The 48-Hour Self-Guided Foodie Tour of Los Angeles

Sea urchin spaghetti at Bestia | Photo by Joshua Lurie

If your food-crazed friend or family member only has 48 hours to spend in Los Angeles and is eager to experience the best food and drink L.A. County has to offer, you have to be strategic to cover more ground in less time. Learn about 17 institutions, trendsetters, or multi-cultural stops that will keep your beloved out-of-towner coming back for more.

Biscuits with dulce de leche at Playa Provisions | Photo by Joshua Lurie

DAY ONE: 9 a.m. – Playa Provisions

Chefs Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts have carved out quite a niche in Playa del Rey, the sleepy seaside neighborhood that helps connects L.A. proper to the South Bay. They’ve got The Tripel gastropub and Tripli-Kit culinary shop up the street, but Playa Provisions is the main draw. This multi-faceted compound features Dockside restaurant, Grain whiskey bar, Small Batch ice cream shop, and King Beach café. Grab a seat at a communal table and fuel up with porchetta and eggs, apple butter waffles, or a knockout breakfast sandwich with turkey bacon sausage, Gruyere, collard greens, avocado and egg. Pastry chef Kristin Feuer helps fill the counter with temptations like donuts, pretzel croissants, and biscuits with dulce de leche. They’ve also got a full coffee bar featuring Victoria beans, which should help you get acclimated to L.A.

Crab cake at Fishing With Dynamite | Photo by Joshua Lurie

DAY ONE: 11:30 a.m. – Fishing With Dynamite

Chef David LeFevre has clearly taken well to Manhattan Beach. The Wisconsin native is also executive chef and co-owner of Manhattan Beach Post and The Arthur J steakhouse with the Simms brothers (Mike and Chris) on the same street. Fishing With Dynamite is his airy corner outpost with a small raw bar, stylish food-focused art, and some of the most creative seafood in L.A. Start with shellfish platters that range in size from The SS Minnow to The Mothershucker. Seafood options fall into two categories: Old School or New School. Meaning you can just as easily order textbook New England clam chowdah’, Maryland blue crab cake, or grilled octopus with date-tomato ragu. Handwritten specials also dot the menu. Be sure to order David’s Mom’s Cape Cod Squash Rolls, which come with rosemary butter.

Flight of brioche donuts at The Strand House | Photo by Joshua Lurie

DAY ONE: 1:30 p.m. – The Strand House

Fishing With Dynamite definitely benefits from a sea breeze, but to get the full effect, head around the corner to The Strand House, Michel Zislis’ two-tier restaurant with prized views of the Pacific Ocean and Manhattan Beach Pier. Pastry chef Stephanie Franz started making donuts in 2015, and they’re doozies. Better yet, you can get a flight of raised brioche donuts in flavors like Tahitian vanilla bean, strawberry, and caramel sea salt.

Feminist Tripel at Monkish Brewing | Photo by Joshua Lurie

DAY ONE: 4 p.m. – Monkish Brewing

Torrance is a hotbed for craft beer, with breweries like Strand, Smog City, HopSaint and Monkish Brewing helping to form a particularly crafty corridor. Monkish Brewing, an industrial park destination from theologian Henry Nguyen and wife Adriana, offers some of the most interesting pours in L.A. The Belgian inspired brewhouse promises “Beer, Hope, Love.” Monkish pours 12 taps of Belgian-style beers, several brewed with aromatic ingredients like elderflowers (Crux), hibiscus (Feminist) and jasmine flowers (Lumen). Nguyen also experiments with wild cultures like brettanomyces. Recent offerings include Haiku de Saison, a vibrant, tart saison aged in white wine oak vats.

Primary image for Venice Grind

DAY ONE: 5:30 p.m. – Venice Grind

In Mar Vista, Demetrios Mavromichalis has cornered the market on specialty coffee. The laidback shop with art-lined walls and spacious back patio is a neighborhood hub for creative types and cyclists. Sightglass Coffee fuels espresso drinks with splashes of artistry, along with pourover coffee.

Peads & Barnetts pork chop at Hatchet Hall | Photo by Joshua Lurie

DAY ONE: 7 p.m. – Hatchet Hall

Nobody represents Southern food better in L.A. than chef Brian Dunsmoor. He and front of house partner Jonathan Strader have created a progressive showcase for seasonal food at Hatchet Hall. The sprawling restaurant is named for hatchet-wielding temperance activist Carrie Nation, but Hatchet Hall is far less menacing. The bar features oysters and country ham of different ages, from different Southern states, including Edwards from Virginia, and Johnston from North Carolina. A wood-burning grill works wonders on everything from hanger steak to carrots. Seasonal vegetables are also a must, as are limited edition benne yeast rolls and the Peads & Barnetts pork chop. Wine director Maxwell Kelley Leer is a high-energy wild card who’s just as likely to pour Tempranillo as he is white wine with “power pellets” (aka Skittles).

Cocktails at The Corner Door | Photo by Joshua Lurie

DAY ONE: 9:30 p.m. - The Corner Door

Beau du Bois has been a constant source of inspiration behind the bar at this restaurant, which is conveniently located next to Hatchet Hall. Yes, The Corner Door serves food, but cocktails are the main draw. Brick walls frame a boomerang-shaped bar, strategically appointed banquettes and a communal table are all options for Shaken, Stirred and Seasonal cocktails, which all come with tasting notes like “aromatic tiki notes” and “campfire notes.” Compelling options include the Taco Truck, a smoky drink with mescal, pineapple, cinnamon infused Campari, and sweet vermouth.

Steak frites at Father's Office | Photo by Joshua Lurie

DAY ONE: 11 p.m. – Father’s Office

Sang Yoon is the godfather of L.A. gastropubs, and the Helms Bakery outpost of Father’s Office is even more impressive than his Santa Monica original. The sleek, elevated space features a bar with mirror image craft beer and wine taps, 36 per side. The infamous burger incorporates caramelized onions, applewood smoked bacon compote, Gruyere, Maytag blue cheese and arugula on a baguette. Steak frites are far less famous, but just as notable, with Prime hanger steak served with bacon butter and crispy shoestring fries.

Primary image for Cake Monkey Bakery

DAY TWO: 9 a.m. - Cake Monkey Bakery

Pastry chef and business partner Lisa J. Olin built their reputation by supplying specialty coffeehouses. In 2015, they finally opened a retail bakery in Mid-City with a pastel pink façade, white walls lined with old recipes, and a neon pink “Enjoy Life Eat Cake” sign. Cake Monkey is best known for gourmet takes on childhood treats, including pop pies and cakewiches. You’ll find chocolate babka and croissants in the morning, plus sizable slabs of cider roasted apple pie with double cheddar crust and malted marble cake.

Primary image for Paramount Coffee Project

DAY TWO: 10 a.m. – Paramount Coffee Project

A great white shark signals your arrival at this fashionable coffee bar from an Australian dream team. Jim Ng (Paramount House), Mark Dundon (Seven Seeds) and Russell Beard (Reuben Hills) have brought a Sydney vibe to a trendy stretch of Fairfax. Their concrete and wood café features a multiple coffee roaster line-up, including beans from companies you won’t find anywhere else in L.A., of course including Reuben Hills. If you’re a caffeine teetotaler, PCP also makes vegemite and buttermilk shakes and charred limeade.

Jon and Vinny’s

DAY TWO: 11 a.m. – Jon & Vinny’s

Right down the block, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo have delivered refined Italian-American food to L.A. The airy blonde wood space features an open kitchen and managing partner Helen Johannesen’s wine shop in back. Pizzas feature crisp crusts and come with both traditional and atypical toppings. L.A. Woman is a supercharged Margherita with tomato sauce, basil, olive oil, sea salt, and a big creamy dollop of burrata on each slice. Textbook house-made pastas include bucatini with cacao e pepe and linguini and clams. Marinara braised meatballs, served with rich garlic bread and ricotta, is another star menu item


DAY TWO: 1 p.m. – Jitlada

You could easily fill up at Jon & Vinny’s, but leave a bit of spare room for some of the best Thai food in the U.S. Chef Tui Sungkamee and sister Jazz Singsanong shepherd a unique and incendiary Southern Thai menu, which has expanded exponentially over the years. Signature dishes include moderately spiced coco mango salad with cashews, shaved onion, shrimp and diced garlic. Steamed green lip mussels arrive in a lip-tingling lemongrass broth with chilies and Thai basil. The siblings have also been known to incorporate exotic ingredients like crocodile and fish kidneys, if you dare.

Hamburger at Everson Royce Bar | Photo by Joshua Lurie

DAY TWO: 5:30 p.m. - Everson Royce Bar

Randy Clement from Silverlake Wine and longtime Mozza chef Matt Molina, who were hired a day apart at the late, great Campanile, have teamed on a wondrous Arts District hangout. Molina is creating crave-worthy dishes like hamburgers, barbecued chicken thighs, and flaky buttermilk biscuits. Clement is pairing beautiful wines from the adjacent wine shop, and former Soho House bar star Chris Ojeda is cranking out balanced cocktails. Bonus: Everson Royce Bar houses a huge sun-soaked back patio with picnic tables, blue bocce court, and sky views.

Sea urchin spaghetti at Bestia | Photo by Joshua Lurie

DAY TWO: 7 p.m. – Bestia

This Mediterranean-influenced Italian restaurant may reside down an Arts District dead end, but that can’t stop Bestia, a juggernaut from chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis. The industrial brick, wood and steel space features meat hook chandeliers, an open kitchen, and endless energy. The kitchen really knows how to crank out flavorful, nose-to-tail food, including house-made salumi, wood-roasted lamb neck, spinach gnochetti bolstered with roasted bone marrow, and pan-roasted chicken gizzards. Wood-fired pizzas are also some of the best in town, as are the deluxe pastas. Save room for Chef Gergis’ seasonal desserts, which demonstrate finesse and might involve spiced chestnut zeppole with whipped cream and coffee ice cream.

Arts District Brewing Co.

DAY TWO: 9 p.m. – Arts District Brewing

This brewery from downtown’s dominant 213 Group and Blue Palms Brewhouse proprietor Brian Lenzo has a lot to love. The former Crazy Gideon’s space is now like craft beer Coney Island, with skee-ball, ping-pong, darts, and cornhole. Better yet, the space isn’t kitschy in the least, with a central bar, seamlessly integrated brewing equipment, a covered outdoor patio, and a resident Fritzi Dog outpost. Brewmaster Devon Randall’s nuanced beers include Busy Bee honey golden ale and Kablamo rye IPA.