As I enjoyed the best pastrami sandwich I have ever had at Langer's Delicatessen this past weekend, I was inspired to write this blog post for my next Friday Faves installment. After living in LA for 10 years, I have found a few favorite places for different food items or meals, and thought I'd share them here. Remember, these are my favorite places based on what I have had so far. While some are considered by many to also be the "best of" in LA, some are also just my opinion. And it is my blog after all :).
If you have any recs on your favorites in the city, or if you feel like another place has better items than my list, feel free to share in the comments! I am happy to test them out for comparison. Happy to make the sacrifice and do the hard research for my readers ;).
Margarita: El Coyote, 7312 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Consistent quality, strong, and reasonably-priced (especially for Los Angeles). I recommend sitting on the patio.
Burrito: El Tepeyac, 812 North Evergreen Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033-2620
Giant, but delicious burritos from a family-owned-and-operated establishment. Be prepared to wait in line, as the seating area is pretty small. However, the food is worth the wait!
Pizza: Village Pizzeria, 131 North Larchmont Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90004
My husband and I searched high and low for the best pizza in LA, and the closest to NY-style pizza. As many of you know, there is no such thing as a true NY-style tasting pizza in LA, but Village is as close as it gets, and mucho delish.
Pastrami Sandwich: Langer's, 704 South Alvarado Street, Los Angeles, C.A. 90057
The best pastrami sandwich I have ever had, with the perfect blend of ingredients, and fall-apart-tender meat. Order their famous #19. Be prepared to wait a little bit, but also worth it.
Thai: Thai Patio, 5273 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
After our honeymoon trip to Thailand we searched for Thai food that was close to the real-deal that we ate in Thailand. Thai Patio is that place. Located in Thai Town (just east of Hollywood), the prices are great, and the food is great, authentic Thai.
French Dip Sandwich: Philippe's, 1001 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
The place that invented the French Dip also happens to be the best French Dip around. Another place with a long line, but also totally worth waiting once you sample their famous dips.
Burger: In N' Out, Several locations
We are still sampling great burgers all over the city, but so far in our experience nothing beats a good old Double Double. I always get mine "animal style" with a side of Animal Style Fries (their hand-cut fries smothered in cheese, thousand island spread, and diced grilled onions).
Breakfast: Fred 62, 1850 North Vermont Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90027-4215
Great atmosphere, great food, great prices.
Breakfast Runner-Up: Saddle Ranch, 8371 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
HUGE portions, and great Sunday brunch champagne and bloody mary varieties and specials. The perfect hangover breakfast in Hollywood.
Cupcakes: Sprinkles, 9635 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Not only the best cupcakes in the city (and totally lives up to the hype and worth the $3.25 price), but also my favorite red velvet anything. I will put a Sprinkles red velvet cupcake up against any red velvet cupcake or cake anywhere else. Every cupcake they have is great, and they are so consistently soft and perfectly baked every time. I have never had a bad cupcake here.
Irish Pub: Tom Bergin's, 840 South Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036-4421
Great vibe, dim with beautiful dark wood, and GREAT jukebox. We even have our names up on Shamrock's on the wall (we were inducted with a ceremonious drink of their famous Irish Coffee once we hit their official "regular" status a few years ago). This place is so relaxing and chill, but don't be surprised if you see a celeb there enjoying the chill atmosphere too.
Romantic Restaurant/Best View: Yamashiro, 1999 North Sycamore Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90068
My date-night of choice is the delicious Yamashiro, a Cal-Asian fusion restaurant with a panoramic view of LA and not a bad seat in the house. You can have unique sushi rolls at competitive prices or a top-notch steak. I recommend trying the Darth Vader Roll and a glass of the not-always-easy-to-find MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir.
Tuna Tartare: The Belmont, 747 North La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069-5203
I LOVE tuna tartare, and try it whenever and wherever I see it on a menu. So far my fave is at The Belmont on La Cienega, which is also a fun place to kick back for drinks after work. Mac n' cheese and burgers are also great here.
Mac N' Cheese: Ketchup, 8590 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069-2347
While The Belmont has some great mac n' cheese, the best I have had is at the modern and brightly colored Ketchup. I think the keys to this mac n' cheese's brilliance are the truffle oil its made with and the dungeness crab flakes crisped on top. I also recommend their crab cakes, and of course fries and their unique ketchup flavors (wasabi! yum!).
Hot Dog: Street Vendors
While I love both Pink's and Oki Dog, my favorite dogs are found from street vendors around Hollywood that come out at night to please the club and bar-goers. Wrapped in bacon before being grilled, and served with grilled onions and peppers. A late-night treat at its best, with an intoxicating aroma (grilled onions and bacon cooking are a killer combo for the senses).
Chinese: Rice, 3300 Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034-3592
My fave hole-in-the-wall Chinese is Rice in Palms. Great lunch special, delicious fried rice. I always stop by when in the area, as my hole-in-the-walls in Hollywood are good, but just not the same.
Martini and Best Gay Bar: The Abbey, 692 North Robertson Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Huge and creative martinis made by cute boy bartenders (with ambiguous orientations in order to appeal to both the gay male patrons and their straight girlf friends), and a really fun bar in West Hollywood.
Happy Hour: McCormick & Schmick's, 206 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210-5104
Not only do they have a second late-night happy hour (which is great for those of us who tend to work late and miss the standard 4-7 pm happy hours at most places), but they have full-size burger meals for $1.50! Good burgers too, and on Rodeo Drive of all places.
Wine Bar: Monsieur Marcel, 6333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036-3191
Located in the Farmer's Market next to The Grove, this place is awesome with great wine and frommage specials.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich: The Grilled Cheese Truck, Mobile
This is a mobile "roach coach" type of truck that stops at different spots around the city. Their upcoming stops can be found by visiting their website. What makes their sandwiches so good? Nine words: Mac and Cheese and Pulled-Porked Grilled Cheese Sandwich. To die for.
Mall Food Court: Westfield Century City Mall, 10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067-6501
Not only do you eat off of dinner plates, with silverware and glass cups for your beverages, but you also have a choice of everything to eat from your standard Panda and Fuddrucker's to Lawry's Carvery, to fresh hand-made Sushi. If you fancy a sandwich, get The Great Gobbler or Chickaboom from Tacone.
Added 5/28/10: Best Fish n' Chips: Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market, 25653 Pacific Coast Hwy, One and a half miles north of Pepperdine University
Not only the best fish n' chips in LA, but possibly the best you've ever had. Just trust me on this, and try it. You will NOT regret it. It is perfect for a day you are driving up the coast, or when in Malibu for a beach day. I have recently ventured into sampling some of their other fried seafood, and can attest that if you want to try a few things, go with their fried Seafood Combination. It includes the must-have fish n' chips, as well as fried oysters and scallops. Definitely can't go wrong. But if you are not as adventurous or are on a budget, go with the staple fish n' chips, available in 1, 2 or 3 piece options.