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NYer spending 1 night 2 days in LA... What are some unique areas to eat

Coming from NYC.. i don't really care for the "uppity" " noveau" cuisine kind of places.

I am interested in ethnic cuisine, gritty neighborhoods and possibly places that the usual tourist places don't visit.

I plan on going to Roscoe's , La Taquiza .

I will have a car as well. Any suggestions ???

P.S. I will be in San Diego for more time so Mexican food i will have in San Diego... unless there is a difference ??

Thanks for all suggestions.

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  1. ItsMee, on other boards you have asked for recs in New Orleans and got a few, and also for NYC to Connecticut, which inspired dozens of comments. In neither did you report back about where you ate. Please don't elicit our discussion and then leave us hanging this time.

    Again, even with a car, much depends on where you are staying and what between-meals activities you have planned.

    Roscoe's has a reputation but I'm not a fan of their chicken and waffles. My waffle was flaccid and thin, not crispy, and the chicken pieces were small. You can do much better at Pann's, a board favorite which is very close to LAX and is classic with its architecture and service. Waffles and wings supposed to be good.

    La Taquiza is ok, but the only thing special about it is its proximity to USC. There are more unique and better taquerias in every area of town. If downtown, the regentrified Grand Central Market has inspired tons of discussion on this board about the new deli, hot burger, controversial bbq, and others, but at least two old-time stands offer carnitas in overflowing tacos that are inexpensive and superior. We have fish tacos that are slightly different than San Diego's. My favorite taqueria is Carnitas Michaocan, 24/7, with the best salsa roja I've had in SoCal.

    But what we have, if you are adventurous, that is clearly superior is Chinese (best in the San Gabriel Vally, both dim sum and regional specialists -- a current favorite is Chengdu Taste); Thai (Thai Town is centered around Hollywood Blvd. west of downtown, between about Western and Vermont. Some consider Jitlada to be best, though as a frontrunner there is criticism for increasing prices and indifferent service.), and Korean (K-Town is south of Thai Town, closer to Olympic and Wilshire. Park may be considered the best for Korean BBQ, but there are a lot of other focuses.).

    Enjoy your visit and report back.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nosh

      lol. Sorry for not following through.I didn't know that was the ettiquette.How selfish of me.

      Will def make a point to let you know afterwards. and thanks for the very helpful recs.

      1. re: nosh

        For what it is worth, I haven't had better mulitas in the city than at La Taquiza. Those bad boys are superb.

      2. Roscoe's is rather touristy.

        definitely visit Koreatown. Will you have a car? If so, try to head to Monterey Park if you like authentic Chinese food. We have many pockets with amazing restaurants side by side, practically able to take your pick. The area on Wilshire between 10th and 12th in Santa Monica, Rose between 4th and 6th. 9th downtown between Flower and Main, and across Broadway.

        1. Where will you be staying? How much traffic/distance are you willing to tolerate? Is the focus of your trip on eating or on visiting certain landmarks/sights/whatever and trying to find good food in close proximity to those sights?

          We have a lots of ethnic. Might help you narrow it down a little more. ;)

          3 Replies
            1. re: ilysla

              I will be in hollywood. Im willing to drive anywhere. Just plan on riding around , seeing the beaches and such. Not set itinerary just relax and explore

              1. re: ItsMee

                Not too far is Dino's (a combination of Greek and Mexican influences?) on Pico http://www.dinoschickenandburgers.com/ for the day glo orange Crazy Chicken and fries (El Pollo Maniaco).


                For wood fired Peruvian chicken there is Pollo A La Brasa http://www.yelp.com/biz/pollo-a-la-br... and the much less well known Pollos El Brasero http://www.yelp.com/biz/pollos-el-bra...

            2. Walk Broadway in Downtown LA. Be sure to check out Grand Central Market. I highly suggest getting tacos there from Las Morelianas

                1. la taquiza not really a destination unless you're stopping by USC for a reason. How the hell did that place even pop up on your radar?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ns1

                    Was just googling n stuff lol

                    1. re: ItsMee

                      For your SD trek, I would suggest this thread which I previously created, titled "recommend me one burrito"


                  2. Ricky's Fish Tacos

                    Cacao's Mexicatessen

                    Square One (American) for brunch

                    Maybe Park's BBQ for more high-end Korean BBQ; any number of AYCE (I like Tahoe Galbi), if you don't mind lower quality meat and feeling very smoky and greasy afterward (which can sort of be fun, if you're in the mood for that).

                    Chilbo myunok for cold Korean noodles (they also have BBQ and many other dishes there).

                    Any number of places in Little Ethiopia (I like Rosalind's, Rahel's, and Meal by Genet)

                    Wood Spoon in Downtown for home-style Brazilian

                    Sri Siam in the San Fernando Valley (I love the food at Jitlada [which is likely far closer to your location] but hesitate to recommend it for the same reasons nosh mentioned)

                    Huckleberry or Milo and Olive (American; they could be described as "uppity," and there's absolutely nothing "gritty" about either one; however, the food's very good, the people-watching amusing [very LA, in one sense], and they're pretty close to the beach)

                    Maybe Father's Office in Culver City if you like beer + gourmet burger?

                    Many places along Sawtelle (which is ~4 mi from the beach) for good, inexpensive Japanese food

                    If you're willing to make the drive, I'd skip Monterey Park to hit San Gabriel for Chinese food

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ilysla

                      Sawtelle Blvd in West LA is very walkable with some great food including Tsjuita LA (wonderful Ramen) Seoul Sausage (Korean flavored) Plan Check (try their southern fry chicken sandwich) Nong La (Vietnamese) and Beard Papa's Cream Puffs just to name of few of the places. Welcome to LA.

                      1. re: ilysla

                        YES to Ricky's, YES to Cacao Mexicatessen, BIG yes to heading into Koreatown. My favorite spots are Jun Won (mostly fish), soot bull jeep, Parks, and western doma noodle (slow service so if you have patience you'll be OK).

                      2. The mercado at Olympic and Central in Downtown LA.

                        It use to be better or lets say it had more variety but I read there was a crackdown. My last visit was a few weeks ago and I think you will probably still find it interesting.

                        A mix of street vendors, brick and mortor and food trucks. Selling everything from barbacoa, to blue quesadillas, huraches and of course a variety of tacos.

                        Best on weekends...

                        4 Replies
                          1. re: ItsMee

                            Well it does tick off a lot of your criteria.
                            It's gritty and if your white you'll probably be the only white one there. So it's not a tourist destination.

                            Your averaged tourist would probably be afraid to eat there......

                              1. re: ItsMee

                                Then you will fit right in : ]

                                Also this is a few minutes drive from other places you might want to check out like the Arts district and little Tokyo since your so close. Grand Market is not too far away either from earlier suggestions.

                        1. OH i just thought of the Kogi Truck. Is that still relevant/LA-ish/something to recommend to a visitor?

                          4 Replies
                            1. re: Clyde

                              Haven't been to the Kogi truck myself, but, since the OP is looking for "gritty," I don't know if any of the "boutique" food trucks are going to be that appealing (although I very much like the Lobsta Truck)....

                                1. re: ns1

                                  Never been myself, but it looks like it's close to La Cevicheria (which I love[d], but I haven't been in many moons). Most definitely a gritty area.

                                  Tacos Puntas Cabras might also be a good choice for the OP. Not gritty, but very tasty, very non-touristy (although I'm under the impression for some reason that lots of locals invite their out-of-town relatives to eat there), and fairly close to the beach. Also avoids so much of the pretentiousness that has become Santa Monica over the last few yrs....