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101 Must-Try Tastes

Although the French dip was created here, and there are taco stands on just about every corner around town, no one food defines Los Angeles. It’s a sea of global flavors, local seasonality and sweet endings. Take a delicious bite out of L.A. with these 101 sips, snacks and more.
 

Chicken Dumplings at Red Medicine

[ 1 ]
Tomahawk Pork Chop at Chi Spacca

This is no ordinary pork chop. Then again, this is no ordinary restaurant. The bone-in pork chop has spare ribs, pork belly and loin in one, and the entire 42-ounce beast is finished with fennel pollen and cooked on an open flame in front of you. The loin comes pink and medium-rare; the ribs are cooked a tad longer for extra char. It’s mouthwateringly good. 6610 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.297.1133
[ 2 ]
Cavatelli alla Norcina at Bestia

Chef Ori Menashe has a way with handmade pastas, but only the cavatelli, soft handmade ricotta dumplings, have been on the menu since day one. Served with salty pork sausage and black truffles, it’s one of those dishes that makes your eyes roll with delight. 2121 E. 7th Place, L.A., 213.514.5724
[ 3 ]
The Toron at Bäco Mercat

The bäco is purely a Josef Centeno creation, a sort of taco-pita hybrid stuffed with meats, cheeses, vegetables and more. The Toron has everything: meaty oxtail hash, cheddar taters and horseradish-yogurt sauce, all stuffed in soft, housemade flatbread. 408 S. Main St., L.A., 213.687.8808
[ 4 ]
Black Sesame Ice Cream at Quenelle

After working with chefs like Sang Yoon, David LeFevre and Jordan Kahn, Pastry Chef John Park opened a tiny little sweet spot on a random corner in Burbank. Treats like black sesame ice cream, which is wonderfully robust with a toasty, rich flavor, come in handmade sugar cones with unique toppings like caramelized puffed rice. It’s off the beaten path, but worth seeking out. 2214 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 818.843.1035
[ 5 ]
Chicken Dumplings at Red Medicine

Chef Jordan Kahn may have made his name with desserts before opening this Southeast Asian fusion restaurant, but his chicken dumplings—big chicken meatballs made with pork fat and scented with lemongrass—serve as a reminder that he knows his way around savory dishes, too. Take one, wrap in a big crisp lettuce leaf, dip in the sauce and hope no one else wants the last one. 8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 323.651.5500
[ 6 ]
Curried Cauliflower at Lemonade

With myriad salad choices at this growing fast-casual, cafeteria-style local chain, the curried cauliflower with almonds and golden raisins is one that goes perfectly with everything else. With subtle flavors, a bit of sweetness and a little crunch in each bite, it’s difficult to pass up. Multiple locations
[ 7 ]
Meatballs at Rao’s Hollywood

While the original 10-table eatery burst into East Harlem in 1896, these home-style meatballs became a Rao’s trademark just a few decades ago. They’re fried first, then slow-simmered in the family-recipe marinara sauce that’s so coveted, it’s now jarred and sold around the country. 1006 Seward St., Hollywood 323.962.7267
[ 8 ]
Garlic Fries at Carlitos Gardel

Any debate about who has the best fries in town often includes this longstanding Argentinian steakhouse on Melrose. They’re crispy, thin, light and tossed in copious amounts of fresh garlic and parsley, needing no sauce or ketchup (but maybe a breath mint after). 7963 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.655.0891
[ 9 ]
Flaming Rice Balls at Seoul Sausage Co.

The cheesy kimchee rice balls studded with spicy Korean pork sausage are deep-fried and drizzled with garlic-jalapeno-Sriracha aioli. They’re all the rage at the Little Osaka shop, and made owners Ted and Yong Kim and chef Chris Oh winners on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race for good reason. 11313 Mississippi Ave., L.A., 310.477.7739
[ 10 ]
Pea Toast at Salt Air

Chef Greg Daniels has a way with specialties from the sea, but his seasonal toasts are strictly farm-to-table fare. Winter might see earthy mushrooms with creamy ricotta and lardons; and sweet pea mash, creamy cheese and onion jam is the essence of spring. 1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310.396.9333

Click here for our digital edition to read more about the other 91 Must-Try Tastes!