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May 27, 2014 05:12 PM

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. 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??? 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 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.