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An Ode to Mid-Wilshire Dining in LA

I may be an O.C. girl, but I called LA my home for 8 years when I went there for college and then lived/worked there in the few years that followed.

While I have a love/hate relationship with LA at times, some of my fondest memories are from that city as well – from late night eats and drinks with friends, to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, and weekend brunches.  Before I moved to Orange County last year, I spent 2.5 years living in the Mid-Wilshire area of LA and was a hop, skip, and a jump from LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits.

Living next to LACMA was great, but what I really miss about Mid-Wilshire is the delicious food.  The area is just crawling with good restaurants (and they seem to keep adding more!) and I had many a good meal during my 2.5 year stint in the area.

So if you ever happen to fancy yourself in this area of Los Angeles, here’s a guide to some of the best that Mid-Wilshire has to offer.

Best Breakfast/Brunch:  Cafe Verona on La Brea

Cafe Verona is literally located behind a Pep Boys auto parts store on La Brea, but don’t let that fool you.  The cafe has a delightful garden patio that is perfect for weekend brunching.  The cafe is known for their delicious frittatas, french toast, and freshly pressed paninis.  Cafe Verona is only open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch and closes at 5pm everyday.

Honorable Mention:  Toast on 3rd Street

Another delicious option but always a massive crowd.  Plan ahead and get there early.

Best Lunch:  Joan’s on Third on 3rd Street

Joan’s on Third is a food mecca – half the restaurant is a gourmet market/bakery and the other half has prepared salads, sandwiches, and other dishes that are made fresh to order.  The place is always bustling and their food is GOOD.  I still dream of their delicious grilled vegetable and goat cheese sandwich.  And don’t forget to get a cupcake.  A vanilla cupcake to be exact.  It’s life changing.

Honorable Mention: The Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya on 3rd

Yummy, yummy sushi.  Get the spicy tuna on crispy rice.  This is a good celeb spotting spot as well.

Best Casual Dinner:  Little Next Door on 3rd

If you are looking for a casual dinner with a friend or a place to take family – Little Next Door is your spot.  It’s a cute French cafe where most of the waiters are actually french.  I almost always get the French Onion Soup when I dine there, although the Butternut Squash is quite amazing as well.  For a more upscale French dining experience, head next door to The Little Door.

Honorable Mention: The Original Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax

The Original Farmer’s Market has a wide array of dining options – Brazilian, French, American, Japanese, you name it, they have it.  It’s a great place to take a lot of people who have very different food tastes.

Best Date Spot: Pizzeria Mozza on Highland

The food gods must have been looking down on me because Pizzeria Mozza just opened in Newport Beach, which means I get to enjoy their squash blossoms without having to make the hour drive to LA.  Mario Batalli and Nancy Silverton brought Pizzeria Mozza to life so you know it must be good.  And it is.  Try the Goat Cheese, Leek, and Bacon pizza.

Honorable Mention:  Luna Park on La Brea.

I mean, at what other restaurant can you share Goat Cheese fondue and homemade smores with your significant other?  Didn’t think so.

Best Drinks:  El Carmen on 3rd.

I love, love, love El Carmen.  The inside of the bar has pictures of famous luchadores, and the ceiling has bamboo shaped fans.  El Carmen is best known for their blood orange margarita, but their strawberry margarita is also a favorite.

Honorable Mention: Lola’s on Fairfax.

Lola’s is technically slipping into West Hollywood territory, but their martinis are so good that they deserve a mention.  Lola’s has a great happy hour as well.

Best Bakery:  Susina on Beverly

My love affair with Susina began towards the end of my time in LA, but I’m glad I discovered them when I did.  They have delicious pastries, custom made cakes, and a wide variety of coffee and teas.  Plus the decor is oh so cute!

Honorable Mention:  Doughboys on 3rd (where else?)

Doughboys doesn’t have the name Doughboys for nothing.  And their Red Velvet cake is famous.  And quite tasty.

Red Velvet Cake get in mah Belly

These are just a few of my favorite LA eats – so next time you are in the Mid-Wilshire area, check them out and let me know what you think!

Where’s your favorite place in LA to get some good eats?