The 10 Best Food Neighborhoods from Jonathan Gold's 99 Essential L.A. Restaurants
Each year Jonathan Gold treks through the greater Los Angeles county in search of the perfect dumpling, ceviche, or curry on behalf of his fellow Angelenos. The result is a kind of foodie gospel that residents (and visitors) reference when they need a culinary awakening, or just a good huarache to tell their friends about. But the best thing about his list may be that it gives you a point of entry to the otherwise vast, sprawling land mass that is Los Angeles County. To that end, we've highlighted the neighborhoods where one could eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner according to Mr. Gold's recommendations (and a couple others because we like them). Bon appetit!
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Fried chicken at Larkin's
Neighborhood: Eagle Rock
Gold's Eagle Rock is about indulgence. First, grab a slice of the "burnt, chewy, bubbly" Chicago-style pizza from Casa Bianca. After, head over to the Oinkster to try what they call "slow fast food." But do not leave the area without sampling the local delicacy: Larkin's famous fried chicken.
Ceviche from Mo-Chica
There's a lot of culinary competition downtown and it's hard to know where to begin (or end). How about starting with a maple glazed bacon doughnut from the Nickel Diner, followed by some ramen at Daikokuya, a sausage from Wurstküche, and finish it all off with the sushi grade ceviche from Mo-Chica. After that, you're on your own.
Mussels at Jitlada
Hollywood has evolved in recent years and is now home to (among other things) some of the best Thai food in the city. "Thai Town," as it is called, is technically in Hollywood but it is very much its own place with its own rules. Case in point: Jitlada, which Gold calls, "that rare thing, a Thai restaurant frequented mostly by non-Thais who come not in spite of but specifically because of the difficult, thorny regional dishes." Try the muscles or, if you're feeling bold, the fermented curries from the south. If you're wanting something more "Hollywood" there's no better place than the Musso and Frank Grill. And if you want something that's really Hollywood try one of the organic wines at Lou, and see if it changes your mind about strip malls.
Rib-eye steak for two at Animal
Neighborhood: West Hollywood/Fairfax Corridor
If you're an unabashed carnivore than you're in luck if you are on or near Fairfax north of Beverly. Start your day in West Hollywood with Salt's Cure smoky bacon and buckwheat pancakes, grab lunch and a Craftsman at Golden State where all the food hails from its namesake, and finish your day with the Rib-eye for two at Animal.
Seasoned fries at Jar
Neighborhood: Beverly Blvd
If you're looking for fancy, four star food and don't want to trek to Beverly Hills than Beverly Blvd is probably your best bet. Bring the kids to Eva, be sure to order the seasoned fries and steak at Jar (which Gold claims "is about as good as it gets"), and splurge on the "ant eggs, sea urchin oatmeal, foie gras tostadas and eel sliders" at Bistro LQ where, says Gold, the chef "uses duck hearts the way some chefs use parsley."
Beet salad at Father's Office
Neighborhood: Culver City
In Culver City? First stop: Akasha, where the menu offers some of the best vegan food in the city next to pork chops and house cured bacon. Stop by Father's Office, "the original LA gastropub", and BYOB to Mayura, where you'll find some of the city's best south Indian cuisine.
Huckleberry's version of green eggs and ham
Neighborhood: Santa Monica
Start your day with the pesto covered eggs at Huckleberry, taste the Santa Rosa plum sorbet at Border Grill, and if you're feeling in the mood for fine dining treat your self to the tasting menu at Michelin rated Melisse.
Cheese platter from Chef Ludovic Lefebvre
Part of the charm of L.A. is the way the city constantly finds a way to reinvent itself. Here, restaurants can take the form of a truck or a stand, a pop-up kitchen, or a shoddily constructed grill. Three picks this year are not the typical bricks and mortar restaurants of days past. The now infamous Kogi truck made the list as did Big Mista, whose BBQ filled trailer shows up at farmer's markets around the city. But Chef Ludovic Lefebvre may reign supreme among his peers with his "haute cuisine at popular prices." Try to get a seat at his next meal and you'll understand why.
Bulgogi at Park's
Honorable Mention Neighborhoods: Koreatown and Highland Park
While these neighborhoods didn't meet the rule of breakfast, lunch, and dinner we're pretty sure you can find at least one more delicious spot that Mr. Gold didn't uncover. The Kalbi at Park's and the bossam at Kabawoo in Koreatown is worth the hefty price tag, promises Gold. And in Highland Park the chicken pot pie at the Good Girl Dinette and the huarache at El Huarache Azteca probably won't leave much room for more.