LA's Expo Line, the first train to go from Downtown to the ocean in over fifty years, officially opens tomorrow. With the second leg of the construction stretching from Culver City to Downtown Santa Monica, it's a big win for commuters and locals who want to experience Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, or any neighborhood along the way, sans traffic. Here's where you should eat at every stop, all well within one mile or about ten minutes walking distance.Read More
Where to Eat Along LA's Expo Line
Find a place to eat within walking distance of the new train that goes from Downtown to Santa Monica
1. 7th/Metro: Rice Bar
Charles Olalia’s diminutive Downtown Filipino spot is a breezy few steps from the Metro, and offers a variety of rice bowls and sides to satisfy you after the walk. Plus the service gets you in and out fast, which means you won’t have to miss your train.
2. Pico: Broken Spanish
In the shadow of Staples Center sits Downtown’s most impressive modern Mexican-American restaurant. This is Ray Garcia’s heart on a plate, a beautiful melody of true Mexican flavors and distinct Los Angeles ideas.
3. 23rd Street: Jacks N Joe
This popular USC-adjacent breakfast place only serves from the morning until 2 p.m., with favorites like pancakes, hash browns, eggs, and other coffee shop classics. Try the Hawaiian bread french toast for something sweet.
4. Jefferson/USC: Dirt Dog
LA is a burger town through and through, but there’s plenty of love for the hot dog as well. That’s particularly true at beloved Dirt Dog, which brings the street cart bacon-wrapped hot dogs the city knows well, and freshens them up with quality ingredients and sides.
5. Expo Park/USC:: Chichen Itza Restaurant
This Yucatan specialist inside the Mercado La Paloma, maybe a ten minute walk from the station, features some of the best affordable Mexican cuisine in town. Try the trademark cochinita pibil or opt for the tikin xic, a smoked white fish on a bed of rice.
6. Expo/Vermont: Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak
A USC’er destination for more than half a decade, Figueroa Philly does some of the city’s best cheesesteaks. These hoagies are big, messy, and meant to be downed with lots of napkins readily available —so be sure to wash your hands before getting back on the train.
7. Expo/Western: Tracey's Belizean Restaurant
Los Angeles, CA 90062
Most of the color at Tracey’s comes on the plate, where vibrant piles of fried plantains, stewed chicken, and hand pies make for a memorable Belizean meal — complete with bottles of that electric Caribbean hot sauce.
8. Expo/Crenshaw: Phillips Bar-B-Que
Los Angeles, CA 90016
A South LA barbecue institution, Phillip’s is equal parts great stop off the Expo line, perfect neighborhood eats spot, and destination for wayward travelers alike. Be prepared to stand in line as you wait for your next plate of sauced-up ribs, but don’t worry: it’s worth it.
9. Farmdale: Mel's Fish Shack
This tiny counter-order spot has been perfecting the “you buy we fry” model for years now, where you can pick your fish and sides and watch the whole thing get battered and fried while you wait. Don’t skip on the hushpuppies either.
10. Expo/La Brea: CJ's Cafe
Los Angeles, CA 90016
This all-day Mexican-American diner (with another outlet up on Pico) does more than serviceable versions of everything from breakfast big plate specials to burritos and salads at lunch. It’s where the kids come after their little league games, and makes for a wonderful community pit stop along the Expo line.
11. La Cienaga/Jefferson: JNJ Burger Shack
Part burger barn, part barbecue outlet, this dual-concept West Adams spot is as eclectic as anything you’ll find off the Expo line. The burgers are massive, the barbecue a delight, and the best part of it all may just be Louisiana-born Jay himself, who runs the place from a seat next to his train-shaped smoker in the back.
12. Culver City: The Cannibal
Culver City, CA 90232
Just steps from the former terminus of the Expo Line, this all-day butcher and sandwich shop features top-quality meats and a selection of fresh prepared salads and vegetables. With a reasonably priced daily lunch special, it’s the ideal place to grab a quick bite before catching the train. And in the mornings, opt for bone broth instead of your usual cup of joe.
13. Palms: The Coop Pizza
Los Angeles, CA 90034
This small mom-and-pop pizzeria does solid pizza by the slice and even better whole pies to take home. The prices are reasonable and the toppings are fresh. What more can you ask for from your local pizza joint? Watch for the hours recently as the operators are currently tending to family issues.
14. Westwood/Rancho Park: The Apple Pan
Like an old roadside diner, this nearly 70 year old institution still makes great burgers and sandwiches. Try the hickory burger, fries, and of course, one of their signature pies by the slice.
15. Expo/Sepulveda: Yabu Soba
This stretch of West LA doesn’t exactly have a lot of activity in the way of restaurants (though it is the closest one to Sawtelle). Your best bet might actually be Yabu, a low-key Japanese restaurant with delicious udon and soba noodles, plus a usual complement of sushi and raw fish.
16. Expo/Bundy: Bondi Harvest
You’ll know you’ve made it to the Westside as you step through Bondi Harvest’s beachy façade. The Sydney expat offers plenty of seaside vibes, and with its picnic table-laden patio, it’s quite the place to take in healthy fare and sip espresso made with some of Australia’s finest beans.
17. 26th Street/Bergamot: Tacos Punta Cabras
About an 11 minute walk from the station, this diminutive taco spot makes great seafood tostadas at a reasonable price in Santa Monica. Try the cauliflower tostada for great flavor sans seafood.
18. 17th St/SMC: Tacos Por Favor
This old-school taco joint definitely doesn’t make the best tacos in town, but they’re reliable good and definitely affordable. Health nuts can take comfort in their vegetable-heavy menu while those with hunger pangs can opt for a sub $10 burrito.
19. Downtown Santa Monica: Tar & Roses
You’ve made to the end of the line, and there are certainly a wealth of places to eat in this area. Tar & Roses might be more of a sit down spot, but the farm-to-table fare coupled with chef-designed small plates and wines by the glass is the ideal way to unwind after the commute.