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Dining Alone - Los Angeles

There are other posts about this, but they're more than 2 years old or focused on other areas.

I'm going to be in town on business for 4 nights in December, staying at an LAX hotel. For lunch I'll be able to fend for myself, but are there any great restaurants for dinner the Chowhound community can recommend for dining solo? I don't mind eating at the bar, and it could be really upscale or really dive-y, just as long as the food is great and the staff won't shun a solo diner.

I won't be in the downtown area at all, unless the consensus is that I need to go there. Mostly looking for the Santa Monica, Culver City, west-side area, and to avoid tourists....I have a car and I'll be in a suit the whole time, but bring it on, mom & pop shops, hipster enclaves, feel-good vegan, greasy burgers, I'm open to anything!

Thanks!

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  1. Animal, Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza have wonderful food and nice dining bars.
    Gjelina in Venice and Manhattan Beach Post (not far from LAX) have both communal tables and great food.
    Also Pann's is a casual 1950's style "Googie" diner with the best patty melt and chicken and waffles, just 5 minutes from LAX.

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    Pizzeria Mozza
    6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

    Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
    6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

    Animal
    435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    Osteria Mozza
    6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    Gjelina
    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: wienermobile

      Don't see why MB Post didn't auto place link off of your mention of it, but in any case here it is.

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

    2. the "mom and pop" place should be Mariscos Chente's/ Coni'Seafood.
      mexican seafood done in the style of Nayarit and Sinaloa.
      a million posts about this place on this board.
      strictly a paper napkin kind of place.
      terrific food.
      they close at 8pm.
      310-672-2339

      3544 west imperial highway
      inglewood ca 90304

      1. re: gjelina

        this is one of my favorite restaurants, but, be aware, at normal dining hours they can be jammed even at the communal tables.
        the last time i went solo at 9pm on a tuesday night, hoping to get a seat at a communal table, i was told there was a 45 minute wait. the restaurant really has no physical space to accomodate people who are waiting, so all of us were standing with our backs along the wall.
        also, be aware that if you go between 3pm and 5:30 or after about 10pm they will only be serving an abbreviated menu of charcuterie, pizzas, and the like.

        5 Replies
        1. re: westsidegal

          Gjelina is my favorite restaurant in Venice, but the wait can be annoying. Also on Abbot Kinney - Tasting Kitchen, Hal's, Joe's, Axe are all good spots for solo dining.

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

          Gjelina
          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

          1. re: cookie monster

            agree about the annoying wait.
            i now tend to try to visit Gjelina at about 2pm or so for lunch:
            early enough for the full lunch menu to be available, but late enough so that the main lunch rush has passed.

            used to be a regular at Joe's until a series of bad meals:(-four strikes you're out).
            would rather be annoyed waiting at Gjelina than give Joe's another try. At least, once i'm seated at Gjelina, only good things ensue.

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            Gjelina
            1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

            1. re: westsidegal

              Yes, I'm still very fond of Joe's but I know other people have had bad experiences there in recent years. The other way to do Gjelina without a reservation is show up 5/5:15, order a pizza and drinks to start, then order some more dishes once the full dinner menu becomes available at 5:30. Usually works as long as you promise to vacate the table for their 7/7:30 reservations.

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              Gjelina
              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

              1. re: cookie monster

                brilliant!
                thanks SO much for that tip!

                1. re: westsidegal

                  i concur on Chente too.

                  Also, Musso and Frank for a classic steak or chop and a few martinis.

        2. I eat out a lot by myself, and really believe that you can go just about anywhere alone and not be "shunned." I go to dives....and to Providence....by myself. I think restaurant folks have learned that if you go to a high end restaurant alone, you're really there for the food (and perhaps wine) experience. And they appreciate that.

          2 Replies
          1. re: perk

            completely agree with perk on this.

            1. re: westsidegal

              Concur. Chente is a great place alone as well as Musso and Frank , if you want a classic dinner (though some don't like anything other than the chops and a a couple martinis).

          2. for santa monica dinining, go to Fig restaurant located in the Fairmont Miramar hotel.
            if you can, get a seat at the bar, as opposed to the communal table.
            (i'll be there myself tonight)

            1. Son of a Gun has a communal table that would work.

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: mc michael

                Son of a Gun also has a small bar where I sat at and ate dinner.

                As always, most sushi bars. with a couple provisos of course.

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

              2. You should feel right at home at any Sushi bar! WLA has some really great ones. Kiriko, Mori, etc!

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

                  1. re: budlit

                    orris is one of the restaurants that doesn't take reservations and really has no place for you to sit if a space isn't available when you arrive. i would avoid going there at "prime" dining times unless you don't mind standing around.

                  2. Musha, A Frame, Gjelina, Chaya Venice (for the locals scene, and to meet people easily), Fig, Tasting Kitchen, Mariscos Chente, Bar Toscana, R+D Kitchen (sit at bar, you'll meet all the locals), Hillstone, The Yard. That should keep you busy and well fed.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: yogachik

                      musha will take reservations for a table, but won't take them for the bar (which only has about 6 seats).
                      nonetheless, i've always been able to snag a seat at the bar when i arrive at 6pm sharp, their opening time.
                      imho their bar seats are more fun than their tables because you can watch the "raw-fish-guy" assembling his dishes while you eat.

                      1. re: yogachik

                        Yeah, I go to the Yard a lot on my own too. Good place for solo dining.

                      2. Thank you so much for all of your recommendations!

                        I'm really looking forward to Gjelina and Fig, and I'll probably stop in Mariscos seafood for lunch one day. I'm going to be 4 blocks from R&D Kitchen in Santa Monica to meet my boss, so I'll probably stop in there, too. I'll possibly be transferring to this area from Chicago for work, so I'm really looking forward to it.

                        I'm in town the week of 12/5, so I'll report back -so many options - thanks so much!

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                        Marisco's
                        718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

                        Gjelina
                        1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                        1. Lukshon has wonderful food and a counter/bar area.....

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                          Lukshon
                          3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90034

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: foufou

                            Toscana has a great bar (more of a counter) and it is great for dining alone. Lots of action behind the counter: pizza making, salad preps, grilling, serving. My favorite dine alone spot for lunch or dinner,

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                            Toscana Restaurant
                            11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                            1. re: maudies5

                              Damn, maudie, i still haven't gone to toscana based on your rec.

                              but now you reminded me again.

                              1. re: kevin

                                Bar Toscana , opposite the entrance is also a good go-to place for the single diner. Great place for a cocktail and to meet some nice locals. Delicious light food at Bar Toscana or cross the entrance and get something delicious and a bit more substantial at Toscana.

                                -----
                                Toscana Restaurant
                                11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                Bar Toscana
                                11633 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                1. re: maudies5

                                  I'll probably go to the real/original Toscana if I'm going to go. What to order? Something like a pizza or a veal Milanese?

                                  Thanks again.

                                  -----
                                  Toscana Restaurant
                                  11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    Don't order Veal Milanese. Too expensive and not that special. The fresh fish is always good. Pastas, particularly those with seafood are excellent. Pizzas are good. They make a great steak in the wood burning oven. IMHO, as good as Capo's and less expensive. I am perfectly happy sharing a salad with grilled shrimp (off menu) and an order of spaghetti with mixed shellfish. They also have wonderful proscuitto at Toscana. Somehow, they manage to find good melons in the off season as well as good tomatoes. Note that the mains come with Toscana's delicious roast potatoes and sautéed spinach (no extra charge).

                                    -----
                                    Toscana Restaurant
                                    11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                          2. Go get omakase at Kiriko or eat ramen at Santouke

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

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tissue

                              Yes, get ramen! Either Ramen Yamadaya or Santouka, both in culver city.

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                              Santouka
                              3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066