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Los Angeles Culinary Tour

Many of today’s food trends took root in L.A.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Multiple days

Overview :  Many of today’s food trends took root in L.A.: the devotion to local, seasonal ingredients, readily available from year-round farmers’... more »

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Points of Interest

The city’s top new restaurant may not, at first, seem very L.A.: plain, boxy interior; “Don’t Fear the Reaper” on the stereo; and a menu of the pig-happy, nose-to-tail Dude Food you’d expect in Brooklyn or Chicago. But it’s the ethereal produce, not the protein, that raises the restaurant to such dizzying heights. A plate of crackly pig’s... More

Tangy-sweet quesillo (soft, unripened cow’s-milk cheese) is the key to a mouthwatering pupusa: a disk of griddled corn flatbread filled with grated cheese and your choice of green chiles, shredded pork, refried beans, squash, or artichoke-like loroco flower. Native to El Salvador—which celebrates National Pupusa Day on the second Sunday of... More

3. Attari

On Fridays, cockle-warming abgoost is the daily special: a bowl of hearty lamb, tomato, and bean soup accompanied by sprigs of tarragon and mint, raw onions and radish, warm barbari bread, and a tongue-tingling sour torshi (minced pickle). Sprinkle in some Farsi gossip and a melancholy ballad by Googoosh (the Persian Streisand) and any homesick... More

4. Canary

A younger set noshes on baguettes piled with salad olivieh (a Persian childhood favorite of diced chicken, potato, egg, and pickles).

1942 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, California
United States

(310) 470-1312

Serving a contemporary take on French bistro cuisine, this eatery loccated inside a New-York-style loft space in east downtown. Church and State occupies a loading dock within the 1925 Nabisco building, and the interior design elements include dark wood, hanging string lights, and the building’s original brick walls and floor. Chef Walter Manzke, ... More

6. Copa D’Oro

This brand-new bar headed by Vincenzo Marianella has a “be your own mixologist” option. This allows guests to concoct their own drinks with seasonal ingredients (kumquats or sage, for instance) and a choice of artisanal spirits.

217 Broadway, Santa Monica
Los Angeles, California
United States

(310) 576-3030

Wolfgang Puck’s latest restaurant is the best steak house in town on a good night, when the dry-aged rib eye is seared just-so, Richard Meier’s dining room gleams like a camel-colored Lexus, and Tom Cruise doesn’t cut you in line at the hostess stand. (Hey, it happened to us.)

9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills
Los Angeles, California
... More

Order the Office Burger, a fancily dressed interloper made with ground dry-aged chuck, topped with a smoky bacon and caramelized-onion compote, Gruyère, Maytag blue cheese, and arugula, served on a disarmingly crunchy demi-baguette—less a burger than an exceedingly rich steak sandwich. Pair it with sweet-potato fries and a glass of AleSmith Anvil ... More

You’ll typically find chef Travis Lett at the farmer’s market when he’s not behind the stoves at his restaurant, the bright new light on ever-trendy Abbot Kinney. His surfer-boy looks—perhaps you caught him in Vogue—belie his talent for the earthy, assertive, locavore cooking that makes even vegetarian dishes (wood-roasted Tahitian squash with... More

Join the perpetual line snaking through the small dining room to the bakery counter and order a plump, crisp-edged doughnut dipped in Valrhona chocolate, or the platonic ideal of egg sandwiches, with Niman Ranch bacon, cave-aged Gruyère, arugula, and tangy aioli on buttered country bread. The rest of your day will thank you.

1014... More

The uni arrives fresh each morning and is served in the spiny shell, seasoned with absolutely nothing, to be scooped up and savored by some lucky soul with a spoon. Too bad about the dining room, wedged behind a Borders bookstore and possessing neither charm nor a view—but you’ll be too focused on the silken glory of the uni to notice.

... More

12. Izayoi

A convivial Little Tokyo tavern where the shochu, sake, and cold beer flow freely well into the night.

132 S. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, California
United States

(213) 613-9554

13. Jitlada

The mind-bendingly spicy cuisine of southern Thailand is at the heart of the epic 130-plus-item menu at this cozy Thai Town canteen whose fiery khua kling (a turmeric-charged dry curry with beef or diced pork) will cause you to see through time. Relief comes in a cooling order of khao yam, a fragrant salad of rice, lemongrass, Kaffir lime, green... More

A well-known food vendor, the roving Kogi food trucks serve Korean and Mexican fusion cuisine. The brainchild of Korean-American chef Roy Choi, Kogi sells such items as tacos filled with everything from tofu to Korean barbecued short ribs, kimichi quesadillas, and the Pacman Burger made with three meats. There's even chocolate tres leches... More

In funky Silver Lake, this coffee shop offers a five-page menu of java drinks—all prepared in your choice of brewing device, from a siphon (which resembles a very elaborate bong) to a one-of-a-kind La Marzocco espresso machine sheathed in hand-pounded brass. But the note-perfect coffee is equalled by the food, courtesy of Providence chef Michael... More

16. Langer’s

Like vintage Buicks and aging divas, old delicatessens preserve themselves well in the southern California sunshine. Canter’s, Nate ’n Al, Greenblatt’s: all unimpeachable specimens. But the sine qua non will always be 1947-founded Langer’s, source of the finest pastrami this side of the Hudson. The meat—smoky around the edges, Kobe-tender, and... More

17. Lotería Grill

The original Lotería stand is a landmark at the Third Street Farmers’ Market; this newer location serves the same note-perfect tacos in a sit-down setting. You’ll want a brace of the cochinita pibil (marinated pork, slow-roasted in a banana leaf ) and, if available, two of the phenomenal lengua de res (tender stewed beef tongue in tomatillo sauce)... More

18. Mo-Chica

The confoundingly underrated Ricardo Zarate—a Lima, Peru, native and former sushi chef—works wonders with Peruvian ceviche at this hidden spot in the Mercado La Paloma food court and craft market south of Downtown. Zarate’s ceviche del día—sea bass, yellowtail, scallop, whatever’s fresh— is marinated to order in the classic leche de tigre (lime... More

The restaurant is hidden beside a Crown Escrow outlet in a derelict mini-mall. Despite the lack of signage, the long, narrow room is jammed from noon to night with Silver Lake and Echo Park hipsters, each of them nursing an outsize bowl of Vietnam’s beloved, breathtakingly fragrant noodle soup. Best option: the pho tai gan, with toothsome beef... More

When Nancy Silverton teamed up with Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich to create—heaven help us all—a pizza parlor, you kind of knew it would be great. But not this great. Since 2006, this dream team has been dishing up spectacular Neopolitan-style pies with puffy, charred crusts to throngs of fanatics. Silverton’s astonishingly flavorful pies are... More

John Rivera Sedlar, the Santa Fe–born chef who pioneered Southwestern cuisine two decades ago, makes his long-awaited return to the kitchen at Rivera. The sleekly designed space—shades of 90’s dot-com boom—is a bit too faithful to Sedlar’s heyday, but the cooking is reassuringly earthy: the juicy puerco pibil (sous vide–cooked pork shoulder) is so... More

22. Santa Monica Farmers’ Market

The Spread: The biggest and oldest of Santa Monica’s weekly markets (there are three others) is this Wednesday gathering downtown. Most of L.A.’s top chefs—including Mark Peel from Campanile and Suzanne Goin from A.O.C and Lucques—shop here for ingredients like Ranier cherries, snap- and snow peas, and deep-red Vulcan lettuces; nectarines,... More

In the area known as Little Persia or the Iranian restaurant row, Shamshiri Grill serves Mediterranean fare in a spacious dining room with black tables, orange floors, and red walls decorated by the works of local painters. Chefs stand beneath a huge sunburst in the glass-enclosed kitchen to cook the signature 24-ounce chicken, lamb, and beef... More

The restaurant—a $12 million collaboration at the SLS Hotel between the madcap Spanish chef José Andrés, designer Philippe Starck, and hotelier Sam Nazarian—is a restaurant in the way that Avatar is a movie: every element is engineered to dazzle and disorient, for better or for worse, starting with the wacky, 12,500-square-foot interior (which... More

25. The Varnish

A dimly lit throwback to a 1920s speakeasy, this under-the-radar downtown LA venue is accessible only through a secret door. Tucked surreptitiously away at the back of Cole’s French Dip restaurant, the Varnish features servers in suspenders, live piano jazz, and turn-of-the-century décor. As engaging as the atmosphere, the cocktails are the... More

26. Yuca’s

Located in Los Feliz, Yuca’s is a no-frills, family-owned taco stand that has been serving up authentic Mexican food to residents of Los Angeles for over forty years. What it lacks in style, it more than makes up for in flavor and a decidedly casual atmosphere. How casual? Yuca’s staff actually serve food (and write down customer orders) on paper ... More