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Pumpkin What? 16 Dishes that Prove Squash Rule Fall

Uncovering pumpkin fraud one dish at a time.

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Widespread fraud is sweeping Los Angeles. No, you don't need to tear up your credit cards and call your bank, but you do need to take a second look at what you're calling pumpkin. Are you a #psl-sipping, pumpkin pie-eating lover of all things fall? Then read on, friends.

While all pumpkins are squashes, all squashes are not pumpkins, and restaurants across LA are having a field day with this misnomer. Oh, that's pumpkin ravioli you're eating? Nope, it's probably squash. Pumpkin tempura? Definitely squash. In fact, even pumpkin pie is largely made with squash, as store-bought canned pumpkin puree is often made with a variety of winter squashes, and some of the tastiest "pumpkin" pies are made with butternut squash alone. Here now, squash is finally given its rightful time in the spotlight with a list of 16 of the best squash dishes in the city, in no particular order.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Hangari Bajirak Kalguksoo

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3470 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Hangari Bajirak Kalguksoo is the epitome of a strip mall hole in the wall, and as one would hope, serves one of the best versions of their namesake clam soup with knife-cut noodles in town. Theirs comes with generous slices of kabocha squash, adding welcome sweet bites to the enormous serving of soup.

2. ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen

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1401 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 382-2028
The squash craze has even hit Chipotle’s Southeast Asian-inspired fast casual concept. ShopHouse’s butternut squash is wok-fried with garlic, chilies, and fresh Thai basil, and is a great way to get a taste of the season on your lunch break.

3. Bonjuk

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3551 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 380-2248
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Koreans seem to be the specialists in hangover remedies, with a large portion of their soups and stews claiming to be just the thing to cure soju-fueled nights. Juk, a simple porridge made of stewed rice, may be the godfather of such dishes. While there are many iterations, hobakjuk is prepared with mashed kabocha squash that brings a slight sweetness and vibrant orange color to the blanket “get better soon” dish.

4. Yatai

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8535 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 289-0030
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This hole in the wall Japanese restaurant is a true West Hollywood gem. Their tempura pumpkin (actually kabocha squash) with curry salt comes piping hot and is best eaten dunked in the accompanying side of flavored salt and washed down with their popular tableside bamboo sake. The tempura is included in Yatai’s extensive happy hour menu, and at $3 is a real steal.

5. Poong Nyun Bakery

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928 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 386-6630
This Korean bakery is tucked away in Koreatown Plaza, and specializes in what is arguably the most popular Korean dessert, tteok. The glutinous rice cake comes in a wide variety of preparations, but a popular seasonal variety is mixed with hearty chunks of kabocha squash, assorted beans, and chestnuts and is coated with a sweet glaze for a mildly sweet, sticky dessert perfect to conclude a spicy Korean meal or as a light snack.

6. Butchers & Barbers

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The Houston Brothers have struck again, and this time with a full restaurant concept. What is one of the hottest tickets in town has an impressive selection of seasonal dishes that come by way of Luke Reyes. One of the most innovative is the delicata squash with persimmon, burrata, and smoked trout roe for a surprising pairing of ingredients that create a perfect harmony of soft and crunchy and sweet and salty flavors.

7. mar'sel

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100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
(310) 265-2836
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Although it is a little trek for most, after being seated at a table with stunning ocean and cliffside views, there is no doubt that the trip was worth it. It doesn’t hurt that recently-appointed chef de cuisine Charles Olalia has brought a fresh menu revamp to the Palos Verdes gem, with subtle (and not so subtle) injections of his Filipino heritage. His butternut squash soup, accented by a hint of coconut milk and served tableside with a hearty base of duck confit and spaghetti squash, is arguably the best in town.

8. Hinoki & The Bird

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10 W Century Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 552-1200
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Chef Kuniko Yagi’s pumpkin toast (another misnomer for kabocha squash) is inspired by yakimanju, a traditional dish of the Gunma Prefecture of Japan comprised of grilled soft buns coated with sweet and salty miso. Hinoki & The Bird’s version starts with a toasted crostini of baguette that is topped with house-made miso jam, sliced kabocha squash, and soft goat cheese. The toast is finished with a drizzle of honey and sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seeds and Maldon salt. [Photo: Dylan + Jeni]

9. Rivera

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1050 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 749-1460
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What is perhaps the most interesting uses of squash comes by way of John Rivera Sedlar at his modern Latin eatery. The acorn squash tamal uses the squash in lieu of any corn husk, and is filled with diced roasted pork shoulder and guajillo chile sauce.

10. Guisados

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2100 E Cesar E Chavez Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 264-7201
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Guisado’s calabasitas taco is filled with squash that is supplemented with tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, and onions. Topped with queso fresco and chipotle sour cream, and lovingly wrapped in their toothsome, house-made tortillas, it is a true vegetarian delight.

11. DeSano Pizza Bakery

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4959 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(323) 913-7000
This East Hollywood pizza joint serves up Neopolitan-style pizza from their wood burning ovens. Their seasonal offering is topped with butternut squash, bufala mozzarella, sage oil, pancetta, pumpkin seeds, and is a surefire crowd pleaser.

12. Cafe Gratitude

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512 Rose Ave, Unit A
Venice, CA 90291
(424) 231-8000
Visit Website
Café Gratitude makes great strides in demonstrating that vegan cuisine doesn’t have to taste like cardboard. Their vegan butternut squash risotto with arborio rice, rosemary butternut squash, red onion, cashew crème fraîche, glazed walnuts, brazil nut parmesan, and preserved lemon is flavorful with a nice crunch.

13. Scarpetta

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225 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Luckily for fans of the chef-turned-car-commercial extraordinaire, Scott Conant has only bid farewell to the New York outlet of Scarpetta and is sticking with the Beverly Hills location. This is a boon for Los Angeles squash lovers who can enjoy his comforting strozzapreti with butternut squash, forest mushrooms, and pumpkin seeds.

14. Church & State

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1850 Industrial St, Apt 100
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 405-1434
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This classic French bistro was one of the first restaurants to break ground in the now revitalized Arts District. Their tarte aux courge, or butternut squash tart, is topped with butternut squash, emmentaler, fried sage, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, and arugula for those who want to get très français with their fall meal.

15. République

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624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(310) 361-6115
Visit Website
Perhaps one of the most familiar squash dishes is butternut squash ravioli. Republique’s butternut squash agnolotti is their take on the classic dish, and comes with brown buttered sage, grated amaretti cookies, and parmesan cheese.

16. WP24 by Wolfgang Puck

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900 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 743-8800
Visit Website
WP24’s kabocha squash cheesecake is offered on their “Three Flights of Fancy” dessert menu. The squash is roasted to bring out the honeyed, herbal flavors that complement the rich and nutty elements found in this Asian-inspired rendition of cheesecake. The dessert is paired with a late harvest dessert wine.

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1. Hangari Bajirak Kalguksoo

3470 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020
Hangari Bajirak Kalguksoo is the epitome of a strip mall hole in the wall, and as one would hope, serves one of the best versions of their namesake clam soup with knife-cut noodles in town. Theirs comes with generous slices of kabocha squash, adding welcome sweet bites to the enormous serving of soup.
3470 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020

2. ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen

1401 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401
The squash craze has even hit Chipotle’s Southeast Asian-inspired fast casual concept. ShopHouse’s butternut squash is wok-fried with garlic, chilies, and fresh Thai basil, and is a great way to get a taste of the season on your lunch break.
1401 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401

3. Bonjuk

3551 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010
Koreans seem to be the specialists in hangover remedies, with a large portion of their soups and stews claiming to be just the thing to cure soju-fueled nights. Juk, a simple porridge made of stewed rice, may be the godfather of such dishes. While there are many iterations, hobakjuk is prepared with mashed kabocha squash that brings a slight sweetness and vibrant orange color to the blanket “get better soon” dish.
3551 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

4. Yatai

8535 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
This hole in the wall Japanese restaurant is a true West Hollywood gem. Their tempura pumpkin (actually kabocha squash) with curry salt comes piping hot and is best eaten dunked in the accompanying side of flavored salt and washed down with their popular tableside bamboo sake. The tempura is included in Yatai’s extensive happy hour menu, and at $3 is a real steal.
8535 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

5. Poong Nyun Bakery

928 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA
This Korean bakery is tucked away in Koreatown Plaza, and specializes in what is arguably the most popular Korean dessert, tteok. The glutinous rice cake comes in a wide variety of preparations, but a popular seasonal variety is mixed with hearty chunks of kabocha squash, assorted beans, and chestnuts and is coated with a sweet glaze for a mildly sweet, sticky dessert perfect to conclude a spicy Korean meal or as a light snack.
928 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA

6. Butchers & Barbers

Los Angeles, CA
The Houston Brothers have struck again, and this time with a full restaurant concept. What is one of the hottest tickets in town has an impressive selection of seasonal dishes that come by way of Luke Reyes. One of the most innovative is the delicata squash with persimmon, burrata, and smoked trout roe for a surprising pairing of ingredients that create a perfect harmony of soft and crunchy and sweet and salty flavors.

7. mar'sel

100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Although it is a little trek for most, after being seated at a table with stunning ocean and cliffside views, there is no doubt that the trip was worth it. It doesn’t hurt that recently-appointed chef de cuisine Charles Olalia has brought a fresh menu revamp to the Palos Verdes gem, with subtle (and not so subtle) injections of his Filipino heritage. His butternut squash soup, accented by a hint of coconut milk and served tableside with a hearty base of duck confit and spaghetti squash, is arguably the best in town.
100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

8. Hinoki & The Bird

10 W Century Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90067
Chef Kuniko Yagi’s pumpkin toast (another misnomer for kabocha squash) is inspired by yakimanju, a traditional dish of the Gunma Prefecture of Japan comprised of grilled soft buns coated with sweet and salty miso. Hinoki & The Bird’s version starts with a toasted crostini of baguette that is topped with house-made miso jam, sliced kabocha squash, and soft goat cheese. The toast is finished with a drizzle of honey and sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seeds and Maldon salt. [Photo: Dylan + Jeni]
10 W Century Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90067

9. Rivera

1050 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90015
What is perhaps the most interesting uses of squash comes by way of John Rivera Sedlar at his modern Latin eatery. The acorn squash tamal uses the squash in lieu of any corn husk, and is filled with diced roasted pork shoulder and guajillo chile sauce.
1050 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

10. Guisados

2100 E Cesar E Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90033
Guisado’s calabasitas taco is filled with squash that is supplemented with tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, and onions. Topped with queso fresco and chipotle sour cream, and lovingly wrapped in their toothsome, house-made tortillas, it is a true vegetarian delight.
2100 E Cesar E Chavez Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033

11. DeSano Pizza Bakery

4959 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90020
This East Hollywood pizza joint serves up Neopolitan-style pizza from their wood burning ovens. Their seasonal offering is topped with butternut squash, bufala mozzarella, sage oil, pancetta, pumpkin seeds, and is a surefire crowd pleaser.
4959 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90020

12. Cafe Gratitude

512 Rose Ave, Unit A, Venice, CA 90291
Café Gratitude makes great strides in demonstrating that vegan cuisine doesn’t have to taste like cardboard. Their vegan butternut squash risotto with arborio rice, rosemary butternut squash, red onion, cashew crème fraîche, glazed walnuts, brazil nut parmesan, and preserved lemon is flavorful with a nice crunch.
512 Rose Ave, Unit A
Venice, CA 90291

13. Scarpetta

225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Luckily for fans of the chef-turned-car-commercial extraordinaire, Scott Conant has only bid farewell to the New York outlet of Scarpetta and is sticking with the Beverly Hills location. This is a boon for Los Angeles squash lovers who can enjoy his comforting strozzapreti with butternut squash, forest mushrooms, and pumpkin seeds.
225 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

14. Church & State

1850 Industrial St, Apt 100, Los Angeles, CA 90021
This classic French bistro was one of the first restaurants to break ground in the now revitalized Arts District. Their tarte aux courge, or butternut squash tart, is topped with butternut squash, emmentaler, fried sage, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, and arugula for those who want to get très français with their fall meal.
1850 Industrial St, Apt 100
Los Angeles, CA 90021

15. République

624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Perhaps one of the most familiar squash dishes is butternut squash ravioli. Republique’s butternut squash agnolotti is their take on the classic dish, and comes with brown buttered sage, grated amaretti cookies, and parmesan cheese.
624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Related Maps

16. WP24 by Wolfgang Puck

900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015
WP24’s kabocha squash cheesecake is offered on their “Three Flights of Fancy” dessert menu. The squash is roasted to bring out the honeyed, herbal flavors that complement the rich and nutty elements found in this Asian-inspired rendition of cheesecake. The dessert is paired with a late harvest dessert wine.
900 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Related Maps