Best Affordable Places to Eat While in L.A.
The beaches, the sunshine and laid back lifestyle, the Hollywood history and movie screen luxury, why wouldn’t you want to come to LA?
Once on the ground though, it is not always easy to find out what there is to do in a city.
Luckily, the first installment of CheapOair’s Things to do… series features LA so you can get some great tips and start planning before you go:
By the way, keep an eye on the site. We hear they’ll be looking for followers to take part in an exciting opportunity pretty soon, and knowing CheapOair, you can expect a lot of fun.
In the meantime, with so many things to see and do and an incredibly varied, top-class quality ethnic cuisine suiting a range of pockets, it is the perfect holiday destination for lone travelers, couples and families alike. LA is quintessential American highlife. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done on a budget.
Fly in on a Budget
Yes, it is possible to be cheap in LA, starting with how you get there. Flying in doesn’t have to cost you a month’s pay check. We just came across CheapOair giving very satisfying prices for top name flights. Of course you could always take in some adventure and romance on a road trip, fly into the East and drive to the West – why not?
Once there you’ll want to laze on the beach and soak up the sun, do some shopping and visit the famous highlights – HOLLYWOOD! But this city is much more than that with hundreds of museums, tons of tourist attractions, and plenty of yummily good food.
Free Things to Do in Los Angeles
It’s not always easy to find out just what there is to do in a city, so check out CheapOair’s Youtube channel for some great ideas. They’re promising followers a chance to participate in an exciting opportunity pretty soon, so keep an eye on CheapOair and expect a lot of fun.
In the meantime, so you don’t find yourself leaving an attraction with an empty stomach and wandering around for somewhere good and reasonably priced to eat, we’ve put together a list of some of the best places to visit and where you can eat.
1.Hollywood Boulevard & Hollywood Hall of Fame
Such an iconic piece of American film and culture, not cheap, it’s free! Feel the glitz, the fame, the nostalgia while walking the famous Hollywood Boulevard. Step along with the 2,500 terrazzo and brass stars over 15 blocks, taking you from the majestic past to stars of today.
When you need to stop for a bite, just off the Boulevard and close to Hollywood/Western metro station is this tiny but charming family-run eatery. They offer an extensive menu of cheap and tasty Northern Thai dishes and are famous for their khao soi – the best in town!
Som tum with salty crab papaya salad, pad kha prao gai in basil, fired pork ribs in garlic, crispy larb pork… it is a cheap feast for the taste buds.
Just down the road from Hollywood/Vine metro, right on the main drag, is Pie Hole, the newest of the eatery’s branches. A seasonally changing menu of homemade sweet and savory pies and pastries makes this a popular spot for locals and tourists, and all at very moderate prices.
Mom’s Apple Crumble, pecan pie, Mexican chocolate pie, or strawberry lavender pie? Or try their pot pies – shepherd’s, mac ‘n cheese, chicken ‘n cornbread. Pies, pies, pies – and quiches and salads if you in your number isn’t into pie… hmmm.
What better way to get the full view of Hollywood and LA than at the Griffith Observatory. And if you’re dreaming of even further away places, point your telescope to the astral stars. Enjoy exhibits and live shows – a real hit with the kids.
After a wander through the park, down winding streets and into N Vermont Ave, you’ll find the famed Fred62 1950s style diner. Get a feel for the Hollywood of the ‘50s and go for a burger-fries-milkshake combo, perhaps a Juicy Lucy burger with a strawberry-chai shake. That and their vintage décor will whisk you back to the fantasy years of Hollywood.
It’s open 24 hours, good to know, and offers plenty of breakfast and brunch options.
Set among the trees inside Griffith Park is this simple little café serving homemade quiches and pies, scones and sandwiches, all with a flavor of the ‘80s. Order at the window and sit on the patio or perch on a tree stump – good food surrounded by the smells, the sounds and the peacefulness of nature.
Tacos have gotten a bit fancy as vendors try to stand out from the crowd. But Ricky’s is strictly no bling, just fresh tortilla, spicy pico de gallo and deep fried seriously light and airy fresh fish. It’s all served from a van so check this out on Twitter to make sure you know where to find him.
3. Angels Flight Railway
A fabulous little funicular railway taking the strain out of getting back up the hill after visiting Grand Central Market. The kids will love it and it only costs a dollar.
Ziran, at the L.A. Hotel, Downtown is an excellent choice, especially if you’re looking for higher-end food at a budget price. The restaurant is newly renovated and provides an elegant yet relaxed (you don’t need to dress up!) environment to enjoy a delicious meal in the heart of LA.
You don’t need to stay at the hotel to dine here. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast and lunch, and also offers special menus for various events throughout the year such as Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc.
One of my favorite budget places to dine in LA is Grand Central Market, tells us Jen Hayes of Smarty Pants Finance. The Market has a wide variety of food vendors from Salvadorian to Asian to ice cream to vegetarian. There is something for everyone! One person can easily eat for less than $10.
Some of the portion sizes are so large that visitors can even share a meal. The Market is within walking distance of Little Tokyo, the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the Angels Flight Railway. A parking garage is available (but costly) or you can easily find metered street parking which will cost a couple of dollars.
4.Walt Disney Concert Hall
People don’t visit this concert hall just for the wide range of music concerts. This is an architectural masterpiece that will leave you aghast and totally inspired.
Ok, so this isn’t fast food prices, because this just isn’t fast food. Broken Mouth is a culinary experience of some of the best Hawai’ian food, lovingly prepared and sumptuously presented. And for a newbie in town, setting up just three ago, it was an instant hit, making the top five of Yelp’s best 100 restaurants in the country.
Chia seed pudding, avocado toast, Spam musubi, Hawai’ian plate lunches and an umami flavor throughout, these tastes will dance on your tongue. And there are many gluten free choices too.
Right across the road from the Disney Concert Hall is this little delight for the veggies and vegans – upscale eating for moderate prices. It is casual and quick – servicing the lunchtime crowds of workers who need to be in and out pretty smartish, so lots of take away too.
Au Lac’s menu of Southeast Asian and Chinese dishes features raw and cooked vegan fayre. Keep an eye on the time though as they take a two-hour break between 3-5pm on weekdays.
5. La Brea Tar Pits
Yes, that’s right. Pits of natural tar. They have been seeping asphalt from under the ground for the last tens of thousands of years, sometimes trapping animals, which the museum there studies. A little bit of the ice age right in the middle of LA.
After all that sticky history, you’ll be wanting a sticky donut. This family-owned shop, open seven days a week, can serve you just about any type of donut – their famous favorite is the Maple Bacon! – glazed or old fashioned, served with fresh fruit and cream – you’ll just have to try a couple. You’ll also find croissants, sandwiches and coffee, so a great place for a welcome break.
If you fancy something a bit different go to Yuko’s for homemade Japanese comfort food. No sushi here. In fact, Yuko has bucked the fancy gastronomic trends and remained simple and scrumptious.
The location is a calm retreat from the bustling streets making it a relaxing spot. Menu samples: spicy salmon bowl, garlic albacore bowl, BBQ catfish. The portions are great and the prices are very good.
6. Travel Town Museum
This is a train museum housing steam and electric locomotives and carriages from the 1880s to the 1930s. The rail system was the backbone of the development of America and this museum gives a fascinating view of that history.
Homemade Russian food at its best. Delicious, traditional dishes that sound of the east, blintzes, vareniki, beef stroganoff, kvass, and the quintessential borscht, which comes with molasses bread for dipping, of course. And now you can get a Russian beer or wine to wash it all down.
They do great things with eggs here – four different omelettes to choose from or build your own, eggs benedict, eggs Florentine and eggs on most of the breakfast dishes. There are vegan options too so don’t be put off if you like your light meals plant based. You can also find French toast, pancakes and waffles. It’s a great café experience at very reasonable prices.
As you’d expect of an eatery called Adana, this is where to get a kebab. This is a real mix of eastern influences with meat dishes, salads, and aromatic rice. Timeout recommends the Hatam, marinated Cornish game hen.
7. Melrose Avenue
For those who love window shopping, Melrose Avenue is the LA place to go. There’s enough here for a whole day of wandering. There’s a myriad of dining choices too, so where to go?
This is a pizzeria that serves the “miracle on Melrose”, the Nancy Silverton pizza crust that’s both crispy and chewy. Best to book in advance here as it’s that popular. From traditional to eccentric, you’ll find yourself a perfect pizza here.
Located inside West Hollywood’s Palihotel, this restaurant serves the food of the South. Buttery biscuits that melt in your mouth, battered fried green tomatoes, chow chow, buttery bone marrow, this place will take you on a gastronomic journey deep down South.
How do you like your chicken? In a Chinese, California or Caesar salad? Wrapped in whole wheat pitta or rice wrap? So a Combo, Caesar, Primavera, or Veggie wrap?
Wait! Veggie? Yes, veggie options too. This is super healthy, super delicious, super busy – because it really is that good – and super affordable dining.
8. The Getty Center
Take a break from the bustle of the city and wander around the Getty Center. You can check out the Getty Museum, marvel at the renowned architecture or simply stroll through the calming gardens and take in the views of Los Angeles.
And, when you’ve had your fill of ambling, here’s where you’ll find some great eating options.
Cash in on the poke craze at this Chipotle-style restaurant. Mix and match for your perfect bowl. Healthy, tons of variety, large portions, affordable and filling!
9. Santa Monica
Down to the sea, now, and Santa Monica for beach relief, or perhaps take in an amusement park, visit the hippodrome, or enjoy the wonderful aquarium.
All that sea air will leave you looking for some fine dining and what better place to try out than Jeremy Fox’s new restaurant, Birdie G’s: Wonderful food, Hangtown Brei, Chicken Scallopine, Beef Bolognaise, King Salmon.
What makes this place even more special is their rose petal pie for dessert – a sparkling mound of jelly, mousse and crumble, topped with crystallized rose petals.
If you want a more casual dine, try out this little gastropub. Unique flavor combinations, perfectly cooked, and not a dollop of tomato ketchup in sight. Its burgers are famous – dressed up with caramelized onions, blue cheese and arugula, and you can wash it down with one of their 36 on-tap beers… or two, even.
It’s a very small location but it’s well worth the short wait.
If you need to get even more laid back, go for Cha Cha. Just south of Santa Monica pier you’ll find an open air beach shack where you order at the counter with the vibes of reggae and ska.
Enjoy the Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Dirty Rice, Black Beans and Fried Plantain, close your eyes and imagine you’re down in Montego Bay.
Not to Miss Food Destinations
Yes, we know it’s all about healthy, less meat food today, but when in LA a little diversion is forgivable. Pink’s Hot Dog stand has been there for years, since 1939, is the most famous stand in LA and serves up dogs topped with anything you please, and named after Hollywood legends. Try the Brando Dog, you know you want to.
Pisces Poke & Ramen
How big is America? And, according to Yelp, this is the second best restaurant! Must be worth a try, right? It is.
Top quality Hawai’ian Poke is served here, or try the Butter Blue Crab or the restaurants highly prized Truffle Salmon. If you aren’t sure what to order – there’s so much good stuff to choose from – they will let you try first. The kids will love that.
All natural ingredients, fruit or herbal based, flavored with rose water, Persian cucumber, saffron, orange blossom. Delicious. You can have a traditional cone or go for the ice cream wafer sandwich rolled in pistachio.
Set up 40 years ago by two Iranian brothers, it is simply the best ice cream in town and super affordable.
More Amazing Stuff to Do in Los Angeles
There is so much to do in LA, so many vibes to take in and tastes to enjoy that you can bet we haven’t covered even the tiniest bit. For such a vibrant place, it’s best to sort out what you want to do before you go and one place that can give you expert knowledge is CheapOair.
You’ll find so much to check out at unexpectedly reasonable price, you’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice.
Disclaimer: this article was brought to you by CheapOair.