HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Good eats near USC

Does anyone know of anything good to eat near USC? "Ethnic" foods preferred.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Seriously?
    I went to school there...and quite honestly, it was a culinary wasteland. All you have are chains...and the horrible neighborhood dives that manage to stay in business because some students are limited on transportation and, thus, are captive.
    I do hear that Red Mango has opened a location on campus by the Engineering school.
    If you're looking for ethnic, you're better off in Chinatown, Little Tokyo, or Olvera Street. Just hop on the DASH. If you're in the mood for Korean...find a friend with a car and hit up Koreatown. Search the board for CH faves in each of the neighborhoods.
    If you've got a car...even better...the sky's the limit. As students, we used to get 50% off at El Cholo on Western...not totally authentic, but it was good and cheap. Canter's on Fairfax is an old institution...love their deli! Some may argue with me, but I still love Philippe's (by Union Station) for French dip sandwiches (beef and lamb...double dipped).
    Sorry, the "links" are not working for me.

    6 Replies
    1. re: attran99

      Wasteland? Well, mostly.

      But what about Chichen Itza for Yucatecan food? It's just under the freeway and around the corner, 0.3 miles away, in that little marketplace-- Mercado La Paloma.

      Mexican food with Portugese, Dutch and Korean influence. Edam cheese stuffed with raisin, almond and ground pork. Yum!

      Chichen Itza
      3655 S Grand Ave #C6
      Los Angeles, CA 90007
      tel 213.741.1075
      fax 213.741.1046

      Mr Taster

      1. re: Mr Taster

        Chichen is good, I second that. Along with the tiny stand next door to Chichen that serves up great fresh shrimp cocktails and delicious sauteed fish (if I'm not mistaken the joint didn't serve mariscos in the past, but now does).

        In general, this is a great little market.

        But is it only a third of a mile away? That's even walking distance to me.

        1. re: Mr Taster

          Mr Taster (or anyone) - ever been to that Persian place at the Mercado? Doubles as a cake store. The items look good and really authentic, but I always gravitate to the other offerings in the place when I'm there.

          1. re: Mr Taster

            Persian place? Is it new? I don't see anything likely on the web site.

            Tell us more :-).

            Mercado La Paloma
            3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

            Seree's Coffee Shop
            2800 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

            1. re: DiveFan

              It's totally stealth - "La Maison de Creme". French-y looking cakes and such, but a full menu of kabobs, plus fesenjon, zereshk polo, etc., etc. Someone's gotta try this place. Don't know when I'll be back there again....

              Website (can't link w/ my browser): www.lamaisondecreme.com

            2. re: Mr Taster

              WOW! Great find!
              I'm all over Persian food. Unfortunately the area demographic may not be.
              Katkoupai, where are you :-) ? Dang it, CH, we need queued anonymous messaging.

              La Maison De Creme
              3655 S Grand Ave C9, Los Angeles, CA 90007

          2. There are good cheap eats just northwest of campus along Pico. Hit Dino's on the N/W corner of Pico at Berendo, a block or two west of Vermont, for burgers, pastrami, carne asada, and especially the crazy chicken special -- a half-bird marinated in a yummy yellow-orange garlicky turmeric sauce and flame-grilled, served over a huge mound of fries with cole slaw and tortillas for about $5. A few blocks further west at Normandie is C & K Papa Cristo's for inexpensive Greek food. Some claim that El Parian, which always looks closed but isn't, has the best carne asada in town, Pico near Hoover. Note: See my post above about the $1.99 Wednesday specials at Togo's, limited time only -- I'm pretty sure there still is one in the strip mall on Vermont across the street from a main west campus entrance.

            1. There is a great find that opened recently -- I am so mad that it wasn't around when I was going to school there.

              Called the 23rd St. Cafe, it's on the corner of 23rd St and Portland. If you are heading east on Adams, it is the second left after Hoover. It looks like some weird deli, but in fact it has some of the BEST INDIAN FOOD I've tasted in LA. Cheap, delicious, generous portions -- order in and sit outside, the food is cooked to order and served on large metal platters. Enjoy, and tell others!

              2 Replies
              1. re: elirarey

                "Called the 23rd St. Cafe, it's on the corner of 23rd St and Portland. If you are heading east on Adams, it is the second left after Hoover. It looks like some weird deli, but in fact it has some of the BEST INDIAN FOOD I've tasted in LA. Cheap, delicious, generous portions -- order in and sit outside, the food is cooked to order and served on large metal platters. Enjoy, and tell others!"

                Isn't there another Indian Restuarant on Vermont next to an Indian Market? It used to be all Vegetarian, but I think they now have meat dishes. I've only eaten there a couple times, but I forgot the name.

                1. re: SilverlakePhil

                  I believe it's called Manna, and when (my fraternity) had an event there, the food was "less than stellar"

              2. Four words: La Taquiza, Red Mango.

                1. El Taurino on Hoover just below Olympic has great street-style mexican, carne asade is the forte here and the al pastor is good too. King Taco has a similar menu (same owners) and has shorter lines at Pico & Alvarado.

                  1. Good is relative, so go to Chano's and get yourself a mixup burger with egg or carne asada nachos no beans and an XL orange bang.

                    Might be better after alcohol.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: ns1

                      metromix.com latest issue has an article on local USC/Exposition Park area Eats:


                      1. re: SilverlakePhil

                        viztango way better than pasta roma

                        a good list.

                        1. re: SilverlakePhil

                          I'm surprised that Kenny's / Seree's Coffee Shop wasn't mentioned.

                          1. re: JAB

                            kenny's been out of business for a while no?

                            1. re: ns1

                              Absolutely not. Kenny opened up a 2nd place on Grand and named it after his wife Seree. Meanwhile, his wife ran Kenny's behind Felix Chevrolet until they wouldn't renew their lease. Now, Kenny runs the kitchen and Seree runs the front of the house at their location on Grand.

                              2800 S. Grand

                      2. Just in case someone has missed one of the usual suspects, here's a two year search of this popular topic: http://chowhound.chow.com/search?sear...

                        Transportation limited - huh? I can understand 'parking' limited. Someone buy me a student bus pass :-) - I'm working on my masters degree in Chowology.
                        When time is a factor, the LADOT DASH Route F will extend your reach: http://www.ladottransit.com/dash/rout...
                        If you have more time....
                        Take the 81 bus (Figueroa) north - downtown and Highland Park options are well documented.
                        Take the 204 bus (Vermont) north to Hollywood, many more options.
                        Hint - search the Place database for 'ca vermont' or 'ca figueroa'.
                        South of MLK is mostly undocumented Chow territory.

                        I'll second any place in Mercado La Paloma http://www.chow.com/places/4993 - Taqueria Vista Hermosa and Oaxacalifornia are also worth a visit.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DiveFan

                          Second the places in the Mercado La Paloma. Vista Hermosa has very decent al pastor. Try the cochinita pibil at Chichen Itza.

                        2. All the walking distance eateries have been hit pretty well... Chichen, Taquiza, Viztango, etc.

                          I'll add that Caveman Kitchen on Vermont the first corner south of the 10 is a pretty tasty burger and rotisserie chicken joint. Polo Norte is a good jamba juice substitue in the same strip mall.

                          Some more quick drive destinations:
                          Langer's for the best pastrami in town. Just drive up Hoover->Alvarado till you hit MacArthur park.
                          Phillips BBQ - Real. Delicious. BBQ. The quickest stop is probably Adams/Crenshaw

                          1. Good topic and guys for pointing out all the good place to check out. I like the hole in the walls. Thx