West 3rd Street Food Worth Seeking

Cauliflower Los Angeles

Cauliflower gets the colorful spotlight at Jaffa. [Josh Lurie]

West 3rd Street, one of the Jewels of Los Angeles, stretching from Beverly Hills to DTLA. The stretch in Mid-City offers a variety of attractions, from shopping malls to boutiques and cafes. While it’s generally accepted for people to visit Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade to enjoy a variety of reasons, especially among the younger generations, where does that leave West 3rd Street’s dining quarter? If you ask me, I will point you in the direction of the Beverly Grove neighborhood. This neighborhood, situated next to the legendary Grove, is home to a restaurant row, consisting of different restaurants ranging from inexpensive to pricey, as well as local and international cuisines. Learn about 10 fine establishments in the “Restaurant Quarter” along West 3rd Street between Doheny Drive and Fairfax Avenue, a 1.3-mile stretch with impressive culinary diversity.

Establishments appear in alphabetical order instead of order of preference.

1. A.O.C.

Fried Chicken Los Angeles

Spicy Spanish fried chicken comes with romesco at A.O.C. [Josh Lurie]

Between chef Suzanne Goin and business partner Caroline Styne, the same duo behind legendary French restaurant Lucques on nearby Melrose Avenue, A.O.C. houses five-time James Beard Award recipients. This patio-centric restaurant is definitely one of West Third Street’s cool kids and specializes in “tapas” style dishes. The menu primarily consists of dishes native to the broader “Mediterranean” region and California, which make for perfect fusion, as the two regions have similar climates. If you can afford it, order a wide array of dishes, since most plates at A.O.C. are relatively small and made to share. Platters like whole roasted chicken “ode to Zuni” and grilled whole sea bream are notable exceptions.

Must Order Dishes: Spanish Fried Chicken, Farmers Plate, Potato Gnocchi

2. Belcampo Meat Co. [CLOSED]

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Belcampo Meat Co. is a butcher shop and restaurant with a serious cheeseburger. [Josh Lurie]

Belcampo Meat Co.’s West 3rd Street location is an offshoot of the larger organic meat company that Anya Fernald and Todd Robinson founded in 2012. This outpost is slightly less abundant than the Grand Central Market location in Downtown L.A., but still offers a quick taste of organic, grass-fed meat on the go. The star of this establishment, arguably, is the Belcampo cheeseburger, which guests typically enjoy with hand-cut fries. This menu allows Mid-City customers to enjoy an organic,
 unprocessed, and gourmet meal, rather than indulge in greasy fast food. Their sustainable, nose-to-tail approach allows for offerings like “meaty” salads and containers of bone broth (either chicken or beer & pork). While organic meat tends to be very pricey, Belcampo’s business model makes it possible for them to serve high quality products to locals at affordable costs.

Must Order Dishes: Belcampo Cheeseburger, Bone Broth, Tallow Fries

3. Berlins

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Eat Berlin-style döner kebab on West 3rd Street. [Josh Lurie]

To the unsuspecting guest, a trip to Berlins might be nothing short of confusing. Why would a shop, named for Germany’s capital, be serving none other than the most famous Turkish street food item, döner kebab? To answer that question, we would need to a step back in time. For you see, Germany is home to the world’s largest Turkish diaspora. On top of that, unlike many communities, Turks are nothing new to German society, having been present in the country since around WWI, when Germany and the Ottoman Empire formed an alliance, thus bringing many Turks to work in Germany. Therefore, Turkish food has become a staple of German cuisine. This shop from brothers Matthias and Simon Classen is relatively new to West 3rd Street, you will see Germans serving this shaved meat preparation with a German twist, adding flavors like curry and sauerkraut to the Turkish specialty.

Must Order Dishes: Chicken Döner with Feta, Currywurst Fries

4. C.O.D Restaurant

Eating out is supposed to be fun, but a place like McDonald’s doesn’t sound very exciting. What does sound fun? A restaurant dedicated to fusing more than one cuisine. Consider yourself lucky, because C.O.D is known for doing exactly that. C.O.D blends East Asian ingredients, predominantly Japanese, with dishes and ingredients from other continents. Uni pasta is a perfect example of this
 diverse combination. Uni, the Japanese name for the edible part of the sea urchin, is served atop spaghetti to form Italo-Japanese fusion. Jidori chicken is another fabulous creation, served here with Argentine chimichurri. If you have a vivid imagination, and some money to spend, you may be interested in a place like C.O.D. that puts creativity to the test by applying it to its plentiful cuisine. Who knows, maybe this place will end up having an Albanian-Japanese dish someday.

Must Order Dishes: Jidori Chicken, Lobster Roll, Uni Pasta

5. Gusto [CLOSED]

Despite what Mob movies may have people believe, Sicily is only a small part of the landmark nation. For example, to get a taste of Roman flavor, prepared in the traditional Roman manner, visit Gusto. This place from chef Vic Casanova serves pizza and pasta, along with other Italian-style dishes. Roman pizza is traditionally served on a wood board and often eaten with utensils. Margherita is the most common pizza, a rustic mozzarella pizza with tomato sauce and basil. Another traditional dish involves Roman-style meatballs, which are served in tomato sauce and topped with Parmesan cheese. Save room for classic tiramisu, as well as Gusto’s “coconut gelato,” actually a coconut cheesecake topped with coconut ice cream. To stay really traditional, enjoy dessert with a nice espresso. Like they say, when in Rome.

Must Order Dishes: Cacio e Pepe, Margherita Pizza, Tiramisu


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