The Los Angeles food scene these days is a serious force to be reckon with. For many years, Los Angeles had always seen as subpar to New York and San Francisco. That is no longer the case. Even long time NY & SF establishments such as Blue Bottle Coffee and Shake Shack have opened outposts in the land of sunshine. With so many new restaurants popping up in LA these days, you can barely catch up, and we are loving every moment of it!
We decided to compile our ultimate Los Angeles food guide with everything in one place. Now, there are many restaurants we love, in which case this post can easily turn into a book. So we asked ourselves, what are the restaurants we absolutely cannot live without, we keep going back time and time again, and most importantly, what are the restaurants that will completely end our worlds if they no longer exist. With those thoughts in mind, we filtered down to this still very long list. But more options is better than no option?
The guide is categorized by cuisine type – Western Brunch/Lunch, Western Dinner, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Mexican, Sweets, and Others. For the ones with check signs, they received seal of approval from three out the four Pinky Espresso ladies. You may question the legitimacy of this list as it doesn’t contain quintessential LA food spots such as Spago or Pink’s Hot Dog. But this is what 80% of Los Angelenos will tell you – we aren’t rich enough eat at Spago as regulars, and Pink’s is just a nightmare every local tries to avoid. Plus it really won’t affect our lives if they were to close down. We will leave those for the food critics and tourist guides, and talk about REAL places we dine at. So here we go, ladies and gents, we shall present to you Our Ultimate Los Angeles Food Guide.
The Champagne Sunday brunch is a great experience. You can get unlimited appetizers (unlimited roasted duck omg!), choice of steak, sea bass, or salmon for lunch, and unlimited desserts. Did we mention unlimited champagne? Why are we so hungry right now? Michelle’s mom works at the Peninsula so it doesn’t hurt we always get special VIP hookups 🙂 Renée also had her bridal shower at The Belvedere (thanks Mama Harwood!) so this place definitely has a special place in our hearts! The restaurant just completed its renovation so be sure to check it out.
BLD stands for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. This is the OG of our weekend brunch spot and our old trusty. This place always has a line, but if you don’t mind waiting, or am able to go on a weekday, it will not disappoint. Besides their regular menu they always have a few new specials that are for sure worth a try. Michelle’s mom also lives down the street from this delicious place which makes it convenient to drop her kids off and enjoy a girls’ brunch. Their blueberry ricotta pancake was featured on The Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”, but our favorites include any one of their scrambles, and don’t forget to choose chorizo fries as your side choice, it is mind-blowingly delicious! Oh, and that French press coffee… yum!
Must Haves: Any of the egg scrambles, Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes, French press coffee
This restaurant needs no introduction, it has so many Yelp reviews it’s beyond ridiculous! Stepping into BL is like being transported to a Parisian patisserie, but with an east coast glam feel. Marbles everywhere, the always sparkling and colorful pastry market area, the brass hardware details, we can go on and on. It is like a adult candy store, you can’t help but want to get a piece of everything. Oh, the restaurant itself isn’t so shabby either 😉 Be prepared for a long wait though, as they do not take reservations whatsoever. Our favorite time to go is bright and early in the morning, especially on a weekend when there is barely anyone. Order a cup of cappuccino and a pain au chocolat, grab a table in the market area, and enjoy that Sunday morning paper, pure bliss!
Must Haves: Portobello Fries, Prosciutto & Burrata, Lobster Hash, Salmon Millefeuille, selection of Macarons, Hazelnut Beignet, Pain au Chocolat.
It is like a little hidden secret gem at the edge of the Arts District. When you want fresh bread and pastries, you head to Bread Lounge. Everything is made in-house, with one of the best croissants we’ve ever had. They also make killer kouign-amman. Their sandwich options are just as awesome, with the Cheesy Affair being the absolute favorite – emmentaler, smoked gouda, onion marmalade, and cherry tomatoes served with bread of your choice. YUM!
Must Haves: Cheesy Affair, Croissants, Kouign-Amman, Fish Outta Water (tuna salad)
This brunch spot is nestled right at the beginning of one of the cutest little neighborhoods in LA, Larchmont. Michelle cannot get over their red and blue velvet pancakes. It is another order up front and grab your table style kind of place. It does get quite packed on weekends and sometimes it may take a while to find a table, so be patient. The portions are beyond ginormous so be ready to share or take some home for your next meal!
Must Haves: Red and Blue Velvet Pancakes
We’ve been here for brunch, drinks and dinner and all have been a great experience. We chose brunch because no other place in Santa Monica offers a more spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean that even the bathrooms have a view! The experience starts the second you step into their glass elevator that takes you straight up to the top floor (it’s called The Penthouse for a reason). They tend to do girls’ brunch deals on Gilt with bottomless mimosa’s so make sure to keep your eyes out! It is also a great venue for bridal and baby showers, as the decor is just amazing! Make sure to request a booth seat when making a reservation, it’s awesome!
A little hidden gem in Vernon, most people wouldn’t even know about it unless you work in Vernon. One of the newer establishments is Rae G. They serve typical lunch fares – salads, sandwiches, soups, the usual. The best thing on the menu is their avocado sandwich, and it is quite a sandwich! The sauce they use is the best part of it, and please do yourself a favor and get the pesto pasta salad as your side, you will not regret it.
Must Haves: Avocado sandwich, Pesto pasta salad
One of our favorite parts of LA is the never ending and ever changing brunch options. A relatively more recent addition to our go-to brunch spot, République is located near Hancock Park. Formerly the location of Campanile, the team at République converted the space into a rustic open air dining room which we absolutely adore. The massive cathedral ceiling with sky lights make the space super airy and bright, exactly the type of place you want to have a couple mimosas with your girls! You order at the front and grab any table you want afterwards. While you wait in line deciding what deliciousness to order, you will be tempted by the amount of pastries and sweet treats that are staring right at you, and probably end up giving in to order a pastry, or two, or three… Dessert after breakfast here just works! The menu is a little more creative than your typical brunch spot, and everything we’ve tried has been delicious!
Must Haves: Mushroom Toast with soft scrambled eggs, Shakshouka, any of the house sodas or juices, and this lovely pastry called Paris Brest.
The Getty Center is Renée favorite place in LA. Up in the hills near Westwood, The Getty Center is an open air architecture masterpiece with an impressive collection of art and exhibitions. The star of the museum, however, is the view. So what’s better than dining at the Restaurant while surrounding yourself with floor to ceiling windows of amazing views? Actually, there is something better – the food! The Restaurant is a full service restaurant, not the usual museum food court or cafeteria you find. Make a reservation as the wait gets out of hand with all the out of town tourists, but we guarantee it will not disappoint. Feast your mouth with delicious food and your eyes with the gorgeous view. You really cannot go wrong with any of the items on the menu, plus they make a pretty darn good Old Fashion.
Located in the village of Manhattan Beach, this restaurant is a South Bay favorite. Their lunch specials – soup, salad, and sandwich combo are an awesome deal. Susan loves this restaurant as it’s a go-to restaurant everytime it’s Fun Friday at work. Their caramelized brussel sprouts are the best Susan’s ever had.
Must Haves: Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, All of their sandwiches, French Onion Soup, Fig & Pig Pizza, Spicy Chicken BBQ Pizza
There are several locations all over Greater Los Angeles. Although it is technically a chain, it doesn’t feel like it whenever you dine there. This is our #1 go-to spot for weekend brunch/lunch. Everything tastes so fresh, and we love to enjoy our food underneath that lovely SoCal sunshine. What they do great is what everyone thinks of when they think of California – healthy, fresh and delicious food. Don’t be intimidated by the line, it is quite easy to find a table, and the bus boys at Urth are always so helpful and the friendliest bunch! Molly comes here for their Spanish lattes; she dreams of this drink, and even after having 3 cups of coffee in the morning, she still orders a large whenever she’s at Urth. Susan and Renee’s go to are Eggs Verde and an Urth Breakfast (butter croissant with brie, butter, and jam) to share!
Must Haves: Spanish latte, Sprout sandwich, Eggs Verde, Urth Breakfast, Breakfast burrito
This is an oldie but a goodie. Chaya is a great option for a girls’ night. Great food, great drinks, and the downtown location has awesome outdoor seating that makes you forget you’re in the city. They have a pretty varied menu but really do great fish and sushi. When Michelle was living in LA, she would come here for happy hours and enjoy Mojitos while waiting for a table. This place never gets old and we can still taste the Soy-glazed black cod or their seafood paella in either saffron or ink sauce… yum!
Must Haves: Sea bass, Seafood Paella, Chaya mule, Mojito
When we want a good dinner meal with no fuss, we head to The Factory Kitchen. This place has only been around for a few years but it has quickly become our go to place for a low key dinner. Plus it has a special place in our hearts, as we were one of the early discoverers of this gem before it became a hot spot! We aren’t gonna lie, we wish it could stay as our secret spot forever, but great food cannot be contained. Located in DTLA’s warehouse district, it is in a former factory warehouse. The place is rustic but intimate, with an open kitchen concept where you can watch cooks making their pasta in-house, shaving those yummy prosciutto, and putting together the mouth-watering desserts. EVERYTHING is umami at Factory Kitchen, including their ever changing cocktails! Do not leave without ordering desserts as they are just as awesome! The rich and decadent profiteroles and the orgasmic panna cotta, oh my!
Must Haves: Prosciutto, Frittura (fried leeks and chick pea fritters), Beets Casserole, Profiteroles, Panna cotta, Cannoli, and of course, the life-changing Handkerchief Pasta.
This place is always a no brainer whenever we want to dress up and have a fun girls’ dinner night out! It’s rare that we like a chain restaurant, but Fig & Olive is an exception. Molly and Michelle have checked out the ones in NY and Chicago, but there is something special about the LA location. Located in West LA on Melrose Place, it is quintessential LA scene of to see and be seen, but without the pretentiousness. It is gorgeously decorated without being too over the top, and the giant fig tree in the middle of the main dining hall with string lights makes you feel like you are dining in a mid summer night’s dream. The service is always amazing, and the food ALWAYS hits the spot! We always order the Piscine, which is South of France sparkling wine (usually Moët Ice Imperial) served on ice with fresh strawberries, it is so refreshing it makes us go “ah..” after every sip.
Must Haves: Piscine, selection of crostinis, truffled mushroom croquettes, penne funghi tarfuto, mediterranean branzino, and paella del mar.
We love this for two reasons. Amazing homemade pasta dishes and the fact that it’s BYOB. Anytime we are in the mood for a carb overload, we grab our bottle/s of wine and head straight there. The pesto pasta is Molly’s favorite but you really just can’t go wrong here!
Must order: Pesto pasta (Boccoletti al pesto ricotta)
One of the few places that does both brunch and dinner right! We mentioned République as one of our must try for brunch, but dinner is just as awesome, and you seriously cannot go wrong with any of the items on the menu. Our dinner favorites include the Eggs on Toast (scrambled eggs topped with uni), Normandy butter, which literally melts in your mouth, and of course their many pasta dishes!
Must order: ANYTHING
So many memories at this restaurant… long before the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules, SUR has been our Hollywood dinner staple for a long time. We were introduced to it almost 8 years ago by a coworker of ours, and immediately fell in love with the ambience AND the food! It seems like we all have celebrated our birthday’s at SUR at one time or another. The wait staff were always gorgeous and friendly (pre Vanderpump Rules days) and you never knew which famous celebrity you would be seating next to, it might very well be Lisa Vanderpump herself. We did go back recently to reminisce the old times, but it just didn’t feel the same as before. Maybe because it is no longer our secret spot? Irregardless, we do love this place.
Must Haves: Blackberry Cobbler and Salmon
When you want a bowl of hot brothy noodle soup and dumplings, you head to 101 Noodle Express, with several locations in the Alhambra/Arcadia area. They also have locations in Culver City and Irvine. If you love dumplings, this is your heaven, as the options will blow your mind, plus you can pick either steamed or fried! The food served is simple and homey, but full of flavors. The noodles are hand-stretched, with just the right amount of chewiness. Our favorite must have are the beef rolls, they are sooooo good!
Must Haves: Beef rolls, Dumplings (we preferred fried), Beef Hand-torn Noodles, Cold mix of Cucumber, Leek & Egg Omelette
Okay, before we get into the next two restaurants, let us give you a preface on Hong Kong style café food. For those of you who aren’t aware, there is a type of cuisine in Hong Kong that’s known at “café” food. It is where Chinese meets Western, no not like Panda Express or P.F. Chang type of fusion. Authentic Hong Kong style café food is a million times better. Example includes Baked Fried Pork Chops over Fried Rice, or Baked Spaghetti Bolognese. You can also order traditional food such as sitr-fry noodle with beef, or a bowl of brothy vermicelli noodle soup. The options at a Hong Kong café is limitless and can be overwhelming, but once you find your go-to items, you just keep going back to them.
Baccali is slightly more westernized than Garden Café, and the crowd tends to be younger and more Americanized, but the food is still amazingly good. It is known for its rotisserie chicken, but what Susan and Renée love most about this place is its Baked Portuguese with Chicken over Rice. Oh-em-gee, so so so good. We also love the Chicken Curry with Rice, it is the best curry Susan has had as it is not too overpowering with spice. Subtle and smooth with a hint of coconut. Decadent!
Garden Café is one of those that serve authentic Hong Kong style café food in Alhambra, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with anything. It certainly satisfies that inner HK food craving in us all – even for those who aren’t from HK. Our favorites include Baked Chicken Steak over Fried Rice, vermicelli noodle soup with grilled pork chops, or just a simple plate of good old fried rice.
This place has the longest wait ever but so worth it! This place is Seafood heaven and everything is so fresh. Their lobster is a popular dish (literally on every single table when you walk in). It is to die for! Their items are all beyond amazing so you will need to try every single dish!
When it comes to dim sum, LA has many options, but most of them usually has at least a 30-minute to an hour wait. We don’t like waiting, so when we want legit dim sum, we head to Shanghai No. 1. It is a tad bit pricier than other places, but we’d rather pay more than starving our tummies off, with a serious side effect of hangriness. The décor is very gaudy, but who cares, the food is awesome! The ingredients are fresh, you are always seated comfortably, the place feels clean, and it’s quality is consistent. We always order their pan fried pork soup dumpling (sheng jian bao). Similar to its more well-known cousin xiao long bao (soup dumplings), these are pan fried in a bun. AH-MAZING.
Must Haves: Pan Fried Pork Soup Dumpling (Sheng Jian Bao), Dim sum, Stone-pot Fried Rice, Mango Pomelo Sago (dessert)
Yes we know there are plenty of hole in the wall tofu places in K-town, but BCD Tofu House has a special place in Renée’s heart, she’s been going there since college! First, parking is easy with its own huge lot! The food is consistent, we all know exactly what we like from there, and it’s just hassle-free every time we dine there. Plus the food is legit good! When it gets chilly (LA standard), we love getting a bowl of sizzling tofu soup with rice, maybe sometimes plus a plate of galbi or bugolgi. Seriously, so satisfying. They have locations all over Los Angeles, but nothing beats the location in Koreatown!
We love Korean BBQ, but the smoke, Not so much. Chosun Galbee is one of the nicest authentic Korean BBQ places in Los Angeles, and we love how it isn’t filled with smoke all over the place – they’ve got some seriously strong ventilation! Plus we love the option of sitting outdoor, you’re in LA, what’s not to love about an outdoor K-BBQ experience? It is pricier than most Korean BBQ places, but the quality of meat is superb, and no meal is complete without a Galbee Tang (beef soup). Not to mention all the banchans you get – fish pancakes and potato salad? Heck yea!
This is one of those places you go to when you want simple, good and quick Korean food. This place gets mostly the younger crowd as it’s opened 24 hours, and the later it gets, the busier it is. The food are not mind-blowingly delicious, but they are homey and hit just the right spot. Our favorites include the Duk Man Doo Gook (rice cake & dumplings in beef broth) and Steamed Dumplings, but you cannot go wrong with any of the dishes. The waitresses don’t speak English very well, so just say the number or point. Plus everyone works lightning fast at Hodori, so be ready to ask for exactly what you want!
A literal hole in the wall in Koreatown, Mountain Cafe is located in the tiniest, blink and you’ll miss it strip mall. The shop itself is just as tiny, and it is definitely not a place for you to go with a big group of friends or for a leisurely meal. You come here for authentic Korean food, with the best dishes being the Abalone Porridge and the Ginseng Chicken Soup. They are perfect for the chilly (LA standard) nights when you just want something warm and comforting in your tummy.
Yes, another chain. Katsuya is one of Molly’s go to places. It isn’t your traditional sushi place for the sushi snobs, but if you want sushi with a girls’ night out vibe, Katsuya is perfect. They have several locations in Los Angeles, each location has its own vibe, with of course the one in Hollywood being the most “LA”. They have great drinks and all their dishes are perfect to share with your friends so you can really try a little bit of everything. The only negative is having that massive creepy eyeball on the wall watching you all night!
Must order: Crispy rice with spicy tuna and Seared Albacore with garlic soy lemon butter
A newer concept by Sugarfish, KazuNori is a hand roll bar located in DTLA. The place is small, you seat yourself at one of the bar seats surrounding the chefs who are putting together the hand rolls non-stop. Similar to Sugarfish, you can order a la carte, or select one of their set menus. The hand rolls are made to order, right in front of you, with less than a second between the seaweed touching the rice to getting on your plate – yes, it is THAT fresh! This way they can ensure the seaweed is still crunchy and crispy when you chomp on the roll. Our mouth is watering as we type this…!
One of the few restaurants in Little Tokyo that’s opened till 4am, Kouraku is an unassuming restaurant that has its loyal customer base. It is simply good food, no fuss, which is all your need when you can’t decide what and where to eat. It serves cooked Japanese dishes, and the portions are huge!
Must Haves: Tenshin Chahan (omlette fried rice) and Kouraku Ramen.
One of the relatively new establishments in Little Tokyo, Marugame Monzo certainly proved its worth quickly amongst the many quality restaurants in the area. First and foremost, it specializes in udon, which you don’t find many of them around. It’s a refreshing sight when there is a new ramen place popping up in every corner. The udon is made in house, which you can see the master making it in the kitchen! Everything, including the appetizers, are delicious here. Make sure to order the tempura-fried soft boiled egg to go with your udon!
Must Haves: Duck Nanban, Mentai Squid Butter udon, and Fried Chicken Skin
Michelle loves loves Nobu. Nothing beats excellent sushi and spectacular views. Must try Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno, Albacore with Meyer Lemon, Black Cod with Miso and Rock Shrimp Tempura with creamy spicy sauce.
If you want authentic and no fuss sushi, head over to Komasa in Little Tokyo. It is a tiny and unassuming place that serves fresh sushi and cooked food. Sushi Gen is the craze in Little Tokyo, but we think Komasa is just as good. Although there is still usually a wait, it isn’t as ridiculous as Sushi Gen. Plus they take down you number to call you when your table is ready, so you can walk around the village instead of just sitting waiting outside.
There are many sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, everyone pretty much has his or her own favorite. One of ours is Sugarfish, which you may find locations across LA. It is an omakase-style service. The menu is simple, you get three set-menu choices, depending on how hungry you are. Pick one and you are good to go. The menu includes edamame, tuni sashimi, a selection of sushi, ending with a hand roll or two. The rice is warm, and the fish is fresh. They recommend you to not use soy sauce so you can enjoy the true flavor of the fish. The location in Beverly Hills has Nozawa Bar, also omakase-style, where it seats around 12 people and is reservation only. Please starve yourself beforehand so you can consume the amount of sushi that will be fed to you all night!
Quaint local hole in the wall where surfers and mexican food come to meet in El Segundo. This is where Michelle’s daughter first learned to dip her chips in guacamole and where Michelle craved their Fajita’s and Carne Asada while pregnant with her son. Ah, memories.
Located in Boyle Heights and known for their HUGE burritos, this hole in the wall is a long standing establishment for great authentic Mexican food. They have the best burritos in town; however, all of their other plates are just as delicious! A must try if you are ever in the area. Lines may be long since the place is small but definitely worth the wait!
Must Haves: All of their burritos, tacos, Chile Relleno, Guacamole
You literally cannot go wrong with tacos anywhere in LA. It is pretty much a crime to make bad tacos, as the standard is ALL the way up there. Tacos Tumbras located in Grand Central Market in DTLA serves some pretty darn good authentic, and cheap, tacos. But the best thing is their torta. The bread is soft, they stuff a ton of crap in that sandwich, it’s ginormous, and it is always so satisfying that you immediately get a food coma after consumption. Muy deliciosa!
We love authentic Taiwanese bubble tea! It’s the perfect thing as a sweet snack for the middle of the day or after a meal. Renée is from Vancouver, and her bubble tea expectation is quite high as Vancouver has some REAL legit bubble tea places. Tapioca Express? Ugh… For the longest time she shunned all bubble tea spots in Los Angeles until she stumbled across Bon Appétea. It is so silky smooth, it was love in first sip! Plus the decor of the place is the cutest and so relaxing. Her favorite is the Hokkaido Milk Tea with boba (sometimes without depending on how hungry she is). She even got Susan hooked! If you don’t like your drink too sweet, make sure to ask for half sweet! Their food is also quite good – try the smoked salmon medley, it’s a sandwich on the softest pretzel roll ever, so good!
Must Haves: Hokkaido Milk Tea, Popcorn Chicken, Smoked Salmon Medley
A traditional Taiwanese café, the highlight of this place is its shaved ice. No, this isn’t the shaved ice you get at Disneyland. This shave ice, friends, will change your life, and there is no going back after trying theirs. To be specific, it’s called snow ice, as it is so soft that it melts in your mouth like eating ice cream. The ice is also flavored, with flavor options such as milk, green tea, and mango. The ginormous shaved ice are usually topped with things such as strawberries, mangoes, red bean, mochi, chocolate syrup, condensed milk… you get the idea. It’s meant to be shared, but we won’t judge if you want one all for yourself. It is quite far from Los Angeles, located in Rowland Heights, which is about a 30-minute drive from DTLA with no traffic. But it is so worth the trip.
There are so many artisan ice creamery in LA these days, it is hard to pick a favorite. However we love Carmela as it is unpretentious. It’s been around since 2007 before artisanal ice cream became the “it” factor, and all they want to do is make good ice cream for everyone to enjoy. They are locations in Pasadena, Woodland Hills, and Beverly Grove. Their selection isn’t big, but everything tastes good. Renée’s favorites are lavender honey, earl grey tea, and mint chocolate with cacao nibs. The menu changes based on seasonality, truly artisanal!
Where to go when you want macaron ice cream sandwiches? Yes you read that right, MACARON ice cream sandwiches! How genius is that?! Milk, located in West LA, offers a great selection of dessert pastries and ice cream, but their crown jewel is the macaron ice cream sandwich. With many flavor combinations to choose from, you can keep going back for days, plus the portions are quite big and you can totally share, or not. Our favorites are salty caramel and coffee toffee!
Absolutely LOVE ALL of their creative cookies. The best ever!!! They are all thick, moist, and chewy. Every single one of them. Every now and then Susan will crave a Milk Jar cookie and will drive all the way to Wilshire to pick a few up. They will then be gone by the time she gets home. All so decadent you’ll feel like you’re in heaven after just one bite. Simply irresistible.
Must Haves: ALL (each and every cookie is packed with delicious goodness)
Located in the Village in Little Tokyo, Mitsuru is unassuming, but at the same time you cannot miss the smell of Imagawayaki cooking/baking in their pans! Imagawayaki is a chewy pancake-like bun, and these ones have red bean paste stuffed inside. Plus they are only $2 each, it’s the perfect snack when you are waiting for a table or just want a little dessert snack after dinner!
There is no way to not include Sprinkles in our list! It is THE cupcake place in Los Angeles. So much has been said about their awesomeness, we will not bore you with the details. Renée is literally ADDICTED to this place, not to mention they share the same birth date! They have locations all over Southern California, some even have their own cupcake ATM machines, just in case you get that late night cupcake craving. You hate but love them for coming up with that concept. Sometimes when we want just one or two cupcakes, we just go straight to the cupcake machine and skip the line to the store. The best flavor is of course their famous Red Velvet, but we also love Black & White and Chocolate Marshmallow.
Near LAX, this is literally a hole in the wall so if you blink you will miss this restaurant. Absolutely to die for! This restaurant is as close to Greece as it gets! Everything is a must-try as it is all cooked and grilled to perfection! You go here for authentic Greek food; may take a while for the food to come but definitely worth the wait! From the appetizers, to the main course and then dessert, you will not go home disappointed!
Must Haves: Lemon Potatoes, Tzatziki, High Protein Mousaka (tastes so good like home-made Bolognese), Grilled Wild Alaskan Salmon (grilled to perfection, orgasmic!), Baklava
A little gem hidden in the neighborhood of Westwood Village, this mom and pop restaurant makes the best gourmet Persian dishes ever! It is literally next to/ connected to their sandwich shop and is literally a hole in the wall. Seating is limited inside with a cozy outdoor patio so there is always a long wait. Anyone that is Persian always comments that their food is as close as it gets to their grandmothers! Every dish on the menu is authentic and flavorful. You will love absolutely every item you order; so if you want to taste home-made Persian cooking, Attari is your #1 choice.
Must Haves: Ghormeh Sabzi, Tadig, Khoresht Gheymeh, Fesenjan
An Asian Fusion restaurant by Wolfgang Puck, this is an oldie but a goodie for Michelle. When she used to live in LA and had family in town, Chinois on Main was an obvious choice as they always enjoyed the family style sharing that this restaurant is known for. The lobster with curry sauce is her favorite.
Tucked away in the Valley of Woodland Hills, this little hole in the wall serves the BEST Persian sandwiches ever!!! Not sure what kind of sourdough bread they use (it’s most likely made in-house) but it is one of the best Susan’s ever had! Her all-time favorite to indulge in (she can literally eat two whole sandwiches in one sitting) is the Olvieh Salad sandwich. It’s a pototo salad mixed with tiny bits of chicken served on the sour dough bread with lettuce, tomatos, and pickles. Simply irresistible. Trust us, once you have a bite of this, you’ll definitely go back!
Must Haves: Olvieh Salad Sandwich, KuKu Sandwich, Kotlet Sandwich
El Floridita is the most authentic Cuban restaurant you can find in LA. Once inside, you get transported and feel like you are in Havana salsa dancing the night away. They have a live band so be sure to check out their event calendar on their website to see what’s happening! The food is spectacular and if you are lucky, you can see some famous celebirties like Eva Longoria and Jennifer Lopez showing off their moves!
Okay yes we know it is no a “food” place, but G&B Coffee is so important to us, we cannot leave it out of this list! We are all addicted to their Sweet Latte like it is crack cocaine. Honestly we would drink 20 of these to keep us full all day if we could. We are coffee snobs, and we know a good coffee when we taste one. G&B stands for Glanville and Babinski, the founders of G&B Coffee, and it is located in DTLA’s Grand Central Market facing Hill Street. It is easy to spot as there is usually a crowd of people gathering around the coffee bar, ordering their daily coffee or sipping on one. There really isn’t a line, just walk up to the bar (if you can find a space to squeeze yourself in), and one of the baristas will take your order. We highly recommend you to try their Iced Sweet Latte. What makes it special is the house-made almond macademia milk, and the drink has just the perfect hint of sweetness and amount of creaminess that makes you crave for it one drink after another. Yes, we are addicts, and you will become one too as soon as you have your first sip.
LA is overflowing with really good Thai cuisine that it was hard to pick a favorite. Living in Chicago now, Michelle still hasn’t not found a good Thai place to replace her favorite, Natalee Thai. Unlike most Thai restaurants where you feel rushed and cramped, Natalee Thai is a nice cafe where you can sit comfortably and hang out with friends. Favorites are Beef Pad See Ew, California Curry and the Thai Iced Tea.
Yes it’s a chain, but we do not judge chains when the food is good, and Ono is one of them. You can find them all over LA, and the portions are so huge it can last us 3 meals. The best part? The macaroni salad! Whatever they put in that salad, it is so addicting, and we always find ourselves wanting more…….!
The traditional Thai items like Pad Thai, Pad See-Ew and Chicken Satays can be found at any Thai restaurant and all taste just as good but this restaurant, omg, is known for their BBQ! The chicken is barbecued to perfection with their special home-made house sauce served with their shrimp fried rice. Susan has been coming to this restaurant since she was a little girl and it never disappoints! There are locations across Los Angeles so go to one near you now!
Must Haves: All of their BBQ ‘S’ dishes (S1 being Susan’s all time favorite)
Perch is a restaurant, but we really don’t care much about their food. What we LOVE about this place is coming for drinks after work in their rooftop bar! This place is located on the top floors of Pershing Square Building, and the view up top of DTLA is breathtakingly gorgeous! Add in the string lights, oh man… Since it is in downtown, you don’t get the dreaded pretentiousness in Hollywood, as most of the patrons are working professionals in the area, mostly bankers, lawyers, and the fashion crowd. It is a very relaxed but classy vibe. The cocktails are all delicious, and if you are lucky enough to grab a seat, it is really one of the best places in town to catch up with friends under the warm (smoggy) starry night.
Must Haves: HAPPY HOUR!
Hands down the best Vietnamese food and service in LA. The line is always out the door and the owner is super friendly. All of their Pho dishes are tasty you just keep going back! You’ll find yourself going there at least once a week once you try this place. There is just something about their broth and it could be the alkaline water that they use to cook the food; it is even served to you to drink! SO GOOD!
Must Haves: Shaken Beef (so tender and delicious) with rice, Chicken Pho, Spicy Beef Noodle, Fish with Egg Noodles
LA has a bustling Vietnamese food scene, and like sushi, everyone has his or her favorite spot. Renée’s is Saigon Flavor, located in San Gabriel, another no fuzz, simple, homey restaurant. The less chaotic sibling restaurant of the more well-known Golden Deli, they serve amazing bowls of pho with one of the yummiest broths we’ve had, not to mention some pretty legit friend tofu and rolls! Her dad used to travel to Vietnam quite often for work, so his expectation is high, and this place has his seal of approval!
This place is known for their Asian version pastas and their traditional Hainan Chicken with rice. Their rice is just SO GOOD! And the sauces that come with the chicken rice are all amazing! A hole in the wall this restaurant is located at the corner with limited seating, you can easily spot it by the crowd of people waiting on the street for a table. A must try if you are ever in the area. FYI, it is closed on Sundays!
Must Haves: Hainan Chicken with rice
If you blink, you’ll miss this spot on Little Santa Monica Blvd, right in front of the Peninsula Beverly Hills. It’s a small, family owned, and authentic with its decor and ambiance. Service may take awhile as all food are made from scratch when you order but it just adds to its authenticity.
After a night of partying or drinking, we tend to get hungry. When you leave a club in LA, 99% of the time you can find one of those hot dog carts waiting nearby, charging an arm and a leg for a hot dog. But it doesn’t matter, you are drunk, hungry, and their hot dogs are legit good. It is almost as if the reason why you get drunk and stay out late is to have a street dog. The street dog is everything, bacon wrapped sausage, grilled onions, bell peppers, mayo, mustard, ketchup… Michelle and Renée are so addicted to these street dogs, they can literally sniff them out from 3 blocks away. True story, and please do not judge.
Uncle Darrow’s will always hold a special place in Michelle’s heart. This is the place where her and her fiancé allegedly had their first non-date. They closed the place down. She never even had Cajun food until that day and afterwards she was hooked. Must try Zeek straight up with a side order of bean-balaya (combo of red beans and rice and jambalaya) and her utmost favorite Shrimp Supper with double bean-balaya.
Must Haves: Zeek with side order of Bean-Balaya, Shrimp Supper
This place introduced Michelle to Cuban food and she is forever thankful. An LA establishment, they have four locations across Greater Los Angeles. Must try are Garlic Chicken (only if your not kissing anyone that night), Arroz Con Pollo and Ropa Vieja.
And that concludes our ultimate Los Angeles food guide! We hope we’ve provided new dining options for both visitors and Angelenos. We for sure are hungry for some yummy food after this post 🙂