11 Must-Try Cuisines in Los Angeles

Before you decide  to go to a restaurant, my tip is to always YELP YELP YELP! Yelp lets you find a restaurant in your area with the cuisine of your choice, gives you its menu, prices, hours, and reviews. A restaurant under 4 stars is rarely worth trying. So visit www.yelp.com before you go – you’re guaranteed to find hidden gems (a tip for everyone who’s not familiar with Yelp…)!

1. Mexican – avoid chains and yelp “authentic Mexican,” try food trucks and “hole-in-the-wall” places. You won’t be disappointed. Mexican cuisine definitely consists of rice, beans, tortillas, and guacamole, but at authentic places you’ll find much more variety than your usual tacos.

2. Korean BBQ – go to places in Koreatown where you only see Koreans. Those are the best. You will be seated around a table with a grill in the middle where you can put your choices of meat such as bulgogi beef or pork belly, for example. Side dishes such as salad, rice, kimchi, or pajeori (spicy green onion salad) are usually included.

Korean BBQ. - Photo by Lena Ghokasian

Korean BBQ. – Photo by Lena Ghokasian

3. Ethiopian in Little Ethiopia on Fairfax – Ethiopian dishes such as minced beef or a beef stew are usually served with and on injera, the Ethiopian sourdough flatbread, cooked with Ethiopian butter and spiced with chilli. Utensils are optional; you should eat with your right hand and pick up the food with a piece of injera.  

On the left: chechebsa or fit-fit (shredded bread with Ethiopian butter). On the right: Beef with onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos on injera.

On the left: chechebsa or fit-fit (shredded bread with Ethiopian butter). On the right: Beef with onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos on injera.

4. In & Out – SoCal’s most famous fast food chain. If you haven’t had In & Out, you haven’t lived – according to many Angelenos. Protein style (burger bun substituted by lettuce) and animal style fries are not on their “secret” menu

5. Brazilian – in Culver City somewhere on Venice Boulevard, OR Fogo de Chão. Try Brazilian BBQ at a Churrascaria where waiters walk around with skewers of different types of meat and you can choose side dishes from a buffet.

6. Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles – Yup, that’s right, chicken and waffles on the same plate. Oh, and you might run into Snoop Dogg at this popular soul food chain.

7. Pancakes at the Pantry in Downtown – A historical restaurant which has never been closed since 1924 that serves American dishes that are more on the heavier side but nevertheless super delicious.

8. Japanese in Little Tokyo – Forget Chicken Teriyaki, Japanese cuisine has much more to offer. Try ramen varieties or the California roll, for example.

Pork belly ramen soup at Ozu Kitchen.

Pork belly ramen soup at Ozu Kitchen.

9. Food trucks – Your visit in LA won’t be complete without them – especially after a night out. You can literally have any type of food you want – Korean fusion tacos, German Currywurst, Hot Dogs, lobster, Sushi, etc.

10. Lemonade – a popular buffet-style spot with fresh, “daily rotating, seasonal California comfort food.”

Blueberry meringue dessert, tomato-avocado salad, pear-arugula-goat cheese salad and spicy pineapple chicken with string beans.

Blueberry meringue dessert, tomato-avocado salad, pear-arugula-goat cheese salad and spicy pineapple chicken with string beans.

11. Pho – A Vietnamese noodle soup with broth, meat, and herbs is a lighter choice for lunch or dinner. Pho places often come with hilarious names such as Pho-King, Pho-nomenal, PhoShow, GoodPhoYou, etc.

Vietnamese soup with meat balls and beef.

Vietnamese soup with meat balls and beef.

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