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Restaurants that have character or have characters?

I'm looking for some good LA restaurants that have good character. Your favorite spots that have great food - the best burritio, the best taco, the best burger, the best whatever. And also have interesting people behind the scenes. I'm not looking for a scene, just cool food, cool atmosphere, cool people. Its for my food blog - http://food.ericisaac.com - take a quick look if you need some reference.

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  1. wow, really no responses yet? crazy.

    I was told by an LA friend that Canter's is cool spot. Any thoughts?

    3 Replies
    1. re: ebi

      Hi... You were really "crazy" surprised that it took a little over an hour for 'Hounds to respond to your original post?

      1) Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles
      2) The Griddle Cafe for breakfast
      3) Soot Bul Jeep for smoke-soaked korean bbq
      4) Oki Dog for late-night chili-cheese pastrami dogs - carry mace or brass knuckles

      1. re: silence9

        yeah, the nyer's are ravenous to share their faves.

        These sound great. Especially the danger factor of Oki Dog

        1. re: silence9

          I LOVE Roscoe's. I don't know that it's "cool", but the chicken and the waffle I had had there hit the absolute spot, and I wish we had one where I lived.

      2. 1. Dan Tanas
        2. Chey Jay
        3. The Galley

        1 Reply
        1. re: Thor123

          And I would add Vito to that list.

          1. re: Servorg

            Pann's looks like the place where they shot Pulp Fiction

            1. re: ebi

              Pulp Fiction was shot in the Hawthorne Diner. It's not around anymore.

              Reservoir Dogs was shot at Pat and Lorraine's in Eagle Rock. I've never been there, but it's still around.

            2. re: Servorg

              What are the characters you are referring to at Dino's Servorg? I only know the Pollo Maniaco.

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                It was in reply to "...the best burritio, the best taco, the best burger, the best whatever." and it was definitely all about the crazy chicken and marinade soaked fries...

            3. Langer's Deli http://www.langersdeli.com/

              Clifton's Cafeteria (currently closed but is reopening) http://www.cliftonscafeteria.com/

              Philippe's The Original http://www.philippes.com/

              Bay Cities Italian Deli http://www.baycitiesitaliandeli.com/

              The Apple Pan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Appl...

              Musso and Franks http://mussoandfrank.com/

              1. Dan tana's, Chez Jay & el Tepeyac are all classic! Phillippe's & Musso's too!

                I guess I'd add:
                The Brown Derby
                The Polo Lounge
                Antijos Carmen
                Grilled cheese & Komodo trucks

                1. Characters:

                  Marty & Elayne are the lounge act at The Dresden Room - You saw them in "Swingers"...

                  Busloads of tourists used to come to see Thai Elvis perform at Palms Thai, but I think he took a leave of absence for health reasons...

                  Nozawa-san is the original "Sushi Nazi" - but his Studio City sushi bar is no more.

                  Michael Chow IS Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills...

                  Clive Davis used to bring his protegees to L'Orangerie and make her serenade the customers in the dining room, whether we liked it or not.

                  Walking into the main dining room at Spago - I remember one night when my beautiful date (now Mrs. J.L.) & I walked into that dining room - Philanthropist Marvin Davis & his wife were at "their usual table", Larry King and his wife at another table, and the entire San Antonio Spurs squad (including David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Greg Popovich, etc. - You can't miss them... they're like 2 stories taller than any other mortal in that room) all looked up from their food and stared as we sauntered to our table (OK they were really looking at her) . A very "L.A. Story" moment. That dining room is a star unto itself.

                  Mark Wahlberg dines with alarming predictability at Matsuhisa. But this is more of a celeb sighting.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: J.L.

                    Medieval Times and Chuck E. Cheese have characters.

                    So does every restaurant in Disneyland.

                    1. re: PaulF

                      While I've only been to Medieval Times once (to take my wife's favorite cousin when he was visiting us from Japan a long time ago) I recall the roast chicken and potatoes as actually being pretty good and even the dessert (English trifle IIRC) wasn't bad.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        It's fine for a tourist thing to do. Food is okay.

                        Just too many screaming kids.

                        But they do have characters.

                      2. re: PaulF

                        Dear New York, allow me to introduce Orange County...

                      3. re: J.L.

                        "Busloads of tourists used to come to see Thai Elvis perform at Palms Thai, but I think he took a leave of absence for health reasons..."

                        That can only mean one thing..."Elvis has left the building" ;-D>


                        1. re: J.L.

                          Oh nooooo. Didn't know about the Thai Elvis.

                        2. Add Taylor's Steak House on 8th/Ardmore. Lots of characters there, especially at the bar!

                          1. I can never forget that great line from a Tom Waits line...

                            "And the waitress looked like Ernest Borgnine."

                            1. I'd second whoever mentioned Dan Tana's. While I'm not there often, it's a real drinkers' bar with decent italian-american food and an amazingly fun and crusty cast of regular booze hounds, some with interesting hollywood pedigrees. If you stay late enough, it gets even shadier in the best possible way.

                              Come for the veal marsala. Stay for the plastered 60-something agents, managers and execs and the occasional celebrity sighting. Last time I was there, Clint was at the bar. Yes, I was well into my cups by that point and had to do a double take - as on first glance he was just some wizened old guy in a tan windbreaker.

                                1. Papa Cristo's Restaurant and Market. They have fantastic Greek food on the side of their market with great prices. Go on Thursday night when they serve a family style dinner complete with wine tasting and some Greek dancing demonstrations. Mr. Cristo, a very very short man with a handlebar mustache comes out and talks to everyone.

                                  My Greek girlfriend loves this place.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: granadafan

                                    I'll 2nd and 3rd Papa Cristo's. And it's a great place too

                                  2. By design, Pink Taco...there must be others but this is not a great criteria.....for finding a good restaurant....even just to review.

                                    1. Tribal Cafe in sort of lower Echo Park... never know WHAT I'm gonna see there. And even if empty, the place alone is certainly dripping with character.