HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


LA Restaurant Suggestions for a NY'er visiting the In-Laws

Need help!

I'm a lifelong New Yorker and foodie. My wife's from LA, and we visit her parents often.

I've become frustrated by meals there. My in-laws love to go out to dinner, which is great. But we re-visit their favorites over and over, which are generally over-priced, over-flashy, and unexceptional foodwise.

As an NYC snob, I've always loved the endless restaurant options in the city, particularly the gems in virtually all neighborhoods with delicious food, regardless of scene, popularity, etc. From the authentic to the inventive, so many great options which my wife and I love to share in.

In LA, my experiences have (generally) been style over substance. (Exceptions are great breakfast spots, Mexican food, and of all things Jewish Deli's, which barely exist in NYC anymore).

But I've been reading for the past couple of years that the food scene has really improved in recent years, and that there are truly interesting and delicious new restaurants all over town.

So I'm looking for suggestions which the in-laws will find different from their usual scene; and my wife and I will find delicious and unique.

The big caveat is that my in-laws are - no better way to say this - REALLY "L.A.-ey" My mother in-law never orders anything as it's presented on the menu. She's like a Get Shorty caricature ... "I'll have the branzino, but simply grilled with no seasoning, and a leaf of steamed spinach." The father in-law is a sophisticated guy, but not with food. Rarely met an ingredient or menu item he's heard of. And worst of all, both of them - while not Kosher - don't really dig on the swine.

Anyway, lenghty description but hope it paints the picture. They're taking us out next week, and for once I'm allowed to suggest the place. Price not a big issue (just not looking for tasting menu kind of prices), nor location (hey, it's LA, we'll be in the car!!).

Thanks in advance...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 2 suggestions. The recently opened La Focaccia in Beverly Hills on Camden is a creative Italian and very good. Even better, Il Piccolino on Robertson near Beverly is outstanding Italian.

    Il Piccolino
    350 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048

    1. I really like both Rustic Canyon or Fig...both farm fresh seasonal California cuisine and both in Santa Monica. Both very good food.

      Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
      1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      100 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      3 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        I've never been to FIG, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'd love to hear more feedback. The place sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the rec.

        1. re: Funwithfood

          I've only been to Fig for dinner, but I highly recommend. On 3 of 4 occasions the food was excellent (on one occasion my fish was overcooked). I really enjoy the pleasant indoor/outdoor setting, the vibe, the interesting menu, the bartending--the overall experience basically.

          1. re: Funwithfood

            Went to the Farmer's market then to FIG for a lovely lunch outdoors overlooking the pool. (I'd *love* to stay at this hotel...if I could afford it, let me know if you know of any discounts--those bungalows look fab!)

        2. What are some places you have been with them? Then maybe we can come up with places like those places but with much better food. Los Angeles has really great, fresh, fun food. My old-fashioned favorite for easterners has always been Lucques.

          8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

          4 Replies
          1. re: coffeebrownies

            Wow, fantastic suggestions, thanks all. Looking forward to checking them all out further.

            Coffiebrownies - some that they frequent are the Boa steakhouses (they have a "connection"), The Griill. There's an old style, way overpriced (but pours a GREAT scotch) Italian place in Beverly Hills. I've been to the Ivy w/ them a couple times. Generally a lot of Beverly Hills (they live up the hill from there), and/or sceney LA restaurants. Really appreciate the feedback!

            1. re: freethefrug

              I haven't been but the place that went in to the old Orso location on 3rd Street (called il Covo) has what must be the most beautiful patio in LA. Don't know anything about the food but it might be worth checking out, especially given the weather right now.

              Some info here: http://jetsetreport.com/restaurants.p...

              il Covo
              8706 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

              1. re: freethefrug

                Sounds like Dan Tanas on the old style and way overpriced Italian or it could be La Scala.

                Do they like French? Would Meliesse or JiRaffe work? Or Providence that isn't really French, but eclectic with a lot of French techniques.

                For Italian you have Madeo Restaurant, Osteria Mozza and Angelini Osteria that are all pretty good.

                What about seafood and Water Grill?

                Angelini Osteria
                7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                Water Grill
                544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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

                Madeo Restaurant
                8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                La Scala
                1100 S San Pedro St Ste A0, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                Osteria Mozza
                6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                1. re: scottca075

                  Yep, La Scala and Dan Tana's are definitely 2 of their spots. And Madeo's was the place I was confusing with La Scala. That's the place that poured the great scotch, and had a really good vibe.

                  I think Providence is one of the places I've read about and been intrigued by. Looking fwd to scoping out all these recommendations when I can get to my real computer...

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

                  Madeo Restaurant
                  8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                  La Scala
                  1100 S San Pedro St Ste A0, Los Angeles, CA 90015

            2. You might find these threads helpful:

              "Feel of LA" for visiting New Yorkers" (65 replies):

              "LA suggestions for New Yorkers?" (82 replies):

              1. Culina could be a viable option. The patio is really pleasant on a nice summer evening and the food is very good.

                300 S Doheny Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                1. Gjelina on Abbott Kinney in Venice. Smaller dishes, specialize in veggies, fantastic butterscotch dessert. Best of all -- no substitutions or modifications.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: nosh

                    without being allowed her modifications, the mother in-law will not be happy.

                    we know what happened when posh spice beckham was not allowed to modify her meal at gjelina. . . .
                    i'd try to find the restaurant version of the beverly hills store depicted in the movie PRETTY WOMAN:
                    a place that service would be, for want of a better word, obsequious, and a place that would have tablecloths.

                  2. try korean bbq. from what I've heard from freinds, korean food in NYC is pretty bad compared to what we have in LA.
                    you wont go wrong with Parks BBQ.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: samtron608

                      +1 for Park's BBQ, one of my favorites in all of LA. Their Seasoned Boneless Beef Short Rib • 주물럭 is incredible. Great service and a good place to dive into Korean foods for a first timer.

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

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        As they stroll through Beverly Hills, do stop at Bar Bouchon. The weather is beautiful here and they will enjoy bistro cuisine in a lovely park-like setting.
                        I agree with another poster who recommended Madeo. Wonderful food and ambiance. No-one walks away unhappy.

                        Madeo Restaurant
                        8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                      2. re: samtron608

                        NY has plenty of great Korean, and it doesn't sound like that's upscale enough for the inlaws.

                        I have a similar situation visiting from San Francisco next month, with family members who don't like good food or nice restaurants and local friends who never go east of the 405. The answer is to eat your best meals without them.

                        Rather than try to persuade my mother to drive to Langer's and then complain about the neighborhood and the amount of salt, I'll have lunch at Coral Tree and then go get dinner on my own.

                        LA has fantastic food at every level. You just have to get over the fact that it's in strip malls; the best tacos I've ever had were at a laundromat.

                        Many helpful ideas on this thread:

                        Coral Tree Cafe
                        11645 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                        1. re: Windy

                          Windy, love your wonderful cheap lunch recs in SF. And my first favorite song was named after you, by The Association.

                          1. re: nosh

                            Thanks nosh, always happy to be useful.

                            (And sad to be known by such mediocre chow pickings--no one would eat in the Financial District or Union Square if they didn't have to!)

                      3. Thinking about this some more, I wonder if Spice Table (modern Singaporean / Vietnamese) might be the answer. Upscale? Yes. Different? Definitely. Good? Absolutely. Anything like it in NYC? I don't think so. IMO, it's one of the most exciting openings this year. Previous threads:


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

                        1. +1 on FIG, Osteria Mozza

                          They may love the Tasting Kitchen, in Venice, they were accommodating to our special request with their tasting menu, everything is delicious and generous

                          Tavern or Villetta on the West side

                          Osteria Mozza
                          6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

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

                          246 26th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402