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Los Angeles Restaurants: Recommendations & Reviews


nwyles
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Comme ca looks wonderful, thank you! Sona seems like a sure thing.

Opinions on Providence seem to be either enthusiastic or pretty disappointed. We have been there 2 years ago and liked it, overall, especially for the relaxed and down to earth service (but maybe that is everywhere the case in L.A.). We didn't find the food "great" but we thought about going back to see how it has evolved by now. Gotta think this over...

How come that I cannot find a single review on the yet "new" Bastide??? Has really noboy been there yet (seems like even the L.A. Times has given up reviewing the place)

Edited by kai-m (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Is anyone familiar with the restaurants in the W Olympic & Sawtelle region in West LA? I'm meeting a friend for dinner there on Monday and he (who lives in the LA area) suggested we just meet at that intersection and find someplace. I gather there are some sushi, ramen, shabu-shabu, curry, etc. places in the neighborhood: any suggestions? Must be within a couple block radius of that intersection, but I'm otherwise completely open.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Is anyone familiar with the restaurants in the W Olympic & Sawtelle region in West LA? I'm meeting a friend for dinner there on Monday and he (who lives in the LA area) suggested we just meet at that intersection and find someplace. I gather there are some sushi, ramen, shabu-shabu, curry, etc. places in the neighborhood: any suggestions? Must be within a couple block radius of that intersection, but I'm otherwise completely open.

Hi

Sushi Sasabune is the ticket for you:

http://losangeles.citysearch.com/profile/4...i_sasabune.html

It usually pushes the Chef selection (omikase) and the fish is as good as anywhere in the US without the hernia inducing prices of urasawa. More traditional and less "fushiony" than Matsuhisa.

I have eaten there 4-5 times and everytime it has been fantastic.

Cheers

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What does the chef tasting at Sushi Sasabune charge? Isn't that at the old Todai Buffet location?

I never thought to stop there only because of the location which I really think was Todai once...

Comparable to Urasawa in the quality of ingredients - so it must not be cheap...

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It's not cheap - from memory around 70-100 dollars for the menu, but certainly a pittance compared to Urasawa. I have not been for 12 months - I went 3-4 times in the old address down near sawtelle/olympic but only once since it moved closer to brentwood. Still food quality was sublime. I think it's the 3rd highest ratedin zagat after urasawa and matsuhisa.

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It's a little embarrassing, as I lived in Orange County for a few years, and I have no idea what there is to eat in Los Angeles. Honestly, I just never went up there often, nor did I make much of an effort to find out.

Now (actually in a couple of weeks), I'm headed out to LA to see the girl, and we're looking for somewhere good to eat for just the two of us. We're both the "we'll eat anything as long as it's delicious" type, so ethnic foods don't scare us.

Though, it would be nice if the place itself was somewhat nice. I mean, I know you can get some killer carnitas in East LA, but it doesn't make much for a date spot... :laugh:

Any suggestions? We're hungry.

EDIT: Slightly outside LA is good too. Pasadena maybe? I'd like to try to stay in the area as it's before my flight out of LAX.

Edited by potsticker (log)
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Does Beverly Hills apply :huh: ? I'm not very good with geography :sad: . If it does, The Hotel Bel Air is wonderful. The food is delicious and the setting is so romantic. I had the best hamburger in the bar there that I've ever had in my life. It's a wonderful setting inside or out.

I also like The Grill on The Alley on Dayton Ave (Wilshire) big American food and on Sunset I love Mirabelle~ it's a fun, sort of funky place with excellent fresh food and fabulous service.

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EDIT: Slightly outside LA is good too.  Pasadena maybe?  I'd like to try to stay in the area as it's before my flight out of LAX.

Okay, that geography helps. Pasadena is a LONG way away from LAX. You will want to stay on the west side of town (Venice, Marina Del Rey, or Manhattan Beach).

My first and probably the best recommendation would be Joe's on Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice. In Marina Del Rey, consider Cafe Del Rey. In Manhattan Beach, I would suggest Auberge. And in right next to Manhattan Beach is Brix (it is actually Hermosa Beach).

All of these will put you within a half-hour drive to the airport.

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I second Joe's. Remember at some of the "nicer" LA restaurants you can get attitude (which I can't stand) and I've never had any at Joe's. Good food, nice setting, good service, relaxed . . . and not far from LAX. Also, a little further north but not that far is Josie's.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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This may sound like the other end of the spectrum, but anyone know of any good places in Little Tokyo?  I can use some good Japanese food, actually.  Or maybe good Korean food in the area?  One of my friends recommended ChoSan Galbee.

Little Tokyo is in Downtown Los Angeles. A bit far from LAX. There are many good Japanese restaurants in Torrence because of many Japanese companies setting up shops in SoCal. Many Japanese immigrants and relocated workers. Torrence is much closer to LAX.

Sorry I don't have a specific restaurant recommendation. Just helping out with the geography info.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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This may sound like the other end of the spectrum, but anyone know of any good places in Little Tokyo?  I can use some good Japanese food, actually.  Or maybe good Korean food in the area?  One of my friends recommended ChoSan Galbee.

Little Tokyo is in Downtown Los Angeles. A bit far from LAX. There are many good Japanese restaurants in Torrence because of many Japanese companies setting up shops in SoCal. Many Japanese immigrants and relocated workers. Torrence is much closer to LAX.

Sorry I don't have a specific restaurant recommendation. Just helping out with the geography info.

Closer than Torrance (and significantly better) is both Gardena, which has THE finest Japanese restaurants in the state (trust me - go to Shin-Sen-Gumi on 190th and Western) or the length of road known as Sawtelle which runs parallel with the 405 freeway in Santa Monica. You will spend a lot more money on Sawtelle and have better food in Gardena. Skip Little Tokyo.

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I have a general question, first: how come that for L.A.'s top restaurants there are not half as many reviews to be found, than for the top places in NYC or Chicago?

I mean: when was the last update on places like Sona, Ortolan, Melisse, Bastide or Providence (not to speak of pictures...)?

Are foodies from L.A. not as "reviewing-happy" as others?

Don't get me wrong, please - I just wonder...

Anyway: Iam still not really sure about my choices. Providence is set. (will ask some specifics in the Providence-thread).

But I read so many mixed-to-bad reviews about Sona (on chowhound, mostly) that Iam not really convinced anymore.

And Ortolan: nobody seems to go there... I can't really find reports by experienced diners. Is that a bad sign? It's the most expensive of the bunch (besides Melisse) and I don't wanna spend such money for a mediocre experience.

Regarding the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena: Does it still exist?? I can't find anything on the RC-website...

Still hope to read something about the "new" Bastide (rjwong: can I hope for your report?).

Thanks

regards

kai

Edited by kai-m (log)
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Regarding the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena: Does it still exist?? I can't find anything on the RC-website...

it's now a langham property, since january of this year--former ritz, now langham

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I have a general question, first: how come that for L.A.'s top restaurants there are not half as many reviews to be found, than for the top places in NYC or Chicago?

I mean: when was the last update on places like Sona, Ortolan, Melisse, Bastide or Providence (not to speak of pictures...)?

Are foodies from L.A. not as "reviewing-happy" as others?

Don't get me wrong, please - I just wonder...

kai, as for me, I usually take photos when a new restaurant and/or a special dinner event and/or a major change (i.e., new chef) comes around. As for posting them, I'll admit that I've been slacking off. After dining at a restaurant a few times, I leave the camera at home and enjoy my dining experience.

But I read so many mixed-to-bad reviews about Sona (on chowhound, mostly) that Iam not really convinced anymore.

I haven't been to Sona in a while. Mind you, I want to go back. kai, you should reconsider and more importantly, find out for yourself. I tend to read reviews with a grain of salt, and/or an air-sickness bag. Once in a while, I even disagree with the LA Times food critic about certain restaurants.

And Ortolan: nobody seems to go there... I can't really find reports by experienced diners. Is that a bad sign? It's the most expensive of the bunch (besides Melisse) and I don't wanna spend such money for a mediocre experience.

I think Ortolan is going through hard times, given the current economic state. Christophe Eme is a fine chef. However, the service needs to improve if they want that second Michelin star. The popular French places tend to be more brasseries & bistros (Comme Ca, Anisette ...), and very few are the high-end (i.e., Melisse). I'm hoping French restaurants make a comeback. There are plenty of Italian places already.

Regarding the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena: Does it still exist?? I can't find anything on the RC-website...

What chezcherie said. Langham brought that R-C property and wisely kept Chef Craig Strong. Definitely have dinner at The Dining Room. Chef Strong has big plans and the hotel is supporting him. A sommelier has been added to the restaurant staff.

Still hope to read something about the "new" Bastide (rjwong: can I hope for your report?).

Yes, you can hope. I've eaten at Bastide (version 4) just once. I'm planning to eat there within the month, then I'll give a report.

When are you visiting LA? Because later this year (hopefully), a Jose Andres restaurant is opening up on La Cienega Blvd. within a SBE Hotel (Sam Nazarian, owner). I hope Andres brings his "modern" menu to LA. That would be fun.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Thanks for the details, rjwong.

I know very well about your pictures and reports (I have been following them quite closely for years now). It just seems that you are the only one keeping up the good work for the Los Angeles area...

Anyway: we'll be in town towards the end of september (22.-27.), so I guess the Jose Andres place won't be open.

Could you elaborate on the service at Ortolan? In what way does it need improvement? (Have you been there lately?)

As it seems at the moment, we'll be staying in West Hollywood.

I read somewhere that Westwood is one of the rare areas in L.A. that can be experienced/explored by foot, quite nicely, and that there are quite a number of nice, relaxed bars und gastropubs. Is that so?

greetings

kai

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Kai:

I live in Westwood which can be explored by foot but it's not the place for exploring for food. You are right next to UCLA and most of the food places cater to students and/or are chains. I live in the area and it's fine when we're running out with the family but . . .

Believe it or not, there are many other good walking places in LA where you can also eat well. Some suggestions:

-- Key stretches of Melrose Ave, Beverly Blvd & 3rd Street. Personally, I love Angelli Cafe on Melrose. Evan Kleiman has been there forever so she's not the "newest darling" in LA cooking circles but it's always great.

-- Downtown Culver City

-- Old Town Pasadena. Lot's of chains there too but there are other places.

-- Original Farmer's Market at 3rd & Fairfax. Most of the places you order from the counter and sit down but it's still great. However, one of my favorite places there is Monsieur Marcel if you want table service. Of course, you're right at the Grove but I usually try to skip that.

-- Downtown Santa Monica. Of course the 3rd Street Promenade but there is fun stuff on the intersecting and parallel streets.

I'll stop here and let others chime in.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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Thanks for the info, JFL!

I guess you mean the stretches of Melrose, Beverly and 3rd between Fairfax and LaBrea, right?

We will definitely check out the farmes market - sounds exactly like the kind of place we are looking for, for a daytime trip...

Westwood seems like fun for a stroll and some drinks; same goes for Pasadena, I suppose.

Thinking about dinner, I just came to think about asian restaurants...

Really (I mean *really*) good chinese, vietnamese and japanese restaurants are extremely hard to find here in germany. Over here it is all about little original flavour or good products, but tons of added glutamat to enhance the taste...

So maybe I should rather try some asian cuisine, instead of eating the kind of modern french that we have in abundance over here...

Any reccomendations for that? (Regarding japanese: Iam not that much into sushi, though - but probably I never had real good one. But apart from that I guess there is more to japanese food than that)

Thanks,

kai

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Kai -- For 3rd Street, I'm actually thinking of between La Cienega & Fairfax. But, once you're at 3rd & Fairfax, you're at the Original Farmer's Market

You can always head to Chinatown for a good pedestrian area with Chinese and Vietnamese food. I'll let others recommend where to eat.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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Oh, and how could I forget? Another nice walking street is Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. Nice shops -- both chains and boutiques. And, you can eat at Father's Office which some argue has the best burger in town . . . not that I've ever been.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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Where should we go for fine dining (2 nights) and casual dining (2 nights)?

Our fine dining shortlist so far:

Providence

Ortolan

Sona

Mori Sushi (price range? the webiste gives no real info, nor any pictures of the place)

Any comments?

We do not like too formal places, let alone stiff waiters. We are not looking for "classic french" cuisine, like Melisse seems to offer. We are more into "modern" or "experimental" cuisine. Our limit is 400-500$ for 2, including drinks, tax & tip.

kai

Just found this thread as we're planning a trip at end of September also, so I'm piggybacking.

This will be our third trip in just over a year (after a 2-year break), so we've already tried some of the places already discussed.

Like you I haven't found a lot of recent reviews so would also be interested in updates, but I now have some experiences I can report on as well.

Indeed Melisse is 'very' formal - but also very good (in its style). And we also prefer more experimental cuisine - wd-50 in New York consistently provides my favourite meals and the Ludo version of Bastide was my favourite in L.A.

Having said that, Sona was possibly our worst meal in L.A. - confused dishes and the wines a total rip-off (approaching fraud). The wines listed as 'sample wine accompaniments' were replaced by wines mostly costing around half the examples.

Providence will probably meet your needs - a very good meal that was much more casual than Melisse - and at around half the cost of Sona.

We haven't (yet) tried Ortolan - and after disappointing sushi meals (twice) we're now avoiding that cuisine entirely and are saving lots of money.

The most impressive meal in our last 2 visits was at Spago - still firing on all cylinders despite the departure of Lee Hefner.

We're also considering Bastide and Water Grill - so would also appreciate any updates from anybody - and haven't ever been to Lucques - is that worth a try?

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I heart Shin-Sen-Gumi. I used to eat there allllll the time. I could totally go for some right now.

I think I've decided on Musha, in Santa Monica. It's pretty close to the airport, and it gets rave reviews. We'll see how the girl likes it. I heard it can get kind of loud, but hopefully it won't be too bad. I'll work on something more romantic for my trip next month. :biggrin:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Report: Musha was pretty dang good. The sashimi sampler we had to start with was surprisingly filling that I was pretty full by the time the hot dishes came.

So this month, I promised I'd actually take her somewhere nice. And I'm no longer geography restricted, so most any part of LA and Orange County is my playground. Looking for somewhere romantic, and most importantly, delicious. I'm hoping the eGullet community can help me win her over. =)

Any ideas?

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Report:  Musha was pretty dang good.  The sashimi sampler we had to start with was surprisingly filling that I was pretty full by the time the hot dishes came.

So this month, I promised I'd actually take her somewhere nice.  And I'm no longer geography restricted, so most any part of LA and Orange County is my playground.  Looking for somewhere romantic, and most importantly, delicious.  I'm hoping the eGullet community can help me win her over.  =)

Any ideas?

Define a "romantic" restaurant, please. The last thing I want to be guilty of is directing you to love and food ... in all the wrong places ... :rolleyes::rolleyes:

If you want a small restaurant (40-50 seats), Hatfield's on Beverly Blvd. is really nice. Owned and operated by Quinn and Karen Hatfield, that culinary love couple serve delicious dishes and desserts. The volume can be medium loud at times.

Perhaps even quieter is Bastide Restaurant on Melrose Place, parallel north of Melrose Ave., east of La Cienega Blvd. Paul Shoemaker is the current chef there. Bastide just introduced an a la carte menu, along with the chef's tasting menu. Inside, the decor is modern & abstract. Nice outdoor dining area. One of the few places where complimentary valet parking is offered (You read correctly). Sorry, no website available for Bastide.

A bit larger is the French restaurant Ortolan on 3rd St. The decor looks quite luxurious (Some would say gaudy and over the top). Christophe Eme has a culinary creativity that's wonderful and sometimes playful. And he's married to actress Jeri Ryan, if that interests you.

Please let me know if these might be the restaurants you were thinking of, potsticker.

BTW Planning to move back to Southern California?

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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And he's married to actress Jeri Ryan, if that interests you.

He's married to Jeri Ryan? I'm pretty much sold right there. :biggrin:

Thanks for the recommendations, they're exactly along the lines of the kind of thing I was looking for.

It's a possibility that I might move back. Depends how things go...

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