HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese?
TELL US

A Toronto Chowhound's trip report of 5 meals in the LA area

prima May 13, 2013 10:24 AM

During my short stay in the LA area, I was dining with various friends and relatives at each meal,and most meals in LA were chosen by the people I was visiting. I dig my Chowgirl heels into the ground when I reach Northern California a few days later. :-)

After checking into our hotel, I went out in search of some flowers for a hostess gift. After having trouble locating the flower shop that had been recommended, I went tothe cookie/candy/tea section on the lower level of Neiman Marcus, where I picked up Japanese milk chocolate macadamia cookies, Swedish chocolates and a boxed tea selection for our hostess.

Here is where we ate:
dinner at Pastina Trattoria in Westwood, which is a neighbourhood trattoria chosen by someone who lives nearby. Fairly quiet space, so a pretty good place to dine with elderly relatives and/or people with hearing issues. They have a prix fixe with half a dozen options for starter, pasta, main and dessert. I ordered the shrimp and scallop fra diavolo the server recommended. It was decent enough, but I'd think the same fra diavolo could be found in most moderately priced red sauce Italian restaurants in North America. One person in our party ordered the lasagna, which was a massive portion. The restaurant is fairly dim, and the server raved about a bottle of merlot, which was an $89 bottle, which we ordered.I wasn't in the mood for wine that night, so I have no idea if the bottle was worth the $89, but I'm not sure the food was up to pairing with $89 wine, and I got the feeling the server was upselling the fra diavolo and merlot based on their prices, rather than based on their taste.

breakfast at Nate n Al's in Beverly Hills
Packed by 9 on a Friday morning. I liked this place. My friend and I shared 2 eggs with Nova, a blintz and a potato pancake. Good food and friendly service.

late lunch at Ulysses' Odyssey in the Grove
We met up with some friends and their baby for a late lunch in the Grove. Down-to-earth service, good Greek food. I was surprised that the food was better than much of what I find in Toronto's Greek restaurants. We ordered the kopanisti, melitzanasalata and taramasalata as part of a 3 dip sampler, then shared meat and rice dolmades, maroulosalata, grilled octopus. Some people at our table ordered the lamb burger and souvlaki. We had loukamades with ice cream for dessert. The loukamades were better than most I've had in North America. I don't think the ice cream adds to the loukamades, so I'd skip the ice cream next time.

light supper at California Pizza Kitchen in Santa Monica
Yep, you read that right. Since I was travelling with a couple friends, I wanted to let them choose at least a couple of the meals. I ended up ordering the CPK take on tortilla soup, which I liked, as well as their guacamole. I also had a bite of the chile relleno, which might not be anything special for California, but it was better than any chile rellenos I've found in Toronto.

Brunch at Fig
This restaurant worked out well for our group of 6, which included a 6 year-old and a couple seniors. There were options on the menu that worked with our vegetarian friends, as well as a couple people who were trying to dine gluten-free. I enjoyed the chilaquiles. Chilaquiles at the Fairmont seemed a little weird, but they were tasty. Others enjoyed the vegetable frittata with green sauce, and the omelettes. Nice bright space, fantastic fresh squeezed OJ. Metered street parking along Ocean Dr, if you don't want to go with the valet parking.

Thanks for all the recommendations from Chowhounds as I tried to prepare for the trip. Hopefully I'll have a chance to try some of the sushi recs on my next visit.

  1. Servorg May 14, 2013 08:48 AM

    We used to go to Pastina Trattoria on an irregular basis, but finally the food vs price made us give it up. The restaurant was heavily recommended here many years ago by one of the LA board regulars, Russkar, who now resides and posts on the Hawaii board. When we have other better options available for Italian like Sotto or Mozza or Angelini Osteria it's hard to consider going backward.

    Thanks for your "post trip" report. Much appreciated.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Servorg
      k
      kevin May 14, 2013 10:01 AM

      Wow, those are my sentiments somewhat exactly. Though I have been hankering to go back to Pastina for the past couple years (though I think it's been about a few years since I have been back):

      the filet mignon with cognac sauce was always great.

      the veal chop in a porcini mushroom sauce.

      the spicy lobster on special sometimes.

      the lobster ravioli in the pink sauce.

      the mushroom ravioli.

      the incomparable caesar salad (i usually don't like caesars, yeah i know, but I liked this one).

      and the JM Rosen slabs of NY cheesecake, which is not the same as the ricotta cheesecake which is usually offered too.

      the macadamia nut tart.

      it was good. Though it was never a heavy hitter from a creative, chef-driven Italian interpretation.

      have you been recently ? Is it just that the prices have really crept up?

      i remember the waiters were pretty curmudgeonly too back when i last went.

      1. re: kevin
        prima May 14, 2013 10:12 AM

        The 4 course prix fixe is still quite a good deal (at least pricewise) at $25.95. I wasn't interested in any of the desserts, so I thought a main would be a better option for me the night I was there.

        Here were the options available for the prix fixe:
        Appetizer
        Soup of the Day
        Insalata Verde
        Insalata di Cesare

        Pasta
        Penne alla Vodka
        Penne all' Arrabbiata
        Spaghetti Bolognese
        Fettuccine alla Burina

        Main Course
        Petto di Pollo Marsala or Cacciatora
        Scampi all' Agliata
        Baby Rack of Lamb w/ Fresh Herbs
        Fish of the Day

        Dessert
        Flourless Chocolate Cake
        Pecan Bar
        Tiramisu

        http://www.pastina.net/menu/dinner/

    2. CharlesKochel May 13, 2013 10:18 PM

      Thanks for the update, always appreciated :-)

      1 Reply
      1. re: CharlesKochel
        prima May 15, 2013 08:32 PM

        thanks!

      2. j
        josephnl May 13, 2013 09:11 PM

        Glad you had a good time in LA....and thanks for your reply to my Toronto post "Four Dinners in Toronto". We'll be there next month and if you have any new ideas we'd greatly appreciate them on the Toronto board.

        1 Reply
        1. re: josephnl
          prima May 15, 2013 08:32 PM

          My pleasure. I've loved each visit I've made to LA.

          I'll think about some more ideas for your visit ot Toronto! ;-)

        2. i
          ilysla May 13, 2013 03:28 PM

          Thanks for the post. I've driven by Pastina several times but was never tempted to try it.... Don't think I'll be any more tempted after your review!

          I know nothing about the food scene in Toronto. Is it known for having good Greek food? My understanding was that LA "doesn't have any good Greek food." Never been to Ulysses but thought the Great Greek in Sherman Oaks wasn't half bad.

          No need to apologize for CPK (at least, not to me!). It's hardly amazing, but it's accessible, inoffensive, and sometimes that's really all you need. They have a decent cobb salad, and I like their avocado rolls (or it Cheesecake Factory that has the avocado rolls).

          41 Replies
          1. re: ilysla
            k
            kevin May 13, 2013 04:08 PM

            cheesecake factory. though it is possible that cpk may have it too.

            1. re: ilysla
              prima May 13, 2013 04:14 PM

              Toronto has a large Greek population, and a Greektown with a couple dozen Greek restaurants, although a lot of Torontonian Chowhounds diss the Greek restaurants as not as good as they once were. I'd still consider Greek to be a cuisine that Toronto does better than most cities, and I eat at Greek restaurants in Toronto at least 8-10 times a year.

              I'd read posts suggesting the Greek food isn't great in LA, and I thought the dips, the meat & rice dolmades (I didn't order the vegetarian rice dolmades that are served cold, because I prefer the warm meat & rice version), and the grilled octopus at Ullysses Voyage (I realized I got the restaurant's name wrong after my edit window had closed) were as good as if not better than the restaurant versions I've found in Toronto's better Greek restaurants. I liked that Ulysses Voyage also serves frappes (Greek iced coffee made with Greek Nescafe). My frappe, ordered metrio me gala, was almost as good as what I order my favourite Greek coffee shop in Toronto. I'd certainly go to Ulysses Voyage again if I wanted Greek in LA. http://www.ulyssesvoyage.com/menus/dinner/p13383

              Taverna Tony in Malibu also serves good Greek food, if you're ever looking for Greek food in that neck of the woods. They have a tzatziki involving avocado, that's an interesting California twist. http://www.tavernatony.com/

              re: CPK
              One of the friends I was travelling with likes the Chinese Chicken Salad at CPK.

              re: avocado rolls
              That's what I order when I'm at Cheesecake Factory, too! :-)

              1. re: prima
                Savour May 14, 2013 10:26 AM

                I think there isn't much Greek food in LA - it's hard to find compared with someplace like Toronto or Chicago, which has a large Greek population. We have a lot of Armenian and Persian food (not the same, but if you want a kebab, you can find one). But the few Greek restaurants (like Taverna Tony and Ulysses Voyage) are actually quite good, and eating outdoors in a pleasant Mediterranean climate enhances the experience, IMO.

                I do like the Barbecue chicken chopped salad at CPK. I mostly make it at home, now, but it's actually a quite good combo of flavors.

                1. re: Savour
                  Mr Taster May 14, 2013 01:01 PM

                  How is it possible that there's a conversation about Greek food in LA without a single mention of Papa Cristo?!

                  Seriously, the discussion of Greek food in LA begins and ends with him.

                  When I die, I want my coffin to be filled with his tzatsiki.

                  http://la.eater.com/tags/papa-cristos

                  When they do their $5 gyro promotion, we cart ourselves across town and my whole department gets in on the deal.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster
                    t
                    Thor123 May 14, 2013 01:25 PM

                    Was thinking the same thing! Papa Cristo is great!

                    1. re: Thor123
                      Mr Taster May 14, 2013 01:42 PM

                      Talking about (and praising!) Ulysses Voyage without even mentioning Papa Cristo is just so strange that it's approaching absurdity in its sheer ridiculousness.

                      Papa Cristo *is* (along with St. Sofia's) the center of the LA's tiny, diffuse Greek community.

                      I'm still shaking my head in disbelief (trying to shake off the avocado tzatsiki....) Jeebus H. Criminy.

                      Mr Taster

                    2. re: Mr Taster
                      Savour May 14, 2013 01:43 PM

                      It's on my list of places to go; it's just not in my usual path, so I cannot speak with any authority. (I used to live near Ulysses Voyage, and my mother works in Malibu). I think my basic premise- Greek restaurants in LA are sparse but good - applies to Papa Cristo's as well.

                      1. re: Savour
                        Mr Taster May 14, 2013 01:54 PM

                        Papa Cristo's food is so far ahead of any competitors in Los Angeles that it's not worth mentioning them in the same breath.

                        I propose the following:

                        MR TASTER'S GREEK-OFF! GYRO BATTLE CHALLENGE SUPREME

                        1. Go with a friend and share a gyro sandwich at Ulysses Voyage. Take a photo with your phone. Smuggle out a little of their tzatsiki.

                        2. Drive 15 minutes to Papa Cristo, and share one of his gyro sandwiches. Take a photo of the sandwich with your phone.

                        3. Taste Ulysses Voyage tzatsiki side-by-side with Papa Cristo's.

                        4. Compare and contrast the texture and flavors of the UV sandwich with the PC sandwich.

                        5. Post photos and report back here.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster
                          i
                          ilysla May 14, 2013 03:09 PM

                          I didn't mention it b/c I didn't think it worth discussing. I've long heard that it's the "only" good place for Greek food. I went there once a few yrs ago. The octopus was fine, but the moussaka was genuinely disgusting. It was so bad that I was half convinced that they simply pulled it out of a frozen-food package, stuffed it into a ceramic dish, and then re-heated it. Can't recall if I had their tzatziki or not.

                          I recall that I posted here about my experience and that some people had responded that their deli items (vs. prepared food) were good. It's so out-of-the-way for me, though, that I've not been tempted to go back to test their assertions.

                          As for tzatziki.... I loved the one that was homemade by a Greek man at the Brentwood Farmer's Market. He hasn't been there recently (along w/ Celia, who had fantastic salsa), and I don't want to buy anything else. =(

                          1. re: ilysla
                            Mr Taster May 14, 2013 03:26 PM

                            ilysla, you make a fair point. Truth be told, I don't veer much away from the lamb chops, gyro sandwich, tzatsiki, Greek potatoes and salad, and the baguettes to take home. They're all such such superb examples of their kind, and I get there most often when the $5 gyro lunch special is on (or on occasion go to their Thursday night dinner) that I rarely diverge into moussaka territory. I do like the taramosalata as well.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster
                              i
                              ilysla May 14, 2013 04:34 PM

                              I like gyros, but I don't know if I like them enough to make the trip (live west of the 405). The meat would really have to be exceptionally tender.... But if I"m in the area, I'll think about stopping by and reporting my findings. ;)

                              1. re: ilysla
                                Servorg May 14, 2013 04:47 PM

                                As far as tender beef gyros are concerned I've never encountered any in the LA area which are more tender than those that can be found at the Sunny Grill on Venice Blvd. just a bit west of Inglewood Ave. on the N side of the street. They even have a drive through if you don't want to park in their lot and go in.

                                http://losangeles.menupages.com/resta...

                                1. re: Servorg
                                  b
                                  bulavinaka May 14, 2013 05:49 PM

                                  The now defunct Mezza (moved to Cerritos) set the bar for gyros. I've had the Sunny Grill version, and it's not even close IMHO.

                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                    Servorg May 14, 2013 06:04 PM

                                    I never made it to Mezza, but as far as tender beef I never found one that was more melt in your mouth tender than Sunny Grill. Now, I haven't been lately, so if there's been a degradation in the tenderness quotient I'll allow that things can change over time, and usually not for the better. When were you there to try it? I've made several posts over the years about SG's gyros. Did you reply on one of them about your experience?

                                    Here was one of them: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/717567

                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      b
                                      bulavinaka May 14, 2013 08:32 PM

                                      I hit SG about 1 1/2 - 2 years ago. Can't remember chiming in but I haven't been back...

                                    2. re: bulavinaka
                                      k
                                      kevin May 14, 2013 09:44 PM

                                      Wow. Shit. You were the one that sung the praises on this joint.

                                      Yes. It was good though very heavy. Their fries with chili flakes were great too.

                                    3. re: Servorg
                                      J.L. May 14, 2013 08:51 PM

                                      +1 on Sunny Grill. Best gyro I've had so far in L.A.

                                      1. re: J.L.
                                        Mr Taster May 14, 2013 08:57 PM

                                        I'm game to try SG's gyro, though I am not sure that tenderness is the overriding characteristic of an excellent gyro (though that's the only virtue anyone here has mentioned about it)

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                          J.L. May 14, 2013 09:16 PM

                                          The gestalt is the thing....

                                          1. re: J.L.
                                            i
                                            ilysla May 15, 2013 07:36 AM

                                            Indeed.

                                            Seasoning is also really important and a bit of char is good, but I feel that tenderness is an essential quality.... Perhaps the really gyro challenge will be Papa Cristo's vs. Sunny Grill vs. Mezza? ;)

                                            1. re: ilysla
                                              Mr Taster May 15, 2013 01:47 PM

                                              I've never actually paid much attention to the tenderness of the gyro meat at Papa Cristo. It's really a texturally perfect sandwich (not just the meat-- the pita is soft, the lettuce is fresh and crispy, the tomatoes are small, soft and red, and the meat has little crunchy crispy bits from the griddling)-- if the meat were jerky-like, I wouldn't have such a positive impression. But next time I go, I'll pay closer attention.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                k
                                                kevin May 16, 2013 11:15 AM

                                                The following is from a Papa Cristo's email:

                                                "Happy Birthday to the PAPA himself, Papa Cristo!

                                                Papa Cristo (the Man) is turning... TIMELESS!
                                                Without divulging his age, we can tell you he is celebrating his birthday! But shh, its a surprise!

                                                We will be hosting a special
                                                BIG FAT SURPRISE GREEK BIRTHDAY DINNER
                                                on Thursday, May 23 at 6:30pm!

                                                The Dinner:
                                                - Wine Tasting
                                                - 7 Appetizers
                                                - Main Course of Lemon-Oregano Chicken and Roasted Lamb
                                                - Homemade Baklava and Greek Coffee for dessert
                                                - Special Papa Cristo's Birthday Cake

                                                $24/person (plus tax + tip)
                                                Thursday, May 23, 2013
                                                6:30pm - 8:30pm

                                                Help Papa celebrate!
                                                This is a special event so please
                                                call for reservations: (Mark or Annie)
                                                (323) 737 - 2970"

                                        2. re: J.L.
                                          k
                                          kevin May 14, 2013 10:18 PM

                                          If you two both rec Sunny Grill, then I am more than happy to try it.

                                      2. re: ilysla
                                        Mr Taster May 14, 2013 05:08 PM

                                        For those who think of gyros as a sort of Greek fast food afterthought, you're doing yourselves a great disservice by not giving PC's a shot.

                                        There's an attention to detail paid to this sandwich that's uncommon, to say the least.

                                        One of the elements that makes PC gyros spectacular is that they griddle the meat after shaving it off the spit. This crisps up the edges a bit and adds an extra layer of complexity, in both flavor and texture, to the sandwich. Also, the meat itself is well spiced, and the salad in the pita is gorgeous and fresh.

                                        So many tzatsikis are thin and watery, are too sour, or are simply bland. The tzatsiki at PC is thick and luxurious, and really well balanced-- neither too sour nor too salty.

                                        It's just an extraordinary sandwich all around. Countless inferior creations have convinced people that gyros are throwaway fast food, but in PC's case nothing could be further from the truth.

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                          k
                                          kevin May 14, 2013 10:17 PM

                                          In my opinion, the more heavily spiced the better. And the fact that they char it on the grill so it is crispy is even better.

                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                            n
                                            nosh May 14, 2013 11:29 PM

                                            What/when is this $5 gyro special at Papa Cristo's that has been mentioned? I have been known to drive from westwood to Dino's for lunch, and that is just a few blocks east of Papa Cristo's.

                                            1. re: nosh
                                              k
                                              kevin May 15, 2013 11:38 AM

                                              You can get on their email list.

                                              Every so often there's a coupon for $4.99 instead of the usual $6.99 price.

                                              1. re: kevin
                                                Mr Taster May 15, 2013 01:43 PM

                                                And you specifically have to ask for it. If you don't mention it, they'll charge you the full price.

                                                Mr Taster

                                    4. re: Mr Taster
                                      k
                                      kevin May 14, 2013 03:12 PM

                                      I really like the gyro sandwiches. And it is a pretty darn big portion for what like 7 bucks without the coupon ?

                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                        Savour May 14, 2013 03:44 PM

                                        Ah, see. Not a big gyro fan. (Or Tzatziki, though I do recognize that is a hallmark of Greek cuisine), I do like grilled octopus, and taramasalata, and dolmades, and skordalia, and moussaka, and pastitsio. And I cannot speak to the merits of those dishes at Papa Cristo's, since, as I stated above, I've never been. The UV grilled octopus and taramasalata is quite good though. But I wouldn't order gyros or standalone tzatziki at either place, so the Gyro Battle Challenge Supreme is lost on me.

                                        1. re: Savour
                                          prima May 14, 2013 04:30 PM

                                          I tend to order the same dishes as you do, Savour. ;-)

                                          Gyros in LA or in Greece are usually a waste of calories for me(I'd rather save those calories for something else), and I tend to treat them as an apres-bar food. But to each their own, of course. :-)

                                      2. re: Savour
                                        Mr Taster May 15, 2013 01:56 PM

                                        By the way, I live about an 8 minute walk from Ulysses Voyage, and I have no problem driving instead to Pico/Normandie. The extra 15 minutes in the car is an incredibly small price to pay for the jump in quality.

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                          Savour May 15, 2013 01:57 PM

                                          If you want gyros, apparently!

                                          1. re: Savour
                                            Mr Taster May 15, 2013 01:58 PM

                                            Or lamb chops, or greek potaotes, or taramasalata....

                                            Mr Taster

                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                              prima May 15, 2013 02:06 PM

                                              Next time I'm in LA, I'll try my best to squeeze in a visit to Papa Cristo's, to see how some of the dishes compare.
                                              http://www.papacristos.com/menus.html

                                              I'm a little surprised by the non-Greek dishes on the menu, such as baba ghanouj (instead of melitzanasalata- the Greek eggplant spread made without tahini), tabouli, falafel, etc.

                                              Papa Cristo's has a fairly limited selection of dips and mezes for a Greek restaurant, and seems grill-focused. Ulysses has many of the mezes, salads and vegetable dishes I tend to seek out, that aren't offered at Papa Cristo's. I'd think unless you're comparing the gyros at PC and UV, comparing PC to UV is a little like comparing apples to oranges? :-)

                                              1. re: prima
                                                Mr Taster May 15, 2013 02:28 PM

                                                Prima, one thing to keep in mind is that we have a very small Greek population.

                                                If you want the best of what LA offers, look towards other continents. LA can deliver specific regional styles of Chinese cooking (from Sichuanese to Hunan to Shandong to Shangainese to Beijing and even Xinjiang), or Mexican cooking (Sinaloan, Oaxacan, Mexico City, Yucatecan, etc.) or Thai (Issan/Northern as well as "standard" Bangkok style, or Southern Thai cooking infused with some Malaysian/Indian flavors).

                                                But coming to LA asking for great Greek food is a bit like going to Dallas looking for great Chinese. You go to Dallas for the BBQ, not the Chinese food. Can you find non-Americanized Chinese food in Dallas? Sure. I'm sure you could find something up in Plano. Is it going to be of the same caliber and diversity as what you can find in LA? Absolutely not.

                                                It's the same with Greek food in LA. It should come as no surprise that the LA Greek community is not big enough to support the kind of diversity of a full Greek menu. But they do have several dishes that they do very well.

                                                Having said that, even some of the great regional Chinese restaurants of the San Gabriel Valley still occasionally throw the random beef & broccoli or orange chicken on the menu, because the ABC (American Born Chinese) kids grow up eating Panda Express with their friends, and then want to order it when the family goes out for Shanghainese. So, Mei Long Village puts it on the menu, next to the Wuxi spareribs and lions head meatball. It's not necessarily an indication that the restaurant doesn't deliver the real deal.

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                  prima May 15, 2013 02:41 PM

                                                  Mr. Taster, I'm aware that LA has a small Greek population. Most of the friends and family that I met up with in LA make up a small part of that small Greek population, which is why we ended up at a Greek restaurant in LA. One of my friends chose to bring me to Taverna Tony on a past visit, and another friend chose to meet me at Ulysses' Voyage on this trip, so I was introduced to both restaurants by Greek Americans who are regulars at each of these restaurants.

                                                  As I said in my original post, I was impressed by Ulysses Voyage, and as I said in a later reply, I plan to try PC on a future visit. I've encouraged the Greek Americans I know living in LA to try PC's gyros.

                                                  I'm not dissing the selection of Greek food at the Greek restaurants in LA. I was complimenting UV, and merely commenting that PC's menu is grill-centric, lacking some mezes that are found on other Greek menus in the LA area, and including some Middle Eastern dishes that aren't usually seen in Greek restaurants in North America.

                                                  Hummus is available on almost every Greek restaurant I've visited in Canada, and I realize that including hummus, falafel or baba ghanouj is not an indicator that the food will necessarily be inauthentic. That being said, if I see moussaka on an Italian restaurant's menu, detect cinnamon in the meat sauce that comes with the spaghetti, or detect oregano in the tomato sauce on the pizza, I'll know that it's quite likely that Greeks are running the Italian restaurant. Not that there's anything wrong with that. If I see baba ghanouj instead of melitzanasalata on a Greek menu, I am going to wonder why they're choosing to serve a Middle Eastern eggplant spread instead of a Greek eggplant spread.

                                                  The only restaurants I chose out of my 5 restaurants I visited on this trip were FIG in Santa Monica for a group brunch, and Nate n Al's for an economical breakfast in Beverly Hills. The other 3 restaurants I visited were chosen by my friends.

                                                  I didn't ask for great Greek food in LA, but I found great Greek food (non-gyros, non-lamb chops, non-potatoes)at Ulysses Voyage. As well as a good-looking authentic Greek server, direct from Thessaloniki, too. :-)

                                                  1. re: prima
                                                    Mr Taster May 15, 2013 03:25 PM

                                                    Very glad to know you've encouraged your friends to try Papa Cristo. He's been on the same corner for 65 years, so considering how small the community is, I'm quite surprised to hear that there are Greeks in LA who haven't yet been there!

                                                    The business began as an import shop-- in addition to the Greek wines and olive oils, etc., at the time he was the only importer of teff, the flour used to make injera-- to service the local Ethiopian community. (On your next visit, you should consider a dinner at "Meals by Genet" on Fairfax). So you see, even from the beginning there were more than just Greek items for sale! (In fact, you can still buy sacks of teff from the grocery part of the store). Welcome to the diversity that is (and has been) Los Angeles.

                                                    Also, the spectacular St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Cathedral is directly across the street, and the sanctuary is a magnificent sight to behold. Once a year PC and St. Sophia's team up for LA's big Greek festival. So you see, for many decades Papa Cristo has had his roots deep in the community-- they run a lot deeper than the fancy newcomers in Malibu and the Farmers Market. That's the main reason why I was so shocked that there was no mention of Papa Cristo-- and even moreso now that I know that your friends are Greek-American!

                                                    To be fair, I haven't been to Ulysses Voyage in several years, so perhaps I should check out the dishes you enjoyed there and report back.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    http://www.lagreekfest.com/
                                                    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                                      prima May 15, 2013 08:45 PM

                                                      Now that you mention the deli part, I realize that two of the friends who took me to Pastina were talking about Papa Cristo's over dinner (the night before I went to Ullysses for lunch with my other friends). The name didn't register with me until now. When I had heard the name mentioned in conversation almost 2 weeks ago, I thought it was Pappachristou's (more like a last name) not Papa Cristo's. My friends were talking about a Greek deli with the best quality feta in LA, that's a bit of a pain to reach if you live in West LA, that has line-ups, so both friends stock up when they go to St. Sophia's. One of the friends gets there right when they open to avoid the lines. Some of my relatives who lived near San Luis Obispo would make a point of visiting PC to stock up on Greek groceries whenever they came to LA decades ago. If I understood correctly, the people who own Papa Cristo's have looked for space closer to West LA/Santa Monica from time to time, but the high rents have prevented them from opening a space that's further west.

                                                      I've heard great things about the Greek festival. In 2010, I was lucky to attend my friend's beautiful wedding in the spectacular St. Sophia's Cathedral- too bad I didn't know about Papa Christo's then!

                                                      So, I'm guessing my friends are quite familiar with Papa Cristo's, and me, the out-of-towner, was the one who didn't register! I'll stop nitpicking re: Papa Christo's decision to sell tabouli and baba ghanoush. Obviously there's a market for it, if they're selling it!

                                                      Thanks for all your comments- I'll definitely check out PC on my next visit!

                                                      1. re: prima
                                                        Mr Taster May 15, 2013 09:52 PM

                                                        Hooray! I can now breathe again :-) Yes, PC has a small Greek grocery, deli counter (where he sells not just feta, but a number of different Greek cheeses and olives), and a bakery. The fresh baguettes are some of the best in town. The fact that the place is down to earth in both decor and prices is a great bonus.

                                                        And here's a bit of Hollywood movie trivia - they catered the lamb on the lawn that you saw in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".

                                                        PC cooking is not fancy. It's down to earth, homey, comforting food for a fair price, and even if not all the dishes are winners, I absolutely love the place. It's family cooking, and it's real

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                                          k
                                                          kevin May 16, 2013 11:02 AM

                                                          Yes, its definitely not fancy.

                                                          I think I always take Papa Cristo's for granted, which is why I never seem to mention it on these threads myself.

                                                          But after all these years I always stick to solely the gyro sandwich. I'm curious how large the gyro platter would be.

                                                          That must be huge.

                              Show Hidden Posts