Right from when I booked my tickets for LA some months back till the minute I set foot in LA, my priorities for this vacation were simple – EAT GOOD FOOD! Yes…I have no qualms or any kind of shame in admitting that my budget for this trip was allocateD towards two things – Harry Potter World (cos, its Harry frigging Potter) and eating as much food as I can!
So, out of the numerous places that I did manage to try in LA, here are some which you should not miss!
Some tips before you go ahead –
- NV – Non Veg Friendly.
- V – Vegetarian options available
- $ – Pocket Friendly
- $$ – Not So Pocket Friendly
Also, keep in mind that a cheap ($) meal here will cost you anything between $10- $15 (without alcohol). So stop calculating the money you spend in Rupees 😛
In N Out Burgers (NV), ($)
Every person who has ever stayed in, visited or studied in California and cone back to India will tell you that the thing they miss most about Cali is In N Out! Make sure you get your orders right – Double- Double Beef Burgers (Animal Style) and Animal Style fries. Post a tragedy (airplane crash of the crew that was on their way to set up outlets in other states), In N Out has made a decision of not expanding outside of California. You will thus have to come all the way here to try these burgers. Trust me, totally worth the trip :P.
Bud Namu Korean BBQ (NV), ($)
WARNING for all Vegetarians, newly turned vegetarians, etc. etc. – DO NOT VISIT! If you on the other hand have no qualms about eating all sorts of meats, this one you will fall in love with! $ 13.99 for an all you can eat Korean BBQ. They have Beef Brisket, Pork Belly, Chicken, Beef Bulgogi and much more and it will keep coming to your table for as many times as you want it. The grill is set on your table on which the meats are laid out to frill in front of you. All you need here is a great appetite and patience (until the meat cooks…trust me, its hard :P). They also serve some great sides of steamed egg, bean sprouts and sauces which compliment all the meats really well
Lamonica’s NY Pizza (NV), (V), ($)
Though a good pizza in the US is synonymous with New York, Lamonica’s NY Pizza ensures that the people in LA dont miss out! They have pizzas by the slice and full pizzas. I tried the Pepperoni Slice (cos nothing else matters :P) which I really loved. What blew my mind though was their Calzone! You have an option of stuffing it with 4 toppings and I opted for Ricotta, Mushrooms, Bacon and Onion. Trust me, this Calzone (if you stuff it with ricotta) will be the best calzone of your life! *drooling in the memory of it*.
Fat Burger (NV), (V), ($)
Though not in the brilliant league of In N Out, Fat Burger does provide a nice alternative for those around. Get their standard beef burger meal and opt for their Fat Fries (they are awesome)! Fat Burger also has an all Mushroom Burger which is a great option for all you vegetarians out there (unless you are jain….then get the Fat Fries :P)
Panda Express (NV), (V), ($)
Among the many “Mumbai” things you will miss, the greasy Chinese will definetely top the list! Worry not, you can get your fill at Panda Express! VFM and quick chinese food with a great variety of combos! Try their broccoli beef and Orange chicken.
Shake Shack (NV), (V), ($$)
A tad more expensive than In N Out, shake shack is a brilliant place for curly fries and nice burgers. They also have some great milkshakes out of which the Salted Caramel was my favorite. Also, they serve beers on tap 😀
Hae Ha Heng (NV), (V), ($)
This thai bistro in LA serves some of the best Thai food in the city. I loved it so much that I visited this place twice in 3 days! The Spicy Egg Plant, Drunken Noodles, Tom Kha, Basil Chicken….everything that I had at this place was absolute brilliance. It is very reasonably priced as it is and the $9 lunch deal that they have till 3pm is a friggin steal!
Tatsu Ramen (NVthi, (V), ($)
If there is any place in LA that you should try Ramen at, its this one! Always full with a minimum 45 minute waiting, this tiny Ramen place is popular for its consistently brilliant Ramen. They serve Ramen exclusively and one bowl of this is more than enough more any human being. Though the Pork Ramen is the best, they have some amazing vegetarian and chicken Ramen as well. Also, always get extra meat…always 😛
Onkei Ramen & Sushi (NV), (V), ($$)
Located in Westwood (near UCLA), visit this place only for their Soft Shell Crab Tempura and the Chicken Katsu Curry. Literally, have that and leave! Dont eat the Ramen here.
Mr. Noodle (NV), (V), ($)
This place serves some amazing thai and asian fusion cuisine. Their Thai Iced Tea is the BOMB! So is their Yellow Thai Curry. Avoid their Miso soup.
800 Degrees Pizza (NV), (V), ($)
If you want to have some gourmet Pizza, this is the place for you. The Truffle Pizza with Pesto base is brilliant. One pizza here is enough for one person. Also, you can do half n half pizzas if you want to try some variety.
California Gogi Grill (NV), ($)
I visited this place on a gut ad. I thought “lets check it out….and trust me, I am so glad I did! Their Stack bowl is absolutely brilliant and very reasonable!
Chipotle (NV), (V), ($)
Any student in the US will swear by Chipotle! Its healthy, VFM and delicious. I loved it too, but I cannot eat Chipotle more than once a fortnight! Anyhow, they have some great bowls and Burritos that you should check out once for sure. Also, always get extra Gauc!
Azla Vegan(V), ($)
There will be a time..sometime after a week in the US that you will be tired of all the meat! I was too! At such a time, this place comes to the rescue. They serve some delicious Ethiopian Food (which is vegan) and it is absolutely wonderful!
Ethiopian Food is very similar to Indian food with some spicy and homely flavors to it! Also, it is healthy which is a great relief from.all the beef and fried chicken here!
Mesa Brazilian Eatery (NV), ($)
The Bombay food scene is without a doubt something that has evolved tremendously over the last decade! But the variety of cuisines in LA is something which will blow your mind!
I spotted this tiny Brazilian food joint while walking around Westwood, LA and I could not help myself but try the food out!
This dish is called Estrogonofe De Frango which is a Chicken and Mushroom Stroganoff with sauteed greens and topped with Fried Plantains and Thin Cut Fries!
Boat Sushi (NV), (V), ($$)
Go here for their all you can eat Sushi and more deal that they have from Saturday- Wednesday (3pm-closing). Apart from a VFM experience with brilliant Sushi,they also have other salads, tempuras and seafood that is a great deal for the 30$ they charge for it!
Also they have the most amazing Sticky Rice with Mango!
Chick Fil A (NV), ($)
Possibly the best chicken burgers in LA. They dont serve any beef and if you visit, dont miss the Spicy Deluxe Chic Fil A and their amazing Waffle Fries.
Nothern Cafe (NV), (V), ($)
Also known as Dumpling House, this place serves some great authentic Chinese food. Their soupy noodles, stir fries and their dim sums are damn delicious.
So, this was my list of the must visit places in LA if you want to try some really good food across all the cuisines that this city has to offer. I will also be doing posts on things to do in and around LA soon. Stay tuned…
Until next time….