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If you were in LA for one day and had never been, what is the ONE restaurant you would go to?

It's going to be our first time. We want to eat well, interesting flavors, nowhere where the portions are tiny for what you pay (i.e. Jose Bazaar.... we went in Miami and were not overly impressed).

Thanks so much :)

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  1. Animal, if you enjoy meat & offal
    Nobu Malibu, if you enjoy sushi and want to eat at the beach
    Park's BBQ for a Korean BBQ feast near the heart of downtown

    26 Replies
    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

      Good list. I'd just add Gjeina for some farm to table California cusine & Langer's deli if you want the best pastrami on earth for lunch.

      1. re: wienermobile

        +1 on Gjelina :)

        1. re: wienermobile

          I know that I'm in the minority here, but there's no way that I can ever support a restaurant that refuses to make ANY modification to the food it serves. Certainly asking for salad dressing on the side, or leaving a bacon garnish off a dish, are imho reasonable requests which can and should be honored. To me, chefs/restaurants doing this, such as Gjelina, are arrogant and show utter disrespect for their customers and will not get my money.

          1. re: josephnl

            I could not agree more. I am in the service industry as well and this just is not an acceptable way to treat your customers. It shocks me that people continue to frequent Gjelina.
            Agreed their food is good but there are so many other restaurants in L A with very good food whose management and servers have an attitude that is at least decent.
            I am super easy and it takes a lot to prompt me to write about poor service but the servers' attitudes at Gjelina are obnoxious and insulting.

            1. re: flowergirl

              the servers at gjelina were not obnoxious and insulting to me.

              i don't find the way gjelina treats its customers (by not allowing substitutions) unacceptable or indecent at all.
              they sell food prepared a certain way. it's my choice whether or not to buy it.

              1. re: flowergirl

                I've only been to Gjelina three times, but the service has always been fine. No attitude. Never obnoxious. Wasn't insulting. But then again I went in knowing about their policy of not making ANY changes to the food.

                So I didn't get my knickers in a twist, or argue with my server about the policy, or call over the manager to harangue them. I ordered my food and drink,. Enjoyed my food and drink and dining companion and then drove home. No muss. No fuss.

                But the latest game in Los Angeles seems to be "Offense & How to Take It." Maybe the new Parker (Barker?) Brothers board game? So if that's what one is looking for, then it's easy enough to play.

                1. re: flowergirl

                  I've been going to Gjelina since it opened. I've never had a problem with any of the food or the servers, who always seem to be attentive and knowledgeable. Plus there's so much on the menu to choose from, I can't imagine not being able to find something appealing. Their vegetarian dishes are always outstanding and incredibly flavorful. Now would I take a picky diner there? Probably not, but I wouldn't take them to Fathers Office, either.

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    i AM a very picky diner, yet Gjelina is on my regular rotation as is Lukshon (another restaurant with a "no modification" policy).

                    also, i have NEVER been treated rudely at Gjelina in the many, many, times i've been there (too many times to count at this point).

                    it's the food that makes them exceptional.
                    i think their food is worth planning an entire afternooon around getting there and getting parked at a certain time, even though that's something i'm loath to do . .

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      Would they refuse to leave a bacon garnish off a soup for someone who doesn't eat pork? This happened to a friend of mine elsewhere, and I've been led to believe that Gjelina's and Lukshon's "no modification" policy would result in this. Are they really that strict? I've read that an OC restaurant refused a slice of lemon to someone who wanted it for his beer. I'm sorry, but this sort of behavior is childish and supremely arrogant. With so many dining choices, I prefer giving my hard earned bucks to good chefs who are not such arrogant prima donnas, and who will make reasonable compromises to satisfy their customers.

                      1. re: josephnl

                        since i understand and accept and support their policy completely, i would never order a soup with bacon garnish at gjelina so i can't answer your question.

                        when i go to gjelina, my mindset is that i'm ordering menu items. i am not hiring a personal chef.

                        i can cook a dish "my way" when i cook at home or can order it "my way" if i go to a million OTHER restaurants that have a different policy.

                        the whole point of going to a restaurant like gjelina is to have the food prepared THEIR WAY.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Exactly! Agree completely with you, westsidegal

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            Although I respect your opinion wsg and agree with you on many things, this is one area where I must strongly disagree. If the simple omission of an offensive garnish or something similar will not significantly change the overall integrity of a dish, I consider it both arrogant and, from a strictly business perspective, stupid not too comply. I don't care how busy any restaurant is, pleasing as many customers as possible, is smart and a core principle of Business 101.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              Fictitious scenario which ran through my mind as I read this:

                              "Monsieur Van Gogh, I'm commissioning this painting, and I say you're using too much yellow. Use less yellow. Oh, and about those thick brush strokes. I like my paintings with thinner strokes. Could you do that? Thanks a mil."

                              When the painting is done: "Hey! How come this doesn't look like your other works?! Hey, what are you gonna do with that razor?!"

                              1. re: J.L.

                                that reminds of the scene in "Amadeus" where the king tells Mozart his music has "too many notes."

                            2. re: josephnl

                              The point is those that don't like the policy shouldn't go and spend money there. Those that don't mind it will go.

                              If the business fails then it's because the policy was unreasonable and offended too many customers.

                              If the business continues to do well despite a few personal boycotts, well, the harsh truth is they didn't need that business.

                              1. re: Porthos

                                This is probably the best point on the matter thus far.

                              2. re: josephnl

                                I ate at Lukshon last night and we had a non-meat eater in our group. They were able to leave meat out of some of the dishes so apparently things can be modified to some extent or maybe ingredients just subtracted. But don't bother asking for a black napkin! That they will not substitute.

                                1. re: josephnl

                                  I think it is more because taking off an element of the dish would completely throw off the balance of the dish. They would much rather have someone not taste it at all than eat an incomplete version of a composed dish.

                                  It would be like buying the mona lisa and drawing all over it. It is sort of disrespectful to the chef.

                                  1. re: josephnl

                                    Then go somewhere else. Some dishe are prepared with a certain and specific vision. Some aren't an a-la-carte like a sandwich, I'll take ham, leave off the cheese and and mayo. Chef's prepare dishes to be had in a certain way. If you don't want it, order something else or go somewhere else.

                              3. re: flowergirl

                                And not to pile on or anything, but SEVERAL places these days have a no substitutions/omission/modification policy, so it's not like it's unheard of.

                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                  **Mr Taster's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Chowhound, other Chowhound posters, CNET, CBS, or any of its corporate affiliates.**

                                  In places where food traditions are strong, people bind their identities, in part, with the food. Think New Yorkers and pizza. There's a "right way" to make pizza, and then there's everyone else's way. Within that "right way" there are various levels of excellence, but if you're adding provel cheese and cutting your pie into "party squares", for example, you're going to witness the ire and stank eye of many a New Yorker. Think of other regional foods that people identify strongly with-- BBQ comes to mind.

                                  When I visit my in-laws in Taiwan, they don't ask for substitutions or modifications when we dine out. They know and understand what the food is supposed to be, and they purchase it with full knowledge and realistic expectations. Nobody's asking for chicken xiaolongbao (unless there's some trendy place in Taipei specializing in it, and then people would go for that specific purpose).

                                  Look, I'm not saying that Taiwanese people would never ask for modifications under any circumstances. What I am saying is that Taiwanese expectations of food are different, there is less a feeling of "I get it my way" entitlement, and there's a deeper understanding and more realistic expectation of what the food should be like. Americans have a much more id-driven interpretation of food that's more loosey-goosey, and that's what causes problems.

                                  In case you couldn't tell, I'm one of those people that likes to try food the way it's meant to be tasted, which to my mind means without modifications. If I don't like it, so be it. I won't order it again.

                                  Just my 2 NTD.

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                    Folks, the debate about whether no-sub policies are acceptable is a big one, and someone's question about where to eat when they visit isn't the best place to have it. Can we ask that if people want to continue this debate, you start a new thread on General Topics, rather than continuing it here?

                                    Thanks!

                                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                      Sorry...I made my last post before reading this. My apologies.

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        Big fan of Gjelina here -- would have recommended them. I am a VERY picky eater. But i understand Gjelina's policy and their menu of mostly small dishes is very extensive, so not only do i find enough to eat but I always leave regretting I couldn't try more.

                                        They are a very popular and always full restaurant. No, they can't promise a table on the patio four weeks in advance. But I have never detected an "attitude" or felt any slights from the staff. They are busy, traffic and parking can be problematic, I tend to get there early and there is no comfortable place to stand or wait -- I know that going in. Their food is excellent, but it is not a pampering fine-dining experience such as, for example, Melisse.

                                        Go. But be informed and forewarned.

                                        1. re: nosh

                                          nosh: just so you know, i've been extremely lucky and haven't had to wait at all when i arrive there at 2:30PM on weekday afternoons, and at 5:30PM monday through thursday.
                                          MUCH more civilized at those times than at any others.

                                2. re: josephnl

                                  +I, and ive heard all the justifications but seriosly these fascist chefs can keep their precious "creations." I think i can find great restaurants where if i cant "tolerate" the fresno chiles..leave em, the fuck off!

                            3. Patina...if you want elegant, with stunning design and wonderful food...and the opportunity to see the amazing Walt Disney Concert Hall, an architectural treasure.

                              1. Chinois on Main.

                                19 Replies
                                1. re: latindancer

                                  Huh, is it still open?
                                  Was bankrupt about a year ago.
                                  Has not been relevant in nearly 20 years.
                                  Decor is a one-of-a-kind, but so is all the bad architecture in Barcelona, but would you really go there strictly for that?
                                  Hope not.
                                  And to Sam D - no to Providence either.
                                  Dreadful experience - decent fish, with Awful presence.

                                  1. re: carter

                                    <but would you really go there strictly for that?>

                                    Yes, for Barcelona, one of the most beautiful cities in the world...
                                    Yes, for the Black Cod at Chinois (it's still open thankfully). It's absolutely one of the top ten favorite dishes of mine. Roasted Black cod and miso, paired, are equivalent to nirvana to my palate. Nobody does it in LA like Puck in my opinion.
                                    Certainly subjective on my part but isn't it nice we get to voice our opinions on CH?

                                    1. re: latindancer

                                      Roasted Black cod and miso, paired, are equivalent to nirvana to my palate. Nobody does it in LA like Puck in my opinion.
                                      ===============
                                      You mean the dish invented by Nobu Matsuhisa?

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        He certainly popularized it, but that has been a Japanese tradition years before Nobu.

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          <invented by Nobu Matsuhisa?>

                                          I've been eating/preparing Black cod with miso for over 35 years...
                                          He invented it??

                                          1. re: latindancer

                                            The prep has been done in Japan for many years with other fish (Saba) and eggplant, but as I understand it he was the first to pair it with black cod. At least first in LA and the US.

                                            Here are 2 sources. The first credits him for the pairing. The second link mentions that sablefish is not native to the waters around Japan and is ironic it is now considered a "classic" Japanese dish. The author in the second link is Japanese.

                                            http://morecookbooksthansense.blogspo...

                                            http://norecipes.com/blog/miso-cod-re...

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              <he was the first to pair it with black cod>

                                              I will certainly be discussing and checking with old friends/fish mongers, Japanese and otherwise, to verify this very interesting 'fact'.
                                              Fascinating.

                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                Here is a link to an interview with Nobu himself in Dubai. According to him he started it about 20 years ago. So you have him beat by a good 15 years apparently! ;-)

                                                http://goodtaste.ae/2011/05/15/nobu-m...

                                              2. re: Porthos

                                                Had it at Ray's boathouse in 1980's and have made it with sake kasu, even better thanmiso for 35 years.

                                                You and me Shunji beginning of new year ?

                                            2. re: Porthos

                                              let's say leo fender and les paul "invented" the solid body electric guitar.

                                              i'd rather hear peter green and richard thompson play one.

                                              the inventor is not necessarily the master.

                                              1. re: linus

                                                Fine and dandy when talking about guitars but we're talking miso black cod here. Have you tried either Matsuhisa's or Puck's version? Which do you prefer?

                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                  have you tried either of them? which do you prefer?

                                                  maybe you can clue me in as to how who invented miso black cod has anything to do with the poster liking someone's version?

                                                  if they said they liked their champagne, would you ask if they meant the drink invented by dom perignon in 1670?

                                        2. re: latindancer

                                          Chinois is still a great restaurant. Bold flavors. Absolutely delicious. Great service in the Puck tradition. Yes, the decor goes back to the '80s and some may call it garish. At prime times it can be loud. But if you share a bunch of smaller dishes (stir-fried lamb in radicchio cups; crispy rock shrimp and/or fried spring rolls; share the szechwan filet or the catfish with ponzu as a main) it is amazingly delicious and not horribly expensive. I will always be a fan since the way they treated me and my guest on my first visit in 1987(?) and they remain a favorite today.

                                          1. re: nosh

                                            It's definitely a classic.

                                            1. re: nosh

                                              I couldn't answer this - small portions is an issue? The idea that you get a LOT of small portions - which add up to a big meal - is great idea. It's an orgy of food. The diversity is great.

                                              What didn't you like about Bazaar? The portions were small but the food was good? Or the portions were small and the food was bad? (isn't that a Woody Allen joke?) Was the food unexciting and you were left hungry? How about food is exciting, many portions and you're full? Clarify and you will find Nirvana. If they don't have a tasting menu.

                                              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                Did you mean to reply to nosh? Because I don't see anything in his post that even mentions Bazaar, or that he thinks that small plates are an issue, for that matter.

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  No - the post has a heading and then the formal post reads...

                                                  "It's going to be our first time. We want to eat well, interesting flavors, nowhere where the portions are tiny for what you pay (i.e. Jose Bazaar.... we went in Miami and were not overly impressed)."

                                                  I'm assuming he means The Bazaar at the SLS in Miami. Which is a Jose Andres restaurant.

                                                2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                  Woody Allen's joke reversed the order.."the food was terrible! yeah, and such small portions"

                                                  1. re: lapizzamaven

                                                    so if there were large portions of terrible food, then that would make it quite good ????

                                            2. Providence

                                              1. The Bel Air Hotel if you want truly elegant and beautiful. One of the most beautiful hotels anywhere.

                                                Cafe del Rey in Marina del Rey for Califonia cuisine and view of the Marina. My go to place for my out of town guests.

                                                1. Shunji

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                    Agree. Shunji or Red Medicine.

                                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                                      Agree Shunji, not Red Medicine anymore. Last time there to me was not the same place as before, greatly disappointed.

                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                        +1 or 3 or whatever we're at now.

                                                        OP, here's two recent reasons why:

                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915789
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915749

                                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                                          Great, now l see your pictures and those of J.L. and l am 6000 miles away. Have sushi envy.

                                                      2. Wednesday SM farmer's market.

                                                        I've lived in LA for years and heard the buzz. I regularly attended the Atwater Village fm--it's great.

                                                        I've been living on the Westside for the last six months, and each week I love it. For me, it's a "must experience." You can purchase all types of foods, and take them to the bluffs, have an al fresco meal. Then, if you're still peckish, walk back and buy more stuffs.

                                                        1. Pinks, for lunch. Get the chili cheese dog:

                                                          http://www.pinkshollywood.com/

                                                          You probably won't catch a celebrity in the parking lot, but the people in line are entertaining.

                                                          43 Replies
                                                          1. re: vikingkaj

                                                            No to Pinks.

                                                            That's where you go if you want to be surrounded by tourists and get a bad hot dog.

                                                            +1 to Animal or Parks.

                                                            I would also add Genwa, another Korean BBQ place.

                                                            For Sushi, skip Nobu. There are a lot of Nobus and they do not represent the best sushi in Los Angeles. Kiriko, Shunki, or Kiyokawa would top my list for sushi. For kaiseki, which will include sushi, n/naka will give you extremely interesting flavors with a good bang for your buck.

                                                            Depending on the amount of time you have, there are some neighborhood craws that might be worth considering.

                                                            Little Osaka -- Sawtelle and Olympic. Get a little sushi at Kiriko, a dish or two at Plan Check, something at Seoul Sausage, and maybe try one or two other places. (There seem to be new restaurants opening there every week or two.)

                                                            Several neighborhoods in San Gabriel Valley for different Chinese regional dishes. Maybe one place for dumplings, another place for noodles, and Chengdu Taste for burn-your-mouth Sichuan food.

                                                            In a small stretch of Valley Blvd. alone, you could do a multicultural tasting -- Chendu Taste for Sichuan, Banh Mi Che Cali for banh mi, Boiling Crab for a cajun shrimp and crawfish (all within three blocks) and then go another few blocks to Mei Long Village or J&J for dumplings.

                                                            A taco crawl on York Blvd. in Highland Park.

                                                            Another place for a multicultural tasting would be North Hollywood for Thai/Armenian/Mexican. You could do a crawl that included a couple Northern Thai dishes at Sri Siam, lamajeune at one of the numerous Armenian bakeries, tacos at El Taco Llama (or the Tacos La Fonda truck), and finish with Pad Thai Krua Thai (unlike most you might have had) at Krua Thai, etc.

                                                            1. re: Jwsel

                                                              The point of recommending Nobu Malibu was that it is the best sushi if you want the LA experience of eating at a beautiful restaurant in Malibu on the beach. I guess you missed my point.

                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                I would agree with you, Dirtywextraolives.

                                                                I'd be remiss if I didn't take out of town guests, at least once, to Malibu, just for the beauty of it. Throw Nobu in there, with the combination of wonderful sushi and the ocean, and I think anyone would agree it shouldn't be missed if at all possible.

                                                              2. re: Jwsel

                                                                Pink's is not a "bad hot dog." It's a perfectly fine hot dog, nearly identical to any hot dog of it's type. It's just that Pink's, or any hot dog for that matter, is not worth the ridiculously long line.

                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                  My husband has been craving them for a while. I was so glad to see the stands at Universal City theme park this last weekend, so we didn't have to go to the actual stand on La Brea. Those gut bombs hit the spot.....

                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                    Just tell him to go to the LAX location. Much closer

                                                                    1. re: Jase

                                                                      Okay, but where the heck does one park if just going to lunch at lax? Short term? pay a buck tree-eighty to park, then go through security? not likely to happen, but maybe that's just me......

                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                        Well they just closed. But used to be in Tom Bradley terminal, short term parking, no need to go through security. Cost and time expense was faster than driving cross town and standing in line.

                                                                      2. re: Jase

                                                                        Due to the LAX remodel Pink's there is gone.

                                                                      3. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                        Alex loves lemonade event has a Pinks food truck. Remember no charge for kids and you can eat Pinks hot dogs all day long in addition to the fare offered by Connie and Teds, Mozz, etc.:)

                                                                        1. re: maudies5

                                                                          I know, I read that, but you'll just have to enjoy it all without me.... $175 x 3 is too big a gulp for us to swallow, with all the expenses we have with two kids....

                                                                          1. re: maudies5

                                                                            Pink's also has a stand at the entrance of Knott's Berry Farm, and they actually run the line in an efficient manner.

                                                                            1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                              > they actually run the line in an efficient manner.

                                                                              Isn't that fascinating? So, why wouldn't they apply the same method to their La Brea stand? As if the crush of humanity, gross inefficiencies, and the absurdly long wait somehow act as an advertisement for even more people to eat there?

                                                                              Oh wait, I just answered my own question.

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                Even where there was merely a few people in line (maybe a half dozen or so), the wait was over forty five minutes. Go figure.

                                                                              2. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                Pink's Hot Dogs just this week opened inside Universal Studios Hollywood (inside the park not on City Walk) and believe it or not a chili cheese dog is $7.99!

                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                  Yes! That's where we got them! And they're the same gut bombs I remember! It was decent and best of all, no lines! Fries were good too, very crispy & seasoned. I don't think I ever got fries at the original stand.

                                                                                  I think they've been open longer than a week though, we were there on Sept 1st.

                                                                          2. re: EarlyBird

                                                                            There have been a few times I've glanced over and seen no line, while driving north, and been tempted to hang a 'u' just to grab one of those suckers.
                                                                            Sometimes it's just 'right'.

                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                              That's what I hear. I live quite close to Pink's but almost never see any line with less than a dozen or more people.

                                                                              1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                it's funny. i've been there when they open, thinking it would be a great way to beat the line.

                                                                                but, problem is, they have very few staff that early, so it's almost equally frustratingly slow.

                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                  And they move like they are defusing bombs. It's just painful to watch them work.

                                                                                  1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                    I've been there several times before 11 AM and have been able the breeze through. Though this was several years ago.

                                                                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                      i've never been able to gauge if the people that work there are openly hostile or just completely indifferent.

                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                        I imagine its a bit of both, something like passive-aggressiveness.

                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                          Weird, I've never had bad service at Pink's.

                                                                                          1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                            I agree.

                                                                                            Service has never been an issue for me the times I've ordered at Pink's.
                                                                                            I order it, they make what I ask for, and my time in line is finished.

                                                                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                              I'm not sure if Linus and I are describing "bad" service, as in rude, incompetent, etc., but simply maddeningly slow.

                                                                                    2. re: latindancer

                                                                                      The only time I eat a Pink's hot dog is mid-day when there's no line. I'm often in that area and there are I've personally witnessed minimal or no line on many, many occasions. The nighttime crush is truly absurd, however.

                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                        mid day, like, around 3 pm or so? after the lunch rush?

                                                                                        or around 11 am or so? i've had better luck with the line then, too. there's more staff and less line, so it moves a little quicker.

                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                          Right.
                                                                                          I've never really paid attention to the time of day but I've seen it like that on many occasion and often wondered why no line?
                                                                                          It's almost strange seeing it empty.

                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                            sigh...WHICH is right? 3 pm? 11 am?

                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                              'Right' in response to Mr. Taster's "the nighttime crush is truly absurd, however".

                                                                                              I don't know, linus, as I said I've never paid attention to the time of day...I'm on that stretch alot, on random days, coming from downtown LA to my home and glanced over and found no line.
                                                                                              I guess I'd try for around 3pm as 11am is nearer the lunch hour. It seems more 'mid-day' as Mr. Taster states.

                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                eh, it's not important. just curious.

                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                  k

                                                                                  2. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                    absolutely NO to pinks.
                                                                                    subjective, of course, but very firmly NO NO NO

                                                                                    1. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                      i think pink's dogs are just fine. not the best i've had, but not the worst, either.

                                                                                      i also think if it weren't for the line and the rather, um, wacky way the service works, most people who bitch about pink's wouldn't do so.

                                                                                      that said, the line and the service there is a stone drag.

                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                        I haven't gone in years due to the line. But the way they handle orders and delivery used to get me steaming mad.

                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                          line or no line, and it's just my personal worthless opinion, but pink's dogs don't do it for me.

                                                                                          wiener factory on the other hand and also rubin's red hots when it was around, now those were great dogs.

                                                                                        2. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                          In responding to the op, do you really think that Pink's is the ONE restaurant you would go to? With so many excellent options listed by knowledgeable CH's posting on this thread, Pink's would not even be on my radar as the one eatery in LA not to be missed.

                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                            Jeezus, no need to pile on the dude. He gave his opinion.

                                                                                            1. re: Jase

                                                                                              Sorry. I thought that this board was to allow each of us to freely express an opinion. I don't think I was "piling it on" when I simply questioned whether or not vikingkaj really meant it as the one place s/he would recommend to a visitor.

                                                                                          2. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                            You guys are missing the point, part of the reason you want to go to Pinks if you are from out of town is the line, not the dog. You meet people and get a little local flavor. The line itself is entertainment!

                                                                                            1. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                              "The line itself is entertainment!"

                                                                                              At least until you sober up...then not so much.

                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                Hahah.

                                                                                                It's always more entertaining when you are drunk, even at bar especially, and then when you sober up you question yourself and say silently or maybe not silently, "What the fuck ????"

                                                                                          3. In n Out

                                                                                            It is the one place my brother gets right off the plane whenever he visits from NY.

                                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                              Anthony Bourdain too, the one right outside of LAX.

                                                                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                <Anthony Bourdain too>

                                                                                                Really? That's great.
                                                                                                After I saw him in Libya, eating things I never knew were edible, he now has my utmost respect and admiration.

                                                                                              2. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                Always my first stop, too.

                                                                                                These days though, and this isn't relevant to the OP, but only being in LA a couple times a year, there are two stops I need to make.

                                                                                                In n Out and, believe it or not, Ralphs, for what they call their "French Cafe" sandwich. It's prewrapped, usually in the cheese case, ham, swiss, butter, on a baguette. Damn, I love those sandwiches. I was in LA for a day and a half a few months ago, and managed to polish off two.

                                                                                                1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                  OMG I LOVE the french cafe sandwich! I've been getting it for years!!! Other than the weird strip of fat I have to peel off right away, that sandwich is great!! (I give the fat strip to my dogs-they love it). And at $3.99 or whatever, it's a great deal!

                                                                                                  1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                    I'm going to have to pick one of these up tomorrow for lunch to try it...
                                                                                                    It's that good? Who knew?

                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                      It's just a simple, well executed, and inexpensive sandwich that has stayed consistant for years. Sure, the ingrediants could all be better quality, but since it's made at Ralphs and is so inexpensive, it's great for what it is. I love it!

                                                                                                    2. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                      That is hilarious that someone knew what I was talking about! Yay!

                                                                                                      1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                        Unfortunate update on the Ralph's French Cafe' Sandwich:

                                                                                                        First, thanks for reminding me how much I too loved it.

                                                                                                        Secondly, I went to Ralph's in Westwood Village for lunch and discovered that eeek! they've figured out how good the sandwich really is. They now call it a "French Twist" sandwich, and it's not $3.99, but $6.99. Add to that, they now keep it in the regular deli case, not the do it yourself cheese case, which means you need to stand in line for quite a while during lunch rush just for them to take one out of the case and hand it to you.

                                                                                                        Oy.

                                                                                                        1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                          I seriously want to cry a little. I just had one three months ago!! What the hell, Ralphs, do you have people reading these threads??? *shakes fist at silent Ralphs trolls*

                                                                                                          1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                            What the what???!? Why would they do that? Not only was it a great sandwich, but it was cheap and grab 'n go!! Now they've screwed it all up for us!

                                                                                                            1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                              Let's hope it's only at the Ralph's in Westwood.

                                                                                                        2. re: Violatp

                                                                                                          that reminds me of a conversation i had with a guy in line at the louvre in paris. claimed to be the head wine maker for korbel, in town for some wine convention. wine makers have to know something about food for pairings at tastings, etc. the point is that he was in paris on an expense account, and the only thing he ate all week were hot dogs covered with melted cheese inside a baguette, all sold by street vendors.

                                                                                                          1. re: barryc

                                                                                                            As someone who just went to Paris for the first time recently, I can say even their hot dogs are way better than a lot of stuff we have here. ::sigh::

                                                                                                            1. re: barryc

                                                                                                              Not going to lie, Parisian street dogs are pretty damn tasty.

                                                                                                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                and they let them in the restaurants, as long as they're on a leash.

                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                  Ba DUM bum.

                                                                                                              2. re: barryc

                                                                                                                I thought you were going to say this guy in line in Paris, when he came to the US, went straight to Ralph's to purchase one of those sandwiches. :).

                                                                                                          2. Yamakase

                                                                                                            1. If you had to choose, which would you pick?

                                                                                                              1. Amazing Earth shattering food and marginal atmosphere/no view.

                                                                                                              2. Good/competent food, but amazing atmosphere/view

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: jgilbert1000

                                                                                                                I'd say Amazing food over atmosphere/view.

                                                                                                                1. re: Staceyy

                                                                                                                  Right now the go to answer for amazing food is Alma, downtown.

                                                                                                                2. re: jgilbert1000

                                                                                                                  For a visitor, I'd pick view with good food. Amazing food can be had in most great cities, but each city has unique views which most visitors will appreciate. Of course, I'd try to get both a view and great food.

                                                                                                                3. Pretty shocked that nobody has mentioned Urasawa.

                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                    A visitor who would appreciate Urasawa, who would and could shell out for Urasawa, would know about Urasawa.

                                                                                                                    1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                      Rule #1 of Urasawa: Don't talk about Urasawa.

                                                                                                                      :-)

                                                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                        especially if you are an employee

                                                                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                          Exactly.

                                                                                                                          I have yet to visit.

                                                                                                                          Jl or Porthos or Ciao Bob, might you guys be up for subsidizing some not so worthy hounds ?????

                                                                                                                          Thanks in advance.

                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                            Why yes, kevin. Anyone can go to Urasawa, and eat, and then tell Hiro to put it on my "House Tab"

                                                                                                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                              Bob, why didn't you tell me this before?

                                                                                                                              Making reservations now :)

                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                                "...then tell Hiro to put it on my "House Tab"

                                                                                                                                I'm not sure my HELOC will withstand an Urasawa visit...

                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                  That's what reverse mortgages are for.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                    Damn Pete you fucking beat me to it.

                                                                                                                                    I think you are ancient enough for a reverse mortgage.

                                                                                                                                    But seriously I'm not quite sure I would recommend a reverse one.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                          taster, did you ever visit Urasawa before ? got a link to a review ?

                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/62943

                                                                                                                            and then

                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/62955

                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              Dope. Thanks. Any visits in the past couple years ?

                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                No, but I'd reconsider going if you're picking up the tab!

                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                  ... (an awkward silence ensues)...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                    Hahaha.

                                                                                                                                    An extended moment of silence indeed.

                                                                                                                        3. I recently took an out-of-town guest to AOC (the new one). It was a glorious experience for all. The food was delicious, the service was excellent and, for us, sitting in that beautiful patio provided the quintessential Southern California experience. The portions were quite ample. Prices not insane. It is also a great venue for people watching.
                                                                                                                          www.aocwinebar.com

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: maudies5

                                                                                                                            I would have to agree that dining al fresco is the quintessential LA experience. Good food is good, but to have a representative LA experience you have to eat it outside.

                                                                                                                            Unless the weather is like it has been this past week.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                              Nobu Malibu has been gorgeous this week.

                                                                                                                          2. Iv'e been to L.A. Coni Seafood is my # 1 reason to go back.Sergio,a master at what he does.His food is sublime.

                                                                                                                            1. Bucato

                                                                                                                              1. Ink on Melrose. It's definitely interesting with a tinge of molecular gastronomy.

                                                                                                                                1. Tsujita. Best ramen ever.

                                                                                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: yizhang

                                                                                                                                    Tsujita in L.A. is quite good, but not the best ever. Not by a longshot.

                                                                                                                                    Ramen Jiro in Tokyo holds that distinction in my book.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                      Come on, J.L. I've probably uttered "Best sushi ever" in reference to Shunji before, and I'm sure I'm wrong on that, but it's the best I've had so far. Maybe Tsujita is the best ramen yizhang has had, though in that Montreal thread it seems that s/he is more partial to the tsukemen anyway.

                                                                                                                                      I've not been to Ramen Jiro, but I have a feeling that I'd love it considering how much I love Tsujita ANNEX's ramen (this is where I differ from yizhang).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                        I simply object to the overuse/misuse of absolute superlatives in common vernacular. Ubiquity in today's speech and writing reduces the power of such phrases to banality.

                                                                                                                                        A la... "The best ___ ever."

                                                                                                                                        Really? Ever? As in "all known recorded history"?

                                                                                                                                        Ramen Jiro serves outstanding, transcendent ramen, and it's certainly the best I've ever had (so far).

                                                                                                                                        And no, I've not uttered "best sushi ever" at any establishment before, including Shunji. Closest I've ever gotten was at Sawada in Ginza, and Narumiya in Chofu.

                                                                                                                                        Trivia: Did you know that Shunji-san started Shunji on Pico to get AWAY from sushi/sashimi and focus on cooked items? Obviously, the evolution of the restaurant has taken a very divergent path...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                          I included the names solely to keep it Chowish. There was NO attempt to put on any airs (kevin always asks me what I'd recommend if I mentioned no names, so I was trying to preempt his next line of questioning) - I simply won't include the restaurant names next time I raise a point of verbage.

                                                                                                                                          I am simply railing against the method used to express such fervor. Surely there are better, more tantalizing ways to express oneself. Perhaps not, and my efforts to preserve the use of colorful adjectives in describing the vast cornucopia of delicious foods on this board is all for naught.

                                                                                                                                          I have every reason to believe and respect yizhang's subjective opinions - That is NOT in question here. (In fact yizhang AGAIN recommends Tsujita to the Montrealers on a separate and recent thread - and I quote yizhang: "... the best ramen (get the dipping type)..." I have no doubt that s/he believes that Tsujita is the finest ramen s/he has ever tasted. Oh sorry, I meant tsukemen.

                                                                                                                                          If I've offended anyone, I apologize. But I believe that when someone, anyone (poor yizhang just happened to stray into my crosshairs today) says "Best ___ ever," without going into details about HOW or WHY ___ is so, so good, a part of the English language dies. So I weep.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                            JL, please don't change the way you post due to someone else's wild mood swings.

                                                                                                                                            Some of us appreciate the detail and do not see it as name dropping or putting on airs. At all. In fact, they'll be one of the spots I go to for ramen and sushi in Tokyo.

                                                                                                                                            Keep doing what you do. Your contributions are much appreciated.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                              Indeed.

                                                                                                                                              You are the fucking professor emeritus of sushi hounds aside from Mr. Porthos of course

                                                                                                                                            2. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                              Yeah. Maybe she or he has never been to Japan and LA is as closet as it gets for her so when she hits up LA which is not in want for decent ramen and Montreal is composed of supermarket Top Ramen (and not the grand imported shit), then the fucking superlative adjectives ensue ad naseum.

                                                                                                                                              No ?????

                                                                                                                                              Just a thought.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                            I don't know yizhang at all. That being said, might we be jumping to conclusions and that yizhang is a ramen fiend who has tried a hell of a lot of ramen, and his/her personal tastes judge Tsujita as the best in his/her book? If something ever had a huge swath of subjectiveness to it, it's personal taste.

                                                                                                                                            Then again, if yizhang is a ramen tenderfoot, do we want to come down hard on this person, thereby making this person a reluctant poster? Obviously this person's taste in ramen ain't bad. Just sayin...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                              Sorry guys. I was just thinking ramen today. Didn't mean to start a controversy. While I eat out a lot, there have been very few life-changing dining experiences for me and tsujita was one of those. I like all noodles: the first time I had noodles at Pa Ord, I was pretty impressed. I also love the beef noodle soup at Remy's in City of Industry.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: yizhang

                                                                                                                                                That is bull, there is no need to apologize. You stated your opinion. Food is subjective so anyone who thinks something is better is simply an opinion too. Mostly everything on this board is opinion based due to differences in taste.

                                                                                                                                                For instance: I personally think DonutMan tastes like cheap supermarket pie filling and mushy baby food. Yet some may like that taste and might think it is the best EVER. But that is my opinion, shared or not. Some may agree and most others may not.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                  Donut Man ?

                                                                                                                                                  The Glendora joint ????

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                    Choose yer weapons mate, 20 paces turn and fire....

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sel

                                                                                                                                                      I could very well choose the stuffed donut as my weapon, of course it would take out the opponent along with any spectator within a 20 yard radius.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: yizhang

                                                                                                                                                    If this ramen knocked your socks off or got your jollies off then so be it.

                                                                                                                                                    This board is all about contentious though loving ongoing disputes in the pursuit of beyond fucking exceptional eats.

                                                                                                                                                    So make your opinion known vehemently and carry on.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: yizhang

                                                                                                                                              Others have said that Ramen Zetton in OC is the best. Which s it?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                To be clear, I didn't say it was best in SoCal. I said it was the best in OC for me. :-)

                                                                                                                                                The ramen isn't the heavy tonkotsu broth you get at most places which is a big plus for me.

                                                                                                                                            3. oof this is a tough decision because there are such a diverse range of flavors and cuisines! i'd say get some authentic japanese sushi or authentic mexican food at a taco truck.