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Best Cheap Unusual L.A.restaurants

alir Jan 18, 2011 05:11 PM

A friend is coming into town who is a very adventurous eater. He's from New York. Any ideas for food he couldn't get anywhere else? Or the very best LA food of its kind (Mexican, burgers, etc.)

  1. n
    ns1 Jan 18, 2011 05:14 PM

    see no other than beijing lamb skewers


    1. m
      mendogurl Jan 18, 2011 05:15 PM

      Take him to the San Gabriel Valley!!!
      NYT did a whole thing on eating there...

      2 Replies
      1. re: mendogurl
        ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 05:40 PM

        A person from NY would probably not really find anything in SGV to be all that unusual, more like quite usual if they've ever been to Flushing or points thereabouts. Food might be better in SGV, but unusual? Nope.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          bulavinaka Jan 18, 2011 07:01 PM

          Does Flushing are elsewhere have a great beef roll? Beijing lamb skewers and beef rolls - yumm-e!

      2. n
        ns1 Jan 18, 2011 05:19 PM

        also, korean sashimi? complete with octopus heads and all?

        3 Replies
        1. re: ns1
          ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 05:38 PM

          Yeah, a place like Hwal A Kwang Jang for sannakji would definitely be unusual, although not necessarily cheap, however.

          1. re: ns1
            Servorg Jan 18, 2011 05:47 PM

            If one hasn't seen this famous (infamous?) video clip from eating live octopus at The Prince in K-town it never fails to get a laugh: http://www.vimeo.com/388584

            1. re: Servorg
              ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 05:57 PM

              I should add that there are places in NY that have live octopus as well. Most notably Sik Gaek, as well as a few in Flushing.

          2. Peripatetic Jan 18, 2011 05:48 PM

            You want restaurants with unusual food, not unusual restaurants, right?

            In either case, you might be hard pressed to find any place like Ricky's Fish Tacos in NYC.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Peripatetic
              ns1 Jan 18, 2011 05:53 PM

              i don't know, baja style fish tacos are pretty normal to anyone on the west coast. Might be different for east coasters?

              RFT still worthy of a visit though. Add Mexicali Taco Co while you're at it

              1. re: ns1
                Peripatetic Jan 18, 2011 05:55 PM

                I took the OP's use of the word "unusual" to mean "unusual to a New Yorker".

                1. re: ns1
                  omieurhomie Jan 21, 2011 08:39 AM

                  I 2nd Mexicali Taco!

                2. re: Peripatetic
                  happybaker Jan 18, 2011 07:57 PM

                  Fish Tacos are HUGELY different to folks on the east coast.

                3. n
                  ns1 Jan 18, 2011 06:02 PM

                  you could always visit a vietnamese coffee shop.

                  GOT THOSE IN NY!?!?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ns1
                    ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 06:04 PM


                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      ns1 Jan 18, 2011 06:07 PM

                      ip you're killing me.

                      1. re: ns1
                        ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 06:12 PM


                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          ns1 Jan 18, 2011 06:20 PM

                          maybe we should start by saying what ny DOESN'T have

                  2. c
                    cdub Jan 18, 2011 06:40 PM

                    just recently, i had tacos at some stand that was set up on serrano and 3rd in koreatown. al pastor from a split. $1 tacos. very good. lots of people coming by. tried looking for a review elsewhere and couldn't find a thing. stuff like that is probably tough to find in ny. just the quality of street tacos in la vs ny is beyond compare.

                    while there are kogi copies now in ny, it's worth trying the original. that and chego.

                    1. b
                      bulavinaka Jan 18, 2011 07:02 PM

                      Oki Dog - bring the Pepto.

                      Gaja Moc in Lomita. Not cheap, but not expensive either.

                      Gaja Moc
                      2383 Lomita Blvd, Lomita, CA 90717

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

                      1. goodhealthgourmet Jan 18, 2011 07:09 PM


                        you'll find plenty of info if you Google, and among the hits will be this write-up from fellow Hound pleasurepalate....

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

                        1. ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 07:36 PM

                          I don't really care if NYC already has it, but I think you should try Goat's Blood Jello at Binh Dan.


                          Binh Dan
                          10040 McFadden Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            bulavinaka Jan 19, 2011 05:04 PM

                            Might as well throw in Eddie Lin and "Deep End Dining," as a reference for the unusual...


                          2. a
                            aizan Jan 18, 2011 08:06 PM

                            not being familiar with new york, it took a while for me to run through the possibilities. you can find almost anything in new york, except for maybe one thing:


                            available on saturdays at natraliart.

                            Natraliart Food Market
                            3426 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018

                            1. monku Jan 18, 2011 08:06 PM

                              "Purveyor of Exotic Grilled Sausages"


                              1. m
                                Maxine Faulk Jan 18, 2011 08:39 PM

                                As everyone else has mentioned there is not much here foodwise that you could not find in NYC. So these are my suggestions for dining experiences that you might not find elsewhere. Though not really cheap for dinner they could try Saddle Peak Lodge at happy hour. And maybe not really adventurous they might like to try Neptune's Net (for the biker ambiance) or Malibu Seafood (for the view) or Inn of the 7th Ray (for the hippie dippie ambiance). If that fails you could just send them to Noshi Sushi and tell them to order the Nattō.

                                Saddle Peak Lodge
                                419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

                                Noshi Sushi
                                4430 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

                                1. f
                                  fdb Jan 18, 2011 09:47 PM

                                  Omar's Xinjiang Halal Restaurant

                                  I do not like lamb in general but they are known for their lamb dishes. Their Big Plate Chicken w/ Hand Pulled Noodles is really unique and inexpensive.

                                  Omar's Xinjiang Halal Restaurant
                                  1719 N New Ave, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                  1. E Eto Jan 18, 2011 09:48 PM

                                    Regional Mexican, e.g., pescado zarendeado at many of the sinaloan/nayarit style mariscos joints,
                                    carne asada BBQ joints, Yucatecan, Oaxacan, guisado burritos, breakfast burritos, LA style tacos (i.e., Tito's), birria at birrierias, Ensanada style fish tacos, taquitos
                                    Guatemalan ceviche at La Cevicheria
                                    Cook it yourself kababs at Feng Mao Mutton Kabab
                                    Better than NYC, but not as good as New Orleans cajun/creole food
                                    Cambodian food in Long Beach
                                    Regional Thai food (southern, Issan, boat noodles, wild boar curry, etc.)
                                    Chicken plate at Dino's
                                    Persian food and Persian ice cream
                                    A good version of Chiu Chow saday (sate) noodles
                                    Imagawayaki at Mitsuru Cafe

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: E Eto
                                      Foodandwine Jan 21, 2011 12:26 PM

                                      E Eto thanks for the tips. glad to see that some one just put it out there.
                                      Ill add:

                                      Al Watan
                                      How about Breed Street
                                      Any Taco Stand read: www.streetgourmetla.com

                                      Al Watan
                                      13619 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250

                                      1. re: Foodandwine
                                        E Eto Jan 21, 2011 02:08 PM

                                        You're welcome, but I'm not sure why Al Watan would be on the list, when Pakistani and all kinds of halal foods are ubiquitous in NYC. Also, there are good tacos to be had in NYC, which is why I didn't include them in my post and concentrated on the other regional foods of Mexico.

                                    2. Servorg Jan 19, 2011 10:07 AM


                                      1. r
                                        Rudeman Jan 19, 2011 12:18 PM

                                        There is a great place in Anaheim Hills called Slaters 50/50. Some of the best burgers around and the 50/50 is half ground beef and half ground bacon. It's a heart attack in the making but oh so good.

                                        1. Miss Needle Jan 19, 2011 05:15 PM

                                          Raw milk
                                          Ondal -- crab stew
                                          Hotteok -- can find in NYC but very difficult; much easier in LA

                                          3160 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                          1. Peripatetic Jan 19, 2011 07:24 PM

                                            If your friend is angling for the "deep end dining" experience, you might be interested in the chicken anuses at Ogamdo (a Korean-style Chinese restaurant decorated to look (sort of) like an Adirondack ski lodge):


                                            Ogamdo Cafe
                                            842 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Peripatetic
                                              choctastic Jan 24, 2011 10:04 AM

                                              These are actually found at many Korean drinking joints. Apparently a good version is served at I think Go Hyang San Chon in Garden Grove and possibly Jang Toh as well. I wouldn't know since I don't eat chicken these days and if I did, I wouldn't eat these.

                                              That said, Korean food in LA is light years ahead of New York (Momofuku doesn't count since it's not really that Korean).

                                              Jang Toh Restaurant
                                              9872 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92844

                                            2. Phurstluv Jan 21, 2011 07:20 AM

                                              Last I knew, NY did not have a large Thai population, so possibly a place like Jitlada would be unique for your friend. Not cheap, cheap, but not expensive either. And they have regional Thai cuisine there too, so you can probably find some very unique dishes. Lunch specials are usually a good buy. There are probably many other smaller, lesser known Thai places that are good too, in Thai town.

                                              Also, I know when I moved here, places like Pink's and La Super Rica taquieria in SB were very unique to LA. Now, it's been a (little) while since I've been dining low key in NY, but these would fill the bill as far as cheap, and slightly unusual for a NYer, unless they now have taquieria's with homemade tortillas on every corner now. And I wouldn't be surprised if they did. Although Pink's gets no love here, grabbing that burrito dog with chili, cheese, onions, relish, mustard & bacon was very unique to me when I first moved here. A gut bomb, but good.

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

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Phurstluv
                                                Ernie Jan 21, 2011 03:07 PM

                                                How is a taqueria 100 miles away in Santa Barbara very unique to Los Angeles?

                                                1. re: Ernie
                                                  Phurstluv Jan 21, 2011 03:26 PM

                                                  Well, it was unique to me in that I came 3,000 miles to try the place. I had never been to a taquiera that made fresh tortillas hourly in the burbs of Boston & Providence at that time.

                                                  And which major metropolis is closest to Santa Barbara??? I didn't say it was part of LA, but it's certainly close by enough for a day trip.

                                                  Picky, much??

                                              2. katkoupai Jan 24, 2011 12:36 AM

                                                I would take him to a good taco truck. There's one on Fair Oaks in Pasadena that I like, but I don't know the name. Very cheap, and very delicious. Get a three taco plate and an horchata or a Mexican Coke for under $5. I like lengua, carne asada and pollo. Load them with all the fixings. There are many taco trucks out there, so just do a search on this board for taco trucks in the part of the city where you will be.

                                                One thing I never found in NYC was Persian food. I'm sure that's changed now. When I lived there, there was only one Persian restaurant in the whole city. I'm sure that's changed now, as it's been over a decade.

                                                That said, take your friend out for some Persian food: Shamshiri Grill or Shahrzad in Westwood, or if you are east of downtown, go to Raffi's Place. Depending on what you order, you could probably get dinner and a drink for about 20 bucks each.


                                                Shamshiri Grill
                                                1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                                                Raffi's Place Restaurant
                                                211 E Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205

                                                1422 Westwood Boulevard, Westwood, CA

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