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Fast-Casual Restaurant Concepts in Los Angeles or San Diego Area..

Hi all,

I am visiting LA and San Diego in a week and my purpose of the trip is to go restaurant hopping and check out different restaurant concepts, mainly pizza / italian, sandwich and fast-casual ones.

Anyone have any suggestions for me? Places I must visit? Thank you

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  1. caveat:
    personally, i don't eat at many fast casual restaurants.

    that said, everyone i know that does frequent that genre seems to love menodcino farms.

    2 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      I'm not sure what fast casual means exactly.

      I really love Mendocino Farms, if it wasn't always so crowded I'd go more often.

      Would 800 Degrees be considered a "fast casual concept?" If yes, than MF and 800 would satisfy the sandwich and pizza requirements of the OP.

      1. re: PaulF

        I agree with PaulF on 800 Degrees and Mendocino Farms Plus I'd add Veggie Grill and Lemonade.

          1. re: arb

            They said "fast". LOL.

            Papa Cristo's Greek restaurant and market.

          2. Lunch
            3829 Main St
            Culver City, CA


            good for salads and sandwiches. definitely fast casual.

            1. Gjelina Take Away (GTA) on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

              7 Replies
              1. re: bulavinaka

                Hi bulavinaka!
                I pass by GTA often because my lads require frequent visits to Abbot's Pizza (I think you met them quite some time ago at Bite Bar & Bakery, remember the bag of Elizabeth's croissants!?). Anyway, I haven't tried GTA because it is always crowded every time that I pass by and there is no place to eat. I've noticed pizzas when I walk by but was wondering what is their forte, which of their menu items do you think reign supreme? Thanks!

                1. re: sel

                  Hey sel,
                  Really miss Bite's food, particularly the baked goods... GTA is usually is busy 9:30AM-2:30PM. I usually go there around 1430-1530 during the week, and will occasionally grab breakfast before 0900 on weekends.

                  The pizzas are excellent imho. The crust is very thin and the pies are individual-sized - points of contention for some. The wood-fired ovens are a big part of the magic, and the choices cover most tastes. I like the fennel sausage or the bottarga/jalapeno.

                  The salads are excellent - always fresh, seasoned just right, and nice combinations - mostly organic. They usually have about six to choose from. Kale has become very popular around town - I think Gjelina/GTA had a big part in it. Their salads with kale have always impressed me.

                  I'm not a huge fan of the sandwiches in general, but the tuna conserva has always hit the spot for me. The sandwiches in general can be on the smallish side - like the pizzas. Perfect for lunch, maybe a bit shy for dinner.

                  I mentioned the ovens - their talents show in their baked goods. I think they have some of the best bread in town. Unfortunately, they don't offer the loaves for sale. However, the cookies, scones, cakes and pies are always on my to-get list - rustic/artisan is the best way I can describe their goods. I wish they'd keep a more regular menu on this part because I've tried some really knock-out baked goods but they seem to come up with stuff on a whim. I still dream of their banana cream pie and their coconut macaroons.

                  1. re: sel

                    I forgot to address the issue of finding a place to eat. Aside from a narrow counter in front and a few individual counters off to the north side of the service area, most folks settle on standing in front or sitting off to the side of what used to be a driveway entrance to a courtyard. Milk crates are about as good as it gets, but it's actually quite communal. Most folks strike up candid conversations without hesitation. Extra points if you bring your pooch.

                  2. re: bulavinaka

                    I always find the parking to be a real deterrent.

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      Parking is a pain on and immediately around this street. It loosens up quite a bit if you're willing to walk more than a block.

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        That's the only way I ever get any parking....

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          I've had good luck with the metered spaces in the alley out back. But it's the luck of the draw.

                      1. You don't give a price point so...

                        Plan Check is conveniently located just west of the 405 and north of the 10 freeways. Very delicious & innovative sandwiches, cocktails. http://www.plancheckbar.com/