OT: LA/SoCal Boneyard Best of Thread

jleves

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So seeing the discussion about best Italian restaurants and markets got me to thinking - Those of us on the left coast obviously don't have access to those places and there's a pretty good contingent of socal folks who probably have equally valuable information we can share.

Instead of having a pizza thread, a grinder thread, a restaurant thread, a mechanic thread, a painter thread, etc., we can put them all in a single place for easy access. I have a few places I'm happy to share a few favorites and hopefully others have great stuff or even questions maybe the rest of us can help with.

I'll start with a few individual posts in the thread with a few different topics. But mostly, I'm hoping for some feedback on places y'all have.
 

jleves

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I’ll start with Italian market/delis.

My favorite has to be Claro’s. They have several stores, the original is in San Gabriel and they have locations in Arcadia, Tustin, Upland, La Habra and Covina. I’ve been to at least three and there seems to be no quality difference between them.

First off, this is the place you want to go to if you are cooking some authentic Italian food. Great selection of imported Italian dried pastas, cheeses and canned tomatoes. They have tons of other real Italian condiments and foodstuff. Try the Vivienne Romano salad dressing! Great homemade sausage and prepared meals like frozen stuffed shells and lasagna. I don’t even think about making spaghetti sauce without a visit there. You will pay more than similar items from a grocery store, but the quality is worth it for me.

They also make deli sandwiches which may be the closest thing I’ve found to a CT grinder. The bread is soft and not too dense. The meats and cheeses, toppings and dressings they use are excellent. They have a small hot food section, but nothing to write home about – get a sandwich.

They also have a great selection of homemade Italian cookies and pastries. Reminds me of what we had back in CT for holidays when I was a kid.

Finally, they have a large selection of mostly Italian wines. Seems legit, but not what I go there for.



Mario’s in Glendale is a decent alternative. Good market but not as extensive as Claro’s. They do have a really good deli with more options and far better hot food.



Both places have Margherita pepperoni if you’ve been missing that.
 

jleves

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Seafood. If you’ve been looking for some New England styles seafood, @BigErnMcCracken turned me on to Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood. You can get whole belly fried clams!!! I missed those badly and was happy to find a place that has them. They also make a solid Rhode Island clam chowder as well as New England and Manhattan. The Steamers are also excellent. Warning, this place is pricey for sure.



The Watergrill in downtown LA has excellent seafood and has a really good Connecticut style lobster roll. Also very pricey.

Finally, not back east style at all, but Killer Shrimp in Marina del Rey has an awesome meal called, you guessed it, ‘Killer Shrimp’. About a pound of shrimp in a hot semi spicy broth served with a ton of French bread for dipping. Pay the extra two bucks to get the shrimp shelled.
 

jleves

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Favorite Italian restaurant: Maccheroni Republic in downtown LA. All fresh made pasta and some excellent sauces.
 

jleves

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Last one for tonight: Pizza. Well, let’s be honest, it’s really tough to find a pizza out here that comes close to what you can get in CT. If you guys know of a great place to get pizza let me know.

The best I’ve found is DeSano Pizzeria in East Hollywood/LA. Pretty solid.

There’s a place in Echo Park near downtown LA that makes a really good Chicago deep dish style pizza called Masa.
 
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Last one for tonight: Pizza. Well, let’s be honest, it’s really tough to find a pizza out here that comes close to what you can get in CT. If you guys know of a great place to get pizza let me know.

The best I’ve found is DeSano Pizzeria in East Hollywood/LA. Pretty solid.

There’s a place in Echo Park near downtown LA that makes a really good Chicago deep dish style pizza called Masa.

I'm glad you liked Connie and Teds! I think it's pretty great.

I like DeSano and Masa. If you're ever looking for a slice spot Prime Pizza on Fairfax is good. Their arrabiata pie is excellent - this is NYC style, and they do a bunch of Sicilian style grandma pies too. I feel like with the exception of Prime most of the pizza we eat out here is Neapolitan style. Just seems to be everywhere.

My favorite Italian restaurant in LA is probably Felix on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Abbot Kinney is insufferable but this place is worth a trip. Great pastas, usually broken out by region, great wines, an absolutely incredible sfincione (like a focaccia but lighter), some of the best fried squash blossoms I've ever had and good pizza too.
Downtown Italian I like Factory Kitchen a lot, and Rossoblu, which serves stuff you'd find in Bologna.

Based on your recommendations I'm guessing you're east of me. My recommendation for the night: the breakfast sandwich at All Day Baby on Sunset in Silver lake. Try it if you're in the area. Generally I think scrambled eggs on a breakfast sandwich is heresy but I dream about this thing.
 
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I used to live in Los Angeles around 20 years ago. I liked Canter's as Deli and a breakfast joint. Sort of a generic LA recommendation, but it was a neat place and had a cool interior. Food was decent.

There was a burrito joint in a strip mall that I liked a lot. I can't remember the name and I'm sure it's gone. Not that it's difficult to find a good burrito in Los Angeles. All I can remember is it was near LA Brea and Wilshire. Near a Jack In The Box.
 

ClifSpliffy

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socal? georges 'the cove' in la holla. prices not bad, and the portions ok. sometimes, a yankee just needs a legit Maine lobster roll. the fish tacos and salmon sandwich are pretty good, too. of course, now they're mostly closed, but for take out. on a nice day, if you close ur eyes, you almost think ur at dock and dine in saybrook, which is also closed, and maybe dead.
 

Chin Diesel

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I'm around 40-45 states visited and my initial reaction to LA food is now donuts. Donuts in the pink boxes and the deepest donut game in the country. Never would have thought before I stepped in LA, but after having been through there enough for work, their donut game is the best.
 

Sibeerian

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My favorite Italian restaurant in LA is probably Felix on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Abbot Kinney is insufferable but this place is worth a trip. Great pastas, usually broken out by region, great wines, an absolutely incredible sfincione (like a focaccia but lighter), some of the best fried squash blossoms I've ever had and good pizza too.
Downtown Italian I like Factory Kitchen a lot, and Rossoblu, which serves stuff you'd find in Bologna.
Felix is my favorite restaurant out there. I dream about those squash blossoms.
 
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Hand's down the best in LA as far as I'm concerned.

Actually, that may be a little aggressive on my part. Maybe not the best Italian food in LA but the best food/atmosphere combo.

13 small tables at best, maybe 5 stools at the bar. I sat at at two top with a client, DiCaprio and a friend at the table to our left and Clooney and Randy Gerber to our right. But such an intimate place that the four of them talked across our table like my client and I were cousins they don't know that well but accept.

Tough to get a table last minute but call a week ahead and you'll not only have great food and service but most likely a high end "celeb" sighting as you wait at the valet with the paparazzi if that means anything.

 
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I'm around 40-45 states visited and my initial reaction to LA food is now donuts. Donuts in the pink boxes and the deepest donut game in the country. Never would have thought before I stepped in LA, but after having been through there enough for work, their donut game is the best.

Totally agree, Chin.


 
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Seafood. If you’ve been looking for some New England styles seafood, @BigErnMcCracken turned me on to Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood. You can get whole belly fried clams!!! I missed those badly and was happy to find a place that has them. They also make a solid Rhode Island clam chowder as well as New England and Manhattan. The Steamers are also excellent. Warning, this place is pricey for sure.



The Watergrill in downtown LA has excellent seafood and has a really good Connecticut style lobster roll. Also very pricey.

Finally, not back east style at all, but Killer Shrimp in Marina del Rey has an awesome meal called, you guessed it, ‘Killer Shrimp’. About a pound of shrimp in a hot semi spicy broth served with a ton of Fre
nch bread for dipping. Pay the extra two bucks to get the shrimp shelled.
I used to go to the first Killer Shrimp in the Marina 20+ years ago. There's one in Vegas now. There used to be a place in San Diego called "Bite of Boston" that had whole bellies flown in every Friday morning. They were good but I couldn't eat them like I used to as a kid.
 
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Hand's down the best in LA as far as I'm concerned.

Actually, that may be a little aggressive on my part. Maybe not the best Italian food in LA but the best food/atmosphere combo.

13 small tables at best, maybe 5 stools at the bar. I sat at at two top with a client, DiCaprio and a friend at the table to our left and Clooney and Randy Gerber to our right. But such an intimate place that the four of them talked across our table like my client and I were cousins they don't know that well but accept.

Tough to get a table last minute but call a week ahead and you'll not only have great food and service but most likely a high end "celeb" sighting as you wait at the valet with the paparazzi if that means anything.


If you're saying Dan Tana's is the best restaurant in LA that is wildly aggressive. Dan Tana's is a cool part of LA history and you go there for the scene and to experience the place. The food's pretty mediocre. It is a fun night out though.
 
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I'm around 40-45 states visited and my initial reaction to LA food is now donuts. Donuts in the pink boxes and the deepest donut game in the country. Never would have thought before I stepped in LA, but after having been through there enough for work, their donut game is the best.

Donuts and burgers everywhere.
 
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If you're saying Dan Tana's is the best restaurant in LA that is wildly aggressive. Dan Tana's is a cool part of LA history and you go there for the scene and to experience the place. The food's pretty mediocre. It is a fun night out though.

You said it way better than I did, Big. I was trying to break it down for those who have never been to LA and most likely won't get there soon. I liken it to Rao's in Vegas.

That being said, I'll have a seat at Rao's in Harlem before I die, even if it kills me. :)
 
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You said it way better than I did, Big. I was trying to break it down for those who have never been to LA and most likely won't get there soon. I liken it to Rao's in Vegas.

That being said, I'll have a seat at Rao's in Harlem before I die, even if it kills me. :)

Rao's is a good comparison. I was just listening to someone describing a meal there the other day. I'd love to get in.
 

jleves

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I'm glad you liked Connie and Teds! I think it's pretty great.

I like DeSano and Masa. If you're ever looking for a slice spot Prime Pizza on Fairfax is good. Their arrabiata pie is excellent - this is NYC style, and they do a bunch of Sicilian style grandma pies too. I feel like with the exception of Prime most of the pizza we eat out here is Neapolitan style. Just seems to be everywhere.

My favorite Italian restaurant in LA is probably Felix on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Abbot Kinney is insufferable but this place is worth a trip. Great pastas, usually broken out by region, great wines, an absolutely incredible sfincione (like a focaccia but lighter), some of the best fried squash blossoms I've ever had and good pizza too.
Downtown Italian I like Factory Kitchen a lot, and Rossoblu, which serves stuff you'd find in Bologna.

Based on your recommendations I'm guessing you're east of me. My recommendation for the night: the breakfast sandwich at All Day Baby on Sunset in Silver lake. Try it if you're in the area. Generally I think scrambled eggs on a breakfast sandwich is heresy but I dream about this thing.
Thanks for the feedback. Surprised you know DeSano and Masa. Figured they were kind of uncommon. I've been to Factory Kitchen once, but definitely prefer Maccheroni Republic.

I went to college in Claremont and settled in the area for the first 20 years or so. Moved to Rosemead for a couple years when I got married and then to Tujunga for the last 10 years. I worked downtown across from the music center for 30 years, but hardly ever adventure to the west or south of downtown. My experience is definitely mostly to the east and downtown LA.
 
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Prob have some glaring omissions here just bc we can't go out at the moment, but...

Pizza: LIttle Coyote, Milana's Brooklyn Squares (Both in Long Beach). Pizzana in Brentwood
Italian: Factory Kitchen (DTLA), Jame Enoteca (El Segundo - guy comes from Melisse), Sfixio WeHo
Italian subs: Heroic Deli & Bay Cities in Samo, Eat Drink Americano in DTLA
Seafood: Water Grill Santa Monica
Japanese: Takuma, Sushi King (both in SaMo)
Greek: Pita Kitchen (sherman oaks)
Southern: Hatchet Hall (Culver City)
Street Food: Bang Bang Noodles (Highland Park)
Mexican: Sonoratown (DTLA)
MBPost in Manhattan Beach
Breweries: For the beer: The Bruery, Monkish, any of them in Arts District for the environment over beer
 
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Prob have some glaring omissions here just bc we can't go out at the moment, but...

Pizza: LIttle Coyote, Milana's Brooklyn Squares (Both in Long Beach). Pizzana in Brentwood
Italian: Factory Kitchen (DTLA), Jame Enoteca (El Segundo - guy comes from Melisse), Sfixio WeHo
Italian subs: Heroic Deli & Bay Cities in Samo, Eat Drink Americano in DTLA
Seafood: Water Grill Santa Monica
Japanese: Takuma, Sushi King (both in SaMo)
Greek: Pita Kitchen (sherman oaks)
Southern: Hatchet Hall (Culver City)
Street Food: Bang Bang Noodles (Highland Park)
Mexican: Sonoratown (DTLA)
MBPost in Manhattan Beach
Breweries: For the beer: The Bruery, Monkish, any of them in Arts District for the environment over beer

Good list. When we lived in Venice I spent more than a few nights closing down the Old Man Bar in the back of Hatchet Hall.
 
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My favorite drink there was the 'deconstructed cocktail' Just a shot & a beer.
Culver has grown exponentially in the 5 years I lived on the west side. West Adams was starting to be a thing with some really solid food options. I'm in Long Beach now and we're seeing a lot of chefs open up their own unique and fun places. I'd imagine this is what Samo or Venice was like before it got too popular
 
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Then there's coffee - and for a cold brew junkie like me, there's no shortage of options or reasons to go to a chain anymore. LA has a strong coffee culture. Some places I recommend:
Great White in Venice
Dinosaur is Hollywood
Bar 9 in Culver
Go Get Em Tiger
Groundwork (just OK, but they have a few locations
Civil Coffee
Black Ring (LB)
and many many more
 
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My in-laws live just north of La Jolla in Del Mar- I think we've been to George's The Cove- did its windows break a couple of years ago from heavy surf/tides? Maybe I'm thinking of somewhere else. What's good in Del Mar? We'll be visiting again once Covid vaccines are given
 

August_West

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Abbot Kinney is insufferable
LOL I lived on Abbot Kinney in the mid 80's . it was awesome (and cheap!) Was in LA a couple years ago took a trip to Venice and it was no different than seeing what happened to the NYC Alphabets I used to live at right after LA. Both just entirely different places now.


I don't miss much about LA except the burgers. But I like to visit.
 

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