Los Angeles isn’t home to just wannabe actors, celebrities, socialites and street performers. In fact, the City of Angels (dreams broken or not) is home to some of the best restaurants in the country. And as a girl who’s eaten her way through quite a few states, that’s a bold and daring statement.
You see, what makes Los Angeles such a great food city isn’t just the abundance of fresh, inspiring ingredients sitting outside the city walls. No, no. What makes it such an incredible place to eat and drink is the simple fact that food isn’t just food. It’s a way of a life. It’s an art form. It’s a passion… it’s revolutionary. To create the most exciting (and filling) gastronomic tour of Los Angeles, I’ve laid out my dream-eating day in the bustling and beautiful 90046.
Breakfast or Brunch
If you want to experience the best brunch in the entire city, go to Blu Jam Café. This cozy little café in the trendy WeHo neighborhood is an institution among the locals. You won’t get there on the weekend without having to wait in line (and they don’t take reservations). What makes it so good? It’s simply the food. I ordered the Kamil’s Breakfast, which is a big bowl of everything you need for breakfast, like eggs, hash, bacon and cheese. I had to try their famous crunchy French toast, which has my mouth watering just at the thought of it. Three slabs of hefty French bread are dipped in batter and then coated with cornflakes to give each bite a hearty crunch. Topped with house-made jam, it’s utterly divine. Everything you order will be amazing. I still dream about the French toast.
If you’re like me and could eat charcuterie prepared meat for every single meal, I urge you to check out Farm Shop in Santa Monica. This eatery, working butchery, bakery and wine shop is home to some of the best-cured meats and cheeses in the city. To start your lunch, order a cheese and charcuterie platter. Although I was content eating just that, a BLT made with house-cured bacon will give your meal a bit more heartiness. The roasted beets are divine; topped with soft goat cheese and incredible spices. Once you’re done eating, pick up some of their cured meats and cheese in the shop next door.
Also in Santa Monica is the incredibly innovative Peas & Carrots. Although the name signifies that it’s yet another “Hippie vegan place,” I assure you it is not. In fact, they’re best known for their burgers and fries! Unlike many other burger joints, Peas & Carrots knows the importance of having a well-rounded meal — so they serve each meaty dish with a side of veggies. Oh! And they don’t just serve beef and turkey. I ordered a kangaroo burger with avocado, tomato, sprouts and garlic aioli. Let’s just say there wasn’t a morsel left on the plate.
Italian restaurants often get a bad rap, mainly because many of them seem tacky and unauthentic. Scarpetta, located inside the Montage Beverly Hills, is what every Italian restaurant dreams to be. I started my meal with the spaghetti, which is what they’re known for. It’s simple but decadent. The sauce is a basic tomato base made with butter, which gives it an almost Alfredo-like quality. To really get a taste of everything, I highly recommend the chef’s tasting menu. Not only do you get a nibble of chef Scott Conant’s specialties, you also receive a wine paired with each dish.
I may be a lady, but that doesn’t mean I won’t chow down on a big ol’ slab of pig, which is why I felt right at home at Animal, located on Fairfax Avenue. This dude-centric restaurant is the brainchild of Jon Schook and Vinny Dotolo, who you might have seen on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations a few times. Regardless of their fame, this restaurant is as far from pretentious as they come. The chicken liver toast is simple but flavorful, and the kung pao sweetbreads are something you absolutely can’t miss. End your meal with their famous bacon crunch bar, served with a side of ice cream.