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In Culver City for 2 nights, how about Mozza2Go and Umami Burger?

Greetings, LA Chowhounders!

My best friend is flying out from upstate NY to be on Jeopardy (a life long dream of hers!) and I'm flying down from Seattle to meet her. She'll be there from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning.

Would Mozza2Go and Umami burger be delicious and fairly low-key food options? They are both app. 13 miles from the hotel. My friend will be tired after the long coast-to-coast flight, and then the day of taping, but we would like to eat great food without adding too much to the stress of travel.

Is taking a cab sensible? I don't want to bother with renting a car unless I have to. The only errands I'll be running are food related: getting to food, picking up food, buying champagne to consume back at the hotel.

My plan is to call ahead and get takeout from Mozza2Go on Tuesday late afternoon, then cab there and bring the food back to the hotel, where my friend will be arriving. Wednesday night we could cab to Umami and eat there. Can anyone tell me if we should expect long lines, big crowds or a super loud environment?

Feedback on food choices would be appreciated, too! Am I missing something that I shouldn't be?

Thank you!

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  1. Be forewarned, that will be an expensive cab ride if you're going late afternoon, you will hit rush hour traffic and it will take you forever to get from CC to Hollywood & back. Your best bet would be to go somewhere in Culver City that first night, if your friend is not up for going out. But you won't find a pizza place close to Mozza, if that is what you have your heart set on. I bet renting a car for a day or two just might be cheaper than the cab ride. Seriously. Good luck!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

      I've been living in DC for the past yr and a half so I hope none of my info is dated, but there's an Umami in Santa Monica that would be much easier to get to than the Hollywood Umami. If you are in CC, I would just go to Father's Office and get their burger (I tend to prefer Umami, but FO's is really great too).

      There's some pretty good options in and close to CC that I would do over cabbing to Hollywood. A quick search should bring up some good ones, but from memory: Mezza, A-Frame, Waterloo...

      1. re: mdpilam

        Sadly Mezza is closed... but I agree that after a long flight, the last thing I would want to deal with is the parking and 'scene' situation at either Umami or Mozza. F.O., A-Frame, Waterloo are closer and great options. Actually the last time a food loving friend came into town, on the first day we took them to Yamadaya. They loved it and it forfied them for the rest of the trip!


        1. re: Dommy

          Couldn't agree more with your recs Dommy. I would also add that it might be worth considering Lukshon.

          As everyone has already pointed out, the cab option is a non-starter. Renting a car might make a lot of sense, however, esp. if you have to get your friend to Hollywood for the taping.

          1. re: Bob Brooks

            Jeopardy tapes at the Sony lot in Culver City, that's why they're staying in CC.

    2. mozza 2 go is pretty easy especially if you order first before you get there. however, without a car, it's quite the gamble to go there with a cab. that 13 miles can stretch to a long drive. if you're staying in culver city, there's quite a few places worth going to. just off the top of my head, there's akasha, a frame, lukshon, fathers office, waterloo and city. i'm not sure umami burger is worth keeping in a bag for a while too nor the cab ride though i do think they're pretty good.

      1. Where exactly are you staying? There are probably places within walking distance we can recommend. You might also talk with the concierge of the hotel regarding whether they might have some sort of shuttle. There are delivery services that probably cost a lot less than round-trip cabs would.

        1. imho,
          do not take a cab any distance in LA on late weekday afternoon to pick up food.
          the traffic situation is unbelievable at that time, and even the best food will be reduced to lousy /mediocre food by the time the cab gets you back to the hotel.

          far better strategy is to eat at restaurant in or near Culver City .

          5 Replies
          1. re: westsidegal

            That's mho also. You could easily be talking about a 90 minute, $60 round trip cab ride. Lots of good options right in Culver City that have been mentioned here.

            1. re: westsidegal

              Yikes on the cab, thanks for letting me know! Coming from Seattle, 13 miles seemed reasonable, but it sounds like that might not be the case in LA, especially with traffic.
              I'll also follow up on delivery services, thanks for the good idea.

              We'll be staying at the Doubletree Hilton in Culver City, if anyone has more recommendations for around that area (am going to run the recs for Father's Office and the others by my friend right now).

              1. re: fromagefraulein

                Fathers Office (the one in Culver City, not the original in Santa Monica) makes a lot of sense. You were considering Umami, and many rate the burger at Fathers Office to be the best in SoCal. Their other food is good, too. Note that they do not make any alterations or substitutions to the menu items. And a very reasonable cab ride from the hotel, maybe 3-4 miles or so -- across the 405 and then up La Cienega.

                1. re: fromagefraulein

                  I work in the area and sadly there isn't a ton of great grub within walking distance. However, you are RIGHT by the Culver City Transit center so you can easy hop on one of the Culver City buses to take you where you need to go in Culver City for $1. Also,M-F you can take the #4 Culver City bus to the Metro Expo line, which opens up SO much of L.A. to you. You can get downtown, to Hollywood, to East Los Angeles.

                  Here is the link to the Culver City Bus:



                  1. re: Dommy

                    I'm one of those weird Angelenos that, despite having cars, will ride the bus. I will say that the new Expo line is unfortuantely SLOW.
                    Anyhow, the bus is certainly an option. The Culver City busses are easy and not gritty.
                    There are stops on the #3 line even closer than the transit hub at the mall, within 1/3 mile from that hotel. The #3 can get one right up to downtown CC, actually right next to Sony where I believe Jeopardy is taped. You could meet and either swithc to another bus for the mile trip to F.O., or just grab a cab. Cab from hotel to F.O is probably $20. Personally I think the Father's Office burger is about as good as Umami, plus there is other good grub there. That #3 line also goes all the way up to Century City, though there isn't a lot there.
                    Also in about 1/3 mile from hotel, you could grab a #2 and get right to Waterloo & City or A-Frame. Actually from Sony there is a straight shot bus there for your friend too. Otherwise these can be cabbed for about $15. I think the pizza at W & C is pretty good, and the terrines are great. I heard they now make all the charcuterie in-house too. I think A-frame is good & cool, but slightly prefer the food at W & C. Gjelina indeed is another good option. Broad menu of all sorts of good stuff, including really good pizzas, with a vibrant crowd. Though it is very loud inside as opposed to the patio, as well as hard to get into.

              2. Another vote for Father's Office for the burger.

                Beverage Warehouse and the adjacent Los Angeles Wine Company in west Culver would be the perfect place to get whatever champagne and other drinks you could possibly want.

                1. The Double Tree is near the intersection of Centinela and Sepulveda. Nothing within walking distance that I can think of. By all means, stay away from Petrellis, Dinah's is borderline. You'll be as close to Marina del Rey as the center of Culver City. I always suggest Cafe del Rey in the Marina to my out of town guests. Very California and good food, service and experience all around. A cab ride to either the Marina or the Center of Culver City would be reasonable.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Baron

                    Two close, and worth the short cab rides, by suggestions. Mariscos Chente on Inglewood Ave. in Mar Vista for Sinaloan/Nayarit seafood and Pann's for the patty melt or the wings and waffle or breakfast and take in the Googie architecture and enjoy the cross cultural pull of an LA icon.

                    Even though the original chef and his wife (Sergio Eduardo Penuelas and Maria Penuelas) have moved on to their now renamed Coni' Seafood Inglewood location on Imperial Hwy this location is still worthy.



                    1. re: Baron

                      Also close by is Matteo's for paletas. That's good snacking.

                      1. re: Jase

                        not on the same level as umami/mozza2go, but 101 noodle express, Kyochon, and Five guys are in the mall down the street from the Doubletree.

                    2. Hi! I live in Culver City. Frankly, I hate pizzeria mozza. Nor is it convenient. Umami is fun food, but it's not that convenient, nor so awesome to warrant a trek. Culver City has a thriving foodie scene, so it's a chore to go so far away if you don't have time (and practically impossible without a rental car.)

                      I would highly recommend checking out Waterloo & City which is a gastropub in Culver City. They have some gourmet pizzas and lighter far in the bar area which would be good for late bites and drinks. There is a very popular "hot" gastropub that just opened near Waterloo called Corner Door but I haven't been yet.

                      A-frame is near by waterloo, of Roy Choi fame. Also Chego is very low key (though small and loud) and is a Roy Choi property.

                      Fraiche in down town culver city was a go -to restaurant of mine. It is closing (they don't seem to have an exact date.) It makes me sad because it really is a good place. There is a secret menu with slashed prices until they go out business, that could be a good meal:

                      I am also a huge fan of L'epicure, in the downtown culver city area. I eat brunch/lunch there a LOT and have been meaning to try happy hour and dinner. I think it will replace Fraiche for my go-to dinner in a mile radius when Fraiche closes for good.

                      Meet is a little bistro in downtown culver that is quite good.

                      I'm not a huge fan of the Father's Office (when I have to go I smuggle in my own ketchup as I think it's really stupid to not offer ketchup at all with burgers and fries), but it does make more sense than umami. Next to FO is Lukshon, an asian joint which is really popular with foodies, but higher price point.

                      Cafe Brazil is pretty low key and tasty (BYOB at the Venice Blvd culver city location), I really like the softshell crabs (seasonal, not printed on menu just ask) at Bamboo (Venice Blvd in culver city


                      Another place on my list for low key ness and reasonably price is: hamakaze sushi izakaya which is not too far, also the culver area.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sarahbeths

                        their hotel is not really near downtown culver city.

                      2. You might want to consider Gjelina Take Away also in place of Mozza2Go. For me, the pizza at Mozza is definitely a step above but the ones at Gjelina are really good as well. They also have some really great salads/sides + dessert (esp. the date cake if they have it!). It'll be a much easier drive for you from Culver City.

                        Another vote for Father's Office in Culver City also! The Umami in Santa Monica shouldn't be hard for you to get to from Culver City but the wait can be frustrating unless you get there early -- even on weekdays. I've only been to F.O. for dinner later at night + there usually isn't a wait then -- not sure what it's like during normal meal times.

                        Both these options would be cheaper cab-wise since most traffic tends to flow eastward in the evening. I think renting a car is usually the better option for LA, though, since traffic here can be unpredictable sometimes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fizzy

                          imho, the Gjelina pizza is not very good after being transported from Venice practically to LAX. (the hotel is at the intersection of sepulveda and centinela)
                          the round trip cab ride including tip could well end up being $40 by itself.

                          since the pizza is also one of the pricier individual pizza's in town, it would be especially disappointing.

                          i DO like it at the restaurant, though, but it seems to me that the OP wants to avoid mob-scene restaurants.

                        2. Culver City has a lot of good food options. Explore those first.

                          Umami isn't worth a cab ride. Pizzeria Mozza is though, but only to eat in the restaurant. Pizza doesn't travel well.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: JudiAU

                            even though the hotel is technically in culver city, it's location is closer to marina del rey than to downtown culver city.

                            i'd go with Cafe del Rey for higher end food.
                            for something less pricy try the bar menu at Cafe del Rey or get a burger or an entree salad from 26 Beach.

                            1. re: JudiAU

                              I've taken out Mozza2go 3 times this week, along with some very delicious salads and, of course, the budino.
                              The pizza travels very well for about an hour and then can be heated in a 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes....it crisps it right back up again.
                              Delicious and well worth a trip.

                              1. re: latindancer

                                respectfully disagree.
                                1) i've been subjected to this reheated pizza several times and, at this point, will try to avoid it.
                                2) the OP is going to be in a hotel room. the only ovens i've ever seen in hotel rooms are microwaves. . . . .

                            2. I agree with all the people who are telling you carrying out from Mozza is not an option. Umami isn't close by either and even if it were located in your hotel lobby, I wouldn't recommend that you go there. Not a fan at all and chances are you can get a better burger in your hometown for less.

                              Waterloo & City is a great option reasonably close by if you want something easy. I ate there last night and was extremely happy with my meal. I'd also suggest that you might be better off renting a car which will open up lots of options. If you don't get to LA that often, why be stuck in a small part of the city?