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Harbor/South Bay Suggestions

I'll be in San Pedro for about a week at Thanksgiving, wondering if there are places to eat that Chowhounds think I have to try while I'm there, especially in the South Bay/Harbor area. One of the things that Mom and I enjoy doing is trying new and different places to eat. Both of us are fairly adventurous, no objection to spicy, and it doesn't have to be a 'nice' restaurant. Clean is good.

Among the regular places I will be hitting are: Gaffey St. Diner, Pacific Diner, Think on 6th, Baja Fish, and In&Out Burgers. I will also be headed into LA for a pastrami sandwich at Cantor's or Langer's (Cantor's probably because they are open 24/7)

Places I'm also considering but have never been include: Las Brisas, Beach City Grill, Mama Joan's Soul food, and Slavkos. I'd like to try a good taco truck, as well as some good Old California Style Mexican food. Also fond of most Asian cuisines.

Comments on any of these as well as additional suggestions are welcome. Coming from Hawaii I know how difficult these kinds of posts can be to answer.

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  1. Trust me you'll be much much happier going to Langer's instead of Canter's. Langer's (home of the world's best pastrami & rye period) is open till 4pm and closed Sundays. Canter's doesn't even come close.

    1 Reply
    1. Hey, welcome to my neighborhood!

      Mama Joan's is excellent. Good down home cooking right there...smothered in gravy.

      A-1 Italian Grocery on 8th St has some great sandwiches. They're always battling BusyBee's (another great sandwich shop) for the best sandwich in the Southbay. Plus they have some excellent Italian imported items.

      If you're in to BBQ, I can suggest Porky's on 6th in downtown. Excellent greens, pulled pork, ribs, and chicken. I even like their 'Backyard Burgers'. Thick, juicy, and smoked to perfection.

      There's a couple Asian places (Thai/Sushi fusion) here, but I wouldn't.

      Over on 7th street in DT there's Mishi's Strudel Bakery. LEGIT homemade Hungarian strudels (both sweet and savory), goulash dishes and Fair Trade coffee.

      Brite Spot on Pacific & 6th has some killer tacos! I especially love their super tender al pastor.
      The rice kinda sucks, but the beans are wonderful. I think they may put a little cinnamon in them.

      Down here we have a '1st Thursday' Art Walk where the first Thursday of every month they turn downtown into a small festival of food trucks and artist exibits throughout the many lofts. If you won't be around in time for that, every Thursday there's a big food truck gathering at Narbone High School, just a couple miles north, on Western (just past PCH).

      Across the street from the In N Out on Western is Amalfitano Bakery. Amazing Italian pastries, cakes, and cookies.

      710 Grille on Weymouth is pretty well known around here for their hot wings. Some of the best and hottest in LA.

      If you want to check out a VERY local's only hangout, you can head down to Ports of Call and visit Utro's. It's an old seedy bar that's been featured a numerous movies and television shows...and not a bad burger either. But the atmosphere is really where it's at.

      And don't forget to visit the Korean Friendship Bell and Point Fermin Park down on the cliffs below! Gorgeous views of the Pacific. Although, being from Hawaii, you may just be over that kind of stuff.

      I'll come back to this thread if anything else pops up.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Novelli

        the friendship bell is a beautiful place to hang out, a very different pacific, plus I lived in Seoul for a few years long ago. Thanks for the other suggestions as well.

      2. Welcome, K Man. For those who don't know, you really help a lot of people with restaurant choices on the Hawaii boards. I hope we can return the favor.

        When I think of the Harbor area, I think of Pavich pizza in RPV. Croatian and a real favorite here. Also some excellent places in Lomita, notably Chantilly for some of the best cream puffs around. I recommend the black sesame. In the same mini mall is Gaja Moc for Japanese okonomiyaki, although I'm sure you have some of that in Honolulu.

        As mentioned already, Porky's is a good BBQ and fried chicken spot.

        For taco trucks, I would recommend a drive into LA. Tacos Leo is on La Brea and Venice Blvd is the consensus favorite.

        Kagura is a unique tonkatsu restaurant in Torrance. One of my favorites in the area.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ogawak

          thought I recognized the name Ogawak, thanks for the suggestions.

        2. I think you should give Yanagi Bistro on the Lomita/Torrance border on PCH a try.

          The Standing Room for a burger on PCH and Diamond in Redondo Beach.

          MB Post in Manhattan Beach.... great bacon cheddar biscuits...

          1 Reply
          1. re: DrBruin

            thanks DrBruin. MBPost looks interesting, and I always look forward to a good burger.

          2. Aloha Kman! Good to hear from you again here in SoCal. We'll be in HNL during Thanksgiving while you're here visiting your family. By now I thought you've been to most of the local hangouts but this is where I'd like to go if I were visiting. Take the family to Hokkaido on Cherry Ave. in Long Beach. That way everyone can choose what they want. I think that is the best AYCE Asian buffet around? Kind of popular here especially during holidays. Have you tried Happa in the Gardena Hotel yet? The tara miso is pretty good which is grilled butterfish. Dim sum @Seafood Empress down the street is probably the best in the southbay but a little pricey for some. Nothing compares to the SGV though. The Burnt Tortilla has a new location on Redondo Beach Blvd. and kind of fancy for Mexican. Oh, the El Pollo Inka on Hawthorne for Peruvian will be kind of different for Hawaii people. Try the lomo saltado (for meat lovers) or the lomo Marisco for seafood lovers. Bet you never had meat sauteed with French fries and served with Japanese steamed rice? Anyway, have fun here in LA! Ahui hou.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Clinton

              thanks Clinton, I assume you have been checking out the Hawaii board, so you know what's going on foodwise around here. Lucky Belly in Chinatown is the hot new place, I haven't been there yet so I don't know if it's hype about someplace new, or really good and different, I have a feeling a little bit of both. Thanks for the LA suggestions.

            2. Not something to make a detour for, but if you're in the area, try Ma N Pa Grocery for their cheeseburger and fried chicken.

              1. Miura (Lomita) has one of the finest omakase bargains in the Southbay. Lomita is basically the entrance way to San Pedro, and whenever I'm in that hood, I try to make sure there's money in the piggy bank to do a meal at Miura.

                Big fan.

                1. I won't bore you with a run down of all the places I went, most turned out not to be in the south bay, but some were.

                  first the basics: a couple of good meals at Pacific Diner, really like the chili there and its the only place i know that makes a monte cristo sandwich. Gaffey Street Diner had some chicken & tortilla soup one day that was SO good. First time i've had it where it wasn't a thickened soup. I did make it to Canter's for a midnight snack once - if you can call one of their sandwiches a snack. Puttitng the potato salad/colesaw in a plastic cup instead of a small bowl really cheapens the experience. But it's always an interesting place at 2am. Only got to "Think" on 5th once this trip, had a really good cheeseburger - the meat was very flavorful.

                  One trip to Porky's - enjoyed it and the low key atmosphere. The bbq was good - had a mixed plate, ribs and brisket. The beans were especially awesome and the 'hot water cornbread' was interesting. The potato salad was almost chilled mashed potatoes, but good.

                  Went to Las Brisas #2, down at the bottom of the hill on Gaffey. The first time I got the enchilada's verde with chicken. The chicken had been grilled to perfection first, then shredded before it went into the enchilada, gave it great depth. And the verde sauce was 'thin' compared to other places ive been, but very tasty, made the dish very light and enjoyable. The chile rellenos looked so good went back for lunch the last lunch and had those. Aside from one friend who made them at home once these were the best i've ever had. The breading wasn't too heavy, enough cheese to be generous, but didn't overwhelm the chili. Very very good. I'll be dreaming about both dishes for a while I'm sure.

                  There is a new taco truck on Gaffey, out near 17th or so, just before the hill. I think it was El Gallito. I don't know what the hours are, but be it 9am, 2pm, or 2am, every time i drove by it was open. I'm the first to admit that I don't know the first thing about taco trucks but I had the al pastor once and chicken the second time. I thought both were very good, and the workers very nice to an obviously incompetent gringo, even asked where I was from (who in LA doesn't know how to order from a taco truck right?)

                  Friends took me to Korea Town one night - for Oxacan food at Guelaguetza. I had the Mole Estofado - at our waiter's suggestion. A very generous serving (and I like to eat) and delicious. Wish there had been more rice to sop up the mole/gravy. I refrained from licking my plate, but just barely. A couple of people ordered flan for dessert, very rich and creamy.

                  A bunch of places I didn't get to, but that's how vacations go. Thanks to all of you who provided suggestions, a lot of them are still on my bucket list.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    Sounds like you had a very nice visit. Glad you enjoyed yourself and thanks for reporting back!