I live in LA but grew up in Toronto and my parents have a cottage on Niagara on the Lake so I visit when I can. The Niagara region is under-rated. There are some great wines there. White wines and the ice wines are generally better than the reds (as many feel young) but I was surprised by some great finds:
Stratus is one top of my list. Southbook is up there too.
I'd also suggest: Frogs Pond, Coyote's Run, Jackson Triggs, ...there's an area called the Bench...Jordan area, it's close - some good ones too. 30 Bench; Daniel Lenko (by appointment - awesome chardonnay); Malivoire (sp?);
The Riverbend hotel has a great restaurant with wineries from all over..their main one is Reif but they have others...
I'm a fellow Torontonian also having lived in LA for last 8 years and most of it on westside.
I love NanbanKan in WLA for Izakaya. Musha is good too in Santa Monica. Some hounds love the Redondo beach izakaya.
Love Mozza - stick with rez.
Some other good options: Joe's in Venice; Orris in WLA; Kiriko for Sushi on Sawtelle
For an exciting experience, try Bazaar at SLS
Also, for Oaxacan, Monte Alban is great....I don't think I recall a Mexican place like this in TO
Waterloo & City is my favorite. Eclectic pub food. Not necessarily burgers but the short ribs rock. Culver City
Golden State - Mid Wilshire. Awesome lamb burgers on Thursdays. Turkey burgers are good.
I hear hounds (some, not all) love Umami in Los Feliz.
Rustic Canyon is awesome for burger and beer, but also wine. Nook has a great burger and decent beer selection.
I've never been to Melisse but hear awesome things about it. Cut is good but overhyped and over-priced.
Guilty pleasures? This is a little bit west-side biased:
The list could go on....
About 10 of us will be in San Diego to celebrate a good friend's upcoming nuptials.
He's a big fan of gastropubs (think Father's Office in LA). There are 3 vegetarians in the bunch so something that is vegetarian friendly would be nice.
We'll be in the downtown area and up to $20-30 pp on food is fine.