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Chowhound worthy dinner for a family only night in LA

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We will be in LA 1 night and will be looking for 1 dinner. We will be staying at the Magic Castle hotel so walkable even better so we can enjoy a wine or two,
Also arriving at airport just after lunch and be hungry so if there is a place around budget rental car.
Costco will pick up some groceries and wine and beer,
we love fun .happy hour or adventurous places or a diners drive and dive.

No chinese or indian food recommendations
We will visit the original famers market.
Hollywood walk of fame
Mulholland drive
museum

Love to hear what you can recommend
Thanks

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  1. For drinks but NOT food go to Yamashiro which is close by and has fantastic views in a great setting. The food is awful however so just for drinks.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Thor123

      Patio views only opened april- september
      Were heading there in october

      1. re: Thor123

        Funny this place is voted -#1 on TA for restaurants
        Their lounge or patio area is closed now until next year

      2. Near Budget rental facility try Pann's for great architecture (googie style) and American food, including wonderful patty melts and wings and waffles combo.

        www.panns.com

        Near Hollywood Walk of Fame try Cleo's http://www.sbe.com/cleo for dinner if you like Middle Eastern food or Littlefork http://www.littleforkla.com/ if you are looking for something more eclectic.

        62 Replies
        1. re: Servorg

          + 1 for Pann's for great American diner food.

          In N Out Burger is right outside LAX on Sepulveda Blvd

          On Hollywood Blvd I like Musso & Frank's a Hollywood classic since 1919. Thursday is their chicken pot pie night. Full bar.

          1. re: wienermobile

            Both visits to san diego we never did try in and out burger! I have tried their sauce as made it from a ted reader cookbook .

            We loved Hodad's for burgers in san diego area.

            Maybe in and out burger or Pann's will be out go to lunch. Thanks very much

            1. re: palmtree38

              They make great Patty Melts and shakes at Pann's

            2. re: wienermobile

              $23 for a chicken pot pie?????????

              What you get with that? Seems insane prices. Pot pie meals are nomally $14 at best
              when you say full bar do you mean it fills up fast for pies?

              1. re: palmtree38

                Full bar means they make cocktails and hard spirits as well as beer and wine.

                1. re: palmtree38

                  Yes, Musso's is pretty fucking expensive.

                  1. re: kevin

                    im going to pass on $50 meatpies for two! Unless unlimted beer and wine came with it lol

                    1. re: palmtree38

                      Where you visting from ????

                      1. re: kevin

                        Close to Niagara Falls

                        1. re: kevin

                          We are trying to get a cancellation for a night in Anaheim at the homewood suites where we have stayed twice to surprise the kids with a day at Disney. It is not looking good so we will keep with our travel itinary. IFFF a room cancellation comes through then will stay at magic castle the second night friday and cancel Pismo beach Friday. Unfort our hotel is not available saturday all booked as is a lot of hotels so it may be a straight drive to Monterey. I may be really mucking up my itinerary for this day of Disney but it looks like it wont happen and then no changes will need to be made in accomodations.

                          1. re: palmtree38

                            Yeah, I would say try not to do too much with a very short period of time unless you can add a day or two to the itinerary.

                            1. re: kevin

                              We have 3 nights in SF, 3 nights Monterey, 1 night in Pismo beach and 1 night La. So we can easily take a night off Monterey

                              1. re: palmtree38

                                The ride through Big Sur is spectacular. You might want to stop at Napentha for a great view. In Pacific Grove near Monterey is Passion Fish a wonderful restaurant. have a nice trip.

                                1. re: Baron

                                  Thanks for suggestion but their menu doesnt look too appealing. And not much for the kids

                                  1. re: palmtree38

                                    Are we perusing the same restaurant menu? PassionFish?
                                    I'm amazed that you called their menu 'unappealing'!
                                    It, at least their menu LOOKS great, and the idea of asparagus fries is sorely tempting! The rest sure seems varied to me.
                                    Included the note below b/c it is about a kid enjoying their menu:

                                    What Our Guests Are Saying

                                    "Mom I'm starving, what's for dinner" was my son's first words when I picked him up on Friday after school. Enroute to another restaurant, my son and I changed our minds and ended up at PassionFish and what a great choice it was. The asparagus fries were just what I was craving. My son had the Crab Salad with the Spicy Vinaigrette and pulled his plate away when I reached over for a second taste. He narrowed his entree selections to the Duck Confit, Sea Scallops or the Shrimp Stew - after much deliberation and consultation with Lindsey (our server) and myself - went with the Duck Confit. I had the 12-Hour Lamb breast. It was a absolutely DIVINE!!! When we we exchanged bites, my son was was struck dumb (hard to do for a 15-year old) by the flavors bursting in his mouth. AMAZING!!!!!! The bread pudding (sauce on the side) was our dessert of choice and not a bad choice as well. A Friday evening evening well spent.

                                    1. re: VenusCafe

                                      where was Passion Fish ???? It sounds like a movie.

                    2. re: palmtree38

                      Forget Musso and Franks. Their food is nothing like it once was. Way overpriced and not good. The place is depressing. Stay away.

                      1. re: Baron

                        Dont forget the $23 for a chicken pot pie that most restaurants charge $10-15 at most with fries

                  2. re: Servorg

                    what is the difference between a patty melt and a burger?
                    No prices listed on website either. about average prices here?

                    1. re: palmtree38

                      Patty melt is 3/4 pound all beef patty on grilled rye with cheese and grilled onions instead of a bun. Most items run around $10 with the compleat dinners around $15

                      In N Out runs around $6

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        Thanks for info.

                        What about any of these DDD places
                        Beer belly
                        East side market italian
                        Nickel diner
                        The parks finest?

                        1. re: palmtree38

                          I think the Ike's "Love & Sandwiches" http://www.yelp.com/biz/ikes-love-and... in Monterey Park is not part of the N. Calif. chain called Ike's Place http://ilikeikesplace.com/

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Ike's place looks superb for sandwiches with decent price tag. The other one has many reviews saying a $15 sandwich with drink is too steep for the lack of toppings,

                          2. re: palmtree38

                            All the places you mentioned are at least a 30 minute drive or longer from your Hollywood location to downtown LA. If you are willing to travel add Langer's Deli for the best pastrami on earth,Park's BBQ for great Korean meats and flavors or Ricky's Fish Tacos in Chinatown (weekend lunch only).

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              Hmmm . We will be going tomthe griffith obervatory any of these that direction?
                              We will be at hollywood walk and the farmers market.
                              We will be in LA a thursday and part of friday heading then to santa Barabara for a visit then to Pismo beach for a night

                              1. re: wienermobile

                                Would you say magic castle hotel is in a good location for walking to good restaurants ? Or is it the touristy trap area?

                                1. re: palmtree38

                                  It's not a great location for walking to good restaurants, but it is a well located for a short drive to: Hollywood, West Hollywood, Fairfax district, Downtown is a short freeway/subway ride away; Beverly hills is not too far.

                                  1. re: AAQjr

                                    I thought this hotel is short walk to walk of fame??

                                    Hmm maybe I can look into a santa monica hotel its not set in stone yet.

                                    1. re: palmtree38

                                      Naaaah, LA is not much of a walking city. The hotel you chose is well located to see a lot of stuff. A hotel in Santa Monica is great for seeing and walking.. Well Santa Monica and very inconvienient for seeing LA anything east of Bevery Hills. Especially if you are not very familiar with traffic ect.

                                      Stay where you are, LA is NOT NYC or SF in regards to walkability. We are spread out into lots of mini cities that can be walkable once you drive there!!

                                      Good luck

                                      1. re: AAQjr

                                        Great thanks,, 1 night stay put.. And kids like the free unlimited snack menu lol
                                        Thanks for your time posting

                                    2. re: AAQjr

                                      I thought choosing this hotel it was close walking to most things, (tourist attractions) markets, and restaurants.

                                    3. re: palmtree38

                                      If I were visiting LA, I would stay in Santa Monica (near the beach). Hollywood is a real tourist trap.

                                      1. re: bringiton

                                        agree.

                                        1. re: bringiton

                                          undortunatly the hotels in SM are $335 and up unless we want a motel with outdated furnishings, Motel's are not normally our style we prefer family hotels ie holiday inn, hiltons, residence inn, homewood suites. Get more bang for buck and more modern.

                                          1. re: palmtree38

                                            Your location is fine, I wouldn't worry about it. Just give up on the idea of walking from the hotel and you will be much happier.

                                            PS.. If you brought a suit jacket and can get into the Magic Castle the shows are great! (dinner is just Meh) but the close up magic room can't be beat IMO.

                                            1. re: AAQjr

                                              You can not get into the Magic Castle unless you are a member or with a member. You also must be 21 and over except for special family days. They now do sell a new one month membership at $250.00 than does not include food or beverages.

                                            2. re: palmtree38

                                              Ok, then I would stay in Westwood (W Hotel or Palomar), or Century City (Century Plaza). They are in the low $200's are a close drive to most of the best dining spots in the City. The W has a hip outdoor pool/bar area. The Century Plaza has a good outdoor pool as well, and it is walking distance to a high end outdoor shopping mall. They are both a short drive, depending on traffic to Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, etc.

                                              1. re: bringiton

                                                Totally agree. There are a ton of options outside of Hollywood. The Magic Castle is not a good location and unless you are a magic fanatic not a place to stay. Also, totally agree about the outdoor bar at the W. Its a very cool place to have drinks and you can also get food service that is good for lunch or an early dinner if still in season.

                                                1. re: bringiton

                                                  W hotel is $336 a night! Not $200

                                          2. re: wienermobile

                                            unfort were there thursday afternoon until friday afternoon only.

                                            1. re: palmtree38

                                              Magic Castle is located in the heart of the tourist area, with not much to walk to other than the Hollywood attractions, which take less than 30 minutes to see. There are no restaurants nearby worthwhile. It is also where you will find the lowest hotel room rates and all suite hotels with free parking. For restaurants, you would have to drive.

                                              Santa Monica is much better in terms of walking to any number of wonderful restaurants, cafes (and shops). There are wonderful suite hotels in West Hollywood, places where you can also walk to great restaurants.

                                              Also, I wouldn't waste time stopping at Cosco for groceries. Not unless you're stocking up for a month of eating and drinking.

                                              1. re: yogachik

                                                yoga chick thanks! we will be flying from a long trip with connector flights from niagara falls a 3 hour time difference . kids may be tired arriving and we leave the following day for Pismo beach, there wont be much time to hang at a beach. So we wanted to see the hollywood sign from the griffith observatory, walk of fame and rodeo drive all not taking up much time.. Perhaps the original farmers market of opened friday.Just to say been there done that.
                                                Maybe will skip the coscto in LA and just find a place near budget airport where we will get our car for wine and beer and snacks then have lunch at IN & Out burger or Pann's . We can visit a costco up the coast wherewe have a kitchenette and bbq for 3 days .

                                                Magic castle is $240 a night and charges $11 to park no free parking.
                                                I will look into west hollywood and see if any suites are appealing.
                                                Santa monico rooms were $330 plus a night,

                                                1. re: palmtree38

                                                  Just so you know since it sounds like you are counting your pennies on this trip. Pann's will cost you about four to five times as much as in n out would cost you for lunch. but then again Pann's is about a hundred times mo betta.

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    Lower cost dining in your Hollywood area:
                                                    Tender Greens
                                                    Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles
                                                    Umami Burger
                                                    Shophouse
                                                    Mel's Diner (walkable)
                                                    Veggie Grill
                                                    In N' Out (walkable)
                                                    Zankou Chicken
                                                    101 Coffee Shop
                                                    and the new Roadside Eats

                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                      Were not totally counting pennies on meals i just dont feel $23 for a meat pie is worth the splurge $23-30 on a steak sure.

                                                      I saw panns menu and pricing and its average .

                                                      1. re: palmtree38

                                                        Ok, if Pann's pricing is good then you are good to go.

                                                        Yeah, I would definitely rec Pann's over in n out.

                                                        But if you must go to in n out to say you did, then you must.

                                                    2. re: palmtree38

                                                      Trader Joe's is five minutes from Budget RAC - it's on Sepulveda just south of Manchester. They are very snack-intensive and good for road trip eats.

                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                        Indeed.

                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                          Been to trader Joes in liberty station SD .good variety of lagers not best for vino

                                                          1. re: palmtree38

                                                            Wine? That's hardly onroad snacks for the kids. The best booze selection within 10 minutes of Budget would be Whole Foods in El Segundo - south of the LAX area.

                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                              Where we live we call Whole Foods Whole pay cheque!!

                                                        2. re: palmtree38

                                                          When in Pismo, you MUST eat at the Cracked Crab

                                                          http://www.crackedcrab.com/

                                                          Worth every dime and nickel.

                                                          Make sure you have a big bag to collect all your shells in when you walk shell beach.

                                                          1. re: yummyinmytummy

                                                            What do you order there ?

                                                            1. re: yummyinmytummy

                                                              Yes i hear there are lots of sand dollars whole on beach too!

                                                              For Pismo beach we have splash cafe and peppers Mexicali cafe, and for a treat old West Cinnamon rolls

                                                              1. re: palmtree38

                                                                Old
                                                                West cinnamon rolls.

                                                                Tell me
                                                                More.

                                                                1. re: palmtree38

                                                                  You may or may not have overlooked Arroyo Grande, which is a town directly inland from Pismo Beach. You might want to look up that town for food and treats as well. I can't remember the name of the ice cream parlor there, but I remember having some good stuff there.

                                                                2. re: yummyinmytummy

                                                                  I have read this menu on a suggestion from someone on a board

                                                                3. re: palmtree38

                                                                  If I were you, I'd definitely ace the West Hollywood idea.
                                                                  Parking is a NIGHTMARE everywhere, extremely crowded
                                                                  and more sophisticated than kiddie oriented, and I'll bet the
                                                                  hotels are spectacular (in price)

                                                    3. re: Servorg

                                                      And great blackened catfish and garlic toast too.

                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                        Pann's has good blackened catfish and garlic toast?

                                                        1. re: palmtree38

                                                          When I get catfish at Pann's I usually have it for breakfast. It's good and they serve it various ways for lunch of dinner. In fact if you ever eat breakfast for lunch or dinner like I do then if Pann's is offering their corned beef hash (which is an infrequent special that suddenly shows up for no apparent reason and then vanishes just as suddenly) I get that.

                                                          They also have one of the best Southern style biscuits in town and I get their country biscuit breakfast with the sausage patties with white gravy. I normally get a couple of over easy eggs on the side with that because I need eggs with my breakfast.

                                                      2. re: Servorg

                                                        Our first meal will be at pann's after we pick up our car rental for lunch.
                                                        We switched to Allamo car rental instead of budget. Rates dropped $135 so we took advantage of it :)

                                                      3. My favorite after a flight at LAX is a double double burger at In 'N Out, which is about 2 minutes outside of LAX.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: bringiton

                                                          We missed in and out burger last trip as we were chasing down a mexican food truck on university ave & Hodad's burgers , Just to say we have had in and out burger will do it this trip!!!

                                                        2. If you want to enjoy a fun, somewhat close by dinner, try Stella Barra in Hollywood, which is about 1 mile away from the Magic Castle:

                                                          6372 W Sunset Blvd
                                                          Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                                          If you can get a reservation, and wouldn't mind a 2 mile drive, try Pizzeria Mozza, which is a collaberation between Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali. Book early, it is among the hardest reservations to get. Alternatively, next door is a very good Italian restaurant by the same owners, Osteria Mozza.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: bringiton

                                                            Stella barra says on yelp not suitable for kids also high end pizza qualilty with the price tag and not too filling.

                                                          2. Thanks for everyone's help
                                                            Arrive at LAX 1pm ish. Pickup car rental have lunch at Pann's for lunch. Hit Trader joe's and wine store for snacks, bevvie's
                                                            Head to our hotel.
                                                            Drop off luggage head out to Griffith observatory, get our hollywood sign pic :) and such,
                                                            museum of science if time permitting then head back to our hotel.
                                                            Walk around hollywood and Walk of fame
                                                            Go for dinner somewhere chill by pool with kids.

                                                            Check out of hotel mid morning head to The Original Farmers Market, pick up casual lunch and treats for kids then head to Santa Monico rather then sit down lunch in SM.
                                                            Then to venice beach ,Santa barbara then check into Pismo Beach accomodations and dinner at Splash Cafe.

                                                            http://www.farmersmarketla.com/
                                                            This is the market we would like to go to as its a must for foodies I had read.

                                                            41 Replies
                                                            1. re: palmtree38

                                                              If you are talking about the "permanent" farmers market http://www.farmersmarketla.com/ at 3rd and Fairfax then they are "open" every day (including the Du-Par's restaurant which is open 24/7) as it is a collection of small businesses (food - don't miss Little John's Candies and English Toffee http://www.littlejohnscandies.com/ open 9AM to 9PM, Monday to Friday and non food shops too) spread over a fairly large area (and also connected to the modern and much more upscale with typical mall stores at the Grove on the east side of the area).

                                                              1. re: palmtree38

                                                                If you're referring to the one at 3rd St. & Fairfax....yes it opens at 7am everyday and would be a nice stop on the way over to Santa Monica & Venice. ;) Your plan is good! Have a great time.

                                                                1. re: chewbacca

                                                                  Chewbacca.. thank you so much! now that flights, caf rental, hotels are all booked, foodie recommendation list for La and SF are done I can now plan itinerary. .
                                                                  It was a bit of a panic as normally I plan a vacation with at least 6 mths out this was 7 weeks

                                                                  Yes this is the one! 6333 W 3rd st at Fair fax ave,

                                                                  Do most chowhounders recommend this place or yet another tourist trap lol?

                                                                  I think we can pick up lunch at the market something casual with treats for the kids such as little johns candies rather then sit down lunch in Santa Monaco

                                                                  1. re: chewbacca

                                                                    Hours for the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax
                                                                    Monday - Friday: 9 am to 9 pm
                                                                    Saturday: 9 am to 8 pm
                                                                    Sunday: 10 am - 7 pm

                                                                    Make sure you try Little Jon's English Toffee. Enjoy

                                                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                                                      any good booths to try?

                                                                      We could do an international lunch with foods from different merchants and have a picnic lunch.

                                                                      Just the toffee from Little John's or the marshmallow treats too?

                                                                      1. re: palmtree38

                                                                        Bob's Donuts
                                                                        Fritzi Dog
                                                                        Magee's (Corned Beef)
                                                                        Pampras Grill (Brazilian BBQ)
                                                                        Gumbo Pot (oyster po-boys)
                                                                        Loteria Grill (Tacos)
                                                                        Umami Burger
                                                                        Charlie's (burgers)
                                                                        Dylan's Candy Bar
                                                                        Mendocino Farms (across the street)
                                                                        and
                                                                        Little John's Candies

                                                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                                                          Wowsers . You have done some chowing at this market.. Well done!!

                                                                          Copied and pasted them to my foodie itinerary
                                                                          Thanks for your time

                                                                          1. re: palmtree38

                                                                            One other place to check out while at the FM's if you have any interest in a burger place featuring "organic, grass fed beef and everything made from scratch" type of place then Short Order would be worth a look: http://shortorderla.com/

                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                              menu looks great.. Sre got a lot or burger places to try on our 9 day coast vacation lol

                                                                              1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                Yet somehow we never seem to tire of them...what's up with that? ;-D>

                                                                                1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                  i would say skip Short Order and grab the corned beef sandwich at Magee's unless you have an endless and boundless appetite, which in that case try everything.

                                                                                  1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                    Short order & Fritzi Dog are pretty good. But yes, in general the farmers market is a tourist trap and the majority of the restaurant food there is sub par. But if you'd rather lunch there than drive to another spot in the city, go for it.

                                                                                  2. re: Servorg

                                                                                    I am a big fan of short order, but don't forget Short Cake if you are in need of coffee/espresso with some (very) nice pastries. In addition I am a fan of Loteria, which is a bit expensive but pretty good if you are in the mood for tacos or chilaquiles. Monsuer Marcel in the market is a touristy french market BUT they have a nice wine selection mark ups aren't too bad IME.

                                                                                    1. re: AAQjr

                                                                                      I do like Short Cakes on the other hand. especially the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and the espresso drinks.

                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                        I am another fan of Short Cake. Great treats.

                                                                        2. re: palmtree38

                                                                          Are you planning to check out of your hotel mid morning and spend time in Santa Monica and Venice, then drive to Santa Barbara and spend time there, all before dinner in Pismo Beach?
                                                                          It's a good 4-hour drive to Pismo.

                                                                          1. re: palmtree38

                                                                            <Then to venice beach , santa barbara then check into Pismo Beach accommodations and dinner at Splash Cafe>

                                                                            In my opinion you're setting yourself up for alot of driving and by the time you get to Pismo Beach you're all going to be completely exhausted.
                                                                            The traffic from Fairfax, onto the 10 heading west to Venice can by grueling, depending on the time of day. If you don't take the freeway the side street corridors can be worse. Santa Monica is a huge draw for tourists and lately the places you're thinking about have been very crowded, traffic wise. It may help that tourist season has subsided but it's never a guarantee that you won't run into problems. Getting on the 101 N. from Venice to Santa Barbara in the afternoon can be stop and go....I've done it 100's of times and it's never predictable....
                                                                            Just my 2 cents but I'd consider this part of the equation if I were you.

                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                              You pretty much summed up what I would have said.

                                                                              Especially in regards to traffic from LA to SB.

                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                I really appreciate your help!
                                                                                I have even read mixed reviews on sketchy people at the beach and not all cut out to be in santa Monica pier.

                                                                                Some say the oier is comparable to santa cruz which we will be passing.

                                                                                Latin dancer what would you suggest ? head right out of LA stop to see venice briefly then to santa Barbara straight to Pismo.
                                                                                Santa barbara Lito's take out , Mac's fish and chips, or Nortons Pastrami for lunch and skip farmers market

                                                                                1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                  If it's timed right the trip to Santa Barbara can be made in about 1 1/2 hours going around 75-80mph...I always take the 101N.
                                                                                  Your choices for lunch are good...I've eaten at all and they're all comparable, of course different types of food. I like LIto's because I love Mexican food and their burritos are wonderful as is most of their food.

                                                                                  I think, for an out-of-towner who enjoys experiencing LA's iconic landmarks, the Farmer's Market is a great choice.
                                                                                  Venice Beach is a little South of Santa Monica so you will be backtracking a little before getting back on the freeway to Santa Barbara. It's all subjective, of course, and if you want to see the famous Venice Beach then I'd say allow a little extra time to do so. There certainly is alot of good people watching and your kids may find it fun to see the skateboarders and a place with lots of history.
                                                                                  Although I haven't been to Santa Cruz in a few years I can understand why an analogy can be drawn between the two. I prefer Venice Beach, but then I'm sort of in love with S.Cal.
                                                                                  I'm a big fan of Santa Monica and the beach but I'm also a believer that the coastline between here and Malibu up toward Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful in the world.
                                                                                  I think you're just going to have to make up your mind what you're able to accomplish in a day without wearing yourself out. Pismo Beach is a long way up the coast from LA...I just thought you might want to get an idea before you start out.
                                                                                  All of the places in Santa Barbara are good, as I've stated, and then once you arrive there you're going to want to check out the town because *it's* so beautiful.
                                                                                  What can I say? You're arriving in one of the most beautiful areas around....so much to do with so little time! :).

                                                                                  1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                    The best Mexican take out taqueria stand in Santa Barbara is La Super Rica at 622 N. Milpas St. Best place in SB hands down, lauded by Julia Child, herself! I go there every Mothers Day, it is just fantastic!

                                                                                    Venice Beach is great if you can find a place to park without spending an arm & a leg, and have time to peruse the boardwalk. If not, you've not missed much. Abbott Kinney is a great place to hang around and peruse the shops and restaurants, again if you can afford the time, and find a place to park, which is very difficult during the day. If not, a drive down will certainly suffice, unless you're dying to spend $$$.

                                                                                    I just spent a few days at the Santa Cruz boardwalk this past July. The boardwalk there is by far, loads better than the pier in Santa Monica which is probably only half the size, and without as many rides. Save your $ for Santa Cruz if your kids are up for it, they can spend all day here for probably half the price, and have way more fun. My kids loved the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, and we go to the Santa Monica pier quite often, and thought they enjoy it, Santa Cruz is miles better.

                                                                                    Pismo Beach is quite quaint and fun, though again, a third of the size of Santa Cruz, and without much more than restaurants and shops, so if I were you, I wouldn't spend a lot of time or money there. My family & I spent a lot of time there while driving up north to visit family during the summer, and Pismo is really just a lunch stop or overnight, if we have to. Santa Cruz has a lot more to offer.

                                                                                    Enjoy your trip here! Hope that helps!

                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                      love mexican!!!
                                                                                      Not much of it where I live and we too love SOcal our 2 trips to cali was to SD area and such. i do hope we love this coast trip to Sf just as muchl part of me is regretting not doing SD Again.

                                                                                      We are staying 3 nights just north of Monterey where we can drive to monterey , carmel and do big sur, as well santa cruz. Monterey going to try Sandbar and grill.
                                                                                      Also pick up some cali wines nice juicy steak and grill it on the Q at pur hotel and chill a night

                                                                                      Will def put La Super Rica on list love love mexican.l we looked at stayinf in SB hotels were $350 plus for basic so we passed,

                                                                                      Pismo beach was breaking drive from La to Monterey ad we have kids,

                                                                                      We may skip venice dont need to back track. Kids are not into skateboarders. We see that in front of our house every day by the neighbours kids lol

                                                                                      1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                        <$350 plus for basic so we passed>

                                                                                        Awww....

                                                                                        While I have my favorite hotel in Santa Barbara/Montecito I know of a couple of places particularly suited for families.
                                                                                        Look a little closer next time you're around SB...this time of year, in particular, prices tend to drop dramatically and restaurants tend to thin out when it comes to tourists. It's a great time to be staying there.

                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                          Which hotel in santa Barbara do you recommend for families as were considering taking a day away from monterey (3 nights may be too much here)
                                                                                          Also we would be going through santa cruz a weekday and the rides are not opened during the week.

                                                                                          If our Homewood suites we love down from disney gets a cancellation we may drive there the first night and surprise the kids. Cancel magic castle and stay in santa Barbara or santa Monico.
                                                                                          With kids we prefer hotels with breakfast included makes things far easier.

                                                                                          1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                            My family likes the Fess Parker Santa Barbara Doubletree. Walkable to everything eatable.
                                                                                            http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hote...

                                                                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                              Looks great but $420 a night plus taxes is too steep for a double treee

                                                                                              1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                Are there Motel 6 in LA ? That might still be under a 100 bucks.

                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                  Folks, just a quick reminder that lodging is considered off topic for Chowhound. Please try to bring the conversation back to food.

                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                    Umm i dont do motel 6's.
                                                                                                    Looking at $225 a night

                                                                                                    And will change lodging chat and get back to grub.

                                                                                                    1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                      My apologies.

                                                                                                      I have no clue how we got rolled up in lodging aspects.

                                                                                          2. re: palmtree38

                                                                                            Iaqueria el Bajio in SB is also great in my opinion.

                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                              If you are in Santa Monica or Venice, you can take the PCH north/west rather than doubling back to the 405 and taking the 101. It might be a touh slower, but it is much more picturesque and entertaining. It will join the 101 above Oxnard before you get near Santa Barbara.

                                                                                              1. re: nosh

                                                                                                And take the coastal route as much as possible up to Monterey. The stretch of Highway 1 through Big Sur is memorable.

                                                                                                1. re: nosh

                                                                                                  Right and many times it's actually faster, including taking the canyons off the PCH, than taking that blasted 405 N from Santa Monica.
                                                                                                  Without a doubt one of the most infuriating freeways in the country.

                                                                                                  1. re: nosh

                                                                                                    Agree wholeheartedly to take PCH out of Santa Monica until it converges with the 101 at Oxnard. Can be quicker and IS far prettier. There are some dunes on the east (duh!) side of the road north of Malibu that are pretty impressive and maybe the kids will want to run up and down them - burn some energy off. I know this is the LA board (and doesn't cover Santa Barbara), but make sure, if you spend time in SB, to hit McConnell's ice cream parlor. If you're going to Super Rica, then it will make for a great dessert.

                                                                                                    1. re: Wayno

                                                                                                      That's what I always do. Though sometimes I'll replace La Super Rica with El Bajio.

                                                                                                      The turkish coffe and island coconut at McConnell's is pure fuckin bliss.

                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                        is El Bajio in SB a branch of the Mexico city restaurant?

                                                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                          Sorry.

                                                                                                          It's complete name is "Taqueria El Bajio".

                                                                                                          I'm about 99.99999999999 % sure that it's not.

                                                                                              2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                Julia Child's favorite La Super Rica is the best. Our first stop when in Santa Barbara. FYI: Cash only, long lines and Closed on Wednesdays.

                                                                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                  That and Taqueria El Bajio make quite a nice lunch together.

                                                                                                2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                  Perfect guide to his trip. I agree whole heartedly with the above recommendations from Dirtywextraolives!
                                                                                                  Right on for what to avoid and what to include!

                                                                                          3. What are your thoughts on The Boiling Crab?

                                                                                            Great reviews on trip advisor. Long waits but fun eating experience

                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                              hit it up, if you have time amongst the other treasures of LA, but it should not necessarily be at the tip of any priority list in my opinion.

                                                                                              1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                I don't know about the wait, but the food is good messy fun. There is a knockoff in Hollywood called The Shrimp Lover that supposedly does the same thing without the humongous lines. I've also been to Claws in Garden Grove and they are equally as good and messy as the Boiling Crab.

                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                  Is the shrimp lover or the boiling crab closer to our hotel?(magic castle)
                                                                                                  We will after Pann's check in our hotel then go to griffith observatory to get that part out of our touristy driving out of way. Then dinner out and walk of fame in evening or following morning.

                                                                                                  My kids will do fish and chips but not the other seafood my spouse and I would indulge in.

                                                                                                  1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                    The Shrimp Lover is probably 3 miles from your hotel. Closer than the Boiling Crab probably, but by how much I'm not sure.

                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                      Thank you

                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                        Bolling Crab Koreatown is 5 miles from you. You might need a shower after your meal.
                                                                                                        http://www.theboilingcrab.com

                                                                                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                          Ha. Can you imagine. From the Boiling Crab to Soot Bull Jeep for dinner without showering? You would probably have half the stray dogs and cats in L.A. chasing you down the street afterward.

                                                                                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                            You like it wienermobile?

                                                                                                            1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                              It very fun. It's very messy. But if great seafood is what you are looking for try Son of a Gun or Connie and Ted's both in West Hollywood.

                                                                                                            2. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                              Boiling crab in ktown has manageable lines if you get there by 5:30 on weekdays or for lunch. It's pretty good and cheap.

                                                                                                          2. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                            There's a Hot N Juicy Crawfish in WeHo that's a mile away from your hotel. http://hotnjuicycrawfish.com/ I've not been but it's supposed to be similar to Boiling Crab.

                                                                                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                              Thank you!!
                                                                                                              I think this will be a fun unique type of restaurant we don't have back home. It sounds like the quality of food is decent not red lobster style we have back here that only seniors seem to dine at.:)

                                                                                                              So we arrive on a Thursday so a lunch at Pann's after we land and early dinner at boiling crab ie 5pm for hopefully less of a wait.
                                                                                                              Or hot and juicy if waits too long.

                                                                                                              1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                                You may want to review this recent thread on the new Hot n Juicy place in WeHo....

                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/855439

                                                                                                              2. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                No reviews on TA of it yet as new. Looks like their menu is more crawfish compared to boiling crab.

                                                                                                        2. SEE YOU IN LESS THEN 24 HOURS!!
                                                                                                          THANK YOU EVERYONE
                                                                                                          LET THE FEASTS BEGIN!

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                            After we landed we hit Pann's for lunch

                                                                                                            I had the recommended patti melt on caraway rye with onion rings and a corona.
                                                                                                            2 Kids enjoyed the burgers off the kids menu and a $3 kid milkshake. i gave these both a sample and they were tasty.
                                                                                                            My spouse had a burger and fry combo with a beer.

                                                                                                            My spouse and we both agreed the patti melt was yummier then the burger.
                                                                                                            Our waitress was very friendly
                                                                                                            The restaurant was very cute and retro with the booths and counter dining chairs
                                                                                                            $60 later with tip

                                                                                                            My only complaint was kids meals come with a drink and no desert but a milkshake with meal is extra $3 which is a mini Size .I don't think they should of charged that much if they are not having a meal getting a drink.

                                                                                                            Also the washrooms were very sketchy def in major need of a Reno. There was still shower hooks on the ceiling it looked like the toilet stall was once a shower.

                                                                                                            1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                              Yea. They look like hospital rooms.

                                                                                                              Anyhow. Welcome to LA.

                                                                                                          2. Where did you end up (other than Pann's)?

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                              We had a late lunch at Panns which our time was past dinner and were so full we didnt order any food that night,
                                                                                                              Spent the next morning doing the chinese theater, walk of fame. Drove down rodeo drive just to see it and then off to Santa Monica pier.
                                                                                                              Been there done that wasnt all that impressed,, kids couldnt even go on a ride as private party rented it out.

                                                                                                              Off to Santa Barbara where we had mexican lunch at La Super Rica. Fantastic. My spouse and I ordered a special featured entree. Salsas were good. One child had quasadias the other beef tacos. Cold cerveza Divine!

                                                                                                              1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                                Glad you enjoyed most of it.

                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                  Thanks kevin we really did have a great action packed trip

                                                                                                                  1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                                    Nice that you got to hit up La Super Rica.... Glad you enjoyed it!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                      Very much so!!

                                                                                                                      1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                                        Next time try the horchata at LSR, best I've ever tasted!

                                                                                                                        1. re: sel

                                                                                                                          The watermelon agua fresca is even better.

                                                                                                                2. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                                  Yes though santa Monica pier was dumpy.. Cheezy.
                                                                                                                  A lot of history I'm sure but its not somewhere I would recommend friends to Got to go to,

                                                                                                                  1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                                    Yeah.

                                                                                                                    1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                                                      SM pier is a joke and a dumppp. They recently lured 'crowds' there for band events and have decided that there is real gold in making that sad pier 'a venue'...which, along with the ubiquitous speed bumps completes the ruination.

                                                                                                                      It was a village; now it is a commodity.

                                                                                                                      Lived in SM almost 20 years and my spouse taught at SMC and ran the gallery there. This was from the 70s-mid 80s when it was really fun to be there. GREAT fun. Very personal neighbor hoods.