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Mar 28, 2013 02:11 AM

Kosher in L.A

Hey everybody and happy Passover!
I'm not sure if I'm supposed to post this here or on the LA section, but I thought this was a safer bet.
Anyway I'm planning to go to LA later this year [September-October] and wondered whether you have some tips for me on "kosher locations".
Where should my hotel be located, so that it's close to kosher supermarkets and restaurants? Last year I went to NYC and there are tons of kosher stuff there, but I have no idea about LA.

Thanks and sorry if I'm posting it in the wrong place!

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  1. I'm not from LA but have been a bunch of times. The Fairfax area is the classically Kosher (old-school) spot. There's a stretch of Pico that has many Kosher dining options including the Milky Way (Steven Spielberg's mom's place that's been there forever), Jeff's Gourmet Sausage (my personal favorite, lots of great homemade sausages) as well as Kosher markets. It butts up against Beverly Hills.

    Google "Fairfax District" for the location and info. However, I'm assuming you'll have a car (pretty much a necessity) so there are other options you should try to make. Santa Monica has a pretty impressive Farmer's Market on Sundays and Wednesdays with more varieties of produce than you've probably ever encountered.

    The Grove is not far away. It's a foofy outdoor shopping mall, mostly higher end (but it has an Apple store - always helpful for me when I'm working and need a connector or power supply). It has a Kosher hot dog stand (hope it's still there at least - and, for me, a good hot dog option beats a fancy steak dinner) and it's connected to the "Farmer's Market" which is mostly food stalls but has a place that does terrific fruit plates to go (I get a couple for great breakfasts at the hotel or a nice mid-day snack at the beach). Real LA-ers will be more helpful, but these are my hangouts when I go there.

    (And this is probably the best place to post because you're seeking Kosher specifically and there are LA people that pop up here).

    4 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      There aren't any kosher restaurants in the 'Fairfax area', but we do have some options. Pizza World on Fairfax has great pizza and Mexican food. Further North on Fairfax is Schwartz baker and cafe,(eat). Their dairy store is on Pico

      For Falafel, try Pitaway on Melrose. Really great falafel. Haven't ad their other meat options, but I've heard great things.

      Saba Sushi on Melrose. No experience there.

      Pizza Maven on A Brea. Good pizza and fries. No frills but the food is good.

      Fibally, Fish Grill on Beverly Blvd (also on Pico, In Brentwood near Santa Monica, and one in Malibu). Excellent. Great food, fast service, decent price. One of my favorites.

      1. re: Miri1

        Oh, wow, I just reread my last post. Some crazy typos! The hazards of using a touchscreen! Sorry for that! :)

        1. re: Miri1

          HA that's okay- thanks for the tips!

        2. re: Miri1

          Near Fish Grill (Beverly/La Brea) are 2 delis with seating. Abba's and Elite Cuisine.

      2. if you have teenagers, Jeffs and Schnitzly in Pico. If you are from a small community take the kids and a lot of money to Munchies. My favorite pizza is Pizza World, my kids like Nagila, I do not.

        The Sunday brunch at Milk and Honey, take a ride up to Terra Sur in Oxnard, go to Pat's. Go to Shilo if you cant make it to Oxnard.

        We prefer the Chinese at Chick N Chow if you are doing
        takeout, go to Shanghai if you want to sit. (prices are pretty equivalent but Chicken Chow only has tiny tables.)

        If you are offered valet parking, accept! We dont live in LA and we tend to get parking tickets there. Only a native Angelino can figure out the signs and I am married to a NY'er.

        OC Kosher in Tustin has surprisingly good food but you sit outside or take out.

        All Coffee Beans are kosher in LA.

        Universal Studios has a Coffee Bean right outside. Disneyland sells overpriced microwave dinners and you need to order them when you first get there. Knotts Berry Farm is more family friendly when it comes to coolers and brown bags.

        Get your souvenirs at Walmart or Target.

        Have fun!

        1 Reply
        1. re: SoCal Mother

          I second Jeff;s ( and Pat's (http://www.patsrestaurantandcatering....) - really opposite ends of the dining experience spectrum but both are excellent!

        2. Thank you both! Actually I'm 25 so my children are about (-7) and (-10). And I'm from Israel so any basic knowledge you assume I have is probably nonexistent! I had no idea about the car necessity. Thanks again.
          Are kosher food items prevalent like in NY, meaning in almost every supermarket?

          12 Replies
          1. re: McBrownie

            As a general rule, unless you're doing a short local trip a car is essential for nearly anywhere in California. The cities were developed when land was cheap and everything is spread out (okay, San Francisco is somewhat compact). But if you want to sightsee and hit up the touristy activities, museums, the Ocean, a studio tour, then you really need a car (you can squeeze a lot more into your day). Just check into parking rates at your choice of hotel.

            And if you get the car then head to Santa Monica and take the Pacific Coast Highway North to Malibu and, time permitting, even further towards Oxnard. You'll spend half the trip in awe of the scenery and the other half doing math in your head trying to figure if you can afford to live there. It's like Israel but with fewer missile attacks .

            1. re: ferret

              Israel...ok, skip Munchies. And if you are 25 then the "teenager" recommendations probably apply to you, except Shnitzly. They make the kind of schnitzel that LA kids wish their mothers could make. If your mother is Israeli then you can skip it.

              How 25 are you? Really 25 or almost 25? That's the usual cutoff age for renting a car and as ferret says, you will need a car except for SF. You will need an international driver license.

              Look at the web site for more information about kosher food in supermarkets. Many folks in California follows Rabbi Eidlitz's kashrut guidelines and he has the most extensive lists of good hashgachas and shopping information in the whole state.

              What is your budget? Terra Sur, Shilo and Pat's are very expensive.

              1. re: SoCal Mother

                Hmm, well, in October I'll be 25 and a half.
                Wow thanks for the kosherquest link, it looks really useful.
                My budget is somewhat loose. I looked at the menu of Pat's and Shilo, and I believe I can eat there once or twice during my visit.

                And Ferret- HA, thanks!

                1. re: McBrownie

                  If you have any interest in vegan/"healthy" deserts - check out Babycakes in Larchmont (not far from Fairfax/Beverly/La Brea - RCC not Pas Yisroel). Babycakes is the gold standard in vegan/gluten-free desserts.

                  It's a NYC mini-chain but you may not have received advice to visit their NYC location for hechsher related reasons...

                  1. re: apathetichell

                    Oh wow I had no idea there was one in LA! I am very interested in deserts so it's a great suggestion. I've also heard that there's a Magnolia shop in the area..

                    1. re: McBrownie

                      Yes - It's on 3rd between Fairfax & San Vicente (It's a strip of 3rd with lots of boutiques and like Larchmont is one of the few areas of L.A. which is walkable). Like Babyackes it's under the RCC.

                      If you're interested in things you won't find in NY (or probably in Israel)- Mexikosher is good, and La Reyna de Michoacan (Mexican Ice Cream) in Reseda is worth a trip if you are going to the valley.

                      If you don't care about coffee supervision - Handsome is the big local roaster. Intelligentsia and L.A. Mill are nice as well. Since you're young, depending upon your interests you may want to explore Silverlake/Los Feliz/Echo Park.

                      Also make sure to pick up a bottle of Huy Fong Sriracha with RCC supervision.

                      1. re: apathetichell

                        Oh man, you guys are awesome. Thanks! I love getting special food-related items from abroad.

                        1. re: McBrownie

                          In Pico Glatt Mart, we bought Asian noodles- soba, green tea noodles, udon, and rice noodles. They also had sriracha and chili sauce.

              2. re: ferret

                LA does have reasonable public transport to a lot of places. In particular there's a bus between the Pico/Robertson and Beverly/LaBrea/Fairfax Jewish colonies. (Runs along Beverly, then down Beverwil to Pico)

              3. re: McBrownie

                Some places that haven't been mentioned:

                Real Food Daily has kosher locations in West Hollywood and Santa Monica- the latter is great if you plan to go to the beach, pier, promenade etc. It is an all-vegan restaurant with a lot of delicious food (including a nice marshmallow brownie and hostess-style cupcake)

                If you check out lacma or the tar pits, chapa grill is nearby (http://www.kosherchapagrilllosangeles... i've just had their falafel which i liked. Also in the area is cafe of paris: i have never been but have heard good things :

                In the pico area, bodhi offers good vegan thai food- most of the time (have some less-than-tasty experiences, but mostly good ones). pizza station offers some good vegetarian mexican food as well as good pizza.

                i will disagree with the "car necessity"- i think it applies more to someone living here (although of course so many people do without one) than if you are on vacation by yourself/with adults and don't need to get anywhere by a certain time, it is $5 a day for a metro pass vs. whatever it costs for car rental and gas and the service is actually pretty extensive ( I would second fairfax/ hollywood/ westhollywood as areas to consider for your base because of their centrality, especially if you decide not to rent a car.

                have fun planning the trip!

                1. re: Bugg Superstar

                  Love rfd and its right near the promenade and Fred segal

                  1. re: Bugg Superstar

                    I was a big fan of chapa grill...but the valley location, at least, is no longer kosher. They had a sign saying their schwarma is still kosher...but the restaurant as a whole isn't any longer. I'm gonna seriously miss the rotisserie chicken.

                2. I put together a small list of LA kosher restaurants, intended to be a sample of different styles, with (hopefully) the best of each style represented.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: zsero

                    Thanks! that sounds helpful. I'll check it out!

                  2. It is not a beautiful area in my opinion, but if you want to be in the "thick" of kosher activity and be able to walk to kosher supermarkets, restaurants and shuls, there is a hotel at the corner of Pico and Beverwill. It is very central and located close to the freeway. Even the regular Ralph's supermarket across the road has a selection of prepared food. Beverley Hills hotels are not too far away from this area either, but you would need a car.

                    Less central, but with lost of kosher restaurant and supermarket options is the Valley. You will definitely need a car to get around. There is a moderately priced hotel in Sherman Oaks which is convenient.

                    If you want to be near the ocean, check out Santa Monica or Malibu. There is a kosher Fish Grill in Malibu with hotels nearby. If you stay in Santa Monica, you will probably need to drive to the Santa Monica kosher market or restaurant from a hotel in Santa Monica occasionally for prepared food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mamaleh

                      Farmer's Daughter on Fairfax or any of the other smaller hotels (Park Plaza/Beverly Laurel/Elan Hotel) in that area are very walkable to Fairfax/La Brea and not thaaaat far from Pico/Robertson...