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One week's worth of meals traveling with Teenagers?

I have been scanning the posts for suggestions and I am overwhelmed. Alot of the places sound fantastic, but I will be traveling with 2 teenagers that love to eat, but are pretty picky and only eat the basics. My searches didnt quite hit the mark.

I need suggestions that are not too pricey (20 or so meals being eaten out) and accomodate simple tastes or special requests. My 13 year old is notorious for "hold that or this on the side". I dont mind splurging on a meal or two, but it will add up. I am hoping my husband and I can get away for a couple of dinners to some of the more popular recommendations.

These are the types of places I envision us frequenting:

Diners/Breakfast spots
Traditional Italian
Burgers and any other good LA fast food
Baked goods, ice cream, desserts

We are staying in West Hollywood, but anticipate a lot of driving around. All of your suggestions are appreciated.

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  1. Are you trying to restrict your driving to one or two areas of the greater LA basin? This is a really BIG and horizontally spread out city/county. Do you have a "tentative" list with ANY places that seem as though they are likely candidates for what you are seeking? If so it would be very helpful if you would list them. Just as a for instance, I would strongly suggest that you take your kids to eat at Clementine in the Century City area and also cruise the food offerings across the street at the outdoor Century City Mall food court/restaurant offerings (such as Obika).

    1751 Ensley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

    10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

    3 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      We have family in West LA, so will probably be frequenting that part of town, but are willing to drive for a spot that is worth it. Our itinerary is pretty open most days. The only places we talked about going to are Roscoe's Chicken and In and Out Burger (my hubby has fond memories).

      1. re: shell22

        Great, thanks. For gourmet burgers on the West side Rustic Canyon Wine Bar in the number one spot at this moment in time. If you want to sample something along the beach then you can sit and dine right on the sand at Back on the Beach in Santa Monica. Great baked goods at Amandine or Huckleberry (within a few minutes of each other). The brand new Crossroads BBQ has very good ribs if your kids like the thought of picking something up and gnawing on it... ;-D>

        Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
        1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Back on the Beach
        445 Palisades Beach Rd, Santa Monica, CA

        Crossroads BBQ
        2927 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

      2. re: Servorg

        i LOVE LOVE LOVE obika.
        dunno if the teens would like it though.
        my 20 year old daughter prefers c&o (very sad for me).

        would absolutely recommend obika for the 'adult' dinner.

      3. I can pass along some of the places that my teenage son loves:

        Wurstkuche in downtown LA ( and soon Venice) for wonderful one of a kind sausages.

        Park's BBQ for great grilled prime Korean Meats cooked at your table

        Umami Burger is his favorite burger in town.
        5 locations all over LA including Santa Monica.

        Pizzera Mozza for great artisan pizzas.

        Santouka Ramen for great noodles. Located in Mitsuwa Market in West LA.

        Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica for great sandwiches on fresh hot italian bread.

        The Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax for a taste of LA and everyone can try something different and still all eat together. They are open everyday.

        and Carney's in West Hollywood the train car on Sunset Blvd for chill cheese dogs and burgers.

        Welcome to LA and enjoy your trip.

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

        Farmers Market
        6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

        Carney's Restaurant
        8351 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

        800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

        Umami Burger
        850 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
        1517 Lincoln Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: wienermobile

          Excellent list. I would add these places for your kids:

          I like the idea of the Farmer's Market

          I would add Golden State for great hamburgers. They also serve Scoops Ice Cream and Let's Be Frank organic hot dogs.

          Scoops Ice Cream would be a fun, inexpensive treat. Many diverse flavors that change daily, and you can try them all. Two locations: Hollywood and Culver City.

          Vito's in West Hollywood is known for the best New York style pizzas around, also great calzones and sandwiches.

          I think the best fast food place is the Oinkster in Eagle Rock. They are know for burgers, pastrami, pulled pork, frites and great ice cream shakes.

          Some non-Chowhound places I would take young people: Tommy's for classic chili burgers and The Hat for pastrami. Beware of Tommy's pretenders, like Big Tomy's or Tommies. The original is on Rampart and Beverly just southeast of Hollywood.

          Happy chowing.

          The Golden State
          426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

          2005 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock, CA

        2. Pizza and burgers are a widely debated topic on this board. I don't know if your kids gravitate more to Domino's and McDonald's, or yearn for the archetype Napolitano code of pizzas and ground Wagyu/white truffle burger. If they're somewhere in between that huge span, then it's truly an open field.

          For burgers, The Counter might be a good choice for your kids. I personally find the burger meat to be just okay, but the wonder about this place is there are so many configurations that just about anyone can realize their ideal burger. Your kids' pickiness will be to their advantage. The Counter also offers some pretty good beers and wines, so if you adults want something more for you, then you're set. The prices are reasonable given the locations, atmosphere and offerings.

          For breakfast spots, my go-to place is Metro Cafe in Culver City. The food is excellent, the subtle twists on breakfast plates are refreshing, and the almost ever-present owner is very inviting. If you like pancakes and bananas, please do not pass on their sauteed banana pancakes. The downside to this place is that it is on the small side. Some also complain that the food takes a little long to arrive.

          Another place that may or may not appeal to you is Pann's. No one will leave hungry, they menu is quite broad, and the Googie architecture is impressive and becoming more rare as time passes. Chicken wings and waffles are a standard here as well. The one detraction I can think of for your case is that it is probably about a 15-20 minute drive from West LA proper.

          Steaks - great steaks - can get pricey in LA. Places like Cut, Mastro's and Wolfgang's will probably cost per diner what you have listed as a price range for the entire table at other meals. Because of this, you may want to either pass on a splurge steak meal, or maybe consider an alternative like Korean barbecue in Korea Town. I've rarely had something more carnivore-oriented, and the cuts are of excellent quality. Poster wienermobile has suggested Park's - I think he's spot-on.

          Baked goods, sweets and desserts around West LA area would be Amandine, Jamaica's Cakes, Platine, Lady Chocolat, Sweet Rose Creamery, Primo's Westdale Doughnuts, Huckleberry, SusieCakes and La Maison Du Pain. I don't know how well your kids would take to more exotic ice cream offerings, but Scoops, Mashti Malone, Saffron and Rose, and Super Sun are probably unlikely to zero in other towns.

          For traditional Italian, I think on this board that that can be a loaded term. But for solid food that most would consider to be Italian, I'd rec Brunello Trattoria. It is technically in Culver City, but it's location is more like Midtown - kinda between Hollywood and West LA. You could easily access this off the 10 freeway or Venice Blvd, which will probably be your main routes between West Hollywood and West LA. The owners are brothers from the old country, they're cordial, take a lot of pride in their food, and will gladly deal with your kids' requests.

          Amandine Patissiere
          12225 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

          Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
          6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

          712 N Heliotrope Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90029

          Mashti Malone's
          143 N Maryland Ave, Glendale, CA 91206

          La Maison Du Pain
          5373 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

          SusieCakes Bakery
          11708 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

          Metro Cafe
          11188 Washington Pl, Culver City, CA 90232

          2918 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

          Jamaica's Cakes
          11511 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

          The Counter
          4786 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

          Brunello Trattoria
          6001 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

          Huckleberry Cafe
          1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          Platine Sweets & Savories
          10850 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

          Sweet Rose Creamery
          225 26th St #51, Los Angeles, CA 90049

          Scoops Westside
          10640 Woodbine St, Los Angeles, CA 90034

          3 Replies
          1. re: bulavinaka

            +1 for Pann's for the best Patty Melt and diner food in LA. (They have chicken and waffles too).

            and another vote for the homemade ice cream at Sweet Rose Creamery. Try that fresh mint chip..wow.

            Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
            6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

            Sweet Rose Creamery
            225 26th St #51, Los Angeles, CA 90049

            1. re: wienermobile

              Just went last Thursday night and had my obligatory Patty Melt...so damn good.

            2. re: bulavinaka

              FYI: Mashti Malones closed their Glendale location, but still have one in Hollywood near Sunset and La Brea.

              Mashti Malone's
              143 N Maryland Ave, Glendale, CA 91206

            3. If you are visiting museums there is surprisingly good food at the Getty Center.

              Getty Center
              1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049

              1. wow...these are some great suggestions so far!! Thank you very much :o)

                1 Reply
                1. re: shell22

                  i would also stop by ricky's fish tacos for a delicious and economical treat. he is set up in th los feliz area. you can follow him on twitter for hours, ect...


                2. For treats, ice cream, Cookies and Confections try Milk, very close by from West Hollywood.

                  and Beard Papa at Hollywood and Highland Center for made to order cream puffs.

                  7290 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                  Beard Papa Sweet Cafe
                  6801 Hollywood Blvd Ste 157, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                  1. little confused by the "love to eat, but are pretty picky and only eat the basics" statement. do you mean to say that they love to eat, quantity-wise?

                    As a growing teenage boy, I loved our annual trips to Lawry's for prime rib with great sides and yorkshire pudding. Also, Lawry's is something of an LA institution.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: andytseng

                      Lawry's place link

                      Lawry's Prime Rib
                      100 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                      1. re: andytseng

                        They love food, as long as it is in their wheelhouse and well prepared. For example, they love pizza, but wouldn't dare try one with prosciutto and arugula. My son will order a Pizza Margherita at a better pizzeria and tell them to "hold the basil". It is maddening!! I am still holding out hope it is something that they will grow out of.

                        I love Lawry's, I actually worked for them many moons ago, and have frequented the location in downtown Chicago. It would be a waste to take them there as the menu is pretty well set and any modifications would ruin the experience.

                      2. Hi... Sorry to say, that I think that your example provided (non-tolerance for a bit of basil on a plain pizza, sigh) will unfortunately eliminate a fair amount of great suggestions offered thus far; there are still plenty of sensible suggestions, but your gonna have to pick restaurants well. I'm only half-kidding when I say that the more creatively or exotically named the place (Umami Burger, or Santouka Ramen, for example), the less successful the choice might be... That said, I'll suggest The Griddle Cafe (breakfast and lunch) on Sunset blvd. (just west of cross street Fairfax). Huge portions, huge menu, alot of basics but also alot of specialty versions of familar chow. Teens will like the loud vibe. Very popular, so very busy. Tip: wear a hipster small hat :-). Good luck...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: silence9

                          It's my cross to bear, but I actually think they will do fine with the majority of the suggestions that were made today. His aversion to basil notwithstanding, I am encouraged!

                          1. re: shell22

                            All teens seem to love The Brentwood Country Mart at 26th St. and San Vicente.
                            Nice outside patio and the food options range from Mexican, to the legendary Reddi-Chick Chicken baskets, Barney's Burgers and even a candy store. The Mart is also the home to Sweet Rose Creamery, best ice cream in So Cal (IMHO). Good people watching. Lots of teens on Friday afternoon. As soon as Paul Revere Jr. High is out for the day, they head right to the Brentwood Country Mart.

                            Sweet Rose Creamery
                            225 26th St #51, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                        2. Brentwood Country Mart is a great suggestion. They may see a star or two, which for teenagers, could more than compensate for the Reddi-Chick. Farmer's Market has a plethora of great food selections, quintessential LA, and adjacent to the Grove (don't eat at any restaurant at the Grove, though) with some pretty cool stores.

                          A restaurant that may help your son "break through" his pickiness is Tender Greens. I think it was one of the first places that made my daughter realize that good food is good even if it's not macaroni and pizza. They have locations in Culver City and West Hollywood. Casual, you stand in line and order from a decently sized menu that is ever so slightly upscale American -- hangar steak with mashed potatoes, roast chicken, seared ahi, a large variety of salads, and by the time you reach the cashier, your meal is ready. Everything is made to order in front of you. The one in Culver City affords lots of people watching (there is often a line out the door) and the value is great.

                          Down the street from there is City Tavern, recently opened (and they do serve underage) and the first restaurant that has little beer taps for self service at 3 of the booths (under 21s can't sit there). I've been twice -- the ct burger ($10) is wonderful, as is the tomato tartine, the spinach salad, grilled romaine, and my foodie 10 year old inhaled her arctic char. Also a great selection of beers on tap and wines by the glass.

                          The Counter may vary in quality at different locations. I have never liked the Santa Monica location, but very much like the one in Pasadena.

                          Tender Greens
                          9523 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                          City Tavern
                          9739 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: NAspy

                            Thanks, NAspy, for your seconding my recommendation of the Brentwood Country Mart. I always hesitate to mention venues where celebrities dine with their kids, as I am so disgusted by the ubiquitious presence of the paparazzi in our neighborhood, Our family always got the Mart down to a science. One person grabs the table and all of the other kids fan out and pick up the chicken or the burritos or burgers. Mom waits patiently for her salad:)

                            1. re: maudies5

                              It's funny, but even my self-described "celebrity averse" out of state pals truly like to see a star in LA. It's almost a compulsory part of the landscape, though I agree daily exposure to the mosquitoes they attract can be a drag.

                          2. Sandwiches at Mendocino Farms (either Marina del Rey or downtown LA). Or, pastrami at Langers, not far from WeHo.

                            Mendocino Farms
                            444 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                            1. Santa Monica --

                              Bay Cities Deli -- not only great sandwiches on their wonderful rolls, but the hot side.

                              Tacos Por Favor -- great simple tacos.

                              Tommy's Burgers -- real sister of the original, chiliburgers on Lincoln at Pico.

                              W.L.A. -- Amandine on Wilshire just west of Bundy, big french toast, great croissants.

                              Diddy Riesse in Westwood Village for cheap cookies and ice-cream sandwiches. Near In'n'Out.

                              Tacos Por Favor
                              1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                              1. I have a son who used to be like that, now 20 and in college about an hour away. The places he drags his friends out from college to (and that have good enough food and ambience for us to tag along occasionally) include Farmers Market (daily when he's home), Golden State, the 101 Coffee Shop (extremely hip) Canter's Deli (really old school), Wurstkuche, In N Out, The Counter and Loteria. I wouldn't recommend Bay Cities or Pann's if you are looking for unusual LA experiences-- since they are the best LA versions of the kind of restaurants that will be familiar to you from Chicago. I would also add Gardens of Taxco (fun and different) , Philippes (old-style LA), Urth Cafe (very LA) and Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles (because, well, chicken and waffles?) . Also, even the most unusual and regional Mexican restaurants in LA will have something on the menu that appeals to picky eaters, and we have plenty of those (great Mexican restaurant, that is, not picky eaters).

                                Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
                                6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                101 Coffee Shop
                                6145 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                Gardens of Taxco
                                1113 N. Harper Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90046

                                800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                The Golden State
                                426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036