Los Angeles is finally getting its due as one of America’s top foodie destinations. A pioneer in California cuisine and fast-casual fare, the city excels at everything from street food to seafood to a vast array of cuisines from around the globe.
And now, it seems, the world is taking notice
L.A.’s culinary chops were on full display in Michelin’s first-ever all-California restaurant guide, released earlier this summer. The influential French media company discontinued its Los Angeles guide in 2009 but returned to the region this year after focusing its California coverage on the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly a decade. It was worth the wait; of the 34 newly starred restaurants included in the 2019 Michelin California Guide, all but 10 are located in Los Angeles County.
L.A.’s status as a great food city comes as no surprise to Vartan Abgaryan, executive chef and founding partner at Yours Truly, a newly opened casual restaurant in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles.
“I love what is happening with the L.A. food scene—the food is vibrant and delicious, and so alive,” says the former 71Above chef, whose menu pays tribute to the city’s multi-ethnic character, including his own Armenian heritage. “Both high- and low-end options hit the spot, from fine dining/tasting-menu-driven concepts to your local neighborhood eatery. You have so much great food to choose from.”
Those looking to eat their way through Los Angeles this summer can get a taste of the city’s best dishes during dineL.A. Restaurant Week, scheduled for July 12–26. The 15-day event happens twice a year, in winter and summer, and includes more than 400 of L.A.’s hottest gastropubs, bistros, sushi bars, neighborhood cafés and fine-dining destinations.
Participating restaurants offer special prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner, discount priced at $15–$35 for a two-course lunch, $29–$59 for a three-course dinner, and $99 and up for a five-course tasting menu, not including drinks, tax and tip. (dineL.A. Restaurant Week is hugely popular with locals as well as visitors, so reservations are strongly recommended.)
Hungry travelers can also explore the city’s culinary wonders with the help of savvy food tour companies. The L.A. natives at Six Taste Food Tours guide visitors on walking expeditions of deliciously diverse Los Angeles neighborhoods—from the Arts District to Koreatown—where they sample delights from several well-known and under-the radar restaurants. Melting Pot offers an off-the-beaten-path tour of East L.A.’s Latin flavors and culture, with stops at bakeries, mercados, and pupuserias. The Downtown L.A. Food Tour from Sidewalk Food Tours combines food, history, and storytelling with tastes of the city’s most mouthwatering French pastries, Asian fusion cuisine and German street food.
With so much going on in L.A.’s exciting and eclectic food scene, you might just want to extend your stay—and bring along some stretchy pants.