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Visiting LA. Restaurant recs? (Dietary restricitons)

Hi all, I'll be visiting L.A. soon, staying in Hollywood area. Don't have any huge plans, hope to go to the beach, Venice or Santa Monica at least once or twice and just have a relaxed vacation. I'm trying to gather info on places to eat. I have some dietary restrictions so that makes it a bit harder.

Overall, I don't eat meat, but some fish is ok (strongly prefer wild). I am on the South Beach diet, and though I won't be planning to strictly stick to it on my trip, I hope to still limit grains, starchy veggies, sugars, and fatty foods at some or many of my meals if possible. I may go to a few splurge places too (splurge as in go off my South Beach diet) so suggestions for places that aren't diet-friendly are okay too.

I live in Northern California and if it helps at all in knowing my tastes I like places like Chez Panisse Cafe, Jardineire, Absinthe, Bay Wolf. But I am looking for cheaper, more casual places too. My husband and I may want to go out to a nice dinner or two, but overall we prefer casual places, especially with sidewalk or patio seating. Overall, places that focus on organics, lots of fresh veggies, food that isn't too heavy or rich would be great. But, off-diet suggestions are also welcomed.

What I've found so far:
Off-diet places: maybe Tratkir or Polka, Jerry's Deli, Phillipe
Nicer places: Luques or Ammo
More casual places: Rockenwagner, Huckleberry, Blair's, 26 Beach
Other places I wondered about: Warszawa, Canyon Bistro, The Blue Star (Saw this place in a movie and felt compelled to go there)

Also, many years ago I had profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce at sidewalk table in West Hollywood, maybe on Sunset. Any place like that still around?

I hope I didn't write too much and make this confusing! Thank you!

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  1. Skip Jerry's Deli. If you're going to have(access to) a car and a GPS and want deli, make your way to 7th and Alvarado for Langers (particularly, for their pastrami or corned beef). They're closed Sundays and have limited hours (pretty much a breakfast or lunch place).

    7 Replies
    1. re: DrBruin

      Thank you. I don't eat meat so no corned beef for me. Is it still good for non-meat items? I will definitely look it up. We will have a car thankfully so we have some options in getting around.

      1. re: DrBruin

        absolutely skip Jerry's deli if at all possible.

        1. re: westsidegal

          +3 to skip Jerry's. What is it you want to order at a deli?

          1. re: wienermobile

            From the Jerry's menu things that looked good to me were: potato pancakes, knish, hummus etc, some kind of salad, tuna or veggie sandwich, maybe dessert, etc. Any delis you recommend that are open at night and that have both good veggie and fish options since Langers is only open during the day. Close-ish to Hollywood would be great too.

            1. re: bythebay

              For deli you want to go to Langer's near downtown or Brent's in Northridge. Canter's on Fairfax is open 24 hours but is just ok (but much much better than Jerry's).
              http://www.langersdeli.com/
              http://www.brentsdeli.com/
              http://www.cantersdeli.com/

              1. re: wienermobile

                Canters has great omelets! I don't eat meat either and they are my go to omelets.

                Jerry's as a good Mexican scramble that is enormous, also meat free. And you might like Vegan Glory on Beverly and Orlando.

              2. re: bythebay

                My suggestion of Greenblatt's as a substitute deli mysteriously vanished, so I am reposting for you. It is close to Hollywood (Sunset between Fairfax and Laurel Canyon/Crescent Heights), is open at night, has a selection of smoked fish and vegetarian items and, surprising for a deli, a great selection of wines.

                http://www.greenblattsdeli.com

        2. definitely not Phillipe's if you're not a meat eater (even if you are, it's not so great) and definitely not Jerry's. Huckleberry is great for pastry items and breakfast. You may want to check out their other 2 restaurants, Milo & Olive and Rustic Canyon, which are both wonderful. Just ask Maudie! : )

          11 Replies
          1. re: budlit

            Thanks so much. Will check both of those out.

            1. re: budlit

              +1 for Rustic Canyon. Just what you are looking for. Wonderful food.
              http://www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com/

              Fig in Santa Monica also.
              http://www.figsantamonica.com/

              1. re: wienermobile

                Thank you! The Fig menu looks good, I have to look at Rustic Canyon again too.

                I'm also interested in Russian, Polish type food. Any ideas if the few places I listed are any good (Tratkir or Polka,Warszawa)? Also any good brasseries? Also I was looking at Ethiopian, Meals by Genet and Awash. Any thoughts on these?

                1. re: bythebay

                  I do like the food at Warsaw but the restaurant is just a little strange. Don't go without a reservation.
                  http://www.warszawarestaurant.com/

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Thanks for all your input, maybe we'll try that one, looks interesting to me.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      I read some yelp reviews and one said the smoke from the patio can drift into the restaurant? Have you experienced that? I'd like to go but not if it's smoky. Thank you.

                      1. re: bythebay

                        In Santa Monica, smoking is prohibited in the following areas:

                        • Within 20 feet of entryways and windows of any buildings open to the public
                        • In any outdoor dining areas

                    2. re: bythebay

                      Fig is 50% off most menu items at their Fig at Five special Tuesday-Saturday from 5pm to 6pm. A great deal for great food.

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        +1 for FIG in general, and +100 (if I can do that) for "FIG at Five"! Best deal in town!

                      2. re: bythebay

                        Went to Traktir once yrs ago and very much enjoyed. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if the stuff I had (pork chop that was thick, juicy, pepper-y and fantastically cooked, and the dumplings) will be particularly diet-friendly. My friend and I (who are East Asian) also appeared to be ONLY non-Russian people in there, which was interesting for people-watching. =) The waitstaff didn't actually seem to understand much English, although the maitre'd did. Also had really delicious tea thee.

                        Can't compare it to other places b/c I've never had that type of food b/f (or since), but I think it'd be worth a stop if you're close....

                        1. re: ilysla

                          Thanks I think I'll keep it as an option for one of the "go off my diet" meals. It sounds fun, and I like Russian food.

                  2. Another really good place in the Venice area (given your preferred non meat menu choices) is the Tasting Kitchen. Dinner is good but so is brunch (if you do go for brunch try the Grilled White Cheddar with Fig Sandwich) http://www.thetastingkitchen.com/ and if you are looking for a more inexpensive and healthy option (also in Venice) then I recommend Sauce on Hampton http://sauceonhampton.com/

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Servorg

                      Wow Tasting Kitchen menu looks great. Wild fish, orange olive oil cake, yum! Thank you!

                      1. re: Servorg

                        although i like Sauce on Hampton, imho, it is not worth the drive from hollywood.
                        tiny, nice, crowded, neighborhood place that often involves a parking hassle.
                        to me: not a destination restaurant,

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          The OP said "Don't have any huge plans, hope to go to the beach, Venice or Santa Monica at least once or twice and just have a relaxed vacation."

                          I didn't suggest they "...drive from hollywood..." to go there.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            agree with you if they happen to find themselves in the neighborhood.

                      2. You may want to try something altogether different that would be closer by to Hollywood, like Red Medicine - there might be enough non-meat dishes there. As you are already looking at Suzanne Goin restaurants (off the Chez Panisse tree), Tavern might be a nice place.

                        1. Providence, if it's in your budget.