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Coming to LA and looking for unusual ethnic gems and supreme examples of the form ala Langer's Pastrami.

We are two fairly adventurous eaters from San Francisco who know that Los Angeles is a wonderland of great ethnic food and American classics. We are fairly familiar with the area but haven't been down in awhile.

Past favorites we are planning to hit include:

Langer's Deli for the pastrami.
El Abajeno in Culver City for the taquitos.
Sheharazad in Westwood for the tachin and other Persian food.
Maybe the Central Market
Maybe Sushi in West LA
Maybe Peruvian. Would love to find a place that does the Chupe de Camarones.

Would love recommendations for great places to try, especially unusual ethnic cuisines. We are staying near LAX but can drive for something interesting.

El Abajeno
4513 Inglewood Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

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  1. feng mao mutton kebab and some taco carts :)

    tacos leo / mexicali taco co / ricky's fish tacos are my picks.

    1. Great Korean at Park's BBQ.

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: wienermobile

        I second that. Best KBBQ I've ever had.

      2. Check out Mo Chica (downtown) or Picca (west side) for Peruvian.

        Go to K-town downtown for Korean bbq, we really like Parks but there are several others.

        9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

        1. Ricky's fish tacos. Summer hours Wed-Sun 12pm-4. Always check his twitter first to make sure he's open.

          Ricky's Fish Tacos
          1400 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

          20 Replies
          1. re: wienermobile

            I wholeheartedly second that! Follow-up with a delish ice cream treat at Scoops on Heliotrope.

            1. re: Deidre7

              My (admittedly only) experience with Ricky's is that I waited in the sun for 45 minutes with an inordinate amount of 20-something hipsters (some douchey, some not) for a taco which was neither as crisp nor as flavorful as it should have been.

              Try "Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada" for a better (or perhaps more consistent) representation of a good fish taco.

              Mr Taster

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  Place Link

                  Best Fish Taco in Ensenada
                  1650 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                2. re: Mr Taster

                  I was a BFTiE regular until I found RFT.

                  A few of my RFT friends went to BFTiE cuz RFT was closed and found BFTiE....less than stellar.

                  I have not gone back myself to find out. Loved that radish relish though.

                  @Phurstluv - BFTiE is just north of RFT on Hillhurst.

                  1. re: ns1

                    thanks, ns1. I will have to try both.

                    1. re: ns1

                      I love that Ricky is taking his fish tacos to the street. And I've got nothing personally against his business. I just think that he's become a victim of his own success.

                      I readily admit that perhaps Ricky was having an off day during my visit. And ordinarily I'd give a small business like this a second shot, particularly with the effusive love from respected Chowhounds.

                      But quite frankly I can think of many things I'd rather do than stand in line for a half hour in Silverlake, surrounded by hipsters who (while wearing tiny hats) try desperately to out-sarcasm each other. And after enduring all of that, I'm not even confident I'll be receiving a good taco.

                      During my dozen or so visits to Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada, I've been served consistently delicious fish tacos without the annoying wait or crowd.

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        WRT your point, you've only given them one chance.

                        My one, similar experience to yours occurred when Ricky did lobster tacos for the second time to celebrate his LATACO win.

                        WOW, I have NEVER seen Ricky so far into the woods. There were 20-30 of us in line and we waited 30 minutes+++ for our lobster tacos. And at the end of the day, they just weren't that good. Most certainly NOT his usual caliber, and outrageously expensive.

                        IF that was my one and only visit to RFT, I probably would not return and definitely proclaim that RFT is not worth the hype.

                        So yes, I agree with you TO A POINT - when it's super busy, it's not as good. When his minions do the work, it's not as good.

                        BUT, when I go on weekdays during lunch hour, I'm in/out in <1 hour and he has always been on point. And Ricky at his best is substantially better than Joe at his best - although Joe's got some crazy awesome horchata.

                        Lastly: weekdays have significantly less ironic hipsters than weekends. 130pm on weekdays is the perfect time to go - he still has fish, he's gonna be manning the grills, and there is no line.

                        1. re: ns1

                          Men with hats. Men with no hats. Sarcasm. Futures so bright they have to wear shades? None of it can dampen my enjoyment of good food. Now an overly long wait? That can put a dent in my mood...true. But I gauge the wait and if it is moving like molasses in January in Duluth I cut and run. Look out Langer's - I'm on my way! ;-D>

                        2. re: Mr Taster

                          I'm with you, Ricky's is very overrated and not worth the time to track down and/or stand in line.

                          Best Fish Tacos are way better than Ricky's.

                          Too bad some CH are falling for the hype of Ricky's.

                          1. re: reality check

                            So if someone were visiting LA (me!) in the near future, and wanted to try the Most-Amazing-Fish-Tacos-Ever over a weekend — where would you go?

                            1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                              I've been to Ricky's twice. Amazing the first time, merely very good the second time. Fortunately, I've never had to wait very long or deal w/ ironic hipster. ;)

                              I went to this place (Tacos Baja Ensenada, 5385 Whittier Blvd.
                              323-887-1980) once and thought it was VERY tasty.

                              For Peruvian, I was quite please w/ Puro Sabor in Van Nuys (area can be a little rough).... Especially after I learned Peruvian has some Chinese influence (and thus I wasn't going crazy when some of the dishes tasted VERY familiar tome).

                              Also liked Mariscos Chente, but only for the snook (which was delicious; the shrimp was merely eh).

                              Puro Sabor
                              6366 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91401

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

                              1. re: ilysla

                                Apologies for my ignorance, but what is snook?

                                1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                  It's type of fish that is used in the dish, pescado zerandeado. I'm guessing that this is the beast:


                                  1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                    And no need to apologize, I just couldn't remember the name of the actual dish! ;)

                                2. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                  Leaving out commentary about whether it's better (I haven't been), then it'd be Mariscos El Tetos, on Lankershim half a block shy of San Fernando in Sun Valley, 11am-7pm (or so).

                                  1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                    Oh. I meant I haven't been to Ricky's. I go to El Tetos every couple of weeks.

                                  2. re: reality check

                                    > Too bad some CH are falling for the hype of Ricky's.

                                    In the early days (when Ricky was across from Intelligentsia) it was no contest. Ricky was miles better than BFT. It was Langer's-vs-The-Hat better. I haven't had a chance to go back since he moved around the corner, and then later down the street, but I hope standards haven't suffered as much as people are suggesting.

                                    1. re: reality check

                                      I've been to RFT in all of it's incarnations. In front of the laundry mat to it's current place.
                                      I've had both very good fish tacos from RFT and some that are just ok.

                                      The difference between the two is that RFT has a more seasoned batter while Best is more neutral. Also Ricky's fish tacos can be a bit overwhelming with the amount of fish to taco ratio. Best is more consistent with both size and flavor.

                                      The two places are not trying to make the same fish taco so I can see why there would be a difference in opinion on which place is better.

                                      It's easy to conduct your own taste test . The shops are only minutes apart if you have a bike or vehicle.

                                      As Servorg posted I don't see how the way a person dresses or the culture they embrace would have any kind of out come on the food or the experience enjoying the food.


                          2. Great Ramen at Mottainari Ramen in Gardena. Flavor bombs!

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

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: wienermobile

                              I agree with this. Mottainai does butter corn like no one else in SoCal.

                              1. re: wienermobile

                                Thanks new to me..
                                I cant wait to check it out..

                              2. For WLA sushi we like Kiriko on Sawtelle (if you want a variety of dishes, both sushi and other items) or Mori if it's more of a pure sushi experience you're after.

                                For great Mexican food I would suggest checking out Cacao Mexicatessen.

                                I know that the address for Kiriko is Olympic Blvd. but what you will do is park in the Olympic Collection (if you don't want to worry about meters and street parking) and then the restaurant is actually around the corner with their front door opening onto Sawtelle.

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

                                Mori Sushi
                                11500 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                Cacao Mexicatessen
                                1576 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

                                1. for mexican seafood prepared in the style of nayarit and sinaloa (i.e. no beans, no meat)
                                  Mariscos Chente
                                  go to the one in inglewood (west imperial highway near yukon) VERY NEAR LAX
                                  go on a day OTHER than a tuesday or wednesday
                                  they close early: 8pm on weekdays.

                                  1. Your title basically describes about 75% of the SGV and good parts of Huntington Park (and immediate environs), Thai Town (in Hollywood), and K-Town (in mid-City)

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      that's why it's good to live here. . ..

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          of course you didn't!
                                          your posts support the eating scene here consistently.
                                          i was just being smug about how good we have it.

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            ... and to my list up above, I should have the burgeoning and vibrant Vietnamese food scene in Westminster and surrounding OC cities.

                                    2. First thanks to my fellow Angelenos for answering the post. If this question was asked on SF Chow you'd get a series of "read the never been here before" replies.

                                      I would include Guisados in Boyle Heights on the corner of St. Loui and Chavez. It a reall great tour of Mexico. It's a taqueria but instead of the typical grilled meats they serve guisdos or stewed meat. I suggest the sampler platter and an horchata for about $10!

                                      2100 E. Cesar E Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90033

                                      1. Maybe Fisherman's Outlet off Central.


                                        Soot Bull Jeep in Korean Town.

                                        Maybe Versailles or El Colmao for Cuban.

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

                                        Fisherman's Outlet
                                        529 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                        El Colmao
                                        2328 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                        1. I agree 100% with Westside gal go to Marisco Chente. I have been here four days I went back again tonite. Talked to the chef Sergio he's been at it for twenty five years with his family recipies. This is one of a kind. Out of towner

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: emglow101

                                            i've tried the recipes of many of the other members of his family. Sergio's renditions are superior.
                                            Emglow101: the address shown at the bottom of your post is incorrect, if you are still able to edit your post better remove it.

                                            The correct location of Sergio at Mariscos Chente is in inglewood on the south side of west imperial highway near the corner of yukon.

                                            their phone number is: 310-672-2339

                                            do not go on a tuesday or on a wednesday.

                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              Thanks, I removed the posted address on bottom. I am a Chow newbie. Anyway I had the camarones a la pimienta. Loved it. I will be going back at least three more times. Your top three favorites there are ?

                                              1. re: emglow101

                                                mojara frita (sp?)
                                                pescado zarandeado (sp?)
                                                FISH ceviche (i also very much like the the shrimp ceviche however this dish is not for everyone since the texture is more like that of raw shrimp than like the texture of cooked shrimp and most people find it difficult to accept the slimiiness of that raw-shrimp texture)
                                                carmarones a la diabla (sp?)
                                                shrimp and octopus coctel (served in a broth, not the dry-on-ice approach used by american restaurants)
                                                spicy shrimp (made with whole dried red chile peppers)
                                                camarones ranchera (milder than the other shrimp dishes i like)

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  I had a marinated shrimp dish over on Centinela. Dressed with a light chile lime dressing with sliced red onion.Don't remember the name of it. In Santa Cruz where I live they would have just buried this dish in lime juice. I am just so sick of it. I want to try the pescado zarandeado. Seems like a huge plate. To much for one ?

                                                  1. re: emglow101

                                                    too much for one "normal" person.
                                                    not too much for me though.
                                                    guess i am not "normal" (magdelena, sergio's mother in-law, used to call me "the american woman who eats a lot."

                                                    the key to eating this much fish at one sitting is NOT to fill up on chips before the fish arrives.
                                                    the waitresses at Mariscos Chente inglewood (which is the only location at which Sergio cooks) know that when i show up there alone, they are PROHIBITED from even bringing those chips near my table. they may only bring the chips to me when i have guests accompanying me. also, when eating the pescado zarandeado alone, i will only have plain tortillas with the fish--no chips. the added fat in the chips, imho, makes one too full to eat the whole fish solo.

                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                      Love it. I'm going on Thursday. I won't leave town without having this dish.

                                                      1. re: emglow101

                                                        I think at this point, you need to ask Sergio to train you so you can open up a Mariscos Chente up in SC...

                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                          Great idea. All the places we have are real good at making the same crap. watery, drowned in lime and covered in salsa. No salsa !

                                                          1. re: emglow101

                                                            Speaking of Central American seafood, if you like ceviche, a great place in mid-city is La Cevicheria (I guess your statement about lime and salsa got me thinking about it, but I think it's expertly prepared in lime and salsa.... ;) ).

                                                            La Cevicheria
                                                            3809 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019