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(LA Taco)   The food is meh, but you came here for the atmosphere, the history, memories with family or whatever -- a list of ones in LA. Farkers, add your mediocre food BUT I LOVE THE JOINT picks, other than your mom's house, McDonalds and frequented dive bar   (lataco.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Tom Mix, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, Restaurant, Edendale, Los Angeles, California, Pontiac Vibe, Casa Vega, dining room, number of Silver Lake lifers  
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485 clicks; posted to Food » on 09 Dec 2022 at 8:20 AM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



48 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-12-09 8:32:24 AM  
California tumbles into the sea
That'll be the day I go
Back to Edendale
 
2022-12-09 8:44:18 AM  
I'm a bit confused by the headline. Are we just doing LA?

If not, I submit The Vine in Iowa City, IA. The food and service suck, especially on game day. However it is a college tradition to watch Hawkeye football there if you aren't going to the game/tailgating.
 
2022-12-09 9:14:04 AM  

dryknife: California tumbles into the sea
That'll be the day I go
Back to Edendale


Annandale
 
2022-12-09 9:14:40 AM  
Back in the 1980s there was a chain that included the Bum Steer in Tucson and St. James Infirmary in SoCal. Amusing places with poor beer selections and mediocre food.
 
2022-12-09 9:21:58 AM  
Ever since the old (read "real") Fenix Underground closed after the Nisqually earthquake, I don't have one.
 
2022-12-09 9:45:02 AM  
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2022-12-09 9:48:36 AM  
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2022-12-09 10:09:04 AM  
 
2022-12-09 10:36:59 AM  
Uncle Bill's Pancake House on Highland and 13th in Manhattan Beach was the panacea to my hungover grad school ass on the weekends. Food wasn't great, wait was long, but it salved the soul.
 
2022-12-09 10:42:49 AM  

Kirkenhegelstein: Uncle Bill's Pancake House on Highland and 13th in Manhattan Beach was the panacea to my hungover grad school ass on the weekends. Food wasn't great, wait was long, but it salved the soul.


Pancake House in Redondo Beach was better, and a little easier to park. Still a beast on Sundays, though.
 
2022-12-09 10:49:50 AM  
El Torito GRILL (*not plain el torito) on Restaurant Row in Torrance ... was the same menu as Tequila Willie's in Manhattan Beach. Now I have to drive to Brea if I want it.
 
2022-12-09 11:48:18 AM  
This headline gave me food poisoning.
 
2022-12-09 12:22:51 PM  
If you're dining at Casa Vega be sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp or you won't be able to read the menu.

Our go to place for many years was Rusty's Hacienda in North Hollywood, now long gone.  They had those cool ultraviolet wall murals of desert sunsets and a decent carnitas burrito.
 
2022-12-09 12:40:41 PM  

Cafe Threads: B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ: blues, booze and barbecue. Come for the music and atmosphere.


I'll toss in The Quaff and Helen's JAD.  B.B.'s food would be better if the sauce was a tad less sweet.
 
2022-12-09 12:52:32 PM  

InfoFreako: Cafe Threads: B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ: blues, booze and barbecue. Come for the music and atmosphere.

I'll toss in The Quaff and Helen's JAD.  B.B.'s food would be better if the sauce was a tad less sweet.


Yeah, but they have this:

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-12-09 12:55:29 PM  
Magic Castle.  If you aren't a member, call and tell them you want hire a magician for a bar mitzvah and you want to see the magicians's acts.  They'll let you slide.  World class closeup magic.  Meh prime rib.
 
2022-12-09 12:59:50 PM  
Not in LA, but Casa Bonita fits this description.
 
2022-12-09 1:02:50 PM  

WhiskeySticks: Not in LA, but Casa Bonita fits this description.


I lived in Denver when I was in elementary school.  That place was fantastic.
 
2022-12-09 1:07:43 PM  
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I doubt many of you will ever get to Roanoke Va but the Texas Tavern.  Go in there drunk around 1am.  The people that work there hate everyone and everything.

I was in there one late night sitting at the counter and there were two dudes in hospital gowns looking like they had already died atleast once that night.
 
2022-12-09 1:37:09 PM  
This place in West Lafayette, IN, on the way to some of my employer's customers

roadtips.typepad.comView Full Size


Atmosphere is kinda cool but the food never rises above adequate. My job sent me to Issaquah, WA last January where the chain's other location resides, and there was no reason to eat there.

Now, if we're talking Jiffy Burger in Manchester TN, I'll go out of my way to eat there.
 
2022-12-09 3:00:10 PM  

SirDigbyChickenCaesar: [Fark user image 550x800]


I doubt many of you will ever get to Roanoke Va but the Texas Tavern.  Go in there drunk around 1am.  The people that work there hate everyone and everything.

I was in there one late night sitting at the counter and there were two dudes in hospital gowns looking like they had already died atleast once that night.


Aside from the biking and hiking trails in that area, this place is a must visit.
 
2022-12-09 3:10:55 PM  
The Varsity in Atlanta.

20 years ago we went there because a friend had said it was a tradition.

It looks like it should be a tradition. But we were never tempted to go back.
 
2022-12-09 3:14:19 PM  
It doesn't exist any more, but Generous George's Positive Pizza Palace.  The original one in Old Town Alexandria.  I think it was on Duke St.

The place was two buildings that were joined together, every room painted in some wild theme, and the food portions were massive.  Pasta was served on top of a pizza crust.

They had some creative pizza choices... like the taco salad pizza (lettuce was added after it baked).   The food wasn't bad, but that wasn't what the place was known for (other than portion sizes)
 
2022-12-09 3:14:58 PM  
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Mom and Pop's Diner, Main St., Carson City, NV.  Comfort food, probably cooked in vegetable oil, but occasionally, you still go there because the food was OK and the service was good.  And it was really close to a lot of state offices.  Sloppy burgers...mmmmmmm.
 
2022-12-09 3:47:52 PM  
This joint in NKC, MO.  Everything else around the place is modern style architecture and there sits this relic amongst it all.  It was also a family tradition to eat there semi regularly when I was growing up.

kshs.orgView Full Size
 
2022-12-09 3:53:49 PM  
Quatro's or Pagliai's in Carbondale, IL. Old school 80s style pizza joint with big red plastic cups and pitchers of either soda or beer. I know Luna knows what I'm talking about... any other SIU farkers wanna chime in? Ed? Fred? Anyone else hiding?

/the strip is a shadow of its former self
//farking trax is gone too.
 
2022-12-09 4:04:57 PM  

NINEv2: Quatro's or Pagliai's in Carbondale, IL. Old school 80s style pizza joint with big red plastic cups and pitchers of either soda or beer. I know Luna knows what I'm talking about... any other SIU farkers wanna chime in? Ed? Fred? Anyone else hiding?

/the strip is a shadow of its former self
//farking trax is gone too.


But I remember quatros pizza being actually good not "meh, adequate."

Are you saying this is a false memory?
 
2022-12-09 4:46:49 PM  

luna1580: NINEv2: Quatro's or Pagliai's in Carbondale, IL. Old school 80s style pizza joint with big red plastic cups and pitchers of either soda or beer. I know Luna knows what I'm talking about... any other SIU farkers wanna chime in? Ed? Fred? Anyone else hiding?

/the strip is a shadow of its former self
//farking trax is gone too.

But I remember quatros pizza being actually good not "meh, adequate."

Are you saying this is a false memory?


Well. shiat. Guess I misread the headline. Yes, Quatros is quite good.
 
2022-12-09 5:31:43 PM  
I don't love them but Anthony's Seafood restaurants are extremely popular in the PNW, even though the food is mediocre (think cruise ship quality). Their formula for success involves having a spectacular waterfront view, convenient parking, good service and overpriced Food Services of America type food. Not my thing but it works.
 
2022-12-09 5:39:21 PM  
Avanti's in Peoria. The food is terrible but it's a Bradley U right of passage.

The bread is distinctive, though.

/Go, Braves!.... or whatever the hell the mascot is this week.
 
2022-12-09 5:50:06 PM  

CoonAce: Magic Castle.  If you aren't a member, call and tell them you want hire a magician for a bar mitzvah and you want to see the magicians's acts.  They'll let you slide.  World class closeup magic.  Meh prime rib.


I've only been there once. A friend was a member and he took about ten of us there for an evening.  They had a special show. One person had demonstrated an effect (as the pros call them) a couple weeks earlier and a bunch of members demonstrated the same effect that night, then each would explain how they did it.  Interesting the different approaches all looking the same to the audience.
 
2022-12-09 5:54:51 PM  

Needlessly Complicated: Avanti's in Peoria. The food is terrible but it's a Bradley U right of passage.

The bread is distinctive, though.

/Go, Braves!.... or whatever the hell the mascot is this week.


I'm also a former ISU student. Avanti's in Normal is perfect then. A loaf of bread and a cup of their shiatty ranch was the perfect $2 hangover cure.

/Their red sauce and pasta are just inexcusable though
 
2022-12-09 6:05:14 PM  

NINEv2: Needlessly Complicated: Avanti's in Peoria. The food is terrible but it's a Bradley U right of passage.

The bread is distinctive, though.

/Go, Braves!.... or whatever the hell the mascot is this week.

I'm also a former ISU student. Avanti's in Normal is perfect then. A loaf of bread and a cup of their shiatty ranch was the perfect $2 hangover cure.

/Their red sauce and pasta are just inexcusable though


Used to the 1/2 gondola and side of ranch for lunch a lot.

Also,Jake's pizza.
 
2022-12-09 6:21:03 PM  
I would say the only one that qualifies with atmosphere and average food is the Morrison Inn which is right at the foot of Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO.  The menu used to be mexican when I might have went there, not sure what's going on now.  The highlight was 2 barber chairs where they would tip you back in the chair and pour shots or margaritas down your throat.  Looks like they're still making it happen!
https://morrisoninn.com/
 
2022-12-09 6:21:52 PM  
Norms. It's a chain, albeit a small one. Great steak and eggs , and all over good food. Not too expensive.
The Hat , also a small chain , primarily in the San Gabriel Valley. Great pastrami burgers and so on.
Tommys. They have weird chili that one can get on a burger a dog or in a cup. They have fairly decent buns from Pilgrim bakeries.Do not go to the original on Rampart in the morning when they are in the middle of the breakfast burrito rush or you will be unhappy. They have hot peppers as a side. I put them on my double chili cheeseburger when I consciously make the decision that I am okay being in pain in a few hours.
Pasta Sisters. 2 locations, more parking and seating in the Culver City one. Great food. Decent wine and beer. They care a lot about the food. Deserts are super also.
Bobs Big Boy in Burbank. You too can sit in the booth that the Beatles allegedly sat in. It gets crowded inside on weekend nights.
Andreas , Ventura Harbor. I know , it's not in LA, but worth it. Negra Modelo and plenty of other great beers, they have outstanding calamari and all other kinds of seafood but the calamari is a big local catch.
The Kings Head - Santa Monica. It's a tourist trap type place but great food and drinks. They have a gift shop and one can buy actual Harp and other Libations imported and not just produced under licence. They have huge crowds at the bar for the soccer stuff. Parking is not that expensive, but to get the lot right across the street one needs to be there early.
Falafel Palace. Northridge. Outstanding food. One of the best Lamb Gyros I have ever had. The Baklava is a thing of beauty as well, both regular and pistachio. Pita is locally made from a Kosher bakery. They handmake just about everything.

Yeah, I went the other way- I want to share *good* if not *great* food. Tommys was the exception- but everyone should try at least one Tommy double chili cheeseburger during their life. The Hollywood and La Habra locations are super clean and the staff is very nice.
I am sure I have missed a few places.
 
2022-12-09 7:25:36 PM  
 I can get a cheeseburger anywhere.  I go to Chotchkie's for the atmosphere and the attitude.

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2022-12-09 9:33:54 PM  
Yeah, I'm gonna need to bust some heads over the idea that Phillipe's is mediocre.

Really, this whole list seems to be pretentious confusing "not a five-star $300 per plate experience" with "mediocre food".  Phillipe's is probably the best food in its own swim lane.  It is excellent.  The Pantry is excellent as well, again for its lane (however, it is currently dead to me until they expand hours).

A lot of the old well-known Mexican places in LA tend to get badmouthed by smug-ass food snobs since the food doesn't really adhere to modern authenticity ideals.  I found Casita del Campo and El Cholo to be, maybe not excellent, but better than mediocre, and yes not exactly hard core Mexicano.

And of course the article doesn't even mention the very obvious choice, Norm's.
 
2022-12-09 9:48:26 PM  

Yeast No 7: NINEv2: Needlessly Complicated: Avanti's in Peoria. The food is terrible but it's a Bradley U right of passage.

The bread is distinctive, though.

/Go, Braves!.... or whatever the hell the mascot is this week.

I'm also a former ISU student. Avanti's in Normal is perfect then. A loaf of bread and a cup of their shiatty ranch was the perfect $2 hangover cure.

/Their red sauce and pasta are just inexcusable though

Used to the 1/2 gondola and side of ranch for lunch a lot.

Also,Jake's pizza.


Jake's had an AWEsome beef. Shanigan's had the best $3 burger basket in the history of ever.
 
2022-12-09 10:28:18 PM  

aerojockey: The Pantry is excellent as well, again for its lane (however, it is currently dead to me until they expand hours).


WTF?  Granted, I haven't been there in a number of years, but is the Pantry no longer open 24/7?
 
2022-12-09 10:57:46 PM  

hlehmann: aerojockey: The Pantry is excellent as well, again for its lane (however, it is currently dead to me until they expand hours).

WTF?  Granted, I haven't been there in a number of years, but is the Pantry no longer open 24/7?



It's like 7am-3pm since covid.  If they'd even stay open to, say, 9pm I might go back.
 
2022-12-09 11:07:21 PM  

aerojockey: hlehmann: aerojockey: The Pantry is excellent as well, again for its lane (however, it is currently dead to me until they expand hours).

WTF?  Granted, I haven't been there in a number of years, but is the Pantry no longer open 24/7?


It's like 7am-3pm since covid.  If they'd even stay open to, say, 9pm I might go back.


That's stupid, the last time I went to the Pantry (pre-COVID) was jury duty, and that was still 4-5PM. Not gonna lie, most of the restaurants I know downtown are places I went to while on jury duty.
 
2022-12-10 1:49:16 AM  
Nickel Diner on Main in downtown L.A.  Good breakfast, make their own donuts and pop-tarts, sufficient "dive-y" atmosphere, not too hard on the wallet.

/Haven't been since COVID so I hope it hasn't changed.
 
2022-12-10 3:48:42 AM  

CoonAce: Magic Castle.  If you aren't a member, call and tell them you want hire a magician for a bar mitzvah and you want to see the magicians's acts.  They'll let you slide.  World class closeup magic.  Meh prime rib.


I worked for a company that did an Xmas party at Magic Castle, catered by same.

The entree choice was roast beef, roast chicken, or fish.

All three were served covered in brown gravy.  Yes, even the fish.

Tilapia with brown gravy.
 
2022-12-10 3:56:46 AM  
Ha - I've eaten at most of the places in TFA, and agree... unremarkable and not motivated to go back.

EXCEPT: Damon's Steakhouse in Glendale.

About 12 years ago, they bought an RV-sized smoker and put it out back.  Now they sell some pretty darn good Texas barbecue at a decent price.  For BBQ.  It's still one of our go-to's if we can't decide where to eat.

But everybody still goes there for cheap steak and Mai-Tais.  Because tradition.

(If you want steak get the filet mignon, it's a good steak at a good price.  But avoid the "petite" filet.  It's a garbage cut.  Just get the full sized one and take home some leftovers.  Or let your date finish iat.)
 
2022-12-10 4:18:28 AM  
Add to list:

Pie and Burger in Pasadena.  (Used to be great but have jacked up prices and cut quality in the past 10 years.  Just go to In-n-Out, The Habit or Shake Shack, really.)

Mijares in Pasadena.  (Pedestrian Mexican food.  Always has been.  Cheap margaritas, too.  Fully leveraged the marketing potential Wil Ferrell granted them by wearing one of their Tees in a FoD skit.  La Cabanita in Montrose is far superior.)


The Landlord (with outtakes!)
Youtube v_1JPPcLmj8


Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock.  (Crap pizza.  But then, so is every other pizza in California.  Go to Georgee's in La Canada instead.  Good crust, greasy pepperoni, and they will make you a garlic and anchovy pizza if you ask for it.  If you want good pizza with cocktails, try The Luggage Room at Del Mar Station in Pasadena.)

Shaker's Diner in South Pasadena.  (Better than Denny's, anyway.  Go to Julienne's hidden on Mission Street for brunch instead - but expect to wait.  For lunch or dinner, go up Fair Oaks to The Raymond 1886, sit in the bar, and enjoy a craft cocktail with some amazing food.)
 
2022-12-10 4:22:44 AM  
My last experience with a "hole-in-the-wall" joint was when I was a teen working as a busboy at a restaurant that sucked.

The most memorable thing that I recall is that the dude who ran the joint skipped town with almost all of the money, tons of loaned art pieces, and we were supposed to open that morning for a reserved brunch for a church group who were flummoxed and standing outside. I was one of the few people who made it to the bank to be able to cash a check before the balance was less than zero.

/most of the people who worked there were trash
//but there were a couple cool people including a bartender i had a crush on (i was too young for her at the time)
 
2022-12-10 2:47:43 PM  

Queen Amy: El Torito GRILL (*not plain el torito) on Restaurant Row in Torrance ... was the same menu as Tequila Willie's in Manhattan Beach. Now I have to drive to Brea if I want it.


Tequila Willie's? Shiat, run the meme of Obi-Wan and add Sir Alec Guinness was ALIVE when that place closed in the Manhattan Beach mall, which is now yuppified even more for the 2020 crowd. Here's a $5 PER donut shop using "the finest" European-style chocolate and fair trade ingredients! I'd be more snarky but just saw Cinnabon at another California mall charging $6 for a roll this week.

Tequila Willie's is now an Islands Burger chain restaurant for those who have moved away, btw. That and the also closed Fry's Electronics seemed out of place with the wannabe upscale but not Beverly Hills-ish posh, beach yuppie verve of that mall.

For myself ...

Pizza Show in Hawthorne. Old parents went WTF when they heard their favorite antipasto salad was $16 now there. Pizza doesn't hold up after dozens of others have popped over the years. Same thing happened with a Chinese restaurant I recall as a kid, the only one in the area and then more spawned in the area, and the first place seemed bland as hell.

Sizzler was my late dad's choice and I remember him for going to a certain one that served menudo on the salad bar during weekends. Old man had an anime-style quest for the perfect bowl of menudo that took him to many places -- and I'd have to suffer to hear the flaws he found at each locale -- but this was the only spot I can remember him going back to. Felt like a memory lane trip when I ate at one near a concert venue before COVID, a year after he passed. Chicken wings worth the salad bar. But a lot of too salty or too filling food.

Chicago for Ribs was a local chain in the western parts of LA and South Bay that just closed down; the LAX area one was another family hangout. First place I can recall liking onion rings. But I can get better and more ribs elsewhere, like the grocery store deli for one.

Unurban coffee in Santa Monica. A beatnik/hippie-era coffee shop with poetry readings and comedy nights. Surprisingly a good date night place on the cheap. But a home cup of Folgers or any of the coffee chains would beat it taste-wise. Plus, filthy hippie decor and bad attitude baristas make you wonder how the health department misses this one.

I imagine my childhood friends/fellow gambling addicts that moved to Vegas will want to go back to Tito's Tacos, a hangout before jaunting off to Hollywood Park (miss that place) for the big races. The nostalgia will wear off quick, I'm willing to wager. The tacos, once worth bringing tourists too, have dropped from meh to WTF overpriced grease traps over the years, and the prices, well, I can make a few bets for the price of a single taco WITH cheese. Wonder if next door Johnny's Pastrami has held up better against the test of time, taste and pricing.

/subby, yeah, list wherever you live local fave restaurant of meh repute.
 
2022-12-10 7:00:32 PM  

yakmans_dad: The Varsity in Atlanta.

20 years ago we went there because a friend had said it was a tradition.

It looks like it should be a tradition. But we were never tempted to go back.


Did you not have onion rings? Look, I get it if you go "meh" at the chili dogs. Or at the frosted orange. Or even something like the chocolate milk over shaved ice. But the rings? Freshly made, and not from a bag. Cut by hand. Thin flakes of crisp, and perfectly cooked slices onion.
Oh sure, the fries are an overlooked treat, well deserving of acclaim. And that you don't need to eat there often. But I will miss the V closing in Athens, because the rings are the acme of onion rings.

Now, sadly, there's no place in Athens like that anymore. But you'd be well served to remember either Allen's - potato salad was great though - or Herbies. Late night, abuse from Herbie, and commodity burgers. So great.
 
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