WaPo: Why Los Angeles is one of America's best food cities



So lucky to be living in Los Angeles if one loves food.

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LA certainly has a lot of breadth, especially with ethnic cuisines, and some contenders for the country’s best in many categories. Tons of diversity, energy, and options for so many types of food - you just have to brave the traffic in getting there!

I just had this conversation with some friends - LA doesn’t really lack that much of anything compared to SF and NYC except much truly special high-end. SF lacks great Korean, and NYC lacks great Mexican - but LA has both of those in spades. More breadth than Chicago, too. If we want to talk the country’s best food cities, it’s hard to disagree with LA being in the top 5 for sure, and more likely top 3, maybe higher. Depends what one’s looking for, but LA will satisfy with almost any major type of cuisine. When it does lack something, compare LA’s breadth to the places that have that something, and LA will usually have more to offer on the whole.

Funny! When I saw “WaPo” I thought 哇颇…

I think generally LA is a great city to live in and a tough city to visit, and I think it’s restaurant culture is the same. There aren’t the same type/number of high end special occasion destination restaurants that you see in NYC, SF or Chicago - nobody is coming to LA to eat in a particular restaurant - but for day-to-day chowing- whether it’s $5 taco lunch, or hip Saturday date night, or just a great burger - it’s really the city to beat.

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I think a lot of LA’s destination restaurants are the “ethnic” ones. I think a place like Night Market or Chengdu Taste or Guerrilla Tacos is worth a journey…it’ll just cost you a couple hundred less than higher-end places around the country.

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Italian could be a bit stronger in LA. SF and NYC really distance themselves in the Italian/cal-italian department.

Overall though, I agree that LA has excellent mid to low end eats and tremendous breadth and depth when it comes to Asian cuisine.

and we have better fucking sushi than all those cities combined.


Good points. Agreed, SF really does have lots of good Cal-Italian options. Or even somewhere like La Ciccia, which is Sardinian. But in the LA area you generally have more ethnic cuisines such as Korean (a friend from Seoul recently told me LA has just as good if not better KBBQ than Seoul due to meat quality and many LA chefs coming from Korea), Persian, Armenian, Taiwanese, Szechuan, etc. and all these are relatively missing from SF. With that said, while Italian could be a touch stronger in LA, it’s certainly not altogether lacking as you can definitely have a good Italian meal in LA.

where are you going in SF these days for italian and what do you get there? i gotta go up in a few weeks. Extra bonus points if it’s in north beach

I really like Cotogna. They are open late for when I fly in after work on Friday. I usually get the porchetta from there but I heard rumors they may have stopped it.

Other top places include the aforementioned La Ciccia, Flour + Water, and SPQR. I know robert likes Perbacco but I don’t find that it’s much different from Osteria Mozza so I skip it.

Not Italian but The Progress was really good on my last visit.

Also if you like XLB, the kurobuta XLB at Crystal Jade is spectacular. Dim sum is also top notch but 2x the price of Elite/Sea Harbour.

Porchetta at Cotogna


thanks for taking the time to get me those tips…ill check em out and report back…i haven’t been to any of those spots you mentioned except SPQR

seeing your photo now – that looks fucking awesome!

That’s not true as the high end sushi and kaiseki options in NYC outnumber the high end ones in LA.

[quote=“Porthos, post:11, topic:1486, full:true”]

I’d be super stoked if a few Crystal Jade branches open down here. I fell in love with the Singapore spots a few years back. I remember one mall I went to had like 5 different incarnations of Crystal Jade!

A16. After you hit La Mar, of course. http://lamarsf.com/

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Big fan of A16’s Trippa alla Napoletana. I actually love going to A16 for just the tripe, some antipasti (panzanella, corn & fig salad, chicken liver toast), and some wine. Perfect Friday night with friends or family.

But, before we delve into what’s good in SF, we should probably save further discussion for the SF board, no? After all, we’re in an “why LA is one of America’s best food cities” thread :stuck_out_tongue:

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true! ill report back on that board in a few weeks.

i love socal but im not into the rivalry. i enjoy my time in bay area also.

If you are alone, Barbacco is a great spot, because they have a nice long bar to sit/eat at.
In North Beach, I’ve always liked l’Osteria del Forno - extremely casual tiny place - not a destination, but that little kitchen has put out some great food over the years. In the past few years, I’ve only been once, and it was still very good.

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No rivalry. The simple fact is we don’t have any “it isn’t how good the food is, it is what fancy car you arrived in” restaurants. You win. :sunglasses:

yes because San Francisco is so down to earth and rootsy these days