A city diverse in entertainment and culture, Los Angeles is also home to one of the most influential and innovative dining scenes in the country. Typical Californian cuisine promotes the use of the freshest (often organic) produce and meats available. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to bring to the beach, a hand-crafted cocktail after a long day of sightseeing, or a sweet something to satisfy your sugar craving, we have compiled a list of where to eat from daybreak to dinner the next time you’re in L.A.!
For Those Not So Basic Brunchers:
Awarded the best breakfast in Los Angeles two years in a row, Blu Jam Café’s head Chef Kamil Majer’s recipes feature traditional European dishes with a healthy twist. Each dish is cooked to order (the kitchen doesn’t have a freezer!) with many gluten-free and vegan options available. If you are seeking a simple, classic American breakfast this is not the place for you! Chef Majer’s eclectic taste has him whipping up creative dishes like the Brunch Carbonara- Gluten-Free Risotto with crispy smoked bacon, green peas, parsley, and parmesan, topped with two poached eggs and a herb pistou. Drooling yet? For those more health conscious travelers, Blu Jam’s menu boasts a “Health and Fitness” section which includes the popular “Power House”- (GF) organic baby spinach scrambled with egg whites and fresh basil, with two grilled free range chicken breasts and house made San Marzano tomato sauce. They don’t take reservations so be sure to get there early to beat the infamous lines before you start your day of sightseeing!
For Nature-Loving Noshers:
Using organic and small farm produce, Square One Dining prides itself on its “natural approach” to dining. The outdoor patio is a great place on a warm day to enjoy one of Square One Dining’s famous coffee drinks made from Intelligentsia beans (the famous Chicago-based coffee bean company you’ve probably seen at Whole Foods). For the nosher with a sweet tooth, popular dishes include the brioche French toast served with seasonal warm fruit or banana-citrus caramel. For egg-lovers, the poached eggs with house cured salmon and wilted frisee on a shredded potato pancake with hollandaise is another popular choice. The laid-back and casual vibe of the restaurant is a nice way to start off your day before heading to the nearby Griffith Observatory for a beautiful view of the city.
For Flapjack Fanatics!
Serving breakfast all day, Jacks N Joe is the perfect spot for all types of pancake lovers. For the more adventurous flapjack eaters, the Jacks N Joe menu features favorites like the “WTF”- 6 crazy-shaped pancakes with sweetened cream cheese and seasonal berries. Or try the “Hula Girl”- 3 pineapple pancakes topped with toasted coconut. Although not pancakes, per se, the Dakine French Toast is one of the restaurant’s top sellers— 3 thick slices of Hawaiian sweet bread dipped in egg batter, sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with vanilla butter. With its location right off the USC campus, Jacks N Joe has become a popular weekend hangout spot for college students. Don’t let the large crowds deter you— the space inside the restaurant is larger than it appears and the service is speedy. Definitely worth the wait!
For Serious Sandwich Lovers:
Since its start in 1947, Langer’s Delicatessen and Restaurant has become an important symbol of Los Angeles’s rich culture and heritage. Located across from the historic MacArthur Park, the deli draws an eclectic crowd, mixed with both local clientele and tourists anxious to try the famous #19 sandwich. Although the pastrami, Swiss cheese, and Russian style coleslaw dressing that the sandwich features sounds simple, customers rave about the legendary creation (even comparing it to the famous Katz’s Delicatessen in New York!) The taste of the sandwich surpasses its costly price of $15, and you will definitely get your money’s worth, as the amount of hand-sliced pastrami is piled high on that double-baked rye!
For the Indecisive:
The market’s official mission is “to celebrate the cuisines and cultures of Los Angeles. Turning 100 years old in 2017, Grand Central Market has reflected the changing population of downtown Los Angeles with rotating stalls of grocers, fishermen, delis, butchers, bakers and more. Today, the market is a 30,000 square-foot food emporium and marketplace with something for every type of eater. This makes it the perfect place for the indecisive. You’re bound to find something that suits your palette among the 40 unique vendors. The market is open daily from 8am to 10pm. Some of the most popular stalls include Wexler’s Deli, Madcapra, Sticky Rice, Eggslut and Belcampo Meat Co. Overall a fun and festive destination that makes a perfect midday break!
For the Nostalgic:
An aviation-themed bar with live music and great happy-hour specials makes Now Boarding a fun place to unwind at the end of the day. The interior features gold chandeliers, geometric wallpapers, floor-to-ceiling maps of vintage flight paths, leather booths, and a stainless steel wing-topped bar. The playlist is typically comprised of ‘60s and ‘70s hits when the in-house DJ isn’t spinning rock-n-roll or Motown. Live jazz bands are also popular on Thursday nights. The drink menu features 15 handcrafted cocktails— the “Jetsetter” is a crowd favorite: New Amsterdam gin, St. Germain, lime, muddled cucumber and egg whites, topped with a sprig of mint. Table reservations are recommended. Be sure to grab a bag of complimentary peanuts on your way out!
A Taste of Italy:
A classic Italian restaurant in West Hollywood, Cecconi’s is known for its excellent breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. What many people miss, however, are their excellent “cicchetti”, or Italian tapas. In Italy, aperitivo replaces happy hour. With the purchase of one drink comes access to a small buffet style spread of small plates. Every Tuesday through Saturday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm, food, and drinks are available at a wallet-friendly price! This make it a fantastic stop for drinks and an appetizer before heading off to one of the great dinner options below! Cecconi’s menu features delicious plates including meatballs with tomato sauce and basil, fried olives with mortadella and parmesan, and baked gnocchi Romana with gorgonzola. Classic selections of red and white wine, in addition to basic cocktails, create a perfect pairing. Buon appetito!
For Fish Fanatics:
SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa (multiple locations)
Not cheap, not a short wait, but definitely not overrated! Sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa has taken sushi back to the basics, taking a stand against the extravagant and “American style” rolls that seem to have taken over popular Japanese restaurants today. Chef Nozawa encourages customers to “trust him” and order from the “Trust Me” menu, leaving your dinner entirely in the hands of the chefs. For the pickier or more particular eaters, SUGARFISH does have an a la carte option as well. At $30 for 7 different cuts of high-quality sushi, however, the “Trust Me” option is definitely a top pick. The sweet, warm rice that each roll features is perfectly complemented by Nozawa’s homemade soy sauce and fresh ponzu. In a city abundant with great sushi options, SUGARFISH stands out from the other fish in the sea!
For Top-Notch Tacos:
Guisados (multiple locations)
Meant to replicate the authenticity of homestyle Mexican cooking, the De La Torre family has created a menu filled simple and scrumptious dishes. If you don’t get there early enough to snag an outdoor patio table, watching the action inside is just as enjoyable. Meat is braised in giant pots and homemade fresh corn tortillas are created made-to-order.
Although the large handwritten chalkboard menu is constantly changing, the six-taco sampler offers six small portions of their most popular tacos. Other tasty selections include the Mole Poblano— shredded chicken breast in a nutty Poblano style Mole served with sour cream, queso fresco, red onion and dried chile. The juicy Tinga de Pollo is another standout choice. Served with chipotle chile and avocado, the shredded chicken breast braised with tomatoes, cabbage, chorizo and chipotle is a delectable choice for spice lovers! At only $2.75 a taco, both your wallets and your stomachs will leave happy at Guisados!
Did we miss your favorite L.A. spot? Let us know in the comments below!