With all the Hollywood glamor in LA, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of great restaurants in the city for the movers and shakers. But what about for the rest of us, who don’t have the millions per episode or movie? Or, the million dollars in funding from a VC? The truth is that LA does have great restaurants who don’t charge outlandish prices. You only need to find them, and lucky for you we have the guide to get you there. It’s not quite like the maps to celebrities’ homes, but at least they’re authentic!
Simply good food at lunch or dinner, any time of the day.
1. Mason’s Dumpling Shop
Location: 5803 N Figueroa St Los Angeles, CA 90042
If you’re already in Highland Park, then you owe it to yourself to visit Mason’s Dumpling Shop. You can tell from its no-frills simplicity that everything’s casual and affordable, and you have to order at the counter. But the dishes here are terrific, especially the xiao long bao and the family’s signature fried pork dumplings. The fact that they’re all available for less than ten bucks each means that you can afford to order both!
2. Tel Aviv Kosher Grill
Location: 2450b Burbank Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607
If you and your buddies are looking to reenact the final bit of the Avengers movie, then here’s the place to get shawarma, the Tel Aviv Kosher Grill. Get your meats and match them with a baguette, laffa, or pita bread. Your taste buds will thank you and your wallet too.
Location: 10829 Oxnard St, North Hollywood, CA 91606
The late great Anthony Bourdain once proclaimed his love for Filipino food, and this place can help you understand why. Tatang changes some of the ingredients so that you don’t have to feel so guilty, which explains the use of chopped chicken for the sisig instead of pork and all that fat. Here, the food is nice and affordable and it goes great with a bottle of cold beer.
Location: 5100 York Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90042
Highland Park also features this always busy Taiwanese restaurant JOY, but it’s not just the reasonable prices that are the only reasons for its popularity. The offerings are scrumptious, especially the spicy shrimp wonton and the dan dan noodles. You can start your meal first with an order of sautéed greens, which are definitely fresh as they come from the restaurant’s own gardens. Finish the meal with milk tea with boba, or you can have some fun with shaved ice.
Location: 225 W 7th St Los Angeles, CA 90014
You’d think that with the prices of dishes in trendy restaurants these days, your ten bucks won’t get you much. But at Takasan, it gets you a bowl of tender chicken chunks with a soft-cooked omelet over rice. Try the oyakodon too, as the price is great as well. It’s a warm and friendly place, and it’s also friendly for your credit card.
6. Tasty Noodle House
Location: 8054 W 3rd St Los Angeles, CA 90048
You may find other locations of Tasty Noodle House in other spots in LA, but it’s this original location on West Third Street that made the brand popular in the first place. This is the ultimate spot for pan-fried bao, though you can find just about any traditional Chinese dish here as well.
7. L Fish
Location: 3205 1/2 4th St Los Angeles, CA 90063
Now if you’re in the Boyle Heights area, you may as well go to this legendary fried fish taco restaurant, L Fish. The price per taco is about $2.50 at the most, and you get to enjoy dense batter with mustard and herb fried in vegetable oil with shrimp, dogfish, and angelfish. It’s the same recipe as the tacos in Ensenada, but thankfully these tacos are much more affordable.
8. South City Fried Chicken
Location: 24 S Spring St Los Angeles, CA 90014
While there are lots of exotic food items available in diverse LA, the love for fried chicken doesn’t end. In fact, even if you don’t like fried chicken there’s a very big chance you’ll change your mind when you get a taste of the fried chicken sandwiches from this stall in Corporation Food Hall Downtown. One version comes from Miami with jerk spice and lemongrass remoulade, while another version copies the hot chicken in Nashville. It’s like a foodie exploration of the fried chicken you’ll find in the cities of the American South. Check out South City Fried Chicken today.
9. Phat Birds
Location: 4701 E 3rd St, East Los Angeles, CA 90022
Here’s another fried chicken joint, this time in East LA, meet Phat Birds. The combo meals here are so filling those entire families can be sated, yet the total bill may not go much over twenty bucks. You can go with hot chicken a la Nashville, and the side dishes are terrific as well.
Location: 777 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90021
This is the huge Sunday festival plaza in downtown LA, where you can try lots of new street food option. Bring your appetite even if you don’t bring a lot of money since they’re all reasonably priced. You get Chinese noodles, garlic shrimp cooked Hawaiian-style, and even BBQ too. Just get there from 10 AM to 4 PM and enjoy an extended lunch break.
11. Lokal Sandwich Shop
Location: 10433 National Blvd #1A, Los Angeles, CA 90034
This corner marketplace at Simpang Asia in Palms gives you a nice casual place where you can enjoy a great sandwich at a reasonable price, meet the Lokal Sandwich Shop. None of these sandwiches cost more than 10 bucks, and they’re much better (and much bigger) than what you get at your local Subway. Try the steak sandwiches if you’re a traditionalist, though you really should consider their banh mi and the avocado and turkey sandwich.
12. Pasta Sisters
Location: 3280 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90232
In many places around LA, good Italian restaurants can charge up to $25 per bowl of pasta. The quality and the quantity of the dishes here at Pasta Sisters are just as good and as filling, but this time each dish will cost you less than $15. Do the math!
13. The Chori-Man
Location: 2309 S Alma St, San Pedro, CA 90731
On weekdays, the locals come here regularly for the exquisite chorizos, which are so good they’re not just for breakfast. On weekends, people from outside the neighborhood make their regular pilgrimage for the tacos and the breakfast burritos too. Check out The Chori-Man spot here.
Also, check out these 11 Best Restaurants in West Hollywood for Lunch