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Downtown Santa Monica Station on the Expo Line
Downtown Santa Monica Station on the Expo Line
The Source

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

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Downtown Santa Monica Station on the Expo Line
| The Source

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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 7th/Metro: Rice Bar

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419 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 807-5341
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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

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1050 S. Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 749-1460
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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

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2498 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 748-4565
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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

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2528 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 749-1813
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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

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3655 S Grand Ave #C6
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 741-1075
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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

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3844 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90037
(213) 748-9073
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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

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3810 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90062
(323) 735-2166

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

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2619 Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(323) 731-4772

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

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4524 W Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(323) 732-6357
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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

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3655 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(323) 292-9221

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

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5754 W Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(323) 934-5390
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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

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8850 Washington Blvd
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

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10006 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 837-4462

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

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10801 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 475-3585
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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

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11820 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 473-9757
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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

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1814 Berkeley St
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 586-7419
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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

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2311 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 917-2244
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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

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1408 Olympic Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 392-5768
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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

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602 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 587-0700
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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.

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1. 7th/Metro: Rice Bar

419 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

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.

419 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

2. Pico: Broken Spanish

1050 S. Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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.

1050 S. Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

3. 23rd Street: Jacks N Joe

2498 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

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.

2498 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90007

4. Jefferson/USC: Dirt Dog

2528 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

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.

2528 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90007

5. Expo Park/USC:: Chichen Itza Restaurant

3655 S Grand Ave #C6, Los Angeles, CA 90007

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.

3655 S Grand Ave #C6
Los Angeles, CA 90007

6. Expo/Vermont: Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak

3844 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90037

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.

3844 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90037

7. Expo/Western: Tracey's Belizean Restaurant

3810 S Western Ave, 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.

3810 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90062

8. Expo/Crenshaw: Phillips Bar-B-Que

2619 Crenshaw Blvd, 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.

2619 Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

9. Farmdale: Mel's Fish Shack

4524 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

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.

4524 W Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

10. Expo/La Brea: CJ's Cafe

3655 S La Brea Ave, 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.

3655 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90016

11. La Cienaga/Jefferson: JNJ Burger Shack

5754 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

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.

5754 W Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

12. Culver City: The Cannibal

8850 Washington Blvd, 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.

8850 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

13. Palms: The Coop Pizza

10006 National Blvd, 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.

10006 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034

14. Westwood/Rancho Park: The Apple Pan

10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

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.

10801 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

15. Expo/Sepulveda: Yabu Soba

11820 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

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.

11820 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

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16. Expo/Bundy: Bondi Harvest

1814 Berkeley St, Santa Monica, CA 90404

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.

1814 Berkeley St
Santa Monica, CA 90404

17. 26th Street/Bergamot: Tacos Punta Cabras

2311 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

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.

2311 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404

18. 17th St/SMC: Tacos Por Favor

1408 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

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.

1408 Olympic Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404

19. Downtown Santa Monica: Tar & Roses

602 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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.

602 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Related Maps