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Mh Zh, Silver Lake
Erika Gable/Instagram

10 Affordable Entry-Level Restaurants to Try in Los Angeles

Approachable, easy-going, and reasonably-priced places to eat around town

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Mh Zh, Silver Lake
| Erika Gable/Instagram

LA might be one of the food capitals of the country, but it can be daunting to try and dine around the massive metropolis, especially for college students and recent transplants. LA takes pride in its wide variety of cuisines from all around the world. It’s a food lover’s mecca, but dining out can be tough on the wallet. Thankfully, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants delivering quality cuisine at an affordable price. Here now, 10 starter restaurants for college students, recent transplants, and anyone looking to get well acquainted with the food scene at an entry-level price.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. La Casita Mexicana

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4030 E Gage Ave
Bell, CA 90201
(323) 773-1898
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Everyone needs a quality Mexican restaurant when they first enter Los Angeles. Bell’s award-winning La Casita Mexicana consistently turns out some of the best Mexican plates in the city. With mole as good as a grandmother’s and truly legit dishes like “chiles en nogada,”one can really can taste the love that went into the cooking.

2. Night + Market Song

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3322 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 665-5899
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Crowds gather to dine at Kris Yenbamroong’s colorful Night + Market Song in Silver Lake. His spicy and flavorful Thai dishes go above and beyond the traditional take, manifesting the lively flavors of the culture. Try the pork toro, a perfectly grilled piece of fatty pig neck, or pretty much anything on the menu.

Night + Market Song

3. Marugame Monzo

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329 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 346-9762
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Little Tokyo’s Marugame Monzo has some of the best and most affordable udon in all of Los Angeles. Watch the chefs hand pull and cut noodles in the front of the kitchen. Make a trip to try the udon gratin or sea urchin udon and see what the hype is all about.

4. Luv2eat Thai Bistro

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6660 Sunset Blvd P
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 498-5835
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Only great things can be said about this hole-in-the-wall Thai shop that has been dishing out some serious good eats since it first opened. The signature crab curry is one of the many dishes loaded up with fresh ingredients that will make one feel like they’re dining in Phuket.

5. Baroo

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5706 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 929-9288
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Located in a tiny strip mall two blocks from Hollywood Forever Cemetary, Baroo consistently dishes out modern Korean plates with a fine-dining level of execution. The flavors at Baroo are prepared using ingredients that are fermented in the chef’s own kitchen. Everything from the kimchi fried rice to the oxtail ragu will surely impress without breaking the bank.

Baroo Kimchi Fried Rice Wonho Frank Lee

6. Mh Zh

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3536 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 636-7598
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Mh Zh (pronounced mah-zeh) is one of the best places to up one’s food game in LA. With rustic outdoor seating and greasy paper bag menus, this Mediterranean mecca dishes out beautiful and delicious fare that’s a must try when in Silver Lake.

Erika Gable/Instagram

7. Sun Nong Dan

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3470 W 6th St #7
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 365-0303
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Open 24 hours a day, Sun Nong Dan is the perfect gateway to seriously good Korean food. This small-scale restaurant serves spicy beef stews. Filled to the brim with tender short ribs and a spicy sauce, there’s no wonder why David Chang ordered this dish twice on his last visit to LA. The endless banchan side dishes and huge portions make it easy to share this meal with a group of friends.

8. Salazar

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2490 Fletcher Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Tucked away in Silver Lake, Salazar might be the perfect place to impress a promising food lover. Not only is the food unique and affordable, the atmosphere is basically an enchanting oasis in a neighborhood called Frogtown. It’s like stepping out of LA and onto some hideaway in the Sonoran desert.

9. Little Beast Restaurant

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1496 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 341-5899
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Little Beast in Eagle Rock is a good place to expand beyond the basics. It’s traditional American fare with a twist, drawing a busy crowd almost every night. The romantic restaurant is actually a small converted craftsman, making it a solid weeknight date spot. Make sure to order the decadent Little Beast burger or the duck liver mousse.

Little Beast

10. Hinano Cafe

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15 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90292
(310) 822-3902
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Just steps away from the Venice shore, Hinano Cafe dishes out ridiculous old-school bar food classics for a considerably cheap price (21 and over only, FYI). For example, the burgers cost just $7 and are covered with a dose of mustard. There’s bar games and billiards for anyone looking to hang over a few beers.

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1. La Casita Mexicana

4030 E Gage Ave, Bell, CA 90201

Everyone needs a quality Mexican restaurant when they first enter Los Angeles. Bell’s award-winning La Casita Mexicana consistently turns out some of the best Mexican plates in the city. With mole as good as a grandmother’s and truly legit dishes like “chiles en nogada,”one can really can taste the love that went into the cooking.

4030 E Gage Ave
Bell, CA 90201

2. Night + Market Song

3322 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Night + Market Song

Crowds gather to dine at Kris Yenbamroong’s colorful Night + Market Song in Silver Lake. His spicy and flavorful Thai dishes go above and beyond the traditional take, manifesting the lively flavors of the culture. Try the pork toro, a perfectly grilled piece of fatty pig neck, or pretty much anything on the menu.

3322 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

3. Marugame Monzo

329 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Little Tokyo’s Marugame Monzo has some of the best and most affordable udon in all of Los Angeles. Watch the chefs hand pull and cut noodles in the front of the kitchen. Make a trip to try the udon gratin or sea urchin udon and see what the hype is all about.

329 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

4. Luv2eat Thai Bistro

6660 Sunset Blvd P, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Only great things can be said about this hole-in-the-wall Thai shop that has been dishing out some serious good eats since it first opened. The signature crab curry is one of the many dishes loaded up with fresh ingredients that will make one feel like they’re dining in Phuket.

6660 Sunset Blvd P
Los Angeles, CA 90028

5. Baroo

5706 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Baroo Kimchi Fried Rice Wonho Frank Lee

Located in a tiny strip mall two blocks from Hollywood Forever Cemetary, Baroo consistently dishes out modern Korean plates with a fine-dining level of execution. The flavors at Baroo are prepared using ingredients that are fermented in the chef’s own kitchen. Everything from the kimchi fried rice to the oxtail ragu will surely impress without breaking the bank.

5706 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038

6. Mh Zh

3536 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Erika Gable/Instagram

Mh Zh (pronounced mah-zeh) is one of the best places to up one’s food game in LA. With rustic outdoor seating and greasy paper bag menus, this Mediterranean mecca dishes out beautiful and delicious fare that’s a must try when in Silver Lake.

3536 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

7. Sun Nong Dan

3470 W 6th St #7, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Open 24 hours a day, Sun Nong Dan is the perfect gateway to seriously good Korean food. This small-scale restaurant serves spicy beef stews. Filled to the brim with tender short ribs and a spicy sauce, there’s no wonder why David Chang ordered this dish twice on his last visit to LA. The endless banchan side dishes and huge portions make it easy to share this meal with a group of friends.

3470 W 6th St #7
Los Angeles, CA 90020

8. Salazar

2490 Fletcher Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Tucked away in Silver Lake, Salazar might be the perfect place to impress a promising food lover. Not only is the food unique and affordable, the atmosphere is basically an enchanting oasis in a neighborhood called Frogtown. It’s like stepping out of LA and onto some hideaway in the Sonoran desert.

2490 Fletcher Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90039

9. Little Beast Restaurant

1496 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
Little Beast

Little Beast in Eagle Rock is a good place to expand beyond the basics. It’s traditional American fare with a twist, drawing a busy crowd almost every night. The romantic restaurant is actually a small converted craftsman, making it a solid weeknight date spot. Make sure to order the decadent Little Beast burger or the duck liver mousse.

1496 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041

10. Hinano Cafe

15 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292

Just steps away from the Venice shore, Hinano Cafe dishes out ridiculous old-school bar food classics for a considerably cheap price (21 and over only, FYI). For example, the burgers cost just $7 and are covered with a dose of mustard. There’s bar games and billiards for anyone looking to hang over a few beers.

15 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90292

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