From boom, to bust, to boom again, Culver City continues to grow as one of LA’s great dining districts, and while Downtown gets all the hype, there are plenty of phenomenal options to be found in the surrounding parts of town. From old-school tacos to new-school... well, tacos, here are the 14 finest places to gorge yourself in Culver City.
3229 Helms Ave
The only argument against this dry aged beef patty, topped with blue cheese, arugula, and onion jam (with no substitutions) is that it's actually closer to a sandwich than a burger. In which case, it's the best burger and the best sandwich in Culver City.
3239 Helms Ave
The dude who invented the Father's Office burger is no one trick pony, and all the proof you need is next door at this modern Asian restaurant. Get the dan dan noodles, spicy chicken wing pops, and black rice with Chinese sausage, and you'll leave pretty damn happy.
3973 Sepulveda Blvd
Gone are the days when you used to have to drive over to West Adams or Inglewood for BBQ -- now Culver City has its own meat temple dedicated to brisket and pork ribs. Lunchtime is for standard sandwich and BBQ combo plates, while they get a bit fancier for dinner with small plates and Scottish ocean trout.
10700 Washington Blvd
The menu at this fast food Indian counter is smaller than the original Samosa House just up the street, but it’s got one thing the other location doesn't have: fake (aka soy) chicken tikka masala that’s so good you'll want to use at least two of your three combo choices on it when ordering. This is as close to a delicious-yet-guilt-free meat experience as you’re gonna get.
3829 Main St
Korean BBQ from the dude behind Seoul Sausage on Sawtelle? We're in. The lunch specials are fantastic -- like spicy pork bowls and dolsot bibimbap -- and the uni-topped Korean steamed egg doesn’t hurt either.
4017 Sepulveda Blvd
Not to be confused with the thick-cut stuff you get at delis like Langer's, this classic Culver City diner specializes in the piles of shredded pastrami made famous by The Hat (and others). Pick a song on the old-school mini jukebox, then grab the jus-dipped sandwich in your fist and go to town.
9537 Culver Blvd
The original Compton location of this fried chicken shop closed over two years ago, but the Culver City location is still going strong with buttermilk biscuits, honey from a spout, and intensely crunchy, heavily battered fried chicken.
11172 Washington Blvd
This mini chain that started in Torrance specializes in the kind of fatty pork bone ramen that's become super-popular in LA over the past five years. Between the spicy tonkotsu and the premium shoyu, you're not gonna do better than this without driving over to Sawtelle.
3819 Main St
People who complain that there's no good New York pizza in LA have clearly never been to LaRocco's. This local spot does everything it can to evoke the feeling of the Big Apple (it’s even got a Statue of Liberty logo), but perhaps the most authentic flourish is the “two slices of pizza and a soda” lunch special.
11222 Washington Pl
This cash-only taco stand, with its perpetual lines inside and out, is probably the most controversial place on our list, but if you can't see why the hard shell beef tacos with fluorescent yellow cheese here are the best hard shell beef tacos with fluorescent yellow cheese ever, we can't be friends.
6114 Washington Blvd
This tiny coffee shop has got all of your expensive and fancy pour-over coffees with single origin beans, alongside great pastries from Proof in Atwater Village. It’s also got one thing that too many other hipster coffee shops neglect: a cup of regular old drip coffee for under three bucks. And on Wednesdays, there's...
6114 Washington Blvd
Most of the time Chef Wes Avila parks his award-winning food truck Downtown, but one day a week Culver City wins the taco lottery, getting access to his always-rotating menu of tacos and tostadas that are determined by whatever’s locally available each day. The resulting fare’s good enough to be served in a world-class restaurant -- think sweet potato tacos w/ almond chile, feta, and fried corn, or a poke tostada w/ tuna, white miso, lime, furikake, chile del valle, and avocado.
6000 Sepulveda Blvd
Who says there's no good Chinese food on the Westside!? This food court stall in the
Fox Hills Mall Westfield Culver City might not be as good as the SGV original, but the beef roll (sweet beef and cilantro wrapped in a thin scallion pancake) is the best Chinese dish you'll find West of the 405.
9748 Washington Blvd
There are plenty of brunch options in Culver City, but none are as good as this old Western-themed diner with a big but no frills menu -- because sometimes you just want two eggs, over easy with bacon, toast, and a regular cup of coffee for less than $10.
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Zach Brooks is the founder of Midtown Lunch and host of the Food is the New Rock podcast. He lives in Culver City, and wouldn't be caught dead anywhere but these 15 places.
1. Father's Office3229 Helms Ave, Los Angeles
2. Lukshon3238 Helms, Los Angeles
3. Maple Block Meat Co.3973 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City
4. Samosa House11510 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles
5. Hanjip3829 Main St, Culver City
6. Johnnie's Pastrami4017 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City
7. Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken9537 Culver Blvd, Culver City
8. Yamadaya11172 Washington Blvd, Culver City
9. La Rocco's Pizzeria3819 Main St, Culver City
10. Tito's Tacos11222 Washington Pl, Culver City
11. Cognoscenti Coffee6114 W Washington Blvd, Culver City
12. Guerilla Tacos6114 W Washington Blvd, Culver City
13. 101 Noodle Express6000 Sepulveda Blvd #3000, Culver City
14. S&W Country Diner9748 Washington Blvd, Culver City
Chef Sang Yoon is the brains behind this nationally-acclaimed Los Angeles gastropub. Father's Office is especially famous for its Office Burger: a 100% chuck, dry-aged beef patty topped with blue cheese, arugula, and onion jam, and served on a toasted oval bun with garlic butter. Chef Yoon has a strict no modifications allowed policy on his burger, so either you like it or you don't -- but chances are you probably will.
Specializing in upscale Southeast Asian fare, Lukshon is celebrated Father's Office chef Sang Yoon's foray into casual fine dining. The menu is a delightful mix of modern takes on Asian classics like banh mi, pho, tea leaf salad, and steamed buns. The sleek space features a quintessential LA outdoor patio with a fire pit and walls made of walnut. Even if you're unsure about Southeast Asian food, Lukshon's specialities like spicy chicken pops and red rice with house-cured lamb belly will entice you into loyalty.
This Culver City BBQ spot is lead by a Southern-born chef who seriously knows how to work a grill and smoker. The seasonal menu at Maple Block Meat Co. serves traditional American BBQ dedicated to brisket and pork ribs, craft beers, and house-made soda. For lunch, you can order a sandwich and BBQ combo plate while dinner gets a bit fancier with small plates and Scottish ocean trout.
There are a few Samosa House locations, but the one in Culver City is superior than the others because not only do they have a vegetarian and vegan friendly fast food Indian counter, but also a grocery. Browse the aisles after enjoying a delicious-yet-guilt-free meat meal, and find specialty jars of pickles and teas imported straight from India.
From celebrity chef Chris Oh and restauranteur Stephane Bombet (Terrine, Faith & Flower, Paiche), Hanjip is a modern Korean barbecue restaurant that's made for groups, especially those without vegetarians. Hanjip's menu resembles a how-to guide for barbecue: you choose your meat (sliced brisket, pork belly, bulgogi) and sides (kimchi fried rice, seafood pancake, beef poutine), and a server grills your meat table-side. The Culver City space is trendy with sleek wooden booths and black-and-white wall art.
Johnnie's Pastrami is a Southern California landmark that opened in 1952, with juke boxes on the counters and classic comfortable booths. This Culver City diner specializes in fat-rimmed, salty, hot pastrami meat sandwiches. Pick a song on the old-school mini jukebox, then grab the jus-dipped sandwich in your fist and go to town.
Honey's Kettle cooks up delicious golden-brown farm fresh fried chicken with the perfect crunch and juiciness. Choose a number of sides to complement your heavily battered fried chicken, such as buttermilk biscuits and honey from a spout. It's no surprise that Honey's Kettle was named Best Fried Chicken in LA by Los Angeles Magazine.
Yamadaya specializes in Tonkotsu ramen which is a rich, milky white pork based style that is the holy grail of ramen. The flavor is so delicious and rich, a combination created after more than 20 hours of boiling; the first ten hours are used to break the bones into flakes, and then the second ten hours, the broth is simmered to get the perfect genuine pork bone flavor. You can also create your own custom-topped ramen masterpiece, using the same broth base.
An unassuming pizza shop and sandwich counter, La Rocca's in Culver City brings "a slice of NYC" to Los Angeles. Wood fired, thin crust, dressed in house-made tomato sauce can be customized with a variety of toppings, or made half white with ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella. Meatball subs and eggplant parmesan sandwiches are satisfying and big enough to share.
This counter-service, cash only, taco spot is known for their crispy-wrapped tacos piled high with cheddar and jack cheese, iceberg lettuce and seasoned ground beef. The venue itself is pretty no-frills, but it remains a local favorite, and has the lines to prove it; it's open late and consistently serves satisfying and affordable fare (most everything on the menu rings in at under $5)
Before opening his first solo spot, Cognoscenti Coffee's owner earned his bones with pop-up coffee bars around the city. The barista-in-charge is also an architect, and he built a beautiful indoor-outdoor space complete with colorful chairs and a wise owl logo. Cog’s countertop coffee line-up changes depending on the season, though Seattle’s Kuma and San Franciso’s Ritual make frequent appearances.
How often does a gourmet chef trained by Alain Ducasse decide to leave the high end culinary world behind and start his own streetside taco business? Not often. Wes Avila's Guerrila Tacos combine Avila's high and low food sensibilities in one delicious, bite-sized mash-up: think braised lamb shank tostadas, roast veggie burritos and tacos piled high with sweetbreads and beets.
101 Noodle Express's outpost within a strip mall in Culver City might not have as much ambiance as the San Gabriel Valley original, but its beef roll (sweet beef and cilantro wrapped in a thin scallion pancake) is the best Chinese dish you'll find West of the 405.
This retro diner and dive is a solid choice for a leisurely weekend breakfast or lunch. Serving up "good country cooking," the menu consists of your standard issue "two eggs and a meat side" platters (italian sausage, country fried steak, breaded pork chops and hot links are noteworthy options), plus pancakes, benedicts and patty melts. The old school vibe extends to S&Ws accepted payment methods; this spot is cash-only.