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maitaitom Feb 7th, 2017 03:57 PM

Los Angeles Area Restaurants - 2017 Edition
Since that other thread grew so long, and some of those restaurants cease to exit, I thought I'd start a new one.

Recently Tracy and I dined (twice) at a great, little Italian neighborhood restaurant in Montrose, <B>Trattoria Allegria</B>. Pasta dishes were all good and the prices very, very reasonable. The chef comes from a 12-year stint at Pasadena's Gale's restaurant, another good choice.

Share your restaurant tales so we can compile a good guide both for locals and visitors.

I hope other places in California and around the U.S. do the same, but it seems the U.S. Board is not frequented so much anymore.

Below is a link with some more about our two evenings there (with photos)



sf7307 Feb 8th, 2017 07:57 AM

Hmmm, first thing I had to do was find Montrose! I love your lists, and am keeping this handy.

maitaitom Feb 8th, 2017 03:14 PM

"Hmmm, first thing I had to do was find Montrose! I love your lists, and am keeping this handy."

I didn't want to make it too easy (:

Hopefully others will try. You can do one for SF...we'll be up in March to see Hamilton.


StuDudley Feb 8th, 2017 03:46 PM

Our current San Francisco favorites:

- Nico in Presidio Heights. French. Michelin 1 star, but very casual
- Kokkari in the Jackson Square area downtown. Greek
- Thanh Long. Vietnamees in the outer Sunset. We first dined there about 10 years ago on a Fodors GTG. It is usually the first place we visit after a long trip to Europe
- Foreign Cinema in the Mission. Calif cuisine.
- Aster in the Mission. New/creative Calif. Very casual Michelin 1 star
- Cala in the Civic Center area. Mexican - but nowhere close to Tex Mex. Michelin 1 star
- Delfina in the Mission. Italian - but not the North Beach red sauce type.
- The Progress. South Fillmore area. Northern Calif cuisine. Michelin 1 star
- Padrecito in the Cole Valley. Mexican. Goat taco is excellent

We've dined at all of these in the past 4 months.

>>seems the U.S. Board is not frequented so much anymore.<<

There are a LOT of lurkers on these Fodor's forums. I have been receiving more requests for my various France itineraries recently, than I ever have in the past. Around 4-8 requests every day. During our month long trip to France last year I had 150 requests for itineraries waiting in my e-mail when I returned.

Stu Dudley

Tabernash2 Feb 9th, 2017 07:45 AM

maitai, have you been to La Bruschetta on Westwood?

We have been there a few times and really liked it.

maitaitom Feb 9th, 2017 08:53 AM

Menu looks terrific at La Bruschetta. It's been a long time since I frequented Westwood (back in my younger days). We'll put it on the list. Thanks.


Tabernash2 Feb 10th, 2017 07:46 AM

maitai, we have always had great service and good food/wine there. We've taken friends there who also were impressed with our dinners and the ambiance. Street parking is easy.

maitaitom Feb 10th, 2017 08:51 AM

I'll be the Poor Man's Stu Dudley and give you my Los Angeles list (only ones I think are really good) from restaurants I've dined at in last two years.

In Santa Monica...Forma...By the way, it has a wheel of cheese, too.

In Long Beach...Restauration...casual dining...fantastic food

In Koreatown...Guelaguetza...Historic Mexican restaurant...Mole baby!

In Los Angeles Arts District...Officine Brera...My best restaurant of 2016

In Pasadena...Union...My best restaurant of 2015 that we still frequent

In Eagle Rock...Little Beast...get there early for even better deals
<B></B> Los Angeles...Maccheroni Republic...the freshest pasta we've enjoyed


sf7307 Feb 10th, 2017 09:44 AM

As I've told you before, we LOVED Maccheroni Republic - the best squid ink pasta I've ever had, and very moderately priced.

Tabernash2 Feb 10th, 2017 01:18 PM

One thing about LA is all the little, ethnic restaurants everywhere. No chain restaurants to speak of. Lots of small places to try.

Last visit we returned to an Orthodox Jewish place for grilled fresh fish, a wonderful place for street tacos, another with good shaved roast beef sandwiches, and a more upscale Mexican restaurant.

sf7307 Feb 10th, 2017 01:29 PM

No chain restaurants? I assume you're referring only to downtown Los Angeles, because chains abound in the outlying areas.
Chilis alone has 21 locations in the LA area, In n Out has 24, Panera has 10, etc.

Tabernash2 Feb 10th, 2017 07:02 PM

Sorry, I don't know exactly how to describe the areas we were in. You're probably right, sf. I understand that just saying "LA" is too broad.

Central LA, maybe? DS lives at the 'miracle mile', and we stayed in Venice Beach. So those were our stomping grounds. I should ask DS, because we drove around a lot, looking for a duplex. Really cute neighborhoods. Some just on the verge of taking off. I'm bad with names and am directionally challenged, so I don't remember. But there weren't any Chili's where we were, unless there's one at The Grove. I know DS doesn't live close to one.

Not downtown. Never been there, but I really want to visit downtown. On precious vacation time, I never can get DH enthused about it, though.

Tabernash2 Feb 14th, 2017 10:35 AM

I collected names of the little places we liked in November, which are simple and good.

Fish Grill (follows Jewish Orthodox schedule)
The original one at
7226 Beverly Blvd

Trejos Tacos

Top Round

Cafe Brasil
(their website didn't work)

More expensive Mexican:
Mercado on 7910 W 3rd

Surfergirl Feb 14th, 2017 12:33 PM

I live a few blocks from La Bruschetta -- it's been around for quite a few years, so I get that a lot of people like it. But there was always something my husband and I did not like about the restaurant, so after 2 or 3 tries, we just gave up on it. Can't put my finger on it . . . my guess that it didn't match my need for high flavor.

One of my great finds of 2016 was the Little Next Door (which is a few doors down from its parent, the Little Door)on 3rd in WeHo. For those who love traditional French brasserie comfort food (i.e. moules & frites, onion soup) at a very reasonable price. Atmosphere is super as well.

The Six on Pico at Overland has managed to maintain and establish its business about 7 years ago and now has 2 other locations. The owners are young, energetic, and offer up very creative food that seems to get copied a lot by other start up restaurants. Menus change and are fairly seasonal.

I have a few more new finds in ever-changing Culver City, but this is a start.

maitaitom Feb 14th, 2017 01:18 PM

Little Next Door looks terrific. Thanks!


Tabernash2 Feb 14th, 2017 02:07 PM

It's probably not fine dining per se, but we like to go to Coast, at Shutters on the Beach. It's a great location for sitting on the patio, overlooking the ocean, or inside at the window. Good food and service.

We have gone there with DS & fiancee several times.

maitaitom Mar 12th, 2017 07:17 AM

We have eaten AT museums or galleries, but never IN one. Relatively new on the L.A. restaurant scene is Manuela, which is located in the Arts District, a mecca for terrific dining establishments. Manuela is actually part of an art gallery, has its own little garden of herbs and citrus plants that also houses some colorful residents that provide fresh eggs. Oh, and the food…well, we loved our dinner so much that we returned a week later for their scrumptious brunch. The accomplished chef, who has delighted customers in NYC and L.A. with his food, is from North Texas, and I would classify his cuisine as Eclectic Southern Contemporary. Whatever you want to call it, his dishes are delicious. The entire concept is a little difficult to explain, but I give it my best shot in the link below.


Jim_Tardio Mar 21st, 2017 04:47 PM

As someone who likes to eat, I can heartily recommend Post and Beam in an obscure area of LA.

Here is the site:

Get the Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Iwan2go Mar 21st, 2017 07:37 PM

We love Racion in Pasadena, with delicious Basque food. My mouth is watering over her chicken croquettes and salt cod fritters.

We live in the northern San Fernando valley, and hate driving the usually go to Pasadena or the other way, to Santa Barbara. It seems further away, but actually isn't; we drive through the farmland about an hour and fifteen minutes. Our favorites there are Olio et Limone and its open-all-day Olio Pizzaria (fabulous squid ink calamari). Sad to see The Hungry Cat closed there! Their lobster rolls were amazing. I think the Santa Monica location is still open.

maitaitom Mar 22nd, 2017 02:22 PM

Jim, that looks really good. I put it on my list

Iwan2go, We still have not made it to Racion, even though we live nearby. Thanks for the reminder.


maitaitom Mar 22nd, 2017 02:26 PM

We recently visited Manuela in the L.A. Arts District. Our dinner was so good, we returned for brunch a week later. It is located inside an art gallery. Here's my review.



Jean Mar 22nd, 2017 05:53 PM

LA Weekly just issued its list of "99 Essential LA restaurants"

and the "Freshman 15" list of new and up-and-coming LA restaurants.

The lists are certainly eclectic in cuisine, location, price and atmosphere. Some places have been mentioned in Fodor threads. I'm not sure the two from my own neighborhood are ones I'd select, but I understand they're "hot." I admit, a desire to maintain my hearing outweighs my food requirements.

Amazingly, we've been to 3 of the Freshman 15, and all 3 were great. Baran's in Hermosa Beach, Gus' Spicy Hot Chicken in Mid-City, and Salazar on Fletcher in the Atwater/Glassell area.

maitaitom Mar 23rd, 2017 08:23 AM

Thanks Jean...I'll take a look. More eating!!!


nkm1 Mar 23rd, 2017 07:44 PM

I went to Sur in West Hollywood for a bachelorette party recently (the bride loves the show that is sent there), the atmosphere was really cool and the food did not disappoint!

maitaitom May 10th, 2017 02:22 PM

In the past couple of months Tracy and I have dined at two Nick’s locations, Nick’s On 2nd Long Beach (for dinner) and Nick’s Laguna Beach (for lunch). The food at each restaurant was superb, and the service was as good as any restaurant we have eaten at in our life (from dive to 5-Star). Nick’s serves what they call California Comfort Food with a flair. As you’ll see, we and our friends enjoyed a lot of spectacular dishes, including the most scrumptious deviled eggs ever created. They also have restaurants in Manhattan Beach and San Clemente, as well as a Mexican Kitchen and Bar, also in San Clemente. Come with us on a fun (and delicious) culinary adventure!



StuDudley May 10th, 2017 03:27 PM

Did the food look as good as the oxtail taco I had at the Food Truck at Bungalow Heaven while I was chatting with you? Was the ambience as nice?? And was the live band as good??

Stu Dudley

maitaitom May 11th, 2017 05:25 AM

"And was the live band as good??"

Not as loud, however. (:
It was great to meet you. The corgis say "hi." Safe travels to you both.


maitaitom Jun 7th, 2017 01:05 PM

Sometimes it’s good to follow a Red Herring, especially when this Red Herring happens to be a very good restaurant located in Eagle Rock, CA. The chef used to work at one of our old favorites (Blair’s Restaurant in Silver Lake) and his co-owner wife is a television show producer. The cuisine is “New American,” and our friends Paul and Susan joined us as we once again proved there is never too much food on a menu for us to devour.



Iwan2go Jun 11th, 2017 06:52 PM

Seconding Nick's - especially the butter cake. Amazing.

maitaitom Jun 26th, 2017 02:02 PM

Love the butter cake!

It’s been a great first half of the year when it comes to dining. Tracy and I have been fortunate to hit some great restaurants this year with lots of different friends, and our most recent choice is the slight leader in the clubhouse for MaiTaiTom’s 2017 Restaurant Of The Year. Alimento in Silver Lake offers an Italian-inspired menu with multiple dishes that have been positively scrumptious, or as Guy Fieri might say, “Out of bounds!” In any event, we visited Alimento twice in the past month, and both meals were spectacular. Enjoy!



maitaitom Aug 1st, 2017 09:44 AM

I thought we’d put out a little review of our latest restaurant experience. It seems that Tracy and I had been overdosing on Italian food, so we changed it up to hit a relatively new Pasadena establishment putting out what it calls “Modern Mexican cuisine.” For the most part Maestro hit on all cylinders with a very interesting dinner menu, including a couple of stupendous dishes (gotta get that cornbread recipe). If in the Pasadena area, this is a terrific choice.



Guenmai Aug 1st, 2017 07:52 PM

I love the shrimp burrito at recently-opened Trejo's Cantina here in Pasadena. Since I have both a corn and dairy allergy and don't eat meat/poultry, by choice, I haven't tasted the other items on the menu. But, I have had the shrimp burrito twice within two weeks and it has been great. Look out Rubio's Baja Grill, nearby, which is where I usually go. Smiles.

Happy Travels!

maitaitom Aug 2nd, 2017 06:54 AM

" love the shrimp burrito at recently-opened Trejo's Cantina here in Pasadena."

Looking forward to trying that out. Pasadena seems to be opening a restaurant today. My waistline can't keep up with it.


rjw_lgb_ca Aug 2nd, 2017 11:02 AM

I'm going to give shouts-out to a couple of restaurants in my neck of the woods, good ol' Long Beach....

Playa Amor ( is serving elevated <i>pocho</i> cuisine, aka Alta California-style Mexican. Yeah, it's in a sprawling mall complex, but the room is fun and festive and the food is knock-your-socks-off great. It's not your standard tacos-and-burritos joint. I may have mentioned this place in the last restaurant thread, but I think it deserves visibility.

Roe Seafood ( is a wonderful seafood specialist in Belmont Shore. If you can find parking, you will be rewarded with fresh, beautifully-prepared and delectable fish and shellfish. And it has a hopping full bar and a whimsically-decorated dining room. Definitely worth a visit.

Starling Diner ( is breakfast and lunch only. And great at them. Not too fancy, just a friendly Belmont Heights neighborhood joint with AWESOME food.

This weekend I'm having my birthday dinner at Lasher's Kitchen ( website still work-in-progress) in Belmont Shore. I will report back. This same crew ran one of my absolute favorite Long Beach eateries, Lasher's, back in the 90s and 00s, but closed a few years ago to focus on restaurant consulting. They went back in business when this new space opened up, and since their soft-open they've been busy and getting raves, so I'm VERY excited about this.

maitaitom Aug 2nd, 2017 11:35 AM

rjw...I used to live in LB, and we meet there occasionally with OC friends for dinner. Thanks.


rjw_lgb_ca Aug 7th, 2017 09:01 AM

Reporting back....

Lasher's Kitchen was great! It was wonderful to see Ray and Lynn Lasher working the front of the house like old times, and the menu has "greatest hits" and new wonders working side-by-side. Cozy and stylish room, superb servers, smart wine list (Anderson Valley bubbly? What a treat!), delicious food. I had pepita-crusted salmon, and it was just buttery and rich and all sorts of good. The "birthday cake" was house-made pound cake with simple macerated strawberries, and it was perfection. Happy birthday to me!

maitaitom Aug 7th, 2017 11:23 AM

Lasher's "Cranberry Glazed Meatloaf" might be calling my name if the temperature ever gets below 80 again in So Cal. Thanks for the update.

mlgb Aug 7th, 2017 03:28 PM

Always nice to see recs from rjw.

My latest quick serve Mexican is not a place for "dining with friends". In fact you are lucky to get a seat at all but it works for me after the Lakewood Y, just straight down Woodruff to South. Shrimp Quesadilla and Horchata...

MoBro Sep 8th, 2017 03:33 PM

We are looking for a restaurant for a special celebratory dinner with my son and his fiancée this Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Have ruled out Spago, The Ivy, Polo Lounge.

Right now, planning on Mr Chow. It has some bad Yelp reviews, though. I was there a long time ago, and have always wanted to go back. My dining companions are interested in it, as a classic place in Beverly Hills.

I'm looking at all recommendations in this thread. We don't want Mexican or Italian.

Something classy, expensive, and really good.

Is Sur just a reality TV show spinoff?

rjw_lgb_ca Sep 9th, 2017 07:22 AM

MoBro, you might want to start a new topic thread just so you get focused responses-- this is more of a "great finds in greater LA area" thread, and most of our finds are less "special-occasion" than you'd like.

Having said that, there is no shortage of special celebration places. It looks like you're concentrating on the Westside over to BH/WeHo. One place that is still getting a lot of critical love is Mélisse in Santa Monica:

Elegant, French-accented cuisine, elaborate tasting menus, expensive. I'd say that would make for a nice celebratory dinner.

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