Image source: Flickr - Laine Trees
Los Angeles is a veritable Mecca for food lovers with its urban sprawl, ethnic neighborhoods, and food truck craze. Everything from street eats to countless celebrity chef outlets line the streets of Los Angeles and its suburbs.
However, if it's your first time to Los Angeles, how do you begin to decipher where the best eats are in the city? Here's an introduction to some of the best neighborhoods and spots to get your food fix in Los Angeles.
Los Angelenos are quick to take credit for helping launch the massive food truck craze that shows no real signs of slowing down. Food trucks run the gamut from quick eats to gourmet meals on the go, with some trucks now even being rated by Zagat. Roy Choi, creator of the wildly popular Kogi Korean Taco Trucks, is definitely a major player in bringing food-truck-style cuisine to the masses. His unique take on combining Korean short ribs and Mexican quesadillas has left an unforgettable impression on food lovers around the globe.
Thanks to major Japanese companies like Toyota and Honda setting up shop in the South Bay, cities like Gardena and Torrance are filled with great Japanese dining options. Consider large Japanese shopping areas like Mitsuwa, with award-winning ramen available inside.
Downtown Los Angeles is home to several Asian ethnic areas including Koreatown and Chinatown. Aside from the standard eats like Korean barbecue, try soondubu from Beverly Soon Tofu, a delicious soft tofu soup with seafood (or meat) in a spicy broth. Chinatown is about more than just authentic Chinese cuisine with other ethnic specialties popping up as well.
Thanks to its proximity to the Mexican border and a large influx of Mexican immigrants to the area, good Mexican food is readily accessible throughout Los Angeles. From local food truck vendors to specialty taco shops like King Taco, nearly every area of Los Angeles has a great hole-in-the-wall joint to get authentic tacos, tamales, and other Mexican specialties.
Los Angeles is filled with a variety of farmers markets worth checking out. Bring home a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables or enjoy freshly prepared cuisine on the spot. Some of the most iconic farmers markets in Los Angeles include the Original Farmers Market of Los Angeles, which opened in 1934, and Grand Central Market, the largest market in town, featuring gourmet and specialty items from all over the globe.
Los Angeles is home to a number of well-known, famous dining establishments. Iconic eateries like Pink's Hot Dogs, Pig 'n Whistle, Carneys, Canter's Deli, the Original Tommy's Burgers, and Spago Beverly Hills are just a few of the spots that should be on your list when you visit Los Angeles. These eateries range from casual fast food like Pink's or Tommy's Burgers to more elegant sit-down restaurants like Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills.
If you are on the hunt for even more historic eateries, don't miss places like Randy's Donuts, whose landmark sign has been featured in countless movies, or Philippe Restaurant, birthplace of the French dip sandwich. Head out to the city of Downey for the oldest surviving McDonald's restaurant, or up to Musso & Frank Grill, the first restaurant to open in Hollywood.
You can thank Sprinkles, the world's first cupcake bakery, for helping launch the global cupcake phenomenon. If you've caught shows like Cupcake Wars, invariably one of the competitors is from the greater Los Angeles area. There are cupcake bakeries all over the region, but if you want the original, visit Sprinkles in Beverly Hills. For an interesting experience, try out the first Cupcake ATM, located between Sprinkles Cupcakes and the new Sprinkles Ice Cream. Here, you can get your cupcake fix 24 hours a day – it even stocks cupcakes for dogs!
Have you been to Los Angeles? Where are your favorite places to eat?
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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