After recent travels over the least year to Barcelona, Paris, NYC, SF, Nashville and others, I'm left wondering, where are the neighborhood joints in LA? I've seen versions of this thread before, but not recently. By joint, I mean smallish (anyone where from 5-10 tables? though this is arbitrary) neighborhood places that are operated by individuals with good to great food, and fun atmosphere (again an arbitrary term) and moderately priced. The type of place equally good for a weeknight or weekend, on a date or with friends in town.
I can think of many examples of these in other cities but I'm hard pressed here in LA. Is it just that I live in West Hollywood? I'm sure there are probably places in Venice or on the eastside but they don't immediately come to mind.
-Angelli Cafe & Lou before they closed would be good examples.
-Salt's Cure would maybe fit the bill, but it's a bit pricier than what I had in mind. Same for Son of a Gun & Animal. (Though about 5 years ago, one could eat at the bar at Animal very reasonably (couple apps, some house wine, cake for about $30-40, not sure if this is still true).)
-Night +Market does fit the bill, but in my arbitrary criteria I was thinking less culinarily adventurous. (Admittedly this is dumb and it should count)
-Vivoli may have counted once upon time in the wasteland that was Weho/Sunset in the early 2000s, but it's slipped a lot in recent years.
-There was briefly a place on LaBrea called GOAT (from the guy who owned Cobra's & Matadors), but it lasted all of 3 minutes.
-Cynthia's (god forbid and RIP) was a version of this.
-Papilles qualified when it first opened, less so since they raised their prices.
-Alma meets some of the criteria, but is now way too foodie/expensive.
-I haven't been but The Park in Echo Park would seem to foot the bill.
Bludso's on LaBrea maybe, though for factors other than the BBQ and it's a bit big. (Get the chicken, have a beer, and hang out - it's different than if you go expecting great Q).
-Covell sort of fits the bill, as does L&E, though again like Night & Market, I'm thinking a little more down the middle food wise.
Do they economics of LA simply not support places like this? IE, here you can have lots of space so what's a small neighborhood place in another city is BLD here, or your can open a "concept" high margin pizza/burger place that seats 80-100 and turns over, so why open a small place?
Do I need to get our more? Is it just West Hollywood and environs, or am I looking in the wrong place? Would love to hear what other people think. Is it just not an LA thing? Do we make up for it with all of the great tiny sushi places, thai restaurants, etc?
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