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Jan 17, 2011 11:18 AM

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

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?

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  1. 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

    900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

    18 Replies
    1. re: Phurstluv

      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

      900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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

      1. re: baloney

        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

        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.

        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).

        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.!

        1422 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

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

        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

        900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

        1. re: J.L.

          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

          900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

          1. re: estone888

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

          2. re: J.L.

            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.

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

            1. re: wienermobile

              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

                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

                  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

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

                    1. re: Maxine Faulk

                      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):


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

                      1. re: Peripatetic

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

                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          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

                            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

                              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

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

                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                  I most certainly was not :)

                                  Mr Taster

              2. 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)

                1 Reply
                1. re: wutzizname

                  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. 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

                  525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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

                  1. 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

                    8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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

                    1. 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

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

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: mlgb

                          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.

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

                          1. re: mlgb

                            Rivera place link

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

                            1. re: mlgb

                              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 many Chinese restaurants. Pick wherever you want to eat in LA, and go for it!

                              Water Grill
                              544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071