- Los Angeles is home to an overwhelming amount of restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops, and beyond.
- Sometimes, it takes living in a big city to discover some of the best places that aren’t listed as a top tourist attraction.
- This is a list of places I highly recommend having tried a wide variety of eateries during my time in LA.
There’s certainly no shortage of places to eat and drink in Los Angeles. That’s partially what makes it so great – the diversity and plethora of eateries it has to offer. And after living there for a little over three years, I was able to try more than my fair share. I was introduced to many world cuisines, discovered artisanal food, and experienced fine dining at some of the chicest restaurants in the city. I’ve found that LA is now home to many of my favourite restaurants and coffee shops.
Though it was tough to narrow down, here’s a list of my favourite places you absolutely have to try if you’re ever in town:
Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe has fish and chips that taste like they’re straight out of England.
My uncle took me to Malibu Seafood before I ever moved out to LA. He told me that his friend from England even believes it to be the best fish and chips he’s ever had. And I have to agree, having been to London myself.
Every time a friend or family member visited me in LA, I took them to this spot, which gives you a picture-perfect view of the ocean. It’s a casual spot, where you put your order in at the register, pick it up at the window, and take a seat at one of the picnic benches outside. I always ordered the two piece fish and fries, and it was more than enough for me.
Sidecar serves some of the freshest, gourmet doughnuts in Los Angeles.
For gourmet doughnuts, Sidecar is my top choice. The doughnuts were hot every time I ordered there, which is attributed to their commitment to freshness. Beyond this, their doughnuts are a thing of beauty. You almost don’t want to bite into them because they’re so delicately decorated.
And since I’m coffee-obsessed, I must say they also have amazing espresso drinks, which pair perfectly well with your doughnuts.
Alchemist Coffee Project brings you great food and coffee, a tough find in any coffee shop.
Choosing my favourite coffee spot was tough because there are so many unique coffee shops in LA. But taking into account the food, beverages, and ambiance, I have to say my all-time favourite is Alchemist Coffee Project. Each time I went here, I ordered something different because they offer unique lattes that you can’t get elsewhere such as their Spanish latte or lavender matcha latte.
Plus, the food is great, considering it’s primarily a coffee shop. All of their toasts are pretty good – both the sweet and savoury selections.
Salt & Straw offers unique, monthly flavours you can enjoy only once.
One of the best things about LA is the sunny weather, allowing you to enjoy ice cream pretty much all year long. My go-to ice cream shop while living there quickly became Salt & Straw. What makes their ice cream so unique is the contrast of sweet and salty flavours in many of their ice creams such as Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, or Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache.
Each month, Salt & Straw features a handful of unique flavours that you can get only once, and then they’re gone forever. That’s on top of the classic flavours you can get all year round, which can vary for each city location. You’re welcome to sample as many flavours as you want if you’re bold enough to ask. There are several locations located throughout LA, and you can always expect a line.
Porto’s Bakery & Cafe brings Cuban bakery and cuisine to a whole new level with its well-known Potato Balls and Cheese Rolls.
This place is always buzzing with business no matter which location you visit and what time of day you go. Porto’s is best known for their stunning Cuban cakes as well as their Cheese Rolls, Refugiados (a guava and cheese pastry), and their Potato Balls, which I’m most familiar with. What I love even more about this spot is that everything is reasonably priced – one Potato Ball is only $US1.05.
The Potato Balls are typically served hot and are filled with ground beef, peppers, and onions. I only discovered Porto’s a bit too late, so I couldn’t enjoy as many Potato Balls as I had wished.
There’s no rooftop bar like Perch, offering you skyline views of downtown LA and decadent French cuisine.
If you’re looking for a night out, I would suggest Perch – an upscale, rooftop bar located in downtown LA. It’s all the way up on the 15th floor, and you have to take two elevators to get to the very top. Upon exiting the second elevator, you’re welcomed into the dining room where you can dine inside or enjoy your food and drinks on the rooftop patio, where you’ll usually be able to listen to some live music.
I will say the prices are on the higher end because of fine, French cuisine, and the stunning views of the city, but are well worth it in my opinion.
The Apple Pan is simple and quaint, but it’s an experience you can’t find anywhere else in West LA.
When you visit The Apple Pan, located in Westwood, it’s like stepping into another time zone. This diner takes you back to the 1940s with its U-shaped counter style seating and very basic menu. Their burgers are simple but done right. There’s typically a wait since it only holds about 30 people, but it goes fast.
I typically ordered a cheeseburger and fries, followed by a slice of their delicious, homemade apple pie. They warm it up for you, and give you the option of adding a scoop of ice cream.
The cupcakes at Sprinkles are delicious and elegant.
This is another place I took all of my friends when they visited me in LA. Sprinkles is the world’s first cupcake bakery, according to Food Network. The cupcakes are exquisite and just plain adorable. My favourite location is the original because it’s located near Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. This allowed me to give my friends a tour of the shopping street of the rich and famous followed by a fun, affordable treat.
And not as if the cupcakes need anything else, but there’s a Sprinkles Ice Cream located right next door to Sprinkles that pairs perfectly with your cupcake.
Magpies Softserve has truly mastered vegan soft serve.
I couldn’t refrain from adding another ice cream spot because it’s just that good and has something unique to offer. Magpies Softserve was a five-minute walk from my house when I lived in Silver Lake, and it quickly became my favourite place in the neighbourhood.
What I still don’t understand is how they make vegan soft serve that tastes just as good as dairy soft serve. They have a daily rotation of vegan and non-vegan flavours and a selection of vegan and non-vegan toppings. My go-to and, perhaps the most beloved by critics, is the vegan Corn Almond.
For top of the line sushi and a taste of the posh LA lifestyle, Nobu is the place to go.
The best sushi spot in LA is seemingly a constant battle. But in terms of getting the LA experience, I would have to choose Nobu. It’s a trendy restaurant, even attracting celebrity clientele, that serves fabulous sushi and equally incredible drinks.
I’ve been to both the Malibu and West Hollywood locations but preferred the Malibu just because it has a patio that overlooks the ocean.
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