Heading to the Los Angeles area soon? Trying to figure out the best places to eat in the area? Whether you’re looking for some great food truck options or a healthy chain restaurant that serves seasonal vegetables, we’ve got you covered right here with a list of the tastiest destinations to hit while you’re in town.
201 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401; Multiple locations throughout L.A. and Southern California.
These reviews of Tender Greens, The Curious Palate, Yxta, Kogi BBQ, Seoul Sausage Company and Coolhaus originally appeared Jan. 5, 2015.
The good thing about eating in Los Angeles? Most of those beautiful people love to eat healthy, and there are so many of them that restaurants are forced to make healthy food that also tastes great. So it’s easy to find a Southern California-based chain such as Tender Greens, where the vegetables are seasonal (beets, squash, Brussels sprouts, etc.) and grilled and the steak salad comes with a fiery horseradish vinaigrette.
The aforementioned healthy restaurant doesn't mean L.A. is lacking in fat and sugar. That's how I wound up dunking chip after chip into the fresh chipotle salsa last Monday at Yxta before devouring Dos Gringas. That’s two tacos filled with perfect al pastor pork and avocado salsa. I followed this with pepitos encrusted scallops atop queso fresco potato pancakes and a few bites of a friend’s carnitas, which was the star of the night. I didn’t try the blood orange margarita, which drew rave reviews from across the table, but I might on the next visit.
The Curious Palate
For one lunch, I visited the Curious Palate in Santa Monica, though the place has a sister restaurant in Venice, and each spot serves a delicious double pork chili that mixes roasted shoulder with bacon, ale, pinquito beans, apricot and dried chilies. Because every meal needs a quality starch, I ordered white truffle fries with aged Monterey jack cheese. I also may have dipped a few of those fries in the chili, though they needed no accompaniment.
KogiBBQ (food truck)
The taqueria is located at 3500 Overland Ave #100, Los Angeles, CA 90034, but you can find the weekly truck schedule here.
On the first Friday of the month, the food trucks park along Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice at night. The Kogi BBQ truck, which has made several appearances in the On The Menu section of my Walkthrough column, is a mainstay at First Fridays. It was in line for this truck that I met my friend and food Sherpa Dan Rubenstein, who grew up in the Valley and had come west to visit his family, and his lovely girlfriend Jodi. Alas, Dan had not prepared Jodi for the display of dining stamina she was about to witness.
Typically, those who wish to eat the delights produced inside one of the three Kogi trucks must follow @kogibbq on Twitter and chase them around the Southland. On First Friday, one truck is easy to find. Look for the longest line. I ordered three short rib tacos, which are exactly what you’re imagining but better, and a blackjack quesadilla, which features pork, grilled onions, cheddar and jack cheese sandwiched between two tortillas. The creation is then grilled and drizzled with fresh salsa verde. I ate all the tacos. We split the quesadilla. Half for me. Half for the other two.
Seoul Sausage Company (food truck)
After we finished at the Kogi truck, we moved over to the Seoul Sausage truck.The special of the evening was Galbi Poutine, which mixed eight-hour braised atop twice-fried french fries with cheese, kimchi pickled onions and avocado lime crema. We shared an order, and never have Canadian-Korean relations tasted so good.
Coolhaus (food truck)
After hitting the two other trucks, I still craved dessert. Fortunately, the Coolhaus truck was happy to serve me a double-decker ice cream sandwich of my own design. Of course, I ate the whole thing.