When I visit a new place, trying different types of food is one of my favorite ways to explore the area. It was no different on my trip to LA. If you’re in the area, here are some of my recommendations for delicious cuisine.
My first night in LA, I went to Catch – a restaurant known for celebrity sightings. That evening, I spotted The Game, a rapper who recently released his new album “Born to Rap.”
Catch is on the pricier side – be ready to spend a lot of money on only a little bit of food. My friend and I started off with the baked king crab hand rolls. This was finger food, but it was mouth-watering. The flavor and texture, of the crab and soy paper was superb.
Next, we ate the Crunchy Rice Cakes. The tuna was delicious – but the crunchy rice was not the best. I’ve had better tuna crispy rice rolls at half the price. I do not recommend getting this dish at this restaurant.
We chose sautéed wild-caught snapper as our entree and ate the crispy brussel sprouts as a side dish. The seasoning of the snapper was excellent and paired well with the lobster mash. The brussel sprouts were sub-par and some of them were burnt. I would not recommend it.
Catch was fun and lively. People should go here for the experience and hype – not the food.
At Republique, a modern French restaurant, guests order their food at the counter and seat themselves. We stopped at this restaurant for a casual brunch.
At Republique, I ordered the kimchi fried rice because I wanted to see the twist a French restaurant would put on this dish. This dish is served with beef, but because I’m a pescatarian, I did not get it with meat.
The amount of spiciness was perfect, and the poached eggs added more flavor. I really loved this dish, but if you are not into spicy food, Republique offers other brunch items like smoked salmon benedict and mushroom omelets.
I highly recommend trying this restaurant for brunch. It’s not too expensive and the food is divine!
For dinner, we went to Gjelina, a modern restaurant located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The customer service here was excellent. Our server helped us decide what to order because we had no idea what to get – everything on the menu looked delicious.
First, had the bel fiore radicchio salad. It was the best salad I’ve ever had. I never would have thought the combination of bitter bel fiore radicchio and creamy white anchovy dressing would be appealing – but it was a match made in heaven.
Next came the white anchovy pizza. Anchovies are not my favorite, so I was hesitant to get this. But after one bite, I realized it was to die for. The anchovy flavor was not overpowering and went well with the burrata, peppers and cherry tomatoes. It was a burst of flavor, and the thin-crust was the cherry on top.
For our main course, we had the butternut squash agnolotti with roasted fennel. This agnolotti was one-of-a-kind. The sweetness of the butternut squash with the creamy sauce was unbelievable and paired well with the roasted fennel. The bitter taste of the side dish complemented the sweetness of the main dish. I totally recommend trying these two dishes together.
For dessert, we had the date cake and ginger gelato. This date cake was exquisitely moist and nutty, but the ginger gelato was a bit overwhelming. I’m not a ginger lover, which could be the reason I didn’t like it. But if you are, I would recommend this dessert!
For brunch we went to Gjusta, an artisanal bakery and deli. Gjusta and Gjelina are sister restaurants, so I knew the food here would be as delightful as at Gjelina. You order food at Gjusta the same way you would order meat at a deli, which was cool. I got the house smoked salmon plate and kettle cooked chips. The chips were crunchy and tasty, and the salmon had beautiful presentation. The fish came with toast, goat cheese, pickles, a soft boiled egg and tomatoes – every color of the rainbow was on this plate. I truly recommend this dish!
Overall, my food experience in LA was outstanding – almost everything was divine. Of all of the restaurants I tried, my favorite was Gjelina. The food is unique and innovative and my taste buds had a blast. I can’t wait to visit LA again to try new places and revisit these ones, too.
words & photos_erika pun