Best Takeaway Experiences

Would like to know some thoughts among members here of which restaurants, in your collective experiences, offers a superior takeaway experience to date.

How was the ordering process?

Was curbside/delivery efficient?

Was the transaction touchless?

Were containers labeled and was your email easy to assemble?

Were reheating directions included?

Did the experience make you anticipate the re-opening of the restaurant or fear the potential closure of the restaurant even more?

In what ways could your experience be improved (other than someone placing your warmed meal onto a table with wheels and rolling it through your front door :mask:)?


I think with delivery, it’s hit or miss depending on your particular delivery person. For instance both me and @TheCookie ordered delivery from Ronan - @Cookie through Postmates and me through Doordash. Her food came nicely bagged with reheating instructions and mine came without instructions (which thankfully @aCookie had posted so I knew what do do with the pizza) as well as bagless – with the maskless delivery guy juggling a bottle of wine in one hand and a pizza box, a salad box, a wrapped loaf of bread and a container of butter in the other hand. Which I had to take from him and juggle inside. That delivery was “Bring your own bag.” The experience made me never want to do delivery again, although to be fair, other delivery experiences (including through DoorDash) have been fine.

I had good pickup experiences at Birdie G, Shunji and Kiriko. Everything brought outside nicely bagged and the whole process felt orderly, safe and efficient. In the case of Birdie G, I got a lot of spices and assorted sundries and everything was nicely labeled. My experience at Maude was not as good. My many various items were handed off bagless for me to juggle and carry. Also Maude does not not have the option to add wine to your online order and so when I spotted some wine displayed on their sidewalk table that I wanted to try, I had to whip out my credit card and then wrangle the wine with all the boxes of food into the car. On the bright side, one of the two wines I bought at Maude was spectacular (the other was not). I have thought of going back to Maude for some more of the spectacular wine, but I prefer touchless transactions, although I suppose I could call them on the phone, see if they still have that particular wine and given them my credit card over the phone. And tell them to bag it and add a dollar or whatever they want to charge to the bill for the bag.


I think in the current era restaurants have been mostly working up their take-out game since before the pandemic, so it hasn’t been too much of a stretch for a lot of them. That said, we’ve had better luck, predictably, with hearty and travel-friendly cuisines made by casual eateries, as opposed to the fine-dining houses now reinventing themselves on meatloaf and mac n’ cheese.

Mega Pizza Grille on Washington reheats well and the fresh salads are nicely packaged.

Indonesian food from Simpang Asia also well packaged and held up on a short journey. Contactless pickup, pay ahead and bag sitting on a table.

So far my favorite has been a quick lunch from Pearl River Delta in Chinatown. You can text your order. I chose to pay on arrival but they accept Venmo. They have hand sanitizer and a pickup station at the door. The egg and shrimp omelet over rice was delicious but I don’t know how well it would travel because it smelled so good I ate it in the car. Chinatown is deserted: no parking hassle and nobody inside the Far East Plaza. The two guys there couldn’t have been nicer.


Are you looking at a particular price range, or do you mean any take away experience?

For places like Dialogue (or even Antico), I wouldn’t have even know about the take away w/o the posts here (I don’t follow anyone/anything on IG and don’t have newsfeeds set up to send me info).

Of upscale places, I’ve done Dialogue and Felix. Ordering was very easy. Dialogue had “true” curbside (meaning I don’t even need to step outside my car) and it was def efficient. Don’t recall if Felix had curbside, but they block entry into the restaurant and have converted the front door to take out window, which is another arrangement I’m totally comfortable w/. Both were touchless transactions (which, most importantly to me, means the person who hands me my food NEVER TOUCHES ANYTHING FROM THE CUSTOMER). Clementine is also pretty good (but not perfect) about this.

Containers have been clearly labelled and meal was easy to assemble. Lots of people reported that Dialogue’s instructions for reheating resulted in lukewarm food, though.

The experience did not make me anticipate the re-opening b/c the food for both places is, TBH, a bit outside my price range. Did it make me “fear” the closure? Hard to say that, but I would certainly consider it a tremendous loss to not have places showcasing such talent. Having said that, neither chef only has one restaurant or the current eatery was not their only restaurant, so my impression (as a non-industry person) is that hopefully they would land on their feet elsewhere in LA?

The Dialogue experience was great and, if they continued the alleyway delivery post-pandemic, I’d certainly like to participate. For Felix, maybe having a clearer timeframe for pickup? Although the food is designed to be stored and reheated later, so…

I think my main suggestion would be that, if it doesn’t exist already, having a central website or something where all these options are listed and maybe even categorized by price, geographic area, and maybe even by whether the restaurant is open daily or not.


I’m pick up only, and at the lower end of the price spectrum, and am doing my best to be empathetic and kind whenever possible. I’m also working a high pressure, no expectations of success type of job, and it’s very likely my place of business will have salary cuts and lay offs starting July 1. When I look at the small restaurant set ups, I realize they are probably living under the same horizon. I

I’ve gotten food to go in quantities that are meant to be eaten over months in your home, and single serving meals from an estimated 10 places of business. Of those, I would say 10-15% was mindful of COVID level sanitation.

The business that had no contact, pre-paid only was clearly overwhelmed, and the proprietor yelled at the line of customers for assembling in the wrong area (but they voluntarily were spaced out). I don’t love what I got, and don’t know if I’ll make an effort to return as the safer at home restrictions are changed.

The most memorable experience was at a taco table hat with a proprietor who wore a face mask that was clearly one cup on a padded, lacy bra. That place’s COVID sanitation was probably a C, but the really annoying part was an obnoxious unmasked customer who was standing around eating his food, and making frequent trips back to the serving areas for more helpings of radishes, salsa, etc.


I will not be ordering alcohol again from DoorDash. Saturday the guy just handed me my bottle of Lambrusco. Last night I ordered delivery of Lambrusco from Eataly (by the way nowhere as good as the Lambrusco from Ronan that I had Saturday - the Ronan Lambrusco was a few dollars more and vastly superior) and apparently now DoorDash is insisting that the dasher scan your driver’s license (even though I am clearly over 21).

So the dasher arrives on my doorstep, maskless, gloveless and wants to scan my drivers’ license. He asks me to hold it up and tries to scan it, but I guess he has to be in your face to scan it and his handheld device would not take the scan. So he asks me to hand my drivers’ license to him and I said I would rather not. I ended up putting the license down on the ground and he stooped down and scanned it.

I most definitely will not be ordering alcohol again through DoorDash.

Maybe related to this:

Depending on the state/local licensing requirements, this may become routine.


Not sure if there is a BevMo near you, but they are only doing online prepaid orders. You wait at the door, and a masked, gloved employee brings it to you.


Hi-Time Cellars in Newport and The Wine Country in Signal Hill are also offering online or phone orders with curbside pick-up. Or hit up your favorite wineries when this heat wave is over.


Hi-Time is also teamed with the Drizly app, or at least they used to be.

I think curbside pickup is best, especially with the heat we are having. Today I got a case of wine I ordered last week from New York. On the positive side, FedEx just dropped it on my door – didn’t even ring the bell. There was no indication that it was wine and I’m pretty sure the wine shop broke the rules and didn’t declare the shipment to FedEx as wine.

I was happy to not have to sign for the wine. However, if I had realized we were going to be having another heat wave, I never would have ordered the wine, as the first bottle I opened is definitely “cooked.” I followed my shipment on FedEx and it went through New Mexico where it was extremely hot and yesterday it was in Riverside County (where I think it has been in the '90’s) and this morning it was in the San Fernando Valley. I should have known better. In this weather, I wouldn’t even order delivery from Hi Time Cellars, where I have gotten wine in the past. It only takes an hour or two for a wine to cook in a non-temperature controlled vehicle during hot weather.

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Yep, I call first to see if a place delivers direct, but my best and only 3rd party delivery experiences (Ronan, Sugarfish, Iki Ramen, Guisadsos, Howlin’ Ray’s!) have been thru Postmates - free delivery on $20+, food arrives in a decent amount of time, packed neatly, good instructions, nothing forgotten, cold is cold, hot is hot, deliverers are no contact, masked & gloved, and they credit immediately if there’s a problem. Note: Ronan smartly inserts a note with a Venmo address to tip staff directly. All restaurants using 3rd party should do this.

Unfortunately, our worst delivery experiences have been direct, no 3rd party - kinda hit, mostly miss. With the exception of Jun Won - fast, efficient, friendly, hot is hot, cold is cold, packaged neatly, quick hand-off.

Our best Curbside have been:

Chaumont - not curbside, but no need to call ahead, good parking, wait your turn at the door, pretty empty, efficient, super clean, friendly. It’s been the easiest.

Antico - walkup window, one customer at a time, organized, separate baskets for sanitized pens & used pens, really friendly, hot is hot, cold is cold.

Bludso’s - call it in, pay ahead, food is bagged and put on a takeout table without hand to hand contact.

Chicken Shack (Hermosa) - same thing, call it in, pay ahead, pickup without hand contact.

PizzaRev - Mid City (now closed :cry:) - same as above, with separate pickup table, plus they offered beer & wine. It’s a fast-casual chain but we liked their crispy, thin crust pizza w/organic tomato sauce. I hope they comeback.

Clementine (Century City) - they’ve always offered call & pay ahead, with real curbside to your car service. There’s a kiosk usually in the back parking lot, but now in the front.

Bulgarini - Leo was Leo, but it was great seeing him and eating his food & gelato! :hearts:

We’re ordering Chef Sugishita’s Chirashi & hopefully something from Aburiya Raku for Saturday date night.

To be continued…


Curious, I’ve seen mention of newer, smaller, 3rd party delivery services that don’t gouge the restaurants as much. What are the names? Has anybody used them and had good experiences? Thanks!

It is. Postmates also requires ID. It’s totally understandable, but the scanners are wonky and takes several tries. I don’t mind them touching my card - that’s what alcohol wipes and hand washing is for, but standing in close proximity while the deliverer fiddles with my card is not good.

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I’m highly impressed that you are in possession of alcohol wipes! I have not been able to procure any. So I don’t like touching anything.


I think you are referring to ChowNow. I used them once for a delivery from Pizzana. The delivery was fine, but I think all my deliveries have been hit or miss. Some of my deliveries from DoorDash or Postmates have been fine, and others less so.

I haven’t returned to ChowNow because the interface is cumbersome and they don’t have a very good selection of restaurants. Also some restaurants only offer pickup through ChowNow and not delivery.

I stopped using Postmates years ago because the interface sucked. After hearing @TheCookie’s positive review of Postmates I went back to the app and saw that since I last used it some 4 years ago, the app had greatly improved.

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To use ChowNow restaurants pay a monthly fee rather than commissions on every order.


Places where I have been able to call ahead, give my cc info, then call when I get there and have them put it in my trunk (aka what I believe to be best practice):

  • Pasjoli
  • Dialogue
  • Cassia
  • Milo & Olive
  • Santa Monica Seafood

There was really only one time where I have really felt nervous, and that was picking up at Jon & Vinny’s. This was a product of them being popular, as they still had the good practice of having a table out front that they put the food on for you to take, but with their popularity, there were a bunch of people waiting to pick up orders on the sidewalk on San Vicente (they leave their back entrance exclusively for DoorDash personnel). Combine that with San Vicente being a relatively high-traffic street as it is, and it just didn’t feel as comfortable as other pickup experiences. I haven’t been back, as much as I love their fusilli.


Add Kiriko to the list. Even better, you don’t even have to call when you get there because they haven’t been that busy and they work with the door open, so you can just pull up in front and wave from your car and they will spot you and bring out your order. Plus they are such nice people and the quintessential small business, so it feels good to support them, and they are offering quality sushi at bargain basement prices during the pandemic (and damn good homemade ice cream as well).


Clementine, California Chicken Cafe, and Mendocino Farms are also doing this. At California Chicken Cafe and Clementine, you don’t even need to call when you arrive (they have some limited reserved parking out front and are monitoring).

Tender Greens says that they will do this, but, when I arrived 10 mins b/f closing, they had apparently shut off their phone and whatever machine gets texts (the phone VM specifically instructed to leave a text). Rrr… They have new bowl options, and the California bowl was quite nice.

Just had Clementine’s tinga de pollo today. Quite tasty, a good portion for the price (1 pint for $11), and a nice spicy kick.