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Feb 16, 2011 10:52 AM

First Trip To LA, Recommendations Needed

Hi All,

My husband, one year old and I are coming out to LA in two weeks and are looking for some restaurant suggestions (some toddler friendly). We are staying near the Farmer's Market and will of course have a car. My husband lived in LA 10+ years ago and hasn't really been back since, and this will be my first trip ever.

We're looking for the following:

1. Sushi. Something mid-range to the lower end of high range. Will mostly just order sushi and rolls, no omakase. Doesn't need to be trendy/have much atmosphere, but must be GOOD.
2. Mexican. Want something authentic, must be toddler friendly.
3. I'd like to try tacos and/or burritos from a food truck. What are the standout options for this?
4. Casual breakfast/brunch options. Since we're close to the Farmer's Market, I'm guessing there should be some good choices there? Anything other must try places there?
5. Lastly, looking for a classic cocktails place. For other New Yorkers or those familiar - something along the lines of Flatiron Lounge, Employees Only, Cienfuegos, etc, etc.

Thank you! Any help is much appreciated!

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Loteria Grill right in the Farmers Market (by where you'll be staying) has quite good and authentic Mexican food.

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

      1. re: Servorg

        Breakfast like no other up at the Griddle Cafe on Sunset Blvd. (or without having to drive you can hit up Du-par's which is open 24/7/365 as is Canter's Deli on N Fairfax).

        Du Par's
        6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        Canter's Fairfax Restaurant
        419 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        Griddle Cafe
        7916 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

        1. re: Servorg

          For cocktails you should really check out The Varnish downtown: (see Yelp photos here - ) or perhaps go to The Edison (also downtown - see Yelp photos here - ) .

          The Edison
          108 W 2nd St Apt 104, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          The Varnish
          118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA

          1. re: Servorg

            thanks for the suggestions, servorg! loteria looks perfect since it's near and we'll have the little one with us. the varnish also seems like something we'd definitely want to check out. any idea if this place will be difficult to get into? we'd most likely be going on a week night, probably a thursday.

            1. re: prime rib girl

              You just never know with LA places like tV, but if you go on the earlier side it is very likely to be less crowded. It is a small space however.

              ADD: Here is a nice blog write up -

              1. re: prime rib girl

                Varnish is usually pretty easy to get into if you go when they open, especially if you want a table. Later on in the night they get packed and the place is pretty small. Try a Ramos Fizz from Eric.

                Sushi Gen is usually pretty spot on and not TOO expensive. Sushi Ike is pretty good and not too far from you.

                Food trucks are everywhere but for my money I really like El Flamin' Taco on 5th and Vermont in Koreatown. Speaking of Koreatown, you should try out some Korean food while you're here. Nothing compares outside of Korea to the Korean food found in Ktown.

                Pick up an LA Weekly, it'll point you in the right direction.

                1. re: prime rib girl

                  The Farmers' Market is super awesome for toddlers--especially because you don't all need to eat the same thing. S/he can have pizza and you can have Loteria. There are 2 fruit and vegetable stands, so you can also grab some cut up fruit for some healthy food. Avoid the ice cream from the stand on the west end--it is very expensive and not memorable. (Bennett's is also overpriced, but at least it is interesting.) Make sure to stop by Little John's and watch them make candy. And Bob's Doughnuts is fabulous--really good doughnuts. They have dinosaur and kitty doughnuts, as well as doughnut holes on Saturdays, and they have chocolate milk. Farmers Market is also a place where toddlers can and do run free, chasing after the pigeons and running around the tables. When you go, look for the best toddler seating in the house--around the "Big E" which is just to the west of Bob's doughnuts and has low stools and a low built in table. My toddlers ate doughnuts at the big E pretty much every week--until they went off to college (and even now when they come back, they are given warm welcomes from the counter staff at Bob's).

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. The Griddle Cafe is a great choice for breakfast and go during the week if you can. Dupars is good too, and will be very close if you are near the FM. I like the Burbank Dupars better, but no need for me to be too picky here. Avoid Canters. It's just not good. I lived down the street from Canters for 10 years and every time I went there I really wanted to like it. I just didn't. For Mexican- Lotteria is a good choice and is very toddler friendly (atmosphere, not food- it can be spicy). Sushi- since you are into the rolls and basics how about Hirozen on Beverly? or Haru on San Vicente? Both have great fish and little atmosphere but the food is good. I'd maybe yelp them and see if those places look good to you. a bit trendy but fun is Katsu-ya on third. i know you didn't want trendy but it's not THAT high end and you can have a lot of variety. plus, they have UNI shooters! anyway, i don't have any cocktail bar suggestions other than maybe the Bonaventure downtown for a nice spinning view, but maybe try Tiki Ti for something fun (they have weird hours call first to see if there's an out of town recording), or if you like wine, we have some great wine bars like city sip and 55 degree. just a thought! enjoy your food in LA.

            8385 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            Haru Sushi Cafe
            480 S San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            Tiki Ti
            4427 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            1. I second Loteria in the Farmers Market.

              1. For sushi in that range, perhaps you should look at sushi gen in little tokyo.