Hidden Gems of Summer dineL.A.

Summer dineL.A. July 13-27, 2018

Summer dineL.A. Dinner at Lao Tao: Vegan Tian-la Tofu with Rice, Mushroom Oh Ah Jian (Taiwanese Omelette), Sweet Potato Fries, Baby Got Bok Salad, Five Spice Egg, Ginger Limeade | Instagram by @laotaostreetfood

Summer dineL.A. 2018 is upon us, and the food fans among us (this is L.A., it’s everyone) are carefully creating spreadsheets and cross-referencing locations with their friends. It’s important business, deciding which restaurants must be visited during this brief time when every place that's participating is offering a once-in-a-lifetime - well, twice-in-a-year - deal. There are a lot of big name restaurants on the Summer dineL.A. list, but there are some eateries that maybe don’t get as much shine as the famous places - but they’re absolutely great. Be sure to include these hidden gems in your dineL.A. plans.

25 Degrees

There was a period about 10 years ago when high-end burger joints were opening left and right across Los Angeles. Many of them did not survive, but 25 Degrees keeps trucking along, still serving great, peppery burgers with interesting toppings. And those spiked shakes. Don’t indulge and drive: they’re delicious and come with a heavy pour. The restaurant’s location, right on Hollywood Boulevard in the Hollywood Roosevelt lobby, makes it seem a bit tourist-trappy. But those burgers and shakes are highly recommended.

Crab Lumpia at Bone Kettle | Instagram by @bonekettle

Bone Kettle

It seems dismissive to call Bone Kettle a soup restaurant, but this Pasadena favorite really does specialize in thoughtfully-made broth in both vegan and bone varieties. For the dineL.A. menu, it’s serving a choice of tempeh, ginger chicken and sirloin or oxtails. Because this is a Southeast Asian restaurant, all the small plates are delicious too, be it crab lumpia or chicken wings with charred lime. Honestly, you might need to hit up Bone Kettle for both lunch and dinner. This one’s not meant to be a Pasadena secret for long.

Steak 'n Stein

Pico Rivera is L.A.’s land of classic restaurants, and Steak ‘n Stein might be the brightest star in town. Open since 1946, it hasn’t changed much: salads and baked potatoes are prepared tableside, and you can get a side of cabbage if you like. They knew about fermentation before it was trendy! Not many people outside of the southeast sector of L.A. County know about Steak ‘n Stein, but it’s worth the trip to this restaurant that’s a special-occasion standby for locals. Come early and sit around the firepit in the lounge before moving on to dinner, where you’ll probably get cheesy bread if you smile charmingly enough at your server.


No one is quite sure whether to pronounce Industriel with a French accent, or what. But, who cares - the food is good! Go for the dineL.A. lunch to try the restaurant’s take on the cheeseburger, one of L.A.’s native dishes, or for dinner to try the caramel tart - a new play on one of our favorite dessert ingredients.

Summer dineL.A. Dinner at Lao Tao: Vegan Tian-la Tofu with Rice, Mushroom Oh Ah Jian (Taiwanese Omelette), Sweet Potato Fries, Baby Got Bok Salad, Five Spice Egg, Ginger Limeade | Instagram by @laotaostreetfood

Lao Tao

Chinatown’s Far East Plaza gets a lot of attention these days, as it houses some of the most delicious and interesting restaurants in Los Angeles, like Howlin’ Ray’s and LASA. But some people don’t know there’s a second floor! And on that floor is Lao Tao, a low-key Taiwanese restaurant that serves a variety of classic treats, like popcorn chicken and noodle soup. If they have the beef gravy poutine, add it to your order.

Pez Cantina

One of the greatest things about restaurants in L.A. is they can take a snack not often associated with fine dining and say “look! This is worthy of respect!” One of those items: the potato taquito, a deep-fried treasure that is showing up at more sit-down restaurants every day, and something that Pez Cantina (confusing-for-gringos name, good food) has wisely added to its dineL.A. menu. That, the salmon with artichokes and clams, and the tres leches cake, and you’re in a coastal Mexican cuisine paradise. Ask for a table outside when you make your reservation.

Grilled Mushroom Ssam at Wolfdown | Instagram by @foodgps

Silver Lake may be L.A.’s trendiest neighborhood (brunch time on any given Saturday is an international parade of interestingly-dressed people), but people often forget about the area north of the reservoir. Wolfdown would probably do great business in Downtown L.A. but it’s located in a former pizzeria, and people don’t expect the culinary practitioners quietly working behind the door. The four-course dineL.A. menu contains at least one ingredient you’ve never heard of, but despite the wide-ranging grocery list manages to be a cohesive, Korean- and Japanese-inspired dinner.