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Best non-chain grocery in West LA?

Just moved into the area and hoping to avoid Ralphs and Vons when I can.

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  1. Traders Joe's, Gelson's and Bristol Farms are still chains but all are in the area. Wednesday and Saturday Arizona and 2nd St. Santa Monica Farmers market is also a must.

    12 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      Those other chains are about the same pricing though, right? I forgot to mention I'm avoiding for price reasons. Any "ethnic" markets?

      I have been meaning to check out the Farmers Markets. I live just down the street. Good for produce only?

      1. re: woundedbreakfast

        Check out Stan's Produce on Pico

        9307 W Pico Blvd
        Los Angeles, CA 90035
        (310) 550-1454

        http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb/...

        1. re: woundedbreakfast

          Bay Cities Italian Market on Lincoln in SM. Great prepared hot foods and fresh Italian Bread.

          1. re: wienermobile

            weinermobile: wounded breakfast's reason for seeking out a non-chain market is s/he wants it to be cheap.
            fwiw, i would not go to Bay Cities to find bargains.

          2. re: woundedbreakfast

            Are you Closer to Culver City or Santa Monica. I might suggest Northgate on Inglewood in Culver City which is where the old Top Value was.

            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

              I'm in Santa Monica (Barrington and Santa Monica). I do pass thru Culver to get to work though.

              1. re: woundedbreakfast

                There's Bob's for a neighbourhood market is Santa Monica and Northgate for an ethnic one near Culver City, there's a location southeast of corner of Inglewood and Culver.

                http://www.bobsmkt.com/
                http://www.northgatemarkets.com/

                1. re: woundedbreakfast

                  Doesn't Santa Monica still end at Centinela?

                  1. re: VenusCafe

                    Centinela and Bundy split around the Santa Monica airport and both run up to Santa Monica.

                    1. re: woundedbreakfast

                      Thanks. Lived many years in SM, knew of that split/divide, but ignorant that it included the extension of SM.

              2. re: woundedbreakfast

                Not sure what you mean by avoiding for price reasons. In my experience Ralph's and Von's usually have the best prices on basic items, as long as you have a club card. Trader Joe's can also be cheaper; Gelsons and Bristol Farms not so much. Whole Foods has some decent prices on their 365 store brand and some bulk items. Farmers markets will be cheaper than the grocery stores for what's in season at the moment, otherwise about the same or even more expensive but better quality.

                1. re: cookie monster

                  I was under the impression that most local markets or "ethnic markets" are generally cheaper than places like Vons and Ralphs, especially when it comes to produce. Not sure where I got this conception from.

            2. Vicente Foods at San Vicente and Bundy is the best non chain grocery in West L.A. Fantastic meat department.

              5 Replies
              1. re: maudies5

                Absolutely Vicente Foods - no contest.

                1. re: maudies5

                  Ok, definitely checking this place out now! Thanks.

                  1. re: maudies5

                    Yes, +3 on Vicente market, but know, it is not particularly cheap.....but it does carry quality items,

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      4+

                      But Bristol Farms is kinda awesome. chain, yes, but great meat, poultry, fish and cheese. And more.

                  2. Sorry to add another chain, but Nijiya on Sawtelle in West LA is a small but very well-stocked Japanese market.

                    Granada Market - also on Sawtelle - is a mom&pop that usually has outstanding fresh seafood - the offerings are somewhat limited to ensure freshness.

                    Star Santa Monica Blvd is very close to where you live. This market offers Middle Eastern and Persian groceries.

                    Bristol Farms is another chain, but the one on Wilshire in Santa Monica is close and huge compared to any others that I've shopped in. Another plus is the easy parking.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      You rock! I love Nijiya (as well as Mitsuwa). Pricey but worth it.

                    2. Roxbury Market 9769 W Pico Blvd., just East of Century City.

                      1. Your point is well taken.
                        I have found that for non-meat/produce items, Smart & Final delivers a very good value.
                        Just bought a box of Lipton Tea for a friend, $5.99 @ Gelsons, $4.99 at Ralphs and currently on sale for $3.99, yet regular price at Smart & Final is $3.59.
                        I like Gelson's for meat & produce. Shop their sale brochure, which typically comes out about once a month.
                        I have never thought any good thoughts about RiffRalphs and Vons, and so far they have done nothing to dissuade me from those thoughts.
                        And you can keep virtually all produce at TJs. I also never buy meat there. Its nickname is Sodium City as every condiment and mixed bag or jar of whatever is so sodium-laden.

                        1. my go-to ethnic market in that area is Santa Monica Glatt Kosher on the corner of Colby and Santa Monica. good produce and herbs at great prices, well-priced spices, good selection of yogurt, feta, rice, tea, dried fruits, pita. because it's kosher, prices for meat and chicken are high but it's where I get chicken schnitzel. I'm not a fan of the bakery but packaged baked goods are ok. just know it's small and crowded and you should park in the lot across the street. closed Saturday. on Sunday they set up a tent and grill meat in their parking lot.

                          one of my favorite Ralphs is at Olympic and Barrington and, as noted by others, with a Ralphs card you can get excellent deals if you shop judiciously.

                          1. for inexpensive produce, elat market, 8730 pico.
                            for a tiny selection of produce but with good prices, samosa house on washington near berryman. (not a full service grocery and they carry NO meat)

                            1. Sprouts. There is a relatively new store in the former Ross on the west side of Westwood Blvd. north of Santa Monica Blvd. Great prices on produce, with many items offered organic or not. Bulk bins for rice, flour, etc.

                              I have tried some of the Mexican and other markets on Pico and Venice. Some great prices, but selection and quality can be limited.

                              Trader Joe's for milk, butter, especially cheese, frozen french green beans and petite peas.

                              Farmers markets -- one of the most accessible is Saturday mornings in the rec area on the N/W corner of Pico and Cloverfeld (25th). Good quality, but few bargains.

                              Sorry to say, can't beat Ralph's for weekly specials on meat loss leaders -- picked up a nice bone-in NY strip today for $6.99/lb. -- sometimes two bucks less.

                              The Co-op on Colorado (?) in SM has good bulk spices.

                              1. If you want cheap produce the aforementioned Sprouts in Westwood and the Glatt Kosher Market are your best bests. Sprouts has 'double ad' days on wednesdays and their sales are sometimes ridiculously cheap.

                                1. There are so many wonderful items at Trader Joes that you do not need to shop anyplace else.
                                  I especially like the store on Barrington and Olympic.
                                  A few of my favorites - in no particular order-

                                  Organic Breast of Chicken. Perfect for many recipes
                                  Kale/Spinach balls - frozen section
                                  Chicken Tikka Masala - fresh section
                                  Eggplant Parmesan - frozen section
                                  Tuna Wrap
                                  Spinach & Kale Dip
                                  All of the Cheese
                                  Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup - grocery aisle
                                  Italian Country Salad
                                  Almond Butter
                                  Blueberry Greek Yogurt
                                  Coffee Ice Cream Bars
                                  Raspberry Ice Cream Bars
                                  Turkey Meatballs - frozen section
                                  Olive Oil Popcorn
                                  Chopped fresh Garlic
                                  Frozen French Onion Soup - I bake in a crock
                                  Coconut Almonds
                                  Vanilla Almond Cereal
                                  Kerrygold Irish Butter
                                  Triple Layer Hummus
                                  Multigrain Pita Crackers
                                  Cinnamon Coffee Cake
                                  Gazpacho - seasonal
                                  Turkey Wrap - seasonal
                                  ...

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: flowergirl

                                    Problem with most of those items you mention is they have way too much salt/sodium, hence my referring to TJs as Sodium City.
                                    And thus I do not eat any of the items on your list, save the frozen chicken breasts.
                                    Their veggies are generally over the hill, are pre-packaged, and ready for someone else to eat.
                                    Even their flowers are seconds, meaning no longer able to be sold to a first class flower shop.

                                    1. re: carter

                                      I agree with most of what Carter says with the exception of some of the flowers. When Peonies are in season, TJ's seems to get the great ones and at very low prices. Their orchids are also a good deal if one gets there early in the morning for the best ones.
                                      The Dorot Frozen garlic cubes are reason enough for me to go to TJs. A chef friend told me about these and this is one of the best products I have come across in years. Each little chiclet-looking thing is one clove of garlic. I haven't used fresh garlic since I discovered this product. They also sell frozen basil cubes by the same company. I used to buy the stuffed peppers (stuffed with ground turkey and brown rice). Tasted yummy. Then I carefully read the ingredients one day and saw that the turkey was "mechanically separated" meaning those peppers were filled with pink slime:(

                                        1. re: maudies5

                                          I totally agree with you regarding those Israeli Dorot garlic cubes. Always have 2-3 in the freezer. Don't use much basil, however.
                                          The peonies can be good when available, but I have had more than a few occasions where they have never opened up, especially beyond a tiny bit before they crash & die.
                                          Orchids - yes, good and priced well. Sometimes their tulips are also young, meaning at 8am on either Saturday or Sunday morning when you have the best selection. Later in the day, they start to look like they have already lost it.
                                          I like their walnuts and those boxes of cooked, ready to eat beets in the produce section - also have lentils but they are not of particular interest.

                                    2. Its not too far but theres also a Sprouts location in Culver City right across the street from the Fox Hills Mall. The parking is a lot better than Westwood location. Sprouts is great for produce, its always super cheap.