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Looking for a restaurant far away

Trying to get ideas for a good, cheap, exciting place far from the Westside. Not cheating on anyone, just want to try a place far from home.

Cost: $60 for 2 people or less, not including drinks.

Location: Echo Park, Downtown, Pasadena, South Bay, maybe the SF Valley or SG Valley, not Orange County.

Food wise, I want a place where a pescarian (fish/seafood eating vegetarian) will have more than one option. Cuisines I'm not interested in: Indian, pizza, Middle Eastern (unless the vegetarian mezze will blow my mind), bbq, Italian, sushi (like it but can get it close by), diner/American (though I recall liking Fred 62) or purely vegetarian/vegan/salad places. I like most Asian cuisines. Am neutral on Mexican or Central American food.

What I really want to try is a place that's exciting with good food. Somewhat unique would also be great. Don't care about decor or service. Dives are fine. This would be on a weekend afternoon if that matters.

Far away restaurants that I've been to: various Indian in Artesia and Renu Nakorn.

Thank you

Fred 62
1854 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Renu Nakorn Restaurant
13019 Rosecrans Ave, Norwalk, CA 90650

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  1. Mariscos Chente on Imperial Hwy
    Shanghai Restaurant

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

    3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

    4 Replies
    1. re: sushigirlie

      Just read a few reviews of Mariscos Chente - sounds good.

      Where is Shanghai Restaurant?

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

      1. re: SusieGirl7


        Mariscos Chente's (about to be renamed Coni'Seafood)

        3544 west imperial highway (it is on the southeast corner of W. Imperial hwy and Yukon)
        inglewood ca 90304

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

        1. re: westsidegal

          I really appreciate you tipping me off to chente aka coni's, westsidegal.

          1. re: kevin

            pleasure is all mine.
            ate there last night.
            sergio had some (off-menu) scallops and sea snail.

    2. Manhattan Beach Post (but they don't open till 5pm)

      Manhattan Beach Post
      1142 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

      1. Since it seems you know your way to the Artesia area, two others in the same general direction that are worth a try:

        1) Golden Triangle in Whittier (Burmese) for the ginger & tea leaf salad
        2) El Rocoto in Cerritos for the Peruvian ceviche platters

        Golden Triangle
        7011 Greenleaf Ave, Whittier, CA 90602

        El Rocoto Restaurant
        11433 South St, Cerritos, CA 90703

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bradbury

          You've reminded me that Golden Triangle has been on my to do list for a while. I just went to Jasmine Market in Culver City which has Burmese on the weekends and the fish soup was amazing. Seriously amazing.

          Golden Triangle
          7011 Greenleaf Ave, Whittier, CA 90602

          1. re: SusieGirl7

            For what it's worth, I prefer Yoma in the SGV to both of these restaurants, though Golden Triangle is a close second.

            Golden Triangle
            7011 Greenleaf Ave, Whittier, CA 90602

            Yoma Restaurant
            713 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA

        2. Babita in SGV - (626) 288-7265 ยท 1823 S San Gabriel Blvd - Oaxacan

          Daichan - (818) 980-8450 11288 Ventura Blvd, #F, Studio City (NOT open Sun) - Japanese

          Both far enuf away and esp. for good for cheaters. Daichan has a couple of "tucked away" tables. Great decor. Even better food.

          11288 Ventura Blvd Ste F, Studio City, CA 91604

          5 Replies
            1. re: kevin

              Babita is very good but you do need to either enjoy -- or at least tolerate -- intrusive service.

              1. re: Peripatetic

                You mean where the chef Berelleza comes to your table and chats you up for hour upon hours. ?

                1. re: kevin

                  If that was the end of it, it would be mostly ok. The hostess, Elba (aka Mrs Berrelleza) kept encouraging us to order more than we wanted (we were having a light early dinner) and came by often to remind us how good everything was. And yes, the food is indeed very good, but when you're dealt with as if your previous experience of Mexican cuisine is limited to visits to El Torito, it detracts from the enjoyment.

                  We were first-time customers and only one of two tables at the time, so I can understand why they were so . . . interactive. I'm sure if you're a regular they're a bit more relaxed.

            2. re: Kitchen Queen

              Will look all these up. Not sure my dining companion will travel for Japanese food but will research. Thank you

            3. Kotosh, a japanese peruvian place in Lomita or Torrance is very interesting and a little bit different from the other (outstanding) peruvian places around town.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chezwhitey

                +1 for Kotosh in Lomita. Also check out Picca on Pico in West LA/Fairfax area. El Rocoto in Gardena has my vote as well.

                El Rocoto
                1356 W Artesia Blvd, Gardena, CA 90248

                9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

              2. You might enjoy La Serenata De Garibaldi downtown. I have never liked the other branches they opened up on the west side, but the downtown location still is a special place to me.

                La Serenata De Garibaldi
                1842 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

                1 Reply
                1. re: Servorg

                  That was actually the first La Serenada I went to, years ago. I thought the food was amazing, one of the best meals I've ever had. Sadly, not sure repeat visits have yielded the same results, and definitely agree that the westside locations aren't as good.

                2. Why not head out to the San Gabriel Valley for Chinese? It's like driving east for 45 minutes and landing on another continent. To start, JTYH, Lucky Noodle King, and Sea Harbour would relieve my craving.

                  JTYH Restaurant
                  9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                  Lucky Noodle King
                  534 E Valley Blvd #10, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    if one is a pescatarian, it is often difficult to find chinese food that doesn't have pork in some form hidden in it.
                    sort of like playing "Where's Waldo?"
                    pork broth and ground pork in the sauces are common even in the soups, the tofu dishes, and the seafood dishes.

                    once i went to a kosher chinese restaurant that (obviously) didn't use any pork, and then i understood how central pork is to the "normal" flavor profile to almost all the chinese food that i was used to.
                    Practically none of the kosher food tasted "normal," not even the seafood dishes.
                    the stuff just tasted weird without the pork. . . .

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      Pork (or pork derivatives) are not common in seafood dishes at Chinese restaurants.

                      A steamed lobster or rock cod will be copacetic for a pescatarian. There are many soups that do not rely on pork stock, such as the shark's fin, winter melon, or sea turtle soups at Sea Harbour.

                      Stir fried vegetables (oong choi, spinach, etc.) do not have pork derivatives. And if you are just talking about braised tofu with things like conpoy or abalone, no pork.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        good to know.
                        maybe something else was being used in the food at the kosher chinese restaurant that made it taste so weird.

                        for myself, i am sticking to Happy Family on Atlantic.
                        they have a few dishes there that really ring my bell that make it worth the drive for me: one is a chopped mustard green dish with sheets of tofu, another is a very gingery mixed stir fry with soybeans, pickled turnips and other veggies.

                        my original post was based on a search that i had made years ago trying to find an edible, but completely meatless/poutryless version of mapo tofu (did eventually find it, but it was a struggle). also, had searched for soups that were made with no pork in their broth, and although i was eventually successful at that too, it wasn't easy.

                        if i had had your expert advice way back then, it would have been much easier.
                        i'm sure.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Are you vegetarian? Kosher?

                          Let me know, I'd be happy to pass along recs in SGV above and beyond Happy Family.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            i'm a pescatarian, so any kind of meat is out, and all fowl is out, even for the stock found in the sauces and stews.
                            i'm definitely NOT kosher.
                            i was looking for kosher so that i could share a couple of meals with a kosher friend who has since passed away.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              Newport Seafood would be good. Not everything obviously is sans meat, but if you stick to the seafood dishes like the crab and lobster, or the stir-fried veggies, you'll do yourself just fine.

                              You might also try JTYH, where they have not only pure veggie (i.e. no pork stock) dumplings but also fish dumplings that are pescatarian copacetic.

                              And any Hong Kong style seafood restaurant, like Elite or Sea Harbour, will make fantastic steamed fish (or lobster or crab) straight from their tanks. Don't like steamed? They'll stir-fry, or even deep-fry your selection for you.

                          2. re: westsidegal

                            Oh yes, Happy Family is also on my eventually try list - thanks for suggestion.

                            Happy Family Restaurant
                            869 N Wilcox Ave, Montebello, CA 90640

                        2. re: westsidegal

                          Westsidegal I don't know if your are referring Shanghai Diamond Garden Kosher Chinese on Pico but I have been many times and when I do go the
                          pork and shellfish are not missed. They do have some very good dishes like their Steamed Fish with Ginger and Onion or their Sizzling Fish Filet Sweet and spicy, it's lightly battered fish filet topped with garlic sauce, I've been very happy with my meals there knowing their Kosher limitations.

                          Shanghai Diamond Garden
                          9401 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            don't remember the name of the place, my workplace at that time was in the miracle mile, and i do remember that it was not too far from my office.

                            the kosher person who i was trying to accommodate has passed away, so i probably won't be conducting this search again. . . . . .

                      2. Let me add Firefly Bistro in South Pasadena. Went last night, Thursday, which is also the South Pas Farmers Market. My friend and I arrived about 5:30P. We walked around the F.M. then strolled over to the restaurant. Thurs is live Blues music. Music was great. Owner jumps in and sings too. Food is good. Atmosphere really nice esp. on a balmy night. By the time we left at 7:30 or so, it was still light, F.M. was still happening and the restaurant was packed. You can take the Gold Line to make it more interesting. And, after dinner, walk around the corner to Busters for a latte, cap or yummy scoop of ice cream!
                        Busters, BTW, has GREAT Jazz on Sundays, the Meridian-Donavon Quartet

                        1009 El Centro St, South Pasadena, CA 91030