Located in the hip LA Art’s District, Wurstkuche is a must-try spot for unique hot dogs such as rabbit, rattlesnake, and pheasant. OR if you’re not feeling too exotic, you can try some of their classic offerings such as the chicken & apple, Louisiana hot link, or hot Italian. It’s located right next to the Angel City Brewery, so grab a beer while you’re there! Hot dogs and beer, what more could you want?
Maccheroni Republic is a perfect place for first dates – it has a nice intimate ambiance, especially if you sit at the outdoor patio, without having to shell out too much cash. Their dishes are about $10-$15 so you get an excellent meal at an excellent price! I recommend trying the squid ink pastas! Bring a bottle of wine to share and you’ve got a perfect night.
This place has been super popular lately. Located in Little Tokyo, Marugame Monzo is well known for their udon with uni cream broth. They handmake their thick and chewy noodles, and the broth is so creamy and rich – I’d highly recommend trying it! The wait is long and lines out the door, so be prepared to wait, or come at off-meal times. The front door and signage is a little obscure, so it may be hard to find for first timers, but just look next door to Daikokuya Ramen and you’ll find it.
I love KazuNori for the simplicity and superb flavor. They are famous for their handrolls. They are really minimal – nothing too fancy, just simple, pure, delicious food. It’s self-seating so you just sit down when you see an available place. I’d recommend the 6 handroll set menu. You get a toro, yellowtail, salmon, bay scallop, crab, and lobster handroll for $23. Quite filling and a decent price for what you’re getting!
EMC Seafood & Raw Bar
Looking for affordable and yummy seafood? EMC is your go-to! This place is especially affordable during their happy hour (everyday from 4-7 PM) when oysters are only $1 a pop. Some of my favorite dishes here are the uni pasta, albacore sashimi (their fried garlic and ponzu sauce makes it taste SOO good!), and oysters, of course. This EMC is located right in Koreatown so there’s plenty of nightlife activities to do after dinner.
Grand Central Market
If you’re with a group of friends who just CAN’T DECIDE what to eat *shakes fist*, try Grand Central Market. There’s bound to be something your friends are gonna want to try. I’d recommend trying Eggslut or Sarita’s Pupuseria, but you can check out this list of all the vendors here. This bustling cafeteria is lively, hip, and a fun way to spend the day with friends.
Genwa Korean BBQ
You gotta try Genwa if you’re a fan of Korean BBQ! You get a selection of amazing quality meats, and banchan for days (seriously, this place has the most banchan I’ve ever seen at a Korean restaurant!) You’ve got to get an order of the wagyu beef special ribeye – it’s delightfully rich and melts in your mouth.
Connie & Ted’s
If you’re a fan of seafood, I suggest you try Connie & Ted’s for their INCREDIBLE fresh and delicious seafood. The uni there was probably the best uni I’ve had so far! It comes served in the whole shell and tastes oh-so fresh. Also order a bowl of chowder while you’re at it! The best one by far is the classic New England one, so I’d personally just order a large bowl of that, but if you want to try all three, they offer a flight of chowders for you to sample.
Lawry’s the Prime Rib
Lawry’s is a fun place to go for dinner! The atmosphere is so lively and the food is amazing. Every time I go there, I eat until I can’t breathe. They start you off with their spinning salad which is pretty entertaining to watch. Then they bring over the prime rib cart where you choose your cut. I usually just go with the regular cut and that’s plenty for me. You also get a side of Yorkshire Pudding. And don’t forget the creamed corn!! That stuff is absolutely amazing. You HAVE to try it if you already haven’t! You’ll leave that place feeling extremely full and satisfied.
Perch is known for its posh rooftop bar vibes. The price is not too bad for the view and experience you’re getting! I really enjoyed the octopus – they sous vide it so it’s super tender. I also liked the gnocchi and charcuterie. I loved the layout of the restaurant. The inside is bright and has a nice open space. There’s also an outdoor dining area and lounge chairs to enjoy drinks on the roof. Perfect for a girls’ night out or date night!
71Above is the kind of place you take a girl on a date if you’re really trying to wow her! Admittedly this is one of the best dates I’ve been on so far because of the spectacular view and the delicious food. I’ve heard some mixed reviews from other friends who have been here (some say the set dinner is just meh), BUT I think the appetizers were quite good and worth trying – especially since you get a chance to see that amazing view of Los Angeles from the 71st floor of the US Bank Tower. I came here during sunset while I enjoyed my cocktails, foie gras, steak tartare, and oysters with uni and caviar.
The Bazaar by Jose Andres
The Bazaar is an AMAZING Spanish-inspired tapas place located right in the SLS Hotel. The gastronomy takes this place to a whole new level. Try one of their famous drinks such as the Magic Mojito (where the server makes your drink and pours it over a bed of cotton candy) or the Caipirhina (where they freeze it with liquid nitrogen to give you a sorbet-like drink). It’s like a drink with a show! Some of my favorites tapas there are the caviar cones, cotton candy foie gras, and philly cheesesteak.
Orsa & Winston
If you’re looking for a near-Michelin Star experience, Orsa & Winston is the place to go. Their Asian-European fusion prix fixe menu is $95 per person, and comes with 6 courses (but it’s more like 10 courses with all the complimentary dishes given by the chef). Their menu changes slightly daily – my favorites the day I went were the: 1. miso mushroom soup with black truffle, brioche, and quail egg; 2. satsuki rice porridge with Santa Barbara uni, abalone, romanesco, and parmesean; 3. seared atlantic code, brandade, asian pear, sunchoke, fennel, and shiso chimichurri.