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Teen-pleasing suggestions, please!

On a flight right now to LA, spending two nights at the Ritz in Marina del Rey. Any particular suggestions for good chow that might excite my 15-year-old daughter? Not looking for (but also not ruling out) junk, but would love to find a couple of good places that teens tend to like. Have a car, so anywhere in the vicinity is fine, though would prefer staying close to Venice and Santa Monica.

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  1. Some ideas:
    - Wurstkuche
    - Lemonade
    - Superba Food + Bread
    - R+D Kitchen

    17 Replies
    1. re: aching

      Good list:
      I would add...
      Pitfire Pizza
      800 Degrees
      Mendocino Farms
      C & O
      26 Beach
      Bay Cities Italian Deli
      Sweet Rose Creamery

          1. re: jessejames

            If you had to pick one restaurant that says CALIFORNIA what would you pick? My pick would be Gjelina...

            1. re: wienermobile

              for a teen near the marina...I picked the spots on the boardwalk or the pier.

              I might add gilberts or some casual Mexican.

              for a grown up, all depends on budget...

              1. re: jessejames

                Don't laugh but I do love Hot Dog on A Stick

                1. re: wienermobile

                  me too. pier burger is quite nice too. burgers and frozen custard concretes. also, funnel cakes and other delicacies to be had near by.

                1. re: nosh

                  what about the good aspects of California? ;)

          2. re: wienermobile

            Might substitute Stella Barra for Pitfire for geographic proximity and b/c I think Stella Barra tastes better.

            1. re: paranoidgarliclover

              agree but I think that Pitfire is more teen friendly.

              1. re: paranoidgarliclover

                are the wait times at stella barra still awful?

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Yes, after 6:30 or so…worse on weekends.

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Then I recommend going during off hours. =( ::sigh::

                    My last trip was to the Hollywood branch probably ~1 yr ago, also during an off hr. No wait, and the food was good. Haven't been to the Santa Monica branch in probably ~2 yrs....

          3. Oh, and Urth Caffe for coffee, tea, pastry, etc.

            4 Replies
            1. re: aching

              respectfully disagree with Urth.
              not particularly good for 15 year olds (my 75 year old friend has his breakfast/lunch group there daily)
              not really close to the Ritz.

              instead, for proximity to the Ritz for breakfast, i'd go to Joni's on Washington
              552 W Washington Blvd, Marina del Rey, CA 90292
              (310) 305-7147

              1. re: westsidegal

                The OP said Santa Monica, and Urth Caffe was a frequent location in Entourage, which I equate with being teen friendly! But there probably are plenty of seniors there too.

                1. re: aching

                  i think all you other recommendations are far superior to Urth.
                  Entourage doesn't strike me as a 15 year old's show, maybe i'm wrong.

            2. venice boardwalk joints, santa monica pier joints

              4 Replies
              1. re: jessejames

                I used to enjoy the strange charm of the Venice Boardwalk, but I'm kinda bumming on it these days. I've lived nearby for decades, and something about it has just gotten really harsh, sad, and scary in recent years (I get a strong meth vibe these days...so much random over-the-top misdirected anger being expressed by folks). I'm around there on foot pretty often, and more often than not, something pretty distressing/disturbing/disgusting goes down. My flipflops are no match for the human feces and discarded sharps.

                I usually recommend my visitors with young folk explore the beach walkway between Rose and the SaMo Pier. You still get the amusing parade of humanity, but it's a little less aggro (SMPD is on it, I guess).

                1. re: spoonlicker

                  we usually park at rose and go up and down from there. i guess my sense is it's somewhat better actually than it used to be esp with the new skateboard park area but i don't live there.

                  1. re: jessejames

                    You're right -- it is better in some ways. A lot of the areas in Venice that would've been no-fly zones for me in the 80s and 90s are now on my flight (walkabout) path -- esp. some of the areas inland from the Boardwalk.

                    And come to think of it, most of the gnarly stuff I see takes place either on Speedway or the streets immediately leading to the Boardwalk, so I may be seeing it through a distorted lens.

                    In any event: there's some good eatin' to be had in that area, so it's worth a little grit and grimness.

                    And I love the skate park -- I've seen some amazing skating there. Great scene!

                    1. re: spoonlicker

                      super to see the toddlers essentially fly through the air on their skateboards.

                      my 18 yo cousin from Sweden was recently mesmerized by the breakdancers performing in the vicinity.

              2. A teen I love is crazy about Milo and Olive. Always wants me to take her there. Will wait as long as it takes to sit at the counter.

                1. The Counter
                  Cheesecake Factory
                  The Misfit
                  Ivy at the Shore
                  Del Frisco Grille
                  Pono Burger

                  1. And how could I forget Umami Burger? Definitely teen friendly.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Teens love The Brentwood Country Mart

                        1. re: allyoucanet

                          respectfully disagree about killer shrimp.
                          even my shrimp=loving daughter can't stand their food.

                          particularly heartbreaking for me because i remember what the food was like way back when.

                        2. For good food that isn't too "stuffy" (old), how about:

                          * Huckleberry Cafe

                          * Take her to 3rd Street Promenade (outdoor shopping area near Santa Monica Pier), and then eat at:

                          * Tar & Roses

                          A few exits further down the 10 freeway (still "West Side") near Santa Monica would be Little Osaka, a fun portion of Sawtelle, where you might consider:

                          * Tsujita - Some of the best Ramen Noodles in So Cal.

                          * Gottsui - For Okonomiyaki (sorta like "Japanese Savory Pancakes" with a variety of toppings).

                          * There's a Nijiya Market (for quirky Japanese snacks & drinks), Curry House, Giant Robot & Giant Robot 2 (odd, fun stores selling T-Shirts, Pop Culture items, etc.).

                          +1 on aching & wienermobile's picks. :>

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: chowseeker1999

                            Note that Tar & Roses is dinner only.

                            Tsujita & Huckleberry both have long lines at peak hours, and street parking is particularly difficult and frustrating, especially on Sawtelle Boulevard.

                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                              Yah good points. :>

                              Since it sounds like the OP is here on vacation (hence more free time / not limited by traditional work week considerations), i thought all of those suggestions were valid.

                              for example, i know i'd hit up Tsujita before the lunch frenzy if i didn't have to go into work that day. it's definitely possible to bypass usual issues.

                              1. re: chowseeker1999

                                Oh they are definitely valid suggestions..... Delicious ones too. I just think people like to get as much information as possible when time is of the essence, like on vacation. I know that's how I roll, anyway. And most people who have not visited LA before have no concept of how vast and spread out it is, and how long it will take one to go just a few miles, especially at peak traffic times of the day. If you give them enough knowledge, they can then make an informed choice.

                          2. If she wants to feel cool, definitely grab a cab (or drive, but be prepared for horrendous parking opportunities) and head for Abbott Kinney in Venice. The aforementioned Gjelina is there, as are several other, quintessential Southern California places (my fave is Joe's, but your 15 would probably prefer Gjelina), super hipster boutiques and overpriced cronuts at Rockenwagner. On First Fridays, it's the place for every food truck in sight, so there's lots of residual coolness even if there aren't as many food trucks.

                            Nobu in Malibu might yield a few celebrities while it simultaneously empties your wallet, but the sushi is good.

                            My 17 year old, when she was 15, swore by Katsu-ya and their "super crispy spicy tuna roll" or something akin. We finally decided to try it. Very trendy place but decidedly mediocre food.

                            The downtown Culver City area (drive east on Washington from the Marina about 6-7 miles and you are there!) has scads of upscale, fun places to eat, including Native Foods, Tender Greens and Lyfe, for the new "fast but healthy" options. There's also the Wallace, Public School, Akasha and Eastborough for more foodie locales, and City Tavern, Ugo, Sake House and Wildcraft Pizza (outstanding) for something in between. There are movie theatres there, but other than blocks of restaurants, not much else in terms of shopping.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: NAspy

                              Just a heads-up on Wildcraft - they're closed for remodeling.

                            2. If you happen to be there on a Tuesday night, you can check out the food trucks that congregate on the corner of Main Street and Ocean Park in Santa Monica, from 5:30 - 9:30 pm.

                              1. If you and your kiddo like to stroll, boutique shop, and people-watch, you could have a nice time on Main St. in Santa Monica. Sometimes it's fun to just grab a little nibble here and there and wander, esp. on a summer day near the beach. There will be lots of interestingly-attired young people out walking their dogs, skateboarding, biking, jogging, moving and grooving. It's a fun and happy scene to enjoy on foot. (Parking woes notwithstanding.)

                                I see lots of teens on Main carrying iced blended drinks from the usual corporate haunts -- Coffee Bean, Starbucks -- but also lining up for the more esoteric mom-and-pop omusubi from Sunny Blue.

                                There is also a juice place on Main if you or she are into the whole fresh-squeezed juice thing, which strikes me as tres L.A. these days.

                                1. You think you can please a teen?