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Family that loves Asian food coming for 4 days, please help us plan

Our boys are 12 and 9 and love Chinese, Vietnamese, non-sushi Japanese and Korean food, as well as the usual burgers, pasta and pizza. We are definitely visiting a Jewish deli (Nate n Als?) which should be easy as we will be based in Beverly Hills, but are also going to LACMA, the La Brea tar pits, the Santa Monica pier, and maybe hiking in Runyon Canyon. Any advice that can get us tasty eats as we run through our itinerary would be most appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Go to Langer's Deli not Nate n Al's for the best pastrami on earth. Open till 4 daily closed sunday.

    For pizza 800 Degrees in Westwood Village. Great pizzas you custom build. Always a line out the door but worth the wait.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      Langer's pastrami, need I say more…..

        1. re: wittamer

          But if in bh already Nate n Als ez and good.

    2. Park's BBQ for wonderful Korean meats cooked at your table. Great food and service.

      The Original Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfaix for a taste of LA Open everyday rain or shine.

      1. Lukshon in Culver City for a modern take on Asian cuisine.

        1. When are you coming to LA? If it's around the X-mas holiday, traffic might be light enough that you could consider going to San Gabriel Valley for Chinese (and they'll definitely be open on the holidays!). Just do a search; you'll find an overwhelming number of options.

          For Japanese, Sawtelle (just west of hte 405 freeway) is enjoyable and family friendly. Just be warned that parking at night is very difficult to find.

          Agree with wienermobile's recs. Lukshon is very tasty, but also rather high-end. Not sure if the boys would necessarily enjoy that, but perhaps they have very a sophisticated palate already? Park's can also be pricey, but the meat and service are quite good.

          My partner and I hit 800 Deg on Saturday night. No line b/c it's finals wk for UCLA. =)

          2 Replies
          1. re: ilysla

            If you want to take a trip to SGV (10 minutes east of downtown LA down the 10 fwy) my favorite is the dim sum at Sea Harbour in Rosemead, On weekends they open at 10am and the line starts around 9:30... but worth it.

            1. re: wienermobile

              +1 on Sea Harbour.

              We actually enjoy a bit of a wait as it makes it that much more exciting when we walk to our table and we're hit with the aromas, sights, and sounds of diners noshing on fresh dim sum. That first sip of hot tea is just terrific.

          2. Thanks for the recs. It sounds as if I need to plan for sights OR for food, but not for both?

            3 Replies
            1. re: wittamer

              Depends. ;) If you want *really* good Chinese food, it's probably ~20 miles from the sights you're seeing. There's plenty of good Korean food in Koreatown (a search of that will also likely pull up an overwhelming list of options), and Koreatown isn't too far from your more easterly located sights. And Sawtelle is located in the west part of LA, so not too far from the Santa Monica pier (although still several miles away).

              There's plenty of good food relatively close to where you'll be visiting, but it'll probably fall under the more burgers, pasta, pizza. Huckleberry, Milo and Olive, Hostaria del Piccolo are all good (and kind of pricey). Fundamental LA has great sandwiches and burger (not sure if the burger's available for lunch?) but is also not cheap. I also usually recommend Javan (persian), Monte Alban (Oaxacan), and Tacos Punta Cabras (elevated tacos and ceviche). The latter 3 are quite reasonably priced.

              Not sure where you're coming from, but everything in LA tends to be relatively scattered, so planning ahead in terms of driving and such and also being prepared for random pockets of traffic is advisable. Again, traffic tends to be better during the actual holidays day itself (but not necessarily right b/f, when everyone is trying to get somewhere else).

              Someone visiting from Australia posted recently, and there were several responses. Might be worthwhile to check out the recs + the poster's review.

              1. re: wittamer

                If you want to get good Chinese food in the SGV, why not visit the Huntington Library in San Marino? It is a truly remarkable place.

                1. If you are in the Downtown LA -Chinatown area on a weekend make sure you try Ricky's Fish Tacos. Just a stand in a parking lot but with one of the best things you'll ever taste. Lunch only.
                  11:30 am Sat-Sun till they run out.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Also worth noting that the same parking lot also hosts the best som tam (Thai green papaya salad) in town on weekends. A great 2-course meal with Ricky's; 3 if you still have room for the coconut dumpling dessert...

                  2. No mention of Thai on your list; Thai-Town is in "East Hollywood", "North Thai-town" is in north North Hollywood (repetition intended, and it's about 15 miles away from "East Hollywood"). Also, "Thai Town" is also the south part of "Little Armenia".

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                      No need to go all the way to Thai Town anymore.

                      Night + Market will be sure to please. Can't recommend this enough.



                      1. re: Porthos

                        Ditto for night + market rec. authentic stuff in un-divey locale

                    2. ...at least a dozen various food trucks are parked across the street at LACMA at lunch time. Also good food inside the Getty if you are visiting there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wienermobile

                        I just had aBerlin Currywurst and coolhaus ice cream sandwich just last week. At LACMA don't miss Metropolis II

                      2. Langer's is fantastic but has limited hours and is in a somewhat "squirly" area west of Downtown. Nate n Als may be easier all things considered.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: bringiton

                          Agree. As great as their pastrami is, Langer's is something of a one-trick pony.

                            1. re: Ogawak


                              If I were you, I'd reread Exilekiss' extensive October 2010 report on non-pastrami Langer's recommendations.


                              Case in point, I've enjoyed their chopped liver for many years. It's not overly sweet like Brent's- nice and balanced sweet and savory, very rich, and not overly livery.

                              My post from 2004:

                              And as much as I'm known here for by semi-unseriously castigating those who insist on gilding the lily by ordered the globs of extra junk on top of the perfect pastrami (#19, I'm looking at you!), the half pastrami/half chopped liver sandwich, with a tiny bit of Gulden's is worthy of a last meal (because it probably will be, if you eat too many of them.)

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                While I like the unadulterated pastrami, I think #19 is actually very tasty, as well.

                          1. For non sushi Japanese, try Daichan in Studio City. Great home style Japanese dishes with a Hawaiian slant as well. Katsu Curry, karaage, nabeyaki, all awesome.

                            1 Reply
                            1. Near LACMA I might recommend Golden State for great burgers and Scoops ice cream. They also offer Let's Be Frank hot dogs. The Farmer's Market would be fun. There are a lot of options: Fritzi's Dogs, Short Order for burgers, Loteria Grill for Mexican, Bob's donuts and Dupar's coffee shop. Also Single Origin and Short Cake for coffee and pastries and Bennets for ice cream.

                              In WLA, Sawtelle Blvd has great Japanese food. Yabu might be best for tempura and noodles, Tsujita for ramen and tsukemen. also Curry House. There is also non-Japanese offerings: Nongla for Vietnamese, Seoul Sausage for Korean sausage dogs, ROC Star for dumplings, Blockheads for Taiwanese shave ice, and Clusi Batusi for pizza. Also Brian's for Hawaiian shave ice.

                              The Santa Monica Pier food offerings are limited. Pier Burgers has good burgers and great frozen custard. The Merry Go Round has a great soda shoppe in Soda Jerks. Nearby off the Pier is Joe's for NY style pizza. There is a newish Italian place with a great view of the ocean, but I've never been.

                              After Runyon Canyon, you might want to venture into Thai Town. I like Sanamluang for Thai noodles. Also Sapp. Chowhounders will steer you to Jitlada, considered by many the best Thai in LA.

                              Or consider Korea Town for Park's BBQ. They cook for you at the table.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Ogawak

                                good post -- i love the custard at pier burger and a fun spot for a family. Farmer's market also a great idea for when at LACMA/Tar Pits. Lastly I concur re thai town and recommend Sapps Coffee shop for a nice lunch.

                                1. re: Ogawak

                                  Thanks, this is really helpful. I was wondering about Sawtelle--there's a big write-up on it in Eater and it seems pretty close to BH. Dumplings and shave ice near each other seems too good to be true!

                                2. Korean food: palsaik/Eight BBQ, if you enjoy pork. And I do. It's just far less sugary and dumbed down than typical AYCE KBBQ.

                                  But if you're staying westside, stick to Genwa for KBBQ.

                                  Down the street from Runyon is Pa-Ord Thai noodle's newest branch. It's great and cheap and fast.

                                  There's no edible chinese nor vietnamese food close to any of your mentioned pinpoints, reference this flow chart: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/926845 . G'luck.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    There is Hakkasan BH if one can't make it to SGV. Pricy but certainly edible.

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      Right, should've made provisions for Hakkasan/Chi Lin and the ilk.

                                  2. From last year here is LA Weekly's 10 best list for Sawtelle.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                      what a shitty top ten -- i agree tsujita and kiriko, but not the rest...id add hurry curry, plan check, kimikatsu, coffee tomo and bearded papa for starters...kula good for kids/low price point too.

                                    2. Genwa is a great korean place maybe only a mile away from LACMA. Awesome bibimbap, and they give you about 20 different banchan dishes to snack on. Barbecue is fine, too, though if you're there for lunch, they cook it in the back and bring it to you on a sizzling platter (instead of you cooking it). If you're looking for the best quality korean bbq, it's park's, though that's pretty spendy. Plenty of AYCE choices now, too, though the meat quality at most of those is pretty similar.
                                      Second the suggestions of hitting Sawtelle for a myriad of non-sushi japanese food. I'd recommend just parking and walking around until you find a restaurant that sounds interesting. If you're at the Santa Monica Pier, you can walk to Musha in Santa Monica for a wide variety of Izakaya food as well.
                                      Nate n Al's is fine if you have to stay in beverly hills, but I also agree that if you're looking for the best sandwich, it's gotta be Langer's.
                                      Chinese/Vietnamese really requires a trip to the San Gabriel Valley.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Bert

                                        I find the AYCE meat quality @ Road to Seoul to be significantly higher than say, tahoe galbi.

                                        1. re: ns1

                                          Really? Never been to Road to Seoul. My partner hates the meat at Tahoe Galbi (I'm fine w/ it; you get what you pay for), so this might be worth a try. How are the vents?

                                          To the OP, I'd personally recommend a skip on ROC Dumpling, unless you REALLY want Chinese and can't make it anywhere else. ROC isn't horrible, but I just don't think it's a good representation of Chinese food in LA (or LA county, to be more accurate)....

                                          1. re: ilysla

                                            vents are terrible. wear clothing you hate or need to wash soon.

                                            i speak as someone who HATES ayce kbbq - I'd eat AYCE @ Road to Seoul again.

                                            1. re: ns1

                                              Hmmm.... Might be worth a visit.... =)

                                      2. If you like inexpensive Tempura, Hannosuke in the Mitsuwa market near Santa Monica is great.

                                        Hannosuke, at Mitsuwa Market's Food Court, 3760 South Centinela Ave. Mar Vista. -


                                        1. Also in Santa Monica great ice cream at Sweet Rose Creamry (two locations).http://www.sweetrosecreamery.com

                                          and great Italian sandwiches made on fresh crusty Italian bread at Bay Cities Italian Market on Lincoln and Broadway. I love their meatball and the chicken parm Closed Mondays. Great for your hotel room!

                                          1. Beware: Chowhounds have no compunction in sending you 45 minutes to an hour (each way) east of your BH location! Huntington Garden is swell, though.

                                            Me, I wouldn't give up your sights for food. So I'll offer a few thoughts particularly re: my own neighborhood of Runyon Canyon (although I personally prefer Griffith Park for hiking...less crowded and "sceney." If you don't think a hike can be sceney...welcome to Runyon!).

                                            For burgers, etc., I'd recommend Carney's on Sunset Strip for a real SoCal style chili cheeseburger or chili dog (an advantage to Carney's is that both of these are top notch here, saving you a trip to Pink's AND Tommy's). It's also a nice casual place to sit and watch the world go by on the Strip. Likewise Pinche's Tacos for Mexican (curiously not on your list?), across the street from Chateau Marmont...you can watch the SUVs pull up and disgorge rich beautiful people.

                                            For Thai, with Pa Ord now on Sunset and LaBrea, there's no need to hoof it to Sapp's or Sanamluang for noodles. Pa Ord's boat noodles are as good as Sapp's and better than Sanamluang. Afterward, go right across LaBrea to Mashti Malone's and get some Persian creamy rosewater/pistachio or orange blossom ice cream on a Mashti.

                                            For pizza (lunch, not cozy sit down dinner style), you'll be going past a couple of great options between BH and Runyon: Vito's on La Cienega, and/or Joe's of Bleecker Street on the Strip.

                                            If you end up going to Griffith instead of Runyon, a great post hike hole in the wall stop (actually more like hole-outside-the-wall) is Yuca's...they make great Yucatecan (cochinita pibil) tacos and burritos, and an excellent cheeseburger and chili dog to boot.

                                            Finally, at Farmer's Market, add the gyros at Moishe's to the options. It's become my go-to food there. It's a fun place to visit, but I find most of the food there mediocre and/or over-rated (Never understood the love for Loteria). Likewise most of the trucks that frequent LACMA these days.

                                            Have fun and report back!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jesstifer

                                              >> Beware: Chowhounds have no compunction in sending you 45 minutes to an hour (each way) east of your BH location!

                                              Of course we do-- it's part of our manifesto!


                                              Mr Taster

                                            2. Thanks to everyone for your help. Here's where we ate:

                                              Nate n Als. There may be better pastrami elsewhere, but if you are coming from SF, as we are, and miss NY, as we do, this place really hits the spot and in fact is just flat-out excellent. The rye bread is a dream. We ate there for lunch one day, then stopped there before we made the drive north and got it again, to go. The pickles! You can't get that stuff here.

                                              Night + Market. The younger one who does not love spice did love the satay and the coconut rice dessert. But did not like the pictures of ladies from Hustler on the walls. They also had a sauteed Chinese broccoli special that was great. In fact everything we had was good. Very loud. But delicious.

                                              Tsujita Annex. Younger one didn't like the tsukemen (it is really rich) and had to order chicken fingers when we returned to the hotel. Oh well. The rest of us (two tsukemen, one ramen) this was really, really good, and well worth the hour wait. Broth was revelatory.

                                              Blockheads Shave Ice was considered a disappointment, not enough like shave ice on Hawaii.

                                              Alcove cafe and bakery was conveniently located to Griffith park, and I had a perfectly decent salade nicoise.

                                              That restaurant at LACMA is so appealing looking and not any good. Children were amused by the "water menu" and older son liked expensive shrimp and grits, but younger one did better than the rest of us by getting smoked BBQ chicken at the Wise BBQ truck outside the museum.

                                              Soda shop in the Beverly Hills Hotel was fine and had good soda shop style. But we just ate breakfast there and nothing very special happened.

                                              In sum, I wouldn't give this trip very high marks for satisfying all family members all the time--parents looking to this for recs may want to look elsewhere, since our younger son was consistently not as happy as the rest of us were with our dining options. That said, I ate a lot of delicious things. Thanks to everyone for your help!

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: wittamer

                                                Thanks so much for reporting back. This is what makes chowhound work!

                                                1. re: wittamer

                                                  Wonderful report...sorry the young one came away with a dim view of our fair city's fare...next time hit up the permanent Farmers Market on 3rd St. and all will be well in his world.

                                                  1. re: wittamer

                                                    Thanks for reporting back!

                                                    By the way, Wittamer is one of my usual chocolatiers of choice in the Brussels area - Are you, by any chance, related?

                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                      I wish! Just a big fan of their work.

                                                    2. re: wittamer

                                                      Thanks for reporting back. Sorry about your experience at Blockheads; It is Taiwanese style. Brian's, just a block away, is a very good rendition of Hawaiian style shave ice.

                                                      1. re: wittamer

                                                        Blockheads Shave Ice was considered a disappointment, not enough like shave ice on Hawaii.

                                                        As someone else mentioned, blockheads = tawainese style shaved ice, not Hawaiian style shave ice.