Joan’s on Third and Katsuya are among L.A.’s most famous and delectable restaurants. However, surrounding restaurants in proximity to USC also stand to be among that list.
The Pie Hole: For the pie lovers out there — so, basically everyone — make sure to visit The Pie Hole, located in the Arts District downtown. Not only do they have traditional sweet pies including “Mom’s Apple Crumble” and “Bananas Foster,” but they also have savory pies for every occasion. Essentially, it’s a one-stop dinner and dessert spot. Their “Mac ‘n’ Cheese” pie will take you back to second grade, letting you relive your wildest dreams of cheesy macaroni in a crumbly pastry. Or be healthier on the pie scale, and try the flavorful and spicy “Veggie Curry” pie or the more traditional “Shepherd’s Pie.” There are also breakfast options and a vast menu of coffees and specialty lattes — perfect for the coffee-loving, pie-appreciating college student. Snag a small table or sit at a communal bench and set up a study session with books, pie and good coffee. Or just go there and grab some pie with your friends.
Bottega Louie: Bottega Louie has a highly decorated modern ambiance, packed with trendy people speaking loudly over one another. The food is delicious, though pricey for a college budget. If you feel like splurging, grab a table and indulge in a fancy and delicious pizza, pasta dish or salad. Otherwise, just pick up one of the restaurant’s decadent desserts. Not only do they have some of the best macarons in Los Angeles, they also have everything from a hazelnut salted caramel chocolate tartlet to the Dacquoise — a vanilla bean cream, fresh berries and almond cake.
KazuNori: Most have likely heard of Sugarfish, the delicious, fresh and trendy sushi spot based on pure and basic ingredients. The philosophy of the sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa, in fact, “shuns ‘American-Style’ extravagant rolls and fusion dishes,” according to Sugarfish’s website. KazuNori was opened with the same philosophy, but is a hand-roll bar. Set up as a single room with a square bar, you pick your hand rolls of choice, and the chefs make it right in front of you, ordering to eat it as soon as possible so that the seaweed is still fresh and crunchy. It’s delicious and fresh, and the location is close to USC.
Bacaro L.A.: A tapas-style wine bar equipped with chalkboard menus and a downtown New York-style feel, Bacaro will satisfy every tastebud in small portions. Share a few plates with friends, or buy several for yourself. The place is always packed, so plan on arriving early or making a reservation if you have more than a few friends joining you. If you’re on a budget, don’t worry. Bacaro offers a three-tapas combination for $21 that will fill your hungry stomach while making you feel like you’ve treated yourself to a $100 meal. Those 21 and over who feel like something a little more healthy and light to accompany a glass of wine can select one of the cold dishes. Favorites for the wine and snack mix include the caprese and bruschetta plates with roasted garlic, balsamic and basil walnut pesto and heirloom tomato and basil, respectively. Start off with the Noa’s cauliflower, a delicious bowl of steamed cauliflower topped with smoked chipotle sauce and an array of tender greens; the grilled hanger steak, a beautifully presented plate with grilled zucchini and homemade bearnaise sauce and lastly, you can’t go wrong with the Bacaro fries. The great thing about Bacaro: You don’t have the pressure of choosing one item. Instead, you have the freedom to pick three gourmet foods that will satisfy your tastebuds.
Urth Caffé: There’s nothing better than the good vibes, organic coffees and fine teas at Urth Caffé, a trendy spot with locations in downtown L.A., West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Pasadena. If you’ve scrolled down your favorite celebrity’s Instagram, you’ve probably seen one photo from this trendy spot. Urth offers a classic brunch menu with everything from Belgian waffles, customizable omelets, quiches and salads. Coffee and tea lovers should be sure to try the famous earl grey milk tea, Spanish latte, green tea latte and boba teas.
Wurstküche: Belgian fries, Belgian beer, Belgian sausages, Belgian everything. Try Wurstküche for exotic sausages that will blow your mind. A perfect spot to satisfy your cravings for greasy food after any sporting event, Wurstküche is home to the famous blue cheese walnut and bacon fries, as well as various exotic sausages. It’s hard not to salivate the minute you enter Wurstküche. First-timers should indulge in fan favorites, such as the rattlesnake and rabbit with jalapeno peppers.
Eggslut: If you’ve had a long night and plan on waking up late, you won’t want to miss out on your favorite combination of breakfast foods at Eggslut, an egg-centric restaurant open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at Grand Central Market. Eggslut has a variety of egg, bacon, cheese, sausage and onion sandwiches on perfectly toasted brioche buns.