Sawtelle is a hidden gem of a neighborhood on the Westside, almost close enough to the beach to be considered Santa Monica
but still part of the city that boasts such diverse cultures and communities. It’s also called ‘Little Japantown’ or ‘Little Osaka’ for the plethora of Japanese and other Asian-inspired shops and cuisines available in the area. There is so much to do and see here, so make sure to spend more than just one day.
This must be the best bagel shop on the Westside – they have a breakfast bagel with egg, cheese, and ham or sausage on a bagel of your choice for only $5. They also have lots of variety with bagels and cream cheeses, all of which they make in-house. And they’ll carve some fresh turkey for a lunch bagel to eat over your laptop while using their free wifi.
Western Bagel, 11628 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 310 826 0570
The Traditional | Courtesy of Western Bagel
This small family-owned theater is one of many examples of the renaissance theaters that make LA great. It’s survived through the ages and offers $8 matinee shows along with a rewards program that offers free popcorn with every visit. While they do show recently released blockbusters, they also opt for avant-garde options like foreign and indie flicks. Bravo.
Laemmle Theater, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 310 478 3836
This LA staple is right on Sawtelle and has à la carte snacks that are all quite different and delicious. They serve up portions of your choice deli style so customers can choose to try as many dishes as they please. Don’t miss the mac and cheese and one of their signature icy cold lemonade flavors.
Lemonade, 2047 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 310 478 0900
Little Japantown is, of course, stacked with unsurpassed sushi joints. En is a favorite because of their upscale atmosphere and good deals on lunch specials. Opt for traditional special sushi rolls like the crunchy tiger or go for the tuna poke bowl with rice and avocado.
En Sushi, 11651 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 310 477 1551
This is a Japanese department-style superstore where everything is $1.50 unless otherwise marked. It’s fun to come in here and look around out of curiosity, if not necessity. Their products are well made and cheap, and customers always leave with something they didn’t know they needed before they came in. It’s always a surprise.
Daiso, 2130 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 424 276 2882
This is an incredible little hole-in-the-wall dim-lit restaurant that is not just for dessert – although come here for the churros and you will leave completely satisfied. The affable owners serve authentic cuisine including Spanish hot chocolate, which is more like chocolate syrup, with their crispy and cinnamony deep-fried dough sticks.
Churros Calientes, 11521 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 424 248 3890
Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
A dive bar through and through, this intimate space, complete with a fireplace, is sure not to disappoint. Every first Friday of the month is 90’s night, with a packed dance floor and a DJ spinning, and their craft cocktails are some of the cheapest and tastiest around.
Mom’s, 12238 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 310 820 6667
By Mary Pettas