Great Places to Eat Near UCLA

Grilled Porterhouse at STK Los Angeles

 |  Photo:  Joshua Lurie

Westwood Village now offers plenty of interesting dining options. You’ll also find great Persian food and some modern restaurants south of Wilshire, but for the purposes of this story, we’re sticking north of Wilshire in Westwood Village. Learn about 14 of our favorite area restaurants, most of which are within walking distance of UCLA’s campus.

Margherita pizza with shredded chicken breast and Fontina at 800 Degrees | Photo by Joshua Lurie

800 Degrees Pizza - Westwood Village

Chef Anthony Carron and Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman launched the first outpost of their customizable pizza concept behind the Hammer Museum. The space features a towering ceiling lined with rust colored panels, massive chandelier, marble counter, faux marble tables, cafeteria style line, wall mounted pizza boxes, and twin wood-burning ovens framed with white tile. The wall menu offers suggestions, or you can build your own pizza. If you’re down for whatever, give in to the Pizza of the Day, one of 53,148 combinations, based on existing ingredients, available 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Monday through Friday at a 50% discount. We received the Margherita with shredded chicken breast and Fontina. Request a container of chili oil to drizzle atop your pizza.

BLT at Ammo at the Hammer | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Ammo at the Hammer Museum

Amy Sweeney, who has found a second life for Ammo in Hollywood, has created a streamlined version of her concept in The Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center courtyard. Ammo’s café features stylish chairs, and roll up glass and steel doors that open to a planter-lined concrete patio with umbrella-shaded seating. At lunch, the meal de resistance at the Hammer, Ammo at the Hammer primarily features sandwiches and salads. Enticing options include house-cured salmon to start, followed by a BLT or “famous” turkey meatloaf with whipped potatoes and sautéed kale. Ammo at the Hammer also hosts weeknight happy hour and weekend brunch with different menus.

Grapefruit green tea at CoCo Fresh Juice & Tea

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

CoCo Fresh Juice & Tea - Westwood

This Taiwan import has found success around L.A. by committing to fresh juice and making boba and grass jelly in-house. Their Westwood Village outpost houses red pleather couches, geometric wrought iron chandeliers, a white Formica counter with cushioned stools, and walls made with wood panels and stone. CoCo specializes in fresh fruit drinks with tea and citrus. Grapefruit green tea contains pulpy Texas Red juice and squishy tapioca pearls. They also sell milk teas, fruit slushes and seasonal winter melon.

Ice cream sandwich at Diddy Riese

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Diddy Riese

Diddy Riese has offered build-your-own ice cream sandwiches in Westwood Village since 1983, appeasing UCLA students with house baked cookies and Dreyer’s ice cream. Owner Mark Perry’s crew makes cookies in flavors such as white chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and sugar cinnamon, with ice creams like butter pecan, peanut butter cup and mint chip. Bonus: the top cookie need not match the bottom cookie.

Galbi with kimchi fried rice at Gushi | Photo by Joshua Lurie


This Korean comfort food stand dates back to 1999. The open-air space features a black awning and small patio. Order at a window and receive a mountain of food in a Styrofoam container. Gushi is what the owner calls bulgogi, thin-sliced, marinated and griddled beef strips. Beyond that, you’re looking at variations on a theme. Plates, bowls and a choice of fried rice are all available with toppings like chicken teriyaki, kimchi pork belly or tofu. We’d suggest galbi, bone-in marinated short ribs, which are thin-sliced and sport tantalizing sears. Gushi also sells udon plates and Korean comfort food classics like bibimbap, spicy rice cakes, and yook gae jang (spicy beef soup).

Spiffy Tiffy at Ike's Place

Ike's Place Sandwiches

Order at the counter of this San Francisco sandwich shop from Ike Shehadeh. The space features a blue and yellow color scheme, tile floor, open kitchen, racks of Zapp's potato chips, and sun-soaked patio seating. They make close to 300 sandwiches, including options named for celebrities and athletes like Paul Reubens, Kevin Bacon and Mark Cuban, plus a number of vegan sandwiches. You can create your own sandwich with a choice of "world famous" Dutch crunch, French, SF sourdough, whole wheat, or gluten free bread. They also have an ironic "secret" menu on the wall. We enjoyed Spiffy Tiffy with pulled Halal chicken breast, grilled mushrooms, avocado, pesto, and Provolone and Pepper Jack cheeses on Dutch crunch bread.

Double Double at In-N-Out Burger

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

In-N-Out Burger Westwood

In-N-Out is an iconic family run business that Harry Snyder started in Baldwin Park in 1948. This retro chic branch has a huge logo out front, glass, and steel, red and yellow design. A patio touts round tables and benches. A white and red interior features the restaurant name in huge red letters, along with white tiles sporting signature swaying red palm tree. Order at the counter from an overhead menu. The burgers and fries are textbook and made to order. In-N-Out also has a famous “secret” menu that’s plastered across the Internet and allows for grilled onions, animal-style fries and Neapolitan milkshake.

Udon at Musashiya

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie


The latest concept from Japan-based company Justice Foods focuses on udon and honors legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi. The space features light wood, paper lanterns that resemble kites, shelves of books and teapots, and plasticized dishes immortalized in the window. House-made udon noodles are available either cool or in hot water. Tsukemen-style is a particular strength, with miso broth enriched with sesame seeds, soy broth with simmered beef, and spicy soy milk broth loaded with crumbled pork. Udon also stars in noodle soups, including carbonara with bacon, cheese and a vivid farm egg. Noodle-free dishes include chicken karaage, an assortment of tempura items, and hug rolls filled with sometimes zany ingredients like hot dogs. Sake is listed with a handy flavor chart.

Grilled chicken sandwich at Napa Valley Grille | Photo by Joshua Lurie

This corner restaurant with an inviting patio features the seasonal cooking of Executive Chef Andrew Bice. The restaurant, part of the Tavistock Restaurant Collection, features a glass framed patio with black umbrellas, open kitchen, bar area with mottled yellow walls and strings of lights, wraparound dining room with paintings of vineyards, and glass fronted wine closet. Salads, burgers and sandwiches like the grilled chicken with Brie give way to more ambitious fare at dinner, including a pork chop with apple mustard jus; and branzino with purslane salad, roasted cauliflower and sauce vierge. Regardless of the time of day, be sure to get up close and personal with Napa Valley Grille’s chimichurri fries, which are tossed with parsley, mint, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper.

Sorta Torta at Simplethings | Photo by Joshua Lurie

simplethings sandwich & pie shop

This café is part of a burgeoning sandwich and pie chain that now has four locations across L.A. Their Westwood Village space features brick walls, sidewalk seats under a brown awning, and a well-lit pie case by the register. Yes, they have a handy online grid, complete with cartoon emblems, that breaks down which days of the week they’ll serve pies like coconut cream, pumpkin streusel and French silk. Popular sandwiches center on roast beef and egg salad. Their Thanksgiving sandwich combines roast turkey, cranberry chutney, jalapeño cornbread stuffing, and sage gravy. Butcher paper also touts specials like the self-effacing Sorta, Torta? with pulled pork, cumin cole slaw, red onions, avocado, chile jam, and sour cream on a michetti roll.

Peanut butter and jelly doughnut at Stan's Donuts

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Stan's Donuts

Stan Berman founded this Westwood Village institution across from the famed Bruin and Fox Westwood Village movie theaters in 1965. Now he shares a corner space with Flame Broiler. Stan’s is famous for peanut butter doughnuts, accented with chocolate, banana and raspberry jelly, though you shouldn’t sleep on their fritters or colorful “Simpsons” style rings. If you’re lucky, you may still spot Berman sitting on a stool, holding court.

Grilled Porterhouse at STK Los Angeles

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

STK Los Angeles

Chef Robert Liberato presides over this steakhouse in the W Hotel, which The ONE Group relocated from West Hollywood in summer 2015. The retooled space features flashy black and white decor, including a DJ deck by the bar, a raised dining room with a white brick walls, round black booths with white cushions, stylish floor scratches that resemble Spiro graph art, and a menacing wall of faux white steer horns. Complimentary rolls arrive with slathered with blue cheese and served with chive oil for dipping. Compelling starters include jumbo lump crab salad with grapefruit, cubed cantaloupe and hearts of palm. Steaks are available with luxurious toppings like King crab “Oscar,” foie gras and lobster, or simple sauces like Béarnaise and STK bold. We’re particularly enamored with the grilled Porterhouse, which sports a winning sear, rosy center and pairs well with au poivre. Compelling sides including Mac & Cheese with cheddar, Parmesan and a bubbly crust, and broccolini seasoned liberally with olive oil and shaved garlic.