Whenever someone comes to me and says “You know, I visited Los Angeles but I hated it”, I reply by saying that the city of angels is not for tourists, it has to be lived.
While living in Westwood, Los Angeles, I had a great time exploring what the city has to offer including the best of LA by night. My first impression, though, was that of a dirty, chaotic, snob city…at the end of the year I didn’t want to leave anymore.
The city is a pandemonium of different cultures and traditions, and I bet you can have food from every corner of the world here. Night or day, you’ll find some of the best cuisine in Los Angeles, add that was truly fascinating to me, since I come from a middle-size city where past a certain time the only thing you can find open is…well, McDonald’s!
So, where to eat in Los Angeles with such a vast choice? I obviously haven’t tried every restaurant in town, but here it’s a personal list of my favorite places (not in a particular order).
01 | Umami Burger
Did anyone say fancy hamburgers?
Like, did you even know that the two things can go together?
They can at Umami, where your hamburger gets served on nice porcelain plates. The hamburgers are smaller than most places, but who cares when they’re so savory! The options are plenty, and for sides, choose between truffle fries and sweet potato fries, equally yummy. Expect to spend more than at a fast-food, but hey, these are gourmet burgers!
I went to the 1520 Cahuenga Blvd. (Los Angeles) location, but there are others in Los Angeles you can try as well. For all informations, check out Umami Burger website.
02 | Baby Blues BBQ
Don’t expect fanciness, but succulence? Heck yeah!
We got ribs with corn and cornbread, and took it to Venice beach for a picnic.
BBQ+the beach= a great combo.
03 | Mr. Chow
Mr. Chow is a stylish, Asian-fusion restaurant where Chinese cuisine and innovation are blended: think like a mix of european and asian but with a gourmet, luxury touch.
I was in the Beverly Hills restaurant (344 N Camden Dr, Beverly Hills) for a special night out, although there are six locations around the world.
A celebrities hotspot (you might be able to see some!), Mr. Chow is definitely not on the cheap side , but if you want to feel like a Hollywood star for a special night, this is the place to go to.
04 | In-N-Out Burger
How not to love In-N-Out?
It’s just the best for those stressful I-need-carbs-and-fast-food times. If you add that this place is really cheap, you’ve got the recipe for an always packed hotspot. I used to go to the Westwood location (922 Gayley, Los Angeles), but there are many others: check out their website.
The quality of the ingredients is not comparable to the other fast food chain restaurants we all know, and the kitchen is open so you can actually watch while they make your burger.
TIP! There’s a secret menu that doesn’t appear anywhere: ask for the fries animal style for fries with melted cheese, the special sauce and bacon, and for the animal style hamburger.
05 | Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
The name says it: you want to have dumplings? Just head straight to Din Tai Fung (1088 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia), this is dumplings’ heaven.
You can have crab, pork, fish, vegetarian, shrimp, chicken…just say one ingredient and they’ll probably have some dumpling with it. Reasonably priced, I’ve been told that dumplings so good exist only in Taipei.
Can’t get better than this. Oh, arrive early because the place is always packed!
06 | Paul Martin’s American Grill Restaurant
In this list of ethnic food from all over the world I needed an all american place: Paul Martin’s American Grill (2361 Rosecrans Ave, El Segundo) is the perfect one to include.
I came here for a birthday and I really liked it. It’s not dirty cheap, but I tried the fish tacos, the tomato soup and the grilled salmon and all the dishes were tasty, the ingredients local and sustainable (you know I love that word!).
I love the ambience and the elegant design of the restaurant….and the bar?
A great selection of cocktails and wine: next time, I’ll come for happy hour (wink wink) or for Sunday brunch.
07 | Hae Jang Chon Korean Bbq Restaurant
Whenever I read somewhere All you can eat I get excited. And I don’t have breakfast so I can have as much food as I can for real.
Hae Jang Chon ( 3821 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles) is the best Korean Bbq I’ve tried, and for $18.99 you can have 20 items from the menu (beef, pork, squid, tongue, octopus…) to grill yourself…do you think it’s gonna be enough for you? Pay attention not to order too much though, or you’ll have to pay for leftovers.
08 | El Taurino
El Taurino (1104 S Hoover St, Los Angeles) is an obvious choice if you feel like REAL mexican food and you are around downtown.
Especially if you come from a sweaty clubbing night…this place is open at night time.
Their pastor tacos and tortas are gooood, and their carne asada is bomb; just get ready for a long wait (it took over 20 minutes to get my food).
09 | 800 Degrees
Pizza pizza pizza.
While I was studying at UCLA, pizza was something that I really missed from home, so I went to quite a bit places to find a good, savoury pizza.
800 degrees in Westwood (10889 Lindbrook Drive Los Angeles; there’s also another location in Santa Monica) is the best place I found for pizza in town. It’s a make your own pizza but with staff that does it for you.
It’s not usual for an American pizzeria to have a wood-burning oven, and the quality of the ingredient is very good: when I learnt that the mozzarella here is real buffalo milk mozzarella, this place just conquered me.
10 | Ramen Yamadaya
This was my first time ever trying Tonkotsu Ramen and I found it interesting. I mean, I’m more of a sushi kind of girl, but I liked it. At Ramen Yamadaya (1248 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles) you can decide how spicy you want your ramen,and you can try and win the spicy challenge. Me? NO THANKS!
This is a casual dining place, and honestly the service could be improved, but the food is good and that’s what’s most important to me. Get the green tea Japanese ice cream at the end.
TIP! UCLA students get free extra noodles, so if you are a student don’t forget to show your Bruincard!
Want to read more of LA? Don’t forget to check out my Public Transportation Guide to LA !
Do you agree with my choices? Which restaurants in Los Angeles do you recommend?