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Visiting L.A. / Santa Monica for 1 day from Chicago, What is a MUST eat.

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Hello all,

The wife and I will be driving from Vegas to L.A. / Hollywood / Santa Monica for one day (Next Sunday) and are looking for some MUST eats. We live in Chicago and enjoy the diverse ethnic foods on a daily basis and we are looking for some must eat places we shouldn't miss. We definitely want something we can get back home or something that Cali does better than Chicago.

Obviously we are on a budget and cant afford the 3-4 star places on this short trip. Lunch and Dinner REQ's would be best.

Thanks Everyone!

Mike

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  1. gjelina
    http://www.gjelina.com/

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    Gjelina
    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

    3 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      gjelina +1

      1. re: westsidegal

        Gjelina.

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        Gjelina
        1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

        1. re: yogachik

          +1 for Gjelina. I am actually visiting Chicago right now from Santa Monica and while I've had great eating in Chicago every time I've visited, the access we have to amazing fresh produce in LA year-round is incomparable. Gjelina does an amazing job of showcasing that produce and it's not overly expensive. Just make sure you have a reservation if you're going for dinner.

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          Gjelina
          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

    2. Check out the brunch at Zengo's. for $35 per person you can order as many of the small plates on the menu as you would like, plus as many cocktails from their list as you would enjoy while still remaining in an upright position...see CH review here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/779404

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      Zengo
      395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      1. Thanks for the recommendations! I will look into those. Are there are dishes or specialties that are well know in the L.A. area that you cant get anywhere else?

        2 Replies
        1. re: mccarlin

          If you wish to venture out of the Santa Monica area into other parts of LA I love Park's BBQ in Koreatown. A wonderful meal of prime meats and Korean flavors.
          http://www.parksbbq.com/

          and Animal. A one of a kind meat eaters delight. A true bold LA orginal.
          http://www.animalrestaurant.com/

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          Park's BBQ
          955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

          Animal
          435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          1. re: wienermobile

            +1 on both Parks BBQ & Animal. I know you have good Mexican in Chicago, but not sure if it's as stellar as some of the places out here.

            Playa is fun & lively. Border Grill does a nice lunch. Or you may want to try one of the many food trucks that travel around LA like Kogi, Nom-Nom or Komodo, but you may need to find them on Facebook or Twitter first to know where they are going to be. Komodo does have a storefront as well, in mid city at the corner of Pico Blvd and Robertson Blvd.

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            Border Grill
            1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

            Playa
            7360 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        2. I have not had the pleasure of dining extensively in Chicago but as I understand it, the culinary scene is kicking the proverbial tail there. I'm not sure if Animal or Gjelina would impress especially with the likes of Graham Elliott and other high powered chefs running around Chi town doing the meat centric cuisine already.

          I nominate Parks and Pizzeria Mozza as our champions.

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

          Gjelina
          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

          1. Dim sum at Sea Harbour

            For Korean BBQ, I would go to Don Dae Gam over Park (they're related restaurants).

            JTYH for Beijing style knife-cut noodles or Dean Sin World (or Tastio) for dumplings and XLB

            For a splurge meal, how about Urasawa.

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

            Dean Sin World
            306 N Garfield Ave # 2, Monterey Park, CA

            JTYH Restaurant
            9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

            2 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              OP is on a budget, which may not allow for a 5-star joint like Urasawa.

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

              1. re: J.L.

                My bad.

                I failed reading comprehension in Kindergarten.

            2. I second Porthos: having done a lot of eating out across the country recently, it seems as though there is interesting cutting-edge food sprouting everywhere. Animal is great, but Feast in Houston and New Orleans kind of hits the same notes--as does Le Pigeon in Portland.

              Especially since you are on the budget, you might think of Thai, Mexican, Korean, Chinese or other ethnic food that is at its best (for domestic restaurants) here in LA. For instance, Jitlada. Not in SM, but a foodie must-stop for its Southern Thai menu and take no prisoners heat.
              Lots of threads on here to inspire you about all the ethnic food available.

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: coffeebrownies

                I recommend the Getty Museum in Bel Air. Make reservations for lunch. The view is incredible, the food is good and not over-priced. Reservations are honored. No better place to be in springtime when the magnificent gardens are in full bloom. . This is a very special place. Bring a camera. I promise you will not be disappointed.

              2. jumping in:

                are any of these places baby friendly? we're originally from la but this will be the first time we return to the area with our baby. he's under 6 months old.

                thanks!

                3 Replies
                1. re: kinipela

                  Any of the "ethnic" places will be bambino friendly.

                  1. re: kinipela

                    The Getty is definitely baby friendly and lots of pretty trees and flowers to look at.

                    1. re: maudies5

                      I think spending an afternoon at the Getty's gardens with one's six-month old would be great. Please bring a camera - a real one...