Food is an integral part of travel. Every time I travel to a new destination I feel that the best way to learn about the locals and the culture is to immerse yourself in the cuisine.
That being said, Los Angeles is a melting pot, being a metropolis with over 12 million people from every corner of Planet Earth. Truthfully, there are almost too many great restaurants in Los Angeles to narrow down to just four, so rather than doing that, i’ve narrowed it down to four CATEGORIES of which i’ve given a few suggestions in each. Being a foodie and having ate at almost every single “top restaurant” in Los Angeles as rated by the Zagat List, i’ve had the pleasure of experiencing most of what the city has to offer. Sure, you could go on Yelp and look for restaurants, but sometimes those reviews just aren’t accurate. Hopefully my experiences will help you choose where to grub in the delicious city of Angels. Without further ado, here goes my list:
- Din Tai Fung – This one is a local dumpling house, with other sister locations around the world. It’s been rated by many chefs such as Anthony Bourdain as one of their favorite restaurants in the world. Of course, you have to get the pork xia-long-bao. They’re little morsels of juicy pork goodness steamed in their own broth in thin-skinned dumpling shells. Although there’s locations in Orange County, Washington state, and Japan, China, and Taiwan, if you’re in Los Angeles you should definitely check this place out.
- Genwa Korean BBQ – Coming to Los Angeles and not experience Korean BBQ is like going to ..well, China, and not having Chinese food. Los Angeles hosts the largest population of Korean expats outside of Korea, and their food is absolutely phenomenal. Genwa is an upscale version, and as is the case with all Korean BBQ, the highlight are the small appetizer plates which come with every meal, things such as kimchee, egg stew, sweet and sour potato. The meats are freshly cut and butchered in the back, and cooked for you on a hot plate with seasoned onions and garlic.
- Sugarfish – This is one of my favorite sushi spots in Los Angeles. It’s been rumored that California actually has more sushi restaurants than all of Japan. I wouldn’t doubt this, and on any drive around LA you’ll notice that there are dozens of Japanese sushi restaurants. Sugarfish happens to be a Los Angeles based chain, and they’re known for their incredibly affordable prix fixe menus, served with impecabble service. Sure, there’s a LOT of other sushi options, but you WONT find anything close in quality to Sugarfish for reasonable prices of $25-40 a person (that includes usually 8-12 pieces of sushi and a few handrolls).
- Providence – This is a Los Angeles staple, and showcases everything you want to love about seafood. It’s a michelin star restaurant with a 20 something course menu and some of the most innovative and delicious seafood you’ll find in town. Make sure to plan a 3-4 hour course here as it takes a while. It’s certainly one of the best places to check out Los Angeles fine dining.
- INK – Michael Voltaggio’s restaurant has enough press to make any restauranteur jealous, and it’s all well deserved. Innovative dishes such as the aromatic salt covered charcoaled potatoes served with a side of reduced vineger, or the luscious brown butter cooked egg filled gnocchi all make for a hedonistic meal. This is widely regarded as the vanguard of great cuisine in Los Angeles
- Leo’s Tacos – Any visit to Los Angeles is incomplete without dropping by a taco truck. These are staples of the food community and Leo’s is particularly delicious. There’s TWO Leo’s in Los Angeles, and the better one has been in the Eagle Rock neighborhood for well over 20 years (It’s just 10 minutes north of Downtown Los Angeles), and the difference between their tacos/burritos and the rest is that they cook them “El Salvadorean” style, which is to say with a bit more moisture in the meat. The food is authentic here, and like all taco trucks, you order at the stand, then they serve it to you on a plate that you quickly finish on the side of the street. Yes, it’s not tableside maitre’d but it sure is delicious!
I hope you all enjoyed this article, and visit these amazing establishments!