Last Thursday in the L.A. times new area guide called "the guide" there was this great article by staff writer By Elina Shatkin. In it she asked the opinion of some beat cops and detectives what where there local favorites. A MUST READ if you are a foodie interested in the south bay and east L.A. area.
For directions see the GOOGLE map links in the article.
The list East L.A.
1. Chapala Bakery Montebello
Amazing coffee and even more amazing sweet bread tucked deep inside an unsuspecting strip mall.(Same strip mall as the Little Elephant 2427 W.Whittier Blvd. Montebello, 323 720-1225)
2. Chroni's Famous Sandwich Shop East L.A.
Old-time hot dogs that can stand up to the city's heavyweights (watch out, Pink's). Change it up with a tasty pastrami sandwich like the East Coasters order. ( My #1 hot dog stand in L.A.)
3. Ciro's Restaurant East L.A.
Known for its avocado salsa and its flavorful burritos filled with tender, perfectly cooked meat.
4. King Taco East L.A.
The king of local taco chains, this particular outpost has the virtue of being open 24/7.
5. Little Elephant Montebello
Also called Changnoy, this nondescript Thai restaurant is hidden in the back of a strip mall. But don't let the barren surroundings fool you -- the heaping lunch specials and yummy <em>pad thai</em> make up for the restaurant's shabby surroundings.
6. Lolita's Tamales East L.A.
One of East L.A.'s best tamale joints as evidenced by the lines that often stretch out the door.
7. Manuel's El Tepeyac East L.A.
So good, you'd think your abuelita(grandmother) made it herself.
8. Nick's Paradise Cafe Montebello
A surprising mix of coffee shop fare along with hefty kebabs, feta and sweet baklava. Owner Nick Begakis dishes out a fusion of Greek and Mexican food and claims to serve the best gyros in Montebello. (my two cents: a long time ago in a galaxy far away this used to be a joint called Bills Paradise cafe which made an amazing hamburger burrito and four finger dog sandwich.)
9. Sandra's & Lolita's Tamales
East L.A. is filled with tamale joints, but this is one of the better spots. Just ask patrons braving the long lines what these tamales are worth.
10. Steven's Steak & Seafood House Commerce
Host to a variety of banquets and special events in the Commerce area, the restaurant offers a variety of steakhouse favorites, including prime rib -- better known here as "Big Jim's Special." Stick around after dinner for when the restaurant hosts one of the hottest salsa nights in L.A.
11. Tequila's Bar & Grill East L.A.
A frequent venue for official (and not-so-official) events for sheriff's deputies working out of the nearby East L.A. station. (Next door to the Pep Boys on the corner of Atlantic Blvd. and Pomona.)
12. Tamales Lilianas East L.A.
On a budget but hungry for homestyle Mexican cooking? You'll want to stop at Lilianas, where the fluffy and moist tamales are divine. The <em>chilaquiles</em> -- sliced tortilla strips that are fried then smothered in green sauce -- and the unusual Zacatecas-style peanut mole also draw a crowd.
13. Teresita's Restaurant East L.A.
Exceptionally well-prepared Mexican food served to politicos, police and neighborhood folks. Specialties: chicken albondigas soup, pork ribs in chile negro, chilaquiles (fried tortilla chips in chile sauce).
In the South bay
1. Acosta Taco Inglewood
This divey looking taco stand on an even divier stretch of Imperial Highway doesn't look promising, but it dishes out some of the best carne asada you could hope for.
2. Al-Watan Halal Restaurant Hawthorne
Though it looks like a dump from the outside, Al-Watan is legendary among SoCal foodies for its outstanding Pakistani cuisine. Halal dishes served in elegant setting.
Al-Watan Halal Restaurant
3. B & R's Old Fashion Burgers Hawthorne
Opened in 1994 by Richard and Norma Hood (and named after their two sons), B&R's serves big, juicy, high-quality, hand-formed burger patties.
4. Bad 2 Da Bone B-B-Q Inglewood
Just down the street from LAX, these St. Louis style ribs have a spicy outer crust and meat that melts right off the bone. Take out only.
5. Carniceria Los Tapatios Inglewood
Mexican-style meat market filled with raw meat for grilling or BBQing, complete with tangy marinades. Order rice and beans that can be prepared on the spot or cooked at home.
6. Chips Restaurant Hawthorne
This vintage diner with the futuristic theme (in a 1950s sort of way) has been dishing out breakfasts, burgers, sandwiches, soups, steaks and other classic American fare since 1957.
7. Don Rogelio's Restaurant Inglewood
Don Rogelio's bills itself as a Tex-Mex restaurant, but thankfully it serves food that's much better and more authentic than that phrase generally suggests.
Don Rogelio's Restaurant
8. El Pollo Inka Lawndale
This is the original El Pollo Inka, specializing in pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken) and lomo saltado sautéed with tomatoes, onions and French fries.
El Pollo Inka
9. Foster's Freeze Hawthorne
A California tradition, this is the hamburger stand referred to in the Beach Boys classic "Fun, Fun, Fun" -- and they keep the tradition alive with cruise nights.
10. Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop Gardena
Come for the bowling, stay for the food. Better yet, just come for the legendary Hawaiian food. Loyal customers (and there are a lot of them) love the mouthwatering sausage and crunchy tempura plate.
11. La Feria Inglewood
Beneath the roar of airplanes flying into LAX, you can have fairly authentic Baja-style Mexican food. Well known and loved by locals.
12. Lennox Pollo Inglewood
Steaming rotisserie chicken is served through the window of a house.
13. Licha's Restaurant Hawthorne
Beautifully presented Mexican food in a small, family-owned restaurant. Handmade tortillas and other authentic delicacies make this a great Latin alternative.
14. Little Asia Chinese Restaurant Hawthorne
Another one of Hawthorne's hidden gems. This is some of the best Americanized Chinese food in the South Bay if not all of Los Angeles.
Little Asia Chinese Restaurant
15. Mel'O Burgers Inglewood
Legendary milkshakes with over 30 flavor combinations. Open 24 hours, customers come for the chili cheese fries and stay for the avocado bacon cheeseburgers.
16. Pazzo Pizzeria Torrance
Their spicy chicken and gourmet shrimp pizzas are the stuff of south bay legend.
17. Pho Hoa Restaurant Hawthorne
Considered by many to serve the best pho in the Hawthorne.
18. Pupuseria El Cerro Verde Hawthorne
The self-professed most authentic Salvadoran restaurant in L.A. offers everything from savory pupusas and sopa de res to steaming tamales and tasty rellenos.
19. Raul's Casa Sombrero Mexican Restaurant Hawthorne
A small restaurant with a giant burrito. You'll find yummy Mexican food that's easy on the wallet and the taste buds.
20. Rib Nest Gardena
Locals love the spicy barbecue sauce and mighty beef ribs. The meat is so tender it nearly falls off the bone.
21. Rizzo's Pizzeria Torrance
This family-run pizza and Italian joint is known for its delicious breadsticks (coated in butter and parmesan) and its fresh, hand-tossed pizzas.
22. Rosy's Bakery & Cuban Cafe Hawthorne
This cafe is beloved by the South Bay's growing ex-pat Cuban community for its authentic cuisine and friendly atmosphere.
23. Shafaa Halal Restaurant and Market Hawthorne
This Turkish Middle Eastern gem started out as a market and over the years has expanded into a top-notch restaurant serving creamy hummus, crunchy falafel and savory skewers.
24. Sapori Italian Restaurant Hawthorne
A small place filled with big flavor, this hole-in-the-wall is only a year old but already has loyal customers who swear by the meatball sandwiches and homemade lasagna.
25. A Taste of Jamaica Gardena
The menu features a variety of Jamaican and Caribbean classics including curry goat, ackee and salt fish, oxtails, beef short ribs, cow foot soup, jerk chicken and fried plantains.
26. Varadero Cuban Cafe Hawthorne
Great selection of Cuban sandwiches and entrees along with homemade pastries and breads. Located in a nondescript strip mall, this restaurant packs in the flavor.