Classic Americana, fame, and scandal are all layered into this urban sandwich, served up with a healthy side dish of ocean.
The city is a mecca for foodies. With eateries of every size from landmark restaurants, to food trucks (a trend that started in L.A.—deal with it, Austin), there’s an epic glut of culinary delights to try and taste. But there are only a handful of foods distinct to the area, served in abundance throughout the city.
Here are five signature guilty pleasure foods that you NEED to nosh on when you visit.
You Gotta Try the Tacos
Mexican food is the lifeblood of Los Angeles. The city has been known for its take on the cuisine stylings of its international neighbor since—well, since it existed.
Notable highlights include: Mariscos Jalisco, Ricky’s Fish Tacos, and Tacos Leo.
Urban legend dictates that the cheeseburger was invented in Los Angeles county (Pasadena to be specific) by an enterprising young fry cook who randomly decided to put a slice of American cheese on a burger patty in 1926. We don’t know if that’s really the first time anyone ever put cheese on a burger, but a lot of people in the L.A. area think so.
The cheeseburger is serious business. You can get delicious takes on this American staple all over, from hole-in-the-wall operations to regional chains. There’s even an additional spin via the southern California cheeseburger, which is made with thin patties, American cheese, lots of lettuce, and Thousand Island dressing!
Notable highlights include: Apple Pan, In & Out, and Original Tommy’s Hamburgers.
We’re Noodles About Ramen
Asian food abounds in Los Angeles, from high-end sushi places (where guests can do some serious celeb spotting) to the city’s famous Koreatown. But if we had to pick one dish from the far east that L.A. does like nowhere else, we’d have to go with Ramen.
Notable highlights include Daikokuya, Tsujita Annex, and Jidaiya.
French Dip – Ooh La La
Like Philadelphia has the cheese-steak, Los Angeles has the french dip sandwich. The recipe is pretty simple—thin roast beef slices served on a lightly crusty french roll, dipped in the jus (the sauce leftover from cooking the beef), but it’s WHERE you prefer to eat your french dip, and how you request the jus (on the side or on the sandwich), that are major points of debate and convention amongst Los Angelenos.
Notable highlights include: Cole’s and Philippe the Original.
There are two types of doughnut fans—those that’ll just pick up whatever mass produced sugary offering is available at any outpost of a national chain they come across (you know who you are!), and those that value their taste buds, preferring quality doughnuts. It would seem that the people of Los Angeles are the latter. Although the city can’t claim to have a uniquely high number of doughnut places, it does seem to have a lot that are dedicated to excellence in the art of doughnut making.
Notable highlights include: Donut Man, Yum Yum Donut, and fōnuts.
Are you a culinary connoisseur with a taste for all things L.A. and want to add to our list? Leave it in the comments section below.