Tacos Villa Corona
The tiny storefront of this family-owned taco counter could be easy to miss if not for the crowd always gathered in front of it during business hours. Tacos Villa Corona has been in Atwater Village since 1993 and grew in popularity when Anthony Bourdain gave it a shout-out on his show “The Layover” in 2012. Co-owner Maria Flores died in 2019, but her son and daughter continue to run it in her absence, making breakfast burritos whose fillings are perfectly proportioned inside elastic tortillas. Tender potatoes accompany star ingredients like nopales, or cactus pads juicy with a mild pickled tang.
BTW: Tacos Villa Corona is cash-only, but if you forget, there are a couple banks (Wells Fargo and Union Bank) in short walking distance.
Tacos Villa Corona, 3185 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, Calif. 90039
Though it has a small section of “sweet stuff” on its menu, Kismet is particularly for those who love savory breakfasts heavy on vegetables. Two people can split the “Turkish-ish” breakfast, which includes toasty barbari bread sprinkled with sesame seeds, surrounded by small servings of olives, dates, labneh, cucumbers, soft-boiled egg and more. For breakfast alone, the shakshuka makes a complete meal, with runny egg yolk cooling the warming tomato-based stew, and barbari bread providing crunch.
BTW: This is more of a brunch than breakfast spot; it opens at 11 a.m. on weekdays and at 10 a.m. on weekends.
Kismet, 4648 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, Calif. 90027
Revolutionario North African Tacos
Born in France to Algerian parents, Revolutionario’s owner, Farid Zadi, delivers North African dishes, like falafel and tagine, in the form of tacos and burritos. The duck hash taco is a tender, savory harmony, the potatoes soaking up the duck’s flavors and fats. Try the briks, thin, deep-fried pastries stuffed with egg, with crisp, salty edges.
BTW: After lunch, head west to Leimert Park to Eso Won Books, one of the oldest black-owned bookstores in the country.
Revolutionario North African Tacos, 1436 W. Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, Calif. 90007
As Little Tokyo quickly fills with trendy, expensive restaurants, Suehiro’s lunch special remains an oasis of affordable, homestyle Japanese food. For as little as $6.50, you can have a full meal of miso soup, rice, salad and an entree like a whole broiled pike or karaage-style fried chicken.
BTW: Follow your lunch with the coffee jelly, a kind of parfait of coffee-flavored jello, coffee syrup and cream.
Suehiro Cafe, 337 E. First St. Los Angeles, Calif. 90012
Located in the Highland Park neighborhood in a little red storefront, Town makes pizza accessible to people with a variety of diets, including vegan and gluten-free. You can find all the basic toppings here, but Town does interesting things with both vegetables and meats — try the Mushroom & Rosemary, Beauty & the Beet, or the Town Mole, which incorporates Stumptown coffee.
BTW: One side of Town Pizza is a to-go counter with limited indoor and outdoor seating; the other is a restaurant and bar with table service.
Town Pizza, 5101 York Blvd. Los Angeles, Calif. 90042
Pine & Crane
Located in a busy part of Silver Lake near Sunset Junction, this Taiwanese Chinese restaurant often has a line out the door at dinnertime, even on weekdays. The food is worth the wait, but if you want to avoid it, go early — or have your food packed to go and eat it just outside on the Sunset Triangle. Go with a group to try as many of the small dishes as possible. The mix of warm and cold, cooked and raw, is what Pine & Crane does best.
BTW: Parking can be tricky here, so once you find a spot, stay for a while and go for a walk along Sunset — browse comics at Secret Headquarters and have dessert at Pazzo Gelato.
Pine & Crane, 1521 Griffith Park Blvd. Los Angeles, Calif. 90026
Saffron & Rose Ice Cream
A third-generation family-owned shop, Saffron & Rose makes Persian-style ice cream in flavors like orange blossom, cucumber, date, and saffron with pistachio. The creamery is part of Persian Square, one of the hubs of L.A.’s Iranian community (which is the largest outside of Iran). Nearby restaurants include Cafe Glace, which specializes in Persian pizza, single-serving, bubbly breads with toppings like beef and mushroom. From here, it’s a short walk to UCLA, where you can walk the hilly campus and check out the Hammer Museum.
BTW: Try the faloodeh (thin noodles frozen in rosewater) and dress it with lemon juice and sour cherry syrup.
Saffron & Rose Ice Cream, 1387 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, Calif. 90024