Hey guys. My boyfriend and I are heading to LA next week to see some old friends and vacation. Would love to know any below-the-radar food recommendations.
Also, we'll probably do a gay night. He's in his late 20s, i'm early 30s and we're not interested in WEHO. Again, any advice is appreciated.
Sunday brunch at the Sunset Marquis hotel is great
Also where are the GLORYHOLES located?
Not sure how "under the radar" these are, but they're some of my favorites:
Nickel Diner: lovingly restored diner in downtown with slightly more upscale food (diner food with a twist). Is located near both the financial district and skid row, so you will see the extremes. Great (and often gay) crowd. They have a famous bacon donut. Does both lunch and dinner, they're both good.
Bottega Louie: trendy but fun (and very loud), beautiful restaurant in downtown. Also has a good patisserie.
Square One: low key Hollywood place with *divine* breakfasts.
Fiesta Brava: my true diamond-in-the-rough, hole-in-the-wall favorite. Simple but excellent Mexican food in Venice. I like it for the location as much as the food, very near the beach. I recommend the tilapia tacos.
Inn of the Seventh Ray: not really under the radar--it's legendary, actually--and is great for a splurge. Truly superb food and a beautiful atmosphere, especially if it's warm enough to sit outside. Also very Los Angeles; food on the menu is arranged according to "harmonic convergence."
Empress Pavilion: popular dim sum place in Chinatown, go for lunch because they stop serving dim sum after 2 or 3pm. Enormous dining room with wheeled steam tables...you point, they give it to you, and you hope for the best.
Los Angeles has so much excellent food, much of it cheap. Tons of great Asian and Mexican, of course.
Great tips, R3!
There are two places I always go when I visit LA, and though they're in West Hollywood, neither are 'WeHo'. Le Petit Four (for their lemon penne and hot Persian customers) and just about anything at Hugo's, which also has the occasional celebrity sightings if you're into that
My computer security system issued a warning when I clicked on the link given by R5
The best meal I have had in LA was at the newly opened Parish restaraunt , downtown.
Also downtown make an effort to get drinks or a light meal at the fabulous perch restaraunt at Pershing square, with incredible views from its 15th story terrace
My friend and I were verbally accosted by a drunk/homeless guy at Parish. It ruined the experience for me.
My favorite Thai that's under the radar is Galanga.
Every time I go to Philippes I swear I'm going to get something other than the french dip. But I love it. I can't help it.
If I'm dying, please take me to Phillipes. I'll have the au jus through the vein.
Gay non-WeHo probably means the Silverlake/Eastside bars: Faultline or the Eagle if you're into burly, quasi-bearish scene (not a hardcore bear scene compared to other cities; more like an otter, beer-drinking scene). Or Akbar (mixed, mostly gay, but always fun) or MJ's bar. All of the eastside bars have less attitude and are more relaxed and low-key.
Some *good* Chinese food can be found in Chinatown, but the great stuff really is, as R12 says, in Monterey Park.
Please try the Mexican, Thai and Korean food (the best outside of their respective countries). Any number of the Korean BBQ places in Koreatown is delicious. Same is true for Thai in Thai Town.
Excellent Mexican food is sprinkled throughout. Try Guelagetza for Oaxacan moles, taco trucks and La Casita.
R6 you might have some malware. When I was getting those messages it was malware. I ended up formatting my hard drive.
I did not get any warning when I clicked. My computer security updates twice a day.
If you want to check out Hugo's you can also look it up on Yelp.
El Cid can be fun if you like flamenco. Not really a gay place but it's in Silverlake if you are in that area.
What's the best breakfast place in Silverlake these days?
I miss "The Other Side" bar in Silverlake.
El Conquistador in Silverlake for THE BEST margaritas ever! Versailles in Culver City on Venice Blvd for delicious cuban garlic chicken. The Wooden Spoon downtown near 9th & Broadway for the best chicken pot pie and pork burger.
C&O Trattoria for nice Italian food and killer garlic rolls. Inexpensive. Go to the one near Lincoln Blvd on Washington Blvd...not the one by beach.
Yamishiro in Hollywood. GORGEOUS hilltop restaurant. Valet parking.
Agree with those saying Monterey Park has the best Chinese food--it's supposed to be the best in the United States according to some. But I don't think anyone visiting LA would want to trek out to the San Gabriel Valley for a meal. Chinatown has enough good food for someone making a short visit.
You can also hit Daikokuya (legendary ramen) or frying fish (fun conveyor belt sushi place) in Little Tokyo, which is also downtown. Really fun shopping there.
Say Cheese is a delicious sandwich place with a cheese/deli shop attached. Try the Hyperion sub or spicy tuna sandwich.Yummy!
Darling, there are only 4 places to dine in Los Angeles: Ciro's, the Coconut Grove, the Trocadero, and the Brown Derby.
Yang Chow on N. Broadway in Downtown LA. It has the best slippery shrimp. And delicious shrimp toast too. (Mandarin food)
Say Cheese is in Silverlake on Hyperion Blvd.
Not really a meal...but for the best French pastries, bread, petite sandwiches that I have ever had, outside of Paris, try La Maison du Pain on Pico Blvd at Ridgeley in Mid City LA. My favorite is a plain croissant.....its like buttah melting in your mouth!
don't tell anyone, but Steven Spielberg goes there.
I don't doubt it R28. The place is amazing insofar as the food described.
Out of curiosity, why not WEHO for your gay night out?
R28 is he gay?
Baco Mercat downtown. Oh man, so good.
MJs bar in Silverlake is not a typical Silverlake experience. It has just as much attitude as any of the bars in weho, and is about as friendly. The best time in Silverlake is undoubtedly Akbar. The Eagle sucks and Faultline is extremely hit and miss.
As far as food, it depends on how upscale you want to go. There are tons of new, interesting places that have opened downtown, some very expensive, some medium priced. Baco Mercat (I think that's the name) is very good. Try the little speakeasy in the back of Cole's, it's fun and the drinks are delicious. Tiny, though, so you might have to wait. Wolfgang Puck has opened a new Chinese place downtown that's supposed to be excellent, WP24 or something like that. His Chinois in Santa Monica is still superb. You didn't tell us what part of town youre staying though, OP. That would have helped with suggestions.
I like "Bloom" on Pico. Or is it Olympic?
[quote]Out of curiosity, why not WEHO for your gay night out?
Because WeHo's gay days are basically over. It's been overtaken by the straights.
Okay thanks R15
R35 that is an extreme overstatement. There may be pockets of straight girls at the alley but weho is still far and away the most homosexual-dense area in la and indeed maybe in the entire united states.
r37 is in denial.
[quote]the most homosexual-dense area in la and indeed maybe in the entire united states
If you think it is the home of gay Russian mob thugs
Thanks! We're staying in Santa Monica!
Perrino's is fabulous. Just stay out of my booth.
Joan's way of life
Pete's Downtown. You should just explore Downtown anyway.
The dim sum in Chinatown is generally just passable. I'd hate for someone to come to LA, thinking it's a great location for Chinese food and then just getting some mediocre dim sum at Empress Pavilion. And most of their stuff is definitely mediocre. Their business is precisely from the Angelenos who don't want to ior can't drive out to San Gabriel Valley. Downtown office workers for example. It's not an endorsement of their food. If the op is asking for restaurants recs it would seem he doesn't want to waste a meal on average or mediocre.
I grew up in Chinatown and my family still lives there. We drive to SGV for chinese food, especially dim sum. The best dim sum can be found at Sea Harbor Seafood on Rosemead near Valley. Go on weekday if possible. The food will be just as good but you won't have to wait as long.
[quote]Sea Harbor Seafood on Rosemead near Valley.
Yum! What time to they open on weekdays?
More on downtown--Church and State was very good when I went last summer. The Water Grill is old school and doesn't have the buzz but still a top notch seafood place. The Sawtelle area has great Japanese food, perhaps even better than Little Tokyo. I agree with an earlier post-Korean food in LA is amazing and really affordable.
[quote] I miss "The Other Side" bar in Silverlake.
OK I know this is not really "Chinese" but I love Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills. OP if you are here during Dine LA you can save some bucks. The service is incredible and makes it a great experience.
R44 on yelp, the listed opening time is 10am. I'd call to confirm. If you can, get there before 10 and you'll likely be be guaranteed a table. The weekend is crazy, miss the first seating at 10 and the wait can go from 30-60 minutes. I hope you do try it-it's been the best dim sum in LA for about a decade. You order by checking off a list and the menu has photos for every item. No carts, which means the food comes straight from the kitchen to your table.
LA is a boring place to visit.
I was going to suggest Orso....had a great time there on my last visit to LA in 2007...met some celebrities. However, looks like it closed!
We also had fun at Dan Tana's. Lots of old Hollywood character. I stood next to The Rock at the bar!
Toast was good for lunch.
We also went to a couple of trendy, over priced, "cool" places---Koi and Hyde. Meh.
R49 LA isn't boring if 1. You actually know what to expect (ie, it isn't New York) and 2. You know where to go (ie, the reason the OP posted this thread.) Are you related to Oscar the Grouch?
If you're in SM, then try out Roosterfish in Venice. It's the only gay bar on the west side as far as I know. It's cool and has a nice vibe. It's where Daniel Craig was spotted rocking out a couple of years ago. There are lots of good restaurants in SM: Chinois, Jiraffe, Melisse. Depends how much money you want to spend.
Thanks r48 -- it turns out I've driven by it a million times, so I look forward to finally stopping and trying it out.
Umm, don't eat in Monterey Park. I've had friends relate some bad experiences to me.
I've heard its always best to stick to the West Side of Los Angeles to eat. Safer, cleaner, and more regulated. And LA's chinatown is really run by the Vietnamese, which is fantastic cuisine however, they're not the best cooks of Chinese fare.
And your best bet is to eat in Japanese restaurants as they are always clean.
R24 [quote]Darling, there are only 4 places to dine in Los Angeles: Ciro's, the Coconut Grove, the Trocadero, and the Brown Derby.
You mean you don't recommend Mildred's Fatburgers? (6:33)
R34 Bloom is on Pico in Mid City...near Hauser Blvd.
Hmmmm...Mr Cecils had the best ever, swear to God, pork ribs that I have have ever eaten. Sadly, they closed. But honestly is was some of THE best meat I have ever stuck in my mouth and down my throat. Watch for it to re-open.....
I will second Square One. Make sure you get some of their jams.
Bottega Louie is loud, expensive, and mediocre. This is a place to take your parents. It's the kind of restaurant you'd find in the theater district in New York.
Gay night: Akbar on a Friday, Fubar on a Thursday if you want some raunch. MJs is sad, avoid, avoid. There is also a Mexican restaurant a few doors down from Akbar, called Malo, that has so-so food (except for a few excellent stand out items) but great ambiance and great cocktails. A fun place to get drinks and a bite to eat before a night out. Also, if you're in Silver Lake and craving some of the best pizza around, check out Hard Times Pizza.
Breakfasts and brunches: lots of options. Really, the one place that gets "wows" from every visitor I take there, is The Griddle. If you like over the top pancakes, it's great. Toast is TERRIBLE. It has always been mediocre, but it was featured on The Hills so it's now terrible and crowded.
Church and State is okay... very expensive and can disappoint. If you are going to dine downtown, I would recommend other places first. Bar & Kitchen. The Varnish for cocktails. If you want a dinner in Hollywood and don't mind throwing some money around, I'd recommend Fig & Olive or Comme Ca. Comme Ca has a divine cheese selection and upper tier cocktails. It's no obscure little restaurant but it delivers.
Coolhaus ice cream is very special. Look for their truck, or check out their storefront in Culver City. The Oaks Gourmet in Hollywood / Los Feliz adjacent has *excellent* food. Expensive. But the grilled cheese night on Wednesday is unforgettable and the breakfast menu every day is top tier.
I am sorry you are staying in Santa Monica. Santa Monica is the heart of LA's upper middle class stroller set. I hate the food around there. Anything good is too expensive. Get away from Santa Monica as much as you can. The best places to dine and explore are, in this order: Downtown, Hollywood, Silverlake, Los Feliz.
Fun doses of pretension: a cocktail at the pool at The Standard West Hollywood, if it's open in January. Skip the bar at the Hotel Bel Air, it's awful now. A drink at the Sunset Tower bar, some of the best low key star watching in LA. And really, a gem in LA that must never be skipped: the Beverly Hills Hotel. A landmark. A legend. Have brunch at the Polo Lounge or lunch and cocktails at the pool. A unique place. You must see it.
Please keep posting here, I would like to help.
None of the great places I've eaten at in LA were places I've found on my own.I've been to LA many times with friends who are about as good as I am at picking a restaurant as I am (dismal). If I hadn't found this blog we probably would have spent every trip eating at In-N-out the whole time. She has never recommended a restaurant that wasn't as good as she claimed. She also links to the restaurant's website so you can look at everything, and usually get a good idea of the prices. She travels once or twice a year a blogs about those places too, which really helped when my boyfriend and I went to Vietnam last year.