LA is warm and sunny, and the city’s restaurants are blessed with a year-round supply of high-quality fresh produce. This is reflected in the menus which are packed with sun-ripened organic fruit and vegetables, and there is something for most palates and wallets.
Most people arrive to the restaurants by car, as almost all places offer valet parking, but it can be pricey ($15-20). If you want a glass of wine with your meal, then Uber or Lyft are often better and cheaper options.
Down below I have listed some of my favorite LA restaurants. These are places I have dined at several times, and that I would recommend to friends who ask me about dining tips in LA. The restaurants are not the cheapest places to dine, (around $40-$50 + beverages for a meal) but they are all really nice places with good food and service. Consider booking a table in advance.
Really, really nice restaurant down in Venice. Even though I usually stay in WeHo when I visit LA, I always make sure to come by Gjelina. Everything that leaves their kitchen is delicious, and I have yet to order something that I do not like. Changes and modifications are not allowed so forget about asking for dressing on the side (just ask Victoria Beckham). The patio is where everybody wants a table.
Really good vegan Mexican restaurant in bright, airy settings. Mexican without meat? Don’t worry. Gracias Madre really knows how to juggle the plant-based ingredients, and the dishes are just as (and even more) tasty and filling as at any other Mexican restaurant.
Italian classics with a touch of California. My sister Trine loves their selection of cheese, and I love their pasta (made in-house, of course) and the trendy, rustic décor. On Mondays it is happy hour all night.
E.P. & L.P.
One of those places that seems too trendy for its own good, but once you are inside, the nice staff and delicious food will most likely win you over, so if you don’t mind loud music and a 20-something hipster crowd, you would definitely want to add E.P. & L.P. to your list. E.P. is the restaurant and L.P. is the rooftop bar, and in addition, they also have a semi-private bar called Frankie’s. The food at E.P. is predominantly Asian fusion dishes, and the restaurant is particularly good at Thai-inspired food. The rooftop bar is wonderful, and a cocktail up there is a great way to start or end the evening.
Some might say that The Ivy is an overpriced tourist trap, but the restaurant is a real LA classic, and Sunday brunch at The Ivy is something that you would want to do at least once in your life. Even though there may be a lot of tourists from time to time, The Ivy also has a loyal clientele of rich and famous Angelenos (just check out their valet parking Sunday around brunch time). The food is good, and the service is surprisingly warm and friendly. For brunch you are greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne, and fresh baked scones with jam. Try to get one of the tables on the patio outside.
L & E Oyster Bar
L & E Oyster Bar is a cozy oyster-shack tucked away in a residential area in Silverlake. It is not the cheapest place to get your oyster fix, but the quality and the selection does not fail to impress. During happy hour, the bar one stair up from the restaurant offers a dozen of oysters for $32 and drinks at a reduced price. A perfect place for date night.
Katana is a sushi/robata (Japanese grill) restaurant right in the middle of all the Sunset Boulevard action. It is a great place to start a night out and the Friday night vibe is definitely more nightclub than restaurant, so make sure to dress accordingly. On weekends, Katana is open until midnight, and after dinner, most people stay for a drink or two in the bar, but if you want to go somewhere else, SkyBar is just across the street. Everybody wants to sit outside, and only once, I have managed to score one of those most-wanted tables overlooking Sunset Boulevard, but it is worth giving a try. If they still have spicy tuna on crispy rice, it is a must-order. Super tasty!
Eveleigh is partly tucked away in what feels like a secret garden on Sunset Boulevard. I dined there for the first time in 2012 and even though a lot of things have happened since then, both regarding food (what happened to the Mexican corn on cob) and the price level (it has become more expensive), Eveleigh is still one of those places that I always come back to. Like most of the restaurants on this list, the focus at Eveleigh is on locally sourced ingredients and a menu that changes with the season. Eveleigh also has a good selection of plant-based dishes, so it is a good place to bring your vegetarian friends.
My friend April from New York was visiting Denmark last week, so I finally had the chance to introduce her to pickled herring, rundstykker and other Danish food. We also had smørrebrød together with cold Danish beer and snaps. At first, April thought you were supposed to drink the snaps in one go, and I think we waited a little too long to tell her, that it was ok to drink it slowly, ha ha.
When I get together with Pia and Peter, we usually meet for Korean food at one of Dubai’s many Korean restaurants, but this time I got to pick the place, and I was craving pasta. I therefore suggested that we met at Splendido which is really nice Italian restaurant at the Ritz Carlton over at JBR.
A couple of weeks ago I was joining Thida from Backstreet Bar and some other friends for a day trip to Kien Svay. Kien Svay is located right by the water, and it is a popular picnic spot among the Phnom Penh people.
Compared to other big cities in Asia, the nightlife in Phnom Penh might seem less wild and crazy, but the selection of bars is decent with something for everyone.
Khmer Num Krok are little round cakes made from rice flour and coconut. It is a popular street food snack that you will find throughout Phnom Penh. The cakes have a fine crunchy surface surrounding the inner, just set, coconut batter, and they come in a sweet and a savory version.
Lok Lak is really a wonderful dish. Slices of meat (usually beef) is marinated in a delicious tomato-based marinade and then stir-fried very gently, so it retains its juiciness. It is then served on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and onions, so you can make your own lettuce wraps with the beef, that you then dip in a delicious sauce made from lime, black pepper and salt. Most places in Phnom Penh serve the Lok Lak with a fried egg on top, and some places also offer you a serving of fries on the side.
Cheese tea just sounds too weird, so I had actually decided that it was one of those things that I could live happily without, but then I got a voucher through Grab for a free cheese tea at Heekcaa, and I can’t say no to free stuff so I went to give it a try.