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Upstairs at the Ace Hotel. Photo: The Ace Hotel
Upstairs at the Ace Hotel. Photo: The Ace Hotel

Food & Drink

8 great places to eat in Los Angeles

The food scene in Los Angeles rivals that of any large world city. Here are some of the best places to whet your LA appetite.

The city’s historical culinary strengths – sublime Mexican food, thanks to its huge Mexican population, and drive-in burgers – are still strong, but in recent years an array of contemporary and cutting-edge restaurants and bistros have also arrived.

Cole’s

Ostensibly, this Downtown LA institution with wood-paneled bar and oxblood-leather banquettes is a purveyor of classic cocktails and “French-dipped” sandwiches – thinly sliced roast beef on a baguette, served au jus (with the beef juice) – and other hearty fare. However, an inconspicuous door in the back room leads to The Varnish, a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge that regularly makes an appearance of national hot lists.

Cole’s

118 E. 6th St., Los Angeles

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Bestia

One of the leading proponents of the Downtown LA renaissance, Bestia is Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, a youthful husband-and-wife team creating some of the most highly acclaimed Italian food in the country. This year, Menashe was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 10 best new chefs. Housed in a converted warehouse with bare rafters and meat-hook chandeliers on the eastern fringe of downtown, the restaurant is typically rammed to the gills. Booking ahead – way ahead – is recommended.

Bestia

2121 E. 7th Place, Los Angeles

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Upstairs

Guests staying at the Ace Hotel in downtown can get to this lounge-like rooftop brunch spot and bar with attached swimming pool and some of LA’s best views using the internal elevator. Everyone else must pass through its public restaurant, L.A. Chapter, to an unobtrusive and unmarked elevator that is, on busy nights, closely guarded by staff. Tranquil on weekdays – and famed for its crushed avocado toast –it becomes one of the city’s hopping scenes on weekend afternoons and evenings, with an elbow-to-elbow crowd at the bar, DJs, and poolside shenanigans.

Ace Hotel

929 S. Broadway, Los Angeles

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Trois Mec

French for “three guys,” this unpretentious fine-dining experience, in a former pizza parlor within a Hollywood strip mall, was founded by French chef, restaurateur, author, and TV personality Ludo Lefebvre with partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, who also own Animal, Son of a Gun, and Jon & Vinny’s. It offers a five-course tasting menu and operates on a special ticketing system.

Trois Mec

716 Highland Ave., Los Angeles

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Gjelina, Venice

Get your name on the door-list early for this so-hip-it-hurts Abbot Kinney staple, which showcases local, sustainable fare enjoyed by celebrities and civilians alike.

Gjelina

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice

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Verve Coffee

Clean craft-inspired décor and green wall, own juice brand, and coffee roaster, healthy delicious food.

Verve Coffee

833 S. Spring St., Los Angeles

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Intelligentsia Coffee Bar

With branches in Silver Lake, Venice, and Pasadena, this place is for serious espresso lovers and serious people watchers alike. Join the networked crowd on barstools with your MacBook and best “budding screenwriter” expression.

Intelligentsia Coffee Bar

3922 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

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Cha Cha Chicken, Santa Monica

At the other end of the scale, this alfresco, BYOB Caribbean counter-service shack within earshot of the ocean serves up hefty and delicious dishes of rice and beans, shrimp, and – of course – jerk chicken. The queue is worth it, but remember to bring your own wine (it doesn’t have a license). Afterwards, walk off your groaning belly on the beach or amid the neon-lit amusements of the Santa Monica pier.

Cha Cha Chicken

1906 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica

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Last edited: August 10, 2017

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