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Feb 6, 2012 11:08 AM

Moving to L.A. - NEED to find great Asian food.

I'm moving to Santa Monica by the end of the year, where can I find the good Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food that won't charge "my daddy will beat me" prices? I am willing to drive within a 25 mile radius.

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  1. Japanese will be the easiest and closest of the bunch. Musha in Santa Monica is an isakaya. The "Little Osaka" area of Sawtelle Blvd. (from Olympic Blvd. going N to Santa Monica Blvd.) will need to be explored over time. Sushi at Kiriko or for less costly sushi at Hide (cash only) or U-zen (also on the reasonable end of the cost spectrum). Ramen at Jinya (which should be very close to opening). Also great ramen at Santouka in the food court of the Mitsuwa Market at Venice Blvd. and Centinela Ave. Those ought to get you started.

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

    424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

    U-Zen Japanese Restaurant
    11951 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

    Hide Sushi Japanese Restaurant
    2040 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

    3 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Thanks! I've heard good things about Santouka and have been to the Mitsuwa Mkt in New York several times. If I can't get good pho, then at least I have ramen.

      1. re: TT2

        I find Santouka excellent. The latest Jinya branch on Sawtelle was supposed to be open yesterday, but I don't think it happened.

        1. re: Servorg

          I just found a note on their website that it's supposed to open 3/25/12.

    2. After moving here, I think you'll find that you have to adjust your driving radius depending on the route. Santa Monica to the San Gabriel Valley, where you'll find generally better Vietnamese and Chinese, is around 25 miles, but at times can take an hour+.

      For Korean BBQ, Park's BBQ is probably the most popular on this board (and #1 for me as well). A bit pricier though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: andytseng

        Absolutely agree that the SGV is where you'll find the best Chinese. Worth the drive and affordable!

      2. The best Vietnamese you'll get on the west side is Pho 99 on Wilshire. Plus, they might just have the best egg roll in all of LA. Seriously bomb.

        For banh mi... you simply must go to Banh Mi My Tho in Alhambra for the #8. Likewise, Top Baguette in Garden Grove for the #2.

        For pate chaud, Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie, also is worth the drive out in Garden Grove.

        For Thai, Jitlada is a must for their mango coco salad, fried fish with crispy basil, and seriously savory curries. On the west side, Swanya is pretty good. For BBQ specifically, there's always Thai BBQ. Pretty darn good barbecue.

        For Japanese... I'm at a loss for how so many are in love with Santouka, (me included), but don't express the same love for Sanuki right next to it!?! Their udon is so freaking good. Their broth is awesome.

        For Chinese, I think Little Hong Kong is under-appreciated. Their chow fun is exceptional as is their orange peel chicken. It's superior to the average neighborhood fare. For dim sum, I like CBS Seafood in Chinatown for the dumplings while I'm in love with the Shrimp Cheong Fun out at Ocean Star in Monterey Park.

        For sushi, I love Echigo, where it's served warm. Their food is something else. I'm also partial to California Roll Company on Santa Monica... with their enormous rolls. (This place is not to be confused with the awful chain, "California Roll and Sushi"... or whatever it's called.)

        As for Korean, well... I simply refuse to pay $18 for the right to cook food myself. I also don't care if there are 10 million side dishes served when most of them are pretty nasty to me. Maybe I just don't have the palate for it. Of the places I've had in LA, Soot Bull Jeep would be my favorite. (Be sure also to check out Kyochon for Korean Fried Chicken. Now that place is bomb.)

        Actually, I'd like to pose a Chowhound question here: where can I get some good Korean bbq for under $10? Anywhere? I miss that chain up in SF called Hahn's Hibachi.

        5 Replies
          1. re: mikeinla10

            The curry udon at Sanuki Sando is the bomb. Pure comfort food for me.

            1. re: mikeinla10

              Great list, mikeinla!
              How about Asian-Ya
              for kalbi, bulgogi, etc?
              I seem to recall dishes around the around the $10 line.

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                Hey, thanks Ciao Bob. Glad you approve.

                You know, I've been to Gushi many times... and I definitely appreciate Taco Miendo... but I've never been to Asian-Ya or the Mexican place at that strip. I need to try both. I see that you're right... and Asian-Ya has $10 Boxes for Kalbi and Bulgogi. I'll have to give it a shot. Thanks.

                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  Asian-ya has a tan tan men ramen that really kicks ass. Since this person is moving to SaMo, it'll be convenient for them, so I recommend it.

                  Asian food is what LA does best. No question. Especially if you're willing to drive across town, LA has probably the best asian food in the world.

              2. Great Japanese is all over the Westside. Agree about the place next to Santouka, but can never remember the name. So many new ramen places I can't keep up (Yamada-Ya, Tsujita, Jinya). Lots of Izakaya and sushi/sashimi (try Nanbankan for the former and, Yakitori-ya - especially if Daddy is paying, not spanking). Hide, as Servorg says, is great for cut-rate sushi. Manpuko on Sawtelle does the yakiniku thing pretty well. The South Bay has wonderful Japanese noodles (Sanuki No Sato, Kotohira, Oumi Sasaya).

                Le Saigon (buns, not pho) on Santa Monica Blvd and Nom Nom Truck (banh mi) are both decent enough Vietnamese for the area but not as good as SGV or OC.

                Chinese is not good near Santa Monica -- if you must, Mandarin Kitchen is capable of doing good stuff (especially if you tell them what you want). 101 Noodle Express has good beef rolls in the Culver City Westfield Mall.

                For all things Korean get in the car and hit Ktown. Kyonchon is also in the Culver City Westfield and South Bay.

                1. Really good suggestions here. If you go south on the 405 Freeway, you will find Fox Hills Mall (Westfield), the best food court in LA. Here you can find Kyochon Chicken (Korean), 101 Noodle Express (Chinese beef rolls and noodle soup), also Pho and Japanese fare.

                  A little farther south in Lawndale is the best Pho not in the San Gabriel Valley or Orange County. I recommend Saigon Dish. Also Pho Hoa is good.

                  A little farther south, maybe 20 miles away, is Gardena/Torrance, which has the best Japanese food in LA, although Sawtelle and WLA has better sushi. My choices:
                  Kagura for fine tonkatsu
                  Doya Doya for okonomiyaki and yakisoba.
                  Sanuki No Sato for Udon
                  Tamatebako for down home Japanese
                  Inaba for soba noodles.

                  West LA has great ramen, such as Santouka and Yamadaya. Gardena also has Mottainai, Yamadaya and Santouka. It's been a bit of a ramen renaissance here lately.

                  For Chinese, although the best Chinese in the US is found in SGV, passable Cantonese can be found at Hop Li and Hop Wu. I prefer the drive to SGV and even Chinatown, though.

                  Though Koreatown is a mere 15 miles away, decent bibimbap and bbq meats can be had at Tofuya on Sawtelle. Also check out Roy Choi's Chego for his unique take on bibimbap.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Ogawak

                    +1 for Saigon Dish. Good Pho and very nice people run it too.

                    Saigon Dish
                    15725 Hawthorne Blvd Ste 108, Lawndale, CA 90260

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      Amen to the gardena/torrence rec. Your pretty much going to have to be in the alhambra area for the chinese stuff. Its just terrible on the west side.

                      Banh Mi My Tho as reccommended eariler is a must. There is so much out there. Saigon flavor has great veitnamese, and is a bit less crowded then their other more famous resturant. Dim sum at elite or sea harbor. Be warned though these places get packed and the wait can be long, espescially for dim sum on the weekends.

                      If you like soba, you should hit Ichimi ann in torrence, or their other store a bit further south.

                      Torihei is a great yakitori/izakaya place, but make reserevations, its alaways packed. You can drop some money here, but as a couple w/a bottle of shochu our bill is around $100.

                      Tsujita for lunch and their ramen on sawtelle is hands down the best ramen in LA IMO.

                      Olympic Kalgooksoo in ktown is great for that dish and their mandoo.

                      If your schedule is flexible and you enjoy eating out for lunch Alhambra and Torrence are quite accessable IMO. Rush hour, forget it.

                      1. re: notjeff

                        Re: Ichimian: It's run by the Inaba people who also run the steak house. So you can get the same soba at Inaba. But Ichimian is definitely a must go.

                    2. re: Ogawak

                      Interesting, this is the first I've heard of Doya Doya, which apparently opened a year ago last February. As a fan of Gaja Moc, I'll definitely have to try it. Here are the details:

                      Doya Doya
                      2140 Artesia Blvd, Torrance, CA 90504

                      Besides Yelp, there doesn't seem to be much out there about this place. A food blog has this write-up (with great photos):

                      Ogawak, how does Doya Doya compare with Gaja Moc?


                      According to that blog, Doya Doya was opened by the owner of Beach City Baked Donuts in Redondo Beach:

                      1. re: Ogawak

                        Just a slight nitpick here.

                        Whatever you do... do not get pho from the Vietnamese place in Fox Hills Mall. It's oily as heck and lacking real flavor. Wife and I couldn't believe how bad it was.

                        But we love Kyochon and 101 Noodle with their unreal beef rolls.