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Koreatown, Little Armenia and Thai Town most interesting restaurants?

I'm planning a weekend down to LA (from SF) to check out the ethnic restaurants in Koreatown, Little Armenia and Thai Town. What are the most interesting (different & delicious) places in these neighborhoods or any other ethnic neighborhoods that are 'off the beaten' path?

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  1. I'm very jealous! I used to live in Little Armenia/Thai Town when I was in grad school. The two neighborhoods basically overlap and are small, so you have some really good dining options in about one square mile.

    For Armenian, Carousel on Hollywood Blvd. is a neighborhood institution that serves good Armenian/Lebanese. It's also cheap. It's in a little strip mall, has a rather barren interior, and, most important, it's BYOB. They have great kebabs, and you can get a combo platter to mix and match skewers (I'd always get pork kebab, ground beef luleh kebab, and bulgur wheat pilaf).

    Marouch on Santa Monica and Edgemont is also supposed to be great for Middle Eastern, like a classier Carousel. Alas, as a broke grad student, I was never able to go.

    For quick Armenian takeout, go to Zankou Chicken on Sunset. They have decent falafel and kebabs, but their rotisserie chicken is outstanding.

    For Thai, probably the most famous is Jitlada on Sunset, which is great. People like Sapp Coffee Shop, too, I guess cause Anthony Bourdain shot footage there, or something. There are tons of other options though, esp. on Hollywood Blvd. Sanamluang and Ruen Pair are both great for noodles after the bars close, which reminds me--I highly recommend Jumbo's Clown Room for drinks and pierced/tattooed bikini dancers on Hollywood, across from Sanamluang. Courtney Love used to dance there!

    On Sunset, near Zankou Chicken, there's a southern Indian place named Paru's. They do great vegetarian dishes, and they have cool outdoor seating.

    On Western Ave, between Hollywood and Sunset, there's a great Oaxacan Mexican place called Rincon Oaxaqueno. They, too, have outdoor seating, and in addition to making a lot of dishes you won't find at your standard Mexican place, they make awesome tacos al pastor on weekend nights.

    Enjoy!

    15 Replies
    1. re: sevanchik

      For quick Armenian takeout, go to Zankou Chicken on Sunset. They have decent falafel and kebabs, but their rotisserie chicken is outstanding.

      For Thai, probably the most famous is Jitlada on Sunset, which is great. People like Sapp Coffee Shop, too, I guess cause Anthony Bourdain shot footage there, or something. There are tons of other options though, esp. on Hollywood Blvd. Sanamluang and Ruen Pair are both great for noodles after the bars close, which reminds me--I highly recommend Jumbo's Clown Room for drinks and pierced/tattooed bikini dancers on Hollywood, across from Sanamluang. Courtney Love used to dance there!
      ----------
      Zankou's falafel are terrible, please don't buy them.

      Jitlada is very polarizing, to say the least. OP: Read up on the joint yourself.

      1. re: ns1

        agree with ns1's assessment of zankou's falafel.

        1. re: westsidegal

          honestly, if the OP is coming from SF, I have not found any falafel sandwich in LA as good as the one from "falafel drive in" - San Jose.

          Lots of good falafel in town, but nowhere can I find a falafel sandwich as good.

          1. re: ns1

            simon's cafe's falafels are incredible. just incredible. but that's nowhere near this area.

            1. re: ns1

              People don't talk about it much (probably 'cause it's a little out of the way), but the falafel at Elena's Greek-Armenian Cuisine in Glendale are hands-down the best I've had!

              1. re: film_score

                shoot, i haven't tried it yet.

                that's the oblong ones linus was always heralding.

                1. re: film_score

                  I just have to say, it's been years since I've had them - and I still drool, remembering Elena's fries.

            2. re: ns1

              I used to live in the neighborhood for 16 years, but recently moved to Culver City. Jitlada was my go-to Thai restaurant, but switched allegiances to Ruen Pair and Ganda.

              I've read great things about DeSano Pizza Bakery. If I didn't have gluten and dairy intolerances, it would be at the top of my list of places to try.

              Marouch is an old favorite. I used to get the Meza for Two, being partial to vegetables and appetizers.

              1. re: MaladyNelson

                DeSano is good, it just isn't Settebello good. No beer or wine yet. I'd return to try their other offerings but, again it's still Settebello by a long shot for a DOC Neopolitan pie where I only crave a plain old DOC pie.

                1. re: JAB

                  Thanks for your opinion about DeSano, JAB.

              1. re: kevin

                Falafel Arax--think it's on Santa Monica and Normandie.

                1. re: sevanchik

                  Yes, Falafel Arax---in the minimall on Santa Monica/Normandie that also houses Spicy Tai. Arax's shwarma is pretty good too.

            3. Forgot to mention Pa Ord Noodle on Sunset, near the intersection w/Serrano. It's a good spot for boat noodles.

              6 Replies
              1. re: sevanchik

                Severely disagree. Have had noodles twice there with too much liver and a grease slick about 1/2 inch thick on top.

                Hoy-Ka was great on Hollywood with the cheech and boat noodles... They moved to Sunset and Gower.

                Palms is good thai too but wait time is absurd and service is hostile (not good hostile, bad kind).

                Isaan Station is a must for great northern thai food and chill vibe. If you have a car checkout nite+market too.

                For Armenian specialties checkout GOLDEN STATE BAKERY. Have Armenian bread, dry cured shaved beef tenderloin and tarragon soda and or lassi (abali brand).

                  1. re: kevin

                    Kevin,

                    For Basturma, just go to a Jon's Markets, or Superking (my fav place) and they'll slice it for you.

                    I see it in the deli section all the time, not so much at restaurants. Then again, I don't eat tons of red meat, so maybe I'm just not looking for it on a menu!

                  2. re: MiserableNYer

                    Really? I always liked the noodles at Pa Ord. They also do a really good bbq pork w/egg noodle soup, which may be less greasy.

                    Golden State Bakery is nice, and so's Father and Son Bakery on Sunset for breads. Have you ever tried Taron Bakery on Hollywood for lahmajun and boreg?

                    1. re: sevanchik

                      Nice suggestions sevanchik. Pa Ord used to be great when it was small, but since the expansion it's gone a little downhill. I like the boat noodles best.

                      I also like the fresh bread they make, as well as the various dips at Golden State.

                      And I get lahmajun almost every Sunday from Taron. And last weekend we tried the tahini boreg. It's a little sweet, but quite a delightful treat.

                    2. re: MiserableNYer

                      Severely disagree? It's fine if you don't like them, but they're the real deal.

                  3. If you are going to have a car, and might need to head toward Universal City on the 101 Freeway, the falafel at Joe's on Cahuenga just south of Lankershim is superb.
                    Much other Middle Eastern food is also good there, but there is a reason the place is called Joe's Falafel.

                    I like Marouch, if you want a good Lebanese restaurant,

                    If you edge your way up toward Hollywood Blvd. at Vermont, Sidewalk Grille has very good Persian food in a fast casual format. Located just north of the BofA located on the actual corner.

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: carter

                      I'll dissent here (I do that a lot).

                      Don't like the falafel @ Joe's at all, but the chicken shwarma sandwich on fresh laffa bread w/ hot sauce is like the second coming of christ.

                      1. re: ns1

                        The shwarma bowl is also good at Joe's, with white beans, veggies, rice, shwarma, lettuce and cheese.

                        1. re: ns1

                          Don't like the falafel @ Joe's
                          ----
                          *whew*

                          I thought I was the only one. It's so far below the ilks of ARAX.

                          1. re: TonyC

                            I went back and had some and came to the same conclusion. They should rename the joint Joe's Laffa Shack

                            1. re: ns1

                              I find myself craving falafel all the time...not!

                              1. re: jessejames

                                i get strange cravings for the falafel sandwich @ falafel drive-in san jose.

                                1. re: jessejames

                                  cuz it doesn't have any marbling?

                                  just had a falafel sandwich, from a local shack, made by Lebanese fam? I believe. quite good.

                                  (apparently no one's working right now)

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    I had a bit of a falafel addition when I went to school in Amsterdam, but heck I was broke and had the munchies.

                                    I like the ones fresh fried in olive oil and that have that addictive green pickled pepper relish/sauce.

                                    ps tsastiki or whatever its called is just the enemy by another name

                                    1. re: jessejames

                                      call me crazy but i actually sometimes crave the delicious crap (declisous in my mind, mind you) at Falafel King.

                                      there i did say it.

                                      Falafel King.

                                      1. re: kevin

                                        Stick to that f word and we re all good. I'm not a fan of the word police btw

                                          1. re: JAB

                                            That bill o Reilly thing still cracks me up. What a tool

                                2. re: ns1

                                  i admit i never get the falafel at joe's any more -- fear of ns1 is only part of the reason --, even though i never thought it was all that bad.

                                  that chicken shwarma bowl is a steal, though. it's a lotta food for the money.
                                  but, you don't get the laffa or hot sauce with it.

                                  there's really no happiness in this world. they always dole out that hot sauce with an eyedropper, too.

                            2. re: carter

                              jill agree i like the falafels here.

                              and i gid like the gyro luffas too.

                              and their hot sauce is liquid gold,

                                1. re: katydid13

                                  What do people get at Marouch?

                                  I went, and thought it was just ok. The quail was tasty, but overcooked...

                                  1. re: BacoMan

                                    Yogurt kebabs are outstanding (I usually get chicken), as are the roast chicken (allow at least 30 min. & ideally call ahead), hummus, tabbouleh, sugok, and lamb-shank special (Sat/Sun only), as is the baklava.

                              1. The Bun Shop in K-Town.

                                Where else are you going to get deep fried oreos as well as fried spam. Aside from the County Fair, that is.

                                1. dha rae oak in koreatown for korean duck platters. didn't even know that was a thing til 6 months ago.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cdub

                                    That sounds great.

                                    More info please.