Rogue 99/Food Talk Central Essential list?

I’m sure that most of the people here are familiar with the controversy over at LA Weekly and it seems like their Essential 99 list is now complete garbage, cluttered with mall sushi and things that didn’t even originate in LA (Eataly, Jean-Georges etc).

In my opinion, the Rogue 99 at LAtaco is much much better The Rogue 99 ~ L.A. Taco's 2019 Essential Restaurant Guide - L.A. TACO and I think is trying to fully encapsulate what it means to eat in LA.

Still, I think that the collective wisdom on this board might be able to do better, or at least critique it.

What do you think? Overall do you like the Rogue 99? What types of places would you add or subtract from it? Is the R99 even a good framework? What are you happy made the cut? What would be on your essential LA list?

I really like the concept of the Essential list not as a “best of” but as they put it “a showcase of places to eat if you want to be fluent in the language of Los Angeles.”

A couple thoughts to start things out: The exclusion of even one Salvadorean or Persian place is strange.

Does an essential list need to include all three of Musso and Franks, The Dal Rae and Steak n Stein? They seem to all occupy the same niche of “old school places where you can get a strong drink and a steak while experiencing old hollywood charm.”

I say this as a strong Thai Town advocate, but does it need to have so many Thai restaurants?

I think the list is sorely missing a korean homestyle restaurant something like Mapo kke doo gee or Jeon Ju maybe?

I know the list already has a lot of Mexican, but I didn’t notice any restaurants that are also carnicerias and I think that something like Los Cinco Puntos where you can buy meat by the taco or the pound is pretty essential.

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It is not, to be clear, a list of the “best restaurants” in Los Angeles; rather, it’s a showcase of places to eat if you want to be fluent in the language of Los Angeles.

Dan Sung Sa has gone way downhill. I’d put OB Bear instead.

After eating at Sama Uyghur, I believe that Omar’s sucks.

If Sea Harbour is the best you’ve got in LA, that seems like a business opportunity for somebody.

Other than those, all the places on that list that I’ve been to are solid.

Major omissions: Chi Spacca, Jang Choon Dong, Jun Won, Osteria Mozza, Majordomo, Petit Trois

Though maybe they feel they have those general sorts of places covered.

What, no Gjusta? Also, Playa Provisions is mediocre. For a beach experience, I take out of towners (especially Europeans) to the Shack. It’s so beachy and casual. It’s very L.A.

I would also add Fishing With Dynamite as another beachy experience.

Is it possible to post the list in entirety here? That is way too much scrolling on my phone for me.


Good call!

All Flavor No Grease
Angelini Osteria
Apple Pan
Baco Mercat
Barrel and Ashes
Beijing Pie House
Beverly Soon Tofu
Bigmista’s Barbecue & Sammich Shop
Black Market Liquor Market
Boiling Crab
Broken Spanish
Carnitas El Momo
Casa Vega
Chengdu Impression
Chichen Itza
Colonia Publica
Dal Rae
Dan Sung Sa
Din Tai Fung
El Coraloense
El Huarache Azteca
Everson Royce Bar
Father’s Office
Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop
Grand Central Market
Guerrilla Tacos
HaiDiLao Hot Pot
Ham Ji Park
Hawkins House of Burgers
Here’s Looking at You
Howlin’ Rays
Isaan Station
Kobee Factory and Syrian Kitchen
Kogi BBQ
La Casita Mexicana
La Mascota
Ladyface Ale Companie
Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant
Little Sheep
Manhattan Beach Post
Mariscos Jalisco
Meals by Genet
Mercado Olympic
Misky Misky
Musso & Frank Grill
My Two Cents
Neptune’s Net
Newport Tan Cang Seafood
Night + Market Song
Oaxacan Quesadilla Cart
Oh My Pan Bakery & Tea
Omar’s Halal
Park’s BBQ
Philippe the Original
Phnom Penh Noodle Shack
Pho Filet
Playa Provisions
Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen
Ruen Pair
Rustic Canyon
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sea Harbour
Steak 'n Stein
Super Tortas DF
Surati Farsan Mart
Sushi Gen
Sushi Katsu Ya
Szechuan Impression
Tacos Leo
Tacos Quetzalcoatl
The Serving Spoon
Thien An Bo 7 Mon


Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop sold years ago and the original recipe for the Portuguese sausage patty can be had as TNT Aloha Cafe in Torrance. Many of the restaurants regular clients are now at TNT Aloha Cafe. The Portuguese sausage mix and many of the other great Hawaiian dishes use it.

Not saying LATACO made a bad list and I am not sure how they compiled the list. But a bit of investigation would lead them to know that Gardena Bowl used to have a long wait times for breakfast and lunch. Now you can walk in with many seats available. We used to drive to Gardena Bowl to wait to eat the food, specifically the Portuguese sausage and eggs, Portuguese sausage mix, bacon fried rice, and wonton saimin; if we were lucky they would have SPAM musubi as a chalkboard special. Sadly, it no longer fits my tastes of the food I remember.


Good list, but I don’t think Barrel and Ashes belongs there instead of Bludso’s.

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Casa Vega doesn’t belong on any “Best of” list I’d want to read…

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But this isn’t a “best of” list.
It’s an “essential la” list which to me means that they are trying to show all the aspects of la dining in one list. I’ve never been to casa vega, but from the description on the list it sounds like a place where there are paparazzi and celebrities around. They describe it as an old Hollywood hangout.

I think there can be a case made that between Musso and Frank and Steak n Stein and The Dal Rae, the “old Hollywood” type of restaurant is already well covered on this list, but I think that part of LA dining can include celebrities and paparazzi. That is why I think this place is on the list

It feels like there was a concerted effort to include a fair amount of restaurants from the valley on here. I wonder if the Compton Bludso’s was still around if it would have made the cut instead of B&A

As someone who has been to Casa Vega, it really may have been a “it place” 60 years ago, but the food was not good.

I don’t think being able to dine next to Megan Fox (true story) at a mediocre-at-best place is criteria enough for an “Essential” or “Best of” list of any kind. Sorry. By that logic, every acai bowl place in Hollywood should make the cut.

Casa Vega should have made a listicle 50 years ago, but it has no business being on one today.