What would you like to see food wise that does not exist in L.A?

You also paid 130 for that Mexican food before drinks… Anyways, LA has by far the best Mexican in the country. To have Tireshop Taqueria, Chichen Itza, and Super Tortas DF within ten minutes of each other is just ridiculously unfair. And places like Taco Maria and Broken Spanish… Ya, we got that good.

LA Thai could be the best Thai food in the world. I’ve met a handful of Thais who think the Thai in LA is better than the Thai in Thailand because of ingredient quality. LA also is remarkable in that it has so many different regions of Thailand represented. You’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant in Bangkok that does southern Thai as good as luv2eat or Jitlada (when they are on.) Let’s please not make this a Jitlada debate :wink:

I saw Jonathan Gold speak about a month ago and he said something interesting. In cities like New York, where different types of people mingle everywhere across the city, restaurants end up catering somewhat to the general population instead of specific nationalities. In LA, everything is so neighborhood-based that people literally are just cooking for their own nationality. For instance, nobody in K-Town is cooking for white people. Thais are making boat noodles simply for themselves because there are so many Thais that their restaurant could in theory survive on Thai patrons alone. Those interested in food can reap these benefits because we get exactly what the Thais are cooking for themselves. Blood and lemongrass and fishballs, etc.

To answer your question, LA is obviously the best in Korean, Chinese, and probably Japanese, though NY may possibly edge us on some higher end Japanese stuff?

I think LA is not great on Spanish or Greek.Scandinavian maybe? It also lacks a lot of more regional French cuisine. As Aesthete mentions, there are no Lyonnais restaurants. Are there any southern French spots?

Probably not the best on Caribbean food. (I don’t think we are missing a ton there though)

Our African scene is a bit underrepresented, though the Ethiopian game is on point.

But I’m nitpicking. It’s a real joy to eat in this city.


I don’t know if price should be factored into whether a food is the best?

Californios serves 17 courses for $124.89, $7.34/course. Taco Maria is serving 4 for $90.30, or $22.57/course. That’s THREE TIMES the price.

If you extended TM’s pricing to Californios they would be charging $383.78.

Properly contextualized, I would say that Californios remains a ridiculous bargain.

Not saying that I think their singular existence makes SF better overall in Mexican, but it would be absolutely ridiculous to insult them over their prices since Taco Maria down here is charging far more by margin.

Polish and Hungarian.

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Fuck, this is so true it hurts.

I have no idea how LA lacks great perogis…sigh

Would love polish food in LA. Photos from my trip to Sokolowski’s in Cleveland last week…best pirogues ever. $11 for complete meal!

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The same can be said about vietnamese food.

@Aesthete How long does a meal @ Californios last? I see that they’re open at 5:30, would I be able to bang out a meal when they open and get back to SFO by 8? That’s like a course every 6 minutes lol

Cuban food. There’s nothing even close to the quality you can find in South Florida or even in NYC.

Your course math is remarkably flawed because Taco Maria is serving far bigger portions. If TM served 17 courses you would not have to eat for a week. Regardless, I guess I can’t judge Californios until I’m up there, but if TM was serving bite sized courses instead of massive amounts of steak or crab, they could do lots of courses.

Isn’t this a repost of our old Chowhound thread on the very same subject that spawned hundreds of replies? LOL.

Then again our old board is dead, so maybe we need this thread again here.


Not true. Bella Cuba in OC is as good as La Carretta and Versailles Miami for the garlic chicken, ropa vieja, the rabo, and arroz con pollo. Rice and beans are also well flavored. No masitas de puerco though.

If you said Puerto Rican I’d agree with you.

And NYC high end sushi is better than LA high end sushi. Cheaper too believe it or not.

I’m convinced anyone that says LA sushi beats NYC sushi hands down just hasn’t had sushi in NYC.

I’ve yet to find really great Spanish food in LA.

The course size differences are not nearly as different as you are making them out to be actually, haha.

But I don’t see how that matters exactly. The difficulty in cooking 17 different dishes composed of many different ingredients far exceeds cooking 4 dishes, even if the portions are larger in the 4 dishes…that’s an uncontroversial claim, isn’t it? The eating experience is also greatly enhanced by eating 17 things that are remarkable in different ways, but in smaller portions, than eating 4 things (assuming quality is equal)?

A dinner at Californios is meant to last about 3.5 hours.

A meal at Taco Maria is meant to last maybe 1.5 hours.

Perhaps breaking down cost by time makes it clear and is more fair?

You pay about $35/hour for Californios experience, versus $60/hour at Taco Maria.

If all you look at is the final amount on a check without any other factor at all taken into consideration, then I would say that Tire Shop Taqueria must be the best Mexican restaurant in the nation. For a final bill of about $5 you can have a stunning Mexican experience. If the only factor someone cares about is that final amount I don’t see how that could possibly be beaten? Possibly by a $3.15 bean and cheese with red sauce at Lupe’s #2?

I personally feel that is a very weird way of evaluating the “best” of a cuisine. The difference in price we’re talking about is also, in absolute terms, $34. That seems like almost nothing…it’s not as if one place is 2 or 3 times the price of the other place.

I am a very large fan of TM (the Californios crew all are as well btw). But I think perhaps we’re striving a bit too much to make it out to be better than it is to make ourselves feel better in some ways or something by dismissing Californios. There is absolutely no need for that. It is beyond clear that in terms of every other element of Mexican food, LA is so far ahead of the rest of the country that it makes no sense. The only possibility I can think of is maybe SD has more unexplored places, but for some reason it seems like LA has far more variety to it. As you said, the fact that Chichen Itza, Tire Shop Taqueria, and Super Tortas DF are almost within walking distance of each other is insane. And that does not exhaust the limits of that neighborhood. Given the tidal force of the Mexican street scene in LA (and even the mid-range of modern Mexican via Corazon y Miel, Broken Spanish, Guerilla Tacos, etc…) there is no possible way to view any other city as even coming close holistically. It is a seeming anomaly that the best high-end, luxury Mexican appears to exist in SF. Given all of the other absolute treasures in LA, and the insane affordability of all of those treasures, which enable Angelinos of all walks of life to eat them every day, I think conceding the singular category to SF (and also having the number 2 spot in the nation in the same category) is allowable. There is no reason to attack a place that is part of the same ethos that fuels LA just to feel marginally better about the city’s cuisine. Californios prowess doesn’t detract from LA’s insane levels of Mexican excellence in any way as far as I can tell.

What I hope is that Californios pioneering will open of TM’s eyes to greater possibilities, and push them into new territory. The future is yet to be written after all.

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Totally agree on Bella Cuba. Especially on the garlic chicken and arroz con pollo. The vaca frita and lechon asado (pork version of the garlic chicken) are also winners. I would not recommend the Cuban sandwich here (not horrible, but not great), but everything else I’ve had here is great.

I’ve heard that Moros in La Habra is also very good, but I haven’t tried it yet.

I’ve never heard of it. That being said, the thread is titled “LA” and you’re talking about OC. Speaking for myself, the OC is a world away as a dining destination and somewhere I rarely go. I’ll add it to my list though if ever feel like driving 55 miles for Cuban food.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Aesthete, to say a place is more expensive and say it has less food per course is not an attack, it is an observation. An attack would be this, “Californios sucks.”

As I said, I can’t actually judge Californios until I’m up there, but I appreciate your passionate defense. I think 17 courses versus 4 is a matter of preference. Lots of three Michelin stars in France will only serve six or seven legit courses. Perhaps that’s because there is something pleasurable in being able to have more than three bites of a dish? But yes, hopefully Californios pushes Taco Maria to greater heights, regardless of the number of courses.

And does Tire Shop Taqueria even have checks? :smile: As of yesterday, they do not. And would it be criminal to suggest that perhaps the mulita is the star dish there?

If you’re driving 55 miles to get to Santa Ana, I doubt you’re in LA to begin with! :wink:

  1. Now you have :wink:

  2. Pretty sure the LA board encompasses OC.

  3. It’s a lot closer than Miami and NYC isn’t it?

Pizza. I know, I know… it’s a dead horse. But hear me out:

Chicago has Chicago pizza, of which you can find at least a couple of worthy examples out here.
NYC has the NYC slice, of which you can find at least a couple of worthy examples out here.

But where is the utility L.A. pizza? Why is everyplace I go that isn’t hyper-focused on a specific non-LA type pizza (say, the several good-to-excellent fancy neopolitan places…) serving stuff that’s BARELY a cut above Dominos?

Sorry dude, there is no way LA lacks pizza.