This list will need a constant update, since there is SO much great food in Los Angeles. Just know that we L.A. locals are looking for a few things when we go out to eat:
1) Is the food fresh, healthy, organic or at least fake-healthy?
2) Is the atmosphere amazing? I.E. will I be posting an interior pic of this place as soon as I'm seated?
3) But is it cute, tho?
Commissary / If you're going to eat somewhere kinda boujjie, this is one of the best. Why? Its menu is fancy and gets high praise, it's located in the MEGA trendy Line Hotel, and it's in a fucking lush greenhouse. Realize that you are one of 50+ people tweeting photos of their lunch experience and stop being embarrassed about it. That's how LA locals do LA!
'Hood: Central LA
Dogtown Dogs Food Truck / Location changes. They post their daily stops on Twitter and Facebook. Good quality, ridiculous topping options and they serve TATER TOTS so always a yes.
Local / A proudly organic breakfast and lunch spot in Silverlake. I recommend Brunch on a Sunday; sit in their outdoor patio. No frills, but very good. Walking distance to all the things you'll be looking at in Silverlake (wait, why are you walking in LA?).
M Cafe / Fresh, Organic and vegan-friendly - this place has salad, sandwiches, and deli case options as well as fresh juice and coffee. It's MUCH BETTER than my description. My all time fav is the Teriyaki Tempeh burger w/ pickled cucumber.
Mohawk Bend / The most beautiful vegan restaurant in Los Angeles. Waitwaitwaitwaitwait I know this place is vegan and you're not - but the craft cocktails, ridiculously gorgeous interior and buffalo cauliflower are REALLY worth it. Their menu is Californian comfort food, meaning you aren't getting any dry barley with goji berries on dry toast here. Is Good.
'Hood: Echo Park
Real Food Daily / Vegan and semi-famous (the founder wrote the Vegan Family Meals cookbook). I see celebrities here all the time! Big menu and brunch is really delicious. Cuteness.
'Hood: Several Locations, favorite in Beverly Grove
Republique / a very, very, popular spot on La Brea Ave that's as famous for its Instagramable interior as its food. Feels like an airy + bright church was converted to a excellent restaurant. Communal tables, seemingly French-inspired dishes. Also baked goods and cocktails. Dat ATMOSPHERE tho.
Rose Cafe / Speaking of atmosphere: grab lunch at Rose Cafe in Venice. It's been a neighborhood staple since 1979, which is an eternity for the constantly-changing Venice Beach. I'd describe it as Californian food - fresh, healthy, pretty to look at. The space is huge and filled with gigantic pieces of local-inspired art. There's a beautiful outdoor space and coffee bar serving Verve Coffee. Go eat here.
Shojin / Tucked away in a Little Tokyo mall in Downtown. Actually amazing vegetarian sushi and Japanese plates for good prices. There's a Spicy Scallop Roll (made with exotic mushrooms) that they flambé with a blow torch right at your table.
'Hood: Little Tokyo
Squirl / This tiny, tucked away spot is unassuming for how incredible the food is. What started as a preserves company (that's right, jams and jellies) has expanded to breakfast and lunch. Honsetly, truly in-season ingredients and innovative recipes. Please go.
Tatsu Ramen / Literally next door to M Cafe, this Ramen is ADDICTIVE. Honestly, the best ramen I've ever eaten. Everything is made one batch at a time and the place fills up quickly! Its open late and the line moves fast thanks to iPad ordering. Oh and they offer a vegan and a gluten free option too. I'm drooling right now...
'Hood: two locations, my favorite is West Hollywood
Veggie Grill / For those of you not from California...vegan fast food. The easiest way to dip your toe into the wide world of meatless meat without being disgusted. I'd recommend the Buffalo Bomber sandwich w/ sweet potato fries. Their chipotle sauce is worth it. Oh and fried Cauliflower comes with a sticky-sweet orange dipping sauce.
'Hood: Multiple locations in LA
Wurstkuche / Feels like a modern beer hall, tastes like German fast food on a dare. They serve countless variations of currywurst (think sausage + fries + sauce) and imported beer. You will post a photo of this place on Instagram. You will debate trying the rattlesnake sausage while your friends opt for the vegan apple sage sausage. You will have a nice time.
'Hood: Arts District