While the term “Eastside” is often used to reference any Los Angeles neighborhood that doesn’t touch the ocean, historically speaking, it is reserved for the communities directly east of the Los Angeles River that runs alongside Downtown. The area is home to countless vibrant and historic neighborhoods including Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, and East Los Angeles. From tacos of all kinds to old-school Japanese or Korean hot dogs, here now are 15 essential restaurants on the Eastside of Los Angeles.Read More
15 Essential Restaurants on the Eastside of Los Angeles
Where to eat in Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, and East LA
San Antonio Winery
Open in 1917, this family-run winery expanded during Prohibition; survived the Great Depression; and witnessed two World Wars, the Watts Riots, LA’s massive social unrest in 1992, and COVID-19. San Antonio Winery also has one of the area’s best wine and alcohol collections while operating a full-service restaurant, and wine tours.
A Lincoln Heights hidden gem with one of the coziest patios in town, Mazal has a plant-based Middle Eastern menu that is ideal for bringing a group to share the goods. The bourekas, labneh, oyster mushroom shawarma, and harissa brussels sprouts boast big flavors. Save room for the chocolate-covered Medjool dates for dessert.
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Al & Bea's Mexican Food
Al & Bea’s, the diminutive walk-up stand known for its simple Mexican American delights, is all about the delightful bean and cheese burrito along with tacos, tostadas, burgers, and antojitos. Be prepared to wait in a short but speedy line for some of the best Mexican food in town.
Tacos dorados de camarones, deep-fried shrimp parcels garnished with avocado and fresh salsa, are the specialty at this seafood truck in Boyle Heights. Owner Raul Ortega and his team operate LA’s beloved Mariscos Jalisco truck parked on Olympic Boulevard just south of Soto every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The air smells of spices and miso paste at Otomisan, the 66-year-old Japanese restaurant in Boyle Heights. Settle into a plush red booth and start with an order of pan-fried gyozas before moving onto a sizable platter of savory curry with crispy pork.
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Boyle Heights Milpa Grille takes influences from the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica timeline, but the result is modern, historic, and tasty all at once. Order the standard Milpa bowl with black beans, grilled corn, veggies, and meat. It’s a warming and satisfying (and timeless) meal.
Brooklyn Ave Pizza Co.
Brooklyn Avenue Pizza Co. overlooks bustling Caesar Chavez Avenue, with floor-to-ceiling front windows that pour light into the 100-year-old venue, the Paramount Theater. Try the mole pizza and french fries covered in a Chicano-style poutine with chorizo, queso fresco, and cilantro. Traditional pizzas are available too, including a margherita and a shrimp with vodka sauce.
Carnitas el Momo
El Momo is a local and citywide favorite for some of the crispiest, juiciest pork carnitas tacos possible. The Aporkalypse — three cuts of meat inside one taco — is a gloriously gluttonous behemoth of carnal beauty that is so overwhelming, it’s hard to believe the thing comes from a truck daily.
Lebanese-Oaxacan flavors marry well at X’tiosu in Boyle Heights, where tacos and hummus take unfamiliar turns toward the extraordinary. While the tacos are a worthy start, there’s also something special about sampling a falafel or chicken shawarma plate and letting the mix of flavors and cultures come through.
There’s often a line at Liliana’s, but it moves swiftly. The house specialty is special, but don’t stay too focused on the tamales and get the machaca with eggs, pozole, or chilaquiles.
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Los Cinco Puntos
Los Cinco Puntos, the timeless grocery store and meat supplier known for long weekend lines and for serving up thick hand-patted tortillas, is where to go for a healthy serving of carnitas to take home and eat throughout the week.
Head to this cramped but cozy tortilleria for corn and flour tortillas sold by the dozen and made-to-order burritos and quesadillas. Whether it’s asada, pollo, chorizo, or carnitas, when the tortilla is this exemplary, the stuffing is almost an afterthought.
Mariscos los Lechugas
Jaime Lechuga, his wife Virginia, and their friend Epi Osuna have been preparing Enseñada-style cocteles, tostadas, and tacos at Mariscos los Lechugas for the past decade. Locals call it the lechuga trailer, which is parked in El Sereno from 11 a.m. until it sells out.
Two Hands Seoul Fresh Corn Dogs
Though there are now 10 Southland locations, Two Hands Seol Fresh Corn Dogs is stationed in Boyle Heights. The LA-based chain’s best sellers are the spicy dog, a corn dog dipped in proprietary spicy sauce and hot Cheetos powder. The other popular dog includes a potato-wrapped corn dog topped that packs heat.
The vampiro is what to order at Asadero Chikali, the upstart Eastside specialist that trades in Mexicali flavors with lots of cheese and even more smoky carne asada.