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HELP requested - NY hound in for a long weekend, group dinners to plan!

Hello again LA hounds!

Given the wonderful help from here for my previous trip this year, I thought I'd try again! Last time we were only two, and tried Red Medicine, Ink, Gjelina (partially), and Huckleberry.

Some parameters:
> Staying in Venice, coordinating with friends near K-town for some part of the weekend
> Group size varies from 3 at the outset on Friday to 6 and 8 at peak and back to 3 by Monday
> Couple of foodies mixed in with non-foodies (not picky though), food needs to be yummy but not always fancy

Reservations so far, with # of people at the meal:
> Fri lunch (3): tbd, need something easy and Venice-area
> Fri dinner (5-6): have a rez at Baco Mercat, Pizzeria Mozza, and Osteria Mozza -- need to decide
> Sat lunch/brunch (6): have Pizzeria Mozza booked in case we don't go on Friday
> Sat dinner: Sunny Spot
> Sun lunch & dinner (7-8): tbd (have a dinner rez at Gjelina as backup)
> Mon lunch (3) & dinner (5): tbd

Questions and dilemmas:
> Pizzeria or Osteria Mozza, or both on different days?
> Gjelina or Tasting Kitchen in AK? (we tried the salads at G last time, but they messed up the order and we had to leave before our pizzas so we could make the flight)
> Superba worth a visit / rez for one of the meals? Fri lunch maybe?
> Baco Mercat - how best to fit it in? I thought we could grab lunch there on Friday or Monday, but the menu beyond the bacos looks amazing...
> Someone recommended Axe, Piccolo, and MB Post - thoughts?

Anything missing we should add?

Thank you so much in advance!

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  1. tacos puntas cabras for a quick taco stop.

    You should also add something in koreatown; this will help: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/918747

    1. Baco is good for lunch or dinner or brunch, it does not matter but for your group size you might want a reservation, especially if you decide for brunch. The biscuits and gravy for brunch is pretty tasty.

      1. MB post is really great. As good or (probably) better than any other place you have on your list. Even the non-picky, non-foodies will like.

        Superba is also very good.

        Sunny Spot? Not sure about that one. Roy's stuff has mostly been average-to-bad (despite the hype) since the early days of Kogi.
        Pizzeria Mozza is nothing (especially for a NYer), Osteria Mozza and chi Spacca are both better choices.

        Baco Mercat/Bar Ama/Orsa & Winston - all are owned by the same creative, inventive chef in slightly different environments, and at least one is worth your time.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ciao Bob

          "Sunny Spot? Not sure about that one. Roy's stuff has mostly been average-to-bad (despite the hype) since the early days of Kogi.
          Pizzeria Mozza is nothing (especially for a NYer), Osteria Mozza and chi Spacca are both better choices."

          Agree quite a bit with this.

          Actually, the Kogi trucks still taste pretty good to me. I'd go there over Sunny Spot. Or maybe even to his new Chego location.

          I can't imagine NYer's being super thrilled by Pizzeria Mozza either... It's funny, the place must be on every tourist's list to go to, but it hardly seems like it would make a top 25 (probably not even top 50) list if I were to come up with one when visiting LA for food.

          1. re: Ciao Bob

            Skip Sunny Spot. I really like A-Frame.

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              completely concur with Ciao Bob about sunny spot.
              imho, it's just not good enough to be thought of as a destination restaurant.

            2. Bestia
              Son of A Gun
              animal
              Petty Cash
              Sotto
              Salt Air

              17 Replies
              1. re: Ciao Bob

                Pettycash? Really?...

                God... if someone came to LA and that's the only taco they ate... that's the kind of horror story that keeps me up at night.

                It is seriously tragic to mention that pretentious POS eatery in the same list as Bestia, Son of a Gun, Animal, and Sotto.

                1. re: Stravinsky

                  Yes, really.
                  Not for you...maybe not for me. But it seems to fit the OP's sort of vibe.
                  If she seemed more into chow-for-chow sake I would send the OP to many, many other places for Mexican food. She has other needs.

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    That seems rather insulting to the OP's tastes...

                    The only people who fit in at Pettycash are clueless scene-eaters from Bev Hills/West Hollywood who think they are being "adventurous" by venturing East of Fairfax to try something "exotic" like "carnitas".

                    FFS, at least you could direct them to La Otra Escuela Taqueria. It's in the same area, slightly less pretentious, about half the price for better executed food, and they at least offer some unique stuff, like diced pork chops in tacos, that you actually might not find elsewhere.

                    1. re: Stravinsky

                      Look at the OP's itinerary so far. Look at the lack of low key/1 dollar sign places.

                      1. re: ns1

                        So? Doesn't mean you have to recommend a place that specializes only in ripping off diners without a clue...

                        This is Chowhound, isn't it? Is it not presumed that people coming here for some help have at least a modicum of taste, and are generally concerned with their dining experience at a deeper level than "Is the place popular? Is it glitzy? Is it expensive?"

                        1. re: Stravinsky

                          y'know, when you presume, you make a pres out of u and me...

                            1. re: Stravinsky

                              This is Chowhound, isn't it? Is it not presumed that people coming here for some help have at least a modicum of taste, and are generally concerned with their dining experience at a deeper level than "Is the place popular? Is it glitzy? Is it expensive?"
                              -----------------------------------------

                              You could presume that, yes. But history shows that is not the case.

                              re: petty cash
                              You hate it, but (some) trusted food critics love it.

                              1. re: ns1

                                I know.

                                It's things like that that make believe food critics get paid off at least sometimes...

                                1. re: Stravinsky

                                  Most of them are people who graduated from journalism school and make $40,000 per year. Just because you are willing to work for that salary does not mean that you know anything about food. It just means that you are a decent writer.

                                  Having said that, there are some excellent food critics like Jonathan Gold, Dave Lieberman (he is a tech guy during the day) and Gustavo Arellano.

                                  1. re: matthewlcohen

                                    and the qualifications for rendering an opinion on chowhound are?

                                    1. re: linus

                                      An ego that knows no bounds? ::snort:: ;)

                                      1. re: linus

                                        I'm not saying that anyone here is any better, but holding up journalists as fonts of wisdom is not very useful.

                            2. re: Stravinsky

                              No insult intended. But I defer to you, Stravinsky - you seem to be more of a specialist in insulting than I.

                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                Pettycash deserves every insult that it is hurled at it.

                        2. " Fri dinner (5-6): have a rez at Baco Mercat, Pizzeria Mozza, and Osteria Mozza -- need to decide "

                          Not even close. Go to Bäco Mercat! Or I'll haunt your dreams for eternity!

                          Ok, fine, I am biased here. But I would say Bäco is light years beyond the Mozza's. It's creative, exciting, unique, and the most "LA" restaurant in LA in terms of cuisine. You can get pizza and pasta any time can't you?

                          The menu beyond the Bäco's btw IS AMAZING! Make sure you order as many vegetable dishes as possible! DO NOT MISS THE BABY BEET SALAD! (Or the cauliflower, the carrots, or the eggplant...)

                          If you go early try to order the saffron-honey chicken. They only do 1-2 a night, but if you're lucky enough to get it, you can thank me later for the tip ;) The pork porterhouse, or coffee-rubbed rib chop at by no means poor consolation plates if you miss it though.

                          The other small plates change pretty often, but try to get whatever version of quail is being done...and whatever the server recommends really! (Hopefully you get Jenn!)

                          Also, my most recent visit to Osteria Mozza was awful. The food was ok, but the service was horrific. I almost chipped a tooth on a cherry pit in the dessert. Dessert was not comped... and I was handed a legal form to fill out while in a massive amount of pain. One of the worst dining experiences of my life.

                          Pizzeria Mozza is a bit better. But if you MUST go to a Mozza locale, consider Chi Spacca! It's almost entirely meat on the menu though, so if you aren't really into meat, then perhaps not... otherwise, seriously consider making that your Mozza-empire stop. Chad Colby is very talented, butchers his own meat, and makes it sing (both cured, and alla griglia).

                          In Venice...you should try Superba over Gjelina or Tasting Kitchen in my opinion. I also want to recommend Willie Jane, but I have yet to go (I think I will be going tonight actually!) It looks much more interesting than either of those places to be honest.

                          I would make Superba your Friday lunch. Unless you want to do something even simpler. What about Cafe Gratitude? It's a slight "chain", but honestly, the I Am Whole bowl there is one of the most pleasurable gustatory experiences I've ever had, and you will feel very good after eating it. The place is vegan, though I am not. I'd say it's worth a try if you've never been. It's a pleasant atmosphere, too.

                          Why are you set on/how did you come by Pizzeria Mozza and Sunny Spot recs?

                          I would honestly try to just get some pizzas from Mozza for lunch on Saturday if you MUST try it.

                          I would say somewhere you absolutely should go for lunch/brunch on Sat/Sun is Salt's Cure. Order the All Star (bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuit, oatmeal griddle cakes). It will change how you view a plate of breakfast food forever.

                          Other dinners: would seriously recommend hitting Animal if you never have. I would entirely skip Gjelina. Last time you tried Ink and Red Medicine, it seems like Animal kind of completes the trifecta in that area of "must try" places.

                          MB Post is certainly worth going to.

                          What types of food would you be interested in trying?

                          Interested in coffee shop recommendations, or other stops in between meals?

                          Let's see what your tentative schedule looks like so far:

                          Friday Lunch: Cafe Gratitude/Superba Snack Bar.
                          Friday Dinner: Bäco Mercat.

                          Saturday Lunch: Pizzeria Mozza.
                          Saturday Dinner: Sunny Spot

                          Sunday Brunch: Salt's Cure.
                          Sunday Dinner: Animal.

                          Monday Lunch:
                          Monday Dinner:

                          Monday is still open, so let's see if there is anything in particular that would fit your bill.

                          Personally, I'd say do something "really LA" like go to Guerilla Tacos on Monday for lunch!

                          Perhaps to supplement Osteria Mozza, a dinner at the new Bucato, masters of pasta and bread in Culver City?

                          Edit:

                          To be fair, this is petty focused on "high end" dining. LA has a ton of truly awesome "low end" dining, especially in its various ethnic categories. Are you interested in dining at those places at all?

                          For example, a dinner at Ruen Pair, a stop at Leo's Tacos, Breakfast at Taqueria Los Anaya, dinner at Park's BBQ (Korean), perhaps an adventure into the San Gabriel Valley or two?

                          I was somewhat basing recommendations on your previous trip, but maybe you'd like to experience a different side of LA altogether?

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Stravinsky

                            Parks BBQ is definitely not low end dining.....

                            1. re: Stravinsky

                              I thought that the service was fine at Osteria in LA. The food just lacked any soul. It was well executed but everything was missing something. It's hard to get chefs who know how to cook Italian in LA.

                              I can certainly believe that someone missed a cherry pit. Having done it, I can confirm that it's a mighty tedious task pitting cherries.

                              For pastas, I like the original Terroni. Some dishes at Angelini are good as well.

                              1. re: matthewlcohen

                                Where is the original Terroni actually? Adelaide?

                                I guess you wouldn't say chefs at Bestia, Bucato, Chi Spacca, etc... really cook Italian, would you?

                                I'm sort of ruined. I think I like LA-Italian more than Italian-Italian hah

                                1. re: Stravinsky

                                  Original Terroni
                                  7605 Beverly Blvd
                                  Los Angeles

                                  The pastas at Bestia look Italian. The rest of the menu is a combination of gastropub and shock food. Which is fine, of course.

                                  To be honest, I'm a little tired of schlepping to LA for disappointing Italian meals. I'll try Bestia eventually but I'm not in any particular hurry.

                                  Your perspective on driving 4 hours round trip to eat pasta changes when you finally figure out how to make it. Getting that last 5% takes a lot of practice (and a few trips to Italy).

                                  Congrats on surviving the f bomb posting :-)

                                  1. re: matthewlcohen

                                    Really, that's the original one? Weird.

                                    Disappointing Italian meals? Wow... I only seem to have mind-blowing ones, or at least really good ones.

                                    Maybe because I am not into super authentic Italian?

                                    Where have you been disappointed?

                                    Maybe if I could make pasta I would think less of them...but alas...I cannot =/

                            2. re: gjelina vs. tasting kitchen.

                              i would have a cocktail (or two) at tasting kitchen and then eat at gjelina.

                              1. If you don't mind driving, I'd do Pizzeria and Osteria on different days to reduce carb shock. If you do Pizzeria and Osteria, not sure there's a need to do Piccolo. Food doesn't exactly overlap, but IMHO they're similar enough that you could try another restaurant.

                                Agree w/ Tacos Puntas Cabras. Some left-field recs: If you want good hole-in-the-wall (not quite that low end, though), perhaps Monte Alban for Oaxacan in West LA? Could also try Metro Cafe (in Culver City for super low key (it's in a Best Western or Holiday Inn) for Fri lunch (should be geographically convenient and easy).

                                1. Thank you for the detailed & quick response(s)!

                                  Stravinsky & CiaoBob - no insult taken, but the high end bent was unintended (and partly based on read watch on this board for group size)

                                  Sunny Spot was picked by my LA friends, ditto Mozza which they seem to love, so... And we are about 10 people Sat night, so it may be a bit challenging to try to switch... Anyway, lots of other meals I get to choose :)

                                  In terms of high end / not, I am very open (and eat more frequently than not at non-high-end places in NY)

                                  I would love a taco stop for Friday lunch - we will be driving from the airport to Venice right around lunchtime, hence my request for lunch thoughts nearby... Sounds like there was a rec for one in Venice, but if there's something easy from the airport that would work, because we'll be starving by then (I recall fantastic potato tacos eaten years ago at a hole-in-the-wall... Wish I could remember the name!)

                                  I'd welcome some lower key recs

                                  Thanks!

                                  16 Replies
                                  1. re: saregama

                                    Marlin Tacos at Coni's Seafood (the ceviches and other fish and shrimp dishes are excellent).

                                      1. re: ilysla

                                        310 672 2339
                                        3544 west imperial highway
                                        inglewood, CA

                                        near the southeast corner of imperial and yukon.

                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                          Keywords: "Coni's" & "Sergio"

                                          It's like the bat signal, except it summons westsidegal. :-)

                                          1. re: J.L.

                                            Add Gjelina (and FIG used to do it) to the WSG magical summons wordlist.

                                          2. re: westsidegal

                                            How about a Chinese lunch and/or dinner in the San Gabriel Valley on Monday?

                                            Example itinerary: Bull Demon King for beef, beef tendon, & beef tripe broth w/hand-pulled noodles. Go to Cloverleaf for a cuttlefish ink brioche. Hit SinBaLa for some Taiwan sausages & yeoh fan. 101 Noodle Express for a beef roll. J&J's for some XLBs. Pa Pa Walk for mango shaved snow. Top it off at Tan Cang Newport for the house special lobster and the beef loc lac. Done.

                                          3. re: Ciao Bob

                                            Yeah, second a stop at Coni if you want to eat around the airport.

                                            If you have time, you could even get the Pescado Zarandeado!

                                            There's also Banadir Somali in that area, if you like goat, or just want to try Somali food:

                                            http://www.yelp.com/biz/banadir-somal...

                                            137 W Arbor Vitae
                                            Unit C
                                            Inglewood, CA 90301

                                            Someone will inveitably recommend Pann's as well.

                                          4. re: saregama

                                            Pann's is a great 50's style diner close to LAX. Wonderful Patty Melts. In N Out Burger is right outside of LAX.
                                            http://www.panns.com

                                            1. re: saregama

                                              Right on the way from LAX to Venice is Mariscos Chente for Sinaloan and Nayarit seafood. While the original chef moved on to a new spot the food here can still amaze me. Don't read the idiotic reviews on Yelp but check out the photos. Camerones Barrachos and Camerones Diablo and Pescado Zarandeado.

                                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/mariscos-chen...

                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                pardon my dimhood, servorg, but you're saying mariscos chente, sans sergio, still has great food?

                                                if so, that's good to know.

                                                1. re: linus

                                                  I agree.
                                                  Probably not as good as Imperial Hwy, but still quite good, and certainly better than other Mexican seafood in the SaMo/WLA/Venice/Culver region.

                                                1. re: ns1

                                                  Everyone rec'ing TPC ought to give the OP a heads up that it is not your regular Mexican taco joint.... Only fish or seafood here, with some veg options.....

                                                  If you're in Santa Monica & want meat tacos, there's Tacos Por Favor, on Olympic. Or, in the more trendy & touristy spot of the third street promenade, there's Loteria Grill and Tinga. Love the al pastor at Tacos Por Favor; the cochinita pibil at both Tinga & Loteria is good too.

                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                    a fair point.

                                                    tacos leo late night for some great al pastor as well.

                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                      And during the day I would wholeheartedly recommend a stop at Taqueria Los Anaya. Possibly the most underrated tacos in LA.

                                                      If they are willing to drive downtown, I would recommend a lunch at Chichen Itza. That's some stuff you really can't get in NYC!

                                              2. The 1 place I'd go to is Trois Mec, if you can get in.
                                                Eat the Batali food in New York - Batali lives in New York.
                                                Baco is interesting.
                                                Go to Langer's. If only to prove to yourself that Angelinos can make pastrami as well as or better than NYers.
                                                Scoops (gelato style ice cream) is an absolute must
                                                Alma is worth a trip.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: matthewlcohen

                                                  Yeah...but how would they get into Trois Mec on such short notice?

                                                  I also think Greenblatt's is worth a recommendation if we're going the pastrami route.

                                                  1. re: matthewlcohen

                                                    Trois Mec looks fascinating, but not this trip, too hard for many reasons.

                                                    Thank you for the gelato rec!

                                                    Agree on Batali, but one of my LA friends loves P. Mozza so I think we may be locked in (as with Sunny Spot)

                                                  2. Does NYC have anything like Langer's? I understand the pastrami is pretty good at Langer's. Does NYC have anything similar?

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      Haha. I think they like Katz's. But maybe I'm dreaming.

                                                      1. re: mc michael

                                                        They have lots of delis that are generally considered to be the best in the world (Katz's, Carnegie, Stage, 2nd Avenue). I even worked at Sarge's as a kid.
                                                        I've been to many of them (including Katz's) and I think that Langer's has better pastrami.

                                                        1. re: matthewlcohen

                                                          Hmm, ok.

                                                          Then does NYC any pizza places? I understand there are some good places making a mighty fine pie in LA. Do they have those in NYC?

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            New York has terrific pizza as well. Tons of places.

                                                      2. You're a New Yorker coming to Los Angeles. You want tacos. Closeish to Venice: Tacomiendo on Pico/Gateway. Kogi truck is in Venice on Abbot Kinney on Saturday afternoons. A perennial fave: Guisados either in Boyle Heights or Echo Park.

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: Tyus4pt8

                                                          Thoughts on Tacomiendo vs TPC, Tacos Por Favor, Tacos Leo, Tacos Los Anaya... though I think the latter two are going be too far for the weekend activities / group...?

                                                          1. re: saregama

                                                            TPC = daylight hours
                                                            Tacos Leo = night hours

                                                            no comment on Anaya/Por Favor, will defer to westside specialists.

                                                            1. re: saregama

                                                              Well, if you're trying to avoid driving, there is another place called La Playita that has very good tacos. It's Venice-adjacent (about 4 min from where Sunny Spot is).

                                                              It's much closer to you than TPC relatively speaking, if the drive to Los Anaya is really too long.

                                                              The drive to Tacos Leo would be worth your while if you did a 2 am run on the weekend to experience the open-air al pastor on the spit. (It's like a 15 minute drive at that time of night, as opposed to probably a 30-40 minute one during the day).

                                                              1. re: Stravinsky

                                                                to the OP: do not go to tacos leo during the day. in fact, if you arrive at tacos leo and do not see a trompo, go somewhere else.

                                                                1. re: Stravinsky

                                                                  Does La Playita even have any seating or parking?? Trying to park on Lincoln is not easy.... I thought it was just a stand.....

                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                    It is just a stand but street parking is sometimes not bad.

                                                                    1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                      That's what I thought.... Do they have seating?

                                                                2. re: saregama

                                                                  I think the tacomiendo cabeza taco is better than anything TPC makes, though I like the TPC fish taco better than the tacomiendo version. Tacos Por Favor is solid, but i don't think it's quite on the same level. Leo definitely gets you that quintessential LA experience with the trompa in a gas station and it's delicious, if a one-trick pony. Never been to Anaya.

                                                              2. Taking price into account, I prefer Pizzeria Mozza to Osteria Mozza.

                                                                In the higher end Italian scene I prefer Il Grano to Osteria Mozza. (FYI, while great, Il Grano is also far more laid back than most LA higher end restaurants.)

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: whiner

                                                                  I thought that the execution at Il Grano was poor on a few dishes I had but some of the food was quite excellent.

                                                                2. Gjelina is a great choice. Try to go for dinner and get into the vegetables and the small plate meats. The pizza is good but not where they shine.

                                                                  I like the Mozzas but Osteria is like Babbo but not as good. The pizza at Pizzeria Mozza is very crispy crust. If you like soft Neapolitan crust and great southern style pasta, give Sotto a try.

                                                                  The new king of pasta in town is probably Bestia. It's one of the toughest reservations in LA right now so you should get on it ASAP. As difficult as any reservation I've had to make in Manhattan. Bestia is downtown and may be great for the part of the weekend that you're in K-town.

                                                                  I don't know how well versed in K-town your friends are but we recently did K-town as neighborhood of the month:

                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/918747

                                                                  Something that hasn't been mentioned is Night + Market. Great thai street food. Great concept. Maybe my favorite crispy pig tail prep in town these days...if you're into that sort of thing. Lots of good stuff on that menu. Should provide a welcome change up.

                                                                  http://thenightmarket.blogspot.com/

                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/910928

                                                                  On the westside Tar & Roses and Rustic Canyon with highly acclaimed chef Jeremy Fox should also be something worth looking into.

                                                                  Enjoy!

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                    Thanks Porthos!

                                                                    We did get to the vegetables at Gjelina last time... they messed up the pizza so I missed it so as not to miss my flight! So if we are getting pizza at P. Mozza, maybe I should replace Gjelina with something different (further away even).

                                                                    Bestia looks great, but there are no reservations (I'll try calling again in a bit). What do you think of the pastas at Superba? This board seems to think highly of them, which is why I was thinking of making that a stop... plus proximity.

                                                                    I've done k-town with the local friends before, plus we have pretty good Korean food here in NY too.

                                                                    Night+Market looks great! Reminds me of the Uncle Boons & Pok Pok menus here. Spice level may be a bit high for the broader group though (I did burn my mouth off on larb at Uncle Boons here but deliciously so!)

                                                                    Tar & Roses looks great... I'm looking back through the days to figure out what to jiggle around to fit it in...

                                                                    1. re: saregama

                                                                      I like the pizza at Sotto better.

                                                                      At P.Mozza, my favorite is the Mozzarella di bufala , tomato, Genovese basil & extra virgin olive oil made with Bianco dinapoli pomodoro tomatoes (separate section on the bottom of the pizza list).

                                                                      Al forno dishes that are good include the meatballs, arancine, and corn if they have it. Not great QPR on the corn but downright delicious. If you go on Saturday, the dish of the day of chicken, peppers, broccolini and sausage is also very good. For salads, the mozza caprese is a must for a first timer. I like the kale salad these days made with 3 types of baby kale.

                                                                      To finish, it's usually the pistachio gelato for me. If you've never had the budino, that's also a must for a first timer.

                                                                      Never been to Superba so I can't compare for you.

                                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                                        I love Supurba Snack Bar. Their smoked bucatini carbonara, poached egg, pancetta, pepper & parm in one of the best pasta dishes in Los Angeles,
                                                                        Their special pasta right now is cocoa pappardelle, roasted pumpkin, kale, ricotta & brown butter.

                                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                                          I favor the crispy crust...
                                                                          Thank you for the menu recs at PM!

                                                                    2. Few revisions and a few more questions:

                                                                      > Fri lunch: tbd (tacos / In N Out / Coni's / Monte Alban)
                                                                      > Fri dinner: Baco Mercat

                                                                      > Sat lunch: backup is Pizzeria Mozza, but rethinking this (Superba? Monte Alban?)
                                                                      > Sat dinner: Sunny Spot (I know, I know, but I can't change it)

                                                                      > Sun lunch (6-8): either something near Malibu (Getty Villa) or LACMA or Getty (main)...
                                                                      > Sun dinner (7-8): backup at Gjelina, rethinking this too. MB Post or Superba or Tar & Roses or Piccolo?

                                                                      > Mon lunch (3): Maybe Ruen Pair? We will be in the Los Feliz area for the afternoon
                                                                      > Mon dinner (4): tbd - new suggestion is EMC seafood, need something near k-town

                                                                      32 Replies
                                                                      1. re: saregama

                                                                        Your friends may be much better drinkers than eaters - EMC is BAD for food but GOOD for drinks. Lot's better K-town or K-town adjacent food (and drinks, for that matter).

                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                          thank you
                                                                          i will re-read the k-town thread, but any k-town adjacent favorites? only 4 of us so should be easier rez-wise.

                                                                          1. re: saregama

                                                                            Mondays are usually the quietest night of the week - I would try for Bestia that night if it interests you - you may have a shot there then, depending on when you want to eat. Downtown and Ktown and Los Feliz and the Eastern Stretches of Hollywood are all close (Little Fork has been getting lots of nice noise lately but I have not been yet).

                                                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                              All this Bestia talk is making me hungry. Just snagged a Saturday 2 top @ 6pm in December. Boom ;-)

                                                                              1. re: Stravinsky

                                                                                They started Monday service April 2013.

                                                                                Availability on Monday, November 18 on Opentable for 6pm 930pm and 945pm seatings.

                                                                                http://www.bestiala.com/

                                                                                1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                  Bestia was full, not surprisingly
                                                                                  Little Fork had room, so I am looking at it for Mon night

                                                                                  1. re: saregama

                                                                                    You called? Often times they have seats that don't show on open table.

                                                                                    1. re: saregama

                                                                                      Bestia: Depends on how much chutzpah you got, but I just dress nice, show up past peak hours (9PM-ish), smile at the FOH, and politely say I regret not making a reservation but would love to try the fare, and see where that takes me.

                                                                                      It's worked 2 out of 2 times.

                                                                                      (Obvious disclaimer: Past success does not guarantee future results.)

                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                        Have done this every time I have dined at Bestia. Has worked 100% of the time.

                                                                                        But I have always gone alone. Usually made a friend or two while there.

                                                                                        Not sure it would work for a group of 6, which OP is trying to go with right?

                                                                              2. re: saregama

                                                                                But, otherwise, I think your list continues to improve!

                                                                                1. re: saregama

                                                                                  "> Sun lunch (6-8): either something near Malibu (Getty Villa) or LACMA or Getty (main)"

                                                                                  If near LACMA, either Ray's and Stark Bar at LACMA itself, or again, Salt's Cure, which is in the area. If you want a "grab and go" kind of lunch, you could visit Ink Sac for some sandwiches.

                                                                                  "> Sun dinner (7-8): backup at Gjelina, rethinking this too. MB Post or Superba or Tar & Roses or Piccolo?"

                                                                                  Out of those, T&R is almost certainly the one to pick.

                                                                                  "> Mon lunch (3): Maybe Ruen Pair? We will be in the Los Feliz area for the afternoon"

                                                                                  One of my favorites. What kind of thai dishes do you want to eat though? Ruen pair does a great pork jerky, fried egg salad, salty turnip and egg pancake, etc...

                                                                                  Down the street a bit Sanamluang does the top versions of pad thai, pad se ew and pad kee mao, as well as a bunch of other great noodle dishes and a better chicken satay.

                                                                                  Krau Siri does more Northern Thai dishes like sour Isaan sausage.

                                                                                  Sunset Siam does the best Hainen Chicken.

                                                                                  Sapp Coffee shop does great boat noodles, and jade noodles.

                                                                                  Jitlada does great fish kidney curry, pork crying tiger, and thai burgers.

                                                                                  1. re: Stravinsky

                                                                                    "What kind of thai dishes do you want to eat"
                                                                                    I love a good larb. Pad see euw usually makes the list. Beef jerky rather than pork. Shrimp with crispy garlic and pepper. Ok, I'm hungry now!

                                                                                    Sounds like maybe Sanamluang rather than Ruen Par?

                                                                                    1. re: saregama

                                                                                      Yeah. If you really want a pad se ew, and noodles in general. I think their larb is probably ok, too.

                                                                                      Not sure where to get beef jerky unfortunately.

                                                                                      I personally like Ruen Pair a bit more because of the creativity of the dishes, but a good pad se ew is a wonderful thing.

                                                                                      1. re: saregama

                                                                                        I think you can do a whole lot better than Sanamaluang (hit or miss, some dishes still kind of tasty but mostly for late nite post-clubbing bowls of cheap noodle soup). Others likely to disagree but I have found Ruen Pair to be going downhill lately. Both have seen better days and/or been eclipsed by the Thai Town competition.
                                                                                        These links should help
                                                                                        http://sinosoul.com/2013/10/a-brief-t...

                                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                          Edit, because link issue solved.

                                                                                          One of the links recommends the same resaurants I did.

                                                                                          The other recommends Ruen Pair and some different ones.

                                                                                          But what are the good dishes to order at all of those places? Like darabar, hoy-ka, palin, etc...?

                                                                                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                    Reposting because probably missed edit:

                                                                                                    One of the links recommends the same restaurants I did.

                                                                                                    The other recommends Ruen Pair and some different ones.

                                                                                                    But what are the good dishes to order at all of those places? Like darabar, hoy-ka, palin, etc...?

                                                                                                    1. re: Stravinsky

                                                                                                      my standard 2 person hoy ka order is

                                                                                                      1) duck noodles
                                                                                                      2) small hoyka or boat noodles
                                                                                                      3) fried pork jerky appetizer
                                                                                                      4) papaya salad appetizer (with or without crispy pork)

                                                                                                      +drunken noodles if I feel like a fatass

                                                                                    2. re: saregama

                                                                                      Just know that places like Tar & Roses and Superba are both pretty small and very popular. If you can't get a res or a large table, you may have to wait a while. And there's basically nowhere to do that, like a foyer or bar.....

                                                                                      Also, there's not very much CHOWish food near or in Malibu if you go to the Villa. The main Getty museum itself has a cafe that supposed to have decent food, but I've not been.

                                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                        The Getty Villa has a cafe w/ food that's more than decent. But it's not a destination, it's merely quite nice (a very civilized outdoor patio area) and very convenient.

                                                                                        Maybe Malibu Seafood for tacos?

                                                                                        1. re: ilysla

                                                                                          Do they have tacos there?? Never knew that, we usually stick with the fish & chips.....

                                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                            Hmmm.... Now that you mention it, I've only had the fish and chips there, too (many, many yrs ago). Just looked up the menu on-line; they do have fish tacos listed....

                                                                                                1. re: whatsfordinner

                                                                                                  Pretty hard to touch RFT or TPC at this point.....

                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                    I hope some budding chef takes that as a challenge! =)

                                                                                      2. re: saregama

                                                                                        I know a fair number of people LOVE In N Out. For me, it's not a destination, and I'd cross it off. Unless it's near LAX and you want to eat QUICKLY. Others here will say it's a not-to-be-missed. YMMV, obviously.

                                                                                        If you're coming up from Venice, you could hit one of the places in Santa Monica on your way to the Getty Villa?

                                                                                        Sunday dinner, maybe try Larry's or Waterloo and City (I think they're run by the same people). New American tapas and very tasty. At Larry's is in the more, um, gritty part of Venice, which might be a nice contrast if you're staying in the more ritzy part....

                                                                                        If you're not necessarily looking for ethnic, I think Square One in Los Feliz is a lovely place for breakfast or lunch. Imagine the line is shorter on a weekday then it is on a weekend. And you get to eat in the shadow of the Church of Scientology, which is, um, interesting (and very LA?).

                                                                                        1. re: ilysla

                                                                                          Love the green curry mussels and short rib grilled cheese at Larry's. Decent prices for being on the boardwalk too.

                                                                                      3. TRIP REPORT:

                                                                                        Thank you everyone for the plentiful input!

                                                                                        There were so many great choices, it was hard to pick. We stuck to some of the reservations, and improvised along the way.

                                                                                        Fri lunch: Superba. This was DELICIOUS! I am still dreaming about the brussel sprouts... We also had the carbonara and the special pasta that day (with uni and crab), but the brussel sprouts stole the day. Made me regret not getting more vegetables...

                                                                                        Fri dinner: Baco Mercat. Yummy! We managed to cover a lot of things on the menu, my favourites included the lebni, the hamachi crudo, and the whole-roasted chicken (we also had the boquerones, buttermilk-fried quail, baby squid, brussel sprouts, mushrooms with polenta, and brandade). Thank you for the tip about the whole chicken... there was only one left when we got there!

                                                                                        Sat lunch: Pizzeria Mozza. Despite some apprehension given the comments here, it turned out to be a good choice for our group. The vegetable sides/starters were yummy, and the pizza had a nice crispness, though it need not have been a destination stop. BUT... the bone marrow was d.i. v.i.n.e.

                                                                                        Sat dinner: Sunny Spot. Fun atmosphere, but agree generally with the sentiments expressed here about the food (and we may actually have eaten everything on the menu!). This may have been our most disappointing meal, but the evening was still a lot of fun.

                                                                                        Sun lunch: Axe on Abbot Kinney. This was an ad hoc choice, and while the menu looked lovely, there was just something missing. The soups were nice, but not worth what they were priced at. The goat hash was blah - there wasn't much flavor at all (we realized too late that we could have paid for harissa to fix this, but did we really need to pay for a condiment to flavour a $14 dish that fell short?), the bowls seem to be well-liked though, as was the polents.

                                                                                        Sun dinner: Monte Alban. A nice change of pace. The service was lovely, and though I am not a mole fan, we tasted everything and that was worth the visit. The soups were delicious, the tamales were different than I expected, ditto the goat taco. But a good change from the rest of our stops.

                                                                                        Mon lunch: Sugarfish SM. This was also an ad hoc choice, and actually worked out very nicely. I'm sure sushi brings out strong sentiments on this board, but we very much enjoyed the food at Sugarfish, it was just what the doctor ordered (even though I'd skip sushi on a Monday in NY...) We had the TrustMe menu with a couple of additions, and it was lovely. Now why don't they expand to NY...?!

                                                                                        Mon dinner: Soowon Galbi. This was quite yummy. I enjoyed the changes in banchan vs. the NY options. The meat I thought was comparable in flavour, but... I think we have better japchae :)

                                                                                        So, a delicious weekend overall, so many thanks for all your help!

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: saregama

                                                                                          "Fri dinner: Baco Mercat. Yummy! We managed to cover a lot of things on the menu, my favourites included the lebni, the hamachi crudo, and the whole-roasted chicken (we also had the boquerones, buttermilk-fried quail, baby squid, brussel sprouts, mushrooms with polenta, and brandade). Thank you for the tip about the whole chicken... there was only one left when we got there!"

                                                                                          Awesome. So glad you got one of the chickens, they only do a very few of them per night. It's the one item a lot of people don't think to order. I was tipped off to it by the staff! =D

                                                                                          1. re: Stravinsky

                                                                                            I was a bit concerned anout the honey, but it wasn't sweet, just very succulent. I asked about it as soon as we sat down, which may be why we got the last one...

                                                                                            The large format fish also sounded delicious, not sure if you've had it?

                                                                                          2. re: saregama

                                                                                            <<Now why don't they expand to NY...?!>>
                                                                                            They are. I believe it will open in '14. I love it too, though many here at ch la despise it.

                                                                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                              Yes, it seemed like the kind of place ch'ers might have mixed feelings about... but the fish was lovely, the preparations were excellent, and the service was polite but helpful. I did think the menu instructions were a bit much, but my companions were tickled by them (and once the food came out I didn't care!)

                                                                                              Glad they are coming my way :)

                                                                                              1. re: saregama

                                                                                                BTW, thanks for your excellent Trip Report.
                                                                                                Sounds like you had a great time and ate your way through a wide swath of LA 'hoods and places.

                                                                                                sugarfish - for me - is a very good time, a decent price and delicious. Sometimes it is really nice to have good quality sushi and sashimi without sitting in the traditional bar environs.

                                                                                            2. re: saregama

                                                                                              Thanks for reporting back. I share your opinion on Axe. I really want to like it, and plenty of people do, but I've found many of their dishes to be bland, and not worth the price. It's the only restaurant in recent memory that I've actually left hungry, which never happens to me as I don't have a huge appetite (or to be more accurate, I tend to eat so frequently that I almost never build up a huge appetite). People love the multigrain pancake at brunch, but I'm generally not a fan of sweet breakfast / brunch dishes.

                                                                                              1. re: cookie monster

                                                                                                But's it's a GMO-free zone, so it's all good, right??

                                                                                                Have you tried Willie Jane a block down from Axe?

                                                                                                I tried to recommend it before. Was there last week. Serious food, and certainly not a place you will leave feeling hungry.