clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Places to Eat Near USC and the LA Coliseum

Ditch the fast food chains and eat like an upperclassman.

View as Map

Between being a fan of the Rams and/or the Trojan football team, the opportunity to stress eat will inevitably present itself on multiple occasions this year — especially if you shelled out extra cash to catch one of their games live. And though the concessions at the Coliseum aren't terrible on 'SC game days (team kettle corn and chicken fingers will usually move the chains until you eat actual food), most SC students have figured their way around the nearby restaurants to fill up before and after games and classes, and though the dining scene in South Central Los Angeles isn't really popping like that, there are still some gems in the rough.

So the next time you're near USC, or you need some nosh because you played the "how many times will Todd Gurley get stuffed between the tackles" drinking game, here are the best places to eat near USC and the Coliseum.

Read More

Tire Shop Taqueria

Copy Link

Eater LA Editor Matt Kang broke the story on the Tire Shop Taqueria in 2014, but it's still going strong, grilling that carne asada over charcoal and topping everything with guac to the hungry throngs.

Chichen Itza Restaurant

Copy Link

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.

Traceys Restaurants

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

Savvier diners near SC know to make Himalayan House a go-to for Indian and Nepalese food, but if you're feeling adventurous, you'll want to try the yak chilli, a dish of yak meat sauteed with onions, peppers and Himalayan spices. And if you're not feeling the yak, their chicken momos (potstickers), chicken tikka and lamb curry are popular with current Trojans and alumni alike.

Revolutionario

Copy Link

Revolutionario is the change-of-pace player in your stable of taquerias, and with toppings like tofu tagine, smoked lamb, grilled cauliflower, beef brisket and pineapple kimchi, it's a chef-driven taqueria gaining some serious traction with the locals and USC students.

Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak

Copy Link

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 you like it slathered wit’ Whiz or topped with provolone, it’s a juicy mouthful of a sandwich worth a stop by if you're a cheesesteak guy.

Armando's Lunch Truck

Copy Link

Breakfast is serious business at USC, and Armando’s lunch truck has been putting out hulking breakfast burritos and fantastic sandwiches for USC students and visitors since at least before the Pete Carroll era. Once you’re done perusing the menu of famous names and the dishes associated with them, you can just forget everything and order the Uko: carne asada, bacon, eggs, potatoes and cheese are stuffed into a tortilla and are so named presumably because they’re about the size of the forearm of former USC defensive lineman George Uko.

Kings Louisiana Seafood

Copy Link

It's not in the best part of town, but 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

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

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 LA

Copy Link

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

Jacks N Joe

Copy Link

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

Nature's Brew

Copy Link

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 USC

Copy Link

“La Taquiza or Chano’s (now El Huero)?” is one of those classic quandaries that any Trojan will invariably face at one point in their time at USC. The comparison is a bit reductionist in scope: 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.

Tire Shop Taqueria

Eater LA Editor Matt Kang broke the story on the Tire Shop Taqueria in 2014, but it's still going strong, grilling that carne asada over charcoal and topping everything with guac to the hungry throngs.

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.

Traceys Restaurants

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 if you're feeling adventurous, you'll want to try the yak chilli, a dish of yak meat sauteed with onions, peppers and Himalayan spices. And if you're not feeling the yak, their chicken momos (potstickers), chicken tikka and lamb curry are popular with current Trojans and alumni alike.

Revolutionario

Revolutionario is the change-of-pace player in your stable of taquerias, and with toppings like tofu tagine, smoked lamb, grilled cauliflower, beef brisket and pineapple kimchi, it's a chef-driven taqueria gaining some serious traction with the locals and USC students.

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 you like it slathered wit’ Whiz or topped with provolone, it’s a juicy mouthful of a sandwich worth a stop by if you're a cheesesteak guy.

Armando's Lunch Truck

Breakfast is serious business at USC, and Armando’s lunch truck has been putting out hulking breakfast burritos and fantastic sandwiches for USC students and visitors since at least before the Pete Carroll era. Once you’re done perusing the menu of famous names and the dishes associated with them, you can just forget everything and order the Uko: carne asada, bacon, eggs, potatoes and cheese are stuffed into a tortilla and are so named presumably because they’re about the size of the forearm of former USC defensive lineman George Uko.

Kings Louisiana Seafood

It's not in the best part of town, but 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

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 LA

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

Jacks N Joe

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

Nature's Brew

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 USC

“La Taquiza or Chano’s (now El Huero)?” is one of those classic quandaries that any Trojan will invariably face at one point in their time at USC. The comparison is a bit reductionist in scope: 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.

Related Maps