I'll be in town visiting friends and looking for suggestions for restaurants that are uniquely LA (or at least things we don't do well on the east coast). Our tastes run more to ethnic-hidden-gem than tourist-destination restaurants (although we're not afraid to spend more for really good food). We would be particularly grateful for suggestions in the sushi, asian cuisines, mexican categories. Here are the parameters.
1) Not too far of a drive from downtown LA for Thursday evening. (We have to pick someone up at the Amtrak station). Sushi would be great and this would be a meal where we'd be willing to spend some money for a really good meal. Ideally it would be a restaurant with or near a bar where we could kill some time if (when) the train is late.
2) We (three 30 something women) will be out either walking the beaches or doing some shopping during the day on Friday. As our plans are flexible, we are looking for recommendations for good spots for a leisurely lunch break that are near either beaches/shopping to help us narrow our destination.
3) Finally, we are staying near the Beverly Center - any recommendations for breakfast/brunch spots nearby, either of the greasy diner or trendy brunch variety?