Myung Dong Kyoja
If you live in Los Angeles and don't eat in Koreatown, your culinary cred just might be revoked. Whether driving down Wilshire, 6th or all the streets in-between, you will find a food paradise awaiting you with some of the best wings, BBQ, banchan, and kimchi Southern California has to offer. And if you like all things garlic, this is the place for you. From noodles to dumplings, the savory menu at Myung Dong Kyoja will cure your hangover before it even starts. Everyone knows the best place for karaoke is Koreatown, so sing into the late night and swing by MDK for a 3 a.m. pick-me-up since they're open 24 hours.
Myung Dong Kyoja, 3630 Wilshire Boulevard (at Harvard Boulevard); 213-385-7789.
Eat Late: Open 24 hours
Carnitas tacos? Check. Carne asada fries? Check. Horchata and Orange Bang? Check, check. Dusk, late night, or dawn, Carnitas Michoacan doesn't care when you show up because they are open 24/7. Whether you are coming home from a Dodger's game, recovering from a wild night at The Airliner, or just looking for someplace cheap and tasty to eat, this spot, which lights up a corner just past downtown, wins over most people's hearts by satisfying their bellies. A Lincoln Heights staple, most people rave about their "super nachos." While enjoying your meal, I promise you two things, you'll brush up on your Spanish while watching novelas on their TVs and definitely run into a character of some sort. You regulars know what I am talking about.
Carnitas Michoacan, 1901 North Broadway (at South Avenue 19); 323-225-2729.
Eat Late: Open 24 hours
Yes, I have heard of Ruen Pair, but have you been to Captain Thai just two doors down? When you don't want to wait, and feel the need for change of scenery—faux airplane windows on the wall, travel television—I recommend this newer spot in what is probably the most popular strips malls in Thai Town. I have eaten so much Thai food in my life that I can finally order off-the-menu items and not sound like a total jerk. My favorite dish as of late is Nem Nng, which is a sausage and vegetable plate—you must ask for it by name as it is not on the menu. Never does my Thai dinning experience go without chicken larb, a dish a friend of mine got me addicted to, and it is incredibly delicious and fresh at Captain Thai. Stop by, try to find street parking, and if you're lucky, the captain's hat will be resting on your table, seriously.
Captain Thai, 5235 Hollywood Boulevard (at North Hobart Avenue); 323-465-9796.
Eat Late: From Monday to Thursday, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.
I have yet to meet a person who doesn't love a good dish of comforting macaroni and cheese, especially late at night. With what seems to be everyone in L.A. heading downtown for a weekend bar crawl, it is good to have a spot where you can balance out those 3 vodka tonics while not compromising on taste. When I want something hot, gooey, and delicious, I head to Mac & Cheeza for a "Baby Mac," and always add some bacon. They have lots of savory treats you can add to your mac, enjoyable for both omnivores and vegetarians alike. Sometimes you will get lucky and even spot a crazy special like Doritos mac'n'cheese.
Mac & Cheeza, 223 West 8th Street (at Broadway); 213-622-3782.
Eat Late: Sunday to Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
NT Dumpling House
I'll have you know that I used to be the Mayor on Foursquare of NT Dumpling House, that's how much I loved it. This bright little spot in a two-story mall on Valley Boulevard is delicious. For that restless late night, I recommend you order up a green onion pancake and pan-fried dumplings. I haven't tried the pig ear yet, but it is next on my list.
New Taste Dumpling House, 301 West Valley Boulevard (at Prospect Avenue); 626-282-5953.
Eat Late: Monday to Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Ye Rustic Inn
You probably have a friend who is ready to throw down over who has the best wings in this town. If you don't, I suggest you get one right away because they are always a hoot at parties. A trusty friend of mine once took my boyfriend and me to Yee Rustic Inn because she knew how much my guy loved Buffalo wings and she, too, shared this affection. Nestled in a strip mall in Los Feliz, this unassuming bar with an obviously awesome name, appears untouched by time unless you count the flat screens blaring the NBA playoffs. When you want to unwind with some pear cider, hang in a vinyl booth with friends, and eat delicious wings, this is the jam. I haven't tried anything else but from what I hear, wings are all you need! Plus, with my group of friends, its go wings or go home.
Ye Rustic Inn, 1831 Hillhurst Avenue (at Russell Avenue) in Los Feliz; 323-662-5757.
Eat Late: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Black garlic ramen, you have not lived until this savory broth has hit your lips. If one more person gives me a strange look about Torrance, I swear I am going to lose it. Torrance rules, for the record. In this diverse city in what is called the South Bay, you have an insane amount of delicious ramen houses, a 98 Maruaki and are close to one of the best Italian places in L.A. (a secret I'll share sometime). It is midnight, you're hungry and you need something hot to sooth your soul. Might I suggest you order up a bowl of the black garlic ramen at Shisen. Sure there are lots of ramen spots to choose from, but how many of them served up a piping hot bowl of noodles until 1am? Don't even come at me with that Daikokuya nonsense.
Shisen Ramen, 1730 Sepulveda Boulevard (at Western Avenue); 310-534-1698.
Eat Late: Monday to Friday, from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday, from 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
As a graduate of UCLA who spent many a late nights studying in Powell library and dreaded a drive back to downtown, I knew I could depend on Bella Pita to give me a pick me up when I was feeling less that motivated. Open until 2 a.m., serving up some wowshis on the Westside, and budget-friendly for the typical college student, it’s no wonder this little spot has developed such a cult following in the Westwood Village. Can you say no to freshly baked pitas and a vibrant toppings bar? I know I can't. Now please pass me the tahini.
Bella Pita, 960 Gayley Avenue (at Weyburn Avenue); 310-209-1050.
Eat Late: Monday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.