Below under the Campanile thread, someone mentioned restaurants that would be missed if the person ever moved away from LA. Well, we did just that four years ago -- we moved to New Orleans which is supposed to be a food lovers' paradise, but that charm wore off after about three weeks of eating "traditional New Orleans food" (mostly fried and/or heavily sauced), and we began to miss LA restaurants.
Last summer we spent a week in LA, and here are some of the restaurants that we visited because we miss them so: Mandarin Deli, Samanluang, Killer Shrimp, Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles, Tommy's, El Tepeyac, El Rancho, Empress Pavillion, The Hat, Angeli, Versailles. Oh, it was a good week (although my husband was disappointed that Chili John's was in its summer hiatus). All of our first choices were still in business and none disappointed us.
We did try to visit Campanile for grilled cheese night, but couldn't get a reservation.
In case you are wondering, as people here always do, why we moved from Los Angeles to New Orleans, the following is my husband's stock answer: "Insanity comes to mind." Followed by, "this is a lesson to be learned: never make major life decisions while drinking margaritas in a Mexican restaurant." Moving to New Orleans "for awhile" seemed like a good idea at the time. It was a major culture shock. It is a wonderful vacation destination, however.