The 4 Best Places to Eat During TCA

Pasadena TCA Dining - H 2012

Pasadena TCA Dining - H 2012

Instead of another meal at Pasadena's Langham Hotel, try nearby spots for a taste of Italy, noteworthy Chinese cuisine -- and the best cocktails around.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

As THR critic Tim Goodman notes, “Fourteen nights is a long haul -- and the days are filled with, well, lots of chicken.” Here are four fresh ways to unwind between network presentations.

Trattoria Neapolis 
336 S. Lake Ave.
The restaurant equivalent of a pedigree production, this five-month-old Italian stallion has a cocktail menu conjured by top local mixologist Vincenzo Marianella (Copa d’Oro), as well as a chef who spent time at the Four Seasons Los Angeles and a GM formerly of the late, lamented Sona on La Cienega. The menu spans the Boot, with New American detours. Focus on the pizzas from the wood-burning oven.

PHOTOS: 22 Celebrity-Owned Restaurants: The Hits and Misses

The Pub at Golden Road
5410 W. San Fernando Road
Go ahead, make your West Coast jokes about the pervasiveness — and self-seriousness — of craft brewing and dietary restrictions. All are on display at this buzzed-about suds sanctum beside train tracks in nearby Atwater Village. The beer list is impressively curated (including selections from the attached Golden Road Brewery), and the vegan burger patties run from barley to quinoa.

STORY: Winter TCA: Awkward Query Alert for TV's Top Execs

La Cuevita
5922 N. Figueroa St.
Tucked away a quick jaunt west in gentrifying Highland Park, the former Little Cave was reborn this past summer as a Mexican den of liquidity boasting a punk-conquistador vibe (courtesy of proprietor Bobby Green, known for such stage-set fantasias as Bigfoot Lodge in Atwater Village and Sassafras in Hollywood). There’s a wide selection of tequila and mescal, but try the decidedly on-theme Mole Manhattan.

STORY: The Five Hottest New Restaurants in Downtown L.A.

Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village
250 W. Valley Blvd.
A short drive south from the Langham but far from the hotel’s lush serenity is this bustling and ornately decorated Chinese dining hall with a ludicrously thick menu that famously made Pulitzer Prize-winning local food critic Jonathan Gold swoon shortly after it debuted in San Gabriel. It has since become a magnet for everything from pan-fried pork buns and stone-pot fried rice to steamed dumplings and crisp turnip rolls.