Food is always a massive part of any trip we go on. Like most tourists, we love sampling the iconic foods of any area we visit. But this presents a bit of a problem in Los Angeles as there isn’t really anything that jumps out as LA food. So What should you eat when in LA?
Well, the good news is that despite the lack of local iconic delicacies there is still an abundance of incredible food available. The mixture of cultural influences has created a food scene that is full of choice and quality. From Cheap eats up to the finest Michelin Starred restaurants. So enjoy our rundown of must-eats when visiting Los Angeles.
If anything could be considered a local LA Delicacy it’s Sushi. Surprising as it is obviously from Japan! But Western Sushi is so distinct from authentic Japanese sushi it can almost be considered a different food type. The differences are subtle to the untrained as the same basic components are used. The Japanese dish is far more reliant on elegant simplicity whereas the western version reaches for more exciting flavors and variations, which suit the western palate much better. Unlike the Japanese version steeped in centuries of tradition, the Western version isn’t constrained by this so can try out new and exciting ways to prepare and present the dish.
You will certainly not struggle to find sushi in LA. There is a joint in every district and seemingly every street at times. The inherent Healthiness of Sushi has really captured the soul of the health-conscious LA population. Cheap and cheerful restaurants are aplenty such as Sugarfish, While the rich and famous flock to High-End restaurants such as Nobu in Malibu.
When visiting LA Sushi should be very high on your list to try Sushi, the cheaper restaurants offer a fantastic taste of Sushi, while the High-end restaurants while eye wateringly expensive are a truly phenomenal experience, along with the possibility of spotting one of LA’s royalty!
Pacific Rim food, in general, is also big in LA, it being the only place outside of Hawaii we can regularly find good poke (Note we say “good” poke). If you don’t know what poke is …you’re missing out!
For many decades Los Angeles has always been a hotbed for Mexican immigrants and (thankfully) they brought their food along with them. Now Mexican food is completely ingrained into the LA culture. Burritos, Tacos, Nachos, and such are everywhere in LA (and much of the US now) Even the global mega-brand Taco Bell started out in San Bernardino, Los Angeles’s eastern Neighbour. Even High-end restaurants serve their own “take” on Mexican Dishes, such as Nobu’s Sashimi Taco’s.
While Mexican food is now part of LA Culture It’s not really something we would call MUST EAT. It’s more something you are likely to be exposed to. Mexican is such a worldwide food now and this more comes from the Californian and US, in general, embracing it rather than wholesale export from Mexico. In fact the food is actually Tex-Mex or the more modern Cali-Baja Cuisine. Originating decades ago from the Texas/Mexico border and has not expanded worldwide. While It may not be cuisine to Seek out, as you are probably well au fait with it already. But It’s well worth grabbing a burrito or two while there to get into the lifestyle of LA.
In and Out Burger
This simple Burger chain is an LA Phenomenon! On the face of it, this very simple concept doesn’t seem like much but its Sum is much greater than its parts. One of the Big 3 Burger chains along with NYC’s Shake shack and the rapidly expanding Five Guys. Starting in LA It’s now grown rapidly throughout Cali and across the US. However, it’s still best enjoyed in its home town.
The simple menu only has a handful of items, but with the inclusion of its Secret menu, things get a bit more interesting. Well, We say Secret Menu, it’s listed on its own website so not really a secret so make sure you order from it, your order definitely won’t be met with blank unknowing stares, which seems to be most people’s “secret menu” fear. An Animal Style 4×4 with Animal Fries Is Something to Behold.
It should be said to remember it is still only a Burger restaurant. Some people are distinctly unimpressed and we think this comes from over-expectation. It’s only Burgers and Fries. But then when the Drive-Thru is queued round the block and there is a queue right out the door it’s hard not to be a little excited. And while it may “only” be burgers it still knocks the sock off McDonald’s.
LA residents are renowned for their healthy lifestyles and food to match. This is one of the reasons Sushi is so Popular. While a lot of health food in LA has probably gone WAY too far, We don’t really consider wheatgrass food! What it does mean is, a lot of organic and whole food shops and restaurants have sprung up.
While health food isn’t often high on our list of holiday/vacation foods, It has meant a wealth of fresh and tasty ingredients used in a lot of LA restaurants. Avocados are one of the Buzz ingredients in LA now and that suits us fine as It’s one of our favorite foods! All though we disagree about whether it’s ok to serve it hot!
For visitors from outside the USA, It’s always nice to just eat at all the Big American chain restaurants. While IHOP, Denny’s, Wendy’s, etc… might seem very mundane and boring to aericans, for those of us from abroad, this is part of the reason for visiting America! So we unashamedly Pig out on the Country’s Finest Fast Food whenever we visit.
As we said to begin with LA’s food culture is hardly unique. It seems to have just found what people like, adapted it, perfected it, and serves it wholesale every day. It’s hard to write a guide on LA food as it really is all a bit generic. We didn’t want to write individual restaurant articles as the City has hundreds of thousands of restaurants and to name just a few we have been to seemed a little pointless, or worse name a load we haven’t been to.
Have Your Say
Feel free to let us know your opinion on anything we have or haven’t mentioned? What is it you crave when you visit LA? What are you most looking forward to tucking into on your next trip?