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‘Discoveries’

Marmalade Café

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WHY Though not on the water, this is one of the best beach-town cafés around—and a perfect lunch stop if you’re driving up the coast. WHAT This branch of the Marmalade restaurant/caterer mini-chain serves wine and has an actual dining room, unlike the Santa Monica flagship. The draw is very good food in a casual, [...]

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Bread & Porridge

WHY Omelets made with a variety of interesting sausages; goat cheese salad; tender brisket. WHAT High-backed wooden booths, chalkboard menus and retro tile make for a setting of Rockwellian charm, just the place to wallow in the comfort of eggs, sausages, pancakes, fashionable salads and hearty entrées. Locals come for an early supper with a [...]

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El Tepeyac

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WHY Machaca burrito, guacamole and taquitos, all in massive portions. WHAT This venerable L.A. dive is famed for its monstrous burritos, especially the Hollenbeck, which we find dull. Try the machaca instead, and plan to share it with another hungry soul. You can bring your own beer or sip a good horchata. WHO Almost always [...]

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Figtree’s Café

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WHY Sunny-side-up tables overlooking the Venice Boardwalk and the beach beyond. WHAT Of the parade of tourist-bait sidewalk cafés on the Boardwalk, this has been our favorite since the ’70s, when sandwiches with avocado and sprouts were considered exotic. Today we like the egg scrambles, turkey burgers and big salads. WHO Aged hippies and a [...]

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Izzy’s Deli

WHY Good, honest food served 24 hours a day—and valet parking is free during the day! WHAT An essential place to know about if you find yourself hungry on the westside at 3 a.m. Even at the more conventional dining hours, Izzy’s serves reliable matzo ball soup, pastrami sandwiches, bagels ‘n lox, brisket and all [...]

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Tere’s Mexican Grill

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WHY Homemade Mexican food that’s anything but generic in a generic strip-mall setting. There’s no beer to drink, but you can have a Mexican Coke, made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup. (That Coke alone draws a loyal clientele.) WHAT Although the bare-bones, order-at-the-counter setting isn’t much, Tere’s cooking provides all the atmosphere you [...]

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Grand Central Market

EatLA-218

WHY Stands specializing in very cheap produce of reasonable quality, rows of dried peppers and tubs of prepared mole, candies and staples, as well as lots of lunch counters. Make sure to get a taco at Tacos Tumbras a Tomas. WHAT A throwback to when Downtown really was the center of L.A., Grand Central Market [...]

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La Casita Mexicana

EatLA-217

WHY Food just like Grandma’s—if Grandma happened to be a meticulous Mexican village cook committed to using locally grown ingredients. Try to come on Wednesdays, which are pozole days. WHAT Spanish-language media cooking stars Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu have created a place that draws fans from all over the L.A. basin. Absolutely [...]

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Enrique’s

EatLA-215

WHY Absolutely superb Mexican food: a huge, tender pork shank with tomatillo sauce, addictive potato taquitos, grilled shrimp and achiote-infused chicken, rice so good it makes Mexican-Americans weep in memory of their grandmothers, and heavenly chocolate bread pudding. WHAT Enrique Perez can make a burrito if that’s what you really want, but you’re better off [...]

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Mi India Bonita

EatLA-214

WHY Huevos rancheros, huevos oaxaqueños, tender barbacoa, weekend pozole and everyday albondigas soup, just like you wish your grandmother made. WHAT Substantial breakfasts and meaty, nourishing soups are the specialty at this hole-in-the-wall café, where fans get weepy over the quality of the fluffy albondigas, pozole, cocido de res (beef) and menudo. Worth a trip. [...]

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