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Visiting from Seattle! (Critique my itinerary please?)

Hey everyone! So I'm a Seattle resident who's visiting LA for the first time. Food will play a pretty big role in the planning of the trip so traveling to get good food is not much of an issue. (That said, if there are any interesting things to check out, people watching, sights, etc. I'd appreciate reccos near the restaurants.)

I'm taste wise I'm open to anything, though I'm looking to try things that LA does best, especially things I can't get in Seattle.

After doing some reading this is my list so far:

Dinner:
Son of a Gun (Animal?)
Red Medicine (n/naka?) *Tasting menu.
Chichenitza (Babita?)
Soontofu (Mottainai?) (Casita Mexicana?)

Lunch:
Umami Burger
Zengo (Brunch)
Jitalada
Gjelina

Anything I've missed, or places I should substitute?

I'll have one splurge meal, for which I'll probably do a tasting menu. I'm torn between Red Medicine and N/Naka, any thoughts between the two?

Also, the best and most authentic mexican I've ever eaten is at an Oaxaccan place in Seattle (owing to living in in the North my entire life), so I'd really like to see what Mexican food is all about, if I had to pick one or two mexican options in LA, where would you send me?

Finally, Son of a Gun and Animal both look amazing. Aside from the seafood vs land, is there a significant difference in ambiance or quality between the two?

Thanks in Advance!!!

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  1. You already have two great Mexican food places on your list, Babita and Chichen Itza. If you want more suggestions then you ought to consider places like Guisado's http://guisados.co/ and the Mexicali Taco & Company http://mexicalitaco.com/ and Coni'Seafood located at 3544 West Imperial Highway in Inglewood (310)-672-2339 along with Cacao Mexicatessen http://cacaodeli.com/

    As far as your other choices I think they are all excellent. If you are sensitive to noise I'll just say that I find Red Medicine extremely noisy (but love the food).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      One open question for you O Duck...where are you staying in LA? Do you have a central base from which you'll do your food exploration? I see you say below that you will have a car, so that is one question answered.

      1. Excellent list, however I would ditch Umami Burger for Langer's No. 1 pastrami. I would also consider El Gallo Grill in East LA for great Mexican

        1. If you're really up for a burger and are in the area, I'd look into Plan Check Kitchen+Bar. Ridiculously good.

          http://www.plancheckbar.com/

          1. Do Babita over Chichen Itza. That's not even a close call.

            Animal over Son of a Gun. Again, not a close call.

            For one of your lunches, I would consider Park BBQ for Korean BBQ.

            Also, if you want another, more casual Mexican place, try Mariscos Chente's on W. Imperial Hwy in Inglewood.

            I really think you should squeeze in both Red Medicine and n/naka and forget Soon Tofu, Mottainai, and heaven forbid, don't waste a meal at Casita.

            8 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              I actually like Son of A Gun over Animal. Their linguine and clams, uni aglio-olio, chili & breadcrumbs is one incredible dish and so is their smoked steelhead roe, maple cream & pumpernickel. And don't forget that fried chicken sandwich too.

              and 100% agree with your Parks BBQ recommendation plus maybe Mozza for some pizza. Sea Harbour for Dim Sum and Sweet Rose Creamery for some ice cream.

              1. re: wienermobile

                OP is from Seattle and I'm guessing he has been to Vancouver for dim sum, which makes the stuff in SGV look and taste like it's from the Paleolithic Era.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      I agree with SOAG over animal. My last experience at animal was disappointing comapred to SOAG.

                    2. re: ipsedixit

                      +1 Do both Red Medicine and n/naka: both will probably be trip highlights, they are very different from each other, and they both set LA apart vs other culinary cities such as SF or NYC.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        the Mariscos Chente's on West Imperial Highway in Inglewood has had a name change.
                        It's new name is:
                        Coni'Seafood
                        3544 west imperial highway
                        inglewood ca 90304

                        310-672-2339

                        keep in mind that during the week they close at 8pm.