Little Tokyo | Downtown
Amidst the dozens of restaurants occupying a sliver of the 1st Street facade between Alameda St. and Los Angeles St., Marugame Monzo in Little Tokyo is a spot you would not want to miss. This small and unassuming restaurant happens to serve one of the best bowls of udon in all of Los Angeles. Walking in, you immediately notice glass windows where you can clearly see chefs kneading, cutting, and pulling fresh udon noodles like a work of art. The traditional udon styles like Sansai, Bukkake, and Kitsune are exceptional. For the adventurous, the Miso Carbonara or Creamy Sea Urchin udons from the Signature selection will keep you coming back to try more.
East Los Angeles
Everyone who lives in LA or has visited LA knows that LA is a taco kingdom. Streets are filled with al pastor fresh from the spit-fire roast, carnitas cooked low and slow, perfectly seared carne asada, and crispy battered fish. However, of all the food trucks and restaurants in the taco game, there is one truck in particular that reigns king for seafood - Mariscos Jalisco. If you are craving shrimp tacos, ceviche tostadas, or aguachiles, Mariscos Jalisco is the spot for you. The crispy shrimp tacos topped with avocado and a spicy red salsa is more than enough of a reason to make the trip. For those wanting more, the Poseidon is a worthy consideration - a tostada topped with fish and octopus ceviche and spicy shrimp aguachiles.
ZINC CAFE & MARKET
Arts District | Downtown
Zinc Cafe & Market is the simple and charming little spot that you can always rely on. It's a casual space that's perfect for a brunch or lunch with a couple of friends, it has a killer patio perfect for soaking up the sun and people-watching (or dog-watching if you're like me), it has an amazing list of cocktails crafted by the team behind Bar Mateo, and it has a menu that is entirely vegetarian in the best way possible. My personal favorite place for avocado toast is right here from Zinc. You can't go wrong with their wood-fired pizzas as well.
Costa Mesa | Orange County
Tapas is one of my favorite styles of eating. Small plates with individual, bite sized portions are the perfect way to share food while maximizing the number of dishes you can try. For Spanish tapas, Take your tapas adventure over to Pueblo in Costa Mesa, Start off the meal with Ceviche de Mariscos, a mix of bay scallops and shrimp with fresh seasonal citrus and fresno chiles for a hint of heat, all scooped together with house tortilla chips. The Croquetas de Bacalao made with creamed cod and potatoes are a delicious, hearty treat, although be careful as these can surely fill you up. My favorite is the Montadito de Costilla, a mix of both braised and crudo-style short rib, complemented with a sweet relish, and served on bite-sized pieces of toast. Also, there are plenty of wines and house drinks to go along with the tapas. Did I mention no corkage fee for your first bottle? Whether it is brunch, happy hour, or a casual late night dinner, Pueblo is the place to be for all your tapas cravings.
DOMINIQUE ANSEL BAKERY
La Brea | Central Los Angeles
The award-winning pastry chef and creator of the first-ever cronut, Dominique Ansel has brought his talents over to none other than Los Angeles. From opening day, Ansel has arguably outdone LA by making the most LA dessert that no one in LA has made before: Avocado Toast Ice Cream Sandwich. Avocado olive-oil ice cream and ricotta marscapone ice cream are crafted together like avocado slices and are topped with maldon salt and dragon fruit and served over short-bread. The famous DKAs and Cronuts are also a must. Cronut flavors change monthly, which is perfect as I know I will definitely be coming back for more!