The FTC47 (2019 Edition)

The FTC47
Thanks to all who contributed to this inaugural edition of The FTC47!

The discussions online (and also quite a bit offline) were lively, as is usually the case when our passionate corps of FTCers chime in. Most of the final picks ended up being restaurants, but there were some non-restaurant selections as well. Of course, there will be inevitable debate about those places/people/trends which did or did not make the cut. But overall, the results of The FTC47 2019 reveal a true depth of dining in our fair metropolis that we can all be proud of (not to mention a smidgeon of our distinctive FTC sense of humor).

To avoid ranking items (because there are so many apples and oranges here), we’ve decided to alphabetize The FTC47 (nods to @chrishei for yet another flash of brilliance).

And now, without further ado, may I present The FTC47 2019:

106 Seafood Underground by Chef Sergio Penuelas




Beijing Pie House

Bulgarini Gelato

Chengdu Taste

Chi Spacca

Connie & Ted’s

The Donut Man

Drinking sake using wine glasses

Evan Kleiman

Everson Royce Bar

Guerrilla Tacos


Ham Ji Park

Hatchet Hall


Here’s Looking At You


Howlin’ Ray’s

Iki Ramen

Il Romanista

Jon & Vinny’s

Langer’s Deli



Mori Sushi


Newport Tan Cang Seafood

Ngu Binh

Northern Thai Food Club


Patisserie Chantilly

Pollo a la Brasa

Porridge & Puffs



Sapp Coffee Shop





Taco Maria

Tire Shop Taqueria


Zam Zam Market

Honorable mentions (those which just missed the cut but were definiterly part of the conversation): All Day, Bestia, Brodard, Chinatown After Dark, Cindy’s Kitchen, Cosa Buona, Hail Mary, hamsters, I-naba, Johnny Lee’s pop-ups, Jun Won, Kato, Konbi, n/naka, OOE, Ototo, Petit Trois, Ruby BBQ, Santa Monica Farmers Market, Shin Sushi, Sonoratown, Superfine Pizza, Sushi I-naba, Vientianne Thai Lao Restaurant, Wadatsumi.




Hi @J_L,

You just had to start our FTC47 with a controversy:

Bang-bang made the cut, but what about the more impressive:

  • Bang-bang-bang?

This triple bang pioneered by @J_L and @PorkyBelly, which soon evolved into the Bang-bang-bang-bang (also failing to make the list)! :wink: :stuck_out_tongue: :smile: (j/k)

Huge thanks to you @J_L and all our FTC’ers who contributed. I think this reflects our FTC’ers sensibilities (e.g., I liked/loved 43 out of the 47 on our list) and is more accurate than the ridiculousness of the 101 this year. :wink:

Happy Holidays everyone!


What were your methodologies for the 47 and “just missed”?

Compiled what everyone wrote. Offline conversations were taken into consideration.

Ultimately, it was my call.

There you have it. Merry Christmas, Mr Lauriston!


Not that I see anything that’s obviously out of place on a board-favorites list, but it seems presumptuous to present it as a collective effort if you didn’t use any objective criteria.

I tend to agree. Also curious how this is reflective of FTC discussions when a place like Ham Ji Park trumps Jun Won… I dig their ribs and pork neck stew, but i don’t recall much raving about them on here these past few years, especially when compared to some other beloved Korean spots.

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A search of my initial call for picks does not register anything selections from you. Everyone had a fair chance to proclaim their love.


Ahh, that’s fair. I completely missed that thread. :grin: Carry on!


Thanks for all the hard work on this list. Hopefully we can do it again next year.
I hope more people will participate in the years to come.


Long time lurker, first time caller. I like having this kinda stuff available on a map in case Im somewhere strange and have a few hours to kill. I plotted the 47 on a google map that I’d like to share here.

I would love any feedback and/or corrections. Here are a few questions I had though.

  • What is Bang-Bang?
  • Three of the locations were in Orange County, that’s cool right?
  • There was a “Pollo a la brasa” and “Pollos a la brasa”, which was the correct?
  • Does Totos mean “Toto’s Lechon Manok”?

Au contraire, I need to vent my many frustrations with Newport Tan Cang Seafood. Twice, we reserved one of their partitioned room but only to show up before our scheduled time but was told to dine in the main dinning hall instead.
Now, about their famous lobster. We were advised to order a 4 pounder at the minimum to fully enjoy the roe and meat. On one occasion, we ordered a 4 pound lobster but was substituted with two 2 pounders. The result was less than unsatisfactory. Think non-existence to tiny roes and small lobster pieces.
On another occasion, We ordered a 7 lb lobster for our party of 10. The lobster came to the table on the plate with one lobster head, one lobster tail end piece, 2 claws and 6 tail meat pieces. The rest of the dish consisted of 7 lobster body pieces with a total of 26 legs. I called the manager over and notify him of the fact that a regular lobster only has 8 legs. His response was that the extra legs were bonuses provided free of charge. I was flabbergasted by his response, and did not address the issue that there were only 6 small piece of lobster meat for our party of 10. Obviously, like all busy kitchen serving a single in demand dish, NTCS did not cook each lobster individually, and we ended with the short end of the stick. Trying to compensate the situation, the manager went into the kitchen and brought us a small plate of lobster roe. Please note: we were not missing lobster roe but lobster meat.
My advise : if you want NewPort style lobster prepared factory style, by all means go to NTCS. You may or may not be surprised. Otherwise, try one of NTCS/s offsprings that lacks the decorations for about the same price. But most likely your lobster dish will not be cooked en mass and served up randomly with 26 legs.

There are Mexican grilled chicken places called both Pollo a la Brasa and Pollos a la Brasa. Two posts in the original topic mentioned Pollo a la Brasa. One specified K-Town, which I guess means Pollo a la Brasa Western? I’m guessing they both were thinking of that place.

Toto is a brand of toilet.

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Toto’s have become a big trend in high end restaurants is fair to say FTC has been early to cheer this on lol.

The best ones are not cheap.


You might add the rest of the places to the map.

It’s Peruvian. The original one is on Western in Ktown. I’ve been told the one in Gardena is the same, but I’ve never been myself.


This is amazing. Thanks for doing it.

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The Newport Tan Cang Seafood on the FTC 47 is the one in San Gabriel on Las Tunas Drive not the one in OC.

You’re a good rally-er @J_L!

It was a great idea and produced a satisfying list (no newspaper politics and only a little grumbling from the peanut gallery). Nice work putting together a committee too. IMO the list idea and changing Weekend Rundown to a Monthly Rundown brings back a little of that communal spirit we lost when DoTM ended.

Anyway, I tend to ruminate and never would’ve finished my list if I added descriptions for every restaurant. But the FTC47 will have ongoing usefulness and I plan to add more thoughts & descriptions that come to mind.

Okay, okay, enough of the kumbaya moment. Am I the only one who still f-ing loves Animal? The Chicken Oyster Yakitori was probably my best bite of 2019!

Happy Eating!


J_L cheated Bestia out of its rightful place on his list. It got four votes. All other places with more than two votes made his cut.

SinBaLa, Soban, and Zam Zam Market got only one vote each and are on his list, while Aburiya Raku, Alta Adams, Banh Cuon Luu Luyen, Brodard, Cosa Buona, Luv2Eat, n/naka, Now Serving Bookstore, Ruby BBQ, Shin Sushi, Taqueria Los Anaya, and Teddy’s Red Tacos got two each and he left them off.