If you were to guess where the chef of Mélisse -- one of L.A.'s most refined and expensive restaurants -- likes to dine, you might assume he spends his time scouting out other high end places, but you'd be wrong. Like most Angelenos, Josiah Citrin likes tacos, and strange Korean-Japanese hybrids, and a really good breakfast. Turn the page for his four picks for casual eats in Los Angeles.
4. Punta Cabras
"This place is pretty new, on Santa Monica Boulevard. I get over there for lunch when I can. The chefs have worked around town for a while. They make their own tortillas -- I get the fish tacos with pineapple habanero salsa."
3. La Playita
"This is a little hole in the wall on Lincoln between Marine and Rose. When I was growing up it used to be a doughnut shop, and we'd stop in to get coffee and doughnuts before we went surfing. Then it turned into a taco place and we'd stop in to get shrimp cocktail after we went surfing. It's good, and really cheap. It's not, like, the absolute best tacos in the city, but you go to what's good that's close to you. I don't want to drive two hours for a taco."
"It's Korean, but it's Tokyo-style barbecue. We go there all the time -- we used to go there every Monday. My kids love it. I get the salted beef, and we get the seaweed salad, which comes with a sesame dressing there, and I add a little rice wine vinegar. The yukke jan noodles are really good as well."
"This is where I go for breakfast. They do a great ham and eggs, with a really nice thick slice of ham. They also slice their sourdough toast thick, so it's still soft in the middle, and it's so good just with jam. I hate that pre-cut toast that gets so hard -- who wants to eat that?"
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