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Top *pleasant* surprises of 2013?

OK, so there's no shortage of threads here about places that were hyped to the moon and got your hopes up (and wallets opened), only to be total letdowns. So in the interest of fairness, which places did you try this year (probably because you were dragged there by someone else) muttering "oh boy, is this ever gonna suck" .... only to be mercifully proven wrong?

To start the ball rolling:

1. Tin Roof Bistro, Manhattan Beach
2. Tommy Bahama, Palm Desert
3. B-Man's, Duarte

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  1. Top Round Roast Beef (Olympic and La Brea) It sure isn't Arby's.
    http://toproundroastbeef.com

    and TLT Food in Westwood.
    http://tltfood.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: wienermobile

      +1 on Top Round. The beef is nice and tender and the sea salt bun gives it a nice combo. The frozen custard shakes are delicious. Not a big fan of the fries, but the overall value is very good for a non-chain fast food joint. Now that I'm moving close to the place I'll stop by there for a quick meal.

      Oh, I was pleasantly surprised by La Barca's on Vermont by U$C. It's been there forever, but the food was fantastic. We quite liked the beef flautas and also the pork adobado.

    2. Giving panns a second chance.

      Shunjis.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jessejames

        Please do. I really like Pann's - it's one of my lunch spots now that my office moved down to Culver City.

        As for my pleasant surprise of 2013, it's probably...Tacos Punta Cabras.

      2. Urasawa.

        Forgot just what a bargain it is.

        1 Reply
        1. Wendill's, a thai food and fried chicken place on San Fernando across from the airport that I tried because of a rec on this board. Great fried chicken, takes almost 30 minutes, four pieces with some fries and a side/starter salad for $6.50++. Fresh, too hot to eat, lacy batter as opposed to flour or crumbs.

          Bamboo Forest, a small chinese restaurant on the south side of Burbank east of Kester. Referred by this board, after golf at encino, balboa, or woodley lakes. Excellent lunch combos for low prices. Great hot'n'sour soup. Delicately fried orange chicken with thin slices of breast meat -- I ask for extra sauce, spicy, and the broccoli cooked in the sauce. Pungent shrimp a similarly good dish. Also like their mongolian beef. Big entrees + rice + spring roll + wonton + soup ranges about $6.

          Rosy's Tamales, on Glenoaks on the way from the 118 to Hansen Dam golf course. Big, delicious tamales for $1.50 each.

          1 Reply
          1. The risotto at Il Buco in Beverly Hills.