La Fonda Antioquena
5125 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Colombian food is a rare commodity in Los Angeles these days, what with the recent closings of Chibcha in Echo Park and Café Colombia (and its fabulous ajiaco santafereño) in Burbank.
Thankfully, for those craving an arepa fix, La Fonda Antioquena is still standing in Hollywood. Less Bogotá and more Medellin, La Fonda forgoes Colombia’s most famous soup, (the aforementioned ajiaco) in favor of a fantastic oxtail sancocho—with meat so tender it sloughs off the bone. Both Traditionalists and those unfamiliar with Colombian food will be equally pleased with the bandeja paisa—Colombia’s national dish—a massive plate of pork, beans, fried egg, plantains, and other meat-stuffs. Bring your appetite or be prepared to leave with a doggy bag.
2771 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Tender grilled octopus? Check. Homemade baklava? Check. Charming, elderly Greek proprietor? Check. Enough garlic to ward off an army of vampires? Check.
What else do you need, really? This massive Greek dining hall in LA’s Pico Union district has stood the test of time thanks to the hospitality of its owners and dishes like the roasted lamb and feta hero—voted one of Los Angeles Magazine’s “Top 17” sandwiches in the entire city. Pro tip: every Thursday Papa Cristo’s hosts a “Big Fat Greek” feast, with wine tasting, a live Bouzouki player and belly dancing. Greece just so happens to play Japan on Thursday, June 19. Call to reserve your spot. And best to skip lunch. You’re going to need the extra room.
Nkechi African Café
2717 W Manchester Blvd.
Inglewood, CA 90305
Despite a prominent 2012 visit from the Ivorian ambassador to Los Angeles, in an effort to strengthen business relations between the city and his country, Cote d'Ivoire still does not have a large presence in the Southland. The Ivorian consulate on Wilshire recently shuttered and San Francisco has established itself as California’s hub for Ivorian ex-pats. For those craving a taste of the famous and fabulous Ivorian chicken stew Kedjenou, you are unfortunately not going to have much luck finding it in LA. That said, certain regional West African dishes can be found, as long as you’re not a stickler for complete Ivorian authenticity. Nkechi African Café in Inglewood serves excellent Jollof rice with mutton—one of the most popular dishes in Cote d'Ivoire. The preparation of the dish may lean more towards Nigerian sensibilities—not too many veggies—but it’s delicious nonetheless. And a day with jollof rice of any kind is far better than a day without.
327 E 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
The inevitable lines out front are evidence that there is no better place for traditional Japanese ramen in Los Angeles. Located in the heart of Little Tokyo, Daikokuya’s ramen sports a thick, pork bone broth made from over 20 ingredients that has become the stuff of local legend and spawned countless imitators. Yes, you could order the delicious Teriyaki eel bowl, or the massive shredded pork cutlet, and be perfectly happy. But, let’s get real, you’re here for the ramen. Get yourself a massive bowl of porky goodness, take your time with it, and soak in the atmosphere. Don’t forget to bring cash. Daikokuya doesn’t take credit cards.