HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Hungry Food Snob at USC

Okay, I'm kind of a food snob. That doesn't mean I eat truffles and foie gras. It just means I like tasty food, and I like them with acceptable quality. I like gourmet burgers, but also love my In-N-Out. Unfortunately, I am a poor student trapped in USC's reign of fast food restaurants like Taco Bell and Yoshinoya or whatever the heck it's called, with no car to escape too far out.

So, please help me out! Anyone know of a good hole-in-the-wall place to eat around this forlorn area? I am willing to brave the metro or the DASH, but can't go out too far. I have papers to write and books to read!

Thank you and happy burping!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Okay, I haven't been there, but Bacaro gets its share of good digital ink. It's about a mile up Hoover.

    2308 S Union Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

    Sounds like it's a notch up from the hole-in-the wall category, though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Peripatetic

      Bacaro has a good burger and it's owned & operated by USC alum.

      1. re: J.L.

        Bacaro is great. I love that plaze.

        Burp- I'm a USCer, too. I do Cafe 29 and Bacaro when I need some decent food near campus.

        1. re: EricDC

          I've seen Cafe 29, but no one seems to know that place, so I assumed it was bad!

    2. Chichen Itza

      They just closed their MacCarthur Park location but extended the hours at the one closer to USC: 3655 S Grand Ave


      2 Replies
      1. re: wutzizname

        Second... and return to the same spot the following day to hit Mo-Chica... any of the seafood dishes will statisfy even the pickiest food snob...


      2. For Value for Money, I would take the bus (it'll take some time so maybe weekends only) to:


        Regarding you sign-off phrase & Chow name, I can't help referring you to a famous cinema belch, one that is modest, even encouraged, and sort of at the opposite end of the burp, shall we say Animal House, spectrum. The 1st 15 seconds is enough:


        1 Reply
        1. I like La Taquiza's burritos and agua frescas.

          3 Replies
          1. re: mdpilam

            Good point. Pretty thorough write-up here (from the Daily Trojan):


            1. re: mdpilam

              Is La Taquiza walking distance from USC?

              1. re: burp_excuzme

                It's not too far, unless you're on coming from the far corner of campus. Figueroa and 30th. That was my favorite cheap spot for lunch when I was on campus, and I miss my frequent visits. Good tacos, burritos, plates, especially el pastor. Great lemonade. I was not enchanted by the mulitas, but people like them.

                La Taquiza
                3009 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

            2. Awesome! Thanks, guys!

              So far on my "to-go" list:
              1) Chichen Itza
              2) Mo-Chica
              3) Bacaro (bacon and brie pizza? HOLY COW!)
              4) Mr. Pizza at Koreatown (anybody been here?)
              5) Warafu Cafe

              So far I've been to two that I REALLY liked in downtown LA:

              1) Umami Burger
              2) Curry House
              3) Morels (PRICEY!)

              2 Replies
              1. re: burp_excuzme

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640157 and if 3 miles from campus isn't too far then you should give Wood Spoon (you can look at an on screen menu here: http://losangeles.menupages.com/resta... a try in downtown LA.

                Wood Spoon
                107 W Ninth St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                1. re: burp_excuzme

                  Ya. I've been to Mr. Pizza. It's so totally skippable... fine, but nothing at all special.

                  On Grand, there's also UrbnMrkt (love the non-vowel spelling... ugh) at 3434 S. Grand. Also between Jeff. and Expo., on the E side of the 110.


                2. I haven't been for many, many years so I can't give a recommendation, but the 901 Club on Fig (known as the Nine-O, but you probably know that) used to have dynamite burgers at a very reasonable price. And they used to pour a mean tall gin and tonic.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TomSwift

                    The Nine-Oh is now known more for their booze than their food.

                  2. The red line stops right in front of Langer's.

                    1. Wondering the same, but also if there's also anything decent on campus - stuck at meetings with very short lunch breaks there...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: torta basilica

                        As a fellow Trojan, I feel your pain! Here is a list of the places I loved when I was attending USC...but it's been 7 years.

                        Ciudad: this place has GREAT happy hour and it's right up Figueroa. I love the sangria, and their appetizers are perfection. Perfect date spot.
                        445 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                        Master Burger: this place is in a sketchy neighborhood, but it's totally amazing for burgers and fries. They are HUGE and well seasoned and just delicious in that "i feel sick" kind of way afterward.
                        Master Burger
                        4419 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                        La Taquiza - good burritos (especially breakfast burritos after a hangover) and salsa.
                        La Taquiza
                        3009 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                        Dong Il Jang - amazing Korean BBQ. This is really fun with a group of people, you can cook around the table, and at the end, make sure you get the Kimchi fried rice.
                        Dong Il Jang
                        3455 W 8th St., Los Angeles, CA 90005-2517

                        La Barca - Mexican food, really close to campus
                        La Barca
                        2414 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                        Frying Fish - Decent and inexpensive sushi, not far from campus.
                        Frying Fish
                        120 Japanese Village Plz Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012-3909

                        1. re: torta basilica

                          Torta, you may find this article of assistance in your quest: http://uscnews.usc.edu/university/new...

                        2. By now you've, most likely, discovered The Lab on Fig.
                          I've been twice for food for lunch and a couple of times for the beer with friends.
                          Most recently I've ordered the grilled salmon served over Israeli couscous with a mango chutney. Decent salmon, a little undercooked, but it'll do as all the other places in the area become boring after awhile, as you say.
                          I think it's a little pricey for students ($12.95 for an entree without any sides or bread isn't something I would have eaten daily while in college) but I'm curious (assuming you've been there) to know what you think.

                          1. Take the DASH to downtown L.A. McCormick and Schmick's is in the Library tower. Try them for happy hour. $1.99 will get you a 1/3 lb. cheeseburger with fries. Minimum drink order will be required, but it will be well worth the $0.25 trip. I've had many a happy times there as an undergrad.
                            However, do skip Chano's and Pasta Roma. Not my faves.
                            There's a Tapioca Express nearby if you ever want to go liquid diet. Boba, egg pudding or both in your drink might cover your short-term nutritional needs. I enjoy the lychee and almond snow bubbles.

                            3000 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                            Pasta Roma
                            2827 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007