Aside from visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Colby and I went to Los Angeles last weekend with one purpose in mind: eat as much delicious food as possible. We showed up without any sort of plan, pretty much winged it the whole time, and I think we fulfilled that goal.
With so many restaurants to choose from in the city, it wasn’t easy to find the best, but we had some pretty dang good food while we were there. So if you’re headed to the City of Angels anytime soon, check out our ratings so you know where we ate in LA, including where to go and what to skip.
Scrumptious Cafe & Bakery | ★★★★
We landed in La La Land at 7:00 in the morning and we were hungry and tired. The day we arrived was the day we planned to go to Universal Studios, but we needed to kill time (and eat) before the park opened at 10:00. We did a quick Google search and found Scrumptious Cafe in West Hollywood, which was more or less on the way to Universal and looked yummy.
After spending an hour and a half in an Uber (literally the same amount of time it took us to fly from SLC to LAX – Los Angeles traffic is no joke), I could not have been happier to see this stack of french toast placed in front of me. My rating might be a little biased because of this, but everything was delicious! I got the stuffed banana nutella french toast and Colby got the breakfast sandwich, which was basically a breakfast burrito on brioche, so we were both happy.
Three Broomsticks | ★★★★
Head over to my full post on Harry Potter World to get the deets on this delish meal!
Kettle Glazed Doughnuts | ★★★★★
Thanks to my friends at Female Foodie, we knew the place to go in LA for a good cronut was Kettle Glazed, so this was our number one breakfast priority. I have to mention that the staff here was incredible and so personable – and I also heard them say that one of the twins from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody had come in recently, so this place is obviously a big deal.
We tried four donuts: the chocolate cronut, iced cinnamon twist, blueberry lemon old fashioned, and s’mores. The cronut was amazing and definitely the best, but honestly I would be stoked to eat any of those donuts again. They were the bomb and Colby will immediately tell you these are the best donuts he’s ever had. (Personally, I still like Blue Star more, but these are a close close second.)
Umami Burger | ★★
Since neither of us had ever had Umami Burger before, we decided it was a must-try while we were in California since it seems to be a big deal there and I’ve been hearing about it for years. I’m not going to lie, though, both of us hated this place. The concept is basically that they’re using the “fifth taste” or savory taste called umami that supposedly naturally makes you crave things like burgers and pizza, but amplifying it so that it’s literally all you can taste in any of their food. Maybe it’s acquired or something but I thought it was gross.
Republique | ★★★★
We went to Republique for our Valentine’s Day dinner (a few days early) and it did not disappoint. Republique is a tapas restaurant where you order small plates for the table to share. We started off with the french bread with pan drippings – the most authentic bread I’ve had since I was in France myself and a rich sauce to dip it in. Next up, we had sweet potato beignets stuffed with dates & curry and topped with a lime yogurt, and then a grilled octopus salad which was amazing.
After that came the butternut squash agnolotti pasta – this stopped us in our tracks and immediately made it onto Colby’s list of the top five best foods he has ever had. The pasta was stuffed with a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth squash puree and it was divine. We finished with the red wine braised beef short rib and I was so full I could not eat another bite. Definitely one of our more extravagant nights out but I fully believe in having one of those every now and then and it was so worth it. I don’t have any pictures of my own – I try not to take photos during our romantic date nights – but check out some on Infatuation!
Nickel Diner | ★★★
In my opinion, Colby and I really failed on the LA brunch scene. There are glorious brunches all across the city and of all places we chose to go to Nickel Diner. It was actually on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives so we had high hopes, and don’t get me wrong, it was good, but compared to the other things I’ve seen pictures of, we could have done way better. It was just basic diner food. I got more french toast and Colby got the hangover helper, which was kind of a big scrambled egg with salsa and avocado and stuffed with bacon and veggies.
His was actually quite good and he would probably give this place a higher rating than I did, but I wish we would have gone somewhere else. Then again, we were still stuffed from the night before at Republique and it saved us some money after that high-rolling dinner so it’s probably a good thing in the long run.
Grand Central Market
In the heart of downtown LA is Grand Central Market, which is basically a huge, delicious, bustling food court of top-notch restaurants. We heard lots of people talking about how it has become too touristy and high-priced, but we didn’t know the difference and thought it was heaven.
Ramen Hood | ★★★★★
Colby loves ramen and really wanted to get some while we were in LA so when we found Ramen Hood, we were happy. He was a little hesitant about it being vegan but I absolutely loved it – probably my favorite ramen I’ve had. The broth is made with sunflower seeds, shiitake mushrooms and kelp and it was so much lighter and flavorful than traditional ramen. I’ll probably be craving it forever.
Madcapra | ★★★★
It’s hard to give Madcapra a valid rating because the only thing we got here was the sumac beet soda, but I was absolutely obsessed with it and need to immediately figure out how to make it myself. It had such an interesting flavor – like pickled beets, basically, but better – and I was worried it would have a weird aftertaste but it didn’t at all. So yummy.
DTLA Cheese | ★★★
I was so full but Colby really had the need to eat a brioche grilled cheese so he grabbed one at DTLA Cheese. The bread was the bomb but I can’t get behind a plain grilled cheese sandwich anymore, so I’m not sure why he ordered this. Add some tomatoes or something, ya feel?
McConnell’s | ★★★★★
I’m so glad Cassandra from Poppy Anthology emailed me all her LA recommendations because when I saw McConnell’s, I forgot all about being full and immediately needed to have it – after all, she’s written several posts about how it’s her favorite ice cream in the world. I got two scoops – one of the seasonal wild berry chip and one of sea salt cream & cookies. These flavors do not go together at all but it didn’t even matter, it was so good. Perfect ending to our food fest at Grand Central Market.
Bottega Louie | ★★★★
We visited the fancy Bottega Louie on another recommendation, this time from my friend Evi, and had one thing in mind: macarons. Several flavors were purchased and several were enjoyed, but the best by far was the bananas foster. Rum + bananas + chocolate in a macaron? Yes please.
Jitlada | ★★★★★
The night we went to Jitlada was the most adventurous and crazy of our time in LA. We originally had no plans of getting Thai food while in the city, and had actually taken an Uber from downtown to Koreatown on this night in search of some Korean BBQ. It was about 7:30 pm and we were going to a comedy show at 10:30, so we figured we had plenty of time. That is, until we got to the restaurant and found out there was a 90 minute wait, which would definitely make us late for our show. So we quickly searched restaurants near the theatre and found Jitlada. I remembered seeing it on Li.st mentioned as one of B.J. Novak’s favorite restaurants, and I assume he has good taste, so we grabbed another Uber. When we got there, we were greeted by a crowd of people waiting outside and saw that to put our name down, we literally had to write our name on the clipboard hanging beside the door. Every now and then, a Thai woman named Jazz (a true character) would come out and call the next person on the list – not because she had their table ready, but because she was about to have a table ready. We had no idea how long the wait would be but we decided to take our chances.
We waited about 50 minutes to get in, and once we were finally seated, it was apparent the state of chaos this restaurant is perpetually in. Every table had several servers, no one was getting their drinks, and we had no idea how long it would take to get our food. We had about an hour until we needed to head to our show so we were a little stressed about these logistics. We quickly placed our order with Jazz, and then a few minutes later saw here outside taking selfies with customers(?). Long story short, we eventually got our food, and it was definitely the best Thai food I’ve ever had. Hashtag worth it.
Oo Kook | ★★★★★
Don’t worry, we did eventually get our Korean BBQ at lunch the next day and it was everything we dreamed it would be. If you’ve never had authentic Korean barbecue, you sit down at a table with a grill in the middle and as you order meats, your server comes and fires them up right in front of you. In between the server’s visits to your table, you can tend and turn the meats to make sure they don’t burn, and then when they’re done, you get to enjoy!
Oo Kook is all-you-can-eat and includes several salads, pickled items, dipping sauces, and a lot of other things that we had no idea what they were along with your meal. The best thing we had was the kobe beef and the worst was the garlic shrimp (seriously, don’t order that). I was stuffed to the gills by the time we left and did not eat again for another 24 hours. Besides Salt & Straw.
Salt & Straw | ★★★★★
Even after trying McConnell’s, which was the bomb, Salt & Straw still reigns as my favorite ice cream ever. When we first had it in Portland almost two years ago, we went there three times in two days, and now that there’s one in LA, I’ve been to that location three times as well! I don’t know what it is about Salt & Straw but their ice cream is so good and if you haven’t tried it, you need to ASAP.
Los Angeles doesn’t have my favorite flavor (strawberry honey balsamic + black pepper) but the roasted strawberry + toasted white chocolate they do have is a close second. This time I also tried the Compartes’ Spring Awakening, one of their February flavors, and you really can’t go wrong.
Phew, that was a lot, huh? Where are your favorite places to eat in LA and have you ever been to any of these?