Travel Weekly’s culinary expert, Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham, is back with another gustatory adventure. First ravaging the delights of Bali, Sparrow has now popped across the Pacific to eat his way through Los Angeles. Read what he has to say below!
After a weeklong foodie adventure in LA from the fancy places in Beverly Hills to downtown LA near Skid Row, I was up for it all and my taste buds were expecting Academy Award performances.
The diversity and contrasts in LA are always prominent or even shocking. From Michelin-rated restaurants in upmarket neighbourhoods to a brilliant food truck in an industrial area downtown serving the best qasidas ever with a homeless tent city on the same block.
Firstly, the LA food scene has evolved for the better there is now a range of mid-priced restaurants serving up scene-stealing food at incredible locations.
I remember when the LA food scene was dominated by Wolfgang Park in Beverly Hills and the best burger was at In-N-Out Burger West Hollywood (actually it’s still one of my favourite LA burger joints.)
This new wave of LA restaurants boasts market gardens with fresh veggies, brilliant relationships with local produce growers and heaps of Mexican influences. Downtown has really come alive – 11 years ago everyone thought chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis from Bestia were crazy when they found a vacant warehouse downtown and created an incredible interpretation of classic Italian dishes with brilliant flavours and wood fire cooking.
Now I believe downtown is the place to be with an all-star cast of chefs creating Oscar-winning dishes.
Two foodie must-sees are Grand Central Market and Smorgasburg LA both downtown.
The market vendors at Grand Central market range from Egg Slut, Broad Street Oyster Co, Jose Chiquito, La Tostaderia etc. Smorgasburg LA offers another star-studded production with a showstopping diverse cast of vendors e.g. Black SugarRib Co, Correas Mariscos, Lobsterdamus, Los Dorados, Smoke Queen BBQ, Urban Pizza, etc…
After much deliberation and soul searching, I have arrived at my Top 10 LA list of Foodie-winning performances:
- Best Overall meal – Bestia downtown
- Outstanding lobster roll – Broad Street Oyster Co.- both at Grand Central Market & Smorgasburg LA
- Best Food truck– Adrians Taco’s downtown LA
- Star breakfast performance – The Proper Hotel Santa Monica,Calabra rooftop
- Classic Hollywood steak – Dear Johns Culver City
- Winning Mexican cast -Guerrilla Taco’s Downtown
- Best supporting foodie experience – Smorgasburg ROW DTLA
- Original screenplay brunch – Gjusta Venice
- Best Italian – Rossoblu Downtown
- Best location – Manuela Downtown
On reflection, during my LA adventure, I encountered a few movie celebrities however the real star of LA is definitely the downtown food scene.
The ultra-cool warehouse locations with scene-stealing restaurants to brilliant foodie markets, plus outstanding Mexican food trucks … they are the real stars of an LA visit.