Los Angeles

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My brother lived here for about 7 years and when I was little I remember falling asleep at every restaurant from the jet lag.  I definitely wasn't as obsessed about food as I am now!   I've been back a few times since but this last time was a true foodie trip.  I can't tell you how exciting and buzzin'the culinary scene is in Los Angeles.  My recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg.

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Sqirl

I'm going to start my foodie tour in Silverlake which is where I stayed and it was my first time getting to know this part of town.  I loved it!  It's probably the most 'village' part of LA as there is quite a bit of walking and shopping that you can do on Sunset Blvd.  So I would recommend going to Sqirl in the week to avoid the weekend queue or make sure you go early as the weekend line is about 35 minutes.  It's beautiful food and seriously unique flavour combinations.  Lots of rice bowls with delicious veg, pickles, salsas and the most incredible signature brioche toast with whipped ricotta cream and jam (this you should get but its good to share)!  You can sit outside under the cherry blossom trees and people watch the trendy crowd who lunch there. Another signature dish which is worth getting is the sorrel pesto (above) it has a middle Eastern feel with preserved lemon and pickled watermelon radish.  

Check out the cookbook which is actually how I found out about the restaurant. (Everything I Want To Eat)

Sqirl

720 N Virgil Ave #4, Los Angeles, CA 90029, USA

+1 323-284-8147

http://sqirlla.com

 Swirl brioche toast with whipped ricotta and peach and blueberry jam!

Swirl brioche toast with whipped ricotta and peach and blueberry jam!

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Nature Well Juice Bar

I stayed right around the corner from this amazing juice bar and was obsessed with grabbing an acai bowl in the mornings.  Its blended frozen acai palm fruit, homemade granola, banana, shaved coconut, strawberries and blueberries.  They also sold some great peanut chocolate chip cookies that were great for road trips.

3824 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California

http://www.naturewell2.com

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Three good Italians:

  Kettle Black (Silverlake) 

Felix Trattoria (Venice) 

Bestia is a top one to go to in downtown but make sure you book at least three weeks in advance for dinner.

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Pine and Crane

Another delicious Silverlake eatery!  It's again one that builds up a queue on the weekends but its totally worth it.  It's Taiwanese with lots of tofu bowls, fried chicken rice, deep fried mushrooms, the most delicious shrimp wontons, seasonal Chinese greens, spicy peanuts and pork buns.  It's reasonably priced in a laid-back setting.

1521 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026, USA

Lunch and dinner

http://www.pineandcrane.com

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La Columbe

Amazing coffee in Silverlake and you must get their Kouign Amann pastry.  Like a salted caramel croissant.

3900 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029, USA 

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The Butcher's Daughter

Now heading all the way over to the beach in Venice on Abbot Kinney at The Butcher's Daughter. I thought the interiors of this place were amazing with lots of cactus, hanging plants, pale greys and beautiful coffee machines.  The food is plant based with squash carbonara, juices and healthy alternatives to your favourites.  I enjoyed coming here for the atmosphere and decor but the food wasn't outstanding.  It is fun to try though!

1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, USA

https://www.thebutchersdaughter.com

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Gjelina

This is one that everyone talks about and it's definitely worth going to but you have to book it about three weeks before.  They do breakfast but it's really more about the lunch and dinner.  It's Italian with a California feel.  The mushroom on toast is insane and I would also go for the meatballs.  

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

http://www.gjelina.com

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Gjusta

I went here twice to grab as much of the pastries as possible.  Sesame seed and baklava croissants and cinnamon babka slices!!!  This is a bakery but also sells ridiculous lunch sandwiches that you can order to eat outside in the cute seating area.  I personally prefer this to the main Gjelina as it has a wonderful laid-back vibe and the food is insane!  I had a veggie burger (above) which was great and I've heard the pizza is good and basically everything.  Oh and chocolate chip cookies!!

320 Sunset Ave, Venice, CA 90291

http://www.gjusta.com

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Salt & Straw 

Another place which always has a queue but this is some delicious homemade ice cream and you can skip the line and grab a pint if you can't be bothered.  Go for anything with caramel, pecans and chocolate.

1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

https://saltandstraw.com/la-locations/

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Intelligentsia

This is a great pit-stop for coffee on Abbot Kinney and its a chilled place to stop and work.

1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

https://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/venice-coffeebar

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Plant Food & Wine

This is a highly recommended vegan restaurant with a more fancy feel.  I didn't get to try it sadly but if you wanted to try some of the modern plant based Cali dishes this is a good contender.

1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

http://www.matthewkenneycuisine.com/plant-food-wine-venice

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Erewhon - Supermarket

This is not your standard local supermarket but it is amazing if you wanted to stop by for a delicious wrap or sandwich and if you are into kefir and kombucha then this is where you can stock up.  It's worth going to just see the colour coded fruit and veg and see the incredible selection of health products half of which you would never find in the UK.  It is expensive so don't spend like you would in Tesco!

585 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

http://www.erewhonmarket.com

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Cafe Gratitude

This is a plant based chain that is pretty good and definitely makes this type of food exciting.  The concept is a little mad when the staff ask you what you are grateful for but I enjoyed the food.  Think deep fried coconut with spicy salsa, marinated cauliflower with cashew nut dip, black pepper tofu, cashew 'mozzarella' and radicchio salad and asian greens salad.

I went to the one on 639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

http://cafegratitude.com

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Baroo

This was in my top 3 favourite places that I went to during my time in LA.  I basically got most of the menu otherwise I would have been back.  It was this incredible fusion on Asian flavours with lots of fermented foods and salsas with a California feel.  Think rice bowls with poached eggs, Asian herbs and spices and some fermented pickles.  Go for the classic rice bowl with poached egg (picture above), the ox tail ragu and a whole range of pickles.  The first photo was a special of rice and fried chicken.  INSANE!  It's a non fussy, laid-back sit in or takeaway eatery that's great value.

5706 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

http://baroola.strikingly.com

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Kinjiro

This is downtown and definitely worth the drive over.  Serene setting for Japanese small plates such as octopus ceviche, bone-marrow dengaku and you must try the tofu and salads.

424 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

http://www.kinjiro-la.com

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Howlin'Rays

This is another that is in the top 3 that I visited!  It's again in downtown (in it's Chinatown) and its a fried chicken burger sort of a joint.  I would only suggest going here if you are a true foodie as the queue is over an hour wait.  I skipped breakfast and got into the queue at 10.45am (it opens at 11am and shuts at 4pm) and there was already a long queue.  It all adds to the experience though and you can take a book to pass the time.  When you get to the front the staff are seriously welcoming as they know people have been waiting.  Ask them for a photo and the staff will sing your name which is quite fun.  Then you take your ticket and wait for them to call it before you get to devour a mountain of a chicken burger.  I recommend getting their Sando burger with extra Come Back Sauce and fries.  This is totally enough and will keep you locked up until the next day.  It's pretty incredible and everything is good quality.  A real-foodie experience!

727 N Broadway #128, Los Angeles, CA 90012

http://www.howlinrays.com

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Jogasaki - Sushi Burrito

Sushi Burrito!  Need I say more?!  These were fresh, light and damn tasty!  I loved the delicate rice paper wraps with sesame and I went for the spicy crab, lobster and seaweed salad.  This was the perfect amount but I would recommend getting a side of the spicy salsa.  You need to see their website to find out where the truck is going to be.  They usually tweet the location or it's on their insta.

http://www.jogasakiburrito.com

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The Ivy - Beverly Hills

A true Los Angeles institution!  I had the pleasure of trying out this legendary restaurant for lunch before I left LA and it was pretty special.  The interiors are designed by the owner and who also has a beautiful boutique next-door (Indigo Seas) where you can purchase lots of Amalfi Coast and Caprese inspired cushions and colourful pompom baskets.  The Ivy restaurant opened back in  1990 with it's nouvelle American cuisine with lots of nods to French Mediterranean classics.  I went for a signature chopped salad with grilled vegetables and shrimp.  I loved the way that they served American scones with jam and butter with the main instead of bread.  The tables were all decorated with large vases filled with colourful roses and the waiters are dressed in white with bright coloured ties.  You are welcomed with a glass of champagne on arrival while you wait to be seated and this already gives the restaurant a wonderful buzzing atmosphere because many guests spill out onto the street.  This is definitely worth it for a unique LA experience! 

113 N Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

http://theivyrestaurants.com

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Mercado

I have two good Mexicans that I tried and this was the first.  Basically delicious meat and fish tacos with amazing tacos and guac.

http://west3rdstreet.com/mercado/

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La Otra Taqueria Escuela 

This is my second Mexican choice which is also pretty great.  It's BYOB so grab a bottle from Erewhon which is just across the road and feast on the homemade nachos.  The interiors are also pretty cute and have hundreds of shoes hanging from the ceiling.

7615 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

http://escuelataqueria.com

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Here's Looking At You

This one is on the famous LA food critic, Jonathan Gold's top 100 list.  The photo sort of says it all and remember to book this one in advance.  I stayed in Koreatown and this was an excellent choice for dinner.

3901 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

https://www.hereslookingatyoula.com

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Osteria Mozza

This is my final recommendation and its a goodie!  You have to book quite far in advance (3 weeks) but its great pizza and pasta in West Hollywood.  Rosemary olive oil cakes are boosting!

6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

http://osteriamozza.com

Nina ParkerComment