With more than 8,500 restaurants, L.A.’s gastronomic choices can be as overwhelming as they are delicious. Fortunately, this list of eclectic cuisine can help you put together a culinary bucket list filled with hidden strip-mall gems, trendy bistros, and spicy ethnic treats scattered all over Los Angeles.
East L.A. to Downtown
You can find both authentic and designer tacos anywhere in L.A., but East L.A. has some of the best and most affordable Mexican eats. Stop by Tacos Quetzalcoatl for one of the best vegetarian tacos in the city, or sample authentic mulitas at the Tacos El Korita food truck.
Downtown L.A.’s Grand Central Market houses 37 food vendors selling everything from coffee to ethnic food and fresh-baked bread. Eat pastrami on rye sitting at the Wexler’s Deli counter, or enjoy Thai comfort food at Sticky Rice.
Think stadium food isn’t eclectic enough for this list? Think again. Fans consumed more than 7 million Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium in 2017. The grilled, all-beef hot dogs are a perennial fan favorite, but you can also feast on less traditional ballpark dishes, including tuna poke bowls and funnel cakes, sold at specialty food stands inside the stadium.
The San Gabriel Valley
The San Gabriel Valley is your go-to place for Asian cuisine. Believe it or not, most high-rated eateries in SGV are in strip malls. Don’t blink or you might miss the jianbing (Chinese-style crepes) at Fortune No. 1 in Monterey Park and the pho and “broken rice” at Com Tam Thuan Kieu, a cash-only Vietnamese eatery.
West Hollywood to Beverly Hills
The original Spago in Beverly Hills, founded by chef Wolfgang Puck, started the California cuisine movement. Book your reservation to dine on seared striped bass, agnolotti, and other specialties on the patio or in the chic dining room — possibly among some of Hollywood’s top stars.
West Hollywood’s Ink received Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence for its ever-changing menu featuring egg-yolk gnocchi, lamb belly with pine nut cassoulet, and other inventive fare.
A spot on the guest list at Totoraku is coveted by show-biz titans as well as civilian Angelinos. Called the most secret restaurant in L.A., you need the chef’s permission to dine on beef carpaccio and other beef delicacies at this Japanese eatery.
If beef is too heavy for you, try the ramen soup at Daikokuya. This no-frills chain serves spicy miso ramen with cabbage salad, pork ramen, and other ramen variations. The West L.A. Sawtelle location is modeled after a Japanese alleyway, complete with red lanterns and street signs.
Part of a local chain, the recently renovated Rose Cafe in Venice Beach has two patios and a laid-back California vibe. The menu includes green harissa lamb shawarma and wakame spaghetti with Dungeness crab.
Manhattan Beach’s MB Post, another local chain, serves farm-to-table New American cuisine. The seasonal menu features a rotating list of dishes, including roasted eggplant, whole Cornish hens, and Maine diver scallops.
Which Los Angeles restaurants do you have on your foodie bucket list? Tell us on Facebook.