It’s no secret that Los Angeles is a land of many cultures. On any given day, you can walk down a main street and find everything from Italian to Japanese food. The question is: in a place of many options, what are the BEST options? After doing some homework (and some eating), here are a few of my favorite cultural eats.
700 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles 90014
Located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, Bottega Louie serves some of the best Italian food and French desserts. Does this place have the most authentic Italian food in all of L.A.? Probably, not. But what it lacks in authenticity it makes up for in everything else.
Its stone fire-cooked pizzas are favorite items on the menu, and their macaroons taste like they’re straight from Paris. The margarita pizza is a personal favorite; it has just the right ratio of mouth-watering cheese and tomatoes with a hint of basil and oregano. You’ll even enjoy eating the crust that isn’t too hard or soft.
The ambiance is trendy with high ceilings, marble floors, floor-to-roof windows and white lighting. Bottega Louie truly sets a new standard for ambiance. Any hipster in the L.A. area has almost certainly tried this place. There’s have a full bar and a dessert counter if you just want to pick up some macaroons to go. The down side: Bottega Louie gives loud and crowded a new name. Get there early and be prepared for noise. However, this part of Bottega Louie works in its favor, giving it a hustling and bustling New York feel. Bottega Louie is a great choice for a high-end, mid-priced Italian meal.
422 E 2nd Street
Los Angeles 90012
If you like sushi and live in L.A., this place is a must try. It has a casual ambiance with Japanese décor on every corner. The best time to come is during lunch when you can get the $15 lunch special (it becomes a bit pricey during dinner).
The sashimi platter is a popular favorite you won’t go wrong with. After your first bite, you will taste the difference between true fresh fish and average fish. The yellow tail will melt your mouth, with its jelly-like texture you will never enjoy more. The lunch special comes with miso soup, tofu, pickled salad and white rice.
725 West 7th Street
Los Angeles 90017
Is it still possible to make an American burger place one of a kind? Well, if you’ve ever been to The Counter, you know the answer is “yes.”
With multiple locations across Los Angeles, including Downtown, Sunset Boulevard and Century City, The Counter offers the unique experience of a custom-built burger with endless possibilities.
When you first arrive, you are given a clipboard with categories such as “Cheeses,” “Toppings,” “Buns,” “Sauces” and so on. Each category contains anywhere from seven to 32 different possibilities, plus vegan and vegetarian options. You then build your custom burger or salad bowl, or you can just order signature burger.
The burgers taste wonderful. You can’t really go wrong with burgers, but the endless options make every burger taste different and unique. If you want a southwest chipotle-like taste, you can opt for the Jalapeño jack cheese, chipotle sauce, sautéed peppers and onions, mixed greens, lettuce and chicken on a normal bun. Oh, and the topping options aren’t just the traditional tomatoes, lettuce, American cheese – they range from Danish blue cheese to marinated artichokes.
100 East Cesar E Chavez Ave.
Los Angeles 90033
www.guisados.co If you’re craving tacos, come here, period. Located on Cesar Chavez Avenue, Guisados captures everything that makes Mexican food so lovable: the warmth, that homemade feeling and that wonderful flavor!
The tacos range from non-traditional options, like squash and mushroom, to more traditional options, such as mole. The mole taco tasted delicate and warm, with a slightly smoky taste and a bit of spice. All the tacos were oozing with flavor, each one more distinct from the other. If you’re having trouble deciding what to eat, don’t worry - the staff is welcoming and more than happy to help you decide. Also, their horchata is just the right amount of sweet and the ideal Mexican beverage to accompany your meal.
The lunch hour is super busy, so make sure you have enough time and finding parking becomes a hassle, but the meal Guisados offers is worth the wait.