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Help for visiting San Francisco chowhound

My wife and I will be in LA for several days in late April. We like creative, unusual restaurants including what's sometimes called "fusion." We're staying at two different hotels, the London in West Hollywood and the Omni downtown. So far, we have reservations at Bazaar, Red O, Gordon Ramsay (which is in the London) and Noe (because we're staying at the Omni that day and going to the symphony after dinner). Are these good choices? Any that we should eliminate? Any other restaurants that we should add?

Also, we're meeting family for dinner one night in downtown LA. They're not as big into food as we are, and cost is more of an issue. We're looking for a really good, reasonably priced restaurant, preferably not too far from the Omni (but we can always take a cab). One place that sounded good is Drago Centro but, looking at the online menu, it may be too pricey for the others. We're open to suggestions and would consider any nationality of restaurant.

Thanks for any help!

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

Red O
8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

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  1. Oh God, the Gordon Ramsay-less Gordon Ramsay. Skip it and the similarly Rick Bayless-less Red O and go to Animal and Rivera (or the new Playa) instead.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      stebro you just got some very good advise.

      1. re: wienermobile

        Absolutely skip Red O and Gordon Ramsay. The London is great on the rooftop for drinks.

        If you want mexican, with great food that's interesting (at half the price of Red O), head to Lloteria Grill or Rivera. Otherwise, there are places like Monte Alban and Tacos Por Favor that are fantastic, but not in any way fancy -- you don't go for the ambiance.

        For a downtown option, Chaya or Rivera or Bottega Louie.

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

        1. re: yogachik

          Rivera is more than "Mexican" and pricey but recommended. Review their online menus, they have different menus for different seating areas (strange, I know).

          For the not too expensive and not adventurous crowd, I second the Roy's suggestion below. Colori Kitchen is a not too adventurous, not too expensive Italian, but closed Sun-Mon dinner. Even so, I think the Roy's set menu will be a better value.

          Bottega Louie is very noisy, so don't go if you want to have a conversation.

    2. For Downtown, you might also want to take a look at Lazy Ox Canteen--very creative and reasonably priced--and the very new Spice Table. In the West Hollywood area, you should consider Eva, the Foundry and Hatfield's (the last of which is owned by chefs who relocated from SF), I agree with Das that skpping both Gordon Ramsey and Red O would not be a loss; and he has given you three great suggestions in Animal, Playa and Rivera (but note that Rivera now offers a different menu depending on which room you are dining in).

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      Hatfield's
      6703 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

      Animal
      435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

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

      The Foundry On Melrose
      7465 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046

      Eva Restaurant
      7458 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

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

      Playa
      7360 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      The Spice Table
      114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: New Trial

        When I recently ate at the Playa Bar at Rivera, I was given a menu that I believe covered all bases.

      2. One other potential destination is the newest entry from the same guys who brought us Animal (which we love). Son of a Gun. We are still trying to get there, but it sounds great. The other offering from the Father's Office owner, Lukshon should probably be looked at too.

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        Lukshon
        3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90034

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

        3 Replies
        1. re: Servorg

          See Son of a Gun comment posted today. It's good. On short notice you may have to sit at the bar or the "communal table."

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

          1. re: mc michael

            Wife will not sit at communal tables (hell, she barely accedes to sit with me! ;-D>) so the bar may be it....

            1. re: Servorg

              Well, I've sat at communal tables that weren't that full so it wasn't too communal, but here the place is so busy you will have neighbors.

        2. For something cheaper and "less adventurous" downtown, check out Sushi Gen. You can always do the places in chinatown although personally, I would tend to skip that since you can get that anytime in SF.

          1. For the night you are meeting family downtown, consider Roy's (Hawaiian food). It is a chain, but it's a good one and does not feel like a chain. Their 3-course season prix fixe is always a good deal at $36.
            http://www.roysrestaurant.com/cuisine...
            http://www.roysrestaurant.com/cuisine...
            Hot chocolate souffle is very good for dessert.

            Agree that Animal would be a good replacement for Red O or Gordon Ramsey. I love Hatfield's, which someone else suggested, but I feel like it's probably pretty similar to restaurants you might find in SF.

            2 Replies
              1. re: Peripatetic

                Good point. (I didn't know, I've only been to various locations in southern ca and hawaii.)