My Favorite Food Spots in LALA Land (AKA LA...)
Going to college in LA means that I have had four years to find amazing restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops, etc. The city definitely has some cons (*cough cough traffic*), but it also has its pros, and the restaurants are definitely at the top of the pro list in my mind. My guess is they would be for pretty much everyone, especially if you are a huge fan of fresh ingredients like I am. Because I love the food in LA so much and people have been asking me for recommendations nonstop lately (what can I say? I am a foodie, after all), I thought it would be fun to put together a list of my favorite spots in the city. So, here are the food venues I have returned to again and again and again (and again and again and again…) and the places I cannot wait to return to. Enjoy!
- Sqirl: A super cute spot in the East Hollywood/Silver Lake area that has its own collection of homemade jams. The soft scramble eggs and rugbrød are divine… And I can’t wait to try their brioche French toast the next time I go!
- The Rose Café: One of my favorite spots ever… their Brussel sprouts with fried egg are so so good and all of my friends went crazy over their massive breakfast burritos. Plus, it is just so pretty with flowers, hanging succulents, murals, and bright colors everywhere!
- Republique: This place is gorgeous inside- I feel like I am in Paris every time I visit. Their chia seed pudding and German pancakes are so yummy… and all those pastries in their pastry case? Dangerous to say at the least…
- Breakfast by Salt’s Cure: three words: BANANA WALNUT PANCAKES
- Jon and Vinny’s: So supposedly this is Kanye’s favorite restaurant… I have yet to see him here, but I brag about that fun fact as if I have. I love their burrata scrambled eggs, and never fail to wonder why I was not the genius who came up with that combination.
- Kismet: A Middle Eastern restaurant owned by 2 women?? Heck yeah! All the veggies are amazing.
- Jon and Vinny’s: (yeah, yeah, again) They offer four dipping sauces with their pizza (marinara, creamy Italian, ranch, EVOO), which makes me feel classier when I slather my cheese pizza in ranch and I’m not at their restaurant.
- Capo: An over-priced (well… more over-priced than all of these other places) Italian restaurant in Santa Monica, but they have this super cool wood-fire oven on which they make delicious seafood and a grilled Caesar salad. Plus, their gnocchi in red sauce has to be one of the most delicious yet simple dishes I have ever tried. Literally melts in my mouth.
- James’ Beach: The place is known for being in the movie I Love You Man- Jason Segal and Paul Rudd devour their tacos and proclaim them as the best tacos ever. I would argue that while their tacos are delicious, their key lime pie is actually their strongest dish (that graham cracker crust…), but I guess its Rudd and Segal vs me… Also, the vibe is SO FUN- it turns into a dance club around 9 PM.
- Rose Café: So I already said that their brunch is good, but they also have a full café with both an inside and outside section. I have a hard time finding good spots to work all day in because 1. I get hungry and coffee shops usually don’t have substantial food and 2. I feel weird spending an entire day in a full on food café with waiters. But this place combines the best of both worlds with a selective menu and open seating. Their almond butter and jam toast is perfectly paired with a matcha almond milk latte in my mind.
- Tom’s Café: The Venice Tom’s store is genius: they combined a shoe store with a coffee shop. I have spent hours at this spot on Abbott Kinney- they have a super nice enclosed, outdoor work station which features outlets and comfy seating, and then they also offer a full indoor workplace and a full outdoor workplace for those gorgeous LA days. But the real winner: the amount of dogs and babies that hang out here… seriously. They have a full wall devoted to polaroids of all the dogs that come by!
- Salt and Straw: The smell of fresh waffle cones come to mind… the carefully crafted flavors and textures of their ice cream… not really much for me to say here except you will be blessed with tasting the most amazing ice cream you have ever tried… so just take my word and go try it…
- Van Leeuwen: I love Van Leeuwen’s because they have tons of delicious dairy based ice cream, as well as a ton of delicious non-dairy based ice cream. And they don’t stop there- they have options for non-dairy toppings too, including chocolate sauce, whipped cream, etc. I am a huge fan of pistachio and their vegan pistachio ice cream is the perfect combination of salty and sweet in my mind. Oh, and their dairy based whipped cream is some of the best whipped cream I have ever had in my life. Not sweet at all, and super fluffy and light. Don’t be surprised if you see me leaving with a full pint of the whipped cream itself.
- Sweet Rose Creamery: This place is known for their mint chocolate chip ice cream. I have never been a huge fan of mint anything, but even I can get on board with their flavor… it tastes so so fresh, like you are eating a garden of mint leaves. With chocolate.
Fast & Casual:
- Sweetgreen: This is a chain salad place, but it’s perfect for a quick, healthy bite. They make fresh salads and bowls, whether custom or something off the menu. Their current miso seasonal bowl is one of the most amazing salads I have ever tried. I ate one three days in a row because of how good it was.
- Mendocino Farms: This is a really fast and fresh sandwich/salad shop. They have tons of vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore options. My favorite thing about Mendocino Farms is that while you are waiting to pay, they have a counter of sides and they let you sample them all- this is how I fell in love with their curried cauliflower cous cous and now I can’t get enough.
- Tender Greens: Again, like Sweet Green, this is a quick and healthy spot with locations outside of LA as well. They make simple plate combinations which include your choice of protein, side, and veggie. My go to is their salt and pepper chicken, sprouted rice, and butter lettuce (butter lettuce for days, baby). Ooooo, plus every meal comes with a piece of grilled bread which somehow is the most delicious thing ever.
- Pressed Juicery: So I am not a fan of green juice, but green juice ice cream? Totally something I can get behind, especially when it is as innovative as Pressed Juicery. Not only do they sell a full collection of juices, but they also have four flavors of “ice cream” which are dairy free and made from simple ingredients like dates, coconut meat, kale, etc. My favorite is their matcha and chocolate swirl topped with almond butter, dark chocolate, raspberries, and granola. One time I ordered two size larges of the matcha for lunch and told myself it was the same as eating a salad. It is… right?
- Juice Crafters: I love acai bowls and this is the spot I hit up almost every Saturday morning. My go to is their Kale Bowl (all about sneaking in veggies!), but their Chunky Monkey smoothie is pretty dang good too!
- Erewhon Market: I fell in love with this grocery store as soon as I walked in. I consider it “Whole Foods on Steroids.” Between the hundreds of samples that await me, the section dedicated to oatmeal, their yummy drink bar, and the delicious prepared food aisle, I can’t get enough. So much so that if I end up in LA post college, I will be choosing my location based on this store hehe.
- Whole Foods Playa Vista: this is one of the best Whole Foods I have ever visited. They have a huge smoothie bar with yummy acai bowls, a large and vibrant produce section, a café, and I could honestly just spend hours roaming their aisles.
Favorite Foodie Places:
- PLATFORM: This cool spot is in Culver City has one of the most fascinating architectural designs I have ever seen. There are a ton of great eateries, including Van Leeuwen’s and Sweetgreen, as well as pop up shops and cafes. I feel really trendy every time I hang out here.
- Abbot Kinney: I end up on Abbot Kinney almost every weekend for some reason or another. Salt and Straw, Tom’s Café, Erewhon, Pressed Juicery, The Butcher’s Daughter, Gjelina… so many amazing food spots, as well as clothing stores (their Adidas store is so amazing- I have to distract myself when I walk by every time out of fear I won’t come out alive…). Plus, they host First Friday on the first Friday of every month, which features tons of delicious food trucks!
So yeah, there you have it! Are there any places you think I should try? Have you visited any of these spots? What are your favorite places in LA? Can’t wait to see your comments!