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Oct 12, 2012 03:35 PM

First time in LA: Looking to impress hubby with AWESOME food!!!

My family (husband and 10,6 year old kids) and I will be in Los Angeles the second week of November. He is European but LOVES Mexican food. I'm from San Antonio so he's had good food there.

I am looking for some incredible places to eat in the City of Angels!!. We will be visiting Chinatown, but we are willing to drive across town if need be for great Mexican food. I'm hoping to find some of those mom and pop taco trucks too.

I would love to hear any recommendations about ANY great food... not limited to just Mexican.


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  1. If you want Chinese food, I would skip Chinatown altogether. Go instead to the San Gabriel Valley, which is a short drive (in good traffic) east of Los Angeles proper. There, you will find one of the greatest concentrations of good Chinese restaurants in the US.

    Check out this thread for more information:

    1 Reply
    1. Price range? Location? with the kids or without?

      3 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        We will be with the kids. Price range is moderate.. I suppose 10-15 dollars a plate, max? I think this is reasonable... Mexican food is not too expensive where I'm from.

        Thanks for answering!! I was starting to get discouraged!!

        1. re: TheGreekxicans

          Here is a link that will help. Start asking questions, Welcome to LA

          and I love Ricky's Fish Tacos! Open Lunch only thursday-sundays.

          1. re: wienermobile

            Fish tacos!!! I used to live in Hawaii and boy, those fish tacos are good! I used to have them right after a dive. Best ever.

      2. Go to East LA and try Manuel's El Tepeyac for burritos, taquitos and Guisados for delicious authentic tacos.

        If you go anywhere west toward Hollywood, you will pay a lot more.

        8 Replies
          1. re: TheGreekxicans

            I can understand Guisados, but I'm a bit leery of Manuel's El Tepeyac. I haven't eaten there in years, but I thought it was more a quantity over quality place. Heard some grumbling about the daughter taking over the place a few years back and it had slipped. Where's is westsidegal anyway? I think it's time for our expert on Coni's Seafood on Imperial Highway. The pescado zarandeado is about $22 a kilo as I recall. I've heard it's available in Texas, but I have no idea how it compares to the one cooked up by Sergio which I've had and liked a lot. Incidentally it's been noted some feel calling to make sure Sergio is cooking is a guarantee you'll get the best experience. Coni's isn't in the high rent district so you know. I'm butting out now. I think our visitors might be more interested in the types of cuisine that might not be available in San Antonio.

            1. re: Feed_me

              Coni's would be over their budget of 10-15 a plate.....

              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                that too.
                any good seafood place in LA will cost more than 10-15 a plate out-the-door.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  That's true. I guess I wasn't associating seafood as Mexican food? I know.. hmphf.. shows you how much I know about Mexican food. I'm FROM San Antonio, and visit often, but I live in North Carolina... not much Mexican food here!!

                  1. re: TheGreekxicans

                    if you'd like to get a quick idea about how far "mexican food" extends, take a look at this blog by StreetgourmetLA. fabulous pictures of all the food. be sure to click on some of the subjects shown in the column on the right side of the home page.


                  2. re: westsidegal

                    Sorry westsidegal, I had no idea about the Coni's thing. I actually appreciated that you know so much about the place and what were the current happenings there. The information was informative I felt. Not going to delve into it further. I don't think the pescado z should be off the table since a kilo of snook should easily feed 2. I have eaten Sergio's and some of the cooking by others so I feel reasonably familiar enough with the food. I'm keeping my mouth shut about my favorite cheap eatery, but it can found easily enough. I see Clayudas are mentioned further below. If the op is interested, I followed Dommy's recommendation and got the clayuda with inhouse made chorizo. Really good and pretty to look at from E.K. Valley in Culver City. Sometimes they have an agua fresca made with pumpkin which is pretty interesting (bits of pumpkin in the drink).

                    1. re: Feed_me

                      the kilo does feed 2, i should know because i had a half of one for lunch today!
                      the rest of that fish, i'm sure, will be dinner covered in those onions. .. .

          2. raytamsgv has already got you covered for Chinese.

            For Mexican go to Babita.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              For $10-15 a plate max, Babita doesn't even come in the running at lunchtime.... Sometimes I wonder, do you guys ever read the comments below the OP?!

              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                That would be no fun.

                I third the rec for San Gabriel for Chinese. Kids always enjoy dim sum, especially cart style.

                My kids (9 and 7) love going to the food truck gettogethers. For an LA experience, try the Kogi truck. It's Mexican Korean fusion.

                1. re: boogiebaby

                  Mexican-Korean is interesing and I would love to try it!!! Thanks!

              2. re: ipsedixit

                It's okay, Ipse, my first thought was Babita, but then I remembered the price range. However, to the OP - I think they would find it worth it to spend a little more and try Babita. Delicious! I also agree with the recs for Chichen Itza (interesting food from the Yucatan that you don't find everywhere) and Guelaguetza (known for their moles) and food from Oaxaca.
                I think if they balance out their budget and amongst the trucks and the more expensive places, they should come out pretty even.



              3. Understand that Texas Mexican food and Los Angeles Mexican food are very like to be be very different.

                I love El Tepeyac, but that is old school Angeleno Mexican, not current Mexican food.

                For good Mexican food that is more contemporary look at Guelaguetza Restaurant (Koreatown), Chichen Itza (University Park/USC), El Compadre (Echo Park), La Serenata De Garibaldi (East LA), Huaraches Azteca (Highland Park), La Parrilla Restaurant (East LA), Juquila Restaurant (West LA), Tamayo Restaurant (East LA, upscale), Moles La Tia (East LA), El Nuevo Rinconsito Oaxaqueño (Pico Union), Antequera De Oaxaca (Melrose), Chichen Itza (University Park/USC) and La Flor de Yucatan (Pico Union). These are some of LA's top Mexican spots and they are all over the map in terms of style, meaning several are regional Mexican food, Yucatan vs Oaxacan, etc.

                Current hot trends in LA are the Gastropub and head to tail dining, look at spots like include Luques, Animal, Son of a Gun, Barbrix Restaurant and Wine Bar, A-Frame, The Spice Table, Waterloo and City, The Curious Palate, Cha Cha Chicken, Eveleigh, Gjelina, Salt's Cure, Starry Kitchen, The Golden State, The Lazy Ox Canteen, Off Vine, The Hungry Cat, Mendocino Farms, The Open Door, The Little Door, Rustic Canyon, Blue Plate Oysterette, Chego, Jitlada, Lukshon and Huckleberry.

                For Chinese in the San Gabriel Valley, Shufeng Garden in Rowland Heights has excellent Szechuan style food, so does Ding's Garden. not too far from Shufeng Garden is a good Shanghaiese restaurant called JJ Noodle House. Tan Cang Newport Seafood is more a mixed of Chaozhou Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian restaurant, but great too and the blending of styles really works. For dim sum check 888 Seafood Restaurant and Ocean Star.

                3 Replies
                1. re: scottca075

                  the Greekxicans:
                  be aware that several of the restaurants mentioned in the paragraph that scottca074 starts with "Current hot trends" are delicious, but way over your stated budget. also, some of them. like gjelina, really REQUIRE having a reservation at peak times or you'll be standing and waiting forever.

                  1. re: scottca075

                    Wow, there is SO MUCH I DON'T KNOW about Mexican food. I am from Mexican roots, so I am a bit embarassed that I didn't know there was a difference between Texas Mexican food and Los Angeles Mexican food. I travel to San Diego often for work and the taco places that I've been to do not seem all that different than the taco places back home. I am impressed with the Yucatan/Oaxacan that you mention and I wish I knew the difference!!

                    I really appreciate all the Chinese tips. My kids DIG noodles (because of the movie Kung-Fu Panda and his dad being the owner of a noodle cart, lol).

                    1. re: scottca075

                      I love a lot of these recs, but I've never heard anyone call Mendocino Farms, Huckleberry, Rustic Canyon, Blu Plate Oysterette head-to-tail or gastropub restaurants. Not to mention Cha Cha Chicken. In fact, the majority of the places you mentioned in that section don't really veer towards either of those descriptors, but I'd recommend a decent number of them anyway.