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16 Must-Order Side Dishes That Steal the Show in Los Angeles

Forget your entrée and go for the goods.

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When categorizing side dishes, it quickly becomes apparent that they typically fall under the categories of fried foods, carbohydrates, heavily buttered small plates, or any combination of the three. Sure, there are exceptions, but the bottom line is that sides are frequently the most delicious, indulgent part of a meal.

With modern menus often breaking away from the traditional appetizer, entrée, and side format, this map defines sides as dishes that could not (or at least should not for cardiac health's sake) stand alone as a full meal. Here now, side dishes finally have their time to shine with the 16 best in the city, in no particular order:

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Pommes Aligot at Redbird

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There is perhaps no more traditional of a side than mashed potatoes. Neal Fraser takes them to the next level by mixing creamy potato puree with an equal proportion of unbelievably rich and buttery Point Reyes Toma cheese. Enter the cheesy mashed potatoes of your dreams that just may be better than your entrée.

Daikon Radish Kimchi at Mapo Kkak Du Gi

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You know what’s even better than an great side dish? A side dish you don’t even have to pay for! Free sides, or banchan, are only one of the many reasons Korean food is so great (sizzling marinated meat hello?!), but amazing banchan is really a special treat. Mapo Kkak Du Gi’s eponymous dish, kkak du gi, is perfectly fermented cubes of radish with the funk and spice that is an essential component to a Korean meal.

French Fries at Dino's Chicken and Burgers

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When asked if you want fries with your meal at Dino’s, the answer should always be yes. When ordered with Dino’s famous chicken, the fries act as a base to soak up the garlicy chicken drippings. Or give your fries the VIP treatment and get them DUI style with chili, cheese, carne asada, pastrami, and Dino’s sauce. Yes, please!

Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits at Manhattan Beach Post

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You know a side is great when it’s the main reason you go to a restaurant. Such is the case with MB Post’s bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits. With crispy, cheesy ends and a side of maple butter, they may be the most glorious pieces of carbohydrate deliciousness you’ve ever consumed

Boribap at Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo

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Not only does Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo have one of the best kalgooksoos, or Korean chicken soup with knife-cut noddles, in town, but that also an incredibly unique banchan. Typically a peasant dish, boribap, literally barley rice, comes with fermented bean paste, young radish kimchi, and sesame oil for a sort of DIY bibimbap that’s as authentic as it gets.

Hoe Cake at Barrel & Ashes

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The buttery hoe cake at Chef Timothy Hollingsworth’s Barrel & Ashes has become the must-order side. Served in a sizzling skillet with a side of maple butter, this corn bread-esque dish is the ideal complement to an elevated barbeque meal.

Gries at My Two Cents

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Grits + fries = gries. Yup, that means two of the most comforting sides are mashed together to make the ultimate hybrid side dish at the restaurant that offers a thoughtful, health-conscious take on Southern cuisine.

Alaska King Crab Black Truffle Gnocchi at Mastro's Ocean Club

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An integral part of the dining experience, sides can tell a lot about a steakhouse. Take upscale steakhouse chain Mastro’s, who goes beyond the classics to include sides that truly exhibit magnificent excess. Take the Alaska king crab black truffle gnocchi. Paired with a solid porterhouse, could it get any more luxurious?

Fried Pickle Chips at Tom Bergin's

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Tom Bergin’s fried pickle chips are the ultimate way to satisfy cravings for deliciously salty fried food. House dill pickles are coated in Bergin’s Brew for a super light batter than gets perfectly crispy. Dunk them in buttermilk ranch and forget about the rest of the meal.

Chili Cheese Tots at Dog Haus Biergarten

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These aren’t your middle school cafeteria tater tots. Dog Haus smothers their tots in house-made cheese sauce, cheddar, Haus chili, and spiced scallions. Just be sure to take your Lipitor.

Asparagus at Pacific Dining Car

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A little too much fried food for you? Keep it simple with Pacific Dining Car’s asparagus. Blanched to assure crispness and conserve fresh flavor, these are vegetables done right. There’s certainly something to be said for simplicity, but a nice douse of hollandaise sauce doesn’t hurt either.

Lunch Box Rice at Kang Ho Dong Baek Jeong

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If a side dish actually requires you to play with your food, it automatically deserves some recognition. One of Koreatown’s KBBQ stars offers lunch box rice, a gold tin full of fried rice, egg, seaweed, and kimchi that is vigorously shaken tableside until well mixed.

Yorkshire Pudding at Lawry's The Prime Rib

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There’s just nothing like the crispy Yorkshire Pudding with a soft, well, pudding-like center from Lawry’s. A prime rib meal just isn’t complete without sopping up the meat’s jus with the essential side.

Bucket of Bacon at Charcoal

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If diners consumed this as an entrée, you’d probably see a row of gurneys prepared to haul ‘em out. But really, what could possibly complement a gluttonous meal of Kansas City BBQ better than straight up bacon? The answer is nothing.

Fried Fish at BCD Tofu House

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While all Korean restaurants offer banchan, they are not all created alike. While BCD offers outstanding tofu soup, they don’t skimp on their sides either, and is one of the few places that include a full fried fish with each meal. The yellow croaker is crisp and delicate with some serious salinity, but the best part is it’s 100% gratis.

Sunchokes at Birch

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Although you may expect to see gastropub-like fare from Chef Brendan Collins’ Birch, the menu is actually rather international, reflecting the culinary fabric of LA. Consider the fried Thai curry sunchokes for a complex side with a rich spice that is brightened by a squeeze of lime.

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Pommes Aligot at Redbird

There is perhaps no more traditional of a side than mashed potatoes. Neal Fraser takes them to the next level by mixing creamy potato puree with an equal proportion of unbelievably rich and buttery Point Reyes Toma cheese. Enter the cheesy mashed potatoes of your dreams that just may be better than your entrée.

Daikon Radish Kimchi at Mapo Kkak Du Gi

You know what’s even better than an great side dish? A side dish you don’t even have to pay for! Free sides, or banchan, are only one of the many reasons Korean food is so great (sizzling marinated meat hello?!), but amazing banchan is really a special treat. Mapo Kkak Du Gi’s eponymous dish, kkak du gi, is perfectly fermented cubes of radish with the funk and spice that is an essential component to a Korean meal.

French Fries at Dino's Chicken and Burgers

When asked if you want fries with your meal at Dino’s, the answer should always be yes. When ordered with Dino’s famous chicken, the fries act as a base to soak up the garlicy chicken drippings. Or give your fries the VIP treatment and get them DUI style with chili, cheese, carne asada, pastrami, and Dino’s sauce. Yes, please!

Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits at Manhattan Beach Post

You know a side is great when it’s the main reason you go to a restaurant. Such is the case with MB Post’s bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits. With crispy, cheesy ends and a side of maple butter, they may be the most glorious pieces of carbohydrate deliciousness you’ve ever consumed

Boribap at Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo

Not only does Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo have one of the best kalgooksoos, or Korean chicken soup with knife-cut noddles, in town, but that also an incredibly unique banchan. Typically a peasant dish, boribap, literally barley rice, comes with fermented bean paste, young radish kimchi, and sesame oil for a sort of DIY bibimbap that’s as authentic as it gets.

Hoe Cake at Barrel & Ashes

The buttery hoe cake at Chef Timothy Hollingsworth’s Barrel & Ashes has become the must-order side. Served in a sizzling skillet with a side of maple butter, this corn bread-esque dish is the ideal complement to an elevated barbeque meal.

Gries at My Two Cents

Grits + fries = gries. Yup, that means two of the most comforting sides are mashed together to make the ultimate hybrid side dish at the restaurant that offers a thoughtful, health-conscious take on Southern cuisine.

Alaska King Crab Black Truffle Gnocchi at Mastro's Ocean Club

An integral part of the dining experience, sides can tell a lot about a steakhouse. Take upscale steakhouse chain Mastro’s, who goes beyond the classics to include sides that truly exhibit magnificent excess. Take the Alaska king crab black truffle gnocchi. Paired with a solid porterhouse, could it get any more luxurious?

Fried Pickle Chips at Tom Bergin's

Tom Bergin’s fried pickle chips are the ultimate way to satisfy cravings for deliciously salty fried food. House dill pickles are coated in Bergin’s Brew for a super light batter than gets perfectly crispy. Dunk them in buttermilk ranch and forget about the rest of the meal.

Chili Cheese Tots at Dog Haus Biergarten

These aren’t your middle school cafeteria tater tots. Dog Haus smothers their tots in house-made cheese sauce, cheddar, Haus chili, and spiced scallions. Just be sure to take your Lipitor.

Asparagus at Pacific Dining Car

A little too much fried food for you? Keep it simple with Pacific Dining Car’s asparagus. Blanched to assure crispness and conserve fresh flavor, these are vegetables done right. There’s certainly something to be said for simplicity, but a nice douse of hollandaise sauce doesn’t hurt either.

Lunch Box Rice at Kang Ho Dong Baek Jeong

If a side dish actually requires you to play with your food, it automatically deserves some recognition. One of Koreatown’s KBBQ stars offers lunch box rice, a gold tin full of fried rice, egg, seaweed, and kimchi that is vigorously shaken tableside until well mixed.

Yorkshire Pudding at Lawry's The Prime Rib

There’s just nothing like the crispy Yorkshire Pudding with a soft, well, pudding-like center from Lawry’s. A prime rib meal just isn’t complete without sopping up the meat’s jus with the essential side.

Bucket of Bacon at Charcoal

If diners consumed this as an entrée, you’d probably see a row of gurneys prepared to haul ‘em out. But really, what could possibly complement a gluttonous meal of Kansas City BBQ better than straight up bacon? The answer is nothing.

Fried Fish at BCD Tofu House

While all Korean restaurants offer banchan, they are not all created alike. While BCD offers outstanding tofu soup, they don’t skimp on their sides either, and is one of the few places that include a full fried fish with each meal. The yellow croaker is crisp and delicate with some serious salinity, but the best part is it’s 100% gratis.

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Sunchokes at Birch