Otomisan has been a staple of Boyle Heights since 1956, and has remained largely unchanged in an ever-changing neighborhood. A charming hole-in-the-wall spot with the ambiance of an American diner, the décor includes traditional Japanese masks, and vintage booths dating back to the restaurant’s inception. The restaurant feels familiar, with the worn seats and regular customers.
Otomisan Restaurant, 2506 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA, USA +1 323 526 1150
VaKA Burger Express
Located in the back of a liquor store, VaKA Burger is easy to miss, but you’ll be glad you didn’t. The fries are crisp and incredibly flavorful, cooked to perfection; the gourmet burgers come out in that sought-after sweet spot between medium rare and medium; the patties are sourced from organic, grass-fed beef.
VaKA Burger Express, 2765 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA +1 323 265 1111
This organic café located on the busy corner of Whittier Blvd and Soto St may be small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. Salads, sandwiches, and a variety of coffee drinks make the cozy spot a favorite for hot afternoons.
Vees Café, 2310 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA +1 855 863 9980
La Mascota Bakery
You’d be hard pressed to find a more beloved bakery than neighborhood staple, La Mascota. Boasting a wide array of delicious pan dulce, the cherry on top is the price. The pork and chicken tamales are so good, they have residents from all over Boyle Heights queuing up for them.
La Mascota Bakery, 2715 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA +1 323 263 5513
The line into the small joint might be out the door, but the sign at Guisados says ‘In Tacos We Trust,’ so you’ll soon understand why. Try the sampler to get things going; with an ever-changing selection, you’ll find it’s never boring. Highlights include the chicharron taco, with pork rinds delicately smothered in chile verde, and the tinga de pollo, a mouth-watering shredded chicken taco served with chorizo and chipotle. Go wild and order a cool melon agua fresca or sweet horchata to wash down their incredibly spicy habanero sauce.
Guisados Tacos, 2100 E Cesar Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA +1 323 264 7201