The Surfin' California Burrito at Lucha Libre Has a Serious Secret Ingredient
Bangladeshi: Bangla Bazar & Restaurant
Until Zam Zam Market reopens (please please please!!!), this is where we'll be going for spicy biryani and meat pies.
Belizean: Belizean Paradise
You've probably driven by the Relax Inn Motel on La Brea a million times, and maybe you even noticed it has a restaurant inside it, and maybe maybe you even thought to yourself "Who the hell eats at that place?" People who love Belizean food and don't want to drive to Gardena for it, that's who.
Canadian: Smoke's Poutinerie
If summing up an entire country's cuisine into cheese- and gravy-topped French fries is wrong, then we don't want to be right. Forget about all the gourmet versions of poutine popping up around town, and head to this Canadian chain's Hollywood location for a hangover buster like no other. Specialty toppings may not be “traditional,” but they include double-smoked bacon (!), Italian sausage (!!), and flat iron steak (!!!). So, kinda, who cares?
Chilean: Rincon Chileno
You haven't had the best empanada in LA until you've had one of the "grande" beef-, egg-, and olive-filled pies at this Hollywood takeout shop. While you're there you should probably grab one of its alfajores too, which are dulce de leche cookie sandwiches rolled in coconut... because, duh, dulce de leche cookie sandwiches rolled in coconut.
Chinese: Chengdu Taste
Take away the insane waits to get in and there's no better reason to make the trek east into San Gabriel Valley than this Sichuan restaurant. And now there's a second location to get down with some toothpick lamb and dumplings in chili oil (with a third noodle-heavy location on the way).
Cuban: La Caridad
We've got nothing against the garlic chicken at Versailles or the sandwiches and pastelitos from Porto's, but to really feel like you're in Cuba (or Miami) you need to head to this little restaurant on Sunset in Echo Park, preferably on a Wednesday or Saturday when it serves braised oxtails and morros that will have you moaning "ay papi." Or just, like, thinking it or something.
Danish: Copenhagen Pastry
The best Danish food is a danish, and the best danish can be found at this Culver City bakery. With a second branch in Pasadena, everybody is within striking distance of these flaky pastries with chocolate, custard, and almond paste.
Salvadoran: Sarita's Pupuseria
Maybe there's a better pupusa to be had in LA, but there's no better place to eat one than Grand Central Market. Plus where else are you going to be able to top your cheese- and pork-filled masa pancake with Thai papaya salad? Huh? WHERE??
English: The Pikey
If you don't know what Welsh rarebit is, this Hollywood gastropub is where you want to learn. And if you don’t like getting edumacated, don't worry: there's also outstanding fish & chips, too.
There’s basically no wrong choice on the small stretch of Fairfax that makes up Little Ethiopia, but our pick is Rosalind’s: fast, attentive service; unctuous, meat-filled gravy; and it never stops with the injera -- the spongey bread used as silverware that makes eating Ethiopian so fun.
French: Petit Trois
Snails drenched in butter and garlic? Check. Steak frites covered in creamy herb sauce? Check. The best omelette you've ever eaten? Check. An insanely tasty steak tartare? Check. Do we really need to keep checking?
Greek: Alexander's Greek Kitchen
There will always be a place in my baklava-clogged heart for Papa Cristo's, the classic Greek mess hall on Pico and Normandie. But for a real gyro, you need to head to Alexander's Greek in Vernon, where they're stacking thin slices of marinated pork shoulder onto the spit fresh every single day.
Indian: Surati Farsan Mart
If Aarti Sequeira from The Next Food Network Star says Surati Farsan Mart is the best Indian restaurant in LA, then Surati Farsan Mart is the best Indian restaurant in LA.
Indonesian: Simpang Asia
There's no better place in LA for a big pile of bakmi goreng noodles, gado-gado, or nasi rames -- the combo plate featuring a little bit of everything w/ rice.
Persian: Kabab Mahaleh
You can get kebabs, ghormeh sabzi, and Persian sandwiches at a lot of different places, but there are far fewer places for fresh baked sangak -- the surfboard sized flatbread that Kebab Mahaleh specializes in. Might as well get some kebabs and rotisserie chicken, too, while you're there.
Israeli: Hummus Bar/Hummus Bar Express
Israeli falafel is the best falafel, mostly because of their pillowy laffa bread. And this place makes the best of both. And if you go to their sit-down restaurant in Tarzana? All-you-can-eat salads!
Japanese: Aburiya Raku
You could easily replace this with your favorite sushi or ramen joint, but right now the best Japanese food in LA is happening at Aburiya Raku, the Vegas izakaya that just opened on La Cienega. Its skewers, green tea soba, fried chicken, and raw fish all taste great being washed down by tons of sake, plus there's tofu that's good enough to make you not hate tofu.
Every spot in Koreatown specializes in something, whether it's BBQ or chicken wings or noodles or pork belly. But to get it all at one table you'll need to go to Roy Choi's POT in the Line Hotel. The fancy cocktails and blaring hip-hop don't hurt either.
Forget about tacos and enchiladas. This Sinaloan place's gigantic grilled fish, ceviches, and smoked marlin tacos will impress all of your out-of-town friends, which is perfect because it's right by the airport. Have a good flight!
Peruvian: Mario's Peruvian
Ceviches and smoky rotisserie chicken is fine and all, but if you want saltado -- the Peruvian stir fry involving tomatoes, onions, and French fries -- nobody does it better than this Melrose + Vine institution. Its signature green sauce should be used with caution.
Ask your Filipino friend where to find the best pinoy food in LA and they will likely tell you "at my mom's house." But I can't imagine any of their moms cook as well as the dude behind RiceBar, the new Filipino rice counter in DTLA. Get the sweet and spicy longanisa sausage, and then thank us for not sending you to my mom. Because she’s Jewish. And probably doesn’t know what longanisa even is.
Swedish: Olson's Scandinavian Deli
When you're ready to graduate from IKEA’s meatballs, this little market on Pico has got you covered with its OWN Swedish meatballs, shrimp salad, herring, and house-made gravlax, which is served on a bagel or toasted brioche bun.
Taiwanese: Pine & Crane
Look, we’ll listen to your argument that there’s better Taiwanese food in the SGV… if you’ll have it with us, seriously, while eating Pine & Crane’s superlative dan dan noodles. Yeah. That’s what we thought.
Vietnamese: Golden Deli
You know what's better than a golden fried imperial roll from Golden Deli? A whole pile of golden fried imperial rolls from Golden Deli. Well worth the drive out to the SGV. And the long line. And the return visit.
1. Bangla Bazar & Restaurant4205 1/2 3rd St, Los Angeles
2. Belizean Paradise1271 S LA Brea Ave, Los Angeles
3. Smoke's Poutinerie1552 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles
4. Rincon Chileno4354 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
5. Chengdu Taste828 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra
6. La Caridad2619 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
7. Copenhagen Pastry11113 Washington Blvd, Culver City
8. Sarita's Pupuseria317 S Broadway, Los Angeles
9. The Pikey7617 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood
10. Rosalind's Ethiopian Restaurant1044 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles
11. Petit Trois718 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles
12. Alexander's Greek Kitchen3632 S Soto St, Vernon
13. Surati Farsan Mart11814 E 186th St, Artesia
14. Simpang Asia10433 National Blvd, Los Angeles
15. Kabab Mahaleh8762 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles
16. Hummus Bar & Grill18743 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana
17. Chi Spacca6610 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
18. Aburiya Raku521 N LA Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood
19. POT3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
20. Coni'Seafood3544 W Imperial Hwy, Inglewood
21. Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood5786 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
22. RiceBar419 W 7th St, Los Angeles
23. Olsons Scandinavian Delicatessen5660 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles
24. Pine & Crane1521 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles
25. Golden Deli Vietnamese Restaurant815 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel
For spicy briyani and meat pies, and good Bangladeshi food all around, head to Bangla. Curry, bhaji, and monglai options in spades await.
Arguably the best Belizean restaurant in all of LA, come here to get indulgent on satisfyingly sweet, yet well-balanced dishes.
At the Hollywood location of this Canadian chain, you'll find the dish our neighbors uptown are so famous for: cheese and gravy topped french fries, made even more irresistible with specialty toppings like double smoked bacon (!), Italian sausage (!!), and flat iron steak (!!!).
Head here for the best Chilean food in LA.
Chengdu Taste -- the San Gabriel Valley outpost for Chengdu-style, Sichuan cuisine -- is well worth the trip to Alhambra, if not for the toothpick lamb alone. Given its accolades from highly trusted food writers like J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and Jonathan Gold, we don’t need any more reason to hop skip to Rosemead for a taste of our own. The cuisine is decidedly traditional, some dishes with modern interpretations, others straight-out-of-Sichuan. Modernized or not, each dish captures the flavor of the region... and is heavy on the Sichuan peppercorns. Highlights of the massive menu include the mung bean jelly with chili sauce, boiled beef in hot sauce, Mapo Tofu, and boiled fish with green pepper sauce. Chengdu Taste is no secret to Angelenos -- expect a wait, and know that it will be well worth it.
No day is the same at La Caridad. Monday through Saturday, the family-owned Cuban restaurant rotates its menu and serves up a variety of traditional dishes: rabo encendido, or spicy beef oxtail stew (a quick Google search will tell you that translates to "tail on fire"), bistec empanizado (breaded steak), ropa vieja (shredded skirt steak marinated in tomato sauce), and, of course, the classic Cuban sandwich.
"Pastries bring people together," or so says this luxe Culver City spot dishing out what else but Danish-style pastry. And they're right -- their light and flaky sweet treats could probably ring about world peace, due to their far and wide selection of flavors, fillings, and toppings like apple, cinnamon, chocolate, coffee, raspberry, custard, nougat -- you get the picture; there's something here for everybody.
Here you'll find the best El Salvadorian food in LA.
Formerly a dive bar on Sunset Blvd., The Pikey is a spacious old English-style tavern with dark wood-paneled walls decorated with British paraphernalia (Union Jacks, a coat of arms), red leather booths, iron chandeliers, and suspender-sporting staff. The menu offers elevated pub fare from a former chef of New York’s similarly-themed Spotted Pig, featuring authentic English dishes like Welsh Rarebit, chicken liver, and Fish & Chips. It's supported by inventive craft cocktails, and -- true to British pub form -- pints of beer.
Here you'll find the best Ethiopian food in LA.
This Hollywood bistro from Ludo Lefebvre and the Animal dudes has no phone number, no reservations, only 21 seats, and one of LA's most acclaimed chefs making French classics like steak frites and confit chicken, as well as lunch -- with only 20 servings of two sandwiches offered.
Only a year old, Alexander's Greek Kitchen has become a Mediterranean monster in the food community. Loaded plates (chicken, beef, and lamb) and traditional small bites (spanakopita, tzatziki, and fasolia) have put this restaurant on the map.
Just like the "chaat" houses in India, come here for a quick bite and a steaming up of masala chai or Indian-style filter coffee.
This relaxed cafe boasts authentic Indonesian cuisine with menu items like batagor (fried tofu), otak otak (banana leaves with grilled coconut fish paste), and chicken sate.
The kabob at this Pico corridor kosher resto is delicious, but the true prize here is the bread. Mahaleh has a real sangak oven: its floor is covered in hot pebbles, and the dough is stretched across them, giving the chewy, several-feet-long flatbread its bumpy, holey texture and bits of perfect char.
Hummus Bar & Grill is so much better than the pita chips and hummus you had planned for dinner tonight. This large, high-ceilinged authentic Tel Aviv-inspired menu offers delicious Middle Eastern options like 8 types of hummus (you can't find at Trader Joe's), fried cauliflower bites, Lacheme Bajeen (flat bread with steak), and tender Kabab Halabi (lamb, beef, and tomatoes). Whether you order vegetarian or not, every dish is best eaten with the piping-hot homemade bread, an outstanding mix between lavash and pita. They have some great wine, like the Gamla Chardonnay from Israel, and a standard list of draft beer. It's worth the drive to this strip mall in Tarzana for the all-you-can-eat side salads alone, but thankfully they also deliver.
From the people behind Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, Chi Spacca is the meat restaurant in the Mozza Group's Italian empire. Essentially an Italian steakhouse, the West Hollywood spot serves up top-notch charcuterie, juicy and tender steaks (the tomahawk is the best in town), and vegetable sides. The steaks are pricey but worth it.
Raku is a late-night izakaya, or pub, that's open until 3am on weekends. Alongside cocktails, this eatery—an expansion of the wildy famous Vegas location—serves house-made agadashi tofu, kobe beef tendon kushiyaki, and other authentic Japanese provisions.
POT is a group-meal spot for sure. Try as many of the pots as you can but the dirty secret of Roy Choi's excellent Korean menu is that the best stuff is actually NOT in the pots -- rather its side dishes like this gooey, savory, creamy uni-and-rice dish.
Dont expect "Mexican" food like burritos or nachos. Instead, the chef travels regularly South of the Border and brings back ultra-fresh seafood for super-legit ceviches, smoked marlin tacos, and a whole-cooked snook served alongside stewed onions and tortillas.
Everything at Mario's is great, but the lomo saltado and ceviche still manage to stand out. Get there early or you'll have wait in the line out the door to get your hands on some of this Peruvian goodness.
This unbelievably tiny lunch-only spot serves Philipino street food: rice bowls with homemade sausage and Angus beef strips, with your choice of rare, imported rices (or boooooring white or brown).
It's a Scandinavian deli and it's better than IKEA. Real talk.
This ultra-casual, ultra-affordable Taiwanese cafe in Silverlake is the kind of restaurant you eat at once and crave forever. A solid player in LA's fast-casual scene, P&C offers up airy wontons, beef rolls, and noodle and vegetable dishes in a homey and modern space. The counter-service restaurant also features a wide variety of teas sourced from Taiwan, and a rotating list of craft beers and wine.