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Top three LA/OC restaurants by type of cuisine! Discuss

I'm just going through the list and putting places I've been that I'd recommend. I'm not arrogant enough to proclaim most of them "best in class" but some of them (*'d) are the best beyond a doubt.

Sahag's
Empanada's place
El Huarique
Cafe Brazil (feijoada, yum!)
Salvadorean, honestly, can't tell one pupusa from the next, all seem good and about the same to me.
Mexican I'll leave alone - plenty of great places
**Will's Jamaican
French I'll leave alone, there used to be a nice cafe place in Culver City
Pass on Italian, you've got a good list there
Pass on German
UK I liked the pie place in SaMo, it's gone.
Spitz. Sofra is so-so
Greek I'll pass on
**La Espanola, or Ole Spain for us behind the Orange curtain
Simon's Cafe
Mozambique? Seriously? If you want to just make it "African" my favorites are Banadir and Veronica's Kitchen. All the Mozambique places I've been to (a whole 2 of them) were overpriced shitty American steakhouses with a bottle of "Peri-Peri" on the table. F that.
Grandma's Deli Babushka has piroshky, that's the only Russian place I've been in LA (I go nuts for piroshky)
Shaanxi Gourmet, DTF, and the Szechuan/Hunan top dogs are my faves, plus Sea Harbor and Lunasia for dim sum
Japanese I can't afford many of them but Kiriko and Mottainai are great.
Korean I like Sun Ha Jang and Chin Go Gae
Taiwanese? Huge Tree I guess
Thai it's Jitlada, Pailin and **Vientiane (OC) for me. Caveat: only do takeout at Jitlada. Night+Market and Prael are in the mix too
Cambodian I've only been to Seam Reap and it was very good
Vietnamese (all Westminster) I worked in Westminster for a while so I got to know the scene well enough. Not my favorite cuisine but *Kang Lac, *Top Baguette and Lien Hoa are standouts and the places I went back to/craved most.
Indonesian I looove Simpang! Haven't been to the SGV places yet and the OC Indo restos SUCK. Ramayani is so-so, Simpang's much better.
Lebanese I'll pass
Persian I like Naan Hut and I think the Westwood Blvd restos are are criminally overrated. I like Reyhan OK and that one on Santa Monica with the moustacioed cartoon chef. This place "Taste of Tehran" is new on the scene and looks promising, but I've never been.

A glaring omission is Indian/Pakistani, and there's only one answer you need to know: ***Zam Zam Market (did you think I'd forget?)

Sep 17, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Ramen Zetton. Serious New Contender in OC

OK I went there. Thanks for making me go back, without your rec I'd have probably left it alone after trying their tantanmen, and judging a ramen shop by a tantanmen within weeks of the shop opening hardly seems fair.

I also thought the noodles were the weak point, but not because they were too hard. The chasu is awesome, glad I got extra.

I got the Porthos special, special shoyu pork ramen. I liked the fishiness of the special broth and might even add more next time. Salt content was fine.

Overall it's a solid bowl but not something I'd describe as eminently flavorful or addictive. I'll go back and try the special chicken ramen next time but unless that wows me, I'll still put Zetton below Iroha. Comparisons to Tsujita were, IMO, rather extreme.

But it's a very solid bowl of ramen all around and the chasu is fantastic.

Sep 15, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area
1

Best Lebanese in Orange County?

My favorites at OT are the lamb freekeh (Friday only) and the lamb Kabsa (Saturday)

Sep 15, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Ramen Zetton. Serious New Contender in OC

Have you tried Iroha? Their black and white ramens are both excellent.

Sep 13, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Ramen Zetton. Serious New Contender in OC

I'm a fan of that as well http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/880745

I gotta get there soon. It's high on the list. Soon.

Sep 13, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Non-snooty + really good food

Zam Zam is the ticket here. Everybody has to try it at least once

Sep 11, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Best Thai Restaurant in U.S.

Pailin is one of my all time favorites. I like the owner too; he asked me on my first visit if I had a Thai girlfriend! I said "I WISH" and he laughed and said it was funny that I ordered food a "real Thai person would order." I love that reaction from ethnic places; it makes me feel like I must be on the right track. Right? Right??

Sep 08, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area
1

Best Thai Restaurant in U.S.

I understand what you're saying completely, and obviously you can't account for different tastes, but for me, most of the nam khao tods I've had I felt had too much lime. The nam sod khao tod at Thai Nakorn for example tastes like some kind of wacky rice ceviche. It tastes like the chef spilled his lemonade on my entree. I joke obviously but I think you get my meaning; just because there's more flavors doesn't mean the ultimate dish is better (and I don't interpret you as saying otherwise.)

I do agree that the Issan version with it's ginger and fish sauce has more flavors and I never really thought about it that way, as the Lao version certainly doesn't *lack* flavor in its own right; but when compared with the Issan version it is certainly milder.

Thanks for the rec on Thai Cuisine Express; I've never been there and I'm excited to try their version. Until then, I stand by my statement that if I could only go to one Thai(esque?) place in the greater LA area it'd be Vientiane, and if I could only have one version of that dish specifically it'd be theirs as well. I'll report back when I try TCE, thanks again

Sep 08, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Best Thai Restaurant in U.S.

N+M is fantastic. I first went there when it was a new place with a very limited menu, I've since returned for a dinner and a dineLA dinner and they are a kickass place an d the guy who runs it is committed to authenticity and QUALITY. I wouldn't hesitate to rec that place to anyone.

Sep 08, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area
1

Best Sandwhich in Orange County?

Thanks for the heads up. Poor guy

Sep 06, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Best Thai Restaurant in U.S.

And disappointment when you do. Lotus is just not great. Good, not great. FWIW I love Jitlada... for take out. There are much better Issan places than either LOS or Renu Nakorn in the area. IMO, the best Thai(/Laotian) food I've had was at Vientiane Thai Laos in Westminster. Their nam khao tod absolutely destroys all others. Never had a bad dish there, let alone a bad meal. Raw shrimp salad, wild boar stir fry, crispy catfish with mango salad... list goes on and on. Simply the best.

Sep 06, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Best Lebanese in Orange County?

I really like this place. The sojouk baked thing is greasy but man is it good. cheap too. That whole area in anaheim is loaded with amazing arabic/Middle Eastern food. Lots of exploring to be done there. Olive Tree isn't Lebanese (they have a lot of the same schwarma type stuff but I always get the amazing daily specials) but it's so good I plug it every chance I get.

Sep 04, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area
1

Your favorite way to eat $5

There's three kinds of onions... you can also get whole grilled.

I think the hot chilies are essential and I ditch the lettuce.

Aug 27, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Casa Inka in Fountain Valley. Outstanding Peruvian Food.

Cool, thanks for the report. They have an orange sauce too, and it's spicier, so ask for that next time.

Aug 26, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Yummy east coast foods you can't get in LA area

I just got back from New York and I was thinking about this post when I tried the famous halal cart's food.

Zam Zam's biryani and the 53/6 cart's chicken/lamb and rice plates are very different beasts. Both are great meals.

That said, Ipsy's take on this shocks the conscience. Rest assured, he's in the minority.

BTW the white sauce, at least to my taste buds, is miracle whip. Can't really tell if there's anything else in it.

Aug 14, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Lime Truck Opens "TLT Food" Restaurant in Westwood Village

I agree. Despite the replies above, I think having "The Lime" is sufficient for customer base purposes. Having "truck" in there when it's clearly not a truck is weird.

And I'll add that, and perhaps this is just my opinion, but "food trucks" have a strongly negative connotation to me. When people tell me a food truck has good food, I'm quite skeptical to say the least. 99% of them are overpriced crap serving a dish or dishes that you can find much better, cheaper versions of at a real restaurant.

Jul 31, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Mexican Birrieria in Los Angeles

It is weekend only and it's good, but not so good that it stands head and shoulders above other birrias in the area. They do have that chopped up offal on the side, which due to my personal tastes made a nice snack for my cat, but if you like the taste of iron and sewer (aka organ meats) then bon appetit I guess.

Jul 31, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

bawarchi indian kitchen price increase

I always thought the to-go containers were a little much, IDK if he upped the price for the combo meals that come with rice, salad, naan, raita and a couple curries but whatever he charged before (8-11 dollars, I forgot) I always thought was worth it. The curries there are all really good. Their food in general is really good. I like their jalapeno curry a lot and I also really like their fake meat curries. Try it and see for yourself,it's definitely worth a try.

Jul 31, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

suggestions for Irvine/Mission Viejo/Rancho Santa Margarita, short trip in early August

Oh I forgot my favorite Chinese place of all, Chong Qing Mei Wei

Jul 27, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

suggestions for Irvine/Mission Viejo/Rancho Santa Margarita, short trip in early August

Bamboo Bistro has Brodard's spring rolls and some entrees that easily hold up to the Westminster standard. If you're down in Irvine or south, just go to Bamboo unless you're looking for some specific thing they don't have.

Jul 27, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

SANDWICHES - LA Dish of the Month (July 2013)

"ignorance can be bliss. Enlightenment can be rewarding."

Now THAT is the real quotable phrase from this. I think most of us can reflect on a time in our lives when our food outings were blissful, but unenlightened. I can only speak for myself when I say the enlightened part has been overall more blissful.

Sure, there are certain things I enjoyed before that I sadly can't enjoy the same way now; but the things I enjoy now I enjoy to a higher degree than before.

On topic, tried a couple sandwiches at Lola Gaspar in OC this month, the french dip and the bacon cheeseburger, both were awesome. "The Duke" seal of approval for LG.

Jul 25, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Tommy's

See that's why Jayburger was so legendary. Better tasting chili and it stayed on the burger because it was thicker.

Jul 24, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

suggestions for Irvine/Mission Viejo/Rancho Santa Margarita, short trip in early August

101 Noodle Express, Tasty Noodle House, Bamboo Bistro (Vietnamese).

Jul 24, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

SANDWICHES - LA Dish of the Month (July 2013)

True at all their locations. You know who makes an awesome banh bao? Ba Le. That probably isn't a sandwich, is it

Jul 23, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

SANDWICHES - LA Dish of the Month (July 2013)

Came to a similar conclusion about a month back, about both Benji's and OC pastrami in general. Even the Hat location in Lake Forest seems somehow sub-par compared to the LA location I tried when I lived there. Maybe I'm just crazy.

Jul 21, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

SANDWICHES - LA Dish of the Month (July 2013)

I strongly recommend the grilled pork over the barbeque pork at Lee's. The "grilled pork" is the thit nuong pork that is usually labeled BBQ pork at other banh mi places. What Lee's calls bbq pork is a pretty lame version of chinese char siu.

I always ask for extra meat at Lee's and the best thing they have there is actually their banh bao. I'd get that over one of their middle-of-the-road banh mis any day.

Jul 21, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

SANDWICHES - LA Dish of the Month (July 2013)

ARE YOU SERIOUS? I can't believe you haven't gone. It's very similar to La Espanola, if you've been there. Paella Tues and Fri at lunch ~12:30, one of the food gems of OC for sure. I like the sandwiches that have peppers on them, I think there's two, I forget their names.

Jul 21, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

What's your favorite restaurant in town that is under $15 per before tax and tip

That's an easy one. Zam Zam.

Jul 16, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Ramen Zetton. Serious New Contender in OC

Better than it going out of business. Ramen shops have not been faring well http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/909182 http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896498

Jul 14, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area

Jinya Costa Mesa Gone in Three Days

I think it's Zetton and Iroha for me from here on out.

Jul 14, 2013
BrewNChow in Los Angeles Area