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Where to Eat Around USC and the LA Coliseum

Also around Natural History Museum and the California African American Museum

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Holbox
| Farley Elliott

The bustling LA Coliseum isn't just for USC fans anymore. The massive building is the current home of the Los Angeles Rams (at least until their new project gets finished over in Inglewood), and the future site of plenty of Olympics action next decade, both good things for a burgeoning University Park dining scene.

There's still plenty of fast casual food and big chains to dine at for those who want such things, but lately newcomers like Holbox inside the Mercado La Paloma are proving there's a better way. Add in a sly coffee pop-up and some classic eats just off campus, and suddenly the options for both pre- and post-game dining are looking a whole lot better.

Removed: Revolutionario, Armando's Lunch Truck

Added: Holbox, Cacique Espresso, Original Bill's Taco House, Cava Grill

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Chichen Itza chef Gilberto Cetina has turned to his seafood roots with the newish Holbox, also located inside the Mercada La Paloma. Fans are fawning over the fresh catch, with its emphasis on Baja flavors and Yucatanean preparations.

Cacique Espresso

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From the front porch of an unassuming Victorian house in University Park, passersby can catch a glimpse of a gleaming gold espresso machine. That's Cacique, an upstart pop-up doing daytime espresso drinks for the neighborhood, new students, and USC game attendees alike.

Original Bill's Taco House

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Located off MLK Boulevard, the original version of Bill's Taco House still stands as a testament to a bygone time. Founded decades ago as the home of the original cheeseburger taco in Los Angeles, Bill's remains a must for anyone in the area looking to eat well for cheap.

Cava Grill

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With the recent opening of USC's multi-million dollar USC Village, students and off-campus types alike will have dining options galore to choose from. Most places are still getting up and running though, leaving a hole that Mediterranean-leaning fast casual chain Cava Grill has happily filled with its quick salad and grain bowls.

Cava Grill

Tire Shop Taqueria

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Tire Shop Taqueria is still going strong, grilling that carne asada over charcoal and topping everything with guac to the hungry throngs. Only open in the evenings.

Tire Shop Matthew Kang

Chichen Itza Restaurant

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Famous for expertly prepared cochinita pibil and tikin xic, this Yucatanean specialist is tucked away in the Mercado La Paloma. Chichen Itza might have the word-of-mouth reputation of a hidden gem, but the crowds on the weekends will certainly suggest otherwise. Weak stomachs beware: the habanero sauce is not to be trifled with.

Tracey’s Belizean Restaurant

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Tracey's bills itself as a Belizean restaurant, and the Caribbean coastal flavors are in full swing here. Opt for the stewed chicken and rice for a primer and wash it all down with a Jamaican ginger beer.

Himalayan House

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Savvier diners near SC know to make Himalayan House a go-to for Indian and Nepalese food, but those feeling adventurous will want to try the yak chilli, a dish of yak meat sauteed with onions, peppers and Himalayan spices. Not feeling the yak? The chicken momos (potstickers), chicken tikka, and lamb curry are popular with current Trojans and alumni alike.

Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak

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Figueroa Philly slings cheesesteaks to all manner of USC fans, serving steak that's sliced up thin with grilled onions and packed into genuine-issue Amoroso rolls. Whether one likes it slathered wit’ Whiz or topped with provolone, it’s a juicy mouthful of a sandwich worth a stop.

King’s Louisiana Seafood

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King's fries up some of the best catfish and red snapper in the city at this humble corner seafood shack. The interior could use a little TLC, but the gently battered catfish is the genuine article and nearly just as good when you take it to go.

El Huero

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Do people at USC still call it Chano’s? Yes. Will you regret eating a massive order of French fries topped with chopped carne asada, pico de gallo salsa, guacamole and shredded cheese out of a Styrofoam box at 2:15 a.m.? Maybe. Can a student graduate from USC without visiting Chano’s (err... El Huero) a single time and still be considered a Trojan? Absolutely not.

Ebaes bills itself as Asian fusion tapas, but it’s really just some pretty solid Asian pub food that’s been quietly gaining traction with the USC community, thanks to its incredibly affordable happy hour deals and addictive Korean-style garlic-soy chicken wings. Fans of Americanized sushi rolls (read: this is no Kazunori) will appreciate Ebaes’ selection, and the more adventurous folks will notice the slightly spicy, coconut-milk adulterated Ebaes “ramen.”

Dirt Dog Inc.

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Though many will forever rue the loss of Budacki’s Chicago-style dogs south of Exposition, hot dog eaters everywhere can still appreciate Dirt Dog’s decidedly local take. A Nathan’s frank is prepared USC game-day style (wrapped in bacon) and then served up with a variety of spreads and toppings, ranging from onions and peppers cooked in teriyaki sauce to guacamole spread and red pepper flakes. Don’t skip the fries: the thick, 3/8” cut numbers are cooked in beef tallow and tossed in a chile-limon seasoning.

Bacaro L.A.

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Bacaro LA is a local favorite tapas bar that serves well-executed food to go along with a respectable list of wines and beers. For $20, enjoy 90 minutes of all-you-can-(responsibly)-drink beer and wine, which one can certainly use to wash down orders of their tasty pizzas and caramelized pork belly skewers.

Yelp

Jacks N Joe

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Former and current USC football players extol the virtues of the buttery, made-to-order omelettes at this Hawaii-themed breakfast joint that offers toppings like Portuguese sausage and Spam in addition to the usual suspects. Don’t gloss over the Da Kine French Toast, which is prepared with Hawaiian bread for just enough sweetness to make one consider skipping syrup altogether.

Nature's Brew

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Nature’s Brew is a hidden gem of a café, tucked away off Hoover and Union. The place puts together an excellent brisket sandwich (balanced nicely with a minty pesto and pickled red onions) and a surprisingly decent smoked salmon omelette in addition to smoothies and a full espresso bar.

La Taquiza Mexican Grill

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La Taquiza isn’t open 24 hours, but it does serve up Korean-style tacos and pretty solid pork mulitas that are a hit with the USC crowd and visitors alike. The saucy burritos are a perfect hunger killer too.

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Holbox

Chichen Itza chef Gilberto Cetina has turned to his seafood roots with the newish Holbox, also located inside the Mercada La Paloma. Fans are fawning over the fresh catch, with its emphasis on Baja flavors and Yucatanean preparations.

Cacique Espresso

From the front porch of an unassuming Victorian house in University Park, passersby can catch a glimpse of a gleaming gold espresso machine. That's Cacique, an upstart pop-up doing daytime espresso drinks for the neighborhood, new students, and USC game attendees alike.

Original Bill's Taco House

Located off MLK Boulevard, the original version of Bill's Taco House still stands as a testament to a bygone time. Founded decades ago as the home of the original cheeseburger taco in Los Angeles, Bill's remains a must for anyone in the area looking to eat well for cheap.

Cava Grill

Cava Grill

With the recent opening of USC's multi-million dollar USC Village, students and off-campus types alike will have dining options galore to choose from. Most places are still getting up and running though, leaving a hole that Mediterranean-leaning fast casual chain Cava Grill has happily filled with its quick salad and grain bowls.

Cava Grill

Tire Shop Taqueria

Tire Shop Matthew Kang

Tire Shop Taqueria is still going strong, grilling that carne asada over charcoal and topping everything with guac to the hungry throngs. Only open in the evenings.

Tire Shop Matthew Kang

Chichen Itza Restaurant

Famous for expertly prepared cochinita pibil and tikin xic, this Yucatanean specialist is tucked away in the Mercado La Paloma. Chichen Itza might have the word-of-mouth reputation of a hidden gem, but the crowds on the weekends will certainly suggest otherwise. Weak stomachs beware: the habanero sauce is not to be trifled with.

Tracey’s Belizean Restaurant

Tracey's bills itself as a Belizean restaurant, and the Caribbean coastal flavors are in full swing here. Opt for the stewed chicken and rice for a primer and wash it all down with a Jamaican ginger beer.

Himalayan House

Savvier diners near SC know to make Himalayan House a go-to for Indian and Nepalese food, but those feeling adventurous will want to try the yak chilli, a dish of yak meat sauteed with onions, peppers and Himalayan spices. Not feeling the yak? The chicken momos (potstickers), chicken tikka, and lamb curry are popular with current Trojans and alumni alike.

Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak

Figueroa Philly slings cheesesteaks to all manner of USC fans, serving steak that's sliced up thin with grilled onions and packed into genuine-issue Amoroso rolls. Whether one likes it slathered wit’ Whiz or topped with provolone, it’s a juicy mouthful of a sandwich worth a stop.

King’s Louisiana Seafood

King's fries up some of the best catfish and red snapper in the city at this humble corner seafood shack. The interior could use a little TLC, but the gently battered catfish is the genuine article and nearly just as good when you take it to go.

El Huero

Do people at USC still call it Chano’s? Yes. Will you regret eating a massive order of French fries topped with chopped carne asada, pico de gallo salsa, guacamole and shredded cheese out of a Styrofoam box at 2:15 a.m.? Maybe. Can a student graduate from USC without visiting Chano’s (err... El Huero) a single time and still be considered a Trojan? Absolutely not.

Ebaes

Ebaes bills itself as Asian fusion tapas, but it’s really just some pretty solid Asian pub food that’s been quietly gaining traction with the USC community, thanks to its incredibly affordable happy hour deals and addictive Korean-style garlic-soy chicken wings. Fans of Americanized sushi rolls (read: this is no Kazunori) will appreciate Ebaes’ selection, and the more adventurous folks will notice the slightly spicy, coconut-milk adulterated Ebaes “ramen.”

Dirt Dog Inc.

Though many will forever rue the loss of Budacki’s Chicago-style dogs south of Exposition, hot dog eaters everywhere can still appreciate Dirt Dog’s decidedly local take. A Nathan’s frank is prepared USC game-day style (wrapped in bacon) and then served up with a variety of spreads and toppings, ranging from onions and peppers cooked in teriyaki sauce to guacamole spread and red pepper flakes. Don’t skip the fries: the thick, 3/8” cut numbers are cooked in beef tallow and tossed in a chile-limon seasoning.

Bacaro L.A.

Yelp

Bacaro LA is a local favorite tapas bar that serves well-executed food to go along with a respectable list of wines and beers. For $20, enjoy 90 minutes of all-you-can-(responsibly)-drink beer and wine, which one can certainly use to wash down orders of their tasty pizzas and caramelized pork belly skewers.

Yelp

Jacks N Joe