Where can you eat delicious food on the cheap in L.A.?
I’ve been studying this topic for years — and not just via my own wallet and belly. I’ve surveyed websites from ABClocal to Zomato, with stops at sites that specialize in L.A. (such as LAist.com, LAmag.com, and LAweekly.com), in food (Eats.com, Fodors.com, Gayot.com), in travel (TravelAndLeisure.com, Travel.Nationalgeographic.com, Travel.NYTimes.com) and in frugal living (Cheapism.com, StingyTraveller.com) – not to mention sites that you’d never expect to deal in inexpensive L.A. eats, like Law.Harvard.edu. I sorted the websites’ recommendations by ZIP code and other variables.
L.A. offers a horn o’ plenty of inexpensive munchies.
> Philippe the Original, east of downtown, wins more recommendations from more websites than any other restaurant.
> Pink’s hot dog stand, near the corner of Melrose and La Brea just south of Hollywood, is another star.
> The Apple Pan, near Westwood, has for decades offered comfort food at very comfortable prices.
> We’ve got good chains, too: Most parts of town seem to feature such local favorites as In-N-Out Burger or Original Tommy’s Hamburger, and you can find a Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles from Long Beach to Pasadena.
But I’m interested in neighborhoods, not just individual restaurants. Where can you find high concentrations of really tasty meals at appealing prices?
Most of the websites’ favorites cluster in or near the Hollywood area. It’s not my personal preference; I live pretty far from Hollywood, and I was hoping that my neighborhood would get a better showing.
But the sites have spoken.
1. For the best in cheap eats, head to the busy confluence of Hillhurst and Virgil Avenues and Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards in Los Feliz. Within a mile, you’ll find Fred 62 (open 24 hours and a specialist in anytime breakfasts) and beloved taco purveyor Yuca’s, not to mention Ricky’s Fish Tacos, Mediterranean food house Spitz, and Italian specialist Little Dom’s.
2. The corner of Third Street and Fairfax Avenue offers a budget diner’s heaven: the Farmer’s Market, home of the popular Gumbo Pot and the Mexican specialties of Loteria Grill. Within a few blocks are Canter’s deli and Italian cafeteria Andre’s.
3. In Hollywood, near the stretch where Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards cross Cahuenga Boulevard, you can find cheap-food chains such as Tender Greens, Veggie Grill and Loteria Grill; not too far away are an Original Tommy’s and an In-N-Out.
4. Eagle Rock’s Colorado Boulevard includes The Oinkster, Casa Bianca Pizza Pie, and local editions of Spitz and Original Tommy’s.
5. Westwood, home of UCLA, also has some of the costliest real estate in L.A. — and, paradoxically, some great cheap eats. The ’hood offers the popular Diddy Riese Cookies, as well as In-N-Out, Tender Greens, and The Veggie Grill. And the Apple Pan isn’t very far away.
6. On a run of Sunset Boulevard where Hollywood meets West Hollywood is possibly the best breakfast in town at The Griddle Café, plus the delicious Zankou Chicken, the popular burgers of The Counter and yet another Veggie Grill.
If your neighborhood isn’t among the above, I’m sorry. As they say at the Miss America pageant (or they should say it), it’d be nice if everyone could be a winner. But that’s not the way the inexpensive but tasty cookie crumbles.