New York Instagrammers love their pizza, but the food scene in Los Angeles has an entirely different vibe. Walking up and down the streets of Manhattan or hopping on the subway in search of the perfect slice is easy enough. But in L.A., things are a little more complicated.
First, you’ll have to take a traffic-filled drive to your destination. Second, finding parking can be a bitch. And third, if it’s a popular spot during peak eating hours, expect to wait on top of all that. And afterwards, of course, except another traffic-jammed drive home, this time in a food coma. #Success.
Even though these seven L.A.-based Instagrammers typically experience first-class treatment in La La Land (read: food whenever and wherever they like), they say these spots have food so amazing, they don’t mind waiting—just like the rest of us.
1. Howlin' Ray's
“The best chicken sandwich in Los Angeles is located in a little strip mall in Chinatown. Hands down. The line wraps around the building and back again, and people wait for 45 minutes to 2 hours, easily, every day of the week. The staff is amazing, and they roll out sandwiches like a tight knit team. Chef Johnny seriously knew what he was doing when he decided to bring Nashville style fried chicken to Los Angeles. To skip the line, you can pre-order, but they have limited spots and sometimes you have to order months ahead. But seriously, the sandwich is worth the wait, and above all if you get a chance to sit inside, the customer service and atmosphere of this small spot is worth it as well. Ask for extra pickles if you can't handle spice. There's a 'howlin' flavor that will make you cry.” – Soy Nguyen, @foodwithsoy (more than 20k followers)
2. Tacos Tu Madre
“The Honey Sriracha Fried Chicken Breakfast Burrito is loaded with tater tots, fried egg, fried chicken, honey Sriracha sauce and truffle guacamole. There are so many bursts of flavor with every bite. And let's be real—how could you ever go wrong with a breakfast burrito? You can't. In addition to the staple tacos like carne asada and crispy fish, Tacos Tu Madre serves fusion tacos like Korean BBQ and Ahi Tuna Poke as well. All tacos can also be ordered as a burrito, which is great for me, because I'm a huge sucker for burritos. The place is like a modern-day taco stand, where you have to place your order for tacos at the window outside. The walls are super colorful and adorned with fun street art. The Los Feliz and Larchmont locations even sport a neon sign stating ‘Make Tacos Not War’—words to live by. There is both indoor and outdoor seating at all locations, but you'll always find people eating standing up, sitting curbside, or taking the food to-go.
Depending on the time of day, you'll find different types of crowds waiting in line: sometimes students, sometimes families with their children. Since Tacos Tu Madre is open ‘til midnight, you'll often find the drunk crowd lining up for their late-night taco/burrito fix. I've seen Cameron Diaz there twice, and she was once standing in line, right in front of me. If celebrities are standing in line for these tacos, then they must be worth it, right?” – @losangeles_eats (more than 412k followers)
3. Petit Trois
“Unless you show up here at 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday night, chances are you are waiting more than an hour to grab a seat. Since Petit Trois is only a 21-seat restaurant, you have to be very strategic when you are deciding to eat here, but boy is it worth it. I would wait two hours for the Steak Frites with Cognac Pepper sauce because the steak is cooked to perfection, the sauce is delicious, and dipping the fries in is amazing. I have to say, I probably only wait in line for this every two months, but that is only because of my health, and [that] does not speak to how many times a month I crave this. I love sitting at the bar at this restaurant because you can see the chef cooking everything right in front of you, and it tends to add to the experience. Not sure I have had a dish that compares to this particular one anywhere else in LA." – Caroline McKay, @forkfeed (more than 40.7k followers
4. Bay Cities
“A weekend just isn’t complete without Bay Cities, an old-school Italian deli and market that’s been around since the '20s. After taking over 15 minutes to park, you’ll be greeted by a massive crowd in front of the deli counter and grab a number. It says No. 12. A guy yells out No. 83. I’ll wait, and you know everyone else will, too. Bay Cities is known for the sandwich of all sandwiches—The Godmother. Loaded with five different meats, and a ton of other rad things, this sandwich is truly a beast. On top of The Godmother, I often mind myself ordering a custom sando with turkey and soppressata on their house Italian roll—crunchy/chewy/soft all at the same time—with ‘the works’, of course. There are tables outside, but for a pro tip: call to order ahead, hop in an Uber, walk to the back for pick-up, and make your way to the beach. Don’t forget some marinated artichokes and a bottle of wine.” – Sydney Yorkshire, @whatcouldbebutter (more than 17.1k followers)
5. Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong
“I have, and will always stand in line for Korean BBQ. The restaurant is located in a small plaza in Koreatown. The waiting starts before you even reach the restaurant because there's a line to valet your car if you're lucky enough to get there before the lot is full. After you put your name down with the hostess, the wait to be seated can take up to 1.5 to 2 hours. By this time, you're starving, so thankfully, when you get to your table, all the salad, soup, and side dishes (banchan) are already set out for you—ready to nibble on as you order your meats. The food is worth the wait because not only do they serve quality meats that they grill for you, at the center of your table, but the grill is surrounded by a cheese corn moat. As the grill heats up, the mozzarella and corn melt into a beautiful puddle of cheesiness that you can dip your meat in! I also love the banchan that they have, including the radish I use to wrap my meat, kimchi, and cheese in. My favorite meat that they serve is their seasoned short rib. It's so tender and juicy! This restaurant is sit-down only. Pro tip: If you plan on going somewhere after where you don't want to smell like meat, then try to get a table outside, so your clothes and hair are not marinating in Korean BBQ smoke.” – June Quan, @stirandstyle (more than 114k followers)
6. Salt & Straw
“If you’ve ever walked down Abbot Kinney in Venice, you’ll know exactly where to find Salt & Straw. Not an hour of the day goes by where there isn’t a line. Not only does the line circle in the store, but outside and around the corner! One step into the store and the whiff of sugar and ice cream will have you absolutely mesmerized. S&S is known for their large scoops and even larger cones, but the gluten-free should fear not. Countless flavors of ice cream are gluten-free, and an order in a cup is just as delicious! I stop by Salt & Straw every time I am on Abbot Kinney, even when I don’t want it. It’s impossible to walk by and not go in. The line is longest on weekends, which is to be expected, so I recommend going during the week if you’re local! There isn’t any seating in the store. Once you are served, you should grab and go stroll down Abbot Kinney or sit on the benches outside to enjoy. With Los Angeles’ heat, it’s no wonder why there are so many ice cream spots in the city. If the line is too long and you don’t have it in you to wait, walk a couple hundred yards down the street to the Van Leewan Ice Cream truck and indulge in the Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.” – Nicole Cogan, @nobread (more than 132k followers)
7. Salt & Straw
“Salt & Straw's artisan ice cream changed my life. This Portland chain came to L.A. a few years ago and now has five different scoop shops in SoCal, all in super trendy neighborhoods—Venice, Arts District, etc.—and all with equally lengthy lines. One bite and you'll agree with me—this ice cream is worth the hype. I manage to get Salt & Straw at least once a week, which wouldn't sound like such a big deal, except for that fact that I live about an hour away from any of their locations. Yep, it's worth the drive and worth the line. My personal favorite is their Honey Lavender ice cream, served in a homemade waffle cone with pastel rainbow sprinkles, of course. Every one of their handmade flavors is exquisite and truly unlike any other ice cream in the world. From Avocado Strawberry, to Olive, and Goat Cheese, there's definitely a flavor for every palate. If you go during the day, you can probably beat the rush, but any weeknight or weekend day is sure to be pretty packed. I've seen lines wrapping around several blocks but they keep the line moving pretty quickly. The smell of the waffle cones and endless free ice cream samples make it absolutely worth the wait. The anticipation is half the fun.” – Kaitlin Orr, @carnivorr (more than 134k followers)
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