What to eat in Los Angeles: 12 must-try local delights

From trendy food trucks serving up fusion flavors to iconic restaurants with Hollywood history, explore the city's top dishes and must-try eats.

If you are wondering what food to eat in Los Angeles, look no further. While the City of Angels is known for its fast-paced lifestyle, entertainment industry, historic landmarks, and sunny summers, there is a wide selection of tantalizing food in Los Angeles that you really don't want to miss. In fact, you'll find that Los Angeles has some of the best culinary delights to amaze any gourmet palate.

Whether you are in Los Angeles solo, in a group, or with a family, with over 20,000 restaurants, cafes, and bars scattered around the city, there is a huge variety of local popular food options to indulge in. What food is Los Angeles known for? The following 12 dishes offer you some delicious answers.

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1. Savor the original French dip sandwich

Although it might sound European, the French dip sandwich is an entirely local delicacy. This dish contains a slice of roast beef served in a crispy French roll, with ingredients such as cheese, onions, and mustard used to add some zest.

How to eat the best French dip sandwich in Los Angeles?

Several restaurants in Downtown LA laid claim to have created the original French dip sandwich. Regardless of which you choose, take some time to explore this area on a food, arts and culture walking tour.

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2. Try authentic LA-style tacos

Los Angeles has some of the most authentic tacos this side of the Mexican border. Whether you like them soft or hard-shelled, simple or gourmet, you can find delicious varieties of tacos at any time of the day or night all over Los Angeles. This is one food you must eat to feel like a local.

How to eat the best tacos in Los Angeles?

One of the best places to sample local taco recipes is in Downtown LA, and you can try them for yourself on the Downtown food tour.

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3. Fill up on delicious Korean BBQ

LA's Koreatown is home to the largest Korean population in the world, hence the prevalence of the unique and flavorsome Korean method of marinating and barbequing meats. The neighborhood is filled with delicious BBQ eateries, from Michelin star-level restaurants to more casual eateries, all serving LA-style Korean dishes such as kalbi (short ribs) and bulgogi (barbequed beef).

How to eat the best Korean BBQ in Los Angeles?

Pay a visit to Koreatown for the most authentic Korean BBQ. Explore Koreatown, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills with a guided minibus tour.

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4. Indulge in the perfect donut

If you want rich, thick, and creamy varieties of donuts, then Los Angeles has some of the best flavors around. From strawberry donuts made from real berries to meticulously crafted artisan donuts, this is one of the best sweet foods to try in Los Angeles.

How to eat the best donuts in Los Angeles?

Santa Monica has a wide selection of donut varieties at some of its famous food eateries like Randy's and Sidecar Doughnuts. Take some time to sample all these fantastic flavors on a donut shop walking tour.

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5. Get messy with some animal-style fries and burgers

Los Angeles has more than its fair share of fast food chains. In some of these restaurants, you can request to have your burgers and fries cooked animal style: this is cooked in mustard and topped with chopped tomato, lettuce, onions, pickles, and sauce. Very messy, but also very tasty.

How to eat the best animal-style fries and burgers in Los Angeles?

You can find animal-style fries and burgers sold throughout LA, particularly if you explore the city on the Best of LA bus tour.

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6. Go upmarket with a gourmet hot dog

Throughout Los Angeles, you can find delicious recipes that turn the humble hot dog into a delicious work of art. Whether you like your hot dogs with salsa or mayo, sauerkraut or jalapenos, you can find all sorts of inventive combinations in the city.

How to eat the best gourmet hot dogs in Los Angeles?

Many Los Angeles eateries have unique gourmet hot dog recipes, especially in Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles. Take the LA Grand Tour to sample the best gourmet hot dogs around.

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7. Seek out the best vegan food

Los Angeles is known for having some of the best vegan food options around, and plant-based restaurants are plentiful. Even if you aren't vegan, you should still try some of the innovative vegan recipes here. From vegan hot dogs to vegan chicken-free nuggets, the choices here are some of the best food in Los Angeles.

How to eat the best vegan food in Los Angeles?

You can find some of the best vegan dishes in the neighborhood of Playa del Rey, and a visit to a vegan African dinner party will allow you to sample some rich new flavors.

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8. Eat a traditional wood-fired pizza

While pizzas are plentiful in Los Angeles, one of the best ways to eat pizza is when it's cooked the traditional way in a brick oven. Wood-fired pizzas bring out the flavors of various toppings, such as cheese, sausage, and peppers. In addition, they have a perfectly light, crisp, and smoky base.

How to eat the best wood-fired pizza in Los Angeles?

You can find excellent wood-fired pizzas served in eateries around Echo Park and the Original Farmers Market. Visit LA's first pizzeria on the Original Farmers Market tour.

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9. Treat yourself to a refreshing gourmet ice cream sandwich

When the weather warms up, nothing beats a cool ice cream dessert, except perhaps a delicious ice cream sandwich. Visit any of the ice creameries in LA, and you will find unique flavors like lavender and saffron rosewater rolled in nuts and candy and sandwiched between two crisp wafers.

How to eat the best ice cream sandwich in Los Angeles?

Creamy ice cream sandwiches are an excellent choice when visiting Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Taste some for yourself on the Venice Beach food tour.

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10. Live adventurously with a smoked salmon pizza

The idea of smoked salmon and caviar on pizza might sound weird, but once you try it, you'll see why it's a Hollywood favorite. The result of a happy accident by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, this dish is served with dill, crème fraiche, garlic oil, and red onions.

How to eat the best smoked salmon pizza in Los Angeles?

This popular food is a celebrity favorite, so you can find it in restaurants throughout Beverly Hills. Try the Beverly Hills food, film, and fashion walking tour to experience how the rich and famous dine.

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11. Enjoy a hot bowl of pho

While hot soup dishes might seem like an unusual choice in the Los Angeles weather, once you've tried the local version of this Thai classic, you'll definitely come back for seconds. Choose from substantial or light pho meals served with beef or chicken, along with rice noodles and seasonings like basil.

How to eat the best pho in Los Angeles?

Take a trip to Downtown Los Angeles to try some of the best pho in the city. With a historic highlights bike tour you can find some of the best pho eateries Downtown.

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12. Start the day with an authentic breakfast burrito

If you are still wondering what to eat in Los Angeles, many of the best burritos in the United States are made right here in the City of Angels. A simple breakfast burrito uses cheese and beans as its base, plus additional ingredients such as egg or steak. After you've tried one, you'll agree that the best breakfast burritos are in LA.

How to eat the best burrito in Los Angeles?

Discover some of the best burrito dishes in LA with the East LA Latin Flavors walking tour.

FAQs

What are the must-try traditional dishes in Los Angeles?

The French dip sandwich is the dish you must try to feel like one of the locals. In addition, you should sample many of the local tacos, burritos, donuts, and gourmet hot dogs while you're here.

What are the best food tours in Los Angeles?

Tours of the Original Farmers Market and Grand Central Market provide plenty of dining options. There are also great food tours of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica to explore.

What are the top local food markets in Los Angeles to visit?

The most popular food markets in Los Angeles are the Grand Central Market and Original Farmers Market. Other favorite markets include the Hollywood Farmers Market, Santa Monica Farmers Market, and KTOWN Night Market.

What is the best time of year to visit Los Angeles for food lovers?

Fall and spring vacations are the best options when it comes to food. The weather during these seasons is pleasant, there is more fresh produce available, and LA hosts plenty of food festivals like Taste of Eataly.

How much should I budget for food in Los Angeles?

For three meals a day, you should aim to budget at least $60 daily. An average meal will cost between $20-25, with breakfast being the cheapest.