LA Casita Mexicana

 4030 Gage Ave
Bell, CA

Incredibly Complex and Delicous Guadalajaran Cuisine

We are used to burritos, tacos, and quesadillas as typical Mexican food. Now we are more aware of Oaxacan moles. La Casita Mexicana showcases and serves food from the Guadalajaran region of Mexico. I really had a duh moment when I realized I hadn’t thought of Mexico as a huge country with regional differences. I was surprised at the subtle, complex, fresh, light, and delicate but very familiar taste of the cuisine served in this restaurant.

I usually stay away from Mexican food if I’m trying to eat healthy but I realize that this food is fresh and much of it is also healthy. I immediately fell in love with the fresh nutty taste of the sauces and moles that reminded me of my Korean grandmothers home ground meals and beans. The fragrant herbs and vegetables in their salsa are enticing in its strong just picked aroma and flavor. I’ve eaten many dishes there and there are dishes for every taste.

Chili En Nogada at LA Casita Mexicana

Chili En Nogada

This dish is a painting of green chile poblano, creamy white pecan sauce, and bright jeweled scattering of pomegranate seeds. When you break the chile open, dark brown ground pork with dried fruits, walnuts, and candied cactus comes tumbling out. Everything in this dish is addictive and incredibly unusual and delicious.

Traditional Mole Poblano with Chicken at LA Casita Mexicana

Traditional Mole Poblano with Chicken

The sauce is dark and chocolatey velvet over tender chicken. It is an incredible combination of subtly sweet with juicy meat.

Churros at LA Casita Mexicana


Hot crunchy sugar coated churros. What more could you want? Wait, there’s a burst of hot creamy filling that makes it extra special. Mmmm try it with their Mexican coffee.

Aztec Cheese at LA Casita Mexicana

Aztec Cheese

How could you not enjoy a combination of various cheeses especially in the masterful hand of the chefs at La Casita? The four Mexican cheeses are melted all over mushrooms and herbs. Mmm

Divorced Chilaquiles at LA Casita Mexicana

Divorced Chilaquiles

All their chilaquiles are flavorful and crunchy. I liked all their sauces on the light hot chips. In this dish half of the tortillas is topped with salsa verde and the other with a red chili sauce.


Dan Sungsa

 3317 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA

Old Seoul style Korean Dive Pub in K-town

I really love this place because it reminds me of the old dive bars and pubs in Seoul that my uncles and aunts used to take me to as a child. I usually tagged along to whatever they were doing and enjoyed sips of soju, beer, or makkuli (creamy unfiltered rice wine) here and there with salty anju (bar snacks) and drinking foods. I miss those carefree days.

It is a dark, drafty, and a creaky wooden place that is like an indoor pojangmacha (drinks and foods street food stall). There are dark wooden tables and wooden benches in partially screened booths that ring the wall with a grill in the middle and a kitchen in the back.

The grill in the middle is (wo)manned by ajummas(older korean ladies) who grill all types of meats and seafood.
They grill chicken butt, octopus, frog legs, scallops, nuts, pork, beef, and many other types of edibles.

The have a long list of all types of dishes on a wooden block menu to accompany drinks that include tasty spicy sweet tokkbokki and fish cakes (spicy rice cakes) or with ramen noodles, Rabbokki,; dumbell shaped seaweed rolls (glass noodles fried in dough and seaweed wrap) which are delicious and crunchy; tasty mild blood sausage both steamed and fried(with seasoned glass noodles); tender fried sliced egg rolls; raw snails in spicy vinegary salad; golden seafood pancake with soy sauce; raw tofu topped with fresh seasoned spicy greens; delicious spicy pork ribs; and many other dishes that are just perfect for Hite beer, soju, and makkoli(unfiltered rice wine). Someone told me the makkoli tasted of bananas and someone else said it reminded them of agave.

Everything is pretty much between $7 – $13. The grills are about $3 a serving. When a big groups goes and eats to their hearts’ content it usually is under $20 per person.


Phong Dinh Restaurant

 2643 San Gabriel Blvd
Rosemead, CA

Phong Dinh Dining will Educate You

I will go back to Phong Dinh for the delicious long-baked cat fish wrap with basil, pickled carrots and radishes, and drizzled with the special sauce. I enjoyed the wrap making process though dunking the stiff rice paper in hot water was a little tricky. I would give this dish 4+ stars. I would also go back for the funny/quirky friendly service we received from the waiter and the owner.

I was very excited to be invited to try a variety of dishes that comprised of alligator, venison, boar, snake, kangaroo, plus other more familiar dishes. I haven’t had many of the more exotic meats before so I can’t compare the taste to other places but I enjoyed every new dish for its newness no matter if I liked the dish or not.

It was also surprising that many of the dishes tasted more Chinese than Vietnamese in some of its sauces. But all in all it was a meal that I really enjoyed for its variety and for the chance to try dishes that I normally wouldn’t eat.

In no particular order:
The ground snake looked like dolmas when it came out stuffed in black Lot leaves. The taste was unusual and hard to describe. It had a harsh gamey and oily but dry flavor that lay beneath the smokey taste of the leaf wrap that was not very appetizing for me.

People said the alligator with lemon grass, wood ears and water chestnut served with whole sesame rice cracker tasted like frog’s legs and they were tender and rather tasty.

The boar had a strong taste like lamb or other stronger meats in a yellow Thai style curry sauce. Not bad.

The kangaroo came to the table in a fiery blaze that made it very very festive. The taste however wasn’t very appealing to me which could be due to my unfamiliarity with this meat or to the rather sour wine marinade. But it had the nice look and texture of beef.

The slightly spicy venison was delicious and not gamey at all. It was one of my favorite dishes of the whole meal.

The manila clams were of course delicious in what tasted like lobster sauce.

The water spinach and bok choy were cooked to perfection and just right for the meat heavy meal.

The shrimp and pig ear salad would have been better for me without the pig’s ear. But otherwise very good with carrots, peanuts, bean sprouts, cabbage, and jelly fish.

The Agar agar hard gelatine dessert with coconut milk and pandan leaf was very refreshing after the heavy dishes.



 9405 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA

Imagawa-yaki Beverly Hills is Delicious Good Value

There’s a good priced, cute, and really good Japanese street food joint in Beverly Hills. I am praying that they will expand to the octopus balls(takoyaki) with the grinning giant spinning neon bright octopus eagerly roasting its own kind out in front of the store. But I expect this part of my vision won’t be ‘fulfilled’ sigh

Ima(e-ma) is a street food composed of subtly sweet, eggy, and custurdy pale yellow batter with traditionally sweet filling. Fulfilled has created more creative and delicious fusion savory and sweet stuffings for the middle.

The savory imas I tasted are Green Ninja, Spicy Samurai, and Sumo Italiano. Yes, they have creative names for their imas. The Green Ninja is vegetarian with spinach, feta, and sundried tomatoes. It tastes like a spanokopita(greek spinach pie) with a custardy or wafflelike outside rather than the phylo dough. It tastes pretty good and would be a solid lunch choice.

The Sumo Italiano with prociutto di parma, smoked ham, age parmesan, and fresh basil was tasty as well but tasted mostly of ham. But the Spicy Samurai with chicken apple sausage, pepper jack cheese, fresh cilantro, and green chili was complex, spicy, and delicious. My savory favorite.

The sweet imas were all delicious but I especially liked the Sweet Geisha with azuki beans that was sweet, creamy, and gooey and went very well with the tender chewy outside. Harajuku Monkey, simply banana and nutella were perfect complement to the batter and very tasty. Karaoke Kitty with strawberry, cream cheese, white ghirardelli chocolate, and a dusting of powdered sugar was a drippy mix of fruity strawberry and chocolate cheese. It was unusual but very very irresistible. Their Azuki Green Tea Honey Latte was subtle and satisfying. It tasted like a cross between a grain drink and green tea with just the right amount of honey.

It is a small glittering modern jewel box of a simple street food palace that somehow complements the fusion style of the imas. You can appreciate the beautiful crystal drops in the ceiling with the crystal chandelier and the shiny floor and the sleek contemporary asian fusion style of the store while enjoying the creamy and artistic creations in your mouth. Oh, and the seating is also very minimal with ends of smooth logs as seating. The imas are all $2.75 except for Sweet Geish which is $1.75.


Aroma Bakery and Cafe

 7373 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Israeli Vibe and Food - Good and Bad

There are way too many places named Aroma something in Los Angeles and just be careful to look at the description and address before assuming it is the Aroma you are looking for. Instead of a restaurant, it could turn out to be a pet store.

This Aroma is a big Israeli cafe bakery that started in Encino and is still enormously popular amongst the Israelis. They wait in line to get in and lounge and relax in the comfortable patio in the parking lot that somehow feels relaxing. You do feel that you are in a different country.

They serve vegetarian, fish, and dairy but no meat at this location. Even though the food is tasty, I went infrequently because it felt limited to too many ’bready" items(pizza, bagels, pasta, zataar bread, etc…), some selections of salad, and indifferent fish.

The new Aroma that opened in Hollywood a few months ago has less of an Israeli feel because there seems to be less Israeli customers and even staff but it is a good replica of the original in Encino. There have been complaints of rude servers but I’ve been there with Israeli friends and have always been treated very well. I haven’t gone by myself or with non-Israelis. The restaurant itself it big and bright with a bakery display case. The outside seating still feels more indoors with the covering and the whole place feels comfortable yet trendy. It is also open late so perfect for the late nighters.

Israeli food is mostly a mix of Mediterranean, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern food since people came from all over the world to live in Israel. This cafe reflects the mix of cultures including touches of Asian and Mexican with an offering of fresh chopped salads with hot crispy fried halomi(Israeli goat cheese) or crispy fried eggplant avocado rolls on top; pressed sandwiches with vegetables and cheese; sea bass skewers; couscous; salmon filled phyllo dough; Ahi tuna tortilla with carrots, avocado, and cucumbers; matzoh ball soup; Asian noodle salad; burekas (pastry stuffed with all types of filling); and soups and much more on the newer menu.

I haven’t tried any of the beef and chicken dishes because there are so many other delicious meatless dishes and they make huge flavorful and many ingredient salads that I love to eat there. I am also a little scared of eating meat in a place that specializes in veggies and fish.

One dish no one liked was a salmon fillet with fingerling potatoes and bbq vegetables were just eh. Potatoes were cool and hard and the fillet was tiny, crusty, cool, and bland. The bbq vegetables were pretty good since they tend to do vegetables well. But the Boulevard salad and other non meat items such as Jerusalem Bagel toasts were tasty and fresh. Zaatar(flat thin bread with seasoning and herb spread on top) was too crunchy and hard but the soft cheese Labane was tart and flavorful.

Their desserts in general are strongly flavored, rich, and pretty tasty but everyone really loved the 3 small souffle with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on the side. The souffles are vanilla, chocolate, and halva flavored and very very rich, creamy, decadent, without being overwhelming or cloying. The halva is a unique taste and very good. They used to do one big souffle and now the smaller 3 takes it to dessert heaven level. They also serve strong coffees and espressos that go well with the dessert and aromatic fresh mint tea. They also serve limo nana made with freshly ground mint leaves, refreshing and different. There are many drink options including shakes. They have paid valet parking.


Myung Dong KyoJa

 3630 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Roomy Palace of Fresh Noodles and Garlicky Spicy Kimchee

Don’t expect any special focus on customer service from the waitstaff here. They will respond to your needs efficiently and that’s all you should expect of them. You are there to enjoy their fresh hand cut green chlorella(green algae) noodles in chicken soup with pork gyoza or Kyoja, spicy noodles with or without skate wings, noodles in the whitest cold bean broth. The chlorella is like adding spinach to pasta.

The restaurant is big with pictures on white walls and rows of wooden tables and chairs usually full of diners slurping their noodles. It feels almost like eating at a canteen and just as loud except it’s nicer with big picture windows so you can see non-Koreans glancing in curiously to see what people are eating.

They also have steamed pork mandoo(dumpling), raw crabs, but some dishes are written up on the wall in Korean. It will be easier for everyone if there is a Korean speaker in the group but the menus are in English as well so you can point and order.

You may wish to go to eat there even if you have to order with your fingers if you love chewy fresh medium sized noodles in different dishes and red chilli and garlic laden spicy fresh kimchee. These are not fermented but crispy like kimjang kimchee(new and freshly spiced in fall). The steamed mandoo goes very well with the spiced dishes. Always make the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, vinegar, and chilli powder otherwise the mandoo is a little bland but the sauce will lift it to a different level.

The cold bean broth is almost milkshake thick and white from the pureed soybeans. Delicious and cool in summer but may be an acquired taste. They also have another cold soup in sort of fizzy cold meat broth.

This is a branch of a restaurant that is very popular in downtown Seoul.


Cafe Tropical

 2900 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Hot, Strong, Sweet, and Rich Cuban

Don’t go to this cafe if you get freaked out by old, creaky, and not so clean neighborhood dives. This is a rather dilapidated older purple building that that houses a basic cafe that serves Cuban sandwiches, strong cafe con leche and bitter espressos, and variety of good yet cheap cookies, pastries, and cakes in Silverlake. You’ll find something to like here. The bathroom is outside the cafe inside the little meeting house/room next door.

They offer medianoche (midnight sandwich) with shredded pork, ham, pickles, and cheese pressed into soft yellow? somewhat brioche like bread. I personally like the ham better but others like the shredded pork. The ham is solid and chewy with a nice smoky flavor and a nice contrast to the creamy cheese. They are encased in a soft shell of a bread that offers a chewy and soft texture that’s very slightly sweet. The pickle provides the subtle veggie crunch and tart counterpoint to all this gooeyness. I brushed out most of the shredded pork because it was too bland and mushy for me.

They offer turkey and cheese croissant, pork and cheese, ham and cheese sandwich, veggie sandwiche, salads, and more. Their cookies and pastries are gigantic, their guava cheese cake enclosed in flaky pastry crust is rich and satisfying.

I enjoy their strong hot creamy cafe con leche which they can make with full or 2% milk. This coffee balances the sweet and rich foods at the cafe and gives a jolt to the senses whether it is sniffed or sipped. It is a comfortable and relaxed place for people to read, chat, or just be introverted.

The owner is sweet and took over in 1995 because he wanted a comfortable neighborhood joint. He joked that he bought places that he hung out in himself.

Parking can be a pain but persevere and you’ll find something. Read the street cleaning signs carefully!!!


Daichan Kaiten-Sushi

 11301 W Olympic Blvd 2nd Fl
Los Angeles, CA

Comfortable and delicious kaiten(conveyor belt) sushi joint

Sigh I have to let the cat out of the bag now since everyone will see this place on Man vs Food when Adam Richman films there for his show all day this friday.

I am a huge sushi fan and love Hide sushi and Sushi Gen because they are good yet well priced. However, it can get pricey even at these places, so it’s Daichen Kaiten-Sushi near Westwood to the rescue when the craving hits for all types of creative rolls with lots of fish.

The restaurant itself is in an odd faux marble Persian mansion style mall with twisted staircases, big plants and lots of wasted space. I am surprised that they don’t house a bellydancing middle eastern hookah joint in the mall. Instead, it houses 2 japanese restaurants, go figure. But when you step into this place, it is a cheerful, clean, nicely lighted(not blindingly bright) place with friendly and very helpful staff. The sushi chefs are very friendly and accommodating. It’s even a good place for a date since it’s nicely decorated.

They have new rolls at times and so you will usually have new things to try. These are very well constructed rolls with good balance between the ingredients and usually with the right amount of fish and other seafood in balance with the rice. Surprisingly their $2.50 nigiri sushi(plain fish and rice) are usually as delicious which makes me wonder why I don’t go there more for nigiri. But I think Hide and Sushi Gen specialize more in this type of sushi and do it fresher and better.

They also have full menus of regular food such as teriyaki chicken and beef. They have fried items such soft shelled crabs and tango ball which are balls of fish, squid, and batter that is very popular. The tango balls are so scrumptious and light that I could eat plates of them but I don’t since there are many other dishes to try. Always make sure they are fresh! I didn’t like the soft shelled crabs as much, too greasy and bland.

They have all the array of the usual nigiri sushi including Uni(sea urchin) and a variety of rolls for all tastes. Their salmon skin hand roll is very well done with crispy salmon skins, I prefer it over the one at Sushi Gen.

One of the best part of this type of a restaurant is that you can sit and start eating without any pause. The chef told me that a couple ate $110 worth of food in 10 mins and that’s a lot of food there. But the plates do stack up without effort while you are there. This restaurant offers something for everyone and do it pretty well. It’s at Sushi Mac price range if you stick to yellow/blue/orange plates and there are also higher priced rolls available on the red and red/gold plates. Try to avoid the high volume time since you’ll have to wait longer for the sushi to come around and try to sit closer to the inside of the restaurant where the dishes come out. They have validated free parking.


O! Burger

 8593 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA

Organic! Burger & Eco Conscious

This is a small sleek and brightly colored organic burger joint that features low-VOC paint, reclaimed woods, and recyclable servingware. Their cheeseburger and veggie burger are delicious too. Try the O! Burger combo with a patty made from organic grass-fed beef, sautéed onions, and covered with homemade thousand island sauce. It comes with crinkle fries that are crispy and crunchy. The bread is a little crumbly but still fine. They have the delicious sweet chunky Date Shake, made with Aseel dates, chocolate, banana and low-fat, live culture yogurt.

They serve an all organic menu which includes turkey burger, hot dog, salads, as well as other items. They are a cool and hip not obnoxious neighborhood hangout that is easy to miss since it is in amongst small stores and starbucks. There’s 1 hr free validated parking around the corner in the parking lot.



 7290 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Neighborhood Ice Cream Parlour, cafe, and bakery

Milk is a casual yet good for people watching neighborhood hangout. When you step in, it feels somewhat sterile because of all the white paint and stainless steel. The high ceiling makes it feel less cosy but gives a very cool feeling in hot summer. It has a real dairy/ice cream parlor vibe.

They have many things but do most of it really well. It has good ice cream, ice cream treats, sorbet, and great cookies, cakes, and puddings. They also have good coffe and cuban sandwiches.

I love their butterscotch pudding, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate fudge cookies. Their tres leches cake isn’t too wet but very moist and rich and delicious. However, the blue velvet cake feels like it was dunked in moisture and was too mushy for me.

Their fudge sundae is a good bargain. I refuse to go to Mashti Malone’s because their portions are way too tiny for the price. They put little scoops of ice cream with fudge in a small container that sits comfortably in your hand and calls it a sundae and charges around $7.

At Milk, a large cold glass container is filled with 2 generous scoops of their ice cream with hot fudge, butterscotch, whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry top it off for less than $6. Their coffee ice cream is so yummy and strong that it can keep you up at night. They aslo have little good chocolate covered ice cream treats for .50.

I would have given it 5 stars if the seating was more comfortable with more indoor seating. Staff are usually friendly and helpful but it can get really crowded with staff getting confused and flustered. Parking is terrible in this area in the evening but before 6p there’s parking in the side alley of El Cayote parking. After 6, you are on your own and being speed racer to get to a parking space.

Showing entries 1 - 10 of 11
Click to view the interactive map
  • Remember your favorite restaurants by saving it to your personal dining journal.
  • Read and write reviews on individual dishes, and upload your food photos for all to see.
  • Interact with local foodies with comments and Menuism mail.
  • View top rated dishes and online restaurant menus (we're the web's largest menu aggregator).

Sign Up


Have a Menuism account? Sign in first to link it.

Print this page