If Los Angeles isn’t the greatest city for some of the best fusion cuisine in the world, then I don’t know what is. With well over 100 different types of nationalities and cultures residing in one boundless city, it’s only natural that our food is as ethnic and diverse as our people.
But fusion cuisine is nothing new. What classifies as ‘American’ nowadays is actually a mix of everything from Mexican to Italian to French to you-name-it. There are standout fusion restaurants, though, that feature unique combos of global cuisine, and they’re right in our backyard. So grab your utensils, get in your car, and let’s take a trip around the world in 30 miles.
Literally meaning ‘beer garden,’ this German sausage-and-beer serving restaurant is located in the heart of Koreatown, making for a deliciously enticing Asian gastropub experience. With Korean and Japanese delicacies like kimchi on American and Mexican food staples such as burgers and tacos, and authentically German beers, sausages and schnitzels all meshed into a cozy, casual sports bar environment, you’ll feel like you’re in food heaven. Flavors explode with spice, and unusual food pairings work surprisingly well together. The Biergarten Burger, a beef burger served on King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, smeared with kimchi and layered with thinly sliced Spam is delicious, and the Gluster Burger combines Asian and Mexican flavors, topping your choice of meat with a fried green tomato, guacamole, and an ezpazote aioli to die for. The fried rice is a must (one comes with strips of short-rib that melt in your mouth), and if you can handle spicy, the stir-fried Kimchi Tofu will make you want to lick the plate.
Biergarten L.A. is located at 206 N Western Ave. in Los Angeles.
Cowboys and Turbans
A painfully hipster environment is absolutely forgiven (if sitting on pianos in dim lighting next to a Buddha statue is your type of thing, we’re not judging you); Cowboys and Turbans gracefully combines Indian and Mexican cuisine for food that’s absolutely rich in flavor and unapologetically kicks you in the mouth. Tostadas are topped with mint chutney, pizzas and quesadillas include shrimp tikka, and a simple dish of chicken saag is transformed with a side of their jasmine rice, which is unbelievably simple yet unbelievably tasty. Their papadum nachos are delicate but pack in a super punch thanks to the masala. If you don’t know what typical Indian cuisine is like, order blind. You won’t fail with anything on the menu.
Cowboys and Turbans is located at 2815 Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Downtown L.A. shines as you eat your Baco, a flatbread taco-sandwich fusion influenced by the flavors of Eastern and Western Mediterranean and Mexican fare. The presentation of your food is beautiful, although you don’t quite know how to pick it up. When you finally get your hands around your Baco, the crispy shrimp in sriracha and chive dressing falls down, out and onto your plate, or the chicken escabeche runs down your fingers. You take that first bite, and you don’t quite know what to do. A little zesty, a little sweet, bold and exciting, the flavor is one you’ve probably never experienced before. There aren’t many high-end Mediterranean and Mexican taco-sandwich fusion places we can think of, but we hope this is the start of many more to come. Be sure to make a reservation.
Baco Mercat is located at 408 S. Main Street (Winston Street) in Los Angeles.
Yes, you do in fact walk out of Buddha’s Belly, located in mid-city, with a belly as big as Buddha’s. Flavors from Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam and more inspire the menu of this socially conscious and vegetarian/vegan friendly restaurant. The décor is beautiful, welcoming you with its Feng Shui-designed interior and exterior and friendly staff. You can’t go wrong with any of the appetizers; the Edamame, the Japanese Eggplant, the Chicken Potstickers – all are tasty bites spanning the continent. Known for their Ahi Tuna Burger and Black Alaskan Cod, Buddha’s Belly’s seafood and miso dressings seem to marry perfectly together in a flavor profile that’s subtler, more elegant and quieter than the others. Buddha’s Belly’s elegant food and affordable prices may make it the humble winner of Asian fusion cuisine in Los Angeles. Also great: their Spicy Korean BBQ Pork Ramen Soup, on par with that of any Ramen place in the city.
Buddha’s Belly is located at 747 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles.
So, what’s your favorite fusion restaurant in the city?