these nicer Korean places is probably a good idea. Not sure they've ever had Korean but I'll be sure to throw it out there!

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        Genwa
        5115 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      2. For Mexican:

        I would try Guelaguetza, Moles La Tia, or La Huasteca for Oaxacan.

        http://www.guelaguetzarestaurante.com/
        http://www.lahuasteca.com/
        http://www.moleslatia.com/

        They might also get a kick out of the fabulous fish tacos at Ricky's Fish Tacos in Hollywood...
        http://twitter.com/rickysfishtacos

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        Guelaguetza
        3014 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

        La Huasteca
        3150 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

        Guelaguetza
        3337 1/2 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

        Moles La Tia
        4619 E Cesar E Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90022

        Guelaguetza
        11215 Long Beach Blvd Ste 1010, Lynwood, CA 90262

        Ricky's Fish Tacos
        1400 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

        1. I would take Pink's off and replace that with a taco from a truck, just for the experience.

          I would throw Langer's on there, and a nice Chinese restaurant a la Sea Harbour (see Exilekiss's review), but that might be out of your range.

          I agree w/ Pizzeria Mozza, Jitlada, and Park's BBQ for Korean. I usually don't take people to Guelaguetza because some people just don't enjoy mole.

          Also, AOC to me is still worth a mention in terms of good food and it's LA-ness. And I have no idea what the sushi scene is like in the UK, but Sushi Zo might be worth the trip as well. Or Urasawa if money really is no object, since they might be making the obligatory trip to Rodeo anyway.

          5 Replies
          1. re: andytseng

            I was definitely going to add taco trucks. And great other suggestions as well. Forgot about Jitlada and Langer's and AOC! Thanks!

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            AOC
            8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

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

            1. re: andytseng

              A big yes to Langer's, the best pastrami on earth. They close daily at 4pm and are closed all day Sunday. A real LA treat.
              http://www.langersdeli.com/

              You might also consider at trip to The Original Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfax. Great for people watching and a good taste of LA.
              http://www.farmersmarketla.com/

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

              Farmers Market
              6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              1. re: andytseng

                What's wrong with Pink's?

                Take them early right after they first open (9:30am 7 days) and you won't have to fight the lines.

                It's been mentioned there's a Pink's at LAX Bradley International Terminal

                1. re: monku

                  Hot dog at 9:30 in the morning? Eek!

                  1. re: mstinawu

                    And if they're on UK time it's 5:30pm.
                    I do it all the time...other tourists are there right when they open.

              2. I would consider the untimate LA spot for the $$$$ to be Spago or CUT more than Bazaar, especailly for Eurpoeans. The Mozza's I like well enough but not really to show the LA of LA. Koreatown/Thaitown/Japanese enclaves like little Tokyo/Sawtelle/Gardena do that better. I would consider Yakitori-ya or Nanbankan for something the average Briton has not experienced.

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                Spago
                176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210