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Jun 30, 2011 02:32 PM

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..