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Sep 20, 2010 03:36 PM

Parents' 1st visit to LA: Where to take them? (Animal, Rivera, Jitlada...)

My parents are coming to visit me in LA for the first time. So far I've made reservations at Animal and Rivera, and I also plan on taking them to Jitlada. Someone else recommended I take them to Pizza Mozza, but I couldn't get a rez, even though it's a month out. I want to take them to some of LA's finer, more interesting offerings, along the lines of Animal and Rivera, so if y'all think there are better options in that league please do share.

Definitely need to take them to get some solid Mexican food, too. So far the best I've had is Cactus on Beverly in/near Koreatown.

I'm living in Echo Park, btw, but willing to travel if the recommendation is strong enough.


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

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  1. You could try walking in early at pizzeria mozza and going for a seat at the bar. I love Guelagetza in K-town for a good and interesting lunch or dinner.

    4 Replies
      1. re: brian j

        They are both fine, but the one on Olympic Blvd is much (MUCH) easier to find parking at. You have excellent choices with the restaurants you've listed. Your folks must be true hounds. I keep reading really good things about WP24 (the new Wolfgang Puck Asian themed eatery) which is on the 24 floor of the Ritz-Carlton at LA Live downtown. The view is also supposed to be killer.

        900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

      2. re: AAQjr

        Mozza only takes reservations 30 days in advance so if you call on September 21 you can make a reservation for October 20th and so on, everyday one new day opens up. also has reservations for Mozza also 30 days in advance but usually only has early times around 5pm.

        1. re: wienermobile

          I did a Wednesday evening reservation at Mozza through OpenTable for 6:45pm and it worked out smoothly - no waiting to be seated. I made the reservation a day ahead of the dinner.

      3. It may help if you mention where they're coming from and what types of food they generally like.

        I think most CHers would recommend doing as many of the different styles as you can
        Korean - Park's
        Chinese - dim sum at Elite
        Mexican - ?
        Thai - Jitlada
        Japanese - Kiyokawa, Sushi Zo, Sushi Gen
        "LA" - Spago, Mozza, Langer's, Animal, Kogi, Umami, Father's Office

        This is just my generic list of what LA does best, and what tourists/visitors should try. Of course, you should tailor this to each visitor.

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

        176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

        Sushi Zo
        9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

        Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

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

        21 Replies
        1. re: andytseng

          My parents are rather adventurous but they definitely enjoy Asian ethnic food and Cali-style food the best. They're not super into Japanese food or Sushi, though. Not sure if they're into Korean, either, but I know they love Thai (thus Jitlada), and my mom loves Indian food soooo much, so any recos there would be great.

          Langers and Fathers Office are also on my short list if we can squeeze em in.

          Definitely want to find a solid Mexican spot to take them to that's above and beyond standard taco and burrito fare. Guelagetza seems to fit the bill, but I'm open to other suggestions.

          Looking forward to posting my first office LA reports (just moved here a few weeks ago and am still settling).

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

          1. re: brian j

            I don't know where your parents are visiting from, but I know I would not take my Parents to either Father's Office or Langers.

            Why?? Father's Office is a glorified dumpy bar that someone thought had a decent burger (most likely after waaaay too many beers.) If you (or your parents) are into craft & hard to find beers, look no further. But that's about all they have going for them. Langer's is a semi-bad LA version of a true NY deli, overpriced for large pastrami sandwiches. Again, if this excites you & your folks, have at it. But there are soooo many better food joints to take them to if you and they are into food.

            If you want more exotic Mexican than standard burrito fare that you'll find everywhere here, do a search on these boards of places like Mariscos Chente or Puro Sabor (which is Peruvian, I believe.) And don't dismiss the places with small size and storefronts, they are usually better than the splashier places with a name backing them, like Red O.

            Korean food is wonderful, no raw stuff like Japanese, and it's a treat to try all the panchan dishes they serve with the traditional bbq. I took my family, with two young sons there (to Park's, specifically) for a special occasion and everyone loved it and had a wonderful meal. Just the fact that you say your parents enjoy ethnic Asian food makes me sure that they will love Korean food. My parents are similar, not into the Japanese sushi thing, but pretty adventurous otherwise. They loved the Korean bbq place. Good luck and let us know where you decide to try and what they thought of it.

            Puro Sabor
            6366 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91401

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

            1. re: Phurstluv

              Some things are as predictable as the sun rising in the east.. Mention F.O.. even in passing and lo and behold. You may not like their service or their burger, though to be fair you are in the minority. But they have excellent small plates, great beer, well curated wine and cocktail list. It IS a bar, but to call F.O.. dumpy is beyond the pale, the bar (and the service is bar service btw) is always clean and kempt.

              1. re: AAQjr

                Look, obviously you're a fan and I am not.

                I still stand by my impression that it is a dumpy bar (at least the original on Montana, dumpy as in not very nice inside). I did not say that it is unclean, but that it is a bar with overrated food - that's my opinion. Just telling the OP what I think of the place, and that I don't consider a place I would take my parents to.

                If the OP wants to take them to a bar with interesting food, I daresay that Lazy Ox Canteen and Tar Pit, among others too numerous to name right now, are much better choices.

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  I don't know if you've been recently, but the Montana location pretty much looks like a smaller version of Culver City now. It is smaller, but I don't think you can call it dumpy.

                  Easy access off the 10 makes the CC location more convenient for most anyway.

              2. re: Phurstluv

                Phurstluv, I can't disagree with you more than what you said about Langer's. Here is a quote from Nora Ephron writing in The New Yorker that says it all for me " The Langer's hot pastrami sandwich slathered with Gulden's mustard, is an exquisite combination of textures and tastes. It's soft but crispy, tender but chewy, peppery but sour, smoky but tangy. It's a symphony orchestra, different instruments brought together to play one perfect chord. It ... is, in short, a work of art.

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

                1. re: wienermobile

                  I know Langers has legions of fans of it's pastrami sandwich. And if the OP and his parents are dying for that fare, then I suggest go for it.

                  Again, it is just not the type of place that I would think to take my parents to, when they visit from out of town. Delis are a dime a dozen. I would take my parents to Musso & Frank's, if I wanted them to experience a piece of old Hollywood. I would take them to Langers only if they had to have pastrami. Again, it's just my opinion that there are too many wonderful places in this city, and I wouldn't waste my time, gas & $$ with guests from out of town at Langers, unless they specifically requested it.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Maybe jewish delis are a dime a dozen in NY, but I've never found a better, or even comparable jewish deli outside of NY after having lived in a few different regions of the country.

                    Besides, for tourists and visitors, I'm usually going to put aside my own differences with certain places and would generally go with any place that has as many fans as Langer's does.

                    It's like if I said that I don't like spicy foods, so I'm not going to take anyone to Jitlada... Regardless of how I particularly feel about Jitlada, there are tons of people that do enjoy it. I think it would make sense that Jitlada, and Langer's and Father's Office, would have a higher chance of striking a chord with my guests.

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

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

                    1. re: andytseng

                      How does Canter's compare to Langers?

                      1. re: brian j

                        When it comes to the pastrami, for me there is no comparison. Langer's blows Canter's out of the water.

                        Also, just to avoid any confusion, on my original post, I mentioned Umami and I was referring to Umami Burger... not the Umami Cafe that CH auto-linked for me.

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

                        1. re: andytseng

                          Canter's is just so-so but Langer's is great.

                          Canter's does win on hours as they are open 24 hours a day and Langer's closes at 4pm daily and is closed all day Sunday.

                      2. re: andytseng

                        Yes, Jewish delis are a dime a dozen in NY, CT, MA, NJ, etc. And that's where I happened to have grown up. So forgive me if I am not so enamored with the LA versions out here, and stating the fact that it just wouldn't be the place that comes to mind when I think of somewhere to take my parents for LA food.

                        I consider Langers and Canters to be like, hangover food. Good. Greasy. Not exotic or exciting. And I remarked that if the OP and his parents want pastrami sammies in the worst way, that is the place to go. But since the OP is an LA newbie, I was trying to steer him to other, not so touristy but chow-worthy delicious places that we have in abundance.

                        So don't take it so personally, andytseng. Live and let live.

                        1. re: Phurstluv

                          Langers is the recipient of the James Beard Foundation award. I don't think very many other delis can say that.

                      3. re: Phurstluv

                        FYI, every guest that has visited me in LA (there have been many, including my parents), has absolutely loved Langer's, and requested it on repeat visits.

                    2. re: Phurstluv

                      disagree with just about everything you said. Koreans love raw fish just as much as Japanese do. There's a lot of water around Korea.

                      1. re: peppermonkey

                        Hey, what is this, pile on the rabbit??

                        I didn't say Koreans don't eat raw fish. I was merely pointing out that Korean BBQ restos are not about the sushi. Or fish, for that matter.

                      2. re: Phurstluv

                        i second Mariscos Chente for Sinaloan. if Oaxacan, head to Monte Alban. for upscale Mexican, take the drive to Babita.

                        also for Peruvian, if that's of note, Mario's Peruvian -- nothing fancy, but good.

                        Monte Alban
                        11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

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

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

                        1. re: Emme

                          Second Babita. It is truly wonderful. I also think your parents would love a jaunt to Langer's.

                      3. re: brian j

                        Perhaps not for this round - but for the future reference.
                        As an Indian cook, I find most of LA's Indian restaurants rather similar and pedestrian. But if Indian it has to be - there are a few (really few) options that I can think of (in order of my personal preference):
                        1. Royal Khyber
                        2. Tangy Tomato
                        3. Tanzore

                        I have not traveled all over LA seeking out Indian restaurants - but of the ones I have visited, these are the ones I would think of taking a visitor to. In Pasadena, where I live, I do prefer New Delhi Palace and Akbar's, and a little dive in Arcadia called Nirvana.

                        Akbar Cuisine of India
                        44 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

                        50 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                        New Delhi Palace Cuisine-India
                        950 E Colorado Blvd Ste 205, Pasadena, CA 91106

                        314 E Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91006

                        Tangy Tomato
                        11454 South St, Cerritos, CA 90703

                        50 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                        1. re: suvro

                          Managed to get a rez at Pizzeria Mozza by calling. Didn't realize Opentable would have such limited options.

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

                    3. I am a direct descendant of Aaron and Shiffra Peterman, of the famed Peterman's deli in Newark, and I can tell you that the best pastrami in LA is at the Oinkster in Eagle Rock.

                      Great burgers are great burgers wherever you go, but if you want the ultimate Cali-burger experience, go to 26 Beach and get the California Roll Burger. It is unreal.

                      26 Beach
                      3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

                      2005 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock, CA

                      1. Don't forget them danger dogs after a couple of cocktails... : )