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Non-snooty + really good food

engie Sep 11, 2013 10:54 AM

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. PeterCC RE: engie Sep 11, 2013 11:15 AM


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

    1. westsidegal RE: engie Sep 11, 2013 03:55 PM

      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
        engie RE: westsidegal Sep 11, 2013 08:34 PM

        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 With him the difficulty is steering clear of any place that smacks of upscale, or in his outdated language 'yuppie.'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
          westsidegal RE: engie Sep 11, 2013 11:59 PM

          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. b
        bulavinaka RE: engie Sep 11, 2013 04:22 PM

        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
          BrewNChow RE: bulavinaka Sep 11, 2013 05:16 PM

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

          1. re: BrewNChow
            Mr Taster RE: BrewNChow Sep 16, 2013 04:33 PM

            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

        2. wienermobile RE: engie Sep 11, 2013 04:27 PM


          2 Replies
          1. re: wienermobile
            bulavinaka RE: wienermobile Sep 11, 2013 04:58 PM

            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
              westsidegal RE: bulavinaka Sep 12, 2013 12:04 AM

              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)

          2. carln RE: engie Sep 11, 2013 05:30 PM

            Waterloo and City.

            1. Baron RE: engie Sep 11, 2013 05:46 PM

              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
                wienermobile RE: Baron Sep 11, 2013 06:54 PM

                Love the food hate the noise level

                1. re: wienermobile
                  engie RE: wienermobile Sep 11, 2013 08:36 PM

                  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
                    ilysla RE: engie Sep 11, 2013 08:49 PM

                    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
                    ronsilverado RE: wienermobile Sep 11, 2013 09:02 PM

                    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
                      Baron RE: ronsilverado Sep 12, 2013 07:19 AM

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

                2. m
                  maudies5 RE: engie Sep 11, 2013 06:20 PM

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

                  1. A5 KOBE RE: engie Sep 12, 2013 12:03 AM

                    Plan Check will be perfect.

                    1. r
                      ronsilverado RE: engie Sep 13, 2013 11:51 AM

                      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

                      1. d
                        Dirtywextraolives RE: engie Sep 13, 2013 01:54 PM

                        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
                          linus RE: Dirtywextraolives Sep 13, 2013 03:11 PM

                          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
                            Dirtywextraolives RE: linus Sep 13, 2013 03:17 PM

                            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
                              westsidegal RE: linus Sep 13, 2013 04:31 PM

                              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
                              A5 KOBE RE: Dirtywextraolives Sep 13, 2013 05:15 PM

                              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
                                engie RE: Dirtywextraolives Sep 15, 2013 12:55 PM

                                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
                                  Servorg RE: engie Sep 15, 2013 03:48 PM

                                  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
                                    linus RE: Servorg Sep 15, 2013 04:26 PM

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

                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      PeterCC RE: Servorg Sep 16, 2013 03:30 PM

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

                                      1. re: PeterCC
                                        ilysla RE: PeterCC Sep 16, 2013 05:27 PM

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

                                        1. re: PeterCC
                                          FranklinJefferson RE: PeterCC Sep 16, 2013 06:06 PM

                                          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. t
                                    Thor123 RE: engie Sep 16, 2013 02:04 PM

                                    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. c
                                      Capybara RE: engie Sep 16, 2013 06:47 PM

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

                                      1. f
                                        foodiemahoodie RE: engie Sep 16, 2013 08:05 PM

                                        Waterloo & City is exactly what you want.

                                        1. d
                                          Dirtywextraolives RE: engie Sep 17, 2013 09:18 PM

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

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                            Servorg RE: Dirtywextraolives Sep 18, 2013 06:03 AM

                                            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
                                              Dirtywextraolives RE: Servorg Sep 18, 2013 08:37 AM

                                              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
                                                Servorg RE: Dirtywextraolives Sep 18, 2013 08:45 AM

                                                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
                                                  Mattapoisett in LA RE: Servorg Sep 18, 2013 10:12 AM

                                                  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.

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