You Can Get Reservations for Free Dinner in Taco Bell's Insane Test Kitchen
This longtime-favorite ultra-casual Mexican spot is known for their crispy, quesadilla-esque Vampiro, but the secret weapon is the chorizo cachetada ranchero-style -- a meat tostada, topped with melted cheese, aioli chipotle sauce, and a fried egg. Bingo.
There’s no question that when you go to Yang Chow you order their Slippery Shrimp: each little fried shrimp glazed with a mild to spicy sauce and just the right amount of chewiness. Not a shrimp eater? Their kung pao chicken is also a home run.
With $8 cocktails, and beers less than $5, you’ll want to take advantage of the happy hour menu for a little pre- or post-game bevvy, since they’ve got both early- and late-night happy hours available. They also have a solid list of under-$10 personal pizzas for every kind of pizza lover, including vegans, and gluten-free people, so bring your friends (and then order yourself a pork-topped banh mi pizza).
Same Same is a dimly lit, casual wine bar tucked away in a strip mall that used to be the old neighborhood fave, Rambutan. While you can still order Rambutan’s food to go, if you eat in, Same Same is really more of a wine bar that serves food, which means the move is to order traditional Thai street food like chicken satay, Pad See Ew, and Tom Yum Gai, wash it all down with a glass of tempranillo.
A few months ago we put the long-standing Philippe vs. Coles French Dip debate to rest, so do yourself a favor and get the now-proven original Beef Dip, which you can take to the stadium to-go.
The Echo Park location of this beloved taco joint is practically right outside the stadium, so you really have no excuse not to stop by for a quick bite before the game. The handmade tortillas, topped with perfectly braised meats, are incredible, and at $2.75 a pop, you can have a few and still have money leftover for a beer at the game.
This super simple Chinatown spot is owned by the Baja-bred Esdras Orchoa, who's changing the Mexican food game in LA with his masa harina tortillas. Not too big or too small, the corn flour tortillas are thick enough to hold the weight of beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp fillings, plus a topping of the creamy house garlic sauce. Mexicali's menu is simple and straightforward: aside from tacos, there are quesadillas, tostadas, and nachos. To really get a taste of the kitchen's Baja expertise, go for the Zuperman, a tortilla sandwich filled with a hefty portion of three meats and cheese.
It's hard to miss this Chinatown legend with its distinctive roof and bright yellow exterior. The menu is filled with Mandarin, Sichuan, and Americanized (ahem, chicken and broccoli) plates, but what you really want to order is the Slippery Shrimp. You'll find plenty of copycat dishes at other Chinese restaurants, but there's only one place to get the real thing -- that is, a platter of sweet and salty shrimp that's golden and crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside. Yang Chow's round tables, set with white tablecloths and lazy Susans, are perfect for groups.
From the guys behind Tony's Darts Away, Mohawk Bend is a "craft everything" brewpub in Echo Park. The space is divided into five areas: a cozy dining cathedral (complete with fireplace), a pub room with a communal concrete table; two separate bars; and a covered patio. Drink options include more than 60 beers and a few wines (all from California) on tap, plus a cocktail program boasting 100 spirits from the Golden State. Menus change seasonally here but the selection of upscale, wood-fired pizzas like the Pig Newton topped with Serrano ham, goat cheese, fig, and rosemary tapenade are always guaranteed to stave off a rumbling stomach.
Same Same is a reincarnation of the beloved but shuttered Rambutan Thai in Silverlake. The name is different, the location is the same, and the menu is updated to emphasize wine and beer as much as it does food. All the Rambutan faves (pad thai, jade noodles, spicy laab) are still on the menu.
Open since 1908, Philippe the Original is an iconic deli in LA that claims to have invented the French dip sandwich. That said, it's not your typical sandwich shop where you wait for your ticket number to be called. Here's how things go down at Philippe's: if you're getting a sandwich, get in the specified line and watch as one of the "Carvers" works his magic, then order any sides (like a bowl of chili). If you decide post-French dip bliss that you want a slice of cheesecake, line up at the non-sandwich counter instead.
With a straightforward approach to tacos, the second branch of the wildly popular East LA taqueria adds a patiod to the mix, but sticks to the original, winning menu of homemade tortillas and a selection of various meats, fish, and vegetarian options. The liquor menu is equally pared down to keeps things simple.