Beverly Hills is Armenians with lots of plastic surgery driving Daddy’s BMW or Mercedes. West LA is UCLA kids living off Daddy’s money, frat boys, and sorority girls. Brentwood is very Nicole Brown Simpson-esque, while Santa Monica and Venice are full of rich faux-hippies and some authentic surfers. Venice also has its fair share of gangs
THE APPLE PAN
The Apple Pan opened in 1945, making it old by LA standards. It has a decent basic burger (definitely not the best in LA, as some claim) and tasty pie. It’s pretty small and consists mostly of a counter to sit at, so if you go when the studios down the street break for lunch, you ain’t sitting. Lots of people whine about it being overpriced, so if you’re into your basic burger meal being under $10 go to In-N-Out. But you can’t get warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream there, you know… 10801 W. Pico Blvd., W. LA, 310-475-3585.
BAY CITIES ITALIAN DELI & BAKERY
Hey, NYC transplants. Bay Cities is one of the few places you can get your Pastene canned tomatoes, Italian bread baked fresh every 20 minutes,
, a decent cannoli, prosciutto- and cheese-stuffed peppers, and outstanding pepper salad for your
or Godmother sandwich. The lines can get to be a nightmare, and, if you’re not from NYC, you should know that you never, ever approach the counter without first knowing exactly what you want. Order online or by fax and save time, and bring cash—during lunchtime, the cash-only lane usually has fewer jackasses trying to pay for an $8 sandwich with their gold card so they can expense it. 1517 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-395-8279.
You can customize your burger by size (a third of a pound up to a pound) and fancy-schmancy toppings like sautéed mushrooms, artichokes, and sprouts (doesn’t that defeat the purpose of getting a burger?). “Have it your way” takes on a whole new meaning here—but these are damn good burgers. Also, peanut-butter shakes! 2901 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-399-8383.
A velvet rope at a place claiming to serve “pub food” with one of the best burgers in town? Damn, it better be, to have to deal with this bullshit. They even have their own t-shirts and, we shit you not, skateboards. But, we will say this: Go here if you’re looking for an upscale, mouthwatering slab of grilled ground beef on a fat roll with arugula and bacon, sweet-potato fries, and like 20,000 different kinds of beer on tap (all with matching glasses). Do not under any circumstances ask for ketchup or try to sub regular fries for the sweet-potato ones. 1018 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, 310-736-2224; 3229 Helms Ave., Culver City, 310-736-2224.
GABY’S MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT & CAFÉ
Good value for what you’re getting—solid Mediterranean food with shitty service. They’re stingy on the pita but not on the shawarma and garlic. There’s outside seating where you can smoke a hookah (although, since this is LA, be prepared for stares of death whenever you exhale smoke of any kind). Order the creamy lemon chicken, the likes of which we’ve never experienced before or since. Also, BYOB. 10445 Venice Blvd., Culver City, 310-559-1808 (also a location in Marina Del Rey).
HONEY’S KETTLE FRIED CHICKEN
The crack of fried chicken. 9537 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 310-202-5453.
By now, Sasabune is infamous. It started as a little hole-in-the-wall converted house by chef Nobi Kushuhara who was schooled by Kazunori Nozawa, and now has a location in NYC that Kushuhara’s apprentice Kenji has relocated to. The
menu is strongly suggested; actually, it’s pretty much assumed that it’s what you’ll be ordering. Servers will gently suggest you eat the über-fresh fish either “with sauce” or “no sauce” (meaning soy). The
are divine, and the butterfish is truly like butter. 12400 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 150, Brentwood, 310-820-3596.