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2 Nights in LA - need a great California style restaurant with a scene

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  • Yanak Jul 20, 2011 05:44 AM
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Hi, Im styaing in LA at the LA standard downtown, would love some dinner reccomendations preferably in that area, but willing to drive as well.
I got so many suggestions
Katsuya
Boa
Dan Tana
Ivy
stk
Really not sure what the right place is, Im a foodie and would rather avoid mediocare overpriced food. any suggestions?
would love a place thats a great scene, but also not a factory turning over tables, plus a great representation of California food.
thanx

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Dan Tana's Restaurant
9071 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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  1. Rivera

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    Rivera Restaurant
    1050 S. Flower Street, #102, Los Angeles, CA 90015

    1. I love Dan Tanas. It is old school LA Italian/steakhouse with a great bar scene. Need to sit on the bar side. Spago is as LA as it gets and the food is still very good. Sit on the patio.

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      Spago
      176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

      Dan Tana's Restaurant
      9071 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

      1. It's not Californian food, but I think you'll like Bazaar at the SLS hotel. If you're a foodie and dont' like mediocre overpriced food, don't go to any of the restaurants you mentioned.

        2 Replies
        1. re: TailbackU

          Bazaar & Spago are highly recommended.

          For upscale Mexican, Rivera as mentioned by Servorg or Playa its kid sister on Beverly.

          Picca for Peruvian food on Pico near Beverwil.

          But all these places are west of La Brea, or La Cienega, while in Downtown, Lazy Ox Canteen could be a fun place, as could Wurstküche for the sausage/beerhaus environment.

          You would not really need to leave downtown to have some very good food, fun, and not even the need for a car!

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          Spago
          176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

          Lazy Ox Canteen
          241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          Picca
          9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

          1. re: carter

            I actually rec'd Rivera because it is downtown and would be convenient for the OP.

        2. 2nd spago as great l.a. dinning scene.....also cut, not so much of california cuisine but most likely will see some celebrity in the room

          1. While I love Dan Tanas and the Ivy, it isn't for the food, the food is okay, but not foodie good. I love them for the atmosphere combined with decent food, but you are borderline "mediocare overpriced food" at both.

            For sushi, LA has much much better, Kiyokawa, Matsuhisa, Sushi Zo, Kiriko, Sushi Gen, and a dozen more. Ditto for steak, CUT, Wolfgang's, Nick & Stef's and I'd even say Pacific Dining Car are better than Boa, although no "scene" at the last two.

            For representation of CA food look at Providence, Joe's and Michael's Santa Moncica, which has the scene if not the food.

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            Sushi Zo
            9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

            Matsuhisa
            129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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

            Dan Tana's Restaurant
            9071 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

            Pacific Dining Car
            1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

            1 Reply
            1. re: scottca075

              Nick n'Stefs and the Dining Car, and even Wolfgang's are not to me better than BOA. Almost every time I'm at the Santa Monica DIning Car something is sent back. It is a restaurant in decline. BOA Santa Monica is consistently very good, great sides and is an LA scene. Only CUT consistently outperforms, and at a price. Jar is a better steakhouse than those mentioned, again, except for CUT.

            2. Spice Table in J-town would be very different but very delicious...

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              The Spice Table
              114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

              1. Picca, Picca, Picca. Okay, it's not California food per se, but it's the kind of restaurant that L.A. does exceptionally well.

                L.A. is great with interesting enthnic food. It is in Beverly Hills, cool location, cool room, hip and enthusiastic crowd. Reasonably priced.

                And NONE of your recommendations are that interesting. Dan Tana's has a fun (but weird) vibe. Food is boring except for the steak and lamb chops. Ivy? Really? Was an L.A. scene a few decades ago. Overpriced okay food (overhead - a notable chef/restauranteur putting this on the top of his list as most overrated restaurant in L.A. ) BOA - decent steak house, the crowd is a bit trashy - you might into Paris Hilton there. Katsuya. Food is good, nice ambience (stylish and young, not foodies) The Hollywood location now has a new (and gifted) chef, but not sure if they're exploiting his talent. (Kazuto Matsusaka.)
                I could think of 100 restaurants I'd consider better. But I can be a bit of a snob.

                Haven't been to stk.

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                Dan Tana's Restaurant
                9071 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                Picca
                9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                1. Downtown, you may have to do a split: a good restaurant for food like Rivera, Water Grill or Drago Centro; then, some bars for scene like Varnish, Edison or even the rooftop bar of your hotel.

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                  Water Grill
                  544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                  Drago Centro
                  525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                  1. Downtown - Lazy Ox Canteen, Spice Table or Rivera (I would do the split too, w Varnish, 7 Grand or Edison.

                    Mid City - Animal, Son of a Gun (no scenes just all about the food), Bazaar, Cleo, Eveleigh, Public House

                    West Side - Picca, A-Frame,Tasting Kitchen, Whist

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                    Public House
                    41971 Main St, Temecula, CA 92590

                    Lazy Ox Canteen
                    241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                    Eveleigh
                    8752 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

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

                    The Spice Table
                    114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

                    Picca
                    9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      +1 in those orders for downtown and midcity.

                    2. You post is rather hilarious to LA Hounds, Yanak. If we were asked to make a short list of "mediocare overpriced food" it would likely include the places you have mentioned. However, they all do meet your other criterion " with a scene." Different scenes to be sure, but all are quite sceney.

                      Marrying good food and a good scene can be done but it depends so much on your preferences in either. Perhaps, if you described what you mean by scene and what your preferences are in cuisine, we could be more helpful.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                        Ciao bob, I'm glad to entertain, and thank everyone for replying. I made a reservation to bazaar for sun night , sat night still undecided but considering all the helpful suggestions. One important thing really did forget to mention is that my husband is not a foodie at all and chicken has to be on the menu inorder for the restaurant to be considered. Thinking of whist at viceroy for Monday night dinner in Santa Monica, anything specific you can recommend for sat night? Def close to the standard hotel.

                        1. re: Yanak

                          Your husband might like the chicken at Cafe Pinot. It's nice if you can get an outside table.
                          Or, if you can get by with chicken pot pie, they do a fine one at Wood Spoon.

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                          Cafe Pinot
                          700 West Fifth St., Los Angeles, CA 90071

                          Wood Spoon
                          107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                          1. re: Yanak

                            You might check out Church & State. For "non foodie" mates it's probably a very good choice (and they have chicken on the menu!)...

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                            Church & State
                            1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                            1. re: Yanak

                              Maybe Botega Louie for chicken, they have a good roasted rosemary chicken, it is close to the Standard or LA Market at LA Live, again it is close and has good chicken. These are both "California style" restaurants, but not regarded as foodie places, just every day eateries.

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                              LA Market
                              900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                              1. re: Yanak

                                It will be interesting to hear what your husband thinks of Bazaar, there must be some chicken somewhere on the menu but I cannot remember it. Sunday nights are quieter there but still very scene-ic there. Or scene-ick depending on your taste.

                                For Saturday, I would not in a million years drive across the city to go to Whist at the Viceroy...hard to imagine a greater wate of your time here than that.

                                I like the recommendations you have for Church and State, Pinot, Rivera, Botega Louie. WP 24 is expensive, Wofgang Puck-ified Chinese food in a skyscraper with breathtaking views.

                                1. re: Yanak

                                  Animal is also a good choice. (as is their seafood oriented sister restaurant Son of a Gun. Since the food is quite good, the scene leans toward hip, young food lovers. Places where the food is mediocre gets a more diverse scene, old and young and a bit of flotsam and jetsam. Colorful yes, but you might be seated to a 3rd rate press agent with truly awful taste in clothes dining with an aging startlet whom he's been trying to get a leg over for 3 decades. And in the other booth is middle aged rock star getting bombed with his second ex-wife. That sort of thing.

                                  There is a fun and great looking crowd that jumps on a scene in the beginning and moves on after a month or so (best the first two weeks) and then the place begins to settle down and finds it's core crew.

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

                              2. it's a bit of a drive but gjelina in venice is pretty much spot on in terms of california food and a scene. pretty much one of the best going right now. lazy ox is very close to you and also very good. i've never had a bad meal at either place.

                                and since you're in downtown, it's probably worth an effort to get to cole's/varnish for a cocktail. some of the best in the city as well.

                                1. Personally, I'd eat at Water Grill (easy walking distance) and go to the Standard rooftop bar and pool for the scene. I think Water Grill is by far the best restaurant downtown, with the possible exception of Patina (where I haven't been in a while). And the Standard rooftop is classic.

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                                  Water Grill
                                  544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: sushigirlie

                                    I like Water Grill. It is a bit of a foodie's seafood restaurant. I was curious about the chicken issue. Lo and behold: http://www.watergrill.com/pdfs/WG_Sam...
                                    I'd still call ahead to see if they have the chicken.

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                                    Water Grill
                                    544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                    1. re: mc michael

                                      If nothing else they are certain to have "free range chicken of the sea"... ;-D>

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        sorry, Charlie, sounds like undernourished tuna to me.

                                      2. re: mc michael

                                        I've had the chicken with "potato risotto" at Water Grill a few times. I think it's great.

                                        My favorite items on that menu are the chicken, the blue cheese and acorn squash salad, the striped bass, the tuna tartar, the Scarborough farms salad, and the raw bar items. But everything else I've had is quite good too.

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                                        Water Grill
                                        544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                    2. Pinot.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        I second Pinot. I've eaten there dozens of times without a single bad meal.

                                      2. Agree with many of the recommendations....and would like to add The Gorbals downtown. It's a lot of fun and is an interesting and eclectic scene. The chief is Ilan Hall, winner of Top Chef Season 2. (which, I know, is not a reason to go to a restaurant. just an aside.) He does some really creative pairings and the food is really very good. Small plates. Fun cocktails. Small but interesting wine list.

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                                        The Gorbals
                                        501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: perk

                                          I've had good experiences here too.

                                        2. Whist at the Viceroy (Santa Monica)