Six must-visit restaurants in the L.A. area

A map featuring six restaurants in the Los Angeles area. The map's center is Downtown Los Angeles.
(Lauren Schatzman | Daily Trojan)

As we finally make the transition back to campus, it’s likely that many Trojans, both new and returning, will be searching for the best places to grab a bite and hang out with friends. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with some favorite student spots to dine in Los Angeles.

Grand Central Market

Wallet Breaker Rating: Varies

This historical landmark is a staple site in downtown Los Angeles. As the largest and oldest public market in L.A., Grand Central Market offers 40 stalls filled with a vibrant blend of vendors, ranging from vegan ramen to Michoacán-style carnitas. A few notable mentions include Prawn Coastal, Belcampo Meat Co., Eggslut and La Tostadería. There really is no shortage of choices here, so there’s a little bit of something for everyone.

Northern Cafe

Wallet Breaker Rating: $$$$

If you’re on the lookout for some warm comfort food or a quick bite, Northern Cafe is a great place to visit — and just a 10-minute walk away from campus. This spot is open until 9:30 p.m. every night and features a variety of Chinese food options to satisfy your cravings. Whether you’re looking for noodles, tofu or pancakes, they have it all. Many students regularly swing by this location in particular to order some of their delicious handcrafted dumplings.


Wallet Breaker Rating: $$$$

Searching for a great sit-down experience or incredible takeout? Consider choosing Sugarfish. With multiple locations in the Los Angeles area and a prominent social media presence, it’s only a matter of time before you hear someone gush about this sushi restaurant. 

What makes Sugarfish stand out from other sushi spots is the freshness and high quality of its traditional sushi offerings as well as its personable service (if you decide to dine-in). A lot of students enjoy ordering takeout or delivery from here when they need a sushi fix. The food is not only delectable but also comes in aesthetically pleasing packaging, which takes the eating experience one step further.

Blu Jam Cafe

Wallet Breaker Rating: $$$$

Blu Jam Cafe has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most prominent go-to brunch places in Los Angeles, and rightfully so. With six different L.A. locations, Founder and Executive Chef Kamil leads the team in serving only the freshest food with the finest ingredients, so you won’t find anything with corn syrup or artificial flavors here. They serve quite a range of vegan and non-GMO options to accommodate various dietary needs. 

Their most popular and widely photographed offering is the “Crunchy French Toast.” It comes with French brioche bread rolled in crunchy corn flakes and topped with fresh berries, powdered sugar and vanilla bean sauce (which comes on the side as an alternative to syrup).

Dollar Hits

Wallet Breaker Rating: $$$$

Arguably one of the most affordable eating options off-campus, Dollar Hits hosts a sprawling selection of Pilipino street food. This hot spot, located in Historic Filipinotown, draws in many patrons simply because of its cheap pricing — $1 for each BBQ skewer. 

Upon arrival at the restaurant, diners grab a tray and choose which skewers they’d like to cook. After paying, they make their way outside, find a spot to grill and then enjoy their eats! It truly is a fun, unique experience that allows some room for adventure — after all, each skewer is only a dollar, so why not try something new?

Tacos 1986

Wallet Breaker Rating: $$$$

Bringing some of the vibrant flavors of Tijuana to Los Angeles, Tacos 1986 serves a concentrated menu of mouth-watering Mexican food options that won’t break the bank. The tacos from this location pack the perfect balance of flavor, chewiness and seasoning. You might experience a bit of a wait during peak meal times, but plenty of people will tell you that it’s definitely worth the long line! 

Other than their famous tacos, a fan-favorite dish is the “vampiro de carnes asada.” This asada features double corn tortillas (grilled to just the right level of crunchiness) filled with protein, melted cheese, guacamole, cilantro and mild red salsa. Pair this with a cup of refreshing horchata, and you’re all set!