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Returning to LA, need help planning a food-tinerary

Hello all,

I am returning to LA for the weekend and need help coming up with some places to grab food. I have a much better sense of the layout of the city, so hopefully I can ask better questions this time around! I am looking for fun, local spots to eat great food. I'm coming to town from the Bay Area, so it'd be awesome to try some things we do not do very well up here (Korean, really authentic Mexican, fish tacos, Iranian) to name a few cuisines I'd love to be pointed towards!

Day one: Any good place to grab lunch in Santa Monica on a Saturday? Also, dinner near downtown LA or Miracle Mile, depending on whether or not we end our day with MoCA or LACMA.

Day two: Venice Beach. Hoping to sight see on the boardwalk. I may potentially end up either in Huntington Beach or the Hollywood area for dinner. I know they're pretty divergent in terms of locales, but any ideas would be appreciated.

Day three: Lunch and dinner in the Hollywood area.

Please let me know if you have any ideas!

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  1. >>I'm coming to town from the Bay Area, so it'd be awesome to try some things we do not do very well up here (Korean, really authentic Mexican, fish tacos, Iranian) to name a few cuisines I'd love to be pointed towards!<<

    Your timing is quite good for current topics. You might want to cherry-pick from this current thread, "Coming to LA and looking for unusual ethnic gems and supreme examples of the form ala Langer's Pastrami." for starters:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793169

    If you pay particular attention to poster westsidegal's rec (she's a pescatarian with very discrete tastes) for Mariscos Chente and emglow101's response (Hound who is down here from Santa Cruz who started out as not considering Mexican cuisine choices but seem sold on it now), this may satisfy your "really authentic Mexican food" requirement, as well as maybe itch the "fish tacos" one as well. I think the best fish tacos I've ever had were the ones I've put together with the pescado zerandeado at Mariscos Chente. It's not that I have a talented hand, but speaks solely of how good Mariscos Chente is.

    Another current thread is timely for priming one's self in Korean cuisine:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793060

    While not as current, Persian cuisine is a well-covered subject and this thread, "Best Iranian/Persian Food in L.A.??" is a good starter:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770236

    Also, being from the Bay Area, I think you appreciate great bread. Persian bread might not be available up your way - these breads are somewhat a specialty even here - so you might consider giving these a whirl:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781761

    The thread initially is about sangak bread at Naan Hut in West LA, but a couple of other Persian Bakeries in the west San Fernando Valley are mentioned in the thread as well. Naan Hut currently has four different breads that are about $2-3 each, but the one that is a real stand-out for our family is the sangak. The bakers recommend one sangak per two people, but I think one serves four on average as the center of a meal myself - and I'm a big eater.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bulavinaka

      Wow, thank you so much for the fabulous links. The Persian food debate seemed inconclusive to me, and I read through it all. Do you have any particular favorites that aren't in the Valley?

      1. re: SouthToTheLeft

        Attari is probably my most-visited because they're usually quick and I really like their ashe-jo, as well as their sandwiches and kabobs (chicken is just meh). If you're new to Persian, I'd go with Shamshiri as the menu is broad, the food has very good QPR, the crowd is pretty mixed, the portions are very generous, and you can actually sit down and dine - Attari is very tiny and can feel claustrophobic, and that's why I do take-out from there.

        -----
        Shamshiri Restaurant
        19249 Roscoe Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324

        1. re: bulavinaka

          Unfortunately, the chicken needs to be good wherever I'd go as it's the only meat I eat besides fish. Would your recommendation change then?

          1. re: SouthToTheLeft

            stick with Shamshiri - bula's comment about "meh" chicken was in regard to Attari.

            -----
            Shamshiri Restaurant
            19249 Roscoe Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324

            1. re: SouthToTheLeft

              It's always a good idea to mention dietary preferences or limitations in the original post.

          2. re: SouthToTheLeft

            i second EVERYTHING in bulavinaka's response to you.
            the reason that the debate is "inconculsive" is that there are SO MANY good choices.

        2. SM lunch - seems we do either high end or low end pretty well, esp by the beach & pier. I would stay off the Promenade, too pricey & touristy for what you get. On the low end, I would suggest Cha Cha Chicken, The Yard, or perhaps Tacos Por Favor (red sauce is outstanding) or grab a sub (I like the hot ones) at Bay Cities Deli. High end, I would suggest FIG, The Curious Palate in the SM Market (mall on 2nd & Broadway), or Jiraffe. One in between, pricewise, would be the Hostaria del Piccolo, I haven't been personally, but others on this board seem to like it.

          Venice - not sure from your post, do you want a lunch rec on the boardwalk? Or in general? Not much to recommend on the boardwalk, I would walk inland to Abbot Kinney blvd, but most of the great places there are only open for dinner, but Lemonade is a decent reasonably priced option. Gjelina is a higher end option, but often extremely busy. They do have a takeaway business next door.

          Miracle Mile - Campanile is very close to the museums, as is Luna Park. I like Campanile better.

          H'wood area - we are all in love w Pizzeria Mozza, their takeout, Mozza2go, and Osteria Mozza. But you have wonderful Italian where you are, so these may not be as special as we think they are. Cleo is very trendy. Public in the Roosevelt got good reviews. There are some decent burger spots in the H'wood Blvd & Vine area. A little southwest of H'wood is the Fairfax district, Animal & their seafood place, Son of a Gun, are standouts, but make a reservation (@ Animal only) now if you're interested. Mezze is further south, with an authentic Meditarranean feel, but I haven't been yet, and reviews tend to be mixed. Eveleigh sounds like a great spot to go, with a really nice outdoor space, and I've heard the food is good.

          Hope that helps, I'm sure more 'hounds will chime in with their recs. For great Korean, btw, head downtown, and just west of downtown to K-town. My personal fave is Parks BBQ, but there are many spots to choose from, I find them very friendly to those of us that are not of the Asian persuasion ; ).

          -----
          Luna Park
          672 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

          Jiraffe Restaurant
          502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

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

          Cha Cha Chicken
          1906 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          The Curious Palate
          12034 Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista, CA

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

          Osteria Mozza
          6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          Eveleigh
          8752 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

          Hostaria del Piccolo
          606 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          Son of a Gun
          8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          Gjelina
          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

          6 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            i agree with the suggestion to avoid the Promenade proper, but Zengo at SM Place might be a good option for brunch.

            re: Eveleigh, i love the atmosphere, but the menu is pretty meat-centric which might not be ideal for the OP (and just a general heads-up that the food is *very* rich).

            -----
            Zengo
            395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            Eveleigh
            8752 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Sorry, I suppose I should mention that while I am looking forward to people watching on the promenade, I know well enough not to eat there! I'd love to find a great lunch place back on Abbot Kinney.

              1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                Gjelina & Joe's will be the top two Chowhound lunch recs on AK.

                and for the record, i understood that you were trying to avoid tourist traps ;) the restaurant i mentioned is actually on the dining deck at Santa Monica Place, which is separate from the Promenade and also houses a new upscale food market: http://www.santamonicaplace.com/market

                feedback about Zengo's brunch here:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/779404

                -----
                Zengo
                395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                Gjelina
                1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                  on abbott kinney, there's gjelina, tasting kitchen, jin patisserie, and joe's that all do lunch on the weekends and i've had a good meal at every one of those places.

                  1. re: cdub

                    Lemonade on Abbott Kinney is very good and is also a bargain at around $10 a meal. Dozens of great salads and pot roast sandwiches.
                    http://www.lemonadela.com/locations/l...

                    -----
                    Lemonade
                    1661 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

                    1. re: cdub

                      when did Tasting Kitchen open for lunch?? Must be pretty recent, I tried to take my MIL there and they were only open at 6 pm. Then I noticed they were doing a brunch on Sat-Sun only. Guess I better get my a$$ down there for lunch soon!!

                      -----
                      Tasting Kitchen
                      1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

              2. For lunch and dinner in the Hollywood area:

                My favorite fish tacos are Ricky's: https://twitter.com/#!/RickysFishTacos. He's not open every day so you'll have to check his twitter, but the fish tacos are superb, and it's always a fun and friendly, block-party atmosphere. Good choice for lunch.

                Koreatown is just a bit east of Hollywood, and there are plenty of good choices. Three of my favorite Korean barbecue joints are Parks, Chosun Galbee and Gen-Wa, which are all also clean and appropriate for bbq beginnners (if you're into that kind of thing. :))

                8 Replies
                1. re: sidwich

                  I went to Park's on my last visit to LA, and I absolutely intend to return. I love me some KBBQ, and what we have in SF is mediocre at best and extremely expensive for what you get. Park's was a revelation!

                  1. re: sidwich

                    I've heard a ton of controversy on this board about Ricky's.

                    Any comment on them (him?) versus Mariscos Chente?

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

                    1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                      I wouldn't go to Chente for Baja-style fish tacos. Tacos de marlín, if they have it, or gobernadores, yes... but not fried Ensenada fish tacos. They're a Sinaloan seafood restaurant and their pz (pescado zarandeado) is almost beyond reproach.

                      -----
                      Ensenada Restaurant
                      517 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        Please enlighten me, because I am not familiar with Sinaloan food. Beyond pescado zarandeado, what would you say are some must-haves?

                        1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                          It's been stated before, the best dishes at MC, in many previous threads but my favorites are the PZ, the mojarra frita, and the camarones pimienta. Those are pretty much the dishes I always MUST get so I actually haven't ventured into the rest of the menu!

                      2. re: SouthToTheLeft

                        Ricky's is truly excellent and a unique-to-LA experience: I wouldn't let some of the recent squables turn you away.
                        Marisco's Chente doesn't do baja-style fried fish taco's: Bulavinaka was talking about pescado zerandeado, served whole and grilled, with a side of tortillas.
                        Wondering, what is the attraction of Park's if chicken is "the only meat I eat besides fish?"

                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                          Park's does KBBQ chicken as well.

                          1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                            Thanks, I did not know that. I have always "steered" my non-red-meat-eating friends to the BiBimBap, Naeng Myun and pancakes at Park's.

                            Stalwart LA Chowhound, Mr. Taster, recently voiced-up positively about the KBBQ chix at Soot Bull Jeep as well..

                    2. If you end up in Huntington Beach, you'll be within a stone's throw of Little Saigon. Given you dietary restrictions I would suggest Xanh Bistro, Vien Dong or Quan Hy (all good at fish and seafood).

                      If Vietnamese is not in order, you could head to Zimzala or Cucina Alessa, though I know you said you wanted to stay toward things you can't get up there. There's also, if you're more about having cocktails with your food, 320 Main in Seal Beach.

                      -----
                      Vien Dong
                      14271 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA 92843

                      Quan Hy Restaurant
                      9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

                      Xanh Bistro
                      16161 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        I will be staying in HB, so will end up there every day!

                        I actually used one of your posts the last time I was there to find some great banh mi. SF has only a few banh mi joints worth their weight.

                      2. Stirring the pot a bit — any suggestions for a late Friday night dinner in Orange County/Huntington Beach area?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                          This prior thread ought to prove of use: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/725597