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Tentative Dining Itinerary for June Vacation

Hi everyone,

My wife and I are visiting from the Metro Detroit area in late June. We’re in our mid-thirties.

I posted this query earlier, asking where to stay. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/967755 We knew we’d spend two nights in Santa Monica and asked where to spend the remaining four nights. Some said stay in Santa Monica, some said Hollywood, some said downtown. We chose Hollywood for several reasons. A friend who lived in LA suggested Hollywood, so his opinion carried weight. We’re trying airbnb for accommodations, and Hollywood had lots of options at reasonable prices. And, Hollywood allowed us easier access to other parts of LA, including SGV and the option of using public transportation when heading downtown. Thanks for everyone’s insight.

I’ve attempted to perform my due diligence by researching existing threads. So, here’s our tentative dining itinerary. Any input is much appreciated. We’ll have a car at least while staying in Hollywood.


Fig at 5 for dinner. It seems people prefer Tar and Roses, Rustic Canyon, and Gjelina, but Fig at 5’s affordability and value make it attractive.


A-Frame or Ford’s Filling Station for lunch. We’ll be in Venice by lunchtime, so we won’t be too far. We chose these because a friend really wanted us to try one.

Father’s Office for dinner.


Duke’s in Malibu for lunch. This is my wife’s birthday, and eating on the beach in Malibu greatly appealed to her. We both know this is for the view, not the food. Prices seemed very reasonable.

Providence for dinner.

After dinner drinks on Friday – I’m torn on this. I was thinking Yamashiro. (We promise not to eat here.) It’s outdoors. It’s reputed to have a great view. But, some seem to hate it. I’d really appreciate advice on this so her birthday’s memorable. We’d like to be within striking distance from Hollywood. My wife would love a cool outdoor space and, if possible, one with a view.


Ricky’s Fish Tacos for lunch.

Animal for dinner. (ink was another contender.



Chinese for breakfast or lunch. This is easily the most difficult choice due to the sheer number and diversity of Chinese restaurants. Dim sum is always appealing, but I’ve had very good dim sum in Vancouver and Toronto, so it won’t be a new experience. I’ve never had XLB, so I’m leaning toward Din Tai Fung. I suppose we could always try a place that serves dim sum and XLB, like Sea Harbour (per Tony’s Eater post) or Shanghai No. 1 Seafood. Or, maybe we’ll skip the dumpling genre altogether and eat at Chengdu Taste or Omar’s XinJiang Halal or 101 Noodle Express or JTYH or Bebe Fusion or Beijing Pie House or SinBaLa or maybe I’ll take a nap because I have a headache.

Sushi for dinner – this one’s tough, too. My wife would like some non-traditional options. I’d like some traditional options. We’re looking for reasonable prices, maybe around $100 with a couple drinks before tax and tip. K-Zo seems to fit the bill. Hide looks to be in our price range, but it doesn’t seem to have many non-traditional choices. Kiriko is worth consideration, but the website doesn’t have prices, so I don’t know if it’s within range. It also doesn’t have monkfish liver on the online menu, which I was really looking forward to having.


Grand Central Market for lunch. (Egg Slut, Bulgarini’s, etc.)

Guisado’s or Guelaguetza for dinner. We wanted another Mexican place, we’ll be downtown, and both seem within striking distance, even if we take public transportation to Guelaguetza or Uber it to Guisado’s. How safe are these areas? My wife’s concerned these are in rough neighborhoods.


Langer’s on the way to the airport.

Sincere apologies for the novel. Thank you in advance to anyone who contributes. I’ll definitely report back after the trip. I know people appreciate it.

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  1. 1) Friday - The drive to Yamashiro post-dinner is miserable, especially if there is hollywood bowl traffic. Just a fair warning.

    2) Chengu Taste is a highly polarizing restaurant with a giant wait to boot.

    3) Is that $100 for TWO or $100pp? If the latter you got a ton of options.... Also, define "a couple of drinks" cuz sushi and alcohol are both stupid expensive.

    4) Guisados is in a working class/hipster neighborhood. No more or less dangerous than any other gentrified neighborhood. There is also NOTHING around there, so you would have to uber it there, eat, then uber it somewhere else.

    28 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      3) $100 total for two people before tax and tip. Is it an impossibility to get good sushi at that price? A couple drinks is two beers, but we would skip drinks altogether if that helps.

      1. re: ignatiusjreilly

        "good" is relative. I would put good money on saying that any place CH recommends you will probably be better than what you can get in Detroit, but at that price point definitely not top tier.

        Shunji's $40 lunch omakase would fit the bill, but that would be "traditional". I'm going to go out on a limb here and just say you should go to Sugarfish. The pricing is upfront, quality is "good", and it's pretty LA.

        I also like Murakami in Hollywood a lot for lower-priced sushi, and their new locale serves alcohol. They are also located in Hollywood, so lots of stuff around there. Not a destination restaurant, but if you want some sushi before you explore the city at a reasonable price you could do a lot worse.

        1. re: ns1

          I'm sure we'll still be happy even if it's not top tier, and one of the reasons is, as you pointed out, it'll be better than anything in Detroit.

          Thanks for the suggestions. I originally dropped Sugarfish because it seemed very controversial, but I'll put it back in the running again, along with Murakami.

          1. re: ignatiusjreilly

            respectfully would advise skipping sugarfish entirely.
            a very limited "trust me" menu (their words, in other words this is not nearly a normal sushi bar) done, imho, poorly.

            a step up from supermarket sushi, but that's about it.

            1. re: westsidegal

              I know it's the non-popular opinion on this board, but looking at things objectively they grew a massive empire for a reason and garner a shipload of positive reviews. We're not comparing sugarfish to Shinji here, we're comparing sugarfish to Detroit for $50pp IINCLUDING drinks

              If sugarfish is barely a step up from supermarket sushi I need to know what supermarket you're going to.


              1. re: ns1

                Sorry, my bad. OP's wife wanted non traditional. Sugarfish doesn't fall into what I'd call non traditional so disregard that rec.

                1. re: ns1

                  No problem. I think my own request is part of the problem here, and your response helped me realize that. Traditional and non-traditional all in one for $100. I can see how that wouldn't be very realistic. I think we're just going to have to spend more, unless my wife is good with Hide. I know I'd be happy with it.

        2. re: ignatiusjreilly

          it costs me $40 for lunch at k-zo before tax and tip with only drinking water (they charge for tea) and ordering only the least expensive sushi.

          less expensive and free tea, but it's a put-your-name-up-on-the-white board-then-wait is Hide sushi on sawtelle.
          small, crowded, no frills, and remarkable price/quality/quantity ratios. CASH ONLY

          IIRC, they are open continuously between lunch and dinner.they have a parking lot with validation next to the restaurant.

          1. re: westsidegal

            Which do you like better, K-Zo or Hide?

              1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                they are two different animals, and i like BOTH.

                K-Zo is a real restaurant.
                pretty ambiance
                reservations if you like.
                VERY broad menu of cooked/raw/fusion/sushi--in other words something for everyone.
                more costly than Hide
                they take credit cards
                good date restaurant--very CIVILIZED
                they deliver beautifully plated, very good food over a wide spectrum.
                k-zo is open every day of the week until 10:30 on weekdays and 11pm on friday and saturday and 9:45 on sundays.

                Hide is when i want to stuff myself with good fish. the quality of the fish is exceptional for the price,
                but the spectrum is much narrower than k-zo: much BROADER though than sugarfish and they won't use a fire hose to sauce your fish like sugarfish will.
                the ambiance is non-existent, if you insist on going during the prime meal hours you will be squeezed in.
                i make it a point to arrive with CASH in hand AFTER the business lunch crowd leaves or relatively early for dinner.
                this is the antithesis of a date place and, it also, doesn't attract tourists. (i wouldn't think of putting on high heels to go there.)
                for me, it is solid traditional sushi with a few fancy rolls thrown in at a GOOD price.
                i'm a big eater and i can get out of Hide, eating more than just the cheapest things, with tea, feeling FULL, without breaking the bank.
                be aware, they are closed on mondays and they close, during the week at 9 and earlier than that on sunday.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Run and hide
                  For that hood do kiriko ten times out of ten for sushi

                  1. re: jessejames

                    It would be difficult to do Kiriko at dinner for $50/pp. Not impossible but you'd be constraining them and yourself at that price point.

                    1. re: TheOffalo

                      Then do the omakase sushi lunch for 40 and you're set.

                      1. re: jessejames

                        I do, believe me, but I think OP was looking for dinner.

                        Incidentally, OP, I believe Kiriko almost always has ankimo, monkfish liver.

                2. re: westsidegal

                  Hide is gnarly. Went for first time last month. Waitress was coughing all over her hands and then the food and glasses and she said not to worry just asthma. Unwieldy big sloppy pieces of sushi. Yeah i like shunji but sugarfish a good deal and I bet an out of towner will like it.

                  1. re: jessejames

                    I can intellectually appreciate what SUGARFISH is doing but I'd rather not eat sushi than eat their sushi.

                    1. re: TheOffalo

                      But compared to supermarket or hide its an obvious winner. Kiriko miles ahead

                      1. re: jessejames

                        Well personally I'd eat Nijiya sushi before s'fish. But I agree, Kiriko light years ahead. I think with some careful ordering--actually that's $100 for two including drinks before tax/tip... It'd be tough.

                        1. re: TheOffalo

                          Just do lunch. That smoked salmon number w caviar. Toro. Scallop. Spanish mackerel. Crab roll no mayo no problemo.

                          I'm not a big sugarfish fan but compared to hide and other slimy sloppy sushi ....

                          1. re: jessejames

                            If they're willing to swap Duke's Friday lunch and Sunday sushi dinner in their original itinerary (not sure how much things have shifted already due to discussions), then they could do Kiriko lunch and maybe have a dinner at Duke's at sunset...

                            At Kiriko lunch the OP could do the $40 sushi omakase, and the wife could order specials that are interesting, and maybe they could skate under triple digits before tax and tip.

                            1. re: TheOffalo

                              You know, a Kiriko lunch is a great suggestion. I probably would have favored this had J.L. not convinced us to eat at Nobu.

                              And, I get that Kiriko still might be better than Nobu. But, Nobu's view plus getting rid of what seemed like a wasted lunch at Duke's was very attractive for us.

                              1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                I've never been to Nobu (or Matsuhisa for that matter), and I would love to go. Glad you're rebudgeting, and I'm sure you'll have a great time!

                3. re: ignatiusjreilly

                  i'd go to sushi gen. you can get their sashimi dinner for $26 or their sushi deluxe for $35.

                  if you order ala cart, it can get expensive quick but the dinner meals are quite the bargain for the quality.

                4. re: ns1

                  "I was thinking Yamashiro", No Food... Drinks Only!

                  Better food at Malibu Seafood or Neptune's Net at than Dukes.

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Got it. No food. Not even bar peanuts.

                    Are Malibu Seafood and Neptune's Net on the beach?

                    1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                      Across PCH from the beach. But, if you want to dine right on the sand, consider Paradise Cove, a bit more north in Malibu. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks. Not cheap, but you can get sand between your toes. If you eat and spend the minimum, you get to park free or greatly reduced rate.

                5. A few suggestions, although your itinerary looks fabulous. I would maybe consider something other than Father's Office for dinner. It's good, but not destination worthy in my opinion. If you are in the Culver City area, you could go to Bucato (for Italian) or Lukshon (contemporary Asian.)

                  I think you could feel uncomfortable at Guisados in Boyle Heights at night. While I'm guessing you won't have problems, it would considered in a rough neighborhood. Consider Chichen Itza. Superb Yucatan cuisine in a gated parking lot in a pretty dead, but not dangerous area.

                  Also, no interest in Thai? If you're staying in Hollywood, it is definitely worth it to check out a Thai spot. Night + Market is beloved for more upscale northern/northeastern Thai. East Hollywood is Thai town and there are lots and lots and lots of amazing Thai spots there. Sapps for lunch could be worth your time.

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: set0312

                    Lukshon and Bucato look fantastic. The only issue is that it's pushing our total budget. Maybe we'll go to Tacos Punta Cabras for dinner.

                    I did read about Chichen Itza and thought it looked great. It just looked a little further than the other two from downtown, where we'll be hanging all day. Maybe we'll try that if we can get there. I am from the Detroit area, so rough neighborhoods don't faze me, but my wife might be a little uncomfortable.

                    I let out a big sigh when you mentioned Thai because, yes, I'm definitely very interested in Thai. I seriously thought about Night + Market and Jitlada. But, I just don't know which restaurant they'd bump.

                    1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                      So I take it for that Friday dinner you are going to be on the westside? Because if not then definitely bump Fig at 5.

                      Maybe skip sushi just because for the true LA sushi experience you need infinite amounts of money and go to Night + Market instead?

                      1. re: set0312

                        Yep. Westside. Wednesday and Thursday are in Santa Monica. Friday morning in Malibu. The rest of the vacation in Hollywood.

                        I would definitely bump sushi for Night + Market. I'm interested in the pig tails. But, my wife wouldn't. She really wants sushi, and this is pretty much her birthday vacation. She also would love a few Mexican places, thus Guisado's/Guelaguetza/Chichen Itza plus Ricky's.

                        1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                          I love Guisado's (orig. location). I'll be honest, we go there during the day. The neighbor hood is, um, vibrant? But folks are kind, smile and the food is awesome. Get the sampler plate (six small tacos) and, a shrimp taco, at the least. The freshly milled corn for the tortilla's truly makes a difference.

                          Next up, if I wasn't doing that, would be Chichen Itza. Never been, but have heard great things about them.

                          1. re: happybaker

                            Re: guisados

                            Don't forget the aqua fresca.

                          2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                            Sushi Gen (which you can get to with the red line then the gold line) is supposed to be a great deal for lunch. They have $15 & $21 lunch deals.


                            I'd say we haven't been, but, in an odd way, we have. Years ago the hubster and I went to a Japanese Festival in Torrance. One of the events was a sushi :cook off". Chefs (three or four of them) were given the exact same ingredients, from the same suppliers. They had to make the exact same dishes/cuts. All that would make the difference? Their skill.

                            As my husband was the only blue eyed anglo blonde there, he was chosen with the group of judges (maybe 20- 30 folks?) They all ate the finished dishes and then voted. The wining chef? And the one my husband voted for? From Sushi Gen. My husband said "It was really weird. You knew they had all been given the exact same ingredients. They had to make the exact some things. And still, you could tell the difference, chef to chef."

                            1. re: happybaker

                              Sushi gen is good but fairly traditional no?

                              1. re: ns1

                                Yes, from what I've heard.

                                But coming from the midwest myself (oh those many years ago) it sounds like they are not looking for groundbreaking fusion stuff, but just really good stuff.

                                So it would fit.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  Yeah, my wife already nixed Sushi Gen.

                                  I enjoyed happybaker's story, nonetheless.

                                  1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                    Aw drat! Hope you find the best fit for you.

                                    And glad you enjoyed the story - that day was a marvelous day!

                                    1. re: happybaker

                                      Thanks! Regardless, I appreciate the help.

                                    2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                      I'd reconsider. The value for the quality is unmatched IMO.

                                  1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                    Make certain that Ricky's is serving that day. And as others have suggested, consider bumping Father's Office.
                                    No? Think again.

                                2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                  Wholeheartedly agree with taking a pass on FO as a destination for a Friday night dinner. TCP, however, is a good call. I think you can bring your own beer now (at least if you eat inside).

                                  1. re: Wayno

                                    Good tip on bringing our own beer. I would have never known otherwise. I'm definitely leaning toward that now with two recommendations to pass on FO.

                              2. There must be a rooftop bar in Hollywood that would fit the bill for Friday night. Help hounds??? Or...you could go to Chateau Marmount and sit outside. Always a scene and fun people/celeb watching....

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: perk

                                  Your suggestion for Chateau Marmont is so on point that we plan to go there for a pre-dinner drink.

                                  1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                    the experience at Chateu Marmont is terrific, beware of the sticker price.
                                    their drinks can cost as much as entrees at some pretty good restaurants . . . .

                                  2. You could also Uber it to Guisado's in Echo Park.

                                    I've never been to that branch, but it is closer to Hollywood.


                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: happybaker

                                      I did consider that, and we still might do it. So many options to juggle with seeing the sights - attractions, cuisines, restaurants, and locations. It's like a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle to run everything seamlessly.

                                      1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                        Totally understand the challenge. That's how I feel when I go to New York or Boston!

                                        Add in traffic, imperfect public transportation and not having a car? An extra high level puzzle.

                                        But you can do it!

                                    2. Seems you have a few redundant options in your itinerary.

                                      FO & Fords are very similar gastropub food. A Frame would be a better call, but then skip Lukshons, since they're both pan Asian fusion. But last time I looked, A Frame did not serve lunch, maybe that has changed.....

                                      Ricky's fish tacos and Tacos Punta Cabras are basically the same..... And neither have much atmosphere.

                                      Agree with other posters that traffic on a Friday to get drinks at yamashiro will be horrendous. Stay closer to your home base. Eveleigh is in West Hollywood and has a great view of the city from the back patio.

                                      Guisado's is great but has zero atmosphere. I'm going to bet that guelagetza has a proper dining room, and more to offer than just tacos. And the mods won't let us comment on the 'safety' of certain neighborhoods, for fear of offending someone....which is PC bull, but that's what they say. Which is why I won't recommend Langers.....

                                      Other than that, looks like you'll have a great trip! Enjoy LA!

                                      22 Replies
                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                        Agreed on the redundancy. I'm thinking of striking FO, going to TPC instead, but then skipping Ricky's.

                                        I just realized the traffic advice might stem from a miscommunication on my part. We're staying in Santa Monica the first two nights. Then, we'll be staying in Hollywood by Friday night, actually not far from Yamashiro - about 2 miles. I did see the Eveleigh's patio before and it looks great. It's definitely right up our alley.

                                          1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                            My point on traffic Friday night was not how far your home base was from Yamashiro. The traffic at that time won't be as bad. It was coming from Providence to Yamashiro that will be the problem. And I can't figure out if you're driving, or relying on public or private transportation. Either way, it's just a heads up to consider.

                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                              Even at rush hour Providence to Yamashiro is maybe 15 to 20 minutes, plus lots of options to get there in terms of which streets you can take.

                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                Um, okay, if you say so..... Remember they're in a vehicle, not on a bike.....

                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                  "Remember they're in a vehicle, not on a bike....."

                                                  Then they probably won't be run over by an inattentive driver on their cell phone or choked by exhaust fumes...

                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    Even at rush hour Providence to Yamashiro is maybe 15 to 20 minutes, plus lots of options to get there in terms of which streets you can take.
                                                    disagree, you can easily spend 15 minutes on franklin alone.

                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                      Seriously, its Friday night...like no one else will have the brilliant idea of using side streets? Agree with ns1....

                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                        If this is the case then the OP needs to be enlightened about Thursday driving in LA…
                                                        They're worse than Fridays.

                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                            doesn't appear to be anything going on Thursday @ Bowl in June either.

                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                              Hollywood Bowl June 2014
                                                              Sun, Jun 1
                                                              Bruno Mars
                                                              Wed, Jun 4
                                                              Barry Gibb: Mythology The Tour
                                                              Sat, Jun 7
                                                              James Taylor
                                                              Sun, Jun 8
                                                              James Taylor
                                                              Sat, Jun 14
                                                              Playboy Jazz Festival
                                                              Sun, Jun 15
                                                              Playboy Jazz Festival
                                                              Mon, Jun 16
                                                              Ed Sheeran Demi Lovato Colbie Caillat & Andy Grammer

                                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                                yes, which is why i said Thursday...but that's good info for the OP in case he goes on one of the other days.

                                                      2. re: ns1

                                                        I have jumped over to Orange Dr. at times, and when that T's into Franklin it's maybe 100 yards (if that) to Sycamore to go up to Yamashiro.

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          great for you. you expect the OP who is visiting from out of town to know/do that? It's bowl season no less.

                                                          I'll note that path for my own personal reference though ;)

                                                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                      Got it. I couldn't even fathom that traffic could be that bad from Providence to Yamashiro.

                                                      We're eating at Providence at 8 pm, so I'm not sure if that makes a difference to the debate.

                                                      1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                        If you're eating at 8 you won't be heading up to Yamashiro till 10 or so. The rush hour traffic will be completely gone and you will have clear sailing.

                                                        1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                          Avoid Thursdays…

                                                          They're LA's version of Fridays, in most cities, and worse.

                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                            We're lucky in that respect because pretty much all of our Thursday will be spent walking around Santa Monica and Venice.

                                                  2. Sadly, no more Bulgarini's at Grand Central Market.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: JAB

                                                      Good call. Maybe we'll stop by the one in Culver City, time permitting.

                                                      1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                        Hit carmela third and crescent hts. Gelato has a brother with balls called ice cream.

                                                          1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                            And right by the la farmers market which has some good stuff too

                                                    2. You have obviously done your homework.
                                                      At the same time you've called out enough restaurants for 2 trips or more. What are your top 5 priorities/desires?

                                                      21 Replies
                                                      1. re: mc michael

                                                        Providence, since, well, I already made reservations.

                                                        2 Mexican restaurants (I'm thinking TPC, Ricky's, Guisado's, Guelaguetza, Chichen Itza)

                                                        1 Sushi place

                                                        1 Chinese restaurant, perhaps out of the many I listed. I'm leaning toward Din Tai Fung. But, it's really overwhelming. I want to gorge myself at all of them.

                                                        1 lunch on the beach in Malibu, taking into account ambiance over food.

                                                        Animal or a hip place like Animal for a Saturday night.

                                                        Ok, I cheated - that's six priorities.

                                                        1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                          Din tai fung solid not cheap but Ull be happy. I think ur list is shaping up. I'd skip guelgawhateverthefuckitscalled. I'm not a mole fan.

                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                            Ha. You know, my wife is fluent in Spanish, and I have to keep asking her how to pronounce it.

                                                            I do think we'll probably go to Guisado's, Chichen Itza, or Tacos Los Anaya instead.

                                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                                              Animal is great but do some research on the menu. I feel some of the dishes are hit and miss. And for those prices it kinda sucks to miss.

                                                            2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                              OK, seems like you have the Mexican thing down, just a question of choosing.
                                                              Providence, ditto, knowing it's not cheap.
                                                              It sounds like your wife is wanting non-traditional sushi. At the risk of incurring massive dissent, I'd say one of the Sushi Rokus might be the ticket. http://www.innovativedining.com/resta...
                                                              I would not argue against Din Tai Fung, at least not the Arcadia branch. Here's another interesting choice (but not on a weekend): http://www.newportseafood.com/
                                                              I think the ambience over food choice in Malibu is Geoffrey's. http://www.geoffreysmalibu.com/
                                                              Animal is probably gonna be tough on a Saturday night as is it's sister restaurant Son of a Gun unless you've got reservations locked down. Both are very good.
                                                              I'm in favor of cheating and give you points for that. Just be prepared to spend. Classic cocktails here can run $15. Well drinks $8-10 unless you hit happy hour. But we do have some excellent mixologists. http://carolineoncrack.com/

                                                              1. re: mc michael

                                                                Skip providence and do shunji or other good sushi instead. It's like minuscule portions of mediocre food with basil foam and bullshit like that. For that price u can eat a lot of fantAstic sushi and other hot Japanese seafood.

                                                                  1. re: mc michael

                                                                    Haven't been to the bazaar in a while but I like it loads better than providence. IMO most overrated place in town. Bazaar would actually be cool for these Michiganders but for that price do shunji or something else I think.

                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                      Odd you like Bazaar more than Providence because "minuscule portions of mediocre food with basil foam and bullshit like that" perfectly describes Bazaar and not Providence.

                                                                      To the OP, stick with Providence. Some random photos from Providence. Note truffles, beautiful presentation, charcoal grilled turbot and lack of basil foam. Portion size is just fine too. Couldn't finish my last 2 courses (which included perfectly seared wagyu) when I was there last month.

                                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                                        Bazaar is interesting and better for me. Been a while but the Serrano ham presentation is great. The foie gras cotton candy used to be great and those little cheesesteak puffs r nice. Good cocktails and desserts.

                                                                        Ur pics look nice. I'm just not a big fan of providence for the price. I'd rather do sushi or simple stuff like lobster or oysters for my seafood. Dollars to Toro collars. Even shunji I basically get sushi and sashimi 90%.

                                                                        Neither spot is in my rotation.

                                                                        Let me say this i wouldn't say no to providence if other folks want to go or pay but just not my cup of tea like red medicine same thing

                                                                        Maybe I should give it another shot

                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                          I've been to Bazaar around 9 times and Providence over a dozen times.

                                                                          Bazaar I go to with people that I suspect would be wowed by stuff like dry ice smoke. Providence I go to with people I care about showing the best LA has to offer.

                                                                          1. re: Porthos

                                                                            Glad u like it.

                                                                            I'm probably in the minority but not alone either. Been 5 times or so and each meal had many misses, ie little cups of soup that couldn't find the right temperature, foams, no luxurious crab or lobster or oysters, "plating" artistry that just doesn't appeal to me. Big price tag.

                                                                            Different people have different tastes.

                                                                            For me I like more simply prepared seafood. I'd rather drop $100 pp on toro lobster oysters and lux ingredients well done in basic fashion than the style of food at providence.

                                                                            I'm not racing back to bazaar either but I do like it better.

                                                                            I still feel providence is the most overrated spot in la. Number one for gold?? But as I said I may be minority.

                                                                            To me it is similar in some respects to red medicine which u love and I abhor for the reasons above and others. Abhor too strong for providence. Not not where I want to celebrate good times and drop cash.

                                                                        2. re: Porthos

                                                                          I agree that Providence is a much better overall dining experience. I like Bazaar. I had a lovely dinner at Saam. But Providence is my "go to" place for a wonderful, high end dining experience. I try new place all the time, and enjoy them. But I go back to Providence over and over....and I'm never disappointed in food or service.

                                                                      2. re: mc michael

                                                                        The Bazaar is an interesting suggestion. We dined at Jaleo in Vegas, so that's why we passed on it. Otherwise, there's a good chance we'd be eating there this vacation.

                                                                        The other consideration for Providence is that we wanted at least one seafood restaurant. It came down to Son of a Gun or Providence. We nixed Son of a Gun in favor of Animal. The June special at Providence was a big catalyst, too.

                                                                      3. re: jessejames

                                                                        Based on the OP's assessment of their sushi experience, I'm not sure they would get the full benefit of going to Shunji over say Sugarfish.

                                                                        Not being a sushi aficionado myself, I know I wouldn't.

                                                                      4. re: mc michael

                                                                        Sushi roku, great for wife not for him.

                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                            Look, except at the Hide level or the grocery store, sushi isn't cheap. That's why it tastes so good.

                                                                            1. re: mc michael

                                                                              Right. But for same price as Roku do shunji or kiriko.

                                                                        1. re: mc michael

                                                                          I would recommend Geoffrey's over Duke's also, but I think his main consideration was price.

                                                                          If price was not a consideration Nobu Malibu trumps them all and your wife can get her sushi fix there, with an unbeatable, on the sand, full on Malibu experience all at the same time.

                                                                    2. My $.02:

                                                                      First, I'm impressed. You've certainly put time and thought into this.

                                                                      It's a good thing you'll have a car.

                                                                      Thursday dinner: Hit the Father's Office at their Helms Bakery (Culver City) location. I say this because Bulgarini Gelato is right across the street from FO for your mandatory gelato revelation after the FO burger. Do I need to remind you & the missus to bring IDs to FO to gain entry? I'm not a big Lukshon fan - Stick with FO. N.B.: Bulgarini Culver City closes at 9PM on Thursdays.

                                                                      Friday oceanview lunch: Have you considered having drinks at Nikita (Siamese twin sister restaurant to Nobu Malibu)? In any case, Nikita and Nobu are gorgeous, located on the water side of PCH. Timing-wise, this could prove to be auspicious, since I generally like sushi in L.A. better on Fridays than Sundays anyways. You could have drinks at Nikita while waiting for your table at Nobu (assuming you've made the rezzie), then saunter over to Nobu for a few great bites. If you choose carefully (go a la carte), it won't be ruinous financially, and the sushi at Nobu Malibu, while not elite level, is quite good. You'll get to try ankimo, and hopefully some creative sushi (which you're looking for in L.A. anyways - try Nobu's tiradito & new-style sashimi), and check off that sushi box on your list of things to eat. The PCH drive up to Nikita/Nobu can be a destination of sorts in and of itself.

                                                                      Since I brought up sushi, I'll comment on Kiriko. Food-wise, Kiriko has what you're looking for (sushi on the creative side; just a high quality meal overall). But at a budget of $50pp, honestly you won't get to enjoy it as much.

                                                                      Friday dinner & nightcap with a view: Providence is a great call. I would skip the Yamashiro view altogether afterwards, though. Instead, head to our revitalized, kickass Downtown area and enjoy some libations while absorbing the nightlife energy at the rooftop bar at Perch (448 S. Hill St., open 'til 2AM Friday nights). Alternatively, if you want to stay closer to Hollywood, consider Sky Bar at Mondrian (also open 'til 2AM) for those killer LA views while sipping a cocktail. Try and get on the guest list for Sky Bar to maximize your enjoyment.

                                                                      By the way, Scoops ice cream (on Heliotrope) is not too far a drive from Providence, in case you wanna eat a scoop of brown bread or durian ice cream before your dinner at Providence. I'm funny (spelled 'f-a-t') that way...

                                                                      Saturday lunch & dinner: You're good. Ricky's is da man. And Animal should be fun.

                                                                      Sunday brunch: Since you've had Vancouver/Toronto dim sum, you can skip our dim sum altogether. All the more reason to do Din Tai Fung for the XLB AND SinBaLa for the "oily rice", Taiwanese sausages, and shaved snow (they are very close to each other; I recommend going earlier than later). Chengdu Taste can be a mindnumbing wait on the weekends.

                                                                      Sunday dinner: If you took my Friday lunch advice and got your sushi fix out of the way then, well then you have a windfall in your schedule. Perhaps ink? If budget allows, the patio at Lucques on a warm LA Sunday night can be captivating. Or if you want to try some local fast food - Zankou Chicken (Hollywood), that's some good eatin' right there. Or, go get some chicken biryani at Zam Zam. Or have more solid Mexican fare at Chitzen Itza (cochinita pibil) or at Taqueria Los Anayas in the West Adams area.

                                                                      Monday breakfast & lunch: GCM will do nicely for breakfast - Eggslut pleases the masses (for good reason). Lunch (if you decide to stick around Downtown): Horse Thief BBQ (the brisket sells out quick, so get there by 11:45AM). Note: The Bulgarini cart is no longer at GCM (see my Thursday advice for your gelato hit). Or try the Japanese udon at Marugame Monzo in Little Tokyo (line up early, before the lunch horde descends).

                                                                      Monday dinner: Guisado's is good - You're from Detroit and you're afraid of our neighborhoods being rough?! Yeesh. :-) The area is fine.

                                                                      Tuesdays: Langer's, yup. If you choose to drive, there is sidewalk service at Langer's. If you call ahead of time and tell them how much cash you're handing to them, they'll be ready with change in hand and your food order when you arrive. There's a Metro Red Line station right at Langer's, if you feel so inclined.

                                                                      Good Chowhounding to you both!

                                                                      30 Replies
                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                        Nobu Malibu is the ocean view spot you are looking for.

                                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                                          Traffic from Providence to downtown will be killer, unless they have a late (7 PM or later) reservation. Hence why I didn't suggest Perch.

                                                                          I believe cost is a major consideration, and probably why Nobu or Nikita won't work for them. They can do the omakase for $80pp but that's without drinks....but they can get the sushi done at the same time.

                                                                          Not sure why you'd suggest they go to a market to get takeout biryani....where they gonna eat, in the parking lot? At least you could send them to a real restaurant.....

                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                            By the time after they're done with Providence, rush hour is over. Two months ago, I personally made this drive to Downtown after having Chef's Tasting Menu at Providence, and traffic was a breeze.

                                                                            As per your concerns on cost issues in Malibu, I will reiterate from my original reply above: I advised them to select sushi items carefully A LA CARTE (not omakase) at Nobu to control costs. I also told them to only have drinks at Nikita.

                                                                            As for Zam Zam, it is PRECISELY because they are on a budget that I offered this up as an option. It is DAMN tasty, more like legendary tasty, and won't break the bank (read: HUGE Chowvalue). As for sending him to a "real restaurant" - Heck, the OP himself is opting to eat at Ricky's Fish Tacos, a decidedly NON-brick & mortar experience.

                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                              Trust me, a la carte at Nobu adds up, and after paying the bill at lunch there recently, we would have faired better if we ordered the omakase. The menu is deceiving, listing prices of things by the piece, but then having the waiter inform you when you order that it is a minimum of two pieces... So caveat emptor.

                                                                              When I'm visiting a city, I'd prefer recommendations be for actual places with seating. Who knows, maybe the OP could care less. But the least you could do is add to the rec that the place is a store, not a restaurant so they can be prepared if they decide to go there. As for RFT, precisely why I suggested TPC instead, as at least it is a restaurant.

                                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                                I'm going to go out on a limb and say that zam zam is not legendary. at the very least, the experience leaves much to be desired.

                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                  I'm sitting on that limb too. It's fine for our Indian starved city but Zam Zam is not a destination or place I would want to visit as an out-of-towner.

                                                                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                    I have no idea what the biryani scene is like in Detroit, but my taste buds and my wallet likes Zam Zam, so I will stand by it. The rec is simply meant as a low cost yet tasty alternative. Same with my rec for Zankou Chicken.

                                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                                      The biryani scene in Detroit is underwhelming in my experience. We have Middle Eastern, Detroit-style coney dogs, and Detroit-style pizza. We also have a Mexicantown that has real options for those willing to go off the beaten path and ignore the restaurants that cater to suburbanites. But, I'm sure it's nothing like LA's taco scene.

                                                                                      1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                        FWIW, Zam Zam does have tables inside the store and you will see random people eating in. But there is no ambiance whatsoever.

                                                                                        I live near there and would highly recommend it if in the area and certainly I'd rate it over Zankou. But it's not worth driving across the city.

                                                                            2. re: J.L.

                                                                              This post made my day, J.L. Thanks for taking the time to write a such a thoughtful and lengthy response.

                                                                              You convinced us. Nobu in Malibu it is. Some of the posts above from NS1 and others made me realize that $100 isn't practical for sushi. So, we're going to break the budget. I still think we can dine for a reasonable amount if we pay attention to what we're ordering.

                                                                              The thing that I like most about your Nobu suggestion is that it killed two troublesome birds with one stone. Posters above made me realize that Duke's might be a wasted meal. Honestly, I kind of felt that way anyway. And, then there was the sushi problem. Nobu takes care of both, so it's a fantastic suggestion.

                                                                              Regarding Perch, we definitely plan to get there. I originally planned on going when we're downtown, but I didn't realize it might be accessible after Providence (we're eating at 8 pm). Sky Bar looks great, too.

                                                                              Re: the Guisado's neighborhood - I've dined at Detroit soul food restaurants with bullet proof glass and have had my car broken into 3 times in Detroit's Corktown, among other experiences. So, touche.

                                                                              Lots of good info. Thanks again.

                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                  Just called a few hours ago, and they only take reservations between something like 10 am and 5 pm. That kind of surprised me. I'll try again tomorrow.

                                                                                  1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                    Nobu blows Duke's away on every level. You will be glad you did and your wife will thank you. Also, if your taking a cab there no worries, but if you're driving, know that valet is $10.

                                                                                    1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                      If u have Amex platinum sick them on it. This was a tip from the hounds that worked when I got shunted first time

                                                                                      1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                        Btw, I did get a reservation for right when they open at noon. I requested the patio, but they told me they couldn't guarantee it. Does anyone know the chances we'll be sitting outside?

                                                                                        1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                          Nobu's architecture features lots of natural light and feels airy. Even inside, there are great views of the ocean.

                                                                                          By the way, do you look like Josh Brolin? 'Cuz if you do, then you're sitting wherever you want. And chances are you'll be seated next to the real Josh Brolin. Welcome to Malibu.

                                                                                          Even if you don't get the patio seat at Nobu, you can always go to Nikita afterwards for that drink on the patio with the Pacific on display in all its Californian glory.

                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                            No, I look nothing like that dreamboat. :(

                                                                                            But, I am a dead ringer for Richard Grieco. What will that get me?

                                                                                            1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                              Mistaken for a spy during your high school field trip?

                                                                                              1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                Was that a 21 Jump Street joke...

                                                                                                    1. re: chrishei

                                                                                                      What? It's just some classic early 90s cinema, like Don't tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. Just because you were a toddler at the time and don't appreciate it...

                                                                                                1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                  Now, but with the early 90s wardrobe.

                                                                                            2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                              Well, if you get to the hostess desk exactly at noon, and smile a lot and act graciously, chances are good. Don't forget to mention you are visiting and this is your wife's birthday. That's what we did when I took my MIL there, and we scored a killer two seat banquette that she told me they reserve for their regulars. I promised her if he showed up we would move to the bar, which also has good views, but she never made us move, and we thanked her profusely on the way out.

                                                                                              The patio is most of their seating, but almost all seats have a good view. But do take note, June is our chilly, cloudy month. I know it doesn't seem to make sense, but in June we get a tremendous marine layer coming in off the ocean and the coastline will not get sun & warm up until late afternoon sometimes. Have your wife bring a wrap. They will have heaters on. And note if it's especially windy, the very front row of tables against the glass at the edge will most likely be broken down and not available.

                                                                                              Trust me, your wife is going to be thrilled and feel spoiled.

                                                                                        2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                          Guisado's in Boyle Heights is fine. It's a blue collar latino working class neighborhood. Going there in the daytime, there's tons of pedestrian traffic. I'm an average built asian and wife is pale blonde, both of us dress decidedly with a non Latin flair. We park and walk around the neighborhood to go there frequently and have never had a problem.

                                                                                          People there are friendly once they figure out you're treating them regularly and not jumping at every little movement.

                                                                                          1. re: Jase

                                                                                            Great, thank you.

                                                                                            I'm not adverse at all to going there, but your post will be reassuring to my wife.

                                                                                            1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                              Our artist loft was on the edge of Boyle Hgts, at the 4th street bridge, and totally agree with Jase; we often used
                                                                                              BofA's ATM on Soto at night, but with great awareness.
                                                                                              Before today's LA food scene, a bunch of us celebrating our new ELA arrival went to the First street Safeway asking where the gourmet section was: "the 'what'section? Several other clerks came around to get a view of us! It's where you keep your real good stuff, we added! "???" Then we asked where to find the caviar: "The 'what'?" Asked and answered.
                                                                                              Being sentient beings, by the time we left we knew a lot more about ELA than when we came in.

                                                                                            2. re: Jase

                                                                                              Same here, I'm female & my husband is total white bread OC dude. The neighborhood is fine during the day. We bring our kids. But I don't think I'd go alone at night, but that's just me.

                                                                                        3. Alright, I'm back. A full day of work followed by child care can really usurp one's Chowhound time.

                                                                                          I must say, I'm floored by the number of responses and helpful advice I've received. Thank you so much to everyone who's contributed. If I didn't respond directly to you, please know that I read your post and valued the information.

                                                                                          20 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                            I think your itinerary looks great. I haven't eaten at all the places you've mentioned but....

                                                                                            I think Duke's is totally fine for a special occasion if you know that it's more about the view than about food (and you do). The food also isn't *bad* (although it's been several yrs since I've been there). It's just totally soul-less. I do like Paradise Cove, as well, but it's not very romantic. Maybe Cafe Del Rey instead? Although it might blow the budget.

                                                                                            Agree w/ Providence and Ricky's. I actually think Tacos Puntas Cabras is not that similar to Ricky's, but they're similar enough that you don't need to do both on the trip. Not sure why someone would compare The Bazaar to Providence. I think The Bazaar is amusing and novel, but it's really expensive and not very filling.

                                                                                            I think Father's Office is worth a visit if you like beer and want to see a *very* LA scene. And it's affordable. I think Lukshon is vastly superior in terms of food quality, but I think it's out of your budget.

                                                                                            Didn't love A-Frame (although it's not bad), never been to Ford's (I don't think it's much of a destination). Would rather choose Waterloo and City next door to A-Frame (although the food is completely different).

                                                                                            Skip dim sum. Skip Din Tai Fung (over-rated, over-crowded) and go to J&J. Or to JTYH for something totally different. Realize that the servers at the latter restaurant are sometimes not so nice to those that don't speak Chinese and/or don't seem to know what to order (I've seen it myself and was rather surprised since they've always been pleasant to me and my family).

                                                                                            If you use Uber, does it matter much what the area is like if you get dropped off right in front of the restaurant? YMMV, but I would consider both of those areas to be "rough." And, yes, I'll fully admit I'm super sensitive and totally classist. So sue me.

                                                                                            1. re: ilysla

                                                                                              I like Shanghai Dumpling House (in the plaza next to J&J) for XLB. Nice thin (but not too thin) skin, really well made. And then it's just a literal hop, skip, jump to Pa Pa Walk for some mango snowy for dessert.

                                                                                              1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                I do love craft beer. I can't get Pliny the Elder in Michigan, and I've heard FO has it.

                                                                                                I did read about J&J. That looks promising. And, I didn't know that JTYH had XLB, if that's what you're suggesting. I like that suggestion because JTYH's other dishes, like the beef rolls, look more interesting to me than DTF's other options.

                                                                                                1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                  I'll be the dissenting voice here and say that you if you've never had XLB before, you need to try Din Tai Fung (the first XLB "superstar" with mass appeal, as it were) first... If nothing more so you can then see the barometer by which other XLBs are measured. Not that it's the best out there (J&J still gets my devotion), but the DTF XLB will educate your palate on the interplay between the skin, the soup, and the filling.

                                                                                                  Then, you may head over to J&J.

                                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                      Second this rec. But don't get the XLB there. Stick with the meat pies and the homeland meat cake. The latter is definitely one of those items that you can't find anywhere else. Bonus is the place is inexpensive and easy on the budget.

                                                                                                      Parking can be an issue though.

                                                                                                    2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                      JYTH doesn't have XLB, AFAIK. I get the cat's ears, knife cut lamb noodles, SLB.

                                                                                                      To TheOffalo, I didn't know there was a plaza next to J&J's! When I'm on that stretch of Valley, I'm either at J&J's or the Korean BBQ/tofu place at Focus. Maybe have to make a pitstop.... ;)

                                                                                                      I respect J.L.'s opinion, but I find DTF overly-precious....

                                                                                                      To the OP, if being in a rough area is possibly a problem, how about Cacao Mexicatessen in Eagle Rock? The food is wonderful (and they apparently expanded into the former flower shop next door), and the area is quite cute. Can do some grocery shopping at Trader Joe's next door, too. ;)

                                                                                                      1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                        It's in the same plaza with Pa Pa Walk, adjacent to the Hilton, across the street from what I think is Focus Plaza (is that the giant traffic jam with the 99 Ranch?).

                                                                                                        1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                          Adjacent to the Hilton.... Do you mean the plaza w/ Ajisen? The parking there gives me nightmares (even compared to other places in the SGV), so I actively avoid it. Maybe I can park on the street....

                                                                                                          Yes, 99 Ranch market. =)

                                                                                                          1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                            Yes, the Ajisen plaza. Maybe I don't go there at peak times, but I've generally not had a problem parking there, but actually there's usually a few spots on the curb, especially between that plaza and the J&J plaza, perfect for a mini XLB taste test between the two places. My short take: J&J more flavorful and cheaper, but not as good build quality (broken skins). Shanghai Dumpling House, much better build quality, perhaps juicier, thinner skin (which I prefer).

                                                                                                            1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                              Whoa there. The crab XLB at J&J are stellar and my favorite crab version in town. They have consistently been high quality and I've recently been twice in the past 2 months. Very rarely do I ever get a broken skin one. And I'm a stickler for that kind of stuff.

                                                                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                Maybe I just had bad luck. I've had 3 baskets of XLB at J&J and all three had at least one XLB that broke. I do think they taste better.

                                                                                                                I like the salted duck egg XLB at SDH.

                                                                                                                1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                  I've had 3 baskets of XLB at J&J and all three had at least one XLB that broke

                                                                                                                  Did they break or were they already broken in the steamer? Cause it might be a chopsticks usage issue ;-) jk

                                                                                                                  I've had at least 2 dozen baskets over the past 5 years. The rate of broken leaky ones in my experience are probably 1 dumpling in 2-3 baskets. It's not like MLV where it's half per basket. Even DTF has 1 broken one on rare occasion. But the crab ones at DTF are no where near as good as the ones at J&J.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                    They were already broken the basket, with the juices spilling to the other XLB next to them, compromising the structural integrity of those.

                                                                                                            2. re: ilysla

                                                                                                              There's this thing called street parking...

                                                                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                Off-topic, but street parking is generally not an option (or no more convenient) when I'm driving w/ certain family members. Multiple health problems makes it difficult for one to walk even that far sometimes. I thus still have to wade into the congested circular driveway, even if I don't end up parking there. =(

                                                                                                                Back on-topic: I eat at J&J every few months; can't recall there being many broken XLB at all.

                                                                                                                1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                                  Ah, thanks for the clarification on your circumstances...

                                                                                                                  1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                    This isn't aimed at J.L alone, but, rather, is intended for this entire XLB discussion.

                                                                                                                    The takeaway for me is that I can't go wrong. Some people like DTF better, other people like J&J better. But, a first-timer will likely appreciate either. That's actually very reassuring.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                      This is true. J&J feels and tastes more "real" to me. DTF is more "accessible."

                                                                                                                      Truth be told, if you don't speak Mardarin and aren't hugely familiar w/ the cuisine, DTF might actually be more easily appreciated by the first timer. Just be prepared for a wait. =( You can go to Phoenix next door. =)

                                                                                                  1. Hi~
                                                                                                    In Hollywood, I really like Sadie's Kitchen and Lounge at 1638 North Las Palmas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028
                                                                                                    Great fun place

                                                                                                    Their promo puts it this way:
                                                                                                    Sadie Kitchen and Lounge is Hollywood's leading lady! Take in the vintage charm of our expansive multi-room venue where craft cocktails and heirloom recipes are served. Sip, savor and celebrate in private upholstered booths and club chairs, or select global vintages from Sadie's Wine Room in the Center Lounge. Seasonal dishes and sumptuous desserts are served under the stars in the Courtyard Dining Space, offering intimate tables for few to communal tables for many. Post-dinner sipping and after-hours celebrations play out in the Prohibition-style Parlour Room with low-lit lounging and eclectic music mixes. Over 5,000 feet of Private Event spaces accommodate personal and professional celebrations with up to 600 guests.

                                                                                                    Sadie represents a new era of eating and drinking that combines the best of Hollywood's chic past with its provocative present. We welcome you to join us.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                                                      I hadn't heard of this place, and it looks fantastic. Thank you for this and your other contributions.

                                                                                                    2. I've been remiss in providing my trip report. Life and work inevitably has gotten in the way. I'll try to post it sometime this week. The short version: we had great food and a great time, so thank you to everyone.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                        Try taking the trip in smaller bites instead of trying to gin up a comprehensive report. I like to see the biggest hits up front and then the misses can be briefer - bringing up the rear as it were.

                                                                                                      2. Following Servorg’s suggestion, I’m breaking this up into several posts. Although, we didn’t have even one all out miss, so I’ll just post restaurants chronologically.

                                                                                                        Let me start off by saying great advice led to great eating. My wife and found value in every restaurant we tried. Given our sightseeing agenda, we called some audibles along the way. Let’s start the rundown.

                                                                                                        Day 1: Wednesday – Santa Monica

                                                                                                        Dinner at Fig for their 5 pm happy hour: This worked perfectly with the timing of our flight. The duck rillettes remained one of my favorite dishes of the entire trip. It had the perfect amount of fat and salt. I could eat them all day. My only qualm, and this is a very minor qualm, would be crispier bread to lend a greater contrast in texture. We enjoyed the shrimp ceviche. It had a nice amount of spiciness and a very crisp tostada. The mussels were fine, but the broth was too acidic. We didn’t dig into the queso fundido until after the mussels, so I think we hit it after it’s peak. The short rib meatloaf had loads of umami between the meat, gravy, and mushrooms. Again, a minor quibble, I would have liked a touch more fat in the mashed potatoes. Dinner included four cocktails and an IPA (or perhaps a pale ale), including a Pimm’s Cup my wife greatly enjoyed, a rather pedestrian bloody mary, and very drinkable scotch/port and anejo cocktails. Overall, good food for an even better deal – all this for about $84 before tip.

                                                                                                        We ventured to the Penthouse at the Huntley for after dinner drinks. The view was much, much better than expected. The pictures didn’t do it justice. Sunset was fantastic. We enjoyed a spicy margarita and a very well crafted dirty martini.

                                                                                                        Day 2: Thursday – Santa Monica and Venice

                                                                                                        Lunch at Gjelina: We walked down the beach from Santa Monica and up Albert Kinney. I realized that the original plan, A-Frame, was not open for lunch. So, we just walked right into Gjelina. People aren’t kidding when they rave about their vegetables. The roasted cauliflower was great. It had ideal amounts of heat, acid, and fat. The smoked trout was amazing, the kale salad was good in its simplicity, and the lamb pizza was pretty good, albeit a little greasy. The tables are quite cramped at Gjelina. We had to jostle our table back and forth upon arriving and leaving. This closeness led to unintentional eavesdropping, as I caught a glimpse of the woman next to me shedding a tear as she and her dining companion discussed blah blah blah about their profound spirituality. I tried to turn my brain off to their direction, as I felt like an intruder.

                                                                                                        Happy hour included copious craft cocktails at The Misfit and Copa D’Oro. All great deals. My wife especially enjoyed her Pimm’s Punch at The Misfit. I liked a caipirinha with celery and cucumber juice at Copa D’Oro. Feeling rather soused, we Ubered it to dinner.

                                                                                                        Dinner at A-Frame: we tried A-Frame because a friend suggested it. My favorite bite of the night was, interestingly enough, a pickled peach. Sweet, sour, and crunchy. Loved it. The pickled fennel was also very good. The churros dessert with cool chocolate milk and ice cream was outstanding. We both liked the Thai-influenced clam chowder quite a bit. They didn’t skimp on the clams. The octopus was solid, but the shoyu-based sauce was a little heavy handed, and the shrimp tempura was decent. Neither of us loved the atmosphere due to an odd ambient lighting tone.

                                                                                                        After dinner drinks at Father’s Office followed A-Frame. I liked the Pliny I had quite a bit. That was pretty much it for FO.

                                                                                                        I hope to post more tomorrow. Let me know if my report is verbose. I can always shorten subsequent posts.

                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                          Very digestible. I like.
                                                                                                          Please - Continue.

                                                                                                          1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                            Agree with J.L.

                                                                                                            "Don't go changin'...to try to please Chowhound/the internet/etc." - Not Billy Joel

                                                                                                            1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                              Talk! Share!

                                                                                                              This is great. Please do continue.

                                                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                  Indeed, they did. It tasted like a double IPA to me, so it was the Elder, I believe.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                    I wonder if you got really lucky or if they always have that on tap now...(did the craze die out?)

                                                                                                                    thanks for the follow-up, the reviews are not too verbose btw.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                      It was the Elder (Double IPA) for sure as the Younger is a very limited once a year deal and this isn't that time of the year.

                                                                                                                  2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the feedback. People give Gjelina a lot of flack but I've always had great food there. Glad you enjoyed.

                                                                                                                  3. Day 3: Friday, my wife’s birthday beginning in Malibu and heading to our accommodations in Hollywood.

                                                                                                                    Nobu for Lunch: we chose Nobu because my wife requested a restaurant by the water in Malibu and also wanted non-traditional sushi. Nobu fit the bill perfectly. We were seated front and center right by the water. As for the food, we loved the new style sashimi (salmon, per our waitress’ recommendation), the decadent monkfish liver and caviar, and our cocktails. Their Japanese bloody mary, in particular, is an interesting take on the classic. We liked the tuna on crispy rice (I forget the dish’s name, but it was also our waitress’ recommendation) and soft shell crab roll. There were a couple misses, namely a few unremarkable rolls (tuna, California, eel) and the lobster tacos. But, overall, we enjoyed some fantastic dishes and took in the best view of our vacation. It was the perfect recommendation, and we left very happy. In fact, my wife declared Nobu her favorite restaurant of the trip due to the overall experience. Bonus: we saw Val Kilmer. He’s not as dreamy as Josh Brolin, though. At least, not anymore.

                                                                                                                    Pre-Dinner Drinks at Sky Bar at the Mondrian: The view easily made this a worthwhile stop. We originally stepped to the pool side of the rooftop cordoned off by a rope and a bouncer. Feeling rather old, we realized we were out of our element in the pool area and trekked to the more sedated full bar area. Even the woman taking off her top in the pool didn’t keep me around.

                                                                                                                    Providence for Dinner: We ordered the four-course meal (which includes several amuse-bouches), a bottle of wine, and a supplemental cheese course. We specifically asked for several funkier cheeses because, well, yes please. We loved mostly everything, especially the salmon skin, scallop "taco," flourless chocolate cake, cheese course, and the bacon brioche with butter. I’m not joking about the butter. I feel like I’ve never tasted real butter before Providence. The fluke sashimi had a beautiful presentation, rolled into delicate flowers. The salmon main course, although perfectly cooked, was the only dish out of many that wasn’t very memorable. I also think Providence deserves a décor to match the sophistication of its food. The seashells pasted to the walls are not what I’d subjectively call elegant, and the servers’ uniforms are a little stuffy.

                                                                                                                    Providence was a late dinner and we planned for an early morning, so we turned in and skipped drinks.

                                                                                                                    I’ll try to post at least two more days of the trip tomorrow night. I just ran out of time tonight.

                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                      Funny that's providence AFTER the remodel.

                                                                                                                      "Bonus: we saw Val Kilmer. He’s not as dreamy as Josh Brolin, though. At least, not anymore."

                                                                                                                      Does he still take up 2 seats? Lol

                                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                        He's been auditioning for the role of Old Marlon Brandon the past few years.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                          Hey now, don't be talkin' trash about the Iceman...

                                                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                            He was certainly hot in Top Gun & Batman, but my absolute fave was when he played Jim Morrison in The Doors...... I'd love to see him now, I don't care if he's aged, we all have....

                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                              Sounds like he hasn't expanded his repertoire; he's just expanded. I met him at a party years ago when he was in his prime. Now we can't even see the top of the hill anymore.

                                                                                                                            2. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                              I think you mean "Icecream-man"

                                                                                                                          2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                            So glad your wife loved Nobu. I figured she would. Happy it worked out well for both of you!

                                                                                                                          3. True story: While making pate, I inadvertently used too damp of a paper towel to wipe down my computer’s touchpad. This led to some temporary computer glitches, which, in turn, led to my inability to post. All is well now. Here’s two more days.

                                                                                                                            Day 4: Saturday

                                                                                                                            Lunch at Ricky’s Fish Tacos: We ordered 4 fish tacos, 2 shrimp tacos, 1 combo fish and shrimp taco, and 1 horchata. All substantial portions of golden fish and shrimp. All fantastic. We even appreciated the Spartan atmosphere – the concrete dining area, the generic brown paper towel rolls at each table, the mismatched tables and chairs. There’s something sort of inviting about it.

                                                                                                                            Animal: We had mostly respectable dishes with appealing presentations at Animal. I liked the beef tendon, Hamachi tostada (the mile high greenery was a little cumbersome), beet salad, and chicken liver toast. But, nothing blew us away. The oxtail poutine was one of the few big misses of the trip for us. The gravy was passable, but only had chunks of oxtail fat. The cheese curds never melted even partially and remained rather hard and dry. For some reason, the potatoes left us with a dry taste. But, given that we liked everything else, Animal was by no means a miss.

                                                                                                                            Drinks at Plan Check: Ok, not just drinks. We split the Fried Chicken Sandwich and a pickle plate (bangbang?). The sandwich was f-ing great. Every accoutrement - the duck ham, the pimiento cheese, the pickles – all served a glorious purpose. I get the hype. The pickle plate wasn’t quite as good. The carrot was rather flaccid and lacked snap. The jalapeno, perhaps not so surprisingly in retrospect, tasted as if I had just liked the sun. My wife declined to bangbangbang it at Golden State for a burger afterward. Don’t blame me. I tried. Also, I swear I’m not morbidly obese.

                                                                                                                            Day 5: Sunday

                                                                                                                            We crammed in lunch between sightseeing at Warner Brothers followed by the Getty. And, the Getty closes at 5:30 pm on Sunday, leaving us very limited time for lunch. I originally planned xai long bao at J&J followed by a takeout beef roll at 101 Noodle Express. But, driving distances and the resulting time constraints nixed that plan. We settled on lunch at Din Tai Fung in Glendale. I know, I know. Glendale is not the preferred location. But, it’s what time constraints allowed. The hostess sat us right away at a two-top with a view directly into the kitchen. We split an order of xai long bao, a pork bun, green beans, and chicken fried noodles. We loved the XLB. The soup broth was rich and flavorful. I read accolades about the thinness of the dumplings and didn’t realize how impressive it was until I tried them. Everything else was decent. We left wishing we had placed an extra order of XLB (or maybe five orders), but we just ran out of time. After all, art is important, too. I plan to try some XLB during our upcoming Vegas trip in October so I can add some perspective to DTF’s XLB.

                                                                                                                            Dinner at Night + Market: My wife originally wanted nothing to do with Night + Market. But, by Sunday evening, she just didn’t have much of an appetite. This removed any need to compromise the dinner selection and left me as the sole decider. I have to say, this was one of my favorite meals of the trip. And, it turned out to be one of my wife’s favorite meals, too. I can’t say enough about the Moo Sadoong/Startled Pig. We loved, loved, loved it. The cool toned coconut rice acted as the perfect foil for the spice. I really enjoyed the fried pig tails, the Hey Ha Wings, and the coconut ice cream dessert. The noodle we tried from the specials menu, Nam Ngiew Pakaew (a fat rice noodle special with pork, pork broth, chilies, and beef tendon) was solid. When I think back about this trip, Night + Market definitely sticks out for me.

                                                                                                                            One more post to go and that'll end the trip report.

                                                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                              Excellent. Our traffic is a serious factor when planning Chowstops.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                                "The oxtail poutine was one of the few big misses of the trip for us. The gravy was passable, but only had chunks of oxtail fat. The cheese curds never melted even partially and remained rather hard and dry. For some reason, the potatoes left us with a dry taste."

                                                                                                                                That is so incredibly strange and not at all like the 3 times we have eaten their poutine it's hard to say what might have happened. Every other time the cheese curds have melted down into the oxtail meat, so you don't even see them. The fries have always been excellent. Very, very weird.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                                  Thanks for taking the time to report back!

                                                                                                                                  We have the same reactions to Animal and Night + Market. Love the latter, found the former good but never great. Had the same reaction to the oxtail poutine on my 2 out of 6 visits.

                                                                                                                                  Next time try the fried pig tails and simmered pork shank at Night + Market. Addictive stuff.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                    He said they enjoyed the fried pig tails.....

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                      Oops. Missed that. Only saw the startled pig part.

                                                                                                                                      Like I said, addictive stuff ;)

                                                                                                                                  2. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                                    What, combo taco at Ricky's?! I never thought to ask. Of course I never needed to ask because I'd get 1 shrimp and 1 fish anyway. Heh.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                                      It was on the menu last time I visited.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                                        it used to be off menu now it's on the menu, aka ricky's special aka fish and shrimp combined.

                                                                                                                                        IMO, not greater than the sum of it's parts

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                            2 fish 2 shrimp and an agua fresca for me. I've done a 5 pack before too, and I felt glorious after.

                                                                                                                                            RFT has that effect on me, like a second stomach magically appears.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure that this has been mentioned but, Wednesday's have been buy 3 get 1 free.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                              Well, usually I'm trying to convince my family to also hit this place or that place too, so I don't want to fill up.

                                                                                                                                        1. Day 6: Monday

                                                                                                                                          Grand Central Market: We started the day with an order of papusas from Sarita’s Papusas. At least, I think that was the name of the food stall. The papusas are quite substantial. We split two pork papusas, a queso and bean papusa, a queso and jalapeno papusa, and a horchata. I’d rate them slightly better than other papusas I’ve had, and the curtido was fair. We over ordered and felt rather full, but soldiered on to Egglsut. The Slut, their coddled egg with potato puree, was excellent. We also split a mediocre gaucho sandwich. I’d definitely go back for The Slut.

                                                                                                                                          Perch for Happy Hour #1: Perch’s view is amazing. The comfy chairs provided a welcomed respite from a morning full of walking. I would have liked to see it at night with the city lights as the backdrop.

                                                                                                                                          Cole’s for Happy Hour #2: We came here to try their Bloody Marys, which were well worth the trip. But, after a few cocktails, the half French dip was too tempting for us to ignore. The beef was fine. The au jus was fine. It was pretty much what I expected given the reviews.

                                                                                                                                          Tacos Los Anaya for Dinner: I gave my wife the choice between Chichen Itza, Guisado’s, Guelaguetza, and Tacos Los Anaya. She chose the latter. I ordered the chilaquiles with chorizo, a lengua taco, and a watermelon agua fresca. My wife ordered an al pastor burrito. We split everything. The chilaquiles were easily the best I’ve had, and the lengua taco was very tender. Although not quite as good as the chilaquiles, the al pastor burrito had nice components.

                                                                                                                                          Day 7: Tuesday

                                                                                                                                          We planned to pick up Langer’s on the way to the airport, but we skipped it due to traffic concerns. We were pretty disappointed.

                                                                                                                                          Next time: Shunji, Chichen Itza, Langer’s, Jitlada, more places than I can name in SGV, and many, many others. We didn’t even make it to half the bars I planned. I guess these are all reasons to come back.

                                                                                                                                          I tend to research vacations to death. Let’s just say I’ve read this board so much that I legitimately miss Kevin. My time spent here left me with an appreciation for the community you’ve built. I cannot express my gratitude for all the responses I received, the great advice, and the time you’ve taken from your day to help us.

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                                            " I cannot express my gratitude for all the responses I received, the great advice, and the time you’ve taken from your day to help us."

                                                                                                                                            Your responses, in this and the other posts you've given, more than made up for any and all suggestions tendered. Thanks for being a paragon of posters. You've set the bar for this years best trip debrief and I think it's safe to say you've set a new record for calories consumed on a one week trip!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ignatiusjreilly

                                                                                                                                              It's always a pleasure to help out visiting hounds, but clearly your passion and gratitude made it even more so for most of us. Kudos on a great food tour of my city, you did us all proud. If I'm ever in your hood, I will be calling on you to help me out..... Cheers!