Nastassia Johnson, dessert aficionado

Marketing consultant Nastassia Johnson has successfully turned a sweet tooth into a passion project as the creative force behind @letmeeatcake. She is excited to share her favorite local eats (both sweet and savory), brought to you by the makers of PEPCID®, helping food lovers explore great tastes without the fear of heartburn. Doughnuts included, of course.

  • L.A.’s Best Doughnut

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① Pine and Crane

Pine and Crane in Silver Lake is a welcoming, cozy neighborhood gem. It’s fast-casual Taiwanese set in a clean, minimalistic design. The food is super satisfying. My favorites include the dan dan noodles and beef roll, but don’t miss the exquisite seasonal vegetables or cold appetizers like the wood ear mushrooms or bamboo shoot salad.

Photo: Pine & Crane

② République

From the high ceilings and eclectic tile floors to the equally beautiful food, modern French République may just be the most Instagram-worthy restaurant in L.A. I love the kimchi fried rice with beef short ribs and the dry-aged burger, but the true pièce de résistance is the pastry case, with its endless rows of freshly baked croissants, tarts, brioche and cookies.

Photo: Natassia Johnson

③ Mariscos Jalisco

Located on Olympic in East Los Angeles, it can be hard to spot this truck among the many other Mariscos trucks, but the fresh seafood dishes—especially the fried shrimp tacos—are worth the effort. The perfectly fried plump shrimp are so tender the texture borders on creamy.

Photo: Mariscos Jalisco

④ Raffi’s Place

It took only one meal at Raffi’s Place Middle Eastern restaurant before I was hooked. There is nothing like its large plates of fluffy rice with hints of saffron, juicy grilled kebabs—some of the best in L.A. —and charred peppers and tomato. You should also try the smoky baba ganoush and ghormeh sabzi Stew, a traditional beef Persian dish loaded with parsley, fenugreek, beans and dehydrated limes.

Photo: Raffi’s Place
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⑤ Fishing with Dynamite

With only 34 seats, a superb raw bar and a prime location just blocks from the beach, this intimate seafood spot is very SoCal. I love sitting at the bar, where you can watch your oysters being shucked right in front of you. The menu is divided into “old school” and “new school” options, so there’s something for everyone. And you won’t want to miss their Key lime pie with kaffir lime meringue.

Photo: Fishing With Dynamite

⑥ The Oinkster

The Oinkster is chef Andre Guerrero’s “slow” fast food joint, serving diner classics in a sleek modern retro setting. It’s known for the pastrami sandwich and for good reason: It’s smoky, tender and flavorful. There’s also an awesome selection of milkshakes, but you have to try the Ube, a Filipino-inspired blend made from purple yams and sweetened with sugar and coconut milk.

The Oinkster by @eatingmywaythroughoc

⑦ Badmaash

Badmaash is Downtown L.A.’s cool, casual Indian gastropub. It offers traditional Indian favorites, street-food inspired options and some fun modern spins on classics, like tikka poutine and Indian sodas. End your meal with the impeccable chai tea.

Photo: Badmaash

⑧ Sotto

If you love wood-fired meats and fish, charred bread and fresh pasta, Sotto is calling your name. There’s a spectacular menu of Southern Italian dishes, regional wines and Italian-inspired cocktails like the Cosmopolitano, made with Tito’s Vodka, Cocchi Rosa (a fruity-floral aperitivo wine) and Luxardo Bitters. Cap it all off with an amaro–they have one of the largest selections in L.A.

Photo: Sotto

⑨ Sapp Coffee Shop

There’s been an ongoing discussion over who makes the best boat noodles in L.A.’s Thai Town. My vote goes to Sapp—an unassuming no-frills joint—but ironically I never seem to order the boat noodles, which are unctuous and satisfying. I always end up with an order of the cold jade noodles with BBQ pork, duck and bits of crab, cilantro and dried chile, or the crispy pork over rice.

Photo: Sapp Coffee Shop