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Chowhound's 99 Essential Restaurants in Los Angeles

Ok, motivated by these two threads bashing(?), and maybe even whining(?), about Jonathan Gold's 99 Essential Restaurants 2010:

Here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7465...
and
Here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7464...

How about we stop the negativity and we 'Hounds compile our own 99 Essential Restaurants list?

Not the "Best" (that's maxzook's balliwick), but your list of essential restaurants for Los Angeles.

I think 99 would be difficult for even the most intrepid of 'Hounds.

So how about we limit the choices to 10 per 'Hound.

And, if I've got time, I'll actually complie a list of the 99 most mentioned restaurants from the post.

Deal?

Have it at ...

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  1. This is actually a lot harder narrowing down a list. Honorable mention has to be The Hat. Wish I could put it on the list. : (

    Sea Harbour
    Luscious Dumpling
    CUT
    Wolfgang's
    Mama's Lu
    Langer's
    Brent's
    Mozza
    Animal
    Santouka

    5 Replies
    1. re: A5 KOBE

      mariscos chente in inglewood on imperial highway near yukon.

      shamshiri grill on westwood blvd near santa monica blvd.

      rahel's on fairfax near pico for ethiopian food

      -----
      shamshiri
      1712 Westwood Blvd, Westwood, CA 90024

      1. re: westsidegal

        since i'm not sure what they mean by 'essential," i'll just go with my regular rotation:

        mariscos chente's on west imperial highway
        la cachette bistro on ocean
        (these two, although very different from each other have the best fish. la cachette bistro also has some supurb desserts)

        fig (best cheese and very good food--ate there for dinner tonight. had a large cheese flight along with ther fresh-from-the-oven terrific crusty french bread)
        hosteria del piccolo (great pasta and starters and fabulous desserts)''

        gjelina, going about 2pm to avoid the annoying wait and to avoid the annoying abbreviated menu that they serve between 3pm and 5:30 and after 10pm

        stella rossa (best westside pizza even though it only is open during drinking hours)

        and, although i no longer have the funds for this to be in m regular rotation, i did eat there recently and the fish is still terrific: sushi zo. ( i know, a matter of controversy on his board, but i, personally, have only have had lovely experiences there.)

        1. re: westsidegal

          I'm sure your choices are excellent. But you might want to try some fish at Orris, Mori, Providence, Water Grill, (I'm moving Eastward) Shiro, Full House, Seafood Village, Newport Seafood, Sea Harbour and so on.

          -----
          Water Grill
          544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

          Shiro Restaurant
          1505 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030

          1. re: mc michael

            i've tried the fish at Orris.
            it was fine,
            but the "no reservations" policy coupled with no comfortable place to sit or stand while waiting for a seat, took away my motivation to learn the game for timing my meal there.

            Gelina (which i mostly go to for their take on vegetables and salads has the same problem, but since it's closer to my home, i was willing to spend some time to figure out the game. my Gjelina approach, btw, is to go about 2pm or so for a late lunch).
            providence, of course, serves superb food, but too costly to be on my regular rotation.
            mori is fine, but if i'm spending that kind of money, i prefer the way the fish tastes at sushi zo (controversial position, i know).

            have yet to try your other recommendations.
            probably won't try water grill because of the location (at this point, getting off the freeway downtown is a minus for me), but will definitely put your other recommendations on my list.
            thanks

            1. re: mc michael

              Bit of advice - seek out ABC Seafood in Chinatown, as the owner, Danny Lam, was formerly with Full House, and thus many of the customers have now moved over a few blocks.
              ABC was completely remodeled, changed ownership, and is now busier than you might expect.
              Tried it today - see an earlier post.

              -----
              ABC Seafood Restaurant
              708 New High St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

      2. Jitlada
        Urasawa
        Water Grill
        Spago
        Mori Sushi
        Zelo
        Renu Nakorn
        Yoma
        Lemonade
        Al Noor

        -----
        Water Grill
        544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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

        Spago
        176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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

        Al Noor
        15112 Inglewood Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260

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

        Yoma Restaurant
        713 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA

        Renu Nakorn Restaurant
        13019 Rosecrans Ave, Norwalk, CA 90650

        1. Dean Sin World: Shanghai dumplings
          26 Beach: California Roll Burger
          Get Shaved: Best shave ice not in Hawaii
          Antojitos Carmen: Mexican street food
          Bite: Best croissants
          Kagura: millefieu tonkatsu
          Big Mista: brisket and pork ribs
          Donut Man: outrageous strawberry donuts
          Sea Harbor: Dim sum
          Bulgarini: unmatched gelato

          Honorable Mention:
          Park Korean BBQ
          Jongewaard's: pies and cakes
          Fab Dogs:
          Pizzeria Mozza:
          Langers:
          Brents
          Bludso's
          Flossie's
          Bay Cities
          Vito's
          Porto's
          Chego

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

          Donut Man
          915 E Rte 66, Glendora, CA 91740

          Dean Sin World
          306 N Garfield Ave # 2, Monterey Park, CA

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

          Antojitos Carmen
          2510 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033

          Chego
          3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

          7 Replies
          1. re: Ogawak

            Urasawa
            Providence
            Sushi Zo
            Asanebo
            Elite
            Nanbankan
            101 Noodle Express (for the beef roll)
            Park's BBQ
            Quality Seafood
            Eva's Lechon

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

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

            Sushi Zo
            9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

            Asanebo
            11941 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

            101 Noodle Express
            1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

            Quality Seafood
            130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

            1. re: Ogawak

              I can't believe I forgot Bludso's.

              1. re: A5 KOBE

                ooooh, for shame!

                bludso's
                the park's finest
                jim dandy's
                new chong qing
                kingburg kitchen
                pailin thai
                ricky's fish tacos
                al watan
                handel's
                l'artisan du chocolat

                1. re: raizans

                  Love New Chong Qing

                  -----
                  New Chong Qing
                  120 N San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91775

                  1. re: yoyo

                    when's the last time you went? I have chronicled steep decline....

                    1. re: echoparkdirt

                      I was there last weekend. The hot pot is not as spicy and everything was salty. The dan dan noodle was too salty for me. i thought it was just an off day. I hope it won't go downhill. I love this place.

                      1. re: yoyo

                        keep us posted. in the meantime, check out taste of chongqing on valley -- it's a contender.

            2. Cut
              Drago Centro
              Langers
              Jitlada
              Loteria Grill
              Sea Harbour
              Elite Restaurant
              Mori
              Newport Seafood
              R23

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

              Cut
              9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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

              Elite Restaurant
              700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

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

              Loteria Grill
              6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              R23
              923 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

              Drago Centro
              525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                1. re: RicRios

                  Defining essential takes away all the fun.

                  1. re: mc michael

                    Petitio principii!

                    Got to go.
                    Taquitos dorados in the oven, to be washed down with a Langhe Rosso from Luigi Baudana.

                    I'm out.

                    1. re: RicRios

                      au contraire. it's metaphysical. the restaurants chosen by the peeps define "essential." now, start pickin'.

                      1. re: mc michael

                        I'd rather say, it's more practical than metaphysical.
                        I'm sure pretty soon we'll have maxzook's "ultimate" list brewing.
                        I need to know at least what's the difference, as far as this board is concerned, btw "essential" and "ultimate". If we can't separate the concepts, what's the purpose of compiling two lists?

                          1. re: RicRios

                            As I see it, RicRios, the essential restaurants are those that you consider to be part of what makes Los Angeles unique and different from every other major metropolitan city.

                            These are the restaurants that represent (maybe even define?) the quiddity of Los Angeles, if you will.

                            Cheers my friend!

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              In other words, essential means "what it is." It being Los Angeles.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                That being the case, it must include Pink's.
                                And I refuse.
                                Period.
                                Now back to my taquitos. This time, the emulsifying medium being a 2007 Savigny-les-Beaune from Hospices de Beaune. Wow!

                              2. re: RicRios

                                examples:

                                Essential: Philippe's French Dip
                                Ultimate: Houston's French Dip

                                edit: While Houston's *may* have a superior french dip, I find myself going to Philippes more often...for atmosphere, nostalgia, history, etc.

                                1. re: OCAnn

                                  I suppose I can agree to this. Essential =/= best.

                                  1. re: OCAnn

                                    Here's another one:

                                    Essential: Din Tai Fung XLB
                                    Best / Utlimate: Dean Sin World XLB

                                    -----
                                    Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                    1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                    Dean Sin World
                                    306 N Garfield Ave # 2, Monterey Park, CA

                                    1. re: OCAnn

                                      i find myself going to Houston's more often for the free corkage.. . .
                                      since i eat more meals out in restaurants than i cook at home, free corkage turns into a tidy savings for me over the course of time.

                                      nostalgia, to me, is a top dog at Berkeley and the smell of my hair and my clothes being permeated by hot dog grease after every shift.. . .

                          2. Mori Sushi
                            Spago
                            Jitlada
                            Park's
                            La Casita Mexicana
                            Father's Office
                            Langer's
                            Elite
                            Animal
                            Can I count a visit to a food truck court one??

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

                            Spago
                            176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                            La Casita Mexicana
                            4030 Gage Ave, Bell, CA 90201

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

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

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mollyomormon

                              Can I count a visit to a food truck court one??
                              __________________________________

                              You can do whatever you want Molly, just make sure to specify the food truck court. Don't want to be accused of (mis)counting hanging chads or anything.

                            2. Langer's
                              Park's BBQ
                              Sea Harbour
                              Gjelina
                              Pizzeria Mozza
                              Brent's
                              Bay Cities
                              Spago
                              Ricky's Fish Tacos
                              Matsuhisa

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

                              Spago
                              176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                              Matsuhisa
                              129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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

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

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

                              1. Soot Bull Jeep
                                Langers
                                Noshi Sushi
                                Oki Dog
                                Spago
                                Guelaguetza (Olympic)
                                Sea Harbour
                                Taylor’s
                                Quality Seafood
                                Babita

                                -----
                                Spago
                                176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                Soot Bull Jeep
                                3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                Oki Dog
                                860 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                                Quality Seafood
                                130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

                                Noshi Sushi
                                4430 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

                                1. Gjelina
                                  Musha
                                  Tacos por Favor
                                  Spago
                                  Rustic Canyon
                                  Fathers Office
                                  Jar
                                  Mozza
                                  Bar Pinxto
                                  A-Frame (but it wasn't open when Gold compiled his list, it is now, in 2010)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: yogachik

                                    I forgot Bottega Louie, one of my favorite restaurants in LA

                                    -----
                                    Bottega Louie
                                    700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                  2. Langers
                                    JTHY
                                    Sea Harbor
                                    Babita
                                    Birrieria Apatzingan
                                    Bahooka (for the experience rather than food)
                                    Dal Rae
                                    J n J's Ribs and Burgers
                                    Sapp's
                                    The actual original Tommy's on Rampart

                                    -----
                                    Dal Rae
                                    9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

                                    Birrieria Apatzingan
                                    10040 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91331

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: martyR

                                      langer's
                                      father's office
                                      elite
                                      santouka
                                      drago centro
                                      melisse
                                      water grill
                                      al & bea's
                                      daikokuya
                                      can't decide which sushi joint...

                                      1. re: rickym13

                                        Question about Elite: Are you guys rating it so highly because of its dim sum, its dinner, or both? I'm more interested in dinner than dim sum.

                                        1. re: sushigirlie

                                          Like Sea Harbour, Elite is much better for dinner than dim sum.

                                    2. Sushi Zo
                                      CUT
                                      Animal
                                      The Bazaar
                                      Park's BBQ
                                      Sea Harbour/Elite
                                      Sapp
                                      Shin Sen Gumi/Santouka
                                      Langer's
                                      Umami

                                      I wonder how much resemblance we'll see between this and this year's LA Ultimate (Hi maxzook!)

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

                                      Sushi Zo
                                      9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

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

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ramenbound

                                        The one thing I know from these posts is that when my parents visit for the holidays, I'm going to insist they eat the pastrami sandwich at Langer's, though I don't eat pastrami and find the stuff I have ordered from Langer's just passable.

                                      2. 1. The restaurant you pass every day and never step in the door

                                        Repeat the above nine more times.

                                        Yes this thread is useful and I'll bookmark it. However, there are so many places that never get mentioned that we pass every day and we never step in the door because ... no one mentions time. There are a lot of hidden gems there ... especially if you look for the unusual on the menu.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: rworange

                                          rw,

                                          Simply because the journey is endless, does not mean that it is not worth embarking upon.

                                          Sisphysian? Yes, perhaps. Enjoyable nontheless? No doubt.

                                        2. Luscious Dumplings
                                          Bay Cities
                                          Al Noor
                                          Zam Zam
                                          Bollini's
                                          Jitlada
                                          Marouche
                                          Casa Bianca
                                          Vito's

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

                                          Al Noor
                                          15112 Inglewood Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260

                                          Luscious Dumplings
                                          704 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: echoparkdirt

                                            Why didn't I thing of those!
                                            Second to Vitos, Marouche, Al Noor (or Al Watan)

                                          2. Langer's
                                            Philippe's French Dip
                                            Caioti Pizza
                                            The Original Pantry Cafe
                                            Frank & Musso
                                            Water Grill
                                            Providence
                                            Quality Seafood
                                            Spago
                                            Matsuhisa

                                            -----
                                            Water Grill
                                            544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                            Spago
                                            176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                            Matsuhisa
                                            129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                                            Caioti Pizza Cafe
                                            4346 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604

                                            Original Pantry Cafe
                                            877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                            Quality Seafood
                                            130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

                                            1. Hello... I believe that an essential restaurant should also have a uniquely memorable name, almost as if it is the punchline to a joke. Case in point: Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: silence9

                                                Well, that is its defining feature!

                                              2. 26 Beach
                                                Jose Andres the Bazaar
                                                Bite bar and bakery
                                                Bay cities deli
                                                Joe’s pizza of bleeker street
                                                The Foundry
                                                Portos
                                                Jin patisserie
                                                Lou’s on vine
                                                Black cow café

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

                                                1. Bay Cities
                                                  Wurstkuche
                                                  Zankou Chicken
                                                  Umami Burger
                                                  Father's Office
                                                  Din Tai Fung
                                                  Joan's On Third
                                                  Mozza
                                                  Gjelina
                                                  AOC

                                                  -----
                                                  Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                                  1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

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

                                                  Joan's On Third
                                                  8436 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                  Wurstkuche
                                                  800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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

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

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

                                                    1. Providence
                                                      Jitlada
                                                      Spicy Thai BBQ
                                                      Yu Chun Chic Naeng Myun (Olympic location)
                                                      Soowon Galbi
                                                      Pizzeria Mozza
                                                      Umami Burger
                                                      Pollo a la Brassa
                                                      Guelaguetza
                                                      Papa Cristo's

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

                                                      Papa Cristos
                                                      2771 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

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

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

                                                      1. 107 restaurants so far.

                                                        1. Zankou Chicken
                                                          Sushi Don
                                                          Chosun Galbee
                                                          Madeo
                                                          Il Pastaio
                                                          Ruth's Chris
                                                          Mr. Chow
                                                          Giorgio Baldi
                                                          Pizzeria Mozza
                                                          Sasabune

                                                          -----
                                                          Pizzeria Mozza
                                                          6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                                                          Ruth's Chris Steak House
                                                          224 South Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                          Chosun Galbi Restaurants
                                                          3330 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                                                          Il Pastaio Restaurant
                                                          400 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                          Sushi Don Sasabune
                                                          4816 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607

                                                          Giorgio Baldi Ristorante
                                                          114 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

                                                          Madeo Ristorante
                                                          8897 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048

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

                                                          Mr. Chow
                                                          344 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                          Zankou Chicken
                                                          10760 Riverside Dr, North Hollywood, CA 91602

                                                          1. Dan Tanas

                                                            Il Picolino

                                                            The Brentwood

                                                            Mr Chow

                                                            Sasaboni

                                                            Baronis Pizza

                                                            Spago

                                                            Barney Greengrass

                                                            Langers

                                                            Water Grill

                                                            Mastroes

                                                            -----
                                                            Water Grill
                                                            544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                            Chateau Marmont
                                                            8221 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                                                            Spago
                                                            176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                            Dan Tana's Restaurant
                                                            9071 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                                            Vibrato Grill & Jazz
                                                            2930 Beverly Glen Circle, Bel Air, CA 90077

                                                            Capo
                                                            1810 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                            Barney Greengrass Restaurant
                                                            9570 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                            Sushi Sushi
                                                            326 1/2 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                            Saam at The Bazaar
                                                            465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                            1. Langers
                                                              Apple Pan
                                                              Pizzeria Mozza
                                                              Lucques
                                                              In N Out
                                                              Gjelina
                                                              Ludobites
                                                              Cut
                                                              The Stand
                                                              The Larder at Tavern

                                                              -----
                                                              Apple Pan
                                                              10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                              Lucques
                                                              8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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

                                                              Gjelina
                                                              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                              1. As nobody has seen fit to mention Pann's, all these lists are obviously suspect if not bogus. The last original-owner Googie place - a uniquely and specifically LA phenomenon - serving genuine food made from actual ingredients, as they have since 1958. It's as essentially LA as Musso & Frank, PDC, the Original Pantry and Clifton's. Long may they wave.

                                                                13 Replies
                                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                                  And wave that patty melt high - with great anticipation...

                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                    Agree! As I have had wings and a waffle in the last 24 hours!

                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                      <<serving genuine food made from actual ingredients>>

                                                                      as opposed to what? phoney food using phoney ingredients?

                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                        As opposed to opening a package from Smart & Final and heating it up, or using frozen mystery meat for the CFS, or gravy from a carton, or serving biscuits that arrived on a truck. Even their boring "chef's vegetables" are prepared from raw. This is not common to eateries of that genre, not around here, and a lot of the funkier ones don't even try to pretend it's otherwise. At the Way Station in Newhall, the guy cooked me a very good hamburger, then topped the plate with a scoop of potato salad from a First Street carton!

                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                          i'd guess that all that prepared stuff you disdain was made from the same "raw" materials that Pann's uses. . . . .
                                                                          commercial cheese product from one company often tastes very much like the commercial cheese product procured from a different company.
                                                                          commerial white bread tastes amazingly similar from purveyer to purveyer.
                                                                          are you saying that Pann's makes it's own bread from some special flour?

                                                                          i do admit that Dreyers ice cream tastes better than some of the other commercial brands (maybe a higher quality of phoney flavor or more mystery-fat content), but Pann's doesn't use Dreyers nor any ice cream in it's league, so no need to discuss that here. . . .

                                                                          if the big bar to you is that they use real beef instead of phoney beef, that seems like setting the bar REALLY low to me. even the burger joint i went to in college used real beef and they mixed it with real ground lard.. . . . .

                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                            Okay, so you're not a "Farm to Table" sort of person; I only sort of am, but I also prefer that a restaurant do the sort of cooking they all used to do, not that long ago. They didn't grind their own peanut butter, and there was canned soup if you wanted it, but the soup of the day was made back in the kitchen, and when they ran out they were out. For this reason I tend to get kinda happy when I ask for something and they tell me they ran out of it, as opposed to, "We'll have more in a while, but it's not thawed yet."

                                                                            I don't know where you got the beef thing - the only burger I mentioned was the Newhall guy, and his burger was good in spite of its being a pre-made commercial patty, just not as good as if he'd formed it from fresh-ground.

                                                                            There are many imperfections in Pann's execution of things: the bread, as mentioned; the waffles, which I find bland in the extreme; the boring, boring Chef's Vegetables, which aren't from frozen but they're almost that sad. I can't speak for ice cream, since I don't usually eat that anywhere but home or Fosselman's. But, ya know, we're talking about a good, solid diner here, not La Côte Basque. Yes, I am more inclined to like it because of its history, and its refusal to change most of its ways, but that sure isn't enough to make me go to Pink's.

                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                              As for Pann, i tried their fried chicken and waffles along with the food at Serving Spoon. I found Serving Spoon amazing -- fluffy, tasty, interesting, etc. The food at Pann was quite underwhelming IMHO

                                                                              -----
                                                                              The Serving Spoon Restaurant
                                                                              1403 Centinela Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302

                                                                              1. re: echoparkdirt

                                                                                The serving spoon is great! But I go there for different reasons... at the Serving Spoon, I know I know it's going to be an indulgent breakfast/lunch no matter what I order... At Panns because they use a lot more fresh ingredients, I can get a few chicken wings and a bowl of spinach and not feel so weighed down. The Serving Spoon also has limited hours...

                                                                                -----
                                                                                The Serving Spoon Restaurant
                                                                                1403 Centinela Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302

                                                                              2. re: Will Owen

                                                                                WO:
                                                                                you're a more loyal customer than i am.
                                                                                when the chile relleno omelet that i used to get at Dinah's went downhill, despite having been loyal to the omelet and loyal to the restaurant for decades, i left and didn't look back.
                                                                                i was sad about it, but not so sad that i'd actually eat another one.

                                                                                you're made of tougher, more loyal stuff.

                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                  If the Pann's items I love got nasty, or even bland, I'd have to bid them a sad bye-bye. Hasn't happened yet. But, see, I used to be able to go there at least once a month, and I can't do that anymore, so my evaluation of their food has to be based on maybe two lunches a year. The last couple of times the chicken has looked darker - on other people's plates, because I had my own agenda - and my gravy had a touch of bouillon-cubishness to it that ran counter to my recollections. I'm going to pursue that more next time I go; my aim here is not (as some have suggested) to extol Pann's no matter what they do, but to keep track of how they're doing and report candidly on it. I'm sort of making old diners my beat, as I like the food so much and cook a lot like that myself. I'm loyal to the food, and that's pretty much it.

                                                                                  And as for your chile relleno omelets, anyone who likes those is okay in my books. I've never encountered one in a restaurant; in fact, I thought I'd invented them! Split green chile warmed in butter with cheese melted on top, dropped onto a one-egg omelet then rolled; two of these on a plate, smear of sour cream, drizzle of Pico Pica. How were Dinah's done?

                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                    they had a ranchera sauce on them for decades.

                                                                                    then something terrible happened to the ranchera sauce: it turned into a semi-solid glop of brown something with some caramelized onions in it.

                                                                                    i ordered it on two different occasions hoping that the first time was just a nightmare and that i would "wake up" and that the sauce would return to normal. it continued to be a brown glop.
                                                                                    it didn't return to anything resembling a ranchera sauce.
                                                                                    i cried.

                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                      Damn. They probably thought they'd improved it, too.

                                                                                      One of the best reasons I've found for learning to cook is the crappy things people do to good, plain food in too many restaurants, and the way that learning how to make something you really like gives you a measuring stick to judge other versions by.

                                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                        that omelet was one of my mainstay dishes for a long time--for well over 20 years.
                                                                                        i don't think they thought they were improving it. i think the brown glop was something that was on a steam table too long that, in the old days, they would have thrown out.

                                                                      2. Original Tommy's
                                                                        El Cielito Lindo
                                                                        Langer's
                                                                        Carney's
                                                                        Providence
                                                                        El Chavo
                                                                        Philippe's
                                                                        Beverly Soon Tofu
                                                                        Sushi Gen
                                                                        Taylor's Steakhouse

                                                                        I narrowed down my list by keeping it in the City of Los Angeles, not just the Greater LA area. Too hard otherwise!

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Taylor's Steakhouse
                                                                        3361 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                                                        El Chavo
                                                                        4441 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                                        Beverly Soon Tofu Restaurant
                                                                        2717 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                                                        1. Bay Cities
                                                                          Soot Bull Jeep
                                                                          Ricky's Fish Tacos
                                                                          Quality Seafood
                                                                          Big Mista
                                                                          Al & Bea's
                                                                          Jitlada
                                                                          Langers
                                                                          Musso & Frank
                                                                          Fathers Office (Santa Monica)

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

                                                                          Soot Bull Jeep
                                                                          3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                                                          Quality Seafood
                                                                          130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

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

                                                                          1. ips, we're still waiting for CH's own essential 99 of 2010.

                                                                            1. Eddie's Italian (formerly Alejo's@ Washington/Lincoln) - especially the eggplant parm
                                                                              Senor Fish (east side)
                                                                              Soon Tofu (Korea town)
                                                                              Jitlada (Thai town)
                                                                              Moles La Tia (East L.A.)
                                                                              Zankou Chicken
                                                                              Sushi Sasabune
                                                                              La Cabana (Pachugas D'Angel) on Lincoln
                                                                              The Habit
                                                                              Church & State (Arts district)