Where to Eat and Drink Like a Local in Los Angeles
A visit to the City of Angels doesn't just mean flocking to the newest hot spot and waiting in line for an hour to snag that coveted Instagram photo (although, let's be honest, that's part of it). But, seriously, whether you're a first-time visitor or a regular, Los Angeles has so many incredible spots worth checking out.
Luckily, we've done the legwork for you. We Ubered, ate and drank from DTLA to Koreatown to Silver Lake in search of cocktail bars and restaurants sure to make you immune from the dreaded "So, where are you visiting from?"
Since opening in July 2016, this Koreatown fusion hot spot has delighted diners with its soft-shell crab with honey lime mayo, salsa verde and sal de gusano, and its 30-day dry-aged Holstein bone-in rib eye. New to the menu this year is a series of "laborhood" cocktails inspired by the local community, including the Persistent Rose (Jamaican rum, verjus, pickled rose petals, lime, raw sugar and a dash of rose water).
This chic basement restaurant on Pico Boulevard serves fabulous southern Italian fare. And although we could wax poetic about the perfectly charred octopus, spicy clams with nduja and squid-ink Mafaldine, what we overheard one diner say sums it up best: "This place is freaking delicious."
No surprise that this nautical-themed joint is best known for its shrimp toast and mini lobster roll. While the menu skews seafood forward, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the fried chicken sandwich—which many regard as one of the best in the city.
Badmaash (or "naughty" in Hindi), an Indian gastropub owned and operated by chef Pawan Mahendro and his sons, Nakul and Arjun, in DTLA, certainly lives up to its name. The menu crosses borders, cultures and generations, catering to hipsters with a craving for cool twists on classics, like chili cheese naan and chicken tikka poutine.
The Friend is a vibrant Silver Lake bar and the brainchild of L.A. nightlife giant Jared Meisler, graffiti artist André Saraiva and Maroon 5 drummer Mickey Madden. Inside, you’ll find exuberant, 80s-esque decor and cool cocktails like The Face (a rocks drink with Elyx vodka, black tea, cucumber, mint and lime). And if you're hungry, order a couscous bowl or a duck confit crepe from the kitchen, which is helmed by The Next Iron Chef alum Eric Greenspan.
The sit-down sister restaurant of Zinc Cafe, Bar Mateo is charming—to say the least. Housed in a 1914 barn in L.A.'s hip Arts District, this cocktail bar and restaurant offers a menu so robust, you won't even realize it's meatless. The fennel and (soy) sausage pizza is not to be missed, and in keeping with the grand tradition of L.A., you can sub in vegan cheese and gluten-free crust.
Broken Spanish isn’t your run-of-the-mill burrito joint. On the menu at Ray Garcia's upscale modern Mexican resto: lamb-neck tamales and chicharrón with elephant garlic mojo, radish sprouts and pickled herbs. With its proximity to the Staples Center, you're finally guaranteed a great postgame meal, but it's so damn good we'd brave the traffic even if we didn't have plans in the area.
Lindsay Cohn is a freelance lifestyle and travel writer. She believes omakase is always the right choice and that rosé is perfect all year long. Follow her on Twitter at @Lindsay_Cohn.
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