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Non-snooty + really good food

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Hey Chowhounders,

I have a friend who is completely hoity toity averse. If he sees a white table cloth he gets the heebie-jeebies. Me - all I care about is great food. Any suggestions for super down to earth with great food. I'm near Culver City, the closer the better.

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  1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/859243

    Most restaurants mentioned are not fancy. Any other criteria to go on to help you narrow it down?

    1. is your friend tied to american food or americanized food?
      there are tons of ethnic restaurants that serve great food in a casual atmosphere.

      2 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        He's pretty open with regard to the type of food. With him the difficulty is steering clear of any place that smacks of upscale, or in his outdated language 'yuppie.' LOL

        Thanks WSG

        1. re: engie

          for sushi, take him to Hide sushi on sawtelle.
          since they have a parking lot behind the place, you will actually be able to completely avoid the sawtelle parking nightmare
          the sushi will be good.
          the prices will be better than reasonable.
          when you get in the restaurant you sign in by writing your name on the whiteboard that they have on the wall.
          this place is not a secret, so if you go during peak times they will be crowded and there will be a wait.
          CASH ONLY.

          for sushi at the next level up, try echigo. echigo is located on the second floor of a nondescript strip center in west LA. sushi really good, and, as you would expect, prices are correspondingly higher.
          their monkfish liver is about as good as it gets.
          i've never encountered a wait nor a yuppie there because most folks spending that much on food expect some sort of decoration/ambiance along with the really good fish.
          i've made whole meals of piece after piece of that monkfish liver.
          imho, don't get the lunch special, just order off the regular menu; to my palate, the fish:rice ratio of the regular menu items is better.

          for meat and potatos (they also serve fish), i'd take him to The Galley in santa monica. there is nothing upscale about the place. their decoration includes christmas lights all year long.
          if a yuppie accidentally walks in there, once they see the christmas lights they will back out
          the restaurant also has a very comfortable bar that only serves traditional drinks (i.e. no mixologists will be found at that bar, no pomegranate juice can be found anywhere in the restaurant). there is a public parking lot that can be accessed through the driveway just to the north of the restaurant. the lot uses a pay station system at practically all hours of the day and night and all days of the week, so be SURE to buy enough time before you walk away from your car.

          for japanese izakaya, i'd take him to Musha in santa monica.
          only open for dinner.

      2. Zam Zam is the antithesis of white cloth hoity toity. If that's too far in the sparse range, Metro is pretty laid back.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bulavinaka

          Zam Zam is the ticket here. Everybody has to try it at least once

          1. re: BrewNChow

            Zam Zam is absolutely my suggestion too, but he needs to be prepared, and have no expectations other than the biryani. If anything else is available, it's a bonus.

            Mr Taster

          1. re: wienermobile

            I have to wonder if the OP's friend might take their "no substitutions" policy the wrong way. Also, I've never had issues with their staff but I know some really nice folks who felt snubbed by the servers.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              also, if your friend got a look at the gjelina wine list, the jig would be up. . . . .
              the upscale lives of some of the patrons will be obvious if your friend is the least bit observant. (once, at lunch, i watched as a mother hand fed her adolescent son because the son wanted to use his hands to play some game on a portable electronic device)

            1. Give A Frame a try. No white linen tablecloths but some great beer can crispy chicken. I'm fussy when it comes to chicken. A Frame's chicken is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. No complaints from me.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Baron

                Love the food hate the noise level

                1. re: wienermobile

                  noise level - my friend is a guitarist and loves his rock, the noise level would probably be fine with him, but loud music is a pet peeve of mine.

                  1. re: engie

                    There's no music. It's constructed, in some ways, like a bigger version of SM branch of Father's Office, so the din is *all* from diners' voices.

                    As far as Gjelina, I consider it, in some ways, to be the antithesis of "super down to earth." It's hoity-toity wrapped up in a distinctly westside brand of granola. The food's good, but.... ::shrug::

                  2. re: wienermobile

                    I have nothing against communal dining in general, but A Frame's policy of seating total strangers together at a four top has made for some awkward dining experiences. Definitely not a date place.

                    I'd go with Waterloo and City, or maybe Father's Office.

                    1. re: ronsilverado

                      I'm an early diner so I avoid the noise and the crowds. As for forced communal dining....not for me.

                2. Not too many restaurants with white table cloths these days. Think there should be a good variety for your friend.

                  1. Plan Check will be perfect.

                    1. Mitsuwa on Centinela/Venice isn't too far from century City, a lot of great food there. Santouka Ramen, Hannosuke for tempura, etc...

                      As down to earth as it gets
                      http://www.mitsuwa.com/tenant/eindex....

                      1. I'm having a hard time distinguishing between "yuppie" & "hipster" for your request. Does your friend equate the two terms? Because hipsters may no longer look like yuppies, but they definitely go to those establishments, like Plan Check, which I would second.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                          do you see why those terms, and terms like them, are completely useless?
                          isn't chowhound supposed to be about the food? who cares about the employment or dress of who eats it?

                          1. re: linus

                            Oh, I get it. I just wanted a little more clarification from the OP before recommending some places, like Plan Check, which, though not snooty in the least, does attract a certain clientele, and I can't tell if the OP's friend is trying to avoid said type.

                            1. re: linus

                              in this case the OP is limited as much by the friend's perceptions of the place and the clientele as by the actual food.
                              certainly our experiences in these restaurants can be used to help out in this situation. . . . .

                            2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                              go to American Apparel for hipster/hipster douche

                              head towards Studio City/Brooklyn for yuppies (think in terms of gentrification)

                              warning: steer clear of the Studio City American Apparel to avoid confusion

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                I don't know, we've never discussed hipsters. Since you brought it up, I'm kind of hipster averse. I'm fine with any type of crowd, within reason, but I find myself feeling a little out of it when I'm around the hats & tats crowd.

                                1. re: engie

                                  As long as the restaurant doesn't have rats and bats I'm good with whatever clientele they attract (as long as the food is good).

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    i'm with servorg on this. "out of it"? out of what, exactly?

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      I couldn't go into a place where the clientele wore cravats and spats... ;-)

                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                        WTF? Those are the *only* places I go! ;) ::snort::

                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                          Please tell me there will now be a niche to fill with "Young Frankenstein" themed restos where we can go "PUUUUDING ON THE RIIIITZZZZ!!!"
                                          ;)

                                  2. You might consider one of the Le Pain Quotidien locations. There is one on Robertson near 3rd and also on Villa Marina near Lincoln.

                                    1. Go to Metro Diner on Washington near Sepulveda. Also called Metro Cafe. Antithesis of hoity-toity.

                                      1. Waterloo & City is exactly what you want.

                                        1. Don't know if the food is *great*, but the Garage would work.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                            Just so the OP (who does not like noisy places, even though his friend does) knows, this place is LOUD. Capital L

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              I can understand why it would be loud..... It was pretty empty at lunch time the other day, though and not loud at all.

                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                We stuck our heads in one night and turned around and headed for some other place, all based on the noise factor.

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  There are 2 parts to Garage. One part is the kitschy Garage theme side which tends to be noisy and there is another mellower side. Either way from my one visit. I would go for the drinks but not the food.