Best Place To Eat – “9 Must-Try Restaurants in Los Angeles” is without a doubt my most popular pin on Pinterest. So here I am, two years later, back from a 4th trip to my favorite City of Angels with more insider information to share. As promised, I present to you part 2: the best places to eat in LA in 2018!
Starting the best restaurants in Los Angeles with my one favorite of all – Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong.
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Owned by Korean comedian Kang Ho Dong, this tableside barbecue chain has spread its popularity from South Korea to the streets of New York and LA. They are known for their prime cuts of beef and pork and serve almost every possible banchan (side. dish) imaginable.
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It was just me and my female friend and we both ordered the beef combo ($79.99) because our eyes are obviously bigger than our appetites. With the combo, you get two types of meat (I believe we chose the marinated short rib + prime rib eye) and a stew (we took the kimchi stew) and sides like hot egg, corn cheese, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and kimchi. Let me tell you, we were sitting at a big round table and the plates were filled to the brim. We were packed but we managed to finish everything we ordered because it was so good we couldn’t help it.
During my trip to Seoul two years ago, my friend and I set out to hunt for authentic Korean barbecue. However, when we did, the waiter burned our food. That said, I don’t have a benchmark to compare it to, but I will tell you that this place is the bomb. I recommended it to a co-worker and he and his friend went three nights in a row trying to get a table. Even though he didn’t make it until the third night, he said it was worth all the trouble. No wonder there are lines outside the door and people are willing to put up with long waits!
If you’re not a fan of standing in line, come for an early lunch or dinner to avoid peak times. We came here from our morning flight to LAX (hands up if the first thing you do after arriving is find a place to eat hahaa). Even then, half of the restaurant was full. It’s no joke how popular this place is.
#2 on the list we got Mexican food because #tacotuesday! (Get it? Tuesday is the 2nd day of the week so #2 on the list? Okay, strictly speaking Sunday is the actual first day of the week and Tuesday would be the 3rd, but still that’s irrelevant.)
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Tacos Tu Madre is a small, cozy taco shop that my girlfriend and I discovered while staying at an Airbnb in Hollywood. Their style is not really typical of Mexican food, but rather a fusion cuisine that sounds like it has Asian influences. They have oriental flavors like Ahi Tuna, Vegan Banh Mi, and Korean BBQ as well as traditional/Latin American ones like Fried Fish, Fried Chicken, Beans & Cheese, Shrimp Ceviche, and Asada. Everything on their menu can be made as a taco ($2.50-5), a burrito ($7-13), or a burrito bowl ($8-14).
The food took a while to arrive because again, they are small and there is only one cook working in the kitchen. This is Vermont’s location. They have two more in Westwood and Larchmont Boulevard with more in DTLA opening soon.
Make tacos, not war. ✌🏼 #TacosTuMadre || 📷:@saratoufali A post shared by Tacos Tu Madre (@tacostumadre) on Dec 15, 2017 at 5:52pm PST
Definitely a hip place with refreshing flavors. The Fried Chicken was good and so was the roast. The Korean BBQ wasn’t bad either, very different and not what you would expect to find at a taco shop. My friend got the Ahi Tuna which came in a crispy shell instead. He got something else and I don’t remember what but we were both pleasantly surprised. Their taco shells are also gluten free so bonus points for all those with dietary restrictions.
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Oh and those who speak Spanish, please tell me what their name means. I know tu madre is your mom and she’s been killing me I don’t know if it’s Your Mom’s Tacos or Your Mom’s Tacos (like in a provocative sense “we make better tacos than your mom”?).
If you remember my previous must-try restaurants in LA post, most of the places I recommended were fine dining. All three steps since my first trip back have been road trips where I felt too lazy to pack fancy dresses and heels. That said, most of the restaurants we visited were casual and budget friendly. One of the best places we’ve been to was Catch LA.
First of all, how wonderful is this place!!! It’s like the perfect place for a Sunday brunch with the gals. The food was amazing and the service was top notch (until late at lunch time the crowds were pouring in and our waiter was too busy with too many tables to handle). No wonder it’s a favorite even among celebrities.
What initially attracted me to Catch was The Anytime Waffle Tower ($15) on their brunch menu. It’s basically a giant tower of waffles with ice cream in between each layer and I mean who can say no to that! Except we ended up arriving at brunch later than we planned, it’s almost time for lunch. By then I was craving real food rather than dessert so I went with the Poke Bowl (~$25?) instead, which was divine. The tuna was grilled in this delicious sweet sauce with mango and avocado and served on a bed of brown rice. Who said healthy food doesn’t taste good!
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The temperature is rising + so are we #climbing #theclimb #waffle #icecream #tower #catchnyc #catchla #EMMEATS // 📷 @zagat A post shared by Catch Hospitality Group (@catch) on Jan 20, 2018 at 8:06am PST
Growing up in an Asian family, I was always used to the idea of sharing a meal at restaurants. I know in Western culture, everyone orders their own and sometimes it’s rude to ask someone to eat their own food. Although this is not really a family style restaurant where dishes are meant to be shared, I highly encourage you to come here with friends and share the love and enjoy the food together. Everything on the menu looks literally to die for. I’m honestly almost sad that my friend and I both have small bird cravings and we couldn’t order more food to share. Even browsing their Instagram as I write this post is making me drool all over my keyboard!
In terms of $$$, it’s not as expensive as the previous restaurants I’ve suggested. Brunch prices are especially reasonable. Everyone has their own definition of what is expensive and what is not depending on income level and so on, but I think this place is worth a visit 😉
Let’s grow, but the first lunch. #planting #la #lunchdate photo by @eggcanvas A post shared by The LINE Hotel (@thelinehotel) on Jun 14, 2017 at 11:58am PDT
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Make that wish come true at the Commissary – another great brunch spot, perfect for those days when you wake up and feel super hungry. On weekends, they host a buffet from 9AM to 3PM with unlimited to order entrees and you can even get unlimited mimosas for $18.
My date and I both got the Choriquiles (chorizo, eggs, cotija, crema, and enchilada sauce) and boy was it spicy! I am a fan of hot food but at the same time, I am terrible at handling heat. I didn’t expect the chorizos to have such a kick but I mean it was good. The atmosphere was excellent and I would have no problem coming back for dinner. Have you been checking out their menu now and the Cauliflower Steak with curry, parmesan, and quinoa? Uhm yum! How about grilled Faackitas with poblano mash and cotija? K-Town Fried Chicken? Cauliflower Tempura? Man it’s 1 o’clock here and I really don’t know why I’m torturing myself like this looking at delicious food at midnight.
Since The Line Hotel is located in Koreatown, it’s only natural that the Commissary is run by Korean chef Roy Choi and caters to the local flavor. (This post seems to have a Mexican/Korean food theme.) A very trendy restaurant overall. Good food, good vibes.
Okay, while we’re on the topic of brunch, let’s talk about another “it” place in LA: Bottega Louie.
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Known for its desserts and pastries, Bottega Louie is a dream paradise for everyone with a sweet tooth. I personally never understood the hype and macarons until I visited Paris and got a taste of the real deal. Since then I have been addicted and the macarons here can certainly compete with the OGs from Ladurée or Pierre Hermé.
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