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Please help a Torontonian with his itinerary

Hi guys,

Flying into L.A for the first time ever, and staying in the Venice Beach area. Since Toronto has such terrible Mexican food that is going to be our top priority, but we also have other ideas. Here is what I have so far and am wondering if you could help fill in the gap. We arrive Friday morning and leave Monday evening.

FRIDAY - Taco tour! From Leos to La Estrella to Mariscos Jalisco

SATURDAY - Have a very late dinner booked at Osteria Mozza but am willing to change this. Fiancee is an utter burrata fiend and loves great pasta dishes with outstanding fresh tomato sauces. I love sea urchin, bone marrow and other strong flavours. Doesnt necessarily have to be Italian but it is one of her fave cuisines (it is her birthday).

SUNDAY - Dinner at Rivera- higher end Mexican which seems to be outstanding.

MONDAY - Lunch at Santouka before leaving in the late evening (wait maybe it will be closed for July 4th?)

Here is what I would like help with - what's an amazing Yakitori place or Izakaya style place? And is there a must visit dessert joint in Los Angeles? Would probably plug those into our weekend lunches.

Thank you so much - super excited to visit and experience all this city has to offer. If anyone is ever visiting Toronto drop by our boards and we will always hook you up.

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Santouka
3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

La Estrella Restaurant
940 S Lorena St, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Izakaya
8420 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Marisco's
718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

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  1. Hello! I think you may want to fit in some Korean food? Not sure how it is in TO but it's a-mazing here. My favorites are Parks BBQ, Soot Bull Jeep, Western Doma Noodle (slooooow service but very good!), Beverly Soon Tofu, A-won... For Izakaya, I like Honda Ya in Little Tokyo. Hopefully I'll make it to Toronto and do an old school Degrassi Tour, if one exists... one should :) oh one tip about Rivera. While i enjoyed the food very much if you are looking to catch a buzz, order wine. it took forever to get drinks... and after three i walked out stone sober. if you are anywhere near eagle rock you must try Cacao Mexicatessan.

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    Soot Bull Jeep
    3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

    Beverly Soon Tofu Restaurant
    2717 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

    Little Tokyo Restaurant
    150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773

    Izakaya
    8420 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

    1. Welcome to L.A.!

      A few thoughts on your (already well-researched) itinerary:

      Mexican food: You may want to consider Mariscos Chente for seafood and Monte Alban for Oaxacan fare, in addition to your other picks. Highly agree with Rivera: The mixology is definitely worth trying at Rivera as well.

      Pasta: The pastas at Osteria Mozza are excellent, and late night rezzies are just fine (service is even better as it gets later , as the crowd fades a bit). Get the wild boar ragu if they have it. Consider Scarpetta in Beverly Hills for a pasta tasting as well. Scoot Conant's basic-looking (but amazing tasting) spaghetti with basil is the embodiment of uber-fresh starting ingredients and deft execution.

      Ramen: Santouka is my favorite ramen on the Westside. Get their special pork broth ramen (#7, I believe?). Call them at (310) 391-1101 to see if they're open on 4th of July. In Gardena, Ramen Mottainai is fantastic also.

      Izakaya: Izakaya Bincho, on the Redondo Beach Pier (bonus: Beach!)

      Robatayaki: NanBanKan, on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd & Corinth (near Sawtelle) is where Japanese chefs go to enjoy flame-skewered yummies.

      Dessert: Scoops Ice Cream has 2 locations: The original is at Heliotrope, near the eastern terminus of Melrose Ave., but closer to Venice would be its sister location, called Scoops Westside... Inventive, innovative ice cream flavors (brown bread, maple+bacon bits, walnut+Jim Beam, durian, strawberry+goji berry, blackberry+basil, etc.), definitely worth a visit. In Westwood, Persian Ice Cream (near the corner of Westwood & Wilkins) offer Iranian-style cucumber and rosewater ice creams.

      Bonus good eatin': Father's Office (on Helms, near Culver City) would be perfect for a Sunday mid-afternoon burger & beer stop.
      Metro Cafe: Unassuming diner serving great Serbian food. I like it on Tuesday nights (bean & ham soup)...
      Sushi omakase: Kiriko (on Sawtelle): Sit at the bar for best experience.
      Sushi kaiseki/fusion: If your pockets are deep, make a reservation for Urasawa (Beverly Hills), but if you want an almost equally nirvana-esqe gustatory equivalent, try n/naka (on Overland).

      Enjoy our city!

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

      Kiriko
      11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

      Monte Alban
      11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

      Santouka
      3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

      Mariscos Chente
      4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

      Izakaya Bincho
      112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

      Osteria Mozza
      6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      Ramen Mottainai
      1630 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Suite #9, Gardena, CA 90247

      Scarpetta
      225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

      Scoops Westside
      10640 Woodbine St, Los Angeles, CA 90034

      7 Replies
      1. re: J.L.

        if you take J.L.'s suggestion of Mariscos Chente for Mexican seafood prepared in the styles of Sinaloa and Nayarit, be aware that there are three establishments with that name.
        the one that you want to go to is located in Inglewood on West Imperial Highway near the corner of Yukon.
        phone 310-672-2339
        go there on some day OTHER than a Tuesday or Wednesday because those are the days that Sergio, the amazing chef there, takes as his days off.
        also, be aware that this place closes weeknights at 8pm.

        another great restaurant for excellent burrata is located in the Century City shopping mall. They import their cheeses and meats from Italy. OBIKA MOZZARELLA BAR.

        1. re: westsidegal

          Note that Obika recently opened a location in Toronto. I went to the one in Selfridges a few times when I lived in the UK and never warmed up to it, though perhaps I'm spoiled by having spent too much time in Italy.

        2. re: J.L.

          I would stick w your Osteria Mozza reservation, your GF will thank you. I have heard mixed reviews on the "basic looking spaghetti" very recently at Scarpetta, and it may disappoint.

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          Osteria Mozza
          6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          Scarpetta
          225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

          1. re: J.L.

            Great list, J.L., and I didn't realize n/naka was operational. What's the lowdown on this place?

            http://www.n-naka.com/

            Another place worth trying for Japanese-y pub fare would be Torihei in Torrance - yakitori, oden and a good number of izakaya dishes - the beer and sake ain't half-bad either. My only concern for the OP is their itinerary. I think Friday night is the only opening, but after a day's worth of taco crawl, what room is left for anything else?

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            Torihei
            1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

            1. re: bulavinaka

              n/naka from what I understand was great ... friend was there for soft opening.

              1. re: bulavinaka

                I second Torihei in Torrance for yakitori and izakaya. Look over exilekiss's review for both Torihei and Izakaya Bincho. Tough call.

                Torihei:
                http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2009/03...

                Izakaya Bincho/Yakitori Bincho:
                http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2008/05...

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                Izakaya Bincho
                112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

                Torihei
                1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

              2. re: J.L.

                +1 on Nanbankan. For izakaya I love Musha in Santa Monica.

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                Musha
                424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

              3. Oh... if you want to be an extra good guy - before or after your dinner at Osteria Mozza, go to Mozza To Go - and get some sweet and savory treats for your hotel room for a snack the next day. The baked goods do not need to be refrigerated - and they are awesome!

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                Osteria Mozza
                6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                1. J.L. basically covered the gamut.

                  But let me throw out a couple of ideas for dessert.

                  Providence and The Royce. Choose the dessert tasting at both.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I assume you could at The Royce, since it is in a hotel, but can you just reserve a table at Providence, just for the desserts?!

                        1. re: Phurstluv

                          From Opentable:

                          **Dessert only reservations accepted exclusively at the following times: Monday through Thursday at 6:00pm or 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday 10:00pm only, Sunday 5:30pm or 9:00pm.

                  2. Definitely keep Osteria Mozza--though, I prefer sitting at the Mozzarella Bar there to eating at a table so I can watch them work. To add to your list for yakitori and izakaya respectively, Robata-ya and Musha. For desserts, the baked goods at Farm Shop, Huckleberry (insane crowds though), Rockenwagner/Three Square (same owners) and Sweet Lady Jane (on Monatana in Santa Monica near 17th) or tea and confections at Jin come to mind (some of these close early though). If ice cream appeals, Scoops or Sweet Rose Creamery should fit the bill.

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                    Musha
                    1725 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

                    Musha
                    424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                    Jin Patisserie
                    1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                    3 Square Cafe
                    1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                    Huckleberry Cafe
                    1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                    Rockenwagner Bakery Cafe
                    311 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                    Robata Ya
                    2004 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

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

                    Scoops Westside
                    10640 Woodbine St, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                    Farm Shop at Brentwood Country Mart
                    225 26th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402

                    Rockenwagner Bakery
                    395 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: New Trial

                      Second Jin Patisserie for tea and desserts. If you're staying in Venice you will almost certainly want to check out Abbot Kinney Blvd, and Jin is a great stopover there.

                      1. re: New Trial

                        Also, note that there's a Musha closer to Venice in Santa Monica.
                        Santa Monica 424 Wilshire Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90401 | Phone: 310.576.6330

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                        Musha
                        424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                      2. I'm a fellow Torontonian also having lived in LA for last 8 years and most of it on westside.

                        I love NanbanKan in WLA for Izakaya. Musha is good too in Santa Monica. Some hounds love the Redondo beach izakaya.

                        Love Mozza - stick with rez.

                        Some other good options: Joe's in Venice; Orris in WLA; Kiriko for Sushi on Sawtelle

                        For an exciting experience, try Bazaar at SLS

                        Also, for Oaxacan, Monte Alban is great....I don't think I recall a Mexican place like this in TO

                        Happy Travels

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                        Kiriko
                        11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                        Monte Alban
                        11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                        Musha
                        424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                        Izakaya
                        8420 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                        1. Where did you end up?