What to eat in Los Angeles, USA
The Los Angeles area is one of the best places in the country for food – you can find just about anything you can imagine somewhere within its loose borders. From traditional American diner culture to the new wave of organic cafes, to inexpensive taco trucks, and swanky eateries with breath-taking food, there is no shortage of options.
There are several hubs for cheap, authentic ethnic restaurants. Koreatown and Westlake, both centrally located south of Hollywood and west of Downtown, boasts a huge array of restaurants specializing in Korean and Vietnamese cuisines, though the area has become more popular with diners in recent years. South Central has many delicious and hearty soul food spots. Chinatown, of course, has authentic Chinese food within walking distance of many Downtown attractions. The Little Armenia district of East Hollywood is a hotspot for affordable Middle Eastern cuisine. Little Ethiopia occupies a single block in the Mid Wilshire neighborhood but features plenty of delicious Ethiopian restaurants and markets. Mexican taco trucks and restaurants can be found throughout the city, in every corner of town. Hollywood has some of the city’s best and most affordable Thai food.
The newest arrival on the L.A. food scene is the gourmet food truck. These are not your average taco trucks and construction-site catering operations (although those exist too), but purveyors of creative and surprisingly high-quality food. A listing of well-known trucks can be found, along with a real-time map showing their locations on any given day, and many trucks also have their own websites and post their daily schedules and locations on Twitter.
Coverage of regional food from other parts of the U.S. is spotty. Migration into the city has been disproportionately from Texas and Oklahoma, the South, Midwest and greater New York City and food representing these areas is easy enough to find. Food representing New England and other parts of the East Coast, the Pacific Northwest, and the Intermountain-Rocky Mountain regions can be elusive, along with many ethnic cuisines with central- and east-european origins. However L.A. is birthplace of the drive-thru and numerous fast food chains clog the roadsides. The In ‘n Out Burger chain is far above average for hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes.
The cultural diversity of Los Angeles is an evident influence on the local vegetarian food restaurant industry. You can find strictly vegan and vegetarian dining, be it American, Mexican, Chinese, Ethiopian, and Thai among others. Other dietary restrictions are catered to as well. For example Genghis Cohen in West Hollywood serves Jewish Chinese food and kosher Mexican or Italian is not hard to find along predominantly Jewish parts of Pico Boulevard.
There are several different supermarket chains of varying quality.
The nearby cities of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica also offer numerous dining options.
Many neighborhoods in Los Angeles, as well as the surrounding cities, host their own farmers markets. Local purveyors set up shop along several blocks year-round, usually one day a week for each community, to sell their goods and provide interested passersby with free samples of fresh produce, salad dressings, sweets, beauty products and more. Live music and food trucks are often a fixture of many farmers’ markets. The historic Farmer’s Market on Fairfax runs every day of the week, though it’s not so much a farmer’s market as a collection of permanent food stands adjoining a the Grove, an outdoor mall.
LA visitors and locals alike have the opportunity to indulge in a selection of specially priced three-course menus from a wide variety of LA’s best restaurants during dineLA Restaurant Week. It usually occurs over a two-week period in July.
Los Angeles has no shortage of nightclubs and watering holes. The city covers so much area. It’s hard to pick and choose the best of the best nightlife offered in the city. Every establishment is bound to appeal to a different class of customer. Whether you prefer a thumping loud nightclub or a hole-in-the-wall dive bar be sure to do your research. Because of the city’s sprawl, LA isn’t an ideal place for bar-hopping, except in certain areas where bars are more densely located.
Bars in Los Angeles, and all of California, are legally obligated to stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. Note that many bars will charge cover or even have long lines and VIP lists, particularly on busy weekend nights after 10. Unlike some other U.S. states, alcohol is available for purchase at grocery and drug stores.
Touristy Hollywood Boulevard has many nightclubs that are usually raucous and crawling with out-of-towners. There are several more casual bars in Hollywood, but mostly in the surrounding areas like Cahuenga Corridor. The famous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood is another nightlife hub, with trendy hotel bars and some of the city’s most famous music venues. The neighborhoods in northeast LA, including Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park, specialize in trendy dive bars and smaller music venues, fitting to the youth-oriented population. The recently revitalized Downtown has its share of worthwhile hotspots as well, including luxurious hotel and rooftop bars and the nightlife options at LA Live.