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Pazzo Gelato

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WHY The always-rotating gelato flavors include a deep, concentrated pistachio that’s sometimes paired with espresso, a mango-cayenne sorbet, mascarpone and European yogurt. Intelligentsia coffee is also served. WHAT Silver Lake residents and gelato fans from a distance fill this popular dessert shop, which does a big after-dinner business (it’s open until 11 during the week [...]

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Brooklyn Bagel Bakery

WHY Properly boiled and hearth-baked bagels, more compact and pleasingly dense than most in town, made fresh all day. WHAT Between Downtown and Koreatown lies one of L.A.’s most New York of businesses, a busy bakery with an equally busy retail outlet. Try the blueberry or the poppyseed, and don’t miss Bagel Happy Hour (3 [...]

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Shekarchi Downtown

WHY Excellent kebabs (try the koubideh, a ground-beef blend), particularly good rice and refreshing yogurt drinks. And they deliver throughout Downtown. WHAT This very good Iranian businessman’s lunch place in an historic part of Downtown has a far more fashionable décor than you’d suspect from the outside. It’s open on weekdays only and is packed [...]

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Birrieria Jalisco

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WHY This 35-year-old institution turns out Southern California’s most refined birria. WHAT Unlike most birrierías specializing in Guadalajara’s famous roasted kid specialty, birria, this place doesn’t hedge its bets by serving combination plates or other entrées. The drill is simple: You pile soft shreds of the sweet roasted meat onto a fresh tortilla and moisten [...]

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El Caserio

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WHY A pretty place to explore the cuisine of South America. WHAT This dramatically enhanced sibling to William Velasco’s revered 25-year-old restaurant has the mood of a gracious old hacienda, and the food is less Ecuatoriano and more contemporary pan-South American. The libations match luscious tropical fruits with appropriately flavored alcohol: bright citrusy naranjilla (fruitier [...]

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Mandarin Chateau

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WHY When you’re in the mood for red-cooked pork ribs or lion’s head meatballs but don’t want to head out to the San Gabriel Valley, this venerable spot (formerly known as Mandarin Shanghai) is the ticket. WHAT Hidden in a strip mall, this little place is a good find off the Chinatown tourist path for [...]

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Tommy’s

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WHY For the chili burger and chili dog that have captivated three generations of Angelenos. WHAT It’s a rite of passage that every self-respecting young Angeleno experiences—drink too much, stay out too late, and then go to Tommy’s at 3 a.m. for a greasy chili burger. We prefer the chili dog, but we’re getting too [...]

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La Taquiza

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WHY The mulita, a sort of taco-quesadilla hybrid made with two fresh corn tortillas encasing meat, cheese, guacamole and salsa—the L.A. sandwich of your dreams. WHAT Tortillas are made fresh here all day, and the al pastor is slow-roasted on a vertical spit… clearly this is more than your typical strip-mall Mexican dive. Everyone gets [...]

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Peking Poultry

WHY For live ducks and chickens, slaughtered to order if you want—or the more conventional (very) fresh poultry. Also a fine selection of cuts of pork, whole fish on ice and live tilapia and crab. WHAT Poultry is the claim to fame, both live and butchered, but fresh fish and pork are also in abundance, [...]

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Kim Chuy

WHY For Chiu Chow noodles and nothing but: egg noodles with sliced pork; beef noodle soup; chow mein with beef, Chinese broccoli and oyster sauce; or, for special occasions, Pork Variety (aka intestines) noodle soup. WHAT Richly flavored, sustaining noodle soups and fried noodle and rice dishes from the Chaoshan region of southeastern China are [...]

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