Nina Harada
Nina Harada
Los Angeles, California, USA
California girl, through and through

Best Places to Calm a Craving in LA

LA is a diverse city and so is its cuisine. Fortunately, in a big city like LA you can have it all, from authentic Mexican to refined sushi to French cheeses. Here are some of my favorite places to satisfy a craving. 
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435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

One of my favorite restaurants in LA! Animal is so delicious that you're going to want to get everything on the menu, so it's best to go with a group of people so you can share many, many dishes. Almost all of the dishes are sinful (i.e. rich), like the poutine covered in gravy, the bone marrow, pig ear, chicken liver toast... is your mouth watering yet? And don't forget the bacon chocolate for dessert!

Nobu Malibu

22706 Pacific Coast Highway, Ste 18, Malibu, CA 90262

Yes, it lives up to its reputation. And I am one of the biggest sushi snobs, but I can safely say that Nobu is some of the best sushi in LA. Granted, the setting is a little ritzier being in celeb country, Malibu, than the SFV which is also known for its top notch sushi. But who wouldn't want incredible food, fresh fish, with an ocean breeze? Their jalapeno yellowtail is probably one of the more popular dishes, and it's definitely worth it. But if you can swing it, I recommend just going omakase (letting the chef choose for you).

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Mexicali Taco & Co.

702 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Okay, you might be thinking, what's so special about a taco... and especially this taco place when in LA a taco joint is a dime a dozen? Well, because this place happens to make tacos like they do in Mexico. I don't know how they do it, but their tacos have the best flavor of any taco spot I've been to in LA hands down. And then there is the quesadilla, which has some special garlic sauce that makes it out of this world. This is the taco joint you can take your foodie friends and they wont be disappointed.

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Black Hogg -- CLOSED

2852 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Black Hogg is a welcome addition to the Silverlake neighborhood as it needed a slightly more upscale joint to call their own. The menu is diverse, reflecting the chef's diverse background and the dishes are all so tasty. My favorite has got to be the uni toast. I could pop like five in my mouth if they weren't so expensive. And of course the popcorn bacon. They are strong flavors with a sophisticated take on each dish. They just recently started serving lunch, which I'm dying to check out!

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The Hollywood Roosevelt

7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028

This hotel is in the heart of Hollywood and therefore walking distance to a plethora of bars and restaurants, like Musso & Frank, Kitchen24, and Stout. Or you could just stay right where you are and have a juicy gourmet burger from the Roosevelt's on site restaurant 25 Degrees. Then once you're nice and full, go lounge by the pool and take a nap.

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The Beverly Hills Hotel

9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210-2938

I love historic LA, because amidst the glitz, the sheen, the sunshine there is a history here. The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of those places that proves it. My old roommate and I used to have a guilty pleasure of coming here when we felt like celebrating something silly and indulging in a delicious brunch at the Polo Lounge, where you feel like you're stepping back in time. I have yet to try lunch here but I can safely say that breakfast will leave you very satisfied.

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The Hotel Wilshire, a Kimpton Hotel

6317 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

This is a wonderful boutique hotel that is the perfect mix of trendy and casual. We stayed here for a friend's birthday party once and the rooms were very nice, with plush bedding and all the amenities to make you feel right at home. The best part is the roof deck pool and restaurant. I've had both breakfast and dinner here and neither disappoint. The chef used to work at the now closed Foundry on Melrose so the food is fantastic, and it's made even better with al fresco dining.

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Cheese Store of Silverlake

3926 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

This place can get dangerous if you're not careful! Why? Because they have the most amazing selection of delicious, creamy, decadent cheeses from all over. My boyfriend and I came here once to prep for a picnic date and we racked up quite the bill. We got carried away... Though it's not the place you can frequent on a weekly basis or anything, it's perfect for those special occasions when you need some real, gourmet cheeses (and wine!)

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Cookbook Los Angeles

1549 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

If you've never heard of Cookbook, you might drive right past it. It's a small storefront on the northern stretch of Echo Park Ave, but what a little gem it is! Cookbook is mostly an independent grocery store with fresh produce, but it's also a gourmet take out place with delicious sandwiches, side dishes, soups and more. It's amazing how much they offer considering how truly tiny it is. I love coming here for holiday shopping to get unique gifts, like special small batch pickles (they're really great!) or a cool cook book of course.

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Mitsuwa Marketplace

3760 South Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, United States

When I used to live in Venice, this was my goto place for everything-- groceries, snacks, lunch. Mitsuwa has a great selection of Japanese groceries but also the wonderful Japanese treats, snacks and the best instant ramen (I'm NOT talking Top Ramen). In addition to the market, there is a killer food court that is worth the trip alone. I like coming here for some udon or ramen, but there are other options like rice bowls and takoyaki (fried balls of octopus).

Follow Your Heart Market & Cafe

21825 Sherman Way Canoga Park, CA 91303

I love this market and cafe. Follow Your Heart is such the gem of the valley. When I lived in the west valley, I'd come here with my sister for their hearty juices (they can make almost any combination you want) and healthy vegan dishes. Then we'd wander the aisles of the market where they have your usual health foods like sprouted tofu and quinoa, but also food I've never seen before. It's truly a unique, gourmet, health food market without any bit of pretentiousness.

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La Brea Bakery Cafe

468 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Even if you don't live in LA, I'm sure you've had La Brea Bakery bread at some point in your life. If not, then you should! La Brea Bakery is the best, specializing in true artisan bread. My favorite is their rosemary olive oil loaf, which I've been consuming since I was a kid. They are also known for their very delicious (albeit pricey) granola. When I can afford to indulge, I always go for the La Brea granola which is sometimes sold at other supermarkets.

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3823 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Forage is the best of the latest Silverlake additions. This small, order-at-the-counter cafe always has the best, freshest dishes. You can pick a protein, chicken or steak, and two sides, which rotate seasonally. All the produce they uses actually comes form local farms, and I swear you can taste the difference! I always like to take my friends from out of town here when I want to impress them and show off what my neighborhood has to offer.

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Sage Vegan Bistro

1700 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

You hear "organic" and "vegan" and you might think, "boring." BUT, Sage is so far from dull you'll forget that you're eating at an organic vegan joint. The flavor combinations in their bowls are so delicious. My favorite is the Brazilian bowl, which has just a hint of spice and is very filling (without making you feel like you overdid it). Their juices are wonderful, as well. Really, you can't go wrong at Sage.

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Pizzeria Mozza

641 North Highland Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90036

One might think that pizza can't be gourmet but that probably means you haven't been to Mozza. Mario Batalli's casual outpost to Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza has some of the most savory pizzas I've ever had. There's one with an egg in the center that was quite memorable. I also enjoyed the one with fennel sausage. The most difficult part about coming here is having to choose just one pizza!

Last updated at Jan 18, 2015