Street-food carts, strip-center stalwarts and greasy-spoon counters are the bedrocks of the L.A. gastronomy.
Don’t believe us?
Ask the very chefs currently elevating our city’s restaurant scene.
Which we did, for this: the Eat Index, in which five of L.A.’s top toques name their favorite cheap eats in town.
Street Thai? Delicious tacos? Chicken and fries? All in there.
His cheap thrill: Dino’s
His words: "Dino's is my favorite place. I’ve been going there ever since I was a kid; I grew up not too far from that neighborhood in downtown. I’m a huge fan of acidic flavors and the 'juice' they smother the chicken and fries with is honestly one of the best seasonings I’ve ever had. It has a perfect blend of citrus, garlic and spices and goes perfectly with the charbroiled flavors of the chicken. I always ask for extra juice to make sure I can finish it all with a spoon."
Mark Peel (Prawn)
His cheap thrill: The Hat
His words: “I love grabbing an old fashioned hamburger at The Hat in Pasadena. They’ve been open for over 60 years and are a staple of the local community. I love the classic, old school feel of the space and it’s approachability. My go-to order is a double hamburger, no cheese — incredibly flavorful, juicy and delicious!”
Megan Logan (Executive Chef, Nick & Stef’s)
Her cheap thrill: Zankou Chicken
Her words: “Zankou chicken is awesome for a quick pick up dinner when my husband and I don’t feel like cooking. We usually get a whole roasted chicken that comes with hummus and pita bread and we add a couple of sides such as tabbouleh and mutabbal. It’s cheap, quick and delicious.”
Micah Wexler (Wexler's Deli)
His cheap thrill: Marisco’s Jalisco, shrimp taco
His words: “Sometimes you hit the perfect combo of textures that only last for an instant and this taco has it. Crispy and wet all at the same time, shrimp that are poppy but also creamy."
Chris Flint (Executive Chef NoMad LA)
His cheap thrill: Luv2eat
His words: “The NoMad crew and I have been traveling throughout Los Angeles, trying to eat as much as possible, and I've become obsessed with Luv2eat, the Thai spot in Hollywood. I've been probably ten times in the past three months. It's incredibly delicious and an awesome place to bring the whole team for a feast. Some of my favorites: jade noodles (huge portion, barbecued and crispy pork, duck); crab curry with rice noodles; deep-fried pork jerky, and their super-funky Isaan-style sausages. I love the heat and the acidity from the fermentation in them. Last time I was there, I finally had their amazing fried chicken: perfectly-crunchy with a sweet-chili dipping sauce and sticky rice.”