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Three Nights In LA: East Coast Hound Curious About Solo Dining?

m
mbasnack Jan 17, 2011 11:18 AM

I'm coming to LA in early March for work at staying at J.W. Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. Live. I'll have a car but don't know the city very well...I'd love to find some great chow (I can expense it after all...) close to the hotel where a woman can comfortably dine alone. I am open to all cuisine and would be happy to do fine dining one night...and a killer burger or sushi on another.

Any suggestions for a girl who wants to avoid room service and willing to venture out?

  1. Phurstluv Jan 17, 2011 01:43 PM

    If I were you, I'd definitely try the new Wolfgang Puck place that's in the same complex as you, on the 24th floor of the Ritz Carlton (I think) for the fine dining night. I haven't been yet, but it will definitely give you a spectacular view of the city at night, and if you reserve an early time, you can probably snag a window seat, and not feel self conscious about being solo. It's called WP24 and it's gourmet Chinese.

    You have lots of options right there in LA Live as well as all of downtown. Another great place I'd recommend for lunch or dinner is Lazy Ox Canteen, in Little Tokyo. I eat at the bar, and don't feel self conscious there at all.

    -----
    Lazy Ox Canteen
    241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    WP24
    900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

    18 Replies
    1. re: Phurstluv
      b
      baloney Jan 17, 2011 03:15 PM

      But isn't WP24 better for sharing? I think Lazy Ox is a much better option solo. If you want a burger, Morton's is nearby and definitely would be great for a solo diner but they only serve it at lunch I believe.

      Some other DT options: Rivera, Woodspoon, Yxta, Gorbals, Langers, Drago, Colori, etc. Plus Little Tokyo and K-town aren't far, greatly expanding your options, it really just depends on what you feel like eating!

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

      WP24
      900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

      The Gorbals
      501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

      1. re: baloney
        f
        foodiemahoodie Jan 24, 2011 11:51 PM

        You leave out Patina? Easily one of the best restaurants in town (with Tony Esnault).

        Also for fine dining - Providence and Melisse. I wouldn't recommend Hatfields. Good, just not in the same league as those three.

      2. re: Phurstluv
        J.L. Jan 17, 2011 04:07 PM

        Unlike Phurstluv, I HAVE been to WP24, and I can tell you that the only dishes worth the visit is their appetizers. It is true that the views are nice. Now, as per your request (and you will need to drive for most of these; all the following restaurants are Google-able):

        Fine Dining:
        Providence (about 30-40 minutes driving west from LALive) - Always a great meal.
        Hatfield's (about 35-45 minutes driving west from LALive) - Solid.

        Burger:
        Father's Office (Helms location, a drive of 15-25 minutes west of LALive) offers Sang Yoon's legendary Office Burger. Have it medium rare, with a basket of sweet potato fries and a glass of Tripel Karmeliet. Another darned good burger is to be found at another gastropub, The Golden State (on Fairfax, 25-35 minutes west of LALive).

        Sushi:
        L.A. is a spectacular city for sushi. But first, a word of advice on sushi in L.A.: Best days for sushi (translated: freshest) are Wednesdays through Fridays (it's a fish market thing). Avoid sitting at a table - Opt for a seat at the sushi bar! Solo diners will definitely feel not so "solo" at the sushi bar, as the Itamae (master sushi chef) and you can chat. Having said that:

        $$ sushi: sugarFISH by sushiNozawa, in Downtown L.A. (10-15 minute walk from LALive)
        $$$ sushi: Sushi Gen, in Little Tokyo (5 minutes driving east from LALive)
        $$$ sushi: Kiriko, on Sawtelle (25-30 minutes driving west from LALive)
        $$$ sushi: Kiyokawa, in Beverly Hills (20-25 minutes driving west from LALive)
        $$$$ sushi: Mori Sushi, in West L.A. (25-30 minutes driving west from LALive)
        $$$$$$ sushi ($400 per person): Urasawa, in Beverly Hills (20-25 minutes driving west from LALive)

        Other considerations include Langer's (best pastrami in America), Nyala (on Fairfax for Ethiopian food) & Shaherzad (in Westwood, for Persian food), and Scoops (on Heliotrope, near Melrose) for unique ice creams.

        Enjoy L.A.!

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

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

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

        Father's Office
        3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034

        The Golden State
        426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

        Mori Sushi
        34320 Pacific Coast Hwy Ste B, Dana Point, CA 92629

        WP24
        900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

        1. re: J.L.
          e
          estone888 Jan 17, 2011 04:24 PM

          Some good suggestions and I definitely concur about WP24 - drinks, the view, maybe an appetizer or two but certainly not for dinner. Providence and Hatfield's unless you get stuck in some kind of major traffic nightmare, shouldn't be more than 15 to 20 minutes from L.A. Live.

          Fine dining in downtown, there is also Water Grill, which is splendid and Drago Centro. I like Rivera for drinks and appetizers, but I think it's hit or miss for main courses and dinner.

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

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

          WP24
          900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

          1. re: estone888
            c
            coffeebrownies Jan 17, 2011 06:23 PM

            But Rivera has a bar where seating for one would be comfortable, and you could do an appetizer dinner.

          2. re: J.L.
            wienermobile Jan 18, 2011 12:29 PM

            I love Langer's Deli, best pastrami on earth and a 5 minute drive from your hotel but just know they close at 4pm daily and are closed all day Sunday.
            http://www.langersdeli.com/

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

            1. re: wienermobile
              Mr Taster Jan 18, 2011 02:03 PM

              Clarification... best Jewish deli style pastrami on earth.

              LA is a pastrami town, and 99% of it is not Jewish deli style.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: wienermobile
                maxzook Jan 18, 2011 03:05 PM

                Also know there's a reason Langer's has limited hours, it's a neighborhood you would not want to be in alone after dark. That being said, there's no reason to be concerned during open hours ... and it is, indeed, the best pastrami sandwich you will ever have in your life.

                1. re: maxzook
                  Phurstluv Jan 18, 2011 03:16 PM

                  Wow, you guys are surely going to build it up so much, that she is definitely going to be letdown. Like I was. ; ))

                  1. re: Phurstluv
                    m
                    Maxine Faulk Jan 18, 2011 09:21 PM

                    I concur Phurst, Langer's is not worth the trouble, small portions, high prices, terrible location.

                    1. re: Maxine Faulk
                      Peripatetic Jan 19, 2011 01:25 AM

                      Langer's has it's detractors, but has also topped the annual Chowhound poll for "Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants" for the last two years (and came in second the year before that):

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755965
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673604
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/580125

                      My wife once tweeted that she'd "weep openly if Langer's ever closes". And she's not given to tears.

                      1. re: Peripatetic
                        Phurstluv Jan 19, 2011 06:47 AM

                        "Ultimate"?? That's a stretch, IMHO.

                        1. re: Peripatetic
                          m
                          Maxine Faulk Jan 19, 2011 05:01 PM

                          Peri, I am not really a detractor. Langer's is good deli food for LA. If I were coming from the east coast I might be disappointed.

                          1. re: Maxine Faulk
                            Peripatetic Jan 19, 2011 07:19 PM

                            Well, I'm originally from Boston and lived in Manhattan for 10 years. I ate regularly at Katz and the legendary Pastrami King (when it was still in Kew Gardens). I'm not disappointed by Langers. :)

                            1. re: Peripatetic
                              Mr Taster Jan 19, 2011 08:41 PM

                              I think you hit on the real truth of the matter, Peripatetic. For those of us who are intimately familiar with the Jewish deli/pastrami experience, we know fully what to expect and we know why Langer's exceeds expectations.

                              For those who came to Jewish delis and pastrami later in the game, there are more than enough misplaced expectations to go around, such as:

                              "It's too expensive"
                              Not in comparison to the market rate for Jewish deli pastrami.

                              "It's not so special."
                              You wouldn't be saying that if you'd grown up eating inferior pastrami, which can buy purchased virtually ANYWHERE else.

                              Et cetera.

                              Mr Taster

                            2. re: Maxine Faulk
                              f
                              foodiemahoodie Jan 24, 2011 11:53 PM

                              Oh, I don't think anyone from the east would be disappointed at Langer's. Esp for pastrami.

                              1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                Phurstluv Jan 25, 2011 07:05 AM

                                I was.

                                1. re: Phurstluv
                                  Mr Taster Jan 25, 2011 08:40 AM

                                  I most certainly was not :)

                                  Mr Taster

              2. wutzizname Jan 18, 2011 07:21 AM

                Lots of great recommendations here so far.

                Downtown, I also support the votes for Lazy Ox and Gorbals. Both have bar seats that are geared toward full dining, which is my preference when dining alone.

                Out of downtown, you might also consider one of the Mozza's (Osteria & Pizzeria) adjacent to each other on Highland & Melrose, which also have bar seats, some with partial views of the action (cooking) http://www.mozza-la.com/

                1 Reply
                1. re: wutzizname
                  wutzizname Jan 18, 2011 07:29 AM

                  P.S. My favorite burger downtown is at Nick & Stef's. Much better than Morton's, in my opinion. However, the resteraunt is in the bottom of a big office building. Not the most charming locale. But if you happen to be visiting MOCA or Disney Hall, it's pretty convenient.

                  -----
                  Nick & Stef's Steakhouse
                  330 S. Hope St., Los Angeles, CA 90071

                2. Disneyfreak Jan 18, 2011 09:33 AM

                  I will highly recommend Rivera. I was in town last April -- stayed at the JW Marriott -- solo female without a car. I had two dinners at Rivera. I sat at the dining bar both times. It was walking distance from the hotel. The food was delicious and the staff was lovely. The second time the chef behind the counter put together a tasting for me.

                  I will also recommend Chaya Downtown. Drago Downtown didn't thrill me food wise. I had a better meal at Chaya.

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

                  Chaya
                  525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                  Chaya Downtown
                  525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                  1. Tom P Jan 18, 2011 09:57 AM

                    Rivera is indeed a great option close to you. Also in downtown, though you will need to drive, is Church & State, one of the best places in the city right now. I've been three times in the last 8 weeks (people visiting) and it was excellent each time.

                    You can also ride the subway, which is right near your hotel, to Hollywood and Vine. From there, you can walk to many good places, including Musso & Franks, The Hungry Cat and Cleo, a wonderful new tapas place that has a terrific bar for single dining.

                    Lucques also remains a big favorite and they treat single diners very well.

                    -----
                    The Hungry Cat
                    1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                    Lucques
                    8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                    Church & State
                    1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                    1. m
                      mlgb Jan 18, 2011 02:08 PM

                      Another solo female diner I also agree about Rivera Restaurant (which doesn't seem to show as a link) and have had good experiences there. It's quite close to the hotel.

                      Water Grill is a lovely room and I'd also recommend that.

                      I would not feel comfortable going to Langers at night (neighborhood is sketchy).

                      No reason to venture beyond Little Tokyo for sushi.

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

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: mlgb
                        Mr Taster Jan 18, 2011 02:11 PM

                        As stated above by weinermobile, Langer's is not open at night.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: mlgb
                          J.L. Jan 18, 2011 04:35 PM

                          Little Tokyo, maybe somewhat surprisingly, doesn't have the very best sushi in L.A.

                          But if proximity is a factor, then go to Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo. R23 has gone downhill a bit.

                          Go to Langer's for lunch.

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

                          1. re: mlgb
                            Servorg Jan 19, 2011 05:22 AM

                            Rivera place link

                            -----
                            Rivera Restaurant
                            1050 S. Flower Street, #102, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                            1. re: mlgb
                              j
                              josephnl Jan 29, 2011 04:33 PM

                              Water Grill is, I think, one of two best restaurants in downtown LA, the other being Patina. If you enjoy wonderfully fresh fish and shellfish, prepared beautifully, in a lovely room with great service, look no further. Water Grill is outstanding.

                              With regard to eating out solo, there are almost no restaurants in LA (or elsewhere in the US for that matter) where eating alone is a problem. The only exception would be restaurants where sharing multiple courses is the thing to do...like many Chinese restaurants. Pick wherever you want to eat in LA, and go for it!

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

                            2. uhockey Jan 18, 2011 03:08 PM

                              Strongly recommend Providence if you are willing to drive.
                              Drago Centro downtown is quite nice, as well.
                              For sushi I really enjoyed Matsuhisa, but coming from Ohio I imagine my standards are not the same as LA Hounds.

                              A person, man or woman, should be comfortable dining alone anywhere. :-)

                              http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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

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

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: uhockey
                                f
                                foufou Jan 20, 2011 06:21 AM

                                yes, a person, man or woman, should feel comfortable dining alone anywhere but that is not the case.....as a general rule, solo dining is not a comfortable experience for a woman dining alone in LA outside of downtown.....this has not been my experience in San Francisco, NYC, or Chicago

                                1. re: foufou
                                  westsidegal Jan 24, 2011 06:50 AM

                                  i'm a single woman who dines alone in LA all the time.
                                  i feel totally comforable doing so in most LA restaurants

                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                    perk Jan 28, 2011 09:35 PM

                                    I'm with you westsidegal. I dine alone all the time...at restaurants all over the city....and don't find it to be a problem at all. Quite the contrary...I think the proprieters/staff appreciate that someone will come for the food and experience. I don't mean to imply you can't do that with other people. You can and I do. But I never hesitate to go to a restaurant alone.

                                  2. re: foufou
                                    t
                                    themystoclea May 19, 2011 03:26 PM

                                    I dine alone in restaurants all over LA (as well as San Francisco, Chicago and Manhattan). It's never been uncomfortable. Then again, I'm charming and tip well for excellent service.

                                    1. re: themystoclea
                                      f
                                      foufou May 19, 2011 03:49 PM

                                      you are quite modest as well....

                                2. ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 05:27 PM

                                  Lots of great suggestions, none of which needs repeating by me.

                                  But just an FYI, while LA is not a walking town, from downtown LA (your hotel at JWM), you can take the DASH to many, if not all, of the restaurants recommended here. It'll save you driving and getting lost in LA, or getting stuck in traffic, or paying for valet, or going back to your hotel room hungry because you couldn't find parking (i.e., at Langers for example).

                                  DASH info and routes: http://www.ladottransit.com/dash/

                                  Enjoy your stay.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    b
                                    baloney Jan 18, 2011 08:03 PM

                                    If the OP is REALLY determined to drive to Langers, she could do curbside pickup or park at their lot about a block away on Westlake. I've never partaken in the parking but I would be surprised if they didn't validate or discount or something?

                                    1. re: baloney
                                      Mr Taster Jan 18, 2011 08:11 PM

                                      They give you 60 mins free, I believe.

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: baloney
                                        Peripatetic Jan 19, 2011 01:35 AM

                                        The parking is free with validation, though I don't know if there's a time limit. I'm pretty sure I've stayed longer than an hour and have never had to pay.

                                      2. re: ipsedixit
                                        maxzook Jan 19, 2011 01:30 PM

                                        Did a little research on the above DASH site and the MTA Trip Planner at http://socaltransport.org/tm_pub_star.... The DASH shuttles don't go to Langer's, and any bus route involves a bit of walking.

                                        If you are going to use public transit from L. A. Live, take the northbound Blue Line one stop from the Chick Hearn Station to Union Station, transfer to the Red Line towards North Hollywood or the Purple Line towards Wilshire/Western, and get off at the next stop (Westlake/Macarthur Park). Half a block south on Alvarado to 7th and you're there.

                                      3. f
                                        fdb Jan 18, 2011 09:40 PM

                                        In downtown, I like Drago Centro, Lazy Ox, Water Grill & Rivera. Another good option for fine dining is Patina at Disney Concert Hall.

                                        I wouldn't go to Langer's, Church & State, or R-23 alone because of their locations.

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

                                        Patina Restaurant
                                        141 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

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

                                        Church & State
                                        1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                        1. goodhealthgourmet Jan 18, 2011 10:09 PM

                                          re: "a killer burger," that's a hotly debated topic here :) you might want to check out these threads:
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701081
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/338345
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/676806
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/743776
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/754301

                                          1. r
                                            Robert Thornton Jan 18, 2011 11:05 PM

                                            Providence is my favorite restaurant in LA, but not my favorite place to eat solo. The service is somewhat formal and the meal drawn out. Fantastic with friends, but not my favorite alone. If wanting a more serious, formal, upscale meal solo, I'd sooner go Drago Centro, Water Grill or Rivera, as they're much closer. But if you want to go to what I'd vote as the best place in LA, Providence it worth the drive if you don't mind fighting a bit of traffic.

                                            For sushi downtown, Sushi Gen all the way. Although I'd drive or cab there rather than walk; even though it's fairly close to your hotel, you'd be crossing skid row. Downtown LA is funny in that parts are super gentrified and others are really sketchy.

                                            As to fdb's comments about Langer's or Church and State's locations, maybe because they're a bit hard to find, but if mapquested before hand, you should be fine. If you like Pastrami, hit Langer's as noted above. And Church and State is the most interesting Bisto fare downtown, love that place.

                                            If you want to drive, there's of course a ton of stuff to explore (especially if you want to seek out music, comedy, etc), but you can have a great time downtown.

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

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

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Robert Thornton
                                              Mr Taster Jan 19, 2011 12:38 AM

                                              mbasnack, with regard to Mr. Thornton's comment about downtown being a patchwork of gentrification and poverty, it's worth thinking about the following.

                                              When I arrived in LA nearly almost exactly 14 years ago, downtown LA was largely perceived to be a vast wasteland with a few small pockets of civility. At night, the streets were deserted. The Staples Center hadn't even opened yet. The lofts hadn't yet been renovated, and the luxury condos were still being built. So as you wander a bit through downtown, bear in mind that you are experiencing an extremely recent renaissance. Try not to get swept away by the fair weather hipsters who were 10 years old when downtown LA wasn't trendy. Stay firmly grounded in the institutions that have truly weathered the test of time, serving Angelenos from all walks of life. And where best can a solo diner experience this other than at a communal table at the nearly 100 year old Philippe's (at this location for 60 some years), home of the French dip sandwich. Order lamb dip with bleu cheese (single, not double dip-- that is, unless you want your bread to fall apart before it meets your lips). Be forewarned-- the meats other than the lamb tend to be dry. Get a bright purple pickled egg, if you dare, and a slice of coconut cream pie with a 9 cent cup of coffee. The meal will set you back about $12. Don't forget to slather your sandwich with as much sinus blastingly hot mustard as you can stand!

                                              If you're friendly and feel like talking, you'll quickly make friends with the old couple sitting across from you. The policeman sitting next to you on his dinner break. The young guy new to LA who just heard about this place. The couple who just arrived at nearby union station and wanted to stretch their legs and get an inexpensive, tasty, very local bite to eat.

                                              In other words, it's a real slice of old LA-- and there's not too many of these left in tact these days.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                Peripatetic Jan 19, 2011 01:38 AM

                                                Beautifully said..

                                                1. re: Peripatetic
                                                  h
                                                  happybaker Jan 28, 2011 08:17 PM

                                                  Agree! Wonderful!

                                                2. re: Mr Taster
                                                  m
                                                  mbasnack Jan 19, 2011 07:11 AM

                                                  Thank you all. This is really helpful. While in NYC and Boston I wouldn't feel uneasy about dining alone b/c you see it so often here-- my previous experiences in LA were not as comfortable. Part of that was my fault for not reseaching ahead! I'm really looking forward to the trip and will report back on my findings!

                                                3. re: Robert Thornton
                                                  perk Jan 28, 2011 09:38 PM

                                                  I don't know what you schedule is like during the day, but Providence serves lunch on Friday. And I always see solo diners there then.

                                                4. aching Jan 19, 2011 03:36 PM

                                                  Solo dining means different things to different diners - do you want to sit with a book and be left alone to savor your food, do you want to people-watch, or are you looking to chat with the people around you? Venturing out also can mean different things - a short, safe walk from your hotel is one thing, braving traffic in a rental car is another, and wanting to use public transportation still another. I'd make very different recommendations depending on your preferences.

                                                  Since you do have car and assuming that you want to chat with people - and because you want a good burger - I would second the Father's Office (Helms) and Umami Burger (Los Feliz) recommendations. I really enjoy the bar at Umami - the bartenders are great to talk with and provide very passionate recommendations for both food and drink.

                                                  Going in a totally different direction - and since you want sushi - I recommend that you walk over to SugarFISH on 7th between Grand and Flower for a quiet sushi meal. This would be a good place to take a book (although Nozawa might confiscate it if he happened to stop by!). The sushi is minimalist and IMHO extremely delicious.

                                                  -----
                                                  Father's Office
                                                  3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034

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

                                                  1. tablefor1 Jan 19, 2011 04:03 PM

                                                    I'm always comfortable dining out alone at Rivera and Drago Centro. Even on a busy night when the bar is packed, they've set up a small table for me in quiet corners where I can read or people watch while enjoying the great food and attentive service. Rivera's cocktails are also really good! And it's within walking distance of where you're staying - bonus if you want to avoid the driving in the traffic around there...

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

                                                    1. m
                                                      masnole Jan 19, 2011 05:04 PM

                                                      Been said before, (and I do this...as I don't live in LA) but go somewhat regularly. Male, not female so I can't speak to any issues from that perspective.

                                                      Nevertheless.......Two I never miss:

                                                      Matsuhisa

                                                      Osteria Mozza (sit at the mozzarella bar)

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

                                                      Osteria Mozza
                                                      6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                      1. s
                                                        SugarFrosted Jan 23, 2011 01:02 AM

                                                        Dining alone in LA isn't so challenging. I do it all the time when I'm not out with a foodie group that I started for some great company. Places with bars are the best and I usually meet some other friendly food fanatics just like me to chat with between courses.

                                                        You should absolutely go to Lazy Ox Canteen. In my 4 or 5 different visits every dish has been a hit, and their outstanding Burger is my favorite in the city. The menu is full of delicious and creative things. I've attached a photo of the Burger. If it weren't for LA traffic I'd be there every week for one. It's better than Father's Office in my opinion. In addition to the bar they have a communal table so seating for a solo girl is a breeze. And the price is just right. LA Mag just named them the #1 New Restaurant in the city. It's tiny, though. So you might find it easier to get in if you make a reservation.

                                                        Another rec I have for you is Pizzeria Mozza. A seat at their pizza bar is the best in the house, mostly because you can watch the pies being put into the blazing oven, and you can see Nancy Silverton finish each plate before sending it on it's way to someone's table. Also lots of happy foodies will be at the barstools around you.

                                                        Are you driving to the Westside for the beach? If so, make sure to stop at another LA food institution (like Phillipe's), Bay Cities Italian Grocery and Deli on Lincoln Boulevard. They're not far from the beach in Santa Monica and they've been around since 1925. It's always packed, and you'll have to take a number and stand in line to order a sandwich made by one of the butcher looking guys behind the glass counter. And wow, it's delicious! They bake their own bread, and make mind-blowing soups from scratch, and the cannoli's are perfect. They've also got a grocery that's full of imported Italian stuff. It's one of the best experiences in LA, with first come first served seating on cement and brick benches on their patio. You can stuff yourself for less than $20, but it tastes like they could charge twice that much.

                                                        Also, on the subject of price Rivera's dishes ARE beautiful but portions are tiny and prices are sky high. I left there hungry for the 3rd and final time last November. A better choice for a small plates experience is A.O.C. in the mid-city area. After 7pm or so you can make it there from Downtown in about 20 minutes, and you'll find a bustling bar full of enthusiastic diners. The food is GREAT and they have about 30 wines by the glass. Don't miss their Bacon Wrapped Roasted Dates. Yum!

                                                        I disagree with other comments about WP24. We had a wonderful time there ordering lots and lots of delectable things, and they showered us with 4 or 5 amuse bouches that were so large they could have been full sized appetizers. Everything was yummy and I can hardly wait to go back. Maybe I can find a photo of one of those dishes too... Yes, here's WP24's Soft-Shelled Crab (the best I've ever had anywhere!), a beautiful sampler platter and a dessert called The Death Star. Delish! And worth every penny.

                                                        There's more, perfect for a solo female foodie in LA, but now I'm hungry! Oh, almost forgot... if you go to Langer's for Pastrami other posts here are correct. The area is unsafe. It's improved a lot from years ago when they drained the nearby lake to build the subway and found something like 300 guns at the bottom of it. It's a GREAT sandwich in a (still) TERRIBLE neighborhood.

                                                        Have fun!

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

                                                        Lazy Ox Canteen
                                                        241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                        WP24
                                                        900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                         
                                                         
                                                         
                                                         
                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: SugarFrosted
                                                          f
                                                          foodiemahoodie Jan 24, 2011 11:56 PM

                                                          "and you can see Nancy Silverton finish each plate before sending it on it's way to someone's table."

                                                          Really? Everytime I've been there in the past year or so - she's been working behind the mozzarella bar.

                                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                                            r
                                                            redrover Jan 28, 2011 07:33 PM

                                                            I'll second Pizzeria Mozza, as a solo diner I was able to jump the queue.

                                                            Langer's--I came from the East Coast and I think it's very good deli food. My wife found its Saturday emptiness depressing, you probably get a better feel going for weekday lunch. There are loads of people around then, in the restaurant, on the street, in the subway, it's not a problem.

                                                            Walking around Downtown makes perfect sense and is safe. The only problem is that some parts of what are called Downtown are pretty far from each other. It's over a mile from LA Live to Little Tokyo, for that you can take the DASH, at least during the daytime. It's also a ways over to Church & State--you can drive, take a cab, take a Metro bus to there.

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

                                                            Little Tokyo Restaurant
                                                            150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773

                                                          2. re: SugarFrosted
                                                            The Chowhound Team Jan 30, 2011 05:52 AM

                                                            Folks, we've removed a number of posts from this thread debating the safety of the neighborhood around Langer's. The safety of an area is a subject that always raises a lot of hackles and never actually resolves anything, so we consider it off-topic for our site.

                                                          3. j
                                                            jen223 May 17, 2011 08:07 AM

                                                            so i'd like to piggyback off this great post and ask for some very specific recommendations. i'll be in LA from NYC this weekend for a wedding but not leaving until late sunday night while everyone is leaving during the day.

                                                            where can i dine solo near the SLS hotel in beverly hills on sunday night? i love all food but prefer something that's unique to LA or better than it is in NYC. i have no car so don't want to venture too far, but short cab rides or public transportation is OK. i'm open to both hole-in-the-wall and fine dining. happy to dine while people-watching, reading a book, or talking to other diners. thanks in advance for your suggestions!

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: jen223
                                                              Servorg May 17, 2011 08:34 AM

                                                              I'd go sit at the bar at Animal and drink some wine (or beer) and sample appetizers.

                                                              -----
                                                              Animal
                                                              435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                wutzizname May 20, 2011 02:50 PM

                                                                Piggy backing on the Animal rec...Shook and Dotolo's newer seafood centric place, Son of a Gun, is an even closer, short walk from the SLS. Equally interesting. And they have several bar seats and one long communal table, all reserved for walk-ins.

                                                                -----
                                                                Son of a Gun
                                                                8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                                1. re: wutzizname
                                                                  wutzizname May 20, 2011 02:55 PM

                                                                  Of course, I guess this presumes, since you're staying at the SLS, that you'll already have paid a visit to The Bazaar by Jose Andres, which is right there in the hotel. Certainly unique to L.A. and worthy of some lingering.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  The Bazaar by José Andrés
                                                                  465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                              2. re: jen223
                                                                m
                                                                maudies5 May 17, 2011 07:44 PM

                                                                Sunday night supper at Lucques is always great and often see solo diners who are regulars, feel comfortable, love the food and ambiance and talk to others
                                                                The menu is normally posted on Thursday.
                                                                www.lucques.com

                                                                -----
                                                                Lucques
                                                                8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                                                1. re: maudies5
                                                                  m
                                                                  mc michael May 17, 2011 10:13 PM

                                                                  The bar at Lucques is cool. I was waiting for someone there one night and having a great drink and the bartender was talking to a woman (quite attractive) who had just gotten back from Afghanistan. The food is good as well.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Lucques
                                                                  8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                                                2. re: jen223
                                                                  j
                                                                  josephnl May 17, 2011 09:48 PM

                                                                  I've not been there, but a new Mediterranean restaurant recently opened in the old Sona space on La Cienega not too far from the SLS. I think it's called Mezza. It sounds interesting, and perhaps another CH can comment on how good it is, but it does sound good. Also really terrific, but it's from NYC so you might not be interested, Fig and Olive recently opened on Melrose right off La C. It's terrific, but not sure that it's any better than the NYC iteration.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Sona
                                                                  401 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048

                                                                  1. re: josephnl
                                                                    J.L. May 18, 2011 12:23 AM

                                                                    CH'ers have already reviewed Mezze. Seems there are different opinions on the place...

                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776336
                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776931

                                                                3. tenxtone76 May 19, 2011 06:09 PM

                                                                  without a doubt, go try Mo Chica, gourmet Peruvian, which is relatively close to LA Live. Also, Daikokuya, Honda ya, Sushi Gen and the Yakitori joint in Weller court are close. A few Korean could be great, too...Moo Dae Po 2, Cho Sun, Halmae Jib. In Thai Town (a little further), Pa Ord, Jitlada, Sapp Coffee House and Sanamluang.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Daikokuya
                                                                  327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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

                                                                  Sapp Coffee Shop
                                                                  5183 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                                  Halmae Restaurant
                                                                  3122 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: tenxtone76
                                                                    Phurstluv May 19, 2011 06:24 PM

                                                                    OP was here in March.

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