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Eye on L.A. takes you on a gourmet adventure

March 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles is known for its incredible mix of cultures and neighborhoods representing practically every part of the world. With the help of Los Angeles Magazine, Eye on L.A. shows you how to dine around the world without ever leaving the city.

Japanese Cuisine

The gorgeous Yamashiro Restaurant in Hollywood is a favorite spot, with views overlooking Los Angeles. For three decades, guests have enjoyed Yamashiro's Japanese ambience and highly acclaimed menu. Their new menu features CalAsian cuisine, complementing classic Japanese favorites.

Yamashiro's weekly Farmers Market is the perfect spot to take the family or a date. The market offers wine tastings, local vendor hopping, live music and family friendly entertainment, cocktails at the Pagoda Bar and Yamashiro's signature Asian-inspired tacos by Chef Brock Kleweno.

Ethiopian Cuisine

Our gourmet adventure starts in Little Ethiopia. Eye on L.A. stopped by Messob to check out authentic Ethiopian cuisine, which includes chicken, beef and lamb, as well as vegan dishes [Watch video]. At Messob, co-owners Berhanu and Getahun Asfaw also encourage Ethiopian traditions such as "Gursha," the tradition of hand feeding your dining companion, and their traditional coffee ceremonies.

Lebanese Cuisine

For authentic Lebanese food, Eye on L.A. checked out Open Sesame in Long Beach. The menu is a blend of traditional comfort foods from Lebanon and secret family recipes. The most popular dishes are the tawook and the shawarma, both chicken plates served with pita bread, rice and hummus [Watch video].

To satisfy our sweet tooth, we headed to Panos Pastry in Hollywood. The bakery, which started in 1953 by Panos and Alberta Zetlian, gets its inspiration from a variety of desserts made in their native country of Lebanon. Los Angeles Magazine named their made-from-scratch Baklava the best in Los Angeles.

Chinese Cuisine

To find some of L.A.'s best Chinese food, we headed east of downtown L.A. Along the 25-mile stretch of Valley Boulevard through the San Gabriel Valley, you'll discover authentic cuisine from over 20 regions of China [Watch video].

Eye on L.A. got the royal treatment at the famous Mr. Chow restaurant in Beverly Hills. This hot spot is known as much for its celebrity clientele as its authentic Beijing cuisine, originally designed for royalty. They pride themselves in the spectacular style in which they prepare and serve as well. Get there around 9:30 p.m. to witness the amazing noodle demonstration.

Craving some mouth-watering Chinese dumplings? Try Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in Arcadia, not far from the Santa Anita Race Track. Be sure to arrive early for lunch and dinner to beat the crowds. After your meal, walk over to J.J. Bakery for some of the best "East meets West" pastries or Taiwanese and Japanese fusion breads.

Mexican Cuisine

Los Angeles is among the best cities for Mexican food anywhere in the world. We visited some of L.A.'s finest Mexican restaurants for a truly authentic taste of Mexico [Watch video].

At La Casita Mexicana, people who truly enjoy real and authentic Mexican Cuisine will find an extensive selection of dishes, appetizers, desserts and drinks from various parts of Mexico. Family-owned restuarant Guelaguetza Restaurante serves the most authentic Oaxacan dishes, outside of Oaxaca. Their mole is a must-try and most nights they have live music, except on Thursdays when they show classic Mexican films.

Loteria Grill is known by locals as one of the best spots, not only for their delicious regional Mexican food, but for their signature margaritas as well. The first Loteria Grill is located at L.A.'s Original Farmers Market.

Salsa and Sweets

Eye on L.A. searched the city to find the tastiest salsas and the most delicious Mexican desserts.

Mas Malo, a new restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, is turning up the heat with their specialty salsa called, "Burnt Habanero Crème." Executive Chef Robert Luna's creation is an addictive blend of roasted habanero peppers, cilantro, juices and honey.

For a sweeter side of Mexican cuisine, try Mr. Churro at Olvera Street. The special cinnamon sugar sticks are a family tradition, and although the recipe is top secret, we can tell you that the churros are filled with caramel, dulce de leche, strawberry or chocolate. And Natura Bar in Koreatown specializes in Oaxacan raspados which are similar to snow cones in cups. They're filled with tamarind syrup or Mexican eggnog, and then sweetened with raw sugar.

Mexican cuisine: All-time favorites

These spots may not completely be 100 percent authentic, but Eye on L.A. discovered they're still favorites to the locals.

El Tepeyac, a favorite of the very hungry, is known for over the top, gigantic burritos, including their famous Hollenbeck Burrito, which is about the size of a small dog. And for years, people from all walks of life have flocked to El Coyote for great California-style Mexican food at reasonable prices. A local favorite is the Mexican Pizza with a refreshing El Coyote Margarita.

Casa Vega is a favorite of the ultra hip and ultra famous. Celebrities can't seem to get enough of this hotspot, with its low lights and deafening noise level. But Eye on L.A. loved the cool '50s vibe and their deep fried burrito.

Argentinean and Salvadoran cuisine

1810 Argentinean Restaurant is one of a growing number of Central and South American Restaurants emerging on L.A.'s culinary scene [Watch video].

Aladdin's Coffee Shop in downtown L.A. has been a family owned-and-operated business for more than 30 years. The eatery specializes in traditional Salvadorian food [Watch video].

Hawaiian Islands Cook-Off

Who makes the best Hawaiian-style pupu (appetizer)? You can help decide when four of Los Angeles' top chefs battle it out for the title of Hawaiian Islands Master Chef. Throughout June 2011, visit the restaurants, sample the dishes, and vote for your favorite for a chance to win a Hawaii getaway for two, including roundtrip air on Hawaiian Airlines, five nights at Hilton Hawaiian Village, and tickets to the inaugural Hawaii Food & Wine Festival.

The chefs participating are Neal Fraser from BLD, Mark Gold from Eva, Eric Greenspan from the Foundry on Melrose and Brendan Collins at Waterloo & City. Eye on LA met up with each of the participating L.A. chefs to see what they're cooking up for the Island Style Cook-Off on June 29 [Watch video].


Get contact information and addresses of all the restaurants featured on this week's episode.

Los Angeles Magazine

Eye on LA teamed up with Los Angeles Magazine to find some of the best global dining hot spots.

[Original air date: April 23, 2011]

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