I visited Los Angeles for New Year’s shenanigans and proceeded to eat my weight in, well, basically everything. I’ve listed a few of the places I liked the most – give them a try the next time you’re in the City of Angels.
Disclaimer: I’m 99% sure that I’ve got the locations right, but I don’t travel to L.A. much, so maybe double check their Yelp/websites/social media pages before you go.
Location: Main St., Santa Monica
If you love bagels (and really, who doesn’t?), then you’ll be a fan of Sam’s Bagels. Even though it’s along Main St. in Santa Monica, it’s a bit of a hidden gem, tucked between a tavern and a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Its own sign is pretty high up on it’s brick wall that you won’t notice it and the window signs won’t really help you either. You’ll know it’s Sam’s when you walk in and there’s a just a strange, inexplicably large bagel on the wall for decoration and not much else.
In case you thought I was lying about the large wall bagel.
Bagels are big and toasty, schmear is excellent (I got a strawberry spread that was perfect) and the place is small and quiet.
1) It’s a stone’s throw away from the beach.
2) Window seating to bask in the morning/afternoon sun and people-watch.
Not-So-Quick Breakfast (Or Brunch)
Nick’s Coffee Shop
Location: Pico Blvd., Pico-Robertson
Breakfast is 100% my favorite meal of the day, so obviously Nick’s is my pick for best place. What you’re looking at here is a delicious waffle combo.
I would move to L.A. for this place, I’m only half-joking. I only had breakfast at this diner, but it was SO good. And the people were so nice – surprisingly jovial in the aftermath of New Year’s Eve and always checking to see if we were happy with our food and needed anything else. They seemed to know and have a great relationships with their regulars and the walls look to be chock full of “celebrity” diner portraits, even locals.
It’s not a big establishment, being a diner, after all. So if you’re thinking about dropping by, you can actually call ahead an ask to hold a table.
1) A few outside tables if the weather is nice or if you have a furry companion.
2) Perfectly crispy hash browns.
3) Did I mention that the staff is lovely?
Location: Sawtelle Blvd, Little Osaka (other location available)
Their Old Skool ramen with Tonkotsu broth – ’cause you can’t go wrong with a classic.
Little Osaka has a TON of restaurants in the area. Even the complex Tatsu is in has like four or five of them packed in there. But if you’re in the mood for some tasty Ramen, go to Tatsu.
Portions are generous, especially if you order extra noodles for just a couple bucks more. Space is limited, because of the small size of the restaurant (even with the extra seating outside) and because of Tatsu’s popularity. You won’t have to wait to order, thanks to the tablet ordering system out front, but you’ll most likely have to wait for a table. Just give your number to the hostess and they can send a text when your table is ready, meanwhile, you can pop into the other little shops nearby.
1) A true vegan/vegetarian ramen bowl for your veggie/vegan friends.
2) I say lunch or dinner, but this place is open until 2 a.m. (sometimes 3 a.m.) for your late-night ramen cravings.
Location: Sawtelle Blvd., Little Osaka (other locations available)
You definitely won’t BEE sad when you eat this ice cream.
Once you’re done with ramen or some other savory goodness in Little Osaka, stop by Honeymee for a sweet treat. Not only is their ice cream swirled into a perfect dessert, it’s accompanied by a delicious little honeycomb from a local bee farm.
1) After you’ve had a heavy meal, it’s a great light dessert.
2) Particularly picture-worthy (I’m looking at you, food bloggers).
For the Trip Home
Bibi’s Bakery and Cafe
Location: Pico Blvd., Pico-Robertson
Bibi’s is a great place to stop for reasonably-priced neighborhood baked goods for the drive (or plane ride) home and to take back to family, friends and co-workers. Gentleman working the register was extremely helpful/patient as I figured out what I wanted and then inevitably came back to buy more, and seemed to be the bakery’s owner, Dan – which is always a good sign.
This chocolate rugelach might be TOO good. I bought three of these to share… and I ate most of them myself.
2) Also excellent bagels and schmear.
Well, I think that’s enough for you to chew on. Can you tell that I love to eat?