Little Sister-DTLA/Manhattan Beach/Redondo Beach

Little Sister-DTLA/Manhattan Beach/Redondo Beach

What: Little Sister

Where: DTLA/Manhattan Beach/Redondo Beach

For: All Ages

One of my favorite restaurants to go for Southeast Asian cuisine (more Vietnamese centric, but still Asian-Fusion).  I had a restaurant a few blocks away from my office in DTLA, and I loved it so much that I had to take Ethan to the one in Manhattan Beach.

The Restaurant

The vibe of Little Sister is intimate and modern.  The lights are always down low, and there is a small dining area with tables and chairs.  A communal table that sits about twelve people is offered in the restaurant for guests that don’t mind sharing their seating area.  A bar area is available for guests to dine and drink on bar stools.  A full range of drinks are offered.

All of the dishes are made to be shared family-style.  There is a large amount of food that comes out on the plates, so I had to take food home almost every time.  The shaky shaky beef is a must have.  It’s perfectly cooked, has almost zero fat and the sauce is melt-in-your mouth delicious.  I personally love any type of the noodles.  You can check online for the menu that changes seasonally.

The Crowd

Little sister is a very popular restaurant, so it’s always smart to make a reservation.  The wait time can be up to an hour.  Patrons need to make sure that their entire party is present prior to being seated.  Reservations can be made online or by calling the restaurant.  Seating is very close together, so it’s harder to get around if you need to get up and go to the restroom.

Cost

The food is a little more expensive for dishes.  Expect to spend a minimum of $20-$25 per person here for lunch and $30 for dinner, not including drinks.  Keep in mind that there’s a 3% surcharge added onto the final bill.

Little Sister Information

Manhattan Beach: 1131 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 545-2096

DTLA: 523 W 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014

(213) 628-3146

Redondo Beach: 247 Avenida del Norte, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

(424) 398-0237

dinelittlesister.com

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Tony’s on the Pier-South Bay

Tony’s on the Pier-South Bay

What: Tony’s on the Pier

Where: Redondo Beach

For: All Ages/Ages 21+ at Night

Tony’s on the Pier (aka ‘Old Tony’s’) is a restaurant and bar that allows guests to have an amazing seafood meal while sitting on the Pacific Ocean.  I’ve been here a few times, once for the afterparty of a good friends’ wedding and once for a night out in Redondo Beach with Ethan.

The Restaurant

The restaurant is situated on the pier and has large glass windows overlooking the ocean.  It was especially nice that the décor of the restaurant was completely ocean themed.  There were lobster traps, fishing nets and various sea creatures lining the walls.  Tony’s is open for lunch and dinner, and menus are on the website.  We had a pre-fixed course with soup and entrees.  The chowder was amazing, and the clams were perfect.  I really enjoyed the way Tony’s cooked and seasoned their seafood.  It wasn’t too heavy so that we felt extremely full when I was finished, but it left us completely satisfied.

Top O’ Tony’s

If you walk up the stairs from the restaurant, there is a rooftop bar with live entertainment.  The rooftop offers a full bar and a small amount of seating for guests.  The bartenders were very kind and personable.  There was trail mix on each table for patrons to enjoy while sipping their cocktails.  The view of the Redondo Beach Harbor is best from the rooftop. Happy hour is offered during select dates and times (please check the website for specifics).  The live entertainment has always been a great addition to the bar.  Although the area is small, it felt very intimate with the musicians singing and playing their instruments close by.

The Crowd

The restaurant is open for all ages, with the rooftop bar reserved for ages 21 and over.  The crowd is quieter at Tony’s, with most guests coming to enjoy the live music and ambiance of the restaurant.  Parking for the restaurant is in a prepaid parking structure east of the pier.  Keep in mind that if you decide to take an Uber or Lyft to the Redondo Beach Pier, cell service becomes extremely spotty (no matter which network), so you’ll have a difficult time getting out.

Cost

Lunch costs about $20 per person, excluding drinks.  Dinner will run about $30 per person, again excluding drinks.  At the top bar, cocktails are about $12 each.  Since Tony’s is one of the few restaurants that overlooks the ocean, the price is definitely paid along with the location and quality of the food makes the restaurant and bar worth the price.

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Tony’s on the Pier Information

210 Fisherman’s Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

(310) 374-1442

oldtonys.com

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Kura Revolving Sushi Bar-Multiple Locations

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar-Multiple Locations

What: Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

Where: Multiple Locations

For: All Ages

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar is a novelty sushi bar that has a conveyor belt that delivers sushi directly to your table.  It’s completely automated and offers all types of foods to patrons.  Wait times can be up to 90 minutes in the South Bay Kura since it’s a fairly new restaurant.

The Restaurant

When you get into the restaurant, you have a panel next to your table that allows you to order.  The waitress only served to get us drinks and take away plates.  Various appetizers, sushi and chicken were offered on a conveyer belt that goes around the entire restaurant.  There is a small sign before each type of food so you knew what was being served on the plates.  Don’t worry if you don’t grab the plate you want when it first comes around!  There are many opportunities to grab the food.

Kura’s Ninja Cartoon that gives you a prize after consuming 15 plates.

If you don’t find something you want on the conveyor belt, you can use the order panel to choose what type of food you want.  You’ll hear a dinging sound when your food is ready, and an order belt brings your food directly to your table on a conveyor belt above the revolving sushi conveyor belt.

After you finish the food on your plate, there is a disposal slot on the side of each table that allows you to put your empty plate into.  The order panel keeps track of the number of plates you eat. Every five plates inserted, there is a small cartoon that plays a story on the order panel.  Skylar enjoyed the cartoon and kept telling us to eat more so we can win the cartoon.  Once guests eat and insert fifteen plates, you ‘win’ a prize.  The prize is in a small ball that comes out of a ‘prize shoot’ on top of the conveyor belts.  They are very cheap prizes, but Skylar thought it was amazing that she won anything at a restaurant.  When parties are finished eating, you can check out right at your table on your order panel.  The waitress brings you the check and you are on your way!  It’s one of the most fun and interesting restaurant experiences we have had.

The Food

The restaurant serves nigiri, sushi rolls (regular and baked), hand rolls, gunkan maki (sushi served in small cups), ramen and various appetizers.  There is also a variety of plates to choose from.  The sushi tasted very good and fresh.  We kept having to ask for more wasabi and ginger, but that was more of a wait staff issue than a restaurant issue.

Skylar isn’t much of a sushi eater, so we ordered ramen on the top belt for her.  Although she likes California Rolls, the ones at Kura are actual crab (she’s used to imitation crab)…meaning I ended up eating her entire roll.  I tried as much as I could, but the menu contains so many dishes that there are twelve pages to scroll through on the order panel.  We definitely need to come back to try more of the food offered.

The Crowd

There is a mobile app that allows you to check in remotely.  It will give you the wait times for either a seat at the sushi bar or a table.  Because of the novelty of the restaurant, there is usually an our long wait time.  Since you can view the place you are at in line, you can leave your house in time for them to call you.  At the door of Kura there is also an iPad that allows walk-ups to check in and view where they stand in line.  I noticed that each group that went in took about 30 to 45 minutes to finish their meal.

Cost

We ended up paying $64 for three people at Kura.  Each plate ranges from $2.50 to $2.75, and other pricing is available on the order panel.  We ordered some drinks which added another $10 to our bill.  We paid $52 when we went as a couple.

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar Information

1840 W. 182nd Street, Torrance, CA 90504

(424) 221-5731

kurausa.com

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The Lighthouse Cafe-South Bay

The Lighthouse Cafe-South Bay

What: The Lighthouse Cafe

LLL d 13 _2644.NEF

Where: South Bay

For: Ages 21+

The Lighthouse Café is Ethan and my go-to place if we want to eat and enjoy a live band.  Another plus is that it was one of the sets for the movie La La Land.  The vibe is always vibrant when you walk into the café.  The security, hostesses and servers are personable and nice.  It’s a great place to go when you want to have a casual night in the South Bay.

The Restaurant

The restaurant is open until 1:00am every night of the week, which makes this bar the place to go if you want a late-night meal.  The café is open for special events as well (please check the website).  Unfortunately, the aesthetics of the food that comes out is definitely lacking and makes the trays look very sad.  That being said, the food is actually pretty good, and it’s a great environment to eat some American food in.

La La Land

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone filmed many scenes over four days at The Lighthouse Café.   If you go outside, you can witness an iconic scene with the two characters standing next to each other in front of a neon sign advertising the Café.  I loved that the movie included jazz and the special lighthouse stained glass in the background.  An interesting thing is that the Lighthouse still has one of the clocks from the movie in the restaurant that (apparently) the director has been trying to get back. Another interesting tidbit is that the Hermosa Beach chamber teamed up with Hollywood two years ago to transform the Hermosa Beach Pier into a La La Land-themed pier.  They played jazz music and allowed guests to take Instagram-worty pictures on the pier.

The Bar

The Lighthouse Café is the best place to go if you’re interested in listening to Jazz in Hermosa Beach. Security checks ID after 9:30pm and gives you a stamp for in-and-out privileges.  There is sometimes a cover charge of $5 to $10 per guest depending on which live band is playing that night.  There is a small dance floor in the middle of the tables.  Tables and booths for dining line the outside area of the bar and there are many spaces to sit at the bar tables if you’re interested in getting up close and personal with the bartenders.

The Crowd

The age range for the guests varies.  Many times, groups meet here to celebrate birthdays.  A great thing is that the bands generally come into the crowd during breaks and dance with the patrons.

Cost

The Lighthouse Café is very affordable.  Drinks range from $6-$15 each.  Happy hour is available daily (please check the website for more information).  Dinner rang in at about $12 to $16 per plate, which is a steal in Hermosa Beach.  We will continually come back to The Lighthouse Café for dinner, drinks and dancing.

The Lighthouse Cafe Information

30 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

(310) 376-9833

thelighthousecafe.net

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The Comedy & Magic Club-Hermosa Beach

The Comedy & Magic Club-Hermosa Beach

What: The Comedy & Magic Club

Where: Hermosa Beach

For: Ages 18+

Ethan and I have been to the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach on numerous occasions.  At the Club, you can watch comedy headliners performing famous stand up, or you can watch a variety of comedians some and perform 10-minute sets each.  We have rarely seen a magician on stage.

The Club

To enter the club, we always buy tickets online.  There is a calendar where you can see which comedian or magician is performing.  There is also a will-call window where you can buy tickets if there is availability that night.  A security guard checks your reservation and identification at the door.  The club is open Tuesdays through Sundays (check the calendar for special events and show times).  All seats are on a first come, first served basis.  Sometimes we have been able to get great seats in the front of the stage.  Other times we have to share a table with another couple or party.  There are booths in the back for larger groups.  Limited rooftop parking is available, and with the plethora of restrictions on street signs I recommend that patrons take an Uber or Lyft over.  Keep in mind that the club is very dark, so make sure to look where you’re stepping and going.  The table seating on the floor can get packed, which makes it difficult to get up and walk around once you’re seated.

The Food

There is a two item per person minimum in the club.  The two items can be a combination of things (i.e. two drinks, a drink and dessert, two entrees, etc.).  The applewood smoked mac and cheese and hot spinach & artichoke dip are our favorites.  If you order one of these entrees to share, it can feed two people.  Servers come around before the show and during the show.  The check is brought out about 10 minutes prior to the end of the show.  Drinks, Appetizers, Salads, Pastas, Entrees and Desserts are all offered to guests.

The Performers

As the venue states, a variety of comedians and magicians come to this club to perform.  Jay Leno comes almost every Sunday (you can tell by the different classic car that parks in the front of the club on Sunday afternoons.  Ethan and I generally come on the weekend for the 10-comedian show.  Some of the comedians are hit and miss depending on the type of comedy.  Make sure to check the show schedule online to see who will be performing.  Every time we have gone to the Comedy & Magic Club, we have left satisfied with the show.

Posters of Famous Comedians Line the Walls.

The Crowd

The dress code is casual, although beach attire is not allowed.  A strict age limit of 18 and above is enforced, with security at the door checking IDs.  The crowd has always been a great audience for the performer(s).  There’s always one or two hecklers that the comedians have to overcome.  Most people are dressed very casually, as it is just a block away from Hermosa Beach.

Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Cost

Salads run from $16.00 to $19.00,  Entrees range from $19.00 to $30.00, Pastas are from $14.00 to $19.00, with Desserts ranging from $5.50 to $9.50.  Appetizers are $13.50 to $16.00 and   Drinks are $10.50 to $12.00.  The cost for entry into the club ranges from $10 per person to $20 per person depending on the show for the night.  Famous headliners can drive the cost of admission up.

Jerry Seinfield’s Puffy  Shirt

The Comedy & Magic Club Information

1018 Hermosa Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

(310) 372-1193

comedyandmagicclub.com

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The Shade Hotel-Manhattan Beach/Redondo Beach

Shade Hotel-Manhattan Beach/Redondo Beach

What: Shade Hotel

Skydeck

Where: Manhattan Beach/Redondo Beach

For: Ages 21+

Ethan and I came to the Shade Hotel twice, once for New Years and once for Valentine’s Day.  Both times we had a wonderful time and there were many things to do and see.  Unfortunately, we didn’t ever stay at the hotel, but we are planning on doing this for an upcoming staycation.  For New Years, they transformed all of the public spaces into a ‘Moulin Rouge’ theme with poker tables and an outdoor cigar lounge.

Ethan and Me at The Shade Hotel for New Years 2017.

The Hotel

The Hotel is very modern and upscale.  Each time we came here we dressed up very formally and didn’t feel out of place at all.  The hotel itself is only a few blocks from the bustling downtown Manhattan Beach nightlife and main street.  Valet parking is offered at the entrance. There is a rooftop Skydeck with bar and relaxation pool offered to guests.  With the location only 5 miles from LAX, this would be a perfect space for tourists to come and enjoy one of the nicest cities in the South Bay.

Zinc and Skydeck

During the summer there are pool parties on the Skydeck with a $20 cover per person.  The parties include hand-crafted cocktails on the rooftop, and bottle service is optional.   At night, the staff turns on the firepits at the Skydeck, and cocktails are served for guests to sip while lounging on the beautifully decorated deck.  Happy hours during the week are also offered, with drinks ranging from $4 to $8 each.  A DJ is hired on Friday and Saturday nights in the downstairs Zinc Lounge.

There is a main restaurant called Zinc that covers the Terrace and Lounge and offers small plates.  At the Lounge, I had appetizers on a Saturday night and sipped martinis at the bar while watching sports on one of the many TVs.  Cocktail tables and lounge chairs are in the Terrace and Lounge for guests as well.  A small dance floor sits in front of the DJ table.

The Crowd

Many parties seemed to be celebrating birthdays or special occasions.  As I said before, this is a place that you dress to the nines to experience.  The DJ’s music is a mix of Hip Hop, Top 40 and House.

Cost

The New Years party cost $100 per person and included appetizers, a champagne toast, gambling, tokens, etc.  I spent $15 on a small plate of food while sitting at the bar in the Lounge.  If you don’t go for Happy Hour, expect to spend $15 for one cocktail.

Shade Hotel Information

1221 N. Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 546-4995

mb.shadehotel.com

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The Strand House/Strand Bar-Manhattan Beach

The Strand House/Strand Bar-Manhattan Beach

What: The Strand House/Strand Bar

Where: South Bay

For: All Ages/21+ At Night

The Strand House and Strand Bar is the place that Ethan and I like to go to under certain circumstances (a) if there is a birthday/anniversary/special occasion, (b) if we’re trying to impress someone from out of town and (c) if we feel like going to a place that’s upscale and close to the beach.  Keep in mind that each time we come here we expect to spend upwards of $150 for the two of us throughout the night.

The Strand House Restaurant

The Strand House

To enter the restaurant, you check in with a hostess on the first floor where you’re also greeted with floor-to ceiling wine bottles leading you up a staircase into The Strand House. Brunch, lunch, dinner and desserts are served in the restaurant.  I’ve come for lunch and dinner.  For lunch I took a client who wanted to eat on the beach, and we ended up spending about $35 per person (excluding drinks).  He ordered the tacos which were laughably small (think two-bite lunch tacos) that left him feeling hungry.  We actually stopped for fast food on the way back to the office.  For dinner, you can expect to spend $35 to $60 per person (excluding drinks).  We sometimes order the pizza (thin crust and made with fresh ingredients) along with some appetizers to share.  Entrees range from $28 to $95 depending on what you order.

Restaurant Bar

There are indoor and outdoor seating areas at The Strand House.  I only sit outdoors when there isn’t too much wind chill.  Indoor seating offers you a 180 degree view of the Pacific Ocean.  There is also a full bar with bar stools upstairs if you want to just catch a drink and watch the sunset.

Dining Table Set Up

Strand Bar

Cocktails and bottle service are offered on the first floor of the Strand House (called the Strand Bar).  There is a main bar in the center of the venue that gets very busy later on into the night.

Main Bar

A small dance floor is at the opposite end of the entrance.  No drinks are allowed on the dance floor (we were reprimanded for this on numerous occasions).  A DJ booth sits in the corner of the dance floor.  The music is hit and miss here.  Sometimes we go in on a great night when they’re playing a mix of hip hop, top 40 and house music.  Other times we feel like we’re in a wedding reception or at a family reunion (oh well, to each their own).  We usually will end our night here after hitting a few bars on Manhattan Beach’s main street.

The Crowd

At 10:00pm there is security placed at the door to card guests and ensure they are 21+.  Depending on the event and time that you go, there could be a cover charge.  Re-entry is allowed provided that you have a stamp on your wrist or colored wristband (alternates).  There is more of an older crowd here, so this is definitely a place where you can avoid the college students (see: Cost).

Entrance to both The Strand House and Strand Bar

Cost

Lunch runs about $30 per person (excluding drinks) with dinner hitting anywhere between $35 to $60 per person (excluding drinks).  The cover charge has ranged from $10 to $20 depending on the event.  Cocktails are almost all $15 each.  Bottle Service costs from $350 to $800.  I don’t think we have left The Strand House spending any less than $150 on a good night.  Sometimes we can spend upwards of $200 on a special occasion.  If you’re looking for a place to impress visitors that is overpriced and by the beach, this is the place to go.

Strand Bar

The Strand House/Strand Bar Information

117 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 545-7470

thestrandhousemb.com

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Abigaile Restaurant & Brewery/Alta House-Hermosa Beach

Abigaile Restaurant & Brewery/Alta House-Hermosa Beach

What: Abigaile Restaurant & Brewery/Alta House

Where: Hermosa Beach

For: All Ages/21+ at Night

If you are looking for a space with ocean views where you can eat dinner, drink cocktails and take in the sunset then this is the place for you.  Since this is in the heart of Hermosa Beach, it is suggested that guests utilize Uber or Lyft to make their way to Abigaile and Alta House.

The Restaurant

Abigaile serves brunch and dinner, although we’ve only ever been for dinner.  When you walk in, lighting is dark and patrons are met with a gorgeous 15-barrel copper brewing system.  You can choose to eat at the restaurant or at the Alta House that spans the second and third stories.  We generally come here for birthdays and to get together with friends.

The only complaint that I have is that we set a reservation for 8:30pm and we weren’t seated until 9:45pm.  Although this was on a weekend, there should be a dining limit as we were told there were parties that have been there for over 3 hours opening Christmas presents.  The manager tried to make it right by giving us two appetizers and a round of drinks for free, but all eight of us in our party were not happy that they didn’t say anything to the guests that didn’t leave.

Food is good here and changes every so often.  Appetizers are filling, and many times we order different dishes and share them family style.  The portions are bigger than they look.  We generally spend about one hour here before we head upstairs to Alta House.

Alta House

Alta House is on the Second and Third floors of the restaurant.  Foods are served until 10:00pm when the cocktail tables are moved to make way for a dance floor.  The Indoor Lounge on the second floor contains a dance floor, DJ, private seating areas that can be reserved and a full bar.  Although the atmosphere is a bit brighter than normal for a dance club because of the bright white walls, there is ample space for guests earlier in the night.  It starts to get crowded around 11:00pm.  The DJ plays popular music on one end of the lounge, and there are TVs behind the bar.  Single stall men’s’ and women’s’ bathrooms are in the hallway behind the bar.  I would suggest that you walk down the stairs to the multi-stalled bathroom at Abigaile’s to make sure you don’t have a long wait.

At the private booth in Alta House for our friend’s birthday.

The Sundeck Patio has a beautiful fireplace, flat screen TVs and ample seating area.  Many times, this area is rented out to private events because of the beautiful views of the ocean and sunset.  The Rooftop Terrace is an open-air space that gives views directly to the ocean.  This can be rented out for private event space and sometimes has a satellite bar with private bartender.  Sometimes we go to these areas to catch a breather.

The Crowd

There have been different crowds each time we have come here.  During the holidays, private areas are rented out for company holiday parties.  Many people (such as us!) celebrate birthdays here.  Young adults take advantage of the Inside Lounge to dance and drink.

Cost

Expect to spend $15 to $25 per person on dinner.  Brunch will be about $15 to $20 per person.  Drinks are an additional $10-$14 each drink depending on what you order.

Abigaile Restaurant & Brewery Information

1301 Manhattan Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

(310) 798-8227

abigailerestaurant.com and altahousehb.com

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Kings Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant-Torrance

Kings Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant-Torrance

What: Kings Hawaiian Bakery Restaurant

Where: South Bay

For: All Ages

After years of eating (and loving) Kings Hawaiian bread, we discovered that the company has a bakery and restaurant down the street from us.  Starting in 1950 in Hilo, Hawaii, Kings Hawaiian has become a household name.  Since our family went to Hilo last November, I thought this restaurant would be essential to visit…and it definitely lived up to expectations.

Skylar and Emma in Hilo, Hawaii.

The Restaurant

From the moment you walk into the restaurant, you’re transported to the Hawaiian Islands.  A huge display of bakery sweets line the wall.  Towers of Kings Hawaiian bread are to your right with a take-out counter to your left.  An enormous pineapple greets you into the dining room.  There is a large circular floor-to-ceiling fish tank in the back of the restaurant where patrons can sit around while eating.

Everything that we’ve eaten here has been melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  We like to try the platters with as many types of food as possible to give us a sampler of the food offered (there’s a lot of different types of meat).  We spent about 45 minutes eating in the restaurant before moving to the bakery.  Ethan and I ate so much that we barely had room for dessert!  Keep in mind that catering is provided with pricing on the restaurant’s website.  The second time we came here, we ordered takeout that was ready in 10 minutes.

The Bakery

The bakery portion of the restaurant contains beautiful cakes and pastries for sale.  They can also create custom beautiful wedding cakes.  Most bakery offerings are traditional savory Hawaiian desserts intermingled with regular desserts that you would expect.

The Crowd

There was a great mix of people in the restaurant.  Skylar squealed with delight when we walked in after catching sight of the bakery desserts.  Everyone working there is kind and treats you as ‘ohana’.

Cost

We spent about $40 for two large dinner entrees and drinks.  An additional $20 was spent on two slices of cake, a cupcake, and a few other sweets.  This is a very affordable restaurant that we will definitely come back to again.

Towers of Kings Hawaiian bread.

Kings Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant Information

2808 W. Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

(310) 530-0050

khbakery.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Kings Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com