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Pizza Mozza, Patina, Gjelina and Spago reserved. Where else should I eat?

Will be visiting LA in a couple weeks from Seattle. After much research on this board I have made reservations at Pizza Mozza, Gjelina, Patina and Spago. Other place on my list to try are Ricky's Fish Tacos, Versailles, and Chichan Itza.

Also need a place for a weekday lunch downtown, weekend lunch in Pasadena, a dinner in Topanga Canyon and a dinner near UCLA. I will try almost anything but my SO eats pescatarian so fish or vegetarian options are essential. I'm most interested in places and food LA does best. Thanks!

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  1. Lots of choices for lunch downtown. Lazy Ox, Church & State, Spice Table, Water Grill, to name a few.
    Not a lot of choices in Topanga, but Inn of the 7th Rey is very unique and beautiful setting. Dinner near UCLA, there is Casa Azul for high quality Mexican, The W Hotel in Westwood has NineThirty which is good and they have food by the pool which is really nice. Should be open for dinner at that time.

    1. Dinner near UCLA is tough. Westwood eateries are mostly chains and must-miss places. You have to get out of the immediate UCLA area to find edible food.

      If you drive south on Westwood Blvd about half a mile to a mile down from UCLA, you'll start to notice a lot of persian eateries. Shamshiri is probably the most popular of the bunch, but I can't give it a wholehearted recommendation. I've had a couple good meals there, and a couple so-so to bad meals there, but overall it offers you an interesting cuisine, better Persian than most cities offer, good atmosphere and vegetarian options that are actually tasty. Plus, you have Saffron & Rose Ice Cream nearby which is a must-try for dessert after your dinner.

      Another option for dinner near UCLA is the Japanese area centered around Sawtelle Blvd and Olympic. There, you will find dozens of Japanese restaurants serving everything from small plates to omakase to ramen and soba and more, in just about every price range.

      Lunch downtown maybe try Mexicali Taco? It's a good taco shop, small place, not glamorous but solid food. Not sure if you'll want more taco's after Ricky's and I'm also not sure what a pescatarian would eat there.

      Another option downtown is Mendocino Farms, and while they make excellent sandwiches and I do fully recommend them for their food, I worry they might not fit the bill regarding food LA does best. I'm pretty sure every city in the world has a place that makes great sandwiches.

      For your Pasadena and downtown lunches, depending on your schedule you might want to take the drive out to the San Gabriel Valley, which is a veritable wonderland of Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine.

      Enjoy your stay!

      1 Reply
      1. re: BrewNChow

        Shamshiri has been pretty good to me, but I think if westsidegal chimes in - she is a pescatarian of the utmost discriminating palate - she may be able to provide guidance about Shamshiri and many other pescatarian-friendly places. My father usually orders either the white fish or the salmon (I don't rec this) at Shamshiri.

      2. The UCLA campus is located in Westwood. Westwood Blvd is the primary street feeding into UCLA from the south, which has many Persian eateries and a handful of eateries of other cultures.

        1. Downtown Lunch: Colori Kitchen, The Spice Table

          Lose Patina, and do Providence instead (it's better overall, and more fish-intensive anyways)

          Weekend Pasadena lunch: In not-so-far away Monterey Park, try Northern Chinese fare at Beijing Pie House (meat pies for you) & its neighbor Kam Hong Garden (non-meat noodles options for the SO). Seattle is sufficiently close to Vancouver, so I'm sure you get your fill of excellent Cantonese cuisine as it is...

          Dinner in Topanga: Inn of the Seventh Ray

          Near UCLA: Get Persian food from our Little Tehran (AKA Tehrangeles) at Shaherzad (excellent bread) or Javan (great fish dishes) and Persian ice cream at Saffron & Rose Ice Cream.

          11 Replies
          1. re: J.L.

            I think the rice options at Shaherzad are great as well. Their dessert pastries are great with a cup of tea too.

              1. re: J.L.

                The Shirin Polo is probably too unique to imagine in any other cuisine.

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  I particularly like their estamboli polo.

                  1. re: J.L.

                    I give - is that a special or possibly have an alternative name?

            1. re: J.L.

              "Lose Patina, and do Providence instead "

              +1 bigtime. IMO Patina hasn't been LA relevent since it was in the current Providence space back when Splichal was still in the kitchen cooking.

              1. re: Porthos

                Agreed. Patina was great back in its old space on Melrose Ave. Nothing the Patina Group does now is worthy of recommendation.

                1. re: Ernie

                  Really? Not even with the new chef there? Have you actually been there with the new chef?

              2. re: J.L.

                Thanks for the Persian suggestions JL! I looked at Providence, it looks great, I may swap.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    From UCLA that "5 miles" can easily take upwards of 30 minutes, if not more.

                  2. Definitely consider Water Grill for lunch downtown. In Pasadena, Europane for their famous egg salad sandwich is a nice light option. Versailles isn't really special enough to commit to. For your dinner mix you should probably considr Bazaar in Beverly Hills as another option.

                      1. In my opinion, Water Grill and Drago Centro are by far the best places for lunch in downtown LA. For dinner near UCLA, I really like the Persian food at Shamshiri Grill.

                        Versailles isn't good--don't know why that's on your list. I don't think Patina is particularly good either for fine dining in its price range. Pizzeria Mozza, Gjelina, and Spago are all great.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: AlkieGourmand

                          Versailles is good enough for a local wanting some resemblance of Cuban food, but I agree - the OP would probably be better off using those calorie and time points elsewhere.

                        2. It's not near UCLA but if you're interested in fish, Mariscos Chentes in Inglewood would be worth the drive for lunch.

                          1. Where are you staying? Those recent threads of cheap eats would be worth printing...

                            1. After four years of being a UCLA parent, Nook Bistro (http://www.nookbistro.com/) is my favorite moderately priced attractive spot with good food and drink. Make a reservation in advance. It's literally hidden away in the right angle of a little strip mall.

                              Also Hop Li on Santa Monica has pretty good Chinese seafood. It's where we held graduation dinner for a crowd for a modest price.

                              Also Fundamental on Westwood off Wilshire (http://fundamental-la.com/dinner.html) has well-prepared, somewhat minimalist food. I've only been there for an excellent lunch, not dinner.