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Visiting from NYC - what's the "best" of the things that aren't great here?

m
monab Apr 11, 2012 03:20 PM

Hi all,
I am starting to trawl through this board, but wanted to put the question out there, in case someone has been/entertained someone in my position and has a hit list...

The Situation:
I will be visiting for 4 days in May.
I will be with my husband (who is Italian) and my parents (who are Indian but live in the UK - I am also originally from the UK)
We will be staying in a hotel in Beverley Hills, but will have a car and are definitely willing to travel for great eats.
We ate and enjoy all types of food and different cusines.
We don't have any budgetary restrictions and would be just as happy in a roadside shack as a 3 Michelin star type of place.
It will be my parents' first visit to LA.
I am looking for the best of the stuff that is not available, or not great, in NYC.

The Ask:
So, that would mean that I do NOT really need reccos for Italian or French (unless someone disagrees!), BUT do need reccos for Mexican and Korean (before anyone says anything, I know that these are getting better and better in NYC!).
I would also LOVE reccos for other restaurants that you think are outstanding - especially if it is the kind of food/type of place/kind of atmosphere that I would be hard pressed to find in NYC.

All tips and reccomendations will be most gratefully recieved!

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  1. Mr Taster RE: monab Apr 11, 2012 03:26 PM

    This is a broad question, so I will answer broadly.

    You should search the Los Angeles boards for

    Mexican-Oaxacan
    Mexican-Yucatecan
    Mexican-cemitas
    Mexican-Ensenada fish taco
    Korean charcoal bbq
    Korean soondubu
    Thai-southern
    Thai-Issan
    Chinese-Shanghai
    Chinese-Chiu Chow
    Chinese-Xinjiang
    Chinese-Beijing
    Chinese Shaanxi
    Chinese-islamic
    Chinese-dim sum
    Little Saigon

    That's enough to get you started.

    Mr Taster

    34 Replies
    1. re: Mr Taster
      westsidegal RE: Mr Taster Apr 11, 2012 10:05 PM

      add to Mr Taster's list:
      Mexican Seafood prepared in the style of Sinaloa and Nayarit

      1. re: westsidegal
        Mr Taster RE: westsidegal Apr 12, 2012 09:40 AM

        I intentionally left it out because I felt the "rules" surrounding Mariscos Chente are a little complex, and besides- there's enough other stuff on my list to keep monab occupied for several years' worth of visits :)

        Mr Taster

      2. re: Mr Taster
        m
        monab RE: Mr Taster Apr 12, 2012 10:05 AM

        Thanks - I will do!
        But, just for my reference, if you have favs in any of the above categories, I'd love to hear them :)
        And - I'm intrigued by "the rules".
        I will research right now!

        1. re: monab
          Servorg RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 10:23 AM

          If you are intrigued enough to give Mariscos Chente/Coni' Seafood a try the only "rule" is to make sure that Sergio is cooking that day. Otherwise go and enjoy yourself (just remember to take your own beer or a container of margaritas if so inclined as they have no booze license of any kind).

          You can read Jonathan Gold's review here: http://www.laweekly.com/2011-12-15/ea...

          1. re: Servorg
            m
            monab RE: Servorg Apr 12, 2012 11:23 AM

            This place is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind!
            Thanks for posting the review!

            1. re: monab
              westsidegal RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 12:05 PM

              here is their telephone number:
              310-672-2339
              3544 west imperial highway
              inglewood ca 90304

              also, you should know that during the week they close at 8.

              1. re: westsidegal
                m
                monab RE: westsidegal Apr 12, 2012 01:12 PM

                Thanks! Are the open on Sundays? - might be a good idea for lunch before heading to the airport

                1. re: monab
                  westsidegal RE: monab Apr 20, 2012 11:13 AM

                  sunday lunch is their busiest day/time.
                  leave extra time for a sunday afternoon meal.
                  the kitchen and the waitstaff may be slammed depending on the flow of customers and the flow of to-go orders.

          2. re: monab
            j
            Jerry P. Santa Monica RE: monab Apr 14, 2012 07:30 AM

            Chente is ok, but might be too sloppy(the food) for your parents. If you are thinking about this type of place, then Gloria's on Venice Blvd. is better.

            1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
              b
              bulavinaka RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 07:37 AM

              ok but sloppy? You have to be kidding - this verges on trolling. The seafood at Mariscos Chente is probably in LA's top 10 in terms of freshness and preparation, regardless of price or style.

              1. re: bulavinaka
                j
                Jerry P. Santa Monica RE: bulavinaka Apr 14, 2012 09:36 AM

                You hit it- STYLE.

                1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                  b
                  bulavinaka RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 11:23 AM

                  You consider Gloria's "style" is in some way superior? How so? I've been to both places and consider them as two totally different animals. And the camarones aguachiles at MC/Coni's is a sight to behold.

                2. re: bulavinaka
                  n
                  New Trial RE: bulavinaka Apr 14, 2012 02:56 PM

                  Ah but trolling is one of the ways you can catch fish--including, of course, Sergio's prized snook. However, comparing Gloria's to Coni's is the wrong way to get snookered. Gloria's is good for what it is (I tend to prefer the Salvadoran offerings to the Mexican) but does not have the lure Coni's does.

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    a
                    AlkieGourmand RE: bulavinaka Apr 21, 2012 08:30 PM

                    I agree re Mariscos Chente. Many board-favorite ethnic restaurants use mediocre ingredients. But the seafood at Mariscos Chente is truly high quality. In about ten visits, I haven't eaten one piece of seafood at Mariscos Chente/Coni Seafood that wasn't great quality. I wish I knew where they bought their seafood so I can make fresh-tasting dishes at home, but I'm stuck with the overpriced mediocre offerings at Santa Monica Seafood.

                    1. re: AlkieGourmand
                      Servorg RE: AlkieGourmand Apr 21, 2012 08:59 PM

                      They bring it up from Mexico

                  2. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                    westsidegal RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 10:12 AM

                    fwiw,
                    imho, Gloria's on Venice is not at all like Coni'Seafood.
                    completely different menu items.
                    very different preparation of the items that are sort of similar
                    also, the quality of the raw ingredients very different.

                    Gloria's is ok for what it is.
                    doesn't rank as a destination restaurant imho, ok if i happen to be in the neighborhood.

                3. re: Mr Taster
                  E Eto RE: Mr Taster Apr 12, 2012 09:20 PM

                  I would add tortas ahogadas to that list and remove cemitas. NYC has a plethora of places that serve good to great cemitas, since over 90% of the Mexican immigrants to NYC are from Puebla.

                  1. re: Mr Taster
                    j
                    Jerry P. Santa Monica RE: Mr Taster Apr 14, 2012 07:21 AM

                    LA has the worst chinese food. NYC has 200 great chinese places.

                    1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                      b
                      bulavinaka RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 07:41 AM

                      After reading your two posts here, you really need to qualify these claims. LA has the worst Chinese food? Maybe this claim has to do with what you consider to be LA? Have you been to places like Sea Harbour, Elite, Bejing Pie House, Luscious Dumplings, etc.?

                      1. re: bulavinaka
                        j
                        Jerry P. Santa Monica RE: bulavinaka Apr 14, 2012 09:35 AM

                        Montery Park and San Gabrial is not Los Angeles. I go to Montery Park at least once a month for food. She's in Beverly Hills. Maybe Santa Barbara is Los Angles as well.

                        1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                          Servorg RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 10:16 AM

                          "Montery Park and San Gabrial is not Los Angeles."

                          They are however, unlike Santa Barbara, part of the Los Angeles Chowhound board for finding and discussing great food...

                          1. re: Servorg
                            j
                            Jerry P. Santa Monica RE: Servorg Apr 15, 2012 12:08 PM

                            She may not know that, and it will take significant time to get there, especially in traffic. However, our Los Angeles AREA Chinese and Sushi restaurants are about half the price of similar in NYC, and by in large, they are mostly very good.

                            1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                              Servorg RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 15, 2012 01:36 PM

                              Just think of Alhambra and Monterey Park and the like as our "Outer Boroughs" and all will be well (especially since the OP has a car and is willing to drive for great chow - the mark of a true Chowhound).

                              1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                                Mr Taster RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 15, 2012 03:08 PM

                                I just can't resist chiming in anymore.

                                Yesterday Jerry P. said, "LA has the worst Chinese food."

                                Then you say, "by in [sic] large, they are mostly very good."

                                Which is it?

                                Mr Taster

                            2. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                              b
                              bulavinaka RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 11:34 AM

                              Your claims are too vague and or that of a person from another area. The SGV is part of LA county and part of Chowhound's LA board. And what's this noise about new york's 200 chinese restaurants? Good luck convincing this board that new york has better Chinese food. Again, please qualify. if you are from new york, your definition of jurisdictions and boundaries is understandable but does not apply here. Your perspective maybe to look up and down but in LA you have to look across the much broader horizon.

                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                j
                                Jerry P. Santa Monica RE: bulavinaka Apr 15, 2012 10:43 AM

                                So you want her to drive from BH to Montery Park -lets say on a Tues, at 6pm-that will take 1.5 hours one way.

                                1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                                  b
                                  bulavinaka RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 15, 2012 01:07 PM

                                  Don't know the OP's daily schedule or intended times of travel if they decide to head to SGV. I do the drive from the Westside often. Did it yesterday at 9:30AM and made it to Alhambra in 25 minutes. It's all about timing, depending on one's Point A and flexibility in schedule.

                                  These are some of the OP's listed points:
                                  >>We will be staying in a hotel in Beverley Hills, but will have a car and are definitely willing to travel for great eats.
                                  We ate and enjoy all types of food and different cusines.<<

                                  You pick the worst time to travel as an example. I'd choose otherwise.

                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                    Mr Taster RE: bulavinaka Apr 15, 2012 03:13 PM

                                    Or get 3 people in your car & take the El Monte Busway to shave a good 20 minutes off the drive.

                                    Mr Taster

                                  2. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                                    Savour RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 16, 2012 01:45 PM

                                    Let's say on a Sunday, at 11 am -- it takes 20-30 minutes. SGV is part of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area.

                                    1. re: Savour
                                      n
                                      ns1 RE: Savour Apr 16, 2012 01:53 PM

                                      ...and comparatively speaking, it took me a lot longer (and alot more money) to get from Katz to Port Authority Terminal. I'm sure a NY'er can handle 310 -> 626.

                                      1. re: ns1
                                        Porthos RE: ns1 Apr 16, 2012 02:16 PM

                                        It's a non issue. JPSM recommended places in the Valley and in Malibu in his below posts. SGV is just as far and may be even closer/shorter drive in many cases. It's just an excuse to back track on/qualify the absurd statement that LA has the "worst" Chinese food and NYC has "200 great Chinese places".

                            3. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                              n
                              ns1 RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 02:57 PM

                              man this Jerry P guy is comical. 626 = mini china.

                              I know who's tastebuds I DON'T trust.

                              1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                                raytamsgv RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 16, 2012 04:31 PM

                                Jerry, your reply is not very helpful to the OP. If the OP wants good Chinese food, why not mention the SGV, which is less than ten miles from downtown LA and considered by most be part of the greater LA area? Let the OP decide if the city boundary is the sole reason for not going to the SGV for a great Chinese meal.

                                I am curious why you are so strident in saying that the SGV is not part of LA yet not mention that Malibu and Santa Monica (that have some of your recommended restaurants) are also not part of LA.

                              2. re: Mr Taster
                                j
                                jesstifer RE: Mr Taster Apr 14, 2012 12:49 PM

                                Missing category: Burgers!

                                NYC is nowhere close. Low end: Tommy's (really a must-do), Carney's. High-end... well, others will have their opinions. Me, I'm not really a high-end burger guy.

                                Oh, I now see below that the OP's parents don't eat beef. That is sad. Perhaps you'll slip out on them and pop into Carney's.

                              3. wienermobile RE: monab Apr 11, 2012 03:32 PM

                                I do love Park's BBQ. Wonderful Korean flavors. Their cuts of meat are above most steak houses. Wonderful service. Make sure you try their Seasoned Boneless Beef Short Rib • 주물럭 (one of my favorite dishes in Los Angeles) and their Pancake w/ rock shrimp & green onion • 파전, Highly Recommended.
                                http://www.parksbbq.com/

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

                                and for a great taste of farm to table California cuisine I really like Gjelina in Venice
                                http://gjelina.com/
                                and Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica.
                                http://www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com/
                                Welcome to LA

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: wienermobile
                                  n
                                  nosh RE: wienermobile Apr 11, 2012 04:37 PM

                                  Gjelina has become my favorite restaurant in L.A. the last couple of years. It is on Abbott Kinney in Venice (westside coastal south of Santa Monica), open for lunch and dinner, where reservations are a necessity. Ask for the patio. Smaller plates, a lot of glorious southern California product prepared relatively simply with much coming from the woodburning oven. Great veggies (broccolini, cauliflower, asparagus, others), fine pork belly dish with greens and polenta with vinegar, excellent gnocchi (simpler with brown butter better than with a ragu). Not NYC pizza but their thincrust charred from the oven with lamb sausage is a great starter. No alterations to dishes. Save room for the butterscotch pot de creme -- I like it better than Mozza's budino. Can easily feast for under $50/pp before wine, tax, and tip.

                                  1. re: nosh
                                    wienermobile RE: nosh Apr 11, 2012 04:39 PM

                                    Gjelina's gnocchi are little pillows from heaven swimming the back flip in warm melting brown butter.

                                  2. re: wienermobile
                                    m
                                    monab RE: wienermobile Apr 12, 2012 10:13 AM

                                    Thanks wienermobile!
                                    Seem like Park's BBQ is universally recommended on this board. Just one question - my parents don't eat beef (Hindus) - is it still worth going?

                                    And - Gjelina sounds incredible! I will try to get a booking.

                                    Thanks!

                                    1. re: monab
                                      wienermobile RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 10:17 AM

                                      In that case I would skip Park's for another time.

                                      If they eat seafood Providence is one of best restaurants in Los Angeles. I really recommend their tasting menu. Wonderful food. Wonderful service. Let them know any dietary restrictions when you make your reservations. They will gladly accommodate any of your needs. They can also do a wonderful vegetarian tasting menu at your request.
                                      http://www.providencela.com/

                                      Spago Beverly Hills would be another excellent choice for you.
                                      http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restauran...

                                      1. re: wienermobile
                                        a
                                        AAQjr RE: wienermobile Apr 12, 2012 10:40 AM

                                        There is also Don dae gam, Park's pork centric sister restaurant

                                        Opps posted in the wrong place!

                                        1. re: wienermobile
                                          westsidegal RE: wienermobile Apr 12, 2012 12:09 PM

                                          fwiw, imho there is much overlap between the type of wonderfulness that is offered at providence with the type of wonderfulness that is offered at le bernadain.

                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                            m
                                            monab RE: westsidegal Apr 12, 2012 01:11 PM

                                            humm... that's what i was thnking - although it does look delicious...

                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                              a213b RE: westsidegal Apr 12, 2012 03:16 PM

                                              Agreed ... no point in going to Providence when you have perhaps the best high end seafood-centric restaurant on America in your back yard.

                                              In fact we were just at Providence the other night, and aside from a revelatory scallop I wasn't particularly blown away by anything else.

                                              1. re: westsidegal
                                                j
                                                JudiAU RE: westsidegal Apr 12, 2012 05:53 PM

                                                Actually, I think Providence is a lovely choice. I really love le Bernadain but the cooking is very different as are the fish choices. Providence has more Asian influence and seafood selections are different enough that I think I would still go.

                                            2. re: monab
                                              c
                                              Clyde RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 11:31 AM

                                              I don't eat beef and Park's is one of my favorite spots in LA. just watch out for some meat in the glass noodle banchan. There's Shrimp to grill on the BBQ, or my favorite dish from the Kitchen... the spicy black cod! It's so very good... there's also mackerel and other fish options but if spicy is OK, i highly recommend the cod.

                                          2. Peripatetic RE: monab Apr 11, 2012 04:46 PM

                                            Just to get a sense of your preferences, what are a few of the places you would recommend to yourself if you were an Angelino visiting NYC. I know it's not entirely straightforward, but it might give us a sense of what you would like here. (I lived in NYC, so it would help me at least.)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Peripatetic
                                              m
                                              monab RE: Peripatetic Apr 12, 2012 09:01 AM

                                              First of all thanks everyone for your recommendations - I will do more research on the board to find which regional mexican places to go to!
                                              As for what i would recommend to and Angelino visiting NYC - a small sampling:
                                              low end:
                                              - x'ian famous food
                                              - keste
                                              mid:
                                              - savoy (now back forty west)
                                              - buvette
                                              - osteria morini
                                              - mailino
                                              - momofuku saam bar
                                              - aldea
                                              - red cat
                                              - red egg
                                              - market table
                                              - po
                                              - kuma inn
                                              - sorella
                                              - txikito
                                              - torrisi
                                              high end:
                                              - eleven madison
                                              - le bernadain
                                              - marea
                                              - SHO

                                            2. wienermobile RE: monab Apr 11, 2012 05:02 PM

                                              I don't think that there's anything like LA's own original Animal anywhere else.
                                              http://animalrestaurant.com/

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: wienermobile
                                                j
                                                Johnny L RE: wienermobile Apr 11, 2012 10:43 PM

                                                Much agreed it's a pretty unique restaurant. Some would say it's the spirit of Southern Food in Los Angeles but in a more upscale take.

                                              2. j
                                                JudiAU RE: monab Apr 11, 2012 07:53 PM

                                                Are you considering a trip to Artesia, which has a large Indian population?

                                                Have you considered Vietnamese?

                                                Are any of you vegetarian? Ethopian might be an interesting option.

                                                12 Replies
                                                1. re: JudiAU
                                                  Mr Taster RE: JudiAU Apr 12, 2012 09:41 AM

                                                  African and Indian foods (as well as Caribbean) are much better represented in New York as their immigrant populations are much higher there.

                                                  Vietnamese, as well as most southeast and east Asian food (aside from Japanese) are all good choice for a visiting New Yorker. However, now that I think about it... of course New York has a lot of excellent sushi (and I would guess both izakaya and ramen, since they're both so trendy now that I can't imagine it hasn't caught on there) but I'm not so sure about Japanese homestyle, comfort food. Okinomiyaki springs to mind. Or that Okinawan place down in Gardena. There may be a better representation of those kinds of Japanese foods in LA.

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster
                                                    n
                                                    ns1 RE: Mr Taster Apr 12, 2012 09:43 AM

                                                    ...in which case, I'd rec spice table in little tokyo.

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                                      Porthos RE: Mr Taster Apr 12, 2012 09:50 AM

                                                      NYC is actually slightly ahead in the ramen scene with 2 branches from Tokyo (Ippudo and Setagaya)

                                                      To the OP, since you like Momofuku and EMP, I would recommend Red Medicine as it's a hypothetical blend of those two. Actually probably more a hypothetical blend of Ma Peche and Alinea.

                                                      1. re: Porthos
                                                        a213b RE: Porthos Apr 12, 2012 03:18 PM

                                                        Second Red Medicine. And for the record, I adore both EMP and the Momofukus.

                                                        1. re: a213b
                                                          E Eto RE: a213b Apr 12, 2012 09:23 PM

                                                          Never really cared for the Momofukus, but I think Red Medicine is doing more groundbreaking cooking under the radar than David Chang has done. Also, drinks and desserts there are worth the trip alone.

                                                        2. re: Porthos
                                                          j
                                                          JudiAU RE: Porthos Apr 12, 2012 05:57 PM

                                                          I would not recommend Red Medicine. I've rarely been so dissappointed in a meal. Utter mess.

                                                          1. re: JudiAU
                                                            Porthos RE: JudiAU Apr 12, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                            I am speechless. I don't understand how anyone could NOT like Red Medicine. I'd rank it one of LA's best right now. There is elegance and refinement there that rivals Providence and even exceeds it in some cases (eg foie) and creativity that rivals SF's and NYC's finest (eg. Gage plum dessert).

                                                            1. re: Porthos
                                                              Ciao Bob RE: Porthos Apr 13, 2012 02:53 PM

                                                              Perhaps JudiAU went close to when RM first opened. I think it was quite average then Certainly not an "utter mess" but nothing like as spectacular as it is now.

                                                        3. re: Mr Taster
                                                          m
                                                          monab RE: Mr Taster Apr 12, 2012 10:28 AM

                                                          I LOVE Okonomiaki!!! And, I have'nt found a decent on in NYC.
                                                          The Dutch do a fancy one for brunch, but it was a hugh disappointment :(
                                                          Do you have a recommendation and - not to be a total food nerd, but - do you know if they do osaka style or hiroshima style?
                                                          Thanks!

                                                          1. re: monab
                                                            Servorg RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 10:32 AM

                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836119

                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                              m
                                                              monab RE: Servorg Apr 12, 2012 11:10 AM

                                                              Thanks to the link Servorg!
                                                              I should have known that I couldn't possibly out-"food geek" this board!
                                                              And I definitely mean that as a compliment :)

                                                        4. re: JudiAU
                                                          m
                                                          monab RE: JudiAU Apr 12, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                          Not vegetarian and would LOVE to get some Vietnamese - we lived in HK for a few years, and went to Vietnam 4-5 times - and I have yet to find vietnamese food that even comes anywhere close to what I had there, so would love reccos if you have them!

                                                          Not sure about Indian as my parents eat indian at home every day, and area they live in the UK (west yorkshire) has an enormous indian and pakistani population, so great indian restaurants.

                                                          That being said, they will probably have a craving for it by the end of the trip, so if we wanted to go somewhere that's great but not just standard north indian/pakistani/pujabi food, where should we go? (PS i am not a big fan of dosas, idllies etc.)

                                                          Thanks!

                                                        5. e
                                                          ebethsdad RE: monab Apr 11, 2012 09:42 PM

                                                          It may be touristy, but you might consider driving out PCH to Neptune's Net, a biker/seafood spot right on the coast. They have a fried side (rather dismal) and a steamed side which is quite tasty. You can get Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, mussels, etc. I don't know of anyplace quite like it in NYC. Alternatively the Redondo Beach pier has many of the same options, but without the beautiful drive and the biker atmosphere. Enjoy your visit.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: ebethsdad
                                                            b
                                                            bulavinaka RE: ebethsdad Apr 11, 2012 09:55 PM

                                                            If going to the Redondo Beach Pier, any Hound worth their weight in Chow cred needs to hit up Izakaya Bincho. Don't let the location fool you...

                                                            1. re: bulavinaka
                                                              h
                                                              heinous RE: bulavinaka Apr 12, 2012 01:56 PM

                                                              Second that, for sure. Especially now that it's back it all its yakitori glory!

                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                a
                                                                AAQjr RE: bulavinaka Apr 12, 2012 02:39 PM

                                                                And Yakitori-ya if you she is going to do a Sawtelle crawl!

                                                              2. re: ebethsdad
                                                                LA Buckeye Fan RE: ebethsdad Apr 12, 2012 02:36 PM

                                                                You beat me to it ebethsdad! The quintessential southern california lunch! Get the king crab legs and enjoy watching the surfers.

                                                                1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                                  e
                                                                  ebethsdad RE: LA Buckeye Fan Apr 12, 2012 04:34 PM

                                                                  Oh dear...I grew up in Ann Arbor. This means there is hope for world peace!

                                                                  1. re: ebethsdad
                                                                    LA Buckeye Fan RE: ebethsdad Apr 20, 2012 11:49 AM

                                                                    I forgive you ebethsdad. :)

                                                              3. m
                                                                monab RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 02:20 PM

                                                                Just one add on:
                                                                i know that LA has a sizable iranian/persian community - would anyone have any reccos for restaurants from that region?
                                                                A long time ago, my parents lived for a few years in Iran and speak farsi - I'm sure they would love to eat some of the dishes they remember.
                                                                Thanks!

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: monab
                                                                  Servorg RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 02:36 PM

                                                                  Shamshiri Grill is certainly tasty: http://shamshiri.com/

                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                    westsidegal RE: Servorg Apr 12, 2012 06:00 PM

                                                                    +1 for servorg's recommendation of Shamshiri Grill.

                                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                                      Mr Taster RE: westsidegal Apr 13, 2012 08:31 AM

                                                                      I've been to Shamshire a handful of times and I found it inconsistent. Sometimes it's great, and sometimes my kebabs arrive overcooked and dry. The pilafs are pretty consistently delicious.

                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                                        Porthos RE: westsidegal Apr 16, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                                        +2 on Shamshiri Grill if looking for Persian. The koobidehs are delicious and moist and the ghormeh sabzi is excellent.

                                                                    2. re: monab
                                                                      b
                                                                      budlit RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 04:49 PM

                                                                      The Naan Hut for freshly made sangak and other breads. I have not had any of their other food, but the bread is amazing. In West L.A. on Santa Monica Bl., tiny place.

                                                                      1. re: budlit
                                                                        Savour RE: budlit Apr 13, 2012 12:14 PM

                                                                        Their kebabs are fine, but not worth a cross country (or even crosstown) journey.

                                                                    3. b
                                                                      budlit RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 04:42 PM

                                                                      Jitlada in Hollywood for great Thai

                                                                      1. wienermobile RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 04:46 PM

                                                                        Ricky's Fish Tacos. Lunch only Friday-Sunday (and sometimes Thursdays when he feels like it).
                                                                        http://twitter.com/#!/rickysfishtacos

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: wienermobile
                                                                          c
                                                                          Clyde RE: wienermobile Apr 12, 2012 05:46 PM

                                                                          Yes for fish tacos!

                                                                          1. re: wienermobile
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                                                                            ns1 RE: wienermobile Apr 12, 2012 06:14 PM

                                                                            +2

                                                                            1. re: wienermobile
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                                                                              jesstifer RE: wienermobile Apr 14, 2012 12:42 PM

                                                                              +3

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                                                                              Jerry P. Santa Monica RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 04:59 PM

                                                                              In my opinion LA is best for sushi, mexican and persian. The Valley has a hundred sushi bars on Ventura Blvd, and probably 20 persian places. Use Yelp to find which one you want. Some sushi in Santa Monica and B.H. Try El Chollo in Santa Monica for fun mexican. Try Monte Alban for serious mexican in Santa Monica/West LA on Santa Monica Blvd.

                                                                              And Vinh Loi in Reseda, the Valley, has a huge following for their Viet. veg. food. I've been there, very good. Small casual place.

                                                                              For persian on the Blvd., I've been to Darbad, Sadof, and The Gate, all good.

                                                                              And Gladstones (mud pie alert)and Neptunes Net ( very good ceviche) are fun on a nice warm day for seafood. On PCH near or in Malibu.

                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
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                                                                                mrhooks RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 12, 2012 09:02 PM

                                                                                If the OP has been to places like Masa, Yasuda, or Kuruma in NY, there's no reason to visit any of the sushiya on Ventura. Only places like Urasawa and Mori would be worth visiting.

                                                                                I have nothing new to offer, so I'll just say I agree with the Mexican and Thai recommendations. And Red Medicine.

                                                                                1. re: mrhooks
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                                                                                  Jerry P. Santa Monica RE: mrhooks Apr 14, 2012 07:18 AM

                                                                                  Most NYers aren't that "dumb" to spend $350 per person on sushi-Urasawa.

                                                                                  1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                                                                                    E Eto RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                                                    NYers might be "dumber" for spending $500 for a meal at Masa (you know, Urasawa's mentor). Which would make them "smarter" for getting a bargain at Urasawa when in LA.

                                                                                    1. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                                                                                      The Chowhound Team RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 05:08 PM

                                                                                      Hi Hounds, sorry to interrupt the chow talk, but we'd like to remind everyone to keep the discussion friendly. We don't expect everyone to share the same opinion, but we hope that you can agree to disagree without name calling and making personal comments about other posters.

                                                                                  2. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
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                                                                                    whatsfordinner RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 13, 2012 12:06 PM

                                                                                    I strongly recommend AGAINST Gladstones and El Cholo - both are pretty awful and there are so many other choices.
                                                                                    I prefer Malibu Seafood to Neptune's Net in Malibu - but if the weather's nice, it's a lovely drive to NN.

                                                                                    1. re: whatsfordinner
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                                                                                      ns1 RE: whatsfordinner Apr 13, 2012 01:19 PM

                                                                                      definitely do not go to el cholo.

                                                                                      1. re: ns1
                                                                                        a213b RE: ns1 Apr 13, 2012 02:45 PM

                                                                                        I went the other night for the first time (SaMo), and don't remember the food being bad at all ... granted, I had 5 or 6 margaritas, so it's probably more accurate to say I don't really remember anything at all.

                                                                                        It wasn't my choice, but my wife has confirmed my suspicion that it was NOT good. So yeah, I'd skip El Cholo, unless you want to get absolutely pissed. Then the foods not so bad!

                                                                                        1. re: a213b
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                                                                                          ns1 RE: a213b Apr 13, 2012 02:50 PM

                                                                                          "granted, I had 5 or 6 margaritas"

                                                                                          yes, we all have a good experience the first time due to the above reason. Really, pitchers of margaritas are the ONLY reason to go there.

                                                                                      2. re: whatsfordinner
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                                                                                        BSW6490 RE: whatsfordinner Apr 13, 2012 03:45 PM

                                                                                        Absolutely agree!

                                                                                      3. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
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                                                                                        budlit RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 13, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                                                        oh no, do not go to gladstone's (clue: mud pie alert ) it's just terrible or el cholo, which is also terrible, think disneyland mexican food. these places are certainly not representative of L.A.

                                                                                        1. re: budlit
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                                                                                          ns1 RE: budlit Apr 13, 2012 05:42 PM

                                                                                          yeah, if you want "fun mexican" do a taco truck crawl. leo's tacos on a friday night.

                                                                                          http://www.lataco.com/taco/leos-tacos...

                                                                                        2. re: Jerry P. Santa Monica
                                                                                          westsidegal RE: Jerry P. Santa Monica Apr 14, 2012 10:16 AM

                                                                                          respectfully strongly would recommend AGAINST going to gladstones or el chollo for food.

                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                            Peripatetic RE: westsidegal Apr 14, 2012 11:28 AM

                                                                                            Seriously, it's like recommending Carmine's and Serendipity 3 to a visitor to NYC. Actually, it's probably worse.

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                                                                                          budlit RE: monab Apr 12, 2012 05:01 PM

                                                                                          I love Guisados, downtown for tacos

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: budlit
                                                                                            Servorg RE: budlit Apr 12, 2012 05:06 PM

                                                                                            Might as well make it a taco tasting trip: http://mexicalitaco.com/

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                                                                                              ns1 RE: Servorg Apr 12, 2012 06:14 PM

                                                                                              +1

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                                                                                                Jase RE: Servorg Apr 12, 2012 09:35 PM

                                                                                                If you're going to do that, include the mariscos jaliscos truck on Olympic for their shrimp tacos. I've done that circuit in a day. Truck, then Guisado's, then Mexicali.

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                                                                                              monab RE: monab Apr 16, 2012 02:08 PM

                                                                                              I can see my post has lead to some heated discussion!
                                                                                              I certainly did not want to spark NYC vs. LA comparisons, just find the best of LA - and I would like to really thank all of you who have posted reccos.
                                                                                              I am truely grateful!

                                                                                              So far, for the 4 evenings, I am deciding between:
                                                                                              Red Medicine
                                                                                              The Spice Table
                                                                                              Animal
                                                                                              Son of a Gun
                                                                                              Gjelina
                                                                                              Park's BBQ
                                                                                              Picca
                                                                                              INK.

                                                                                              The lunches are less fixed but, thanks to all your reccomendations, will involve a LOT of tacos, Mexican seafood, maybe some persian, and maybe some beachside seafood too.

                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: monab
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                                                                                                ebethsdad RE: monab Apr 16, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                                                                Have a wonderful trip!

                                                                                                1. re: monab
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                                                                                                  alliebear RE: monab Apr 16, 2012 03:31 PM

                                                                                                  You could always do Gjelina for lunch, or maybe some of the other places you're deciding between. I don't know off the top of my head which of the others offer lunch.

                                                                                                  1. re: alliebear
                                                                                                    wienermobile RE: alliebear Apr 16, 2012 03:36 PM

                                                                                                    Open for lunch, The Spice Table, Son of A Gun, Gjelina, and Park's BBQ

                                                                                                    1. re: alliebear
                                                                                                      westsidegal RE: alliebear Apr 16, 2012 04:20 PM

                                                                                                      re: gjelina
                                                                                                      1) be aware that there is a time period between lunch and dinner when the restaurant is technically open, but they only serve an abbreviated pizza and charcuterie menu.
                                                                                                      2) if you are planning to go to gjelina for dinner MAKE RESERVATIONS and don't be surprised if you still will need to wait for a table.

                                                                                                    2. re: monab
                                                                                                      Porthos RE: monab Apr 16, 2012 03:39 PM

                                                                                                      From your list I would go with Red Medicine, Spice Table, Gjelina, and Animal. I'm not the biggest fan of Animal but I think that gives you a good cross section of what LA has to offer.

                                                                                                      Park's BBQ is a must only if you guys are eating beef.

                                                                                                      Also it is important to note that lunch at Spice Table is very different than dinner at Spice Table. Lunch is mostly sandwiches (darned good ones I hear) and dinner is the full menu.

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                                                                                                        bulavinaka RE: Porthos Apr 16, 2012 07:22 PM

                                                                                                        I'd go for the much broader and exciting dinner menu. I wasn't particularly blown away by SP's sandwiches over the weekend. Had the smoked pork belly and the lemongrass chicken. Maybe I was expecting an artisan banh mi. The quality is great and all, but no do chua (pickled carrots/daikon) in these sammies. Without it, it seemed lacking a dimension. So I guess they are sandwiches, but not banh mi? I still prefer the cold cut version the best. But the beers... :)

                                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                          Porthos RE: bulavinaka Apr 16, 2012 07:42 PM

                                                                                                          Haven't been to Spice Table for lunch but I agree on the clarification. Go for dinner.

                                                                                                          And yes, I always like washing it all down with a pint or two of Pranqster.

                                                                                                      2. re: monab
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                                                                                                        JudiAU RE: monab Apr 16, 2012 04:45 PM

                                                                                                        Not that if you get pressed for time, Ink is next to Ink Sac, a little sandwich shop with a lot of tasty morsels.

                                                                                                      3. Savour RE: monab Apr 16, 2012 02:33 PM

                                                                                                        I'd definitely go for Thai. Even some of the mid level/mediocre Thai food I've had in LA has blown NYC Thai out of the water in terms of variety, authenticity, and heat. I'll let other hounds recommend specific places, though.

                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Savour
                                                                                                          Peripatetic RE: Savour Apr 16, 2012 04:04 PM

                                                                                                          I agree. When I lived in NYC it was very deficient in Thai. I don't know how much has changed since then (16 years ago) in that respect. Jitlada is much loved here -- be sure to order from the Southern Thai specialties menu if you go (see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/414265 and http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/).

                                                                                                          My #1 recommendation though would be Pa Ord Noodle:

                                                                                                          Pa Ord Noodle
                                                                                                          5301 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
                                                                                                          323-461-3945

                                                                                                          1. re: Peripatetic
                                                                                                            Savour RE: Peripatetic Apr 16, 2012 05:11 PM

                                                                                                            True. I should qualify that my NYC experience was C. 2005.

                                                                                                            1. re: Savour
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                                                                                                              monab RE: Savour Apr 17, 2012 03:44 PM

                                                                                                              Thanks for the Jitlada recco - always looking for good Thai food!
                                                                                                              (Also, in case you are visiting manhattan anytime, I am happy to report that the availability of good Thai food has improved exponentially in the 6 years I have been living here - Zaab Elee (issan), Real Thai Shophouse (bangkok), Kin Shop (modern), Betel (aussi-thai), Pok Pok Wing (err, wings!) - are all great!)

                                                                                                              1. re: monab
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                                                                                                                ns1 RE: monab Apr 17, 2012 03:45 PM

                                                                                                                beware of spotty service @ Jitalda.

                                                                                                                You can search the LA board for more info.

                                                                                                                1. re: ns1
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                                                                                                                  Clyde RE: ns1 Apr 17, 2012 03:48 PM

                                                                                                                  and be prepared for eating SPICY. sometimes i order items from the menu and it's fine and not too spicy or a little spicy ... but one time i ordered something so spicy on accident and i regretted it later. so as long as you communicate about your spice level, you should be fine. the one time i got something crazy spicy it was a to go order and i didn't specify anything.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ns1
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                                                                                                                    foufou RE: ns1 Apr 18, 2012 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                    Both service and food can be spotty at Jitlada....

                                                                                                                  2. re: monab
                                                                                                                    Servorg RE: monab Apr 17, 2012 03:55 PM

                                                                                                                    If you're going to make the trek into Thai town for chow don't miss Bhan Kanom Thai (for Thai sweets and desserts).

                                                                                                                    http://www.bhankanomthai.com/

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                                                                                                              monab RE: monab Apr 19, 2012 04:53 PM

                                                                                                              Thanks again for all the reccomendations!
                                                                                                              I have one more question - I will be in LA on cinco de mayo - and I am wondering if, like in NYC, it is just used as an excuse to get drunk on cheap margaritas, OR if there is anything that happens in LA (food, event, etc.) that would be worth checking out - or even an area that would be "festive"? (assuming that that really happens in LA...)
                                                                                                              As I said previously, I'll be with my parents, so large crowds and long waits are not really an option.
                                                                                                              Thanks in advance for your opinions!

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: monab
                                                                                                                Servorg RE: monab Apr 19, 2012 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                I'm sure that the mariachi music will be at full volume down on Olvera Street near Union Station on "Sinko De Mayo"

                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg
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                                                                                                                  budlit RE: Servorg Apr 19, 2012 06:09 PM

                                                                                                                  cinco de drinko?

                                                                                                                  1. re: budlit
                                                                                                                    wienermobile RE: budlit Apr 19, 2012 07:24 PM

                                                                                                                    mucho de drinko.

                                                                                                                    1. re: wienermobile
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                                                                                                                      bulavinaka RE: wienermobile Apr 19, 2012 09:03 PM

                                                                                                                      drinko de malo...

                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                                                                        monab RE: bulavinaka Apr 20, 2012 11:07 AM

                                                                                                                        alright then. i guess i have my answer.

                                                                                                                2. re: monab
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                                                                                                                  kauma RE: monab Apr 21, 2012 07:50 PM

                                                                                                                  It's certainly true that Cinco de Mayo is treated by some as simply an opportunity to get smashed, but that's not all that happens. Please take a look at this site: http://golosangeles.about.com/od/fair...

                                                                                                                  Of course, there are other sites as well.

                                                                                                                  I hope you all have a marvelous trip to our lovely city!

                                                                                                                  1. re: kauma
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                                                                                                                    monab RE: kauma Apr 24, 2012 08:32 AM

                                                                                                                    Thanks Kauma - I'll look into it.

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