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Singapore family with 2 kids to Los Angeles seeking advise.

We will be staying at Beverly Hilton for 5-6 days. We will rent a car so any place within 20-30 minutes drive is acceptable to us. Looking more for family friendly places rather than expensive high end or fine dining restaurants. I have researched the past threads and come out with some questions. Would appreciate if you can comment and advise me:

1. Sushi: what is the budget for Mori per person?
2. Spago: is this a friendly place for kids age 10 and 13?
3. Mexican : Is Border Grill the best Mexican near the hotel area?
4. Brunch: Gjelina or Zengo?
5. Italian: please recommend your favorite.
6. Any good Vietnum Pho place?
7. Any excellent ice cream or places kids will love?
8. Steak house, beside Cut, Lawry's?
9. How far is the drive to Korean Park's BBQ?
10. Any good comfort Cantonese restaurants within 10-15 min drive from the hotel?
11. Any must eat places in your opinion that we should try on our visit?

Thanks in advanced.

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

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

Spago
176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Zengo
395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Gjelina
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

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  1. 1. Are you intending to do an "omakase" type sushi experience in which you just sit back and take what comes until you're full? If so then you should budget from $120 to $175 per person. But you can also limit the cost before hand to some set price and order by the piece until you hit your budgetary limit.

    2. Yes, Spago would be a fine place for you and your kids.

    3. I would strongly suggest you go to the "permanent" original Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax and eat at Loteria Grill for Mexican in that area. Much better than Border Grill and lots of other nice, family friendly things to enjoy.

    4. For good, family friendly Italian within a reasonable budget and distance from your hotel I suggest Brunello's in Culver City.

    8. Other excellent steakhouses close by would include Arnie Morton's, Ruth's Chris and the newer Wolfgang (no relation to Puck).

    Close by and worth the visit would be to take the kids for breakfast at the Fountain Room http://www.beverlyhillshotel.com/the-... at the Pink Palace (aka the Beverly Hills Hotel) on Sunset. Great place and the setting is our equivalent of the Raffles in your home town. It's counter seating only, but I think you'll all enjoy the experience.

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    Ruth's Chris Steak House
    224 South Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

    Arnie Morton's, the Steakhouse-Beverly Hills
    435 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

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

    Beverly Hills Hotel
    9641 W Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    Wolfgang's Steakhouse
    445 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    Brunello Trattoria
    6001 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

    5 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      One other idea on the "ice cream" part of your search. If the kids will eat gelato you could go to
      Al Gelato in Beverly Hills. Their coffee crunch and chocolate hazel nut flavors are both wonderful. While their tomato sauce is an acquired taste (it's on the sweet side) the do some very good spaghetti and meat balls if you want something inexpensive and very casual.

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      Al Gelato Continental Desserts
      806 S Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

      1. re: Servorg

        Really agree with The Original Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfax. Open every day and everyone can try something different and still eat together. Great for families, A true taste of LA.
        http://www.farmersmarketla.com/

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

        1. re: wienermobile

          ...but avoid Banana Leaf in the Farmer's Market-- it's fine for us (we really don't have many Singapore/Malay options) but it will just disappoint you :)

          Also, Farmer's Market is fun, but it's a culinary minefield with some very bad restaurants ("The Bear Pit" is just terrible, terrible barbecue. The French Creperie and Monsieur Marcel are bland to terrible). My favorite place at the market is the chicken schwaerma plate with baba ghanouj and tabbouleh at Moishe's. Du Par's for traditional American breakfast done well. Bob's for great buttermilk crumb donuts dunked in coffee. Search the board for other recommendations.

          Mr Taster

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          Moishe's Restaurant
          6333 W 3rd St Ste 336, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          1. re: wienermobile

            A must is the English Toffee at Little Johns.

        2. 3. In addition to Loteria, you might also consider Monte Alban at 11927 Santa Monica Blvd. Neither Loteria nor Monte Alban are the best Mexican restaurants in the LA area, but they are probably the best ones within 20-30 minutes of BH.

          6. Not that I know of. Most decent pho is at least 45 minutes away, in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV). I would be surprised if anything was better than you can find in Singapore. The one place you might want to consider is 9021Pho in BH. I haven't been there, but I've been to Kimmy's previous restaurant (Michelia, near the Beverly Center) which was good. Some respectable critics really like 9021Pho%3

          http://sinosoul.com/2009/12/9021pho-y...

          7. The best one I can think of near BH is Sweet Rose Creamery in Brentwood: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/70687

          9. Probably about 30 minutes if traffic isn't too bad.

          10. No. The best Cantonese restaurants are in the SGV, namely, Sea Harbour and Elite. These are around 45 minutes to an hour away from BH. In any case, I would be surprised if they surpass the Cantonese available in Singapore.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Peripatetic

            I hate to say this, but I had a pretty disappointing lunch at Monte Alban last Saturday in that the tamal with the black mole was pretty dried out and just not up to their usual standards. I was sharing appetizers with a friend of my wife and I didn't say anything at the time, but it wasn't nearly as good as in the past. Hopefully it was just an off day...We also shared the chorizo con queso (that was fine) and the goat taco, which had a fairly pedestrian (read dry - maybe past its "use by" date) tortilla.

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            Monte Alban
            11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

            1. re: Servorg

              I have to admit I haven't been to Monte Alban recently; now that I live in Pasadena it's too far to go for Mexican. Servorg is a very reputable hound, so based on his report, avoid Monte Alban.

              1. re: Peripatetic

                I hope it was a one time thing. Anyone who has been recently, please chime in. I've always loved Monte Alban and recommended it many, many times here in the past years. So lets just see who else posts and what they have to say...

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                Monte Alban
                11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

            2. re: Peripatetic

              + 1 for Sweet Rose Creamery. Some of the best ice cream in LA. Try the Fresh Mint with Home Made Chocolate Chips and the Salted Caramel...wow.
              http://www.sweetrosecreamery.com/

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

              1. re: wienermobile

                I urge the OP to try the lime coconut sorbet. I think this will be right up the OP's flavor range. If it's a big hit, take this memory back to Singapore, create the flavor there, and make a million in Sing $$.

            3. 4. Brunch: Definitely Gjelina, go earlier and try to secure a table outside if it's sunny.
              5. LA is not strong in Italian, but have you checked out review on Sotto or Angelina Osteria?
              7. Ice Cream: Scoops Westside? Not really a kids place but they got very interesting ice cream flavors
              9. Parks BBQ: Def within 30mins, if you take Olympic Blvd instead of Wilshire Blvd and well worth the drive
              10. Unfortunately no, and I'm quite sure Cantonese in Singapore is better than what you can get within 10-15min drive

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              Scoops Westside
              10640 Woodbine St, Los Angeles, CA 90034

              Gjelina
              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

              1 Reply
              1. re: keepon

                Actually Third Street is the best going east and west, even going into east L.A. I drive these all the time.

              2. My teenage sons love Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills. All you can eat Brazilian steaks and side dishes with wandering Gauchos presenting skewers of various meats at your table. Great food and great service, your plate will never be empty. Also one of the best salad bars in Los Angeles is included.

                http://www.fogodechao.com/locations/

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                Fogo De Chao
                133 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                1. Please keep in mind LA traffic during rush hour. Depending on where and when you go, it may be heavy in one direction and light in the other. Once you have decided your destinations, ask the hotel staff about the traffic conditions for the desired time.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: raytamsgv

                    You mean it wasn't just my imagination that Pico was absolutely "grid locked" in both directions going through WLA last night? ;-D>

                    1. re: raytamsgv

                      Once you have decided your destinations, ask the hotel staff about the traffic conditions for the desired time.

                      ___________________________

                      Why?

                      Just assume traffic is going to bad. Why? Because it is.