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I moved to LA in January 2016, and exploring the city seemed best done through food. I like making lists; If you don't like my system, make your own list. You are free to add comments and suggestions; think of this as a benevolent dictatorship.
Feel free to share.
Price is my subjective determination of what you get for the price you pay.
= Good for dates (aka the d)
= good for Business Meetings (aka... bowel movements?)
= 1-5 scale of SOOO LA-ness, 5 being an vegan underground repurposed industrial warehouse, 0 being Olive Garden
The Hook / NotesPriceAgain?SOLAGFDBMDU
LogmehVariesDining ExperienceXA pop-up dining experience that's fancy af. Expensive, though if you factor in how much food/booze you get, it makes sense. They do the farm-to-table, hand-crafted, locally-sourced, eye-rolly shit but it's also delicious soooo...? Gotta be on the list to know when and where it happens. Last time I went it was under a bridge in Chinatown.$$$Sure6X
WolvesmouthVariesDining ExperienceAnother pop-up dining experience that's donation only, which makes me anxious. You show up to someone's house and eat whatever they serve you. BYOB. Get on the list to know when and where it happens - Strict rules RE reservations and attitude. V
Borneo KalimatanAlhambraMalaysian/ChineseXIt's legit. Satay is good, indian mee goreng is appropriate texture, and laksa is pretty great though obv not as authentic as my mom's. Cendol all day every day$YUP
Szechuan Impression
Wong Java House
Din Tai FungArcadia
Dim Sum
Mama Lu's Dumpling HouseArcadia
Dim Sum
1Up CoffeeArts DistrictCoffeeXIn a compound of repurposed warehouses and shipping containers (there's an indoor futsal arena, artist spaces, blah di blah)$Yup6XX
6th and MillArts DistrictPizzaSupposed to open soon?
The American Tea RoomArts DistrictTeaXHUGE variety of teas, cute and expensive tea accessories, tea cocktails, afternoon tea, teas in test tubes, an interactive tea display - Also a wall of plants that has been seen on many an Instagram. Like mine.$$Yup5XXX
Angel City Brewing CoArts DistrictBeerXHaven't been here because it's across the street from AD Brewing Co, which everyone says is way better.$$
Art & SushiArts DistrictPokeXAdvertised as a sushi place but really more of a poke place. Really empty. Like, really empty.$$EhX
Arts District Brewing CoArts DistrictBeerXBig variety of beers, outdoor seating, ping pong and other bro games, attached to Fritzi$$Yup2XX
Bar MateoArts DistrictBarI heard Taylor Swift goes here$$
BavelArts DistrictMediterraneanNetta said this place is overrated$$$
Blacktop - CLOSEDArts DistrictCoffeeXGood coffee (PRETENTIOUS AF), miso cookies are good, lots of outdoor seating, across from my office, closed abruptly with no notice soooo... ?$$Sure4X
Boomtown BreweryArts DistrictBeerXOne of my favorite spots in LA. Cool inside (dark wood, gold accents) without being super pretentious, which is basically a miracle. Beer is excellent. They show movies on the wall. They let food trucks/stands post up outside their entrance, and you can bring the food inside. I'll probably buy a shirt from here, which shows you how serious I am about it. $Yup4X
Bread LoungeArts DistrictBakeryXBread$
The Black FigArts DistrictBurgersXOMG. HUGE, AMAZING burgers, great mac & cheese, run by dude twins, smack dab in the middle of the Sci-Arc building. Seriously, probably in my top 5 burgers of all time.$YES3
Cafe GratitudeArts DistrictPretentious HealthXIf you can get past having to order food with stupid fucking pretentious names ("I am effervescent" "I am grateful") it's actually pretty good. Did I mention it's pretentious? Also 80/20 it's an actual cult.$$$Sure6XX
The ChairmanArts DistrictChinese / FusionXSteamed buns are good esp pork belly, fries are perfect, sorta grungy$Sure3
Church and StateArts DistrictFrenchXDrinks are strong, haven't eaten anything here yet because I'm not a balla$$Sure4
Daily Dose CafeArts DistrictCoffee / Brunch$
Di AlbaArts DistrictCoffeeXCoffee is decent; no sparkling water with espresso, though. They make a lot of their pastries in house. Salads look good.$Sure3XX
Eat Drink AmericanoArts DistrictCasualXDecent happy hour, big sandwiches. Food is nothing to write home about, but if you feel like being in a brick cave this place is for you. It's in my building so I come here out of convenience.$$Sure
EightyTwoArts DistrictBarcadeXDrinks are kinda pricey, hear it gets crowded on weekends but if you go on a Tuesday like an alcoholic then it's perf. Weird crowd. Not really my thing mostly because I'm afraid of arcade germs.$$Eh4X
The Everson RoyceArts DistrictBarXThe happy hour here is only a little bit cheaper than what I'd want to pay during normal hours elsewhere. They make a good burger but it's salty af. Patterned wall with neon light lettering, outside seating with twinkle lights, obsessively arranged and bottom lit bar shelves - It was basically designed for Instagram. $$$Eh4X
The Factory KitchenArts DistrictItalianXBougie, work took me here on my first day, I had pesto pasta and it was all one crinkled sheet. Desserts are good$$Sure4X
Fritzi CoopArts DistrictChickenXCame here with my 18-year-old intern YG, and an old man behind us in line kept trying to make conversation. "I'm 75," he said. "Don't worry." If you tell me not to worry, I'm going to worry. In the words of YG, "don't trust anyone out there fam." The fried chicken sandwich was good.$$Sure3X
InkonitoArts DistrictJapaneseX
Iron Triangle Brewing CoArts DistrictBeerXBeautiful space, lots of parking, cornhole, beer is ok but tastes better if you're already kinda crunk before you get there. Really echo-y in there so if you're loud like I am you better be ok with everyone hearing you. $$Sure3X
Little BearArts DistrictGastropubXExcellent burgers, Belgian beers, cool rope designs on ceiling. Food is on the salty/greasy side - Their brussels sprouts are basically crunchy bits of oil. $$Yup3XX
ManuelaArts DistrictPretentiousXAll the food is that "seasonal, farm to table" shit and all the waiters are super earnest, wear denim, and have hand crafted aprons, and make a point to call you by your first name which is annoying af, but equally annoying is how good the food is.$$Yeah5XXX
Officine BreraArts DistrictItalian$$$
Pour HausArts DistrictWineXStrange lighting situation; neon colored backlighting that feels European, but not in a great way. Wine selection is good, though, and the wait staff is friendly and attentive, but not overly so. Been here on a date, and with friends - Definitely preferable with friends, though if you want to play their card/board games you might want to bring hand sanitizer.$$YeahXX
ResidentArts DistrictBarXHuge outdoor patio area, outside bar out of an airstream (bartender was great and meticulous), food truck with great grilled cheese, more of that vaguely industrial decor we all love so much inside$Yup3X
Salt and StrawArts DistrictIce CreamXOpened up right next to my office so every day is a literal struggle. Every person that works here is a treasure and will patiently give you huge helpings of however many samples you want. All the flavors are creative and slightly savory, texture is creamy and not icy, cones are made out of almonds. I dream of their Thanksgiving flavors. The first (and probably last) place that has given me a discount for my laugh.$YUP4XX
Shreebs CoffeeArts DistrictCoffeeXOut of a painted shipping container on the corner of an industrial yard with astroturf, so, yeah, it's pretty hip. Coffee is good, and they have a lot of specialty drinks that are herby/spicy. They give you a cookie with your drink which I can't complain about. $Sure5XX
The SpringsArts DistrictHealth/Bar/Yoga Studio/PretentiousXThis place is one big eye roll. Juice bar, coffee, kombucha on tap, select beers, vegetarian food, yoga studio, artisanal art/clothing studio, geometric shapes, jazz brunch - Yeah. It's ridiculous. $$Eh6X
Urban RadishArts DistrictDeli / PretentiousXWhole Foods on crack, bougie ass everything, not sure why their bulk granola is so expensive, towers of kale and chard outside that I want to steal, ample seating$$Sure4X
Van LeeuwenArts DistrictIce CreamXVEGAN PISTACHIO ICE CREAM IS GREAT but it's kind of ridiculous to pay almost $7 for ice cream, so I think my wallet wins over my stomach.$$$Sure3
Villain's TavernArts DistrictBar$$
WestboundArts DistrictBarXLA Slytherin den (everything is green and it's train themed), good drinks, gratuity is already included in drink prices bc they're "forward thinking"$$Yup5XX
The WheelhouseArts DistrictCoffeeXIt's a coffee shop + bike repair shop, HOW LA CAN YOU GET. Pastries are great; banana + nutella "pop tart" was not too banana-y and the guava croissant was almost too pretty to eat. Don't worry, I ate it.$Sure6XX
WurstkucheArts DistrictHot DogsXFun built in game: Guess how to say "Wurstkuche." Exotic sausages (LOL), big beer selection, fries are crunchy. For some reason this is the top suggestion I've encountered for a first date - hopefully because it's hip and not because they want to watch me eat hot dogs.$$Sure3XX
Yeastie BoysArts DistrictBagels / TruckBagels and schmear and lox; was suggested by a Jewish friend so maybe it's the real deal?$$
Zinc CafeArts DistrictCasual / VeggieXPretentious and overpriced IMO but decent. Vegan. Make your own bar is where it's at.$$Sure4X
Cervateca - CLOSEDArts District / Culver / VeniceMexican - ishXClosed. Food wasn't that great anyway. $$Eh
GroundworkArts District / elsewhereCoffeeXDecent, unpretentious coffee.$Yup
The Pie HoleArts District / PasadenaDessert / PIE DUHXMexican Chocolate is rich, Apple is good when hot, Earl Grey is a little too herb-y, everything else is kinda overrated$$Sure3
Urth CafeArts District / Santa MonicaHealth / RestaurantXBougie, desserts are good, moroccan mint latte is good, not sure if it's worth the pretention or the crowd it attracts$$Sure
Club TeegeeAtwater VillageBarDivey
DuneAtwater VillageMediterraneanXFalafel is great, CHEAP$YupX
Kaldi CoffeeAtwater VillageCoffeeXStandard coffee, free wifi, everyone that comes here during the day is writing a screenplay$Sure5X
The MorrisonAtwater VillageBurgers / IrishXBurgers are great. Desserts are great. It was great. I came here on St. Patrick's Day, though, so maybe I was just drunk. $$Yup
Proof BakeryAtwater VillageBakery / CoffeeXNothing to write home about. No wifi. $$Sure3
The RoostAtwater VillageBarDivey
Canter'sBeverly HillsBakeryXAn LA staple (matzo ball soup + pastrami sandwich). Overpriced, which is also very LA. Came here on the second day of Passover and it was intense. Everyone that works here seems to hate it which is kind of fun. The old French lady at the bakery counter sneezed into her arm and said that she's never seen babka there but told me to get some of their chocolate racetrack, which is pretty much exactly the same. I'd rank it just under the TJ's babka.$$Yeah5X
ChaumontBeverly HillsBakery / BreakfastXStandard pastries, big salads, nothing really to write home about$$Sure3X
Fred's BakeryBeverly HillsBakeryXBabka Quest, Part I. Super dense, a little dry, a bit too orange-y. They also had cinnamon babka but I didn't try that because it was as big as my head. There were a bunch of flying insects around all the pastries but it didn't make me sick so I guess that's ok. Lexi did not like it but I kept it at the office and ate it for a week.$EhX
Schwartz BakeryBeverly HillsBakeryBabka Quest
Son of a GunBeverly HillsSeafoodLobster rolls, shrimp toast. I don't really like either of those things so who knows if I'll ever come here$$$
Indie Brewing CompanyBoyle HeightsBreweryX
Mariscos JaliscoBoyle HeightsTacosXWas going to Smart and Final and decided to try it because of the long line of non-white people. They were not wrong. Later saw it in City of Gold sooo basically I'm Jonathan Gold. They seem to know all the homeless people that come by, and they give them food, which is pretty dope.$YUP5X
Las MolenderasBoyle HeightsMexicanXWOW. 3 types of mole, and you can get all Bubba Gump on it: Mole tacos, mole burritos, mole enchiladas, mole nachos, mole fries, sides of mole, mole tortas. They were playing Cupcake Wars the whole time we were there which is forgivable. Best corn tortillas I've had to date.$YUPX
Tacos Arabes De PueblaBoyle HeightsTacosXGot the special arabe tacos but some people were eating lamb in a bag?!?! V fancy now that it was on Netflix$Yup
Bea BeaBurbankBreakfastPancakes???
IKEA Food CourtBurbankSwedish?XI don't know why it took me 26 years to finally eat at an IKEA but it did. Everything is so cheap which makes me suspicious of it but it was all good cafeteria stuff (from Sweden, I assume). No assembly required. Elderflower juice is +++$YUPX
Monte CarloBurbankDeli"Homely Italian food, big portions, GELATO BAR. Market in the same building with TOO MANY OLIVE OIL OPTIONS." - JN
Olive & ThymeBurbankCafeXGood for brunch, fancy pastries, and other artisanal items. Full of beautiful young white people on their iPhones that don't finish their food.$$Sure3XXX
QuenelleBurbankIce CreamXGood consistency but flavors could be stronger. +1 for Kecap Manis flavor (s/o to Southeast Asia) but otherwise - Salt & Straw is still the top. $$Eh
Go's MartCanoga ParkSushiIn a hole in the wall in a strip mall in the valley and it's supposed to be some delicious shit$$$$
Bang Na Thai FusionChinatownThaiThey're never open?
BaohausChinatownBaoXJust ok. Flavors are a little underwhelming, taro fries are tough. Chairman is better. $$Eh4
Belle Belle's Cue - CLOSEDChinatownBBQPERMANENTLY CLOSED, never got to try it, womp
CBS Seafood RestaurantChinatownDim Sum
Coffee HillChinatownCoffeeXRotating "residencies" of coffee shops. Prob the most hipster idea of coffee I've ever heard. Chill.$Yeah5XX
EndorffieneChinatownCoffeeXGreat coffee. Every time I come here I'm half expecting it to be a fake coffee shop, like that Prada store in the middle of the desert. Guy that runs it is really nice (always forget his name) (it's Jack).$Yup3
General Lee'sChinatownBarHear it's the spot
Golden DragonChinatownDim SumXCame here years ago for Chinese New Year when I was living in Riverside and coming to LA was a huge deal so now it's kind of trippy that this place is basically in my back yard. Most cheerful dim sum cart people I've ever encountered which I'm not sure I like, but the food is great. Came here a little bit before lunchtime on a weekday because I could.$$Yup3
Howlin' Ray'sChinatownChickenXHot chicken, rub is slightly sweet; you emerge with indigestion and coated in a thin layer of peanut oil. Worth it. Guy behind the counter introduced himself, shook my hand, and gave me free stuff. "Typical," said Lexi. $$Yeah2X
Kapoors AkbarChinatownIndian
Lao TaoChinatownTaiwanese
The Little JewelChinatownCajun / DeliXPo Boys are huge, bread pudding has whiskey sauce, yup. SOLA rating is based solely on location.$Yup2
Melody LoungeChinatownBarXSister bar to the El Dorado and I came here with that bartender so also had an ok time here, aka, A FREE TIME. V grungy and small inside. DJ is overpowering0Yup3
Nick's DinerChinatownDinerPastrami melt
Phillippe'sChinatownDeliXSandwiches - French Dip
Pho 87ChinatownPhoXThe standard good good. Food comes out quick, which is good because it fills up; pay at the counter when you're done otherwise you'll look like a tool, sitting at a table while everyone stands waiting for you to be done. They give you fortune cookies for some reason.$YupX
Pho Broadway - WATCHChinatownPhoXStandard cheap pho, not super greasy, free parking - Supposedly closed until August 2016$Yup
Plum Tree InnChinatownChineseStandard Chinese? $$
Pok Pok - CLOSEDChinatownThaiWhoops. Gone forever bye$$
Ramen ChampChinatownRamenXVeggie cold noodles were tasty, great flavor, perf for a hot day. Other broth is flavorful, not super oily. Guy drew a cartoon on my receipt - "But not on mine," said Lexi.$SureXX
ScoopsChinatownIce CreamXInteresting flavors, but texture leaves something to be desired. Salt & Straw is better IMO$Eh3
Spring Street Smoke HouseChinatownBBQXSmells amazing on the outside, smells amazing on the inside, you'll smell amazing when you leave. Brisket is a little dry and the sauce is kinda tangy but otherwise pretty good. Bread pudding could use more sauce. Like all BBQ spots, not sure if you should come here on a date unless you feel real comfortable with them. SOLA rating is based solely on location.$$Sure4X