L.A.'s Best Chefs and Foodies Dish On Their Fave Meals

We all know Eater L.A. is one of the top sites for restaurant gossip, the Varnish is the place in town for a stiff drink, Wurstkuche for impeccable sausages and beer, Talesai for modern Thai with a street twist, and Farm Shop for superlative brunch, but where do L.A.'s best chefs and foodies eat when they're not in their own kitchens? We tracked down five of L.A.'s most talented tastemakers and asked them for their favorite pre- and post-work spots for good grub..
Kat Odell, Editor, Eater LA
Lazy Ox Canteen
“I absolutely adore Lazy Ox Canteen for its understated hip vibe, fun selection of craft brews, and its insanely delicious, extra farmers' market fresh fusion offerings. I frequently start with a beer, perhaps the Palomino from local brewers Bootleggers Brewery, and scarf down those roasted corn nuts with chili while perusing the menu. I would advise to order off the chalkboard specials, for the most part every time I frequent LO I try a new dish, which keeps this restaurant consistently exciting in my book.”
241 South San Pedro Street (at West 2nd Street); 213-626-5299.
Dean Sin World
“I am obsessed with dumplings and hit San Gabriel all the time for such. This is one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall spots, which offers only four tiny tables. There's a glass partition that runs through the restaurant, so while you indulge in your XLB you can watch somebody's grandmother behind the partition making those fresh dumplings. Other standouts are the beef roll, and, well, pretty much EVERYTHING on the menu. P.S.: Nobody speaks English here but the owner's name is Mrs. Lu.”
306 North Garfield Avenue (at East Emerson Avenue); 626-571-0636.
Sushi Park
“I can't talk about my favorite restaurants without discussing sushi. I am very much a traditionalist when it comes to sushi and sashimi, no fancy-pants rolls for me, rather I prefer extra fresh fish served over warm rice. Enter Sushi Park, the owner of which hails from a rather famous sushi lineage. Peter Park worked for Sasabune who worked for Nozawa, so same traditional Japanese omakase situation here. Plus, Peter and Joanne Park who I have now known for four years are the nicest people ever and won't kick you out of their restaurant for talking to your cell-phone.”
8539 Sunset Boulevard (at North La Cienega Boulevard); 310-652-0523.
Joseph Pitruzzelli, Owner, Wurstkuche
Cliff's Edge
“I can’t think of a better backdrop for dinner or brunch—It’s like dining in the Jungle Book except you’re in Silverlake.” 3626 West Sunset Boulevard (at Edgefliffe Drive); 323-666-6116.
Elements Café
“Elements strikes me as a quintessential Californian al fresco cafe, with brick walls and the open kitchen. The vegetarian Banh Mi with the house-made pickles on the side is so delicious.”
107 South Fair Oaks Avenue (at West Dayton Street); 626-440-0100.
Church and State
“Church and State is always a fun place to go in the Arts District. It’s constantly lively with a warm interior, great cocktails, interesting people and a Croque Madame so rich that you might need a triple bypass.”
1850 Industrial Street (at Mateo Street); 213-405-1434.
Kris Yenbamroong, Chef/Owner, Talesai and NIGHT+MARKET
Tacos Leo
“I was only recently introduced to this taco truck by my friend Noah, but I'm convinced it is the best. Although it's there all week, Friday and Saturday are the only days I go because that's when Norbeto, the al pastor taco-maker from Oaxaca, sets up shop right in front, and he's the main attraction. Basically, get anything featuring his al pastor.”
3505 Venice Boulevard (at La Brea Avenue); 323-735-0396.
Lou Winebar
“Lou Amdur is the king of all wine as far as I'm concerned. Although he's a self-professed wine geek, I feel his greatest and most endearing quality (aside from his palette) is his ability to create an atmosphere in which awesome, far out, somewhat esoteric wines become approachable for people who might not normally get down with his sort of thing. Which is to say, he makes drinking wine fun.”
724 Vine Street (at Melrose Avenue); 323-962-6369.
Rae’s Coffee Shop
“This Santa Monica diner is hands down one of my favorite L.A. spots. I always get the Club no. 1 on white toast, a bit of mayo, fries and a salad with ranch dressing on the side. The waitresses there are sweet and the cooks are all badass.”
2901 Pico Boulevard (at 29th Street); 310-828-7937.
Jeffrey Cerciello, Chef, FarmShop LA
“Before we started serving brunch at Farmshop, Gjelina was my mainstay brunch hangout. I order one dish in particular, poached eggs with braised greens and lentils, and then a chickpea and harissa stew and their Israeli cous cous. I love the design, and the guys there have created a really nice vibe, an interesting little place.”
1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard (at Milwood Avenue); 310-450-1429.
Waterloo & City
“Also on the Westside is Waterloo & City, which Carolos Tomazos, an old TKRG (Thomas Keller Restaurant Group) guy opened. They're doing an amazing job, and especially with the charcuterie. It's one of the things there that sticks out; what I think they do better than anyone is their charcuterie, and a pretty stellar beer list, too.”
12517 West Washington Boulevard (at Neosho Avenue); 310-391-4222.
Eric Alperin, Mixologist, The Varnish
“Natalia at Woodspoon cooks up traditional Brazilian from her youth. Beautiful & salt of the earth.”
107 West 9th Street (at Main Street); 213-629-1765.
“Think you know Thai food? If you haven’t been here, you don’t! Their Southern Thai Rice Salad and huge mussels are amazing. The owner is a mad scientist of combinations, and his menu is 5 to 6 pages in 10-point font size.”
5233 1/2 W Sunset Boulevard (at Parker Avenue); 323-663-3104.
The Otheroom
"What can I say, my boy Craig Weiss is the owner, and I love getting away from cocktails and having a good selection of pints or glasses of wine to enjoy. Great industrial design…It’s a real local spot.”
1201 Abbot Kinney Boulevard (at Westminster Avenue); 310-396-6230.

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