North American eateries

Ratings are on a scale of 0 to 24. The scale used to be 0 to 10, so restaurants written about before 2012 may have only had their ratings adjusted by formula and not by hand (hence all the 2s, 5s, 8s, etc.) The scale works as follows:

24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16
15 14 13 12 11 10
9 8 7 6 5 4
3 2 1

An asymmetrical 0 to 24 scale may not be intuitive, I realize. But as a rule of thumb: a double-digit score means I liked it, while a single-digit score... less so. Also, as you might expect, scores from many years ago may not be very reliable, so do check the dates.

Los Angeles County

Where the best way to guarantee good service is to look like a casting agent.

Click on the column titles to sort the entries!

Name Cuisine Address Last update Score
Joan's on ThirdDeli3rd btw Orlando/Sweetzer, Los Angeles2015-02-1415
I occasionally have to head down to the 90048 for work and I visit this place pretty regularly when I'm there. There are various sandwiches and deli items and bags of candy and things, but I've tended to give the lion's share of my patronage to the bakery case, with some very good stuff: strawberry buttermilk muffins, orange chocolate chunk cake, etc.
SimplethingsSandwiches and pies3rd near Sweetzer, Los Angeles2015-02-1410
This place only serves two things: sandwiches (and while mine was okay, I was irked by the fact that the bread it was supposed to come with had run out — restaurants, don't fuckin' run out of food) and pies. Except the pies aren't really what I would call pies: they're pie tins filled with graham cracker crumbs and then some kind of goop. Sometimes the goop is very tasty, as with the salted caramel. But still, goop on a bed of crumbs is not pie.
ChaumontBakeryBeverly btw Wilshire/Charleville, Beverly Hills2015-02-1311
Here I got was supposed to be "the best almond croissant in L.A.", but it was a combination of extremely crunchy/flaky pastry and moist (even soggy) almond paste. I prefer a pillowier croissant. The chocolate chip and pastry cream bar I got was more to my taste — a big thumbs-up to that.
Four CafeCalifornialocal chain, Los Angeles2014-02-1414
When I saw the breakfast burrito described online as "fresh" and "healthy" I worried that it would taste like hippie food, but it was fine. The potatoes that came with it showed skill: the level of crispiness was pretty optimal.
Magnolia BakeryDessert bakery3rd & Orlando, Los Angeles2011-06-1514
Here I had two things: the house specialty, banana pudding (scaffolded with vanilla wafers), and a slice of German chocolate cake that may well have been the best German chocolate cake I've ever had!
PlanchaMexican (taqueria)3rd & Sweetzer, Los Angeles2011-06-1514
Here's another place that's very close by when I get summoned to the 90048 for story conferences, and I first walked in entirely at random when I was starving and was surprised to discover that it's very good. The tacos and huevos rancheros are the highlights (i.e., burritos are skippable).
Meals by GenetEthiopianFairfax btw Olympic/Whitworth, Los Angeles2011-01-2014
I got the veggie combo, which contained a fair number of items that aren't standard fare on Ethiopian veggie combos. One was a wasabi-like thing that I got slightly addicted to. Service was unusually attentive — it seemed like the guy really wanted to forge an emotional bond.
Amandine CafeBakery/cafeWilshire btw Amherst/Wellesley, Los Angeles2011-01-1914
L.A. seems to have a fair number of bakeries that put the Bay Area's best to shame, at least in terms of selection. Almost at random I picked a chocolate almond croissant, banana caramel danish, and orange cream brioche — there were an array of others options that looked equally good. And while it wasn't quite as tasty as the stuff from Joan's on Third, it was more than acceptable.
MinestraioItalian3rd & Orlando, Los Angeles2011-01-198
This was the restaurant in my hotel and is also open to the public. The menu features a fair number of small pasta plates, and I had the butternut cappellacci (okay, but underdone) and the gnocchi with pesto (okay but not noteworthy).
RahelEthiopianFairfax btw Olympic/Whitworth, Los Angeles2011-01-1811
I stopped in here for the vegan buffet, since I'd seen that there was a zucchini thing that I'd never seen in an Ethiopian restaurant. The buffet was pretty good but unmemorable.
¡Loteria!Mexican (taqueria)3rd & Fairfax, Los Angeles2007-12-1511
Like Moishe's, this place has a whole bunch of little bins of stuff — only instead of hummus and baba, it's calabacitas and poblano potatoes, which they stick into tacos and burritos and such. I had better luck when I went outside the bins and got enfrijoladas.
Newsroom CafeVegetarian-friendlyRobertson near Beverly, Los Angeles2007-12-1414
Hooray, it's not dead — it just moved. While my visit to the new location was not as revelatory as my visit with Jennifer back in '05, I was pleased to see that the transplanted Newsroom Cafe still features many tasty breakfasts and excellent smoothies.
Annapurna CuisineIndianVenice & Vinton, Culver City2007-12-138
The first time I went here, back in 2005, it was the best Indian I'd had in years. Delicious dal, delicious korma, excellent fresh fruit, friendly service. It was just as good every time I went right up through February '07. But then in December '07 I went back, and it was terrible! The food was bad, there wasn't much of it, and the staff seemed sort of clueless and distracted. So I don't know what's going on.
Bob's Coffee & DonutsDonuts3rd & Fairfax, Los Angeles2007-12-138
After hearing many raves that this place had the best donuts in the city and that I had to try them, I did. Verdict: yes, this is about as good as you can expect a piece of sweetened white dough fried in oil to be. A top-notch effort in the medium of simplistic empty calories. All of which is a snide way of saying that I still don't like donuts.
TartAmericanFairfax near 1st, Los Angeles2007-12-1211
Mexican scramble: tasty enough. Leek hash browns: also okay. Toast: burnt. Waitress: total hottie.
Bennett's Ice CreamDessert (ice cream)3rd & Fairfax, Los Angeles2007-12-115
Here the ice cream is made fresh on the premises, so that's a plus, but I can think of innumerable places that are better.
the French Crêpe CompanyCrêpes3rd & Fairfax, Los Angeles2007-12-115
The crêpe I got here was pretty bland and contained some bad tomatoes and things. Not a disaster, but skippable.
Moishe's RestaurantMediterranean3rd & Fairfax, Los Angeles2007-12-1011
Tasty falafels, and an interesting selection of spreads; I went with a couple of the basics (hummus and baba) and they weren't really extraordinary.
Pizzeria MozzaPizzaHighland & Melrose, Los Angeles2007-12-0914
Having not eaten for nearly 24 hours, I scoured the net to find a place in west LA that was open late on a Sunday and was surprised to find that among the Denny's franchises and 24/7 taco stands was this place with its Mario Batali pedigree and month-long wait lists. I managed to get a seat at the end of the counter, from which I ordered a pizza with chiles and "long-cooked broccoli." It was good! The crust here is designed to balloon up enormously, which some people apparently dislike but which was fine by me.
Vito's PizzaPizzaLa Cienega btw Willoughby/Waring, West Hollywood2007-06-1614
Open late, and good slices — I suspect the whole pies are even better. I also got very friendly and speedy service even though I was a non-LA type wandering in by myself at peak hours on a Saturday night.
Cynthia's RestaurantUpscale3rd & Kings, Los Angeles2007-06-1514
Good food — I had a very nice corn soup and then some linguini with a tasty assortment of vegetables. Then I looked up this place to get the address and discovered that the proprietor is... controversial, to put it delicately. Gosh.
Tortilla GrillMexican (taqueria)Abbott Kinney & California, Venice2007-06-1411
Here I had a burrito that had been awkwardly folded into a flat rectangle that fell apart immediately. Fillings were pretty good. Agua fresca was bursting with flavor.
Zen GrillEast Asian3rd & Croft, Los Angeles2007-06-138
Here I had some miso soup and some vegetables that came with tortillas. They were okay.
Doughboy's BakeryBreakfast, etc.3rd & Kilkea, Los Angeles2007-06-132
I was astonished at the delicious-sounding array of choices on the menu, but the stuffed French toast I got was not good: the cream cheese disassembled itself into unpleasant curds and the strawberry jam was off. Then I got a peanut butter cookie for the road; it was $3 and was terrible, still pretty much a blob of dough.
Kate MantiliniEclecticWilshire & Doheny, Beverly Hills2007-05-0911
At this place, which is open until 1:30 am, I got a grilled artichoke with three dipping sauces. When I ordered it the waiter cried, "People love 'em!" I don't know whether I'd be quite so exclamatory but I thought it was an decent late-night snack.
Interim CafeHippie-ishWilshire & 6th, Santa Monica2007-02-195
This used to be the Newsroom Cafe, where in 2005 I got the best breakfast I'd had in a couple of years. In 2007 I returned to find that it was now the "Interim Cafe," crunchier than its predecessor and sporting a scaled-down menu. It wasn't a bad breakfast, but compared to the Newsroom it was f'ing tragic.
City Mex GrillMexican (taqueria)Cherry & Willow, Signal Hill2007-02-1714
Once my favorite burrito shop, this place (part of the Pachanga mini-chain) has sadly declined somewhat, but is still good.
Polo LoungeUpscaleBeverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills2005-01-285
You might well love it. I didn't love the fact that there were only four vegetarian options on the menu, one of them an appetizer and two of them salads.

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