Los Angeles is awash with quality restaurants and lots of great hole-in-the-wall eateries. It’s ethnically diverse and if you follow food critic Jonathan Gold’s recommendations, you can enjoy extremely good food at very simple places. Watch his documentary, City of Gold, to really get inspired about what LA has to offer.
I also love the food-store outlets that have sprung up all over the place. Make sure you go to the Grand Central Market (grandcentralmarket.com) to discover great coffee, lots of Mexican and Chinese food and the famous Eggslut food stand (eggslut.com), which does the best bacon-and-egg roll (below).
Where else? Here are three of my favourite spots to grab a bite when I’m in town.
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
This store focuses on European cheese varieties, including goat’s, triple cream, washed rind, hard cheese and beautifully ripe brie and camembert. It also sells locally made terrines and pâtés, cured meats, caviar and truffles (in season). There’s freshly baked bread and a massive wall of all the best dry goods Europe has to offer – olive oil, vinegar, my favourite pasta brand (Rustichella d’Abruzzo) and Ortiz anchovies. This is the place to go if you want to put together a picnic or have access to a kitchen. You’ll find expert staff and some of the great wines of the world. This shop has it all.
419 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
Joan’s on Third
Joan’s on Third is a cross between a gourmet grocer and a café. It’s airy and open and the store has beautiful fresh produce, deli items, a great cheese counter, prepared meals to go and lots of fresh baked goods and bread, as well as salads. But the big thing here is to order your food or drink and take a number to one of the communal tables. It’s always packed so be prepared to wait. I love the fresh juice and the coffee is very good. Be sure to try the turkey meatloaf sandwich with aioli and the fried chicken with jalapeño slaw. All the desserts looked great but I behaved myself and only tried one – a perfectly creamy cheesecake.
8350 West Third Street, Los Angeles
Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
Bay Cities is a must-visit. An old-fashioned deli/supermarket, it’s been around since 1925. If you go there at lunchtime, expect to queue for 20 to 30 minutes. Take a ticket and get in line; it’s worth it. You’re here for one reason only – the fantastic sandwiches. Okay, you could go for the Poorboy, Caprese, Reuben or Meatball but if you want to try their most famous sandwich, it has to be the Godmother. This is an awesome combination of meats (salami, mortadella, capocollo, ham and prosciutto) layered with provolone cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato and hot sauce. The balance is just right; the crisp Italian roll holds the five meaty bits in perfect contrast to the creamy cheese, sharp pickle and hit of heat. Completely deserving of its fame. ￼
1517 Lincoln Boulevard, Santa Monica