Taste of Los Angeles

June 12, 2018 Hilary

Taste of Los Angeles

Lunch Special

Discovering the culinary delights of a new destination is one of the joys of travel, but it’s not always easy. How do you avoid the more touristy establishments and pinpoint the best places when you have limited time? This can be particularly difficult in larger cities where the vast number of choices can make it hard to choose and more often than not you end up disappointed.

Table of Contents

A Taste of Los Angeles

You never have to hit the same restaurant twice in a city the size of Los Angeles, and I got to wondering… Just how many dining choices are there? So I asked Google, and it turns out the answer isn’t completely clear. Though what is clear, are that many of them sell doughnuts! “Seriously though” the most common answer was around 20,000 ish, so for the purposes of this post we’ll go with that.

Sidecar Doughnuts Santa Monica California

Sidecar’s Pina Colada Doughnut

Based on that very “accurate” number I estimate that if you dine out three meals a day 7 days a week it would take 18 years to eat at every dining establishment in LA! Precisely why this list won’t try to tell you the Best Of, but rather some of my favorites, a taste if you will, and a small one at that. After all I’m only two years in!

I should also say, that while I do love to eat, I don’t love to take photos of my food, but have done my best to try and convey the deliciousness.

Life is short so dessert first!

Sidecar Doughnuts
Location: 631 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica

Sidecar Santa Monica California

warm from the oven huckleberry doughnut

Sidecar Doughnuts is our favorite Westside doughnut shop, and we’ve tried a few! We aren’t the only ones who love them, so be prepared for a long line. I promise you it’s worth the wait they’re baked fresh all day long.

You might also be interested in: Donuts are the New Cupcakes

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
Location: 516 W 6th Street Los Angeles

Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken is our new favorite Downtown LA doughnut shop.  I’m glad this place isn’t closer to home because the food was so good I know I’d be there every chance I got!

Somi Somi
Location: 621 S. Western Ave (upstairs)

Koreatown Somi Somi Los Angeles California

Tayaki with fruity pebbles

We love Somi Somi in Koreatown for Taiyaki, a fish shaped pastry with a texture somewhere between a waffle cone and a pancake and do our best to enjoy it whenever possible. Traditionally filled with red bean paste, custard and Nutella are other popular options.

You might also be interested in: Things to do in LA’s Koreatown

Location(s): 912 S. Barrington Avenue, Los Angeles
10250 Santa Monica Blvd #1625 at the Westfield Century City Mall

Not a meal exactly, but Compartes chocolate bars are so filled with goodness they very well could be! They’re literally bursting with deliciousness. An LA institution since the 1950s these fabulous chocolate bars are a mixture of art, style, and design. Often partnering with other iconic LA brands these are some of the most luxurious and fashionable chocolate bars you’ll ever have the occasion to eat.

Milk Shop
Location(s): 7290 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles & 1639 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles

Milk Shop is an old fashioned ice cream parlor and bake shop with a modern day twist! Not only were the treats Insta worthy, but they were delicious. I couldn’t resist the cookie dough to go, yes please!

Sunday Chocolate Tea
Location: Langham Hotel 1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue, Pasadena

The Sunday Chocolate tea at the Langham is a real treat! You’ll know you’re in the right place when you smell the chocolate, you’ll turn left at the chocolate fountain, the centerpiece of the all you can eat chocolate buffet. In addition to chocolate you’ll be treated to traditional tea sandwiches, scones and cream, and bottomless champagne. Oh, and yes multiple tea selections are available as well.

Work off all that chocolate playing lawn games in the Horseshoe Garden including, croquet, frisbee golf, and badminton.

Tea service is held everyday of the week, however the Chocolate Tea is only held on Sundays. Reservations are required.

Smitten Ice Cream
Location: 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles

Smitten Ice Cream Los Angeles California

Cookie dough with brown sugar caramel

Churned to order and paired with delicious toppings we are smitten with Smitten.

Mini Monster Milk Tea
Location: Universal City Walk, Universal City

Mini Monster Bubble Tea Universal City California

Mini Monster Bubble Tea and Strawberry Lemonade

If you love bubble tea (I do!) and cute things, then you’ll want to stop in at Mini Monster! Their delicious boba is served in your choice of unique and reusable jars in various fun shapes!

Cookie Good
Location: 2448 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica

The cookies here are so delicious we bought a dozen different flavors and took a bite of every single one!

You might also be interested in: 50 MORE Things To Do In Los Angeles

Pie Hole
Location: 714 Traction Ave Downtown Los Angeles


Whether you like it savory or sweet you’ll be guaranteed a unique and tasty treat at the Pie Hole. With 5+ locations throughout the greater LA area you have no excuses!

You might also be interested in: 50 Things To Do in Los Angeles

Lark Bake Shop
Location: 3337 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles

Lark Cake Shop Silver Lake Los Angeles Kid Friendly Food

Eat Cake Be Happy

We stopped in Lark Cake Shop at the request of the kids, and thankfully we were in the mood to say yes! The Ice Box Cake was so delightful we considered going back for a second round.

Suberba Food & Bread
Location: 1900 S Lincoln Blvd.Venice

Where to eat in Venice Superba Food & Bread Los Angeles California

Fried chicken sandwich

I’ve yet to try something at Superba that I didn’t love! The vibe is all Venice complete with an urban garden out back. Try to resist the bakery counter, I dare you.

The Wee Chippy
Location: 1301 Ocean Front Walk, Venice

Wee Chippy Venice Beach Los Angeles California

BEST fries I’ve ever had!

Located on Westminster just off  Ocean Front Walk at Venice Beach, the Wee Chippy is a walk up fish and chips joint, owned by a Scottish fellow. The fish is great, but the chips are easily the best I’ve ever had. Anywhere!

You might also be interested in: 8 Reasons VENICE Should Top your LA List

Location: 3 Westminster Ave.,Venice

Groundwork Coffee Venice Beach Los Angeles California

This Love Wall is Just across from Groundwork

Okay, this isn’t actually a photo of Groundwork, or coffee, but it is just across from the front door! We love to stop at their beach front location during our morning bike rides. My favorite blend is Lucky Jack.

Menotti’s Coffee
Location: 56 Windward Ave, Venice


Get the Spanish Latte! I promise you won’t be disappointed when you taste this delicious coffee concoction! Seriously, what are you waiting for? Go there! Then take your coffee for a walk along the beach!

You might also be interested in: Venice Art Walls: Caution Wet Paint

Gelina’s Take Away GTA
Location: 1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Gelina Venice Los Angeles California

Gelina Take Away Meatballs

Gelina’s meatballs are almost a right of passage, but securing a table at one of LA’s most popular eating establishments can be challenging. No need to miss out though they’re available next door at the Gelina Take Away counter!

Location:1635 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles

We love everything about Wabi from decor so beautiful we want to move in, to the fabulous food and top notch service. Dinner can be pricey and requires a reservation, but lunch time walk-ins are welcome and much easier on the pocketbook.

You might also be interested in: 24 Hours in Los Angeles

Hatchet Hall
Location: 12517 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles

Food finds in Los Angeles Hatchett Hall

We love the quirky decor, bustling atmosphere and fabulous service at Hatchett Hall, but it was these rolls that really won me over! I just can’t stop thinking about them!

Esters Wine Shop & Bar
Location: 1314 Seventh Street, Santa Monica

Esters Wine Shop & Bar Santa Monica California

Charcuterie platter & curried cashews

Esters is my absolute favorite place and I love everything about it. The service is excellent and unpretentious, the food is creative and delicious, and the atmosphere is welcoming and cozy. Get the curried cashews, you’ll be hard pressed not to pour them directly into your mouth.

Location: 1345 2nd Street, Santa Monica

Sugarfish Santa Monica California

simplicity = perfection @sugarfish

The menu and presentation at Sugarfish couldn’t be simpler, and the food couldn’t be more delicious. Go early for the best chance at a table and the chance to sample sushi perfection.

Kazu Nori
Location: 120 Broadway #104, Santa Monica

Kazu Nori {laces to eat Downtown Los Angeles California

Kazu Nori is small and it’s popular, so get there early, or be prepared to wait. The menu consists of one thing: hand rolls. They’re made to order and to delicious perfection.

You might also be interested in: 5 Places to Get Your Groove on in LA

Forma Restaurant & Cheese Bar
Location: 1610 Montana Avenue

Forma Santa Monica California

Butternut squash risotto

If you love cheese, Forma Restaurant & Cheese Bar is the place for you, their cheese menu is extensive, but its the main dishes prepared inside a giant wheel of cheese, yes I said a giant wheel of cheese that keep me coming back! Excuse the poor photo, but trust me it was delicious!

Back on the Beach Cafe
Location: 445 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica

Back on the Beach Santa Monica California

Sunset at Back on the Beach Cafe

Views for days, toes in the sand dining and delicious food are all waiting for you at Back on the Beach Cafe. Kids will love the playground just next door!

You might also be interested in: Santa Monica! Beach!

Malibu Farm Cafe 
Location: 23000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu

Malibu Farms Malibu California

Swedish Pancakes

Stay cozy inside on a stormy day or eat out when the sun is shinning, either way the Malibu Farm Cafe Restaurant is the perfect little breakfast spot! Locals only! Just kidding, but do check this place out if you’re looking for something a little less touristy.

Neptune’s Net
Location: 42505 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu

Places to eat on the Pacific Coast Hwy

Fish & chips, motorcycles, and gorgeous ocean views! Need I say more? You’ll find Neptune’s Net just a short drive up the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway.

Location: 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles

Eataly Los Angeles California

Eataly is overflowing with deliciousness

A meal at Eataly is a dining experience like no other. Deciding which of the fabulous restaurants you want to dine at won’t be easy, they’re all amazing. Consider an early lunch for the best chance at a table without a wait.

Din Tai Fung
Location: 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Level 2 Los Angeles

It’s a dumpling experience! More than a decade after eating at Din Tai Fung for the first time I can still say I’ve never had any that were better! Go there!

Location: 2068 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles

Furaibo Japantown Los Angeles California

These chicken wings are AMAZING!

You’ll find Furaibo in LA’s Japantown, not to be confused with Little Tokyo. They are famous for their Japanese style chicken wings, which are AMAZING!

Bonus: There is parking in the back.

Hurry Curry of Tokyo
Location: 2131 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles


If you’re looking for a unique Japanese cuisine experience Hurry Curry of Tokyo located in Japantown is the place! I’m obsessed with the white sauce.

Pink’s Hot Dogs
Location: 709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles

Pinks Hot Dogs Los Angeles California

Pink’s famous chili cheese dog

No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a trip to Pink’s a true LA institution! Famous for it’s chili cheese dog, Pink’s has been in the same spot on La Brea Avenue for 77 years and if the perpetually long line is any indication, it’s not going anywhere.

You might also be interested in: One Amazing Day in LA!

Laurel Hardware
Location: 7984 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood

Don’t be fooled by the exterior when you pull up outside Laurel Hardware, one of West Hollywoods most trendy eateries. It may look like an old hardware store from the outside, but the inside is gorgeous and the food is delicious, as are the cocktails.

Canter’s Deli
Location: 419 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles

Canter’s, an LA institution, has been serving up their award winning pastrami sandwiches and other deli fare since 1931. Beyond pastrami, other favorites on my list are the Mish Mash Soup, and the High Hat, which is basically a cupcake married to a ding dong! Delicious!

Jon and Vinny’s
Location: 412 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles

Jon & Vinny Los Angeles California

Excellent food, service and celebrity sightings are what you can expect at Jon and Vinny’s. No wonder it’s consistently listed as one of LA’s top restaurants. Getting a table can be tough, so book ahead, or consider a late lunch when you might even be able to walk right in.

Gracias Madre
Location: 8905 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood

Let me say upfront that I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, but I LOVED my dining experience at Gracias Madre a plant based Mexican restaurant. The “fish” tacos were some of the best I’ve had as was the guacamole. The service is perfect as is the atmosphere, which is so lovely I’d consider living there. Oh, and the drinks… almost too pretty, but we managed it.

Gracias Madre is a vegan restaurant.

Brothers Korean BBQ
Location: 3680 W 6th St, Los Angeles

Brothers Korean BBQ is our family’s go to for special occasions. My favorite part is the banchan (sides) that come with your meal.

Location: 800 E. 3rd Street @Traction Avenue, Los Angeles

Wurstkuche’s exotic sausages and delicious fries are a savory and popular treat. There is a constant line out the door, but don’t be fooled you’ll find a large amount of communal seating in the back.

Location: 907 E 3rd Street, Los Angeles

Located in the heart of DTLA’s Arts District, Manuela, is one of my new favorite places. The perfect place to stop in for a mouth watering bite in-between hunting for street art and poking in and out of the area’s fun one of a kind shops and galleries.

You might also be interested in: Downtown Los Angeles Graffiti & Mural Walking Tour

Cole’s Originators of the French Dip Sandwich
Location: 118 East 6th Street, Downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles

If you’re a French Dip fan you won’t want to miss a visit to Cole’s the very place the sandwich was invented in 1908!

Cole’s is a bar, but children are welcome.

Otium LA
Location: 222 South Hope Street, Los Angeles


Otium’s roast chicken and crispy potatoes

I almost never order chicken when dining out, but I make an exception at Otium LA also, the crispy potatoes are beyond description. I love any place that has my favorite Spanish wine on the menu!

Otium is just next to the Broad Museum.

You might also be interested in: 11 Places To Get Your Culture Fix In Los Angeles

Location: 777 Alameda Street, Los Angeles

Smorgasburg LA Downtown Los Angeles California

Bánh mì hot dog @smorgasburgLA

Looking for something a bit more eclectic? Consider Smorgasburg LA  a weekly Sunday food market with a wide variety of local vendors offering everything from bánh mì hotdogs and spiral fries to boba and french macarons.

2 hours free parking at The Row. 

Alfred Coffee
Location: 3337 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles (Multiple Locations)

If you ask me Alfred Coffee has their priorities straight, because, while it may be cliche, as far as I’m concerned nothing happens before coffee! With locations all over town, including a tea room, you’ll be able to get your priorities straight as well! Oh, and Avocado toast!

You might also be interested in: The Hidden Staircases of Silver Lake

Pine & Crane
Location: 1521 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles

Pine & Crane Silver Lake Los Angeles California

Pork Dumplings

Pine & Crane is a delicious Taiwanese restaurant in the heart of LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood. The food is fresh, delicious and affordable!

More than 1500 words over my self imposed limit I’m going to end this list knowing that there are many fun and delicious places I have yet to share… I hope you enjoy these food finds as much as I do! Please do let me know if you’ve tried any of these places or have any you’d like to share.

Pin for later:

Discover the Culinary Delights of Los Angeles California  Discover the Culinary Delights of Los Angeles California




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I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and they are, at the ages of 13 and 18, world travelers and all around go along guys. There isnt anywhere I cant take them. It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things Ive learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (63)

    • Hilary

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Have you been to any of these? Any suggestions?

  1. Whenever I read posts like this I am both awed by the craziness of the food and sad that Regensburg is such a boring place to live and there is no fun innovative food here. One of the reasons why we want to move! Some of this stuff it just so strange and awesome at the same time! #CityTripping

    • Hilary

      I’m sorry to hear that your current city isn’t awesome, I completely understand as I was in that situation for years. I think that may have been part of what inspired me to travel so much. haha! There are so many fun food finds in this city, but I worry sometimes that I won’t fit into my clothes if I don’t slow down. 😘

  2. Ladies what travel

    Man, I should NOT have read this before eating dinner lol. I’ll definitely be visiting some of these if I make it back to LA! #citytripping

    • Hilary

      Ha ha! Lots of delicious choices, just writing it made me want to run out and eat…

  3. I want to pack a pair of trousers with an elasticated waist, start at the top and munch all the way to the bottom… really useful and definitely mouthwatering! Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • Hilary

      Glad you enjoyed! Makes you want to go out to eat doesn’t it! The top is a great place to start, it’s also one of our regular weekly stops!

    • Hilary

      Let me know what you think about Astro, I can’t stop thinking about the little fried chicken sandwiches! Thanks for the donut tip! I’ll definitely check it out!

  4. I wish I had this post to guide me when I went to LA last year! Although I did find some good eats as well because as you said, there are just so many places to try there! Definitely pinning this one for later!

    • Hilary

      So many places!! Even as I wrote the post I knew I was leaving off so many places, but tried to narrow it down a bit to keep it manageable.

  5. For someone who doesn’t like photographing food I think you’ve done a very good job! I love sushi and rarely get to eat it out in the sticks where I live in the UK, you have so much choice in LA! And that chocolate tea sounds amazing…. #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      Thank you! We loved the chocolate tea! We have so many sushi restaurants I don’t know how to pick. Life is tough I know. 😘

  6. I probably shouldn’t have read this post at lunchtime! Great selection. My favourite LA style food has usually been either Mexican inspired or healthy Venice. I’ve always loved the Cobb salad on Venice Beach too. Looking forward to trying some of the more unusual options when we’re next in the city in about two years time. #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      We definitely have some excellent Mexican food here… I’ll have to put that on my next food post… I’d better get eating!

  7. There are sooo many amazing restaurants in LA and California. I love the diversity of cuisine in Calif. I miss it. I still crave Canter’s, Gladstones (alas is gone), El Coyote, Urth Cafe, a little dim sum place whose name I cannot remember and . . . Chinese Chicken salad from ChinChin. If I am remembering correctly, the Malibu Farm lady is Swedish. Yummy post. Making me want to cook. #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Gladstone’s is still here was just driving by this morning, but know it will be gone at some pointsoon… I like Urth for breakfast! Chin chin is still so popular, but not my favorite. Too much ginger. 😂 I’ll check out El Coyote!

      • I heard Gladstone’s closed from all my college friends. So many people posted about it. I spent many a weekend there in college for Bloody Mary’s. Glad it is still going! El Coyote is a dive, but so good. Oh and what I’d give for a Chinese Chicken Salad from Chin Chin. Honestly I am not sure any of it was/is any good – just comfort food with memories attached. I forgot the Apple Pan on Pico where we used to see OJ and Nicole all the time : ( Loved your list!

  8. Clare Thomson

    I had absolutely no idea that doughnuts was a thing in LA until I started reading your blog and Instagram posts. I had this assumption that everyone in Los Angeles lived on white egg omelettes and salad! Those chocolate bars look so pretty I know I wouldn’t eat them – I’d keep them on my dresser. The sheer range of food available here is just extraordinary. You’re travelling the world while staying at home! I definitely couldn’t say that where I live. #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      The chocolate bars have very fresh ingredients, so they’re best eaten sooner than later! You could save the boxes if you’d like. I never ate doughnuts before I moved here. You almost have to eat them. Xx

  9. Fab list! Ester’s looks like my kind of place, as does Brothers BBQ. Maybe I should take the girls to Back on the Beach? Would that be a good one for us? Also – I am the same way and like to eat food, but don’t like to take photos of food bc I’m not very good at it. You say you’re not, but these turned out well! #farawayfiles

  10. This post is making me so incredibly hungry! I especially love the fish pastry. Absolutely gotta go there next time I’m in LA! #FarawayFiles

  11. I feel like you’ve stumbled on a TV show idea “18 years of food” or something. Where I accept your challenge of eating at every restaurant in LA. Because all of this food looks absolutely delicious (especially the donuts. Always the donuts!). #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      Ha ha! I might pitch that idea if the opportunity comes up! Though I’d need to ask for a personal trainer as part of the deal. Donuts…. mmmm…. donuts!

  12. That huckleberry doughnut alone is worth an intercontinental trip! The morning bike ride is such a great idea. I could see us picking up our Groundwork coffee while the kids check out the colorful the Love Wall. This post is worth planning an entire L.A. trip around. #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      Yes! We love our morning rides… though I usually leave the kids home. Ha ha! Many of hear places are part of fun day adventures within the city! Come visit!

    • Hilary

      I admit to possible picking up a few Linda since moving here. 😳 it’s worth it though!

  13. You can not do this to me!! Can’t wait until I visit the US in the fall. I am collecting food tips wherever I can find them 🙂 Very keen on trying food trucks. Love the Mini Monster boba jars! #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Fun! What cities will you be visiting? I love mini monster! We reuse our jars all the time!

      • I was actually considering coming to LA for some cultural explorations with you 😀 I am doing a roadtrip, from DC to New Orleans, along the coast of NC, SC and GA, and then turn west in Jacksonville. Planning to stop in Outerbanks, Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans. Hoping to do a day trip to the Mississippi Delta. After a week in Panama City (not FL), I will spend a couple of days in Alexandria, VA, and DC area before I head back to home. Do they have Mini Monster shops around the country?

      • Hilary

        Sadly, don’t think they do… come to LA! I’ll take you around!! I LOVE NOLA!! When are you going to be there?

      • Thank you! LA will have to be next time 🙂 I have always wanted to visit NOLA, and the south, so am soooo excited! The end of October. I could feel the travel bug move yesterday 🙂

  14. Wow, this really has me missing food in California! When people ask me what I miss most about home, it is always food haha. They have absolutely everything you could ever want! The Otium restaurant and Mini Monster Milk Tea look amazing to me, I will definitely have to check them out when I go back home. And the map you gave is so helpful! Thanks so much for sharing #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      So glad you enjoyed the post! You’ll love Otium it’s fantastic!!

  15. Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    I love the fact that you started your list with desserts!
    Having a Scottish husband, I’d have to make a beeline for The Wee Chippy!

    • Hilary

      Deserts are so fun, why not start with them?! Ooh, I’d love to know what he thought of the Wee Chippy! We LOVE IT!

  16. I would be huge if I lived in LA. So much choice, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to make a decision about where to eat! #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Somehow we manage to make a choice! LA has such a big fitness culture so that helps combat the food intake!

  17. Thank you for doing all this excellent research on our behalf!! Such a fantastic list. I’m saving this for any future visits to LA #Farawayfiles

  18. I love the fact you put the desserts first.
    I’m so pleased I had eaten just before I read this post, the places you have chosen look incredible.
    I do have a particular weakness for ice-cream it doesn’t matter what time of day or year it is, it is always the right time for ice-cream, so I think I would have to visit Smitten.
    By the way, coming from the UK I didn’t have a clue what a ‘Ding Dong’ was. I felt stupid asking, so I had to Google it (now I know) #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Ha ha! You shouldn’t feel stupid I should have realized that’s not common knowledge for those outside the US. Smitten is SO delicious!!

  19. Your post is making me salivate and I just had my dinner 🙂 I’ve never tried a fried chicken in a donut…and omg you have bubble tea in LA too! Amazing photos and tips on places to eat…There will never be shortage of suggestions on places to eat for there are lots of varieties in a huge cosmopolitan city like LA 🙂 Cool! #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      So many choices! That’s what makes it tough to pick the right one… good thing I’m looking out for everyone!

  20. Wow. I’m saving your LA posts so that when I do eventually get there I will know exactly where to go 🙂 Thanks for foodie tips. #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      You’re welcome! I’m busy working out some new and interesting places, so stay tuned…

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