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Hi all -

I'm going to be in LA for 3 nights, staying by Beverly Dr / W Pico Blvd. I'm traveling alone and without a vehicle, but am a good walker, will eat anything except hamburgers(!), love seafood (although living in Vancouver get pretty spoiled here) and am looking for recommendations for:

1 - One "nice" meal: perusing the boards, am leaning towards either Spago or Water Grill. Any thoughts (or other suggestions)? Are they about the same $$- and experience-wise? (Not to suggest they would be the same experience, but in terms of level of service, etc.) I have no interest whatsoever in any celebrity spotting, though do understand it may be unavoidable at Spago, at least.

2- Any other rec.s for food or food-related places? I'm up for everything from hot dog stands, bakeries, coffee shops, hole-in-the-wall sushi places, to the above-mentioned Spago/Water Grill. If there are good places to pick something up for the next day's breakfast or lunch (trying to avoid the aforementioned hospital food if at all possible), that would be a *huge* bonus.

Also, I'll only have one afternoon/evening and then two evenings (after 4:30pm) when I can go anywhere, so nice breakfast spots (unless they open EARLY early on Sunday morning) are out...

Thanks *so* much for any guidance! It's a last-minute trip and I'm at a total loss as far as what to do on "off" time, but want to make the most of the experience, food-wise, as possible. :biggrin:

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MissMegan,

The Los Angeles area is very big!! From where you're staying, Spago is a lot closer than Water Grill. WG is located in downtown LA, where the Staples Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall are located. Downtown LA is slowly improving on the restaurant front. The LA Times food critic just did an article on the food scene in downtown LA. You may want to use a taxicab. Public transportation is an option: $1.25 each way or $5 for a day pass.

1. Besides Spago and WG, you might want to try Providence, on Melrose near Cahuenga. Five-course tasting menu for $75, without wine pairings.

2. Lots of food options. La Cienega Blvd., northbound starting from Wilshire Blvd. The old "Restaurant Row." Matsuhisa, Lawry's the Prime Rib, Fogo da Chao, Arnie Morton's Steakhouse, The Bazaar (Jose Andres).

When you reach the Beverly Center towards Beverly Blvd., Beverly Blvd. becomes the new Restaurant Row. Third St. is another area with a number of restaurants. Third and Fairfax is The Farmer's Market/The Grove.

I may have some more info later. Of course, others may chime in. I hope this helps.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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If you're staying near Beverly & Pico, you are right in the heart of an area with a large Orthodox Jewish community. Factor's Deli on Pico is right near there. Also, you can probably get good falafel & the like in the area. If you're willing to walk, the next major street north of Pico is Olympic Boulevard. Once you pass Olympic you are in the area of Beverly Hills known as "South Beverly." Many restaurants and cafe's along there. And, if you keep going, you will cross Wilshire and will be in Beverly Hills' "Golden Triangle" where you will be not far from Spago's (which is not actually on Beverly Blvd. but close), Nate & Al's (another Jewish deli which is on Beverly Blvd.) and many other eateries in the heart of the BH business/retail district.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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Thank you! This does indeed help. I've booked Spago for Saturday night (tasting menu??), and am hoping for at least one deli lunch while I'm there. So much to eat, so little time *sigh*

I'm also printing this out, printing a map, and writing notes from this all over it. With a place like LA, a girl needs to be prepared!

If any other strokes of genius happen, please let me know! I've got no problem walking significant distances and getting a taxi is certainly always an option...

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Okay, first of all, you will be staying near Pico & Beverly DRIVE. That's the Beverly that runs north-south through Beverly Hills. Now, beyond walking and taxi's, LA (especially in that area) has pretty decent transit. No, the rail does not go there yet, but lots of bus service (RJ, you & I should have done better on this)/

The Metro Line 14 actually stops and ends its run at Pico & Beverly Drive. From there you can take it north to all the places in Beverly Hills I mentioned. If you want to stay on it, it will then head east along Santa Monica Boulevard before heading east (the streets angle) along Beverly BOULEVARD to the areas the RJ mentioned. At Beverly & 3rd, you're really close to the Original Farmer's Market, one of my favorite places. Or you can transfer at Wilshire with the best east-west bus service and head to Wilshire/La Brea where you are a short walk from Campanile Restaurant (for instance) or head to Wilshire/Fairfax and visit LACMA (Art Museum), or go to Wilshire/Western for any number of places in Korea Town, etc. Santa Monica Big Blue Bus also runs pretty good service along Pico which would take you west into Santa Monica which can be fun. Use the Metro Trip Planner online and be an urban adventurer.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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Thank you! This does indeed help. I've booked Spago for Saturday night (tasting menu??), and am hoping for at least one deli lunch while I'm there. So much to eat, so little time *sigh*

I'm also printing this out, printing a map, and writing notes from this all over it. With a place like LA, a girl needs to be prepared!

If any other strokes of genius happen, please let me know! I've got no problem walking significant distances and getting a taxi is certainly always an option...

If you're a city dweller, you may not have a sense of just how much walking it would entail to get around that way. And you're not staying in an area particularly close (by foot) to useful stuff, nor one particularly conducive to walking. You may just have to relent and take transit as mentioned, or cabs (or rent a car). Think of it as a series of suburbs rather than a traditional city. That said, not far from you (by car/cab) is one of the best restaurants in all of LA. If you're going to do a tasting menu, I'd highly recommend Sona over Spago, though Spago is still pretty good. I'd also put Providence (mentioned upthread) ahead of Spago, and they specialize in seafood, though the tasting menu there runs the gamut. Other fun experiences are the molecular angle of Rojo y Blanco at The Bazaar, which is pretty close, and XIV (Michael Mina's small plates venture). If you get to the Farmer's Market on 3rd, try La Loteria for great authentic Mexican fare. And for a dash of "old school", the lunch counter in the basement of the Beverly Hills Hotel is a fun place to get breakfast.

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Sorry to disagree with LP but that area of Pico is actually pretty good for pedestrians. And, while I can't quite picture the stretch of Beverly Drive between Pico & Olympic in my head, once north of Olympic it's pretty good for peds all the way up to Santa Monica Boulevard.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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