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Moving to Atwater Village

I'm moving to Atwater Village after almost 15 years in New York and I'd love some recommendations in the neighborhood, as well as surrounding hoods. We're going to be on a pretty tight budget for a little while, so any great inexpensive ethnic places are especially appreciated.

Here are some specifics to get the ball rolling.

Mexican: Having grown up in the Bay Area, I'm so excited to come back to California for Mexican food. We were staying in Los Feliz while looking for apartments and had good meals at Mexico City and Yuca's. Checking Yelp, there seems to be quite a few taquerias further out in Glendale. Any I should specifically seek out?

Chinese: I'm assuming I'll have to go out to SGV for great regional Chinese food, but are there any decent Americanized places in Atwater/Los Feliz/Silver Lake for take out or dine in? While visiting a few months ago we tried Chi Dynasty and weren't too impressed.

Japanese/Sushi: Probably not going to any high end places for a while, but a neighborhood spot with good sushi/katsu/ramen etc would be great.

Thai: Thai Town is pretty near. Can't wait to explore it. Any ok places closer?

Vietnamese: New York has pretty mediocre Vietnamese food so I might have been overrating Indochine Vien, but I thought it was pretty tasty.

Indian: Drove past India Sweets & Spices and it looks promising. It seems like most of the great Indian restaurants are in Artesia. Is there any good Indian/Bengali/Pakistani food in the greater Hollywood area?

Bakeries/Coffee: It seems like Atwater has a lot of great bakeries. Which are your favorites for bread, pastries, coffee, etc.?

Sandwiches/Salads: Another reason I'm excited about coming back to California is the quality of the produce. Any great sandwich/salad places I should know about?

Pizza: Anything decent would be great. I'm totally not a NY purist, I love good pizza no matter what the style. Friends of ours ordered from Cheech's and it wasn't too good.

Bagels: A lost cause?

Middle Eastern: Excited to try Armenian, Persian, etc. Which are the best spots in Glendale?

Bars: I love good beer, wine, and cocktails. Probably going to save money and drink at home most of the time, but a great neighborhood bar would be awesome.

Burgers: What are the best holes in the wall around here? Any great upscale burgers?

Groceries: Visited the Trader Joe's and Gelson's on Hyperion and those seem pretty good. I see that there's a Vons in Atwater Village and I can't wait to go to the Sunday farmers market. Any great ethnic supermarkets?

Anything else I should not miss?

I haven't come across a recent post about the area, so I apologize if all this has been covered. Thanks so much for your help!

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  1. Well, since you are staying in Los Feliz, try Sidewalk Grill on Vermont, just north of the Bank of America. Persian flavors served in a fast casual format. Quite good.
    Canele on Glendale Blvd. in Atwater is the local quality dining option, by and large. The Village is a new bar located almost next door to Coral Reef - the former being a good place to drink, while the latter is an awful place to eat.
    Chinese food in general is relegated to the SG Valley, from Monterey Park to Diamond Bar. None worthy of trying in Feliz either.

    1. Mexican: Mexico City and Malos aren't bad but not very exciting either. Yuca's is very popular but I don't personally understand why. I prefer Tacos Villa Corona for a neighborhood taco/burrito spot. I usually drive for my Mexican. Guisado's which is pretty close by in Echo Park makes some of the best tacos in the city and really East LA isn't that far away either.

      Chinese: You do have to go to SGV for great regional Chinese but The Palace in Los Feliz is a pretty good neighborhood chinese option (much, much better than Chi Dynasty in any case)

      Thai: Thai Town is so close that I never look for anything closer.

      Indian: Agra Cafe, in a small strip mall on sunset, is decent but you probably do need to drive a bit to get to great Indian.

      Bakeries: People rave about Proof Bakery. Portos is a good Cuban bakery in Glendale. Guatemalteca is a good Guatemalan Bakery on Santa Monica Blvd.

      Groceries: Trader Joe's and Gelson's are decent. There's a Whole Foods in Glendale and one in the planning stages for Silverlake. Atwater Village Farmer's Market is a good one but the Hollywood one is much bigger and I usually consider it worth it to drive to that one unless I don't plan to buy much.

      Pizza: Garage is the best neighborhood option for NY style. Mother Dough has really good neapolitan.

      Bagels: are going to be a lost cause for anyone from NY.

      1. India Sweets is inexpensive but the food is not great

        Proof bakery is excellent for baked goods and coffee

        Raffis down the road in Glendale has good Persian(best koobideh around IMO)

        I like little Doms in Los Feliz for brunch

        You're not far from Lamill in silverlake for coffee(I'm digging the steampunk)

        Pho Cafe in silverlake was excellent but its been over a year since I've been there

        1. It looks like you've done some homework.

          Atwater Crossing does a nice brunch, and there are various events there.

          Baracoa is a Cuban restaurant, and has a nice chicken and rice lunch special, along with decent fish specials and a pretty good ropa vieja.

          Tacos Villa Corona for street-sized tacos.

          Tam O'Shanter for prime rib. It's connected to the venerable Lawry's of Beverly Hills.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lil mikey

            if you want cuban nearby, la cochinita on sunset was the place to go although they went upscale (for them) and raised their prices a while back.

          2. Thanks for all your suggestions. Can't wait to try these places out!

            1. You do have a decent place for bagels not too far - Brooklyn bagels on Beverly. It's their factory, so it's not fancy, but they do have a small retail store you can hit. We generally buy one or two dozen frozen bagels, drive home fast, throw them in the freezer, then thaw/warm them in the oven one by one when we want one.

              http://www.brooklynbagella.com

              They will not be exactly like New York bagels but, the founder was a new york bagel baker and, these are the closest I've found since the closing of I & Joy many years ago.

              As for Ethnic Markets? No one mentioned the mothership of them all so I will - Superking. Great meats, cheeses and deli choices, killer produce, cheap. You want the one on San Fernando, that's the closest.

              http://www.superkingmarket.com/weekly...

              Pizzawise, I like Brownstone in Eagle Rock. A nice thin crust pizza...

              http://www.yelp.com/biz/brownstone-pi...

              And two thumbs up here as well for Guisado's. I've only been to the orig. spot, in Boyle Heights. Awesome and worth the drive.

              1. Atwater Farmers tomorrow--Big Mista's BBQ!

                Second Canele.

                Cacao Mexicatessen is good but the prices have risen..substantially!

                Auntie Em"s in Eagle Rock for breakfast, sandwiches, salads.

                There is a bakery across from India Sweets (Village Bakery?) run by a former Auntie Em's person. Have only taken out bread and pastry once, but they were very good!

                Skaf's on Chevy Chase in Glendale is a small family run Lebanese restaurant....really good! And reasonable.

                1 Reply
                1. re: oldiebutfoodie

                  Auntie Em's has the only meatloaf sandwich I've liked better than mine. Their potato salad is good too. Beyond breakfast stuff that's all I've tried, but that's because it's a small place with a big following, and I'm crowd-averse.

                  And if it's 3 AM and you're in serious need of a grilled cheese and fries, Fred 62 in Los Feliz is there for you, corner of Vermont and Russell. Nothing there is stunning except for the mad art on the walls, but everything I've had has been good.

                2. I see that you mentioned a tight budget, so a couple of ideas. (though not ethnic places) Tam O'Shanter, mentioned earlier, is not cheap....but they have an afternoon special in the bar. Sandwiches freshly carved...turkey, beef and I think one other....with some sides. I forget the price, but a good deal. And Little Dom's has a Monday night special for $15....first course, main and dessert. Also reduced prices on some beer and wine that night.

                  1. I think CaCao is worth the money, and while I'm a fan of Proof and Village Bakery, I go to Village Bakery more often.

                    For take-out Mexican, I like El Sauz in Glendale, on San Fernando. Also on San Fernando is Top Line Liquor. They sell hard liquor and wine (no beer) and I really like their selections.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cjla

                      They are now also selling beer, as the sign in the window says.
                      Charlie, both Mikes and Sean know their stuff.
                      Address: 4718 San Fernando Road, just north of Chevy Chase.

                    2. Some of this will be repeats but as a long time resident of this area, here are my picks:

                      Canele: Just wonderful. The food is so good, both for dinner and for brunch. While not cheap it is not expensive and well worth going. It will become a staple.

                      Gold Star: no one ever mentions this little place on Brand but it is one of my favorite homemade cheeseburgers. Nothing fancy, just a very well made burger with a huge slab of iceberg and a toasted bun. They also have a ridiculously huge and very tasty homemade ground beef taco. And good onion rings. Their breakfast is pretty good, too.

                      Malo: You go for two things... the habanero cream salsa and the beef and pickle tacos. The latter sounds strange but believe me, they are amazing. For some dumb reason last year they changed the way the beef and pickle tacos were made (new chef probably or they were sick and tired of everyone ordering only these) and the outcry was so vociferous they thankfully changed them back. The salsa is worth driving hours for.

                      Little Dom's: Terrific food in Los Feliz, though the service can be spotty. Some of my favorite roast potatoes of all time.

                      The Kitchen: Small, reasonable place with terrific food. Seriously good food. I am going tonight, in fact!

                      Raffi's: Just north in Glendale, this institution has wonderful armenian food. Hummus, tabbouleh, kabobs, etc.

                      Elenas: excellent greek food. Their meats are quite good.

                      Taqueria el Tapatio: on Glendale Blvd. Wonderful breakfast burritos (bean and egg or chorizo and egg) and I love their green salsa.

                      Polka: This is headed over toward Highland Park but it also is an institution and has terrific polish food. It just changed owners but I hear the food is still terrific. A LOT of food for your money.

                      Proof: Terrific bakery in Atwater.

                      I love our Farmer's Market. Terrific produce, and eggs. The food vendors there are superb as well: amazing fish tacos and pupusas and the like.

                      Bars: The Bigfoot Lodge is fun. The Griffin has very good food for a bar. I haven't yet tried the food at Atwater Village Tavern.

                      Damon's: Another Glendale institution, this is a Polynesian steakhouse right out of the 50's. Cheap for a steakhouse and the food is good enough. A lot of fun.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Tom P

                        when did they change ownership at polka? i haven't been for about a year and now that it's finally starting to cool off, i find myself craving a good pierogi. (grew up in NE ohio where it was predominantly central european. you can still go to any nearby catholic church there on a friday and pick up an order of homemade pierogis for dirt cheap)

                        1. re: barryc

                          I read this, so it is not 100% confirmed. If true, I will really miss the lovely couple who owned it. It's a wonderful little place. And what a wonderful story about Ohio, thank you!

                      2. The Fix is the best burger place I've been to in LA. Always upgrade to the wagyu.

                        Kaldi has good coffee.

                        1. Welcome to Atwater Village! I unfortunately, just moved. It was a fantastic neighborhood that I'll miss dearly.

                          For pizza, our usual delivery option was Tomato Pie. You can also dine in at their shop on Hyperion in Silver Lake. For dine in orders, two counter items (like pizza slices) entitle you to a free beverage.

                          Vince's Market for tasty and cheap sandwiches. The carnitas with avocado was my usual, and costs well under $5 if I remember correctly. A simple ham and cheese costs about $2.

                          El Buen Gusto is tasty and cheap. They have zucchini pupusas that I crave on occasion. There is an outpost on Glendale and one on Fletcher (both in Atwater). The Fletcher location gives chips and salsa to start. Stay away from the shrimp ceviche...worst I've had.

                          Golden Road Brewing, on the outskirts of Atwater Village, offers their own beers and other options (I don't drink, so I can't offer my opinion of their brews). The food didn't wow me on my first couple visits, but the burger I had last time was the best in recent memory. Simple, but really good. They also offer lots of vegan and vegetarian options.

                          Like others have mentioned, Proof bakes up some delicious treats. And Kaldi offers bagels from Brooklyn Bagel if you're just looking for a bagel in the neighborhood.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chinchi

                            Tomato Pie is excellent, indeed!

                          2. So far as Thai closer to Silver Lake/Atwater Village goes, I can't recommend Wat Dong Moon Lek Noodle enough. Located behind Akbar and the Kitchen (at the corner of Fountain and Hoover in Silver Lake), they put an interesting, unique spin on even the most traditional Thai dishes. The menu is sprawling, and apart from the great main dishes (with the Choo Choo Train Fried Rice, Kow Soi Noodle, Ginger Fish and Spicy Basil Crispy Pork Belly being my favorites), they also have refreshing smoothies - don't miss the Pineapple Basil one - and luscious desserts. I've been eating here since the week they opened in 2009, and have yet to order a bad dish or have a less than excellent meal. Friendly staff, affordable prices and a bright, welcoming decor are also pluses.

                            1. Barbrix for the best wine bar around.