Great Places to Eat Near UCLA

Tijuana tacos to Michelin level dining

Westwood Village offers UCLA students, office workers and local residents a wide range of global dining options. From Tijuana-style tacos to Michelin-level fine dining, there's a restaurant for every palate and budget within walking distance of the UCLA campus. Venture beyond the Village, and you'll find LA's mecca for Persian cuisine, an acclaimed Sichuan restaurant, and more.

Cauliflower Steak at Broxton Brewery & Public House in Westwood
Cauliflower Steak | Photo: Broxton Brewery

Broxton Brewery

Artisanal Brewers Collective - the team behind LA craft beer destinations Mohawk Bend and Tony's Darts Away - opened Broxton Brewery & Public House in the historic Janns Dome Building in October 2018.

Celebrate a UCLA victory or enjoy a post-movie pint with Broxton's veg-friendly menu, which features fire-roasted Cauliflower Steak with mint chimichurri, pickled sweet peppers and pickled onions, served on a bed of sauteed kale and farro. On Taco Tuesdays, the combo offers three tacos and a beer for $15 - choose from Fried Chicken, Smoked Brisket, Cajun Shrimp, or the vegan Grilled Corn "Ribs."

Ice Cream Sandwiches at Diddy Riese in Westwood Village
Ice Cream Sandwiches at Diddy Riese | Photo: @diddyriese, Instagram

Diddy Riese

Opened in 1983, Diddy Riese debuted its famed Build-Your-Own Ice Cream Sandwich in 1995. The combinations are endless - pick two freshly baked cookies and a Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream to create your own custom ice cream sandwich.

Cookie options include Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Walnut, Double Chocolate, Chocolate White Chocolate, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Peanut Butter, White Chocolate, and White Chocolate Macadamia.

Dreyer's flavors include Butter Pecan, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Cookie Dough, Cookies & Cream, Espresso Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Cup, Rocky Road, Strawberry, Mocha Almond Fudge, and Vanilla Bean.

Cookies can be ordered a la carte (the "Diddy Dozen" is just $5.50), along with Sundaes, $1 Fudge Brownies, scoops of ice cream, and Hawaiian Shave Ice.

Kimchi Fried Rice and Plates at Gushi in Westwood Village
Kimchi Fried Rice and Plates at Gushi | Photo: @tj_eatz, Instagram


Bruins and locals alike get their KBBQ fix without breaking the bank at Gushi, which serves up generous portions of "Gushi" (Bulgogi), Kalbi, Kimchi Pork Belly, Jap Chae and more in Plates that include rice, salad, kimchi and a free drink. Bowl options include Beef Steak or Chicken Teriyaki, Vegetarian, and Tofu (sauteed with veggies). Fried Rice selections offer Spam & Egg, Kimchi, Vegetarian, Chicken, Beef or Shrimp. There's also comfort food like Bibimbap, Yook Gae Jang, Ramen, and Yaki Udon (choice of beef, chicken, veggie or shrimp).

Double-Double Animal Style and Animal Style Fries at In-N-Out Westwood
Double-Double Animal Style and Animal Style Fries at In-N-Out Westwood | Photo: @ivyrecs, Instagram

In-N-Out Burger Westwood

Founded in Baldwin Park in 1948, the retro-style In-N-Out Burger chain is a beloved SoCal pop culture icon - a favorite of the late Anthony Bourdain, name-checked in Bosch, and much more. The bustling Westwood location boasts a Googie-inspired design and is open till 1:30am for those late night burger cravings.

Start with the classic Combo #1, then customize your Double-Double burger with options from the Not-So-Secret Menu like the iconic Animal Style: mustard-grilled patties, grilled onions, and extra pickles and spread. Ask for your burger Protein Style and it comes wrapped in hand-leafed lettuce instead of a bun - named it the best low-carb sandwich in the country.

Fries can also be ordered Animal Style, or Well-Done. If you can't decide on a chocolate, strawberry or vanilla shake, order the off-menu Neapolitan for a mix of all three flavors.

Counter seats at KazuNori Westwood
KazuNori Westwood | Photo: Marmol Radziner

KazuNori | Westwood

Acclaimed sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa (co-founder of Sugarfish) opened the first KazuNori location in Downtown LA in 2014. With a unique focus on hand rolls and the same commitment to quality as Sugarfish, the casual eatery was a huge success and led to a 1,300 square-foot sequel in Westwood, which opened on Gayley Avenue in June 2016.

The KazuNori concept is as simple as the minimalist decor - guests queue up for a spot at the 24-seat counter (first come, first-served) and choose from set menus of three to six hand rolls, priced at $14 - $27 per set. The iconic Blue Crab Hand Roll is featured in all four menus - depending on your selection, hand roll options can include Salmon, Bay Scallop, Toro, Yellowtail and Lobster. A la carte hand rolls and sashimi are also available.

Bring the KazuNori experience home with a Hand Roll Kit ($105), which serves 4-5 people and comes with everything you need to make 20 hand rolls, including four different fillings (toro, crab, yellowtail, salmon), Nozawa’s signature warm rice, seaweed, and an assortment of condiments.

Chicken Milanese at Lulu in the Hammer Museum
Chicken Milanese at Lulu | Photo: @carylchinn, Instagram

Lulu at the Hammer Museum

Opened at the Hammer Museum in November 2021, Lulu reunites two culinary legends: Alice Waters, the world-renowned chef/owner of Chez Panisse, pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, and longtime food activist; and David Tanis, the executive chef at Chez Panisse for 25 years, cookbook author, and writer of the New York Times monthly Food column, City Kitchen.

Taking over the former Audrey courtyard space, Lulu was conceived by Waters in collaboration with museum director Ann Philbin. The kitchen is helmed by Tanis, who showcases local farms that practice regenerative organic agriculture.

Featuring seasonal menus that will change daily, Lulu is currently open for lunch with a three-course prix fixe menu and a la carte options. A recent lunch menu offered antipasto, choice of Chicken Milanese or Mexican Chicken Soup, and Lemon Tart or Chocolate Pavé for dessert. A la carte selections include focaccia sandwiches like Mozzarella and Arugula with Casella’s Prosciutto and a vegetarian Eggplant Banh Mi.

Late Night Specials at Lamonica's NY Pizza in Westwood Village
Late Night Specials to-go at Lamonica's NY Pizza | Photo: @2low_n_family, Instagram


A stalwart of Westwood Village since 1980, Lamonica's NY Pizza touts pizza dough that's made in Brooklyn with NYC tap water. The claim isn't PR hype - founder John Lamonica owns a namesake frozen pizza dough company that annually produces more than 100 million pounds of dough for clients like Costco, AMF and Nordstrom.

New York expats feel right at home ordering a legit slice surrounded by subway-inspired decor, while generations of UCLA students have fueled up during finals with Lamonica's Extra Large 20" Pizzas. Bruins on a budget know the specials by heart: 2-for-1 after 5:30pm on Mondays, $13 Large 18" Pizza after 7pm (Tue-Sat), and $13 Large Cheese all day on Sundays.

Gastropub Burger at Native Foods in Westwood
Gastropub Burger at Native Foods Westwood | Photo: @allthingsbymayau, Instagram

Native Foods - Westwood

Founded in 1994, Native Foods has locations in Southern California, Oregon and Chicago. The fast-casual vegan chain features a seasonal plant-based menu with dishes made daily, and carries its philosophy through to sustainable packaging and restaurant design.

The popular Burger Combos come with a regular side; for $1.50 you can upgrade to gluten-free Sweet Potato Fries or Seasonal Soup Cup. Favorites include the Gastropub Burger (Native Foods signature burger patty, plant-based provolone, tomato bacon jam, crispy onion rings, plant-based mayo, toasted pretzel bun) and the Poppin' Jalapeño Burger, made with two Native Foods patties, plant-based cheddar and jalapeño pimento cheese, pickled jalapeños, crispy onions, mixed lettuce, and green goddess dressing on a toasted pretzel bun.

"Handhelds" showcase plant-based versions of classic sandwiches, including the Meatball Sub, Cauliflower Po'boy, and The Real Nashville Hot.

Enjoy a moment of zen with the gluten-free Buddha Bowl - teriyaki sweet potatoes, avocado, pineapple, roasted almond slices, roasted corn, daikon sprouts, green onion, and jasmine rice. There's a Foodie Kids version (for ages 10 and under) that includes a drink and side.

Spicy Beef at Northern Cafe Chinese Hot Pot in Westwood Village
Spicy Beef at Northern Cafe Chinese Hot Pot | Photo: @foodfeasters, Instagram

Northern Cafe Chinese Hot Pot

Following its dumpling spot on Gayley and noodle house on Weyburn, Northern Cafe opened a third Westwood Village location, Northern Cafe Chinese Hot Pot, on Broxton in December 2020. Guests select one of 11 individual hot pot options and choose from five levels of spice: None, Mild, Medium, Hot, and Flaming.

Hot pots are packed with ingredients, like the No. 1 Spicy Beef: sliced Angus Beef, fish tofu, crab stick, firm tofu, fried tofu skin, taro, corn, enoki mushroom, tomato, tempura, luncheon meat, beef ball, vermicelli, napa cabbage, green onion, and cilantro. Other hot pots include Seafood Tofu, Sauerkraut Lamb, Miao's Village Fermented Tomato Soup, and Fish Maw Chicken.

Pricing is $13.95 - $15.95 for lunch (includes a drink) and $14.95 - $16.95 for dinner.

Vegan Albaloo Polo at Shamshiri Grill in Persian Square
Vegan Albaloo Polo (Sour Cherry Rice) at Shamshiri Grill | Photo: @fewdiskewl, Instagram

Shamshiri Grill

In 2010, the City of Los Angeles officially recognized the intersection of Westwood Boulevard and Wilkins Avenue as Persian Square to celebrate the local community of Persian residents and businesses (aka Little Persia). "Persian Square" also refers to the area between Wilshire and Pico Boulevards, which includes numerous Persian restaurants along Westwood.

Padma Lakshmi explores Persian Square in Where The Kabob is Hot,” from Season 1 of her Taste the Nation series on Hulu. Padma visits Shamshiri Grill and makes kabob with chef-owner Hamid Mosavi, who says, “Kabob shows love and care, and brings people together.”

As Padma told Weekend Edition on NPR: "I love the kebabs at Shamshiri Grill. I love anything from that Iranian restaurant. It's wonderful if you're ever in Los Angeles. Go to Shamshiri Grill."

Along with the fantastic kabobs, Shirin Polo is a must: white or brown basmati rice is mixed with slivered almonds, pistachios, and orange peels in a sweet saffron sauce, and served with a choice of chicken or lamb shank. The popular lamb neck is only available as an option on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Another can't-miss is Tahchin, available Tuesday through Thursday - baked basmati rice cake layered with chicken or lamb, eggs, yogurt, saffron and topped with sautéed barberries.

Chef Mosavi offers a variety of vegan dishes, including Bamieh (Okra Stew), Curry, Kabob, Shirin Polo and many more.

Tea-Smoked Pork Ribs at Sichuan Impression in West LA
Tea-Smoked Pork Ribs at Sichuan Impression in West LA | Photo: @flavorsofjoy, Instagram

Sichuan Impression

Tucked into the second floor of a strip mall a couple of miles from UCLA, the third location of Sichuan Impression has a lively dining room that's perfect for groups, families, and even date night for couples that love the fiery cuisine.

The huge gatefold menu conveniently lists dishes with peppers to gauge diners' spice tolerance, ranging from mild/no peppers, to tongue-tingling and mouth-numbing (1-2 peppers), to the scorching three peppers.

Start with "Impressive" appetizers like Grandma's Pickled Cucumber, Wontons in Chili Oil, Home-Style Fried Rice (available non-spicy), and Street Corner Potato Strips - rated two peppers, but even Sichuan newbies will enjoy noshing on the spicy fries.

Properly warmed up, the table will be ready for specialties like Mapo Tofu, Toothpick Lamb, Boiled Fish with Rattan Pepper, and Sichuan Impression's most popular dish, the famed Tea-Smoked Pork Ribs. For those that can handle the three-pepper Dry Pots, there's Fried Squid, Fried Shrimp, and Fresh Bullfrog.

Dry-Aged Porterhouse at STK Steakhouse in Westwood
Dry-Aged Porterhouse at STK Steakhouse | Photo: @johndedios, Instagram

STK Steakhouse

Located at the W Hotel Los Angeles- West Beverly Hills off Hilgard, STK Steakhouse showcases high-end steak and seafood in a sleek, modern setting. The elevated dining room surrounds a central lounge area with cream-colored leather banquettes and textured crocodile tiles - theatrical lighting, mirrors and a DJ add to the vibe.

Start with a Baby Gem Caesar or Blue Iceberg with Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon and Point Reyes Blue. Raw Bar options include Oysters on the Half Shell, Jalapeño Pickled Shrimp Cocktail, Alaskan Red King Crab and Ceviche. The Shellfish Platter ($49/person, 2-person minimum) includes the Raw Bar menu plus Maine Lobster, Clams and Mussels.

Curated by the Linz Heritage Angus program, STK's a la carte steak menu starts with Small cuts (6-8oz): Filet, Wagyu Flatiron, and Spinalis. Medium cuts (10-18oz) include NY Strip, Dry-Aged Delmonico, and Cowgirl Ribeye. Go all in with a Dry-Aged Large: 28oz Porterhouse or 34oz Tomahawk. Surf & Turf pairs a 6oz Filet with Lobster Tail or Grilled Prawns. Add a classic sauce like Au Poivre, Béarnaise and Red Wine, or level up with Wagyu Umami Butter and the decadent King Crab Oscar.

Sides include a Mac & Cheese Trio (Traditional, Bacon, Lobster) and favorites like Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and Confit Mushrooms.

Carne Asada Perrón at Tacos 1986 in Westwood
Carne Asada Perrón at Tacos 1986 in Westwood | Photo: @chowyumla, Instagram

Tacos 1986 - Westwood Village

Victor Delgado and Jorge “Joy” Alvarez started Tacos 1986 as a Hollywood street cart in 2018, and have since expanded to five brick-and-mortars across the city. The Westwood Village location opened in the former Simplethings space in February 2020.

UCLA students and local office workers queue up off Kinross to order delicious Tijuana-style street tacos, quesadillas, mulitas, and vampiros.

Bestselling tacos include the Adobada, Mushroom, and the off-menu Carne Asada Perrón with crispy cheese, onions, guac, salsa and a sprinkling of beans.