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Old 08-11-2009, 08:34 AM
 
4 posts, read 5,258 times
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Hey all,

Next week I will be in L.A. for a few days (as part of a vacation) with my girlfriend. As a bit of background, we are both 26 years old, both attorneys, and both live in the heart of downtown Chicago. Neither of us have ever been to L.A.

Thus, we are currently trying to figure out some good places to eat. We are looking for some dinner spots, and possibly a breakfeast/bruch spot. Ideally, we'd like like to find something that is unique to L.A. but not a complete tourist trap nor outrageously "trendy" (I have no desire to pay $36 for below-average spaghetti at the Ivy in hopes of seeing some washed up reality "star"). We don't mind shelling out some cash for some nice dinners, but prefer something that is not prohibitively uppity/expensive. Basically, we are looking for some damn good food and a neat, L.A. atmosphere.

I've spent some time combing through these boards, Yelp, etc., but am still a bit lost. Any suggestions?

If anyone ever needs any information regarding the Chicago area and/or restaurant recommendations for the area, I will be happy to return the favor. Thanks -- looking forward to seeing what your city has to offer.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:15 AM
 
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There'll be lots of recommendations, like going out to San Gabriel Valley for Chinese and plenty of Korean in K-Town, not to mention sushi, which can get really expensive. Lots of people like Yxta, a Mexican place in the downtown garment district. It's good, and you'll get downtown where a lot of tourists rarely go. While you're downtown you can check out Disney Hall, the cathedral and then the Edison at happy hour. It's a really cool place for cocktails but gets a little scene-y (not Hollywood scene-y, but a yuppie/pricey/trendy(?) kind of scene) later in the evening. For that kind of thing, it's the Standard, which still really is a nice rooftop bar.

For quintessential LA, you'd do a drive up PCH to Malibu and have lunch at Malibu Seafood. Very casual patio beachfront eatery. For general LA go to the Farmers Market, maybe Loteria Grill. Nyala in Little Ethiopia. Santa Monica also has a farmers market and lots of dining opportunities; Border Grill for more Mexican. I guess you could try and catch Kogi, the itinerant Korean BBQ truck that sends out Twitter updates for its location. Lucques in West Hollywood for fine dining, because Suzanne Goin is a goddess. Of course, In-N-Out burger, a double-double animal style.

Last edited by Bunjee; 08-11-2009 at 09:29 AM.. Reason: Added more specific recommendations
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:35 AM
hsw
 
2,144 posts, read 6,468,575 times
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LA is Beverly Hills-centric; most of key offices, hotels, bars and dining spots are convenient to BH or Century City; restaurants have a different complexion on wkends when B&T crowd invades than on wkdays when a Westside crowd prevails

LA is home of entertainment industry and has a fairly small financial industry, so won't find as many low-key, foodie or business-oriented places as one will find in NYC or Chic or SF; thankfully, most entertainers have awful taste in food so unlikely to see them at business dinner or foodie-oriented places which are favored by local execs, business travelers and wealthy visitors from various major cities

Will likely find more interesting fresh produce at LA's best restaurants than one can find in Chic (or NYC); but LA has no restaurant as innovative with "industrial" food like Alinea

That said, would consider:
Cut: upscale steakhouse; a favored spot among major financiers and entertainment execs; also can more casually dine at adjacent Sidebar
Hatfield's: low-key, foodie, fresh product-oriented, limited wine choices
Melisse: low-key, foodie, great wine list
Nate and Al's: classic bagel/breakfast diner in BH
The Hump: excellent sushi (at SM airport, the favored airport for many large private jets of Westside residents, so has an interesting high-end but low-key crowd of those who fly private)
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:57 AM
 
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Oh, I don't agree with hsw. Cheap eats is where LA excels. But for someone who lives here. I wouldn't send a tourist to Atlacatl for pupusas even though they're fantastic and cheap, because evenso I wouldn't wanna launch someone on a destination journey just for that. Somewhat likewise, I'm not recommending Philippe's or Langers (or Bay Cities in Santa Monica) even though they're fantastic sandwiches, but kind of out of the way for the whole kicking-around-town experience.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:49 AM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,803,681 times
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Pull up Citysearch and you'll find a good list of local joints to visit including all of the local institutions like Philippe's, In-N-Out, Tommy Burger, The Pantry, etc
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Seattle
1,368 posts, read 2,993,717 times
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IMO the core awesomeness of Los Angeles food is the ethnic stuff. You should really focus your eating on that aspect.

1. Go to Little Tokyo. I'd recommend Sushi Gen. Sit at the sushi bar and order Omakase and it will probably run you $60 a person. A very good value and some incredible fish. Plus Little Tokyo is a very LA neighborhood and a real fun place to see outside of the normal Bev Hills/West LA type scene. If you don't do Omakese you can do $40 a person there. IMO the best LA sushi place at that price point. It's really freaking busy and they don't take reservations so keep that in mind.

2. Check out Koreatown (I think you should check out SGV too but for a few day trip it might be a bit too much travel so I'm thinking of places DTLA and west). Park's BBQ is a really good choice in this neighborhood for Korean BBQ and other Korean dishes. It's a little upscale and will probably run you $30-35 a person (at least if you get the actual Korean BBQ) and if you want a more divey type place then that's fine too there are plenty there.

3. Thai Town (it's in Hollywood). It's the only Thai Town outside of Thailand. Jitlada is one of the quintessential restaurants there. It will run you $15-20 bucks a person. It's cheap...and it's great.

4. Santa Monica, Venice and West LA have tons of really great brunch spots. Brunch is kind of everywhere in the west side. I've eaten at a few but I'd consult with someone who has been to more for a specific recommendation.

5. I'm not an expert of Taco Trucks outside of Pasadena or Eagle Rock but you should really do one of those too. I'm sure others can help you with this particular one. Some kind of Mexican or Latin American food in general is a very important part of LA ethnic food.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:21 AM
 
Location: South Bay
7,141 posts, read 19,556,706 times
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Spago is probably about as LA as you can get. The Stinking Rose is also a cool spot with an interesting menu. Check out Casa Sanchez for Mexican although it's in a rather boring neighborhood. I also like all the of places with patio dining in the downtown Culver City area. For seafood, there is a great place on Main St. in Santa Monica that is a good mile or more from all of the tourists. Abbott Kinney in Venice also has a handful of nice restaurants, some more hip than others.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:43 AM
 
Location: CITY OF ANGELS AND CONSTANT DANGER
5,409 posts, read 11,554,428 times
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LA is not Bev Hills centric! who ever believes that probably believes the "east side" includes los feliz and silver lake!

as for downtown. i would suggest you check out cork bar in downtown(12th street just east of staples center). its a wine bar that features "test kitchen tuesday". at around 5:30 [on tues]the chef prepares a tasting dish that is not on the menu. he gets feedback from patrons and then decides whether to showcase the dish on his menu. the best part... the dish is only 2BUCKS!!! and happy hour is 4 to 7. i suggest the veggie sandwich. very tasty and affordable. they have quite a few CA wines and beers. the ambiance is cool and from their you can explore downtown. or the "south park" area. its not far from LA live but that place is... just ok.

roys hawaiin in DT is also pretty good. as is wokcano on 7th(dont kill me). the wokcano is a bit nicer than the other wokcanos in pas or the wesside. it feels more polished and the food is tastier.

i also highly suggest an evening at the standard for drinks and food. its a roof top bar and if you are there by 6 or 7 it is very chill. by 10 the party crowd shows up. it has great views of downtown and it IS LA!!!

for nuevo latino Cuidad is good, BUT, there are several restaurants that have recently opened up, provecho being one.

there are many restaurants throughout los angeles. in all price ranges. in all areas of town. my suggestions above are for downtown and i didnt give that many. pasadena alone has fine restaurants. as does culver city. 2 other great spots in the "LA". i do suggest you hit up a taco truck or a hotdog stand before you leave. the hotdogs can be found by santee alley ( a shopping area in the garment district). yummm, bacon wrapped hot dogs.

good luck

oh and ditto little tokyo and K town. try zip fusion in the arts district/little tokyo area. good food. good prices. in k town you will find BBQ. a decent place will be 20 to 25 all you an eat. in k town you can also find Pho, chicken wings (kyochon) and many other late night spots (koreans eat late it seems). those can be very friendly to the pocket book.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the one View Post
i also highly suggest an evening at the standard for drinks and food. its a roof top bar and if you are there by 6 or 7 it is very chill. by 10 the party crowd shows up. it has great views of downtown and it IS LA!!!
Then again if you want another kind of LA, depending on where you're staying you could get off the Red Line at Vermont/Sunset and go to Tiki-Ti for cocktails. You don't want to be driving home. Get there early. The place is about the size of a living room. Or, in Hollywood, the standard hangout is Boardner's. They serve food there too. It's not foodie-food, but it's a longtime locals place. Kind of an institution. Hmmm...the talk seems to have turned to bars...gee...

I should get back on topic then. I'd second Spago for the LA experience, but I'd equally name Pace in Laurel Canyon as much for the fact that it's Laurel Canyon but also for taking the ride before or afterwards on Mulholland Drive. Better yet, just grabbing some In-N-Out and munching down while parked at one of the overlooks. That would be experiencing Los Angeles.

Last edited by Bunjee; 08-11-2009 at 01:05 PM..
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
137 posts, read 555,211 times
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I recently went through a eating-out binge; Check out Pizzeria Mozza (artichokes are in season), Mastros for a decent steak but make sure you make reservations for the upstair portion, or STK (I'm a fan of both: Bone-in filet or bone-in rib-eye!).

Craving a buger, check out Father's Office or the Counter.

As for Sushi, if you want the trendy LA scene, Katsuya in Hollywood is still extremely crowded Thur-Sat albeit the food isn't A+. If you want some real good sushi, I would say Sasabune or the less costly option Echigo is the way to go -- no glitz or glamour but some authentic hard-core sushi.
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