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A Handy Guide to West Third Street Dining

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2008_10_hasmaps.jpgLos Angeles isn't known for its walkability, but a few streets in this city might actually fit the bill, such as West Third Street. The blocks between The Farmers Market on Fairfax and The Beverly Center at La Cienega have a dense concentration of sweets shops, sandwich spots, and restaurants that range from fine dining to hipster chic. There's something for everyone — familiar, American cafes that boast the classics like Joan's on Third; elegant Italian white tablecloth establishments like Gusto; romantic date-night haunts like The Little Door; and bustling seafood-small plates that will impress out-of-town foodies like Son of a Gun. Eater presents its first street guide, a compilation of West Third Street's best dining spots.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Short Order

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This collaboration between Nancy Silverton and chef Christian Page produces some great gourmet burgers and other twists on classic America dishes. The Backyard Burger, Turkey Burger, shakes, and Julian Cox-designed cocktails are all worth getting. The view off the second story patio is also pretty amazing.

Mendocino Farms

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This popular mini-chain makes some of the best produce-driven sandwiches in the city, with great consistency despite multiple locations. The pork belly banh mi, turkey sandwich, and caprese stand out, but the seasonal sandwiches are worth getting as well.

This elegant French-Spanish tapas restaurant might have started the overall trend in Los Angeles, brought together by chef Suzanne Goin and sommelier Caroline Styne. The wine menu stands out among other wine bars while the market-fresh, seasonal cooking is always impressive, despite high prices.

Robata JINYA

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This izakaya-like spot from ramen chain Jinya serves up a little bit of everything: sushi, yakitori, and of course the celebrated ramen, which might be the best in this part of town.

Olio Pizzeria

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The wood-fired oven sits front and center at this multi-story pizzeria, where fresh ingredients, house-made dough, and crafted pies are assembled with brio. The bialys also make great take-home treats for the next morning.

fōnuts

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This faux donut is essentially a baked doughnut that's probably closer to a bundt cake than anything. The interesting flavors have their detractors and fans, but it's definitely worth trying once (or twice), because bacon really does make everything better, especially on a fonut.

Tasca Wine Bar

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A lower budget, more casual alternative to AOC, this wine bar and tapas restaurants feels a little more European, with high chairs and wood accents all around. It's more of a neighborhood wine spot than a destination, which is probably a good thing.

Doughboys Cafe & Bakery

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This popular bakery and cafe serves up massive portions of things like chicken pot pie, mac & cheese, and french dip sandwiches. The red velvet cakes are also a popular draw, as is brunch on any day of the week.

The Little Door

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Easily one of the most romantic restaurants in the city, this expensive date spot serves familiar French and not-so-familiar, but approachable Moroccan cuisine, especially on their Sunday evening dinners.

Little Next Door

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This next door sibling of The Little Door is a bit more casual with a varied brasserie menu of baked goods, breakfast items, and French classics.

Toast Bakery & Café

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Everyone seems to talk about the lines here, but the all-day service and cupcake selection makes Toast a non-offensive, familiar spot to have a meal on Third Street. The waits can be very long on weekends, but breakfast places are always in high demand during those times.

Simplethings Sandwich & Pie Shop

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The uber-design at this pie shop makes the place feel comfortable and cozy. The chicken sandwich might be one of the best in town, and the pies are solid choices as well. Intelligentsia coffee served also makes it one of the best places to get a cup of Third St.

Joan's on Third

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The quintessential Third St spot (The street is in their name), Joan's serves prepared food, baked treats, cakes, and just about everything else gourmet. The patio makes for swell people watching while the cuisine is always reliably consistent and delicious.

Son of a Gun Restaurant

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The seafood-centric L-shaped restaurant from the Animal chefs might be one of the most celebrated and critically acclaimed on the street. The inventive, Northeast-influenced dishes are more filling than one realizes, with highlights being the shrimp toast, pastas, and raw fish dishes.

The Churchill

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After chef Bruce Kalman spruced up the farm-to-table menu and Mia Sarazen lifted up the cocktails, this popular gastropub-like restaurant is now worth trekking to. The swap-meet furniture and decor appointments make it feel comfortable and inviting, great for breakfast, lunch or dinner any day of the week.

Magnolia Bakery

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This New York transplant has some of the best sweets in the city, with its trademark banana pudding standing out among others. The cupcakes and other desserts make great gifts or mid-day and after dinner treats as well.

Izaka-ya by Katsuya

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This izakaya from the Katsuya group doesn't make any huge culinary deviations, but the bustling crowd makes up for the endless rolls, sashimi, and crispy rice dishes that probably should have disappeared from menus by now. But the formula unmistakably means fun for most diners.

Vic Casanova's take on classic Italian with modern angles has been very popular with critics, with handmade pastas the main draw here. The prices are a bit on the high side and service can be spotty, but the quality is hard to argue.

Grand Lux Cafe

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Yes it's just another massive chain restaurant that's essentially a Cheesecake Factory, but the quality of the food is surprisingly good for the price. The waits can be terrible at peak hours, but for something low key on the weekdays at off hours or in the morning for brunch, the fare can be pretty good. Portions are also massive, making Grand Lux simply a larger format version of Toast or Doughboys, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Locanda Veneta

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LA has no shortage of pricey, classy Italian restaurants that serve up dishes that might seem a bit tired, but remain popular. The lobster ravioli, seafood pasta, and osso buco are diner favorites at this date night spot.

Il Covo

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This farm-to-table Italian-inspired restaurant has an Old World feel, but a New World approach to its cuisine. Fresh pastas, wood-fired pizzas and meat roasts, fresh salads made with the highest quality produce. And of course, a great patio, a near-requirement in Los Angeles.

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Short Order

This collaboration between Nancy Silverton and chef Christian Page produces some great gourmet burgers and other twists on classic America dishes. The Backyard Burger, Turkey Burger, shakes, and Julian Cox-designed cocktails are all worth getting. The view off the second story patio is also pretty amazing.

Mendocino Farms

This popular mini-chain makes some of the best produce-driven sandwiches in the city, with great consistency despite multiple locations. The pork belly banh mi, turkey sandwich, and caprese stand out, but the seasonal sandwiches are worth getting as well.

AOC

This elegant French-Spanish tapas restaurant might have started the overall trend in Los Angeles, brought together by chef Suzanne Goin and sommelier Caroline Styne. The wine menu stands out among other wine bars while the market-fresh, seasonal cooking is always impressive, despite high prices.

Robata JINYA

This izakaya-like spot from ramen chain Jinya serves up a little bit of everything: sushi, yakitori, and of course the celebrated ramen, which might be the best in this part of town.

Olio Pizzeria

The wood-fired oven sits front and center at this multi-story pizzeria, where fresh ingredients, house-made dough, and crafted pies are assembled with brio. The bialys also make great take-home treats for the next morning.

fōnuts

This faux donut is essentially a baked doughnut that's probably closer to a bundt cake than anything. The interesting flavors have their detractors and fans, but it's definitely worth trying once (or twice), because bacon really does make everything better, especially on a fonut.

Tasca Wine Bar

A lower budget, more casual alternative to AOC, this wine bar and tapas restaurants feels a little more European, with high chairs and wood accents all around. It's more of a neighborhood wine spot than a destination, which is probably a good thing.

Doughboys Cafe & Bakery

This popular bakery and cafe serves up massive portions of things like chicken pot pie, mac & cheese, and french dip sandwiches. The red velvet cakes are also a popular draw, as is brunch on any day of the week.

The Little Door

Easily one of the most romantic restaurants in the city, this expensive date spot serves familiar French and not-so-familiar, but approachable Moroccan cuisine, especially on their Sunday evening dinners.

Little Next Door

This next door sibling of The Little Door is a bit more casual with a varied brasserie menu of baked goods, breakfast items, and French classics.

Toast Bakery & Café

Everyone seems to talk about the lines here, but the all-day service and cupcake selection makes Toast a non-offensive, familiar spot to have a meal on Third Street. The waits can be very long on weekends, but breakfast places are always in high demand during those times.

Simplethings Sandwich & Pie Shop

The uber-design at this pie shop makes the place feel comfortable and cozy. The chicken sandwich might be one of the best in town, and the pies are solid choices as well. Intelligentsia coffee served also makes it one of the best places to get a cup of Third St.

Joan's on Third

The quintessential Third St spot (The street is in their name), Joan's serves prepared food, baked treats, cakes, and just about everything else gourmet. The patio makes for swell people watching while the cuisine is always reliably consistent and delicious.