HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


What/where can I eat that is unique to the LA area?

I'm going to be in the LA area in August. However, I won't be spending any time in the actual city of Los Angeles. I'll be in the Santa Monica/Manhattan Beach area, Hollywood, and Burbank/Pasadena/La Canada Flintridge area. Does anyone have recommendations in those areas for food that is unique to the area? Something that is done the best in LA? I'm not familiar with what's good or popular in the LA area, other than that they have an incredible variety of food. I pretty much eat anything, and I'm willing to try new things. Thanks so much in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Try a Sushi Hamburger from 26 Beach Restaurant in Venice, just south of Santa Monica and north of Manhattan. They won a Best Burger competition in 2010 with it. I think that is a very unique thing. www.26beach.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK401k...

    26 Beach
    3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

    1 Reply
    1. re: Burger Boy

      would add the interesting, well-constructed, entree salads that are served at 26 beach.

    2. Try this link as a staring point then ask away.

      or this for the Santa Monica/Venice area

      1 Reply
      1. re: wienermobile

        Thank you for the links. I'll definitely have to have tacos and sushi while I'm out there. Musha looks good and looks like a unique style of Japanese. Cha Cha Chicken looks good for lunch if I'm near the pier. I'm from 90 miles north of NYC, so while I do have good restaurants in my area, I don't have much variety as I don't make it down to NYC all that often - which is why Cha Cha Chicken looks appealing, no Caribbean restaurants around here.

      2. Well, when in the Burbank/Pasadena portion of your trip, read this post regarding food in the San Gabriel Valley, aka which Pasadena is a part of, and pick and choose your options.
        And when in that area, other options might include Bulgarini for Ice Cream/Sorbet in Altadena(aka north Pasadena) or Fosselman's in Alhambra for similar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: carter

          Thanks - I will have to see if I can stop by one of those places, maybe in Arcadia as that looks closest to Pasadena.

        2. Thank you! I will take a look at those links.

          1. For something unique, try Zankou Chicken. Glendale would be my first choice, but they are also in Pasadena and Burbank. It is a counter service Lebanese place. Love the chicken and garlic sauce.

            Cafe Santorini in Pasadena isn't unique per se, just a nice setting.

            Cafe Santorini
            70 W Union St, Pasadena, CA 91103

            1. In Manhattan Beach I like Uncle Bill's Cheddar Bacon Waffle and North End Cafe's Kahlua Pig Monte Cristo Egg Rolls.

              Uncle Bill's Pancake House
              1305 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

              North End Cafe
              3713 Highland Ave Ste 1, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

              1 Reply
              1. re: wienermobile

                ya might try giving the Uncle Bill's Cheddar Bacon FRENCH TOAST a try.
                imho is even more delicious than the waffle

              2. You may not think you are in the city of LA, but Hollywood is actually a part of the city of LA, as is the San Fernando Valley.

                But a lot of the unique spots are around downtown. Try Koreatown for exceptional Korean food. Parks BBQ is a favorite. Try the Pico-Union (a bit west and south of downtown) area for Salvadorean pupusas and other unique Latin American specialties. Mo Chica and Picca are high end Peruvian places, one is further west than the other. In the Hollywood area, try Thai food, we have a ThaiTown. Jitlada is one of the best for their Southern Thai food.

                5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                5 Replies
                1. re: Phurstluv

                  Phurstluv, are there any particular places in the Pico-Union area you would recommend for pupusas? When I drove through the area, the number of Salvadorean places seemed overwhelming.

                  1. re: brandygirl

                    Yes, you are right the entire area is full of restaurants that sell Salvadorean food. I personally do not know where to direct you to decent food. Perhaps others on the board can and are much more knowledgeable than I - streetgourmetla, where art thou?? But I will make some calls to former coworkers who might and get back to you. There must be some gems in the mine there.

                    1. re: brandygirl

                      Ok, brandygirl, word from the expert (streetgourmetla) is El Santiagueno. Let me know if you get there, I may have to do a drive by on Monday. Sure it will be good!!

                      El Santiagueno
                      1939 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90011

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        Thank you so much. I will check it out in the next couple of weeks and report back!

                        1. re: brandygirl

                          I stopped by El Santiagueno after seeing it was Bill's suggestion.
                          As I got closer to the location I realized I have been there before on a drive by hunch.

                          Fun place the pupusas are good but for the most part I find most of the places around town make good pupusas.

                          I went with the Sopa de Patas this time and it was great.
                          Broke the mouth kind of food if you know what that means...

                          For the OP try Santouka Ramen at Mitsua market at Centinela and Venice.
                          It's unique in that you can get good ramen in a grocery store.
                          You probably don't have that in your area.

                          El Santiagueno
                          1939 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90011

                  2. Hmmmm, Glendora's Donut Man strawberry seasonal donuts. In N Out (I know it's in other states now). Pa Ord Thai restaurant... along w/ Jitlada. Philippe's is ok. Mo Chica is great refined Peruvian, Marios is great laid back Peruvian. Daikokuya is great ramen. Shoot... I find LA more to be top notch w/ a slight twist in a few types... especially CA fusion, Asian, and Mexican.

                    327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                    5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                    Donut Man
                    915 E Rte 66, Glendora, CA 91740

                    1. Grab a bucket of clams at the Galley on Main Street in Venice.

                      Main Street Cafe
                      12939 Main St, Garden Grove, CA 92840

                      1. the Mariscos Chente on west imperial highway in inglewood.
                        Shojin for inventive vegetarian Japanese food on Alameda near 3rd

                        333 S Alameda St Ste 310, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                        1. In the Hollywood area there are a few Russian places ( Really good food)There's Robert's Russian Cuisine, Maxim Restaurant on Fairfax ,Premier Restaurant & Bar in Studio City just to name a few. Pasadena has lots of great places don't really know where in Pasadena your going to be but if your near PCC ( Pasadena City College) you have to try Burger Continental or the Brunch Sunday Morning at the Double Tree Hotel ! You can also try Polka in Eagle Rock for great Polish cuisine !!

                          Burger Continental
                          535 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: MoreBeerHere

                            You may want to check out this thread before considering a visit to Burger Continental:


                            1. re: Peripatetic

                              I'll admit that it has been a little while since I 've been there but I never have had any bad experiences when I have been there.

                            2. re: MoreBeerHere

                              I would never recommend Burger Continental, since it is beyond mediocre food in a less than sanitary eating space.

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                Guess that I will have to return to the "scene of the crime" for a little investigation and see if it is as really bad as you claim it to be...

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    That bad and the Health Department has yet to shut it down.Really must be "shorthanded" at the Health Department these days.....

                                    1. re: MoreBeerHere

                                      My issue with the place has less to do with its sanitary conditions (or lack thereof), and more to do with just bad food.

                                      Plus, there's nothing unique about Burger Continental to LA.

                                      Disgusting food is actually quite common to LA.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        BC is really a candidate for a Kitchen Nightmares makeover. Not that the results of those are too inspiring either. Actually, I wish Umami would take it over and keep the the vintage patina of the place intact. Umami, like Intelligentsia, isn't a slave to a rubber-stamped decor. Adam?

                                      2. re: MoreBeerHere

                                        The patio is full of pigeons and next to a dumpster. How that place stays open is beyond me.

                              2. Kishka and kasha varnishkas at Brent's Deli

                                Donkey Roll at Beijing Pie House

                                Wurstkuche for hot dogs

                                Shaved Snow at Class 302

                                Strawberry and Peach donuts at Donut Man

                                Hamburger at Father's Office

                                Bacon Donuts at Nickel Diner

                                Pastrami Sandwich (No. 19) at Langer's Deli

                                Xiao Long Bao at Din Tai Fung

                                Gelato at Bulgarini

                                Ice Cream at Scoops

                                Kaiseiki at Urasawa

                                Dim sum at Sea Harbour

                                Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                Urasawa Restaurant
                                218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                Brent's Deli
                                19565 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324

                                Nickel Diner
                                524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                Beijing Pie House
                                846 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

                                1. Thanks so much everyone!