On the east side of L.A. is the small town El Monte, California, where early Spanish settlers said the soil was so rich that anything could be grown. During your stay in the friendly, growing city, venture out into one of the many undiscovered hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Here are 10 great local dining spots to get you started.
Try the classic French dip sandwich at an El Monte local staple, Jolly Jug. A French dip sandwich, also known as a beef dip, is a sandwich of thin-sliced roast beef served hot on a baguette. The sandwich is presented au jus, with a dipping dish on the side filled with a meaty, thick gravy. The American sandwich was said to be invented in L.A. in the early 1900s. Jolly Jug’s award-winning French dip is the most popular in El Monte, and it has been served in the community since the 1940s. If the sound of the French dip doesn’t excite you, Jolly Jug has a wide selection of other sandwiches.
Jolly Jug, 4264 N. Peck Road, El Monte, CA, USA, +1 626 444 8425
El Patio has perfected the Mexican restaurant experience. The menu lists dishes originating from all over Mexico and prepared with the freshest and tastiest ingredients. El Patio is little more pricy than the average Tex-Mex restaurant, but the quick, friendly service and the expertly made food will make your experience well worth the extra cash. Try the pork chops served with a pistachio mole, an authentic paste of ground spices and dried chilies commonly used in Mexican cuisine. Save room for dessert because you won’t want to miss the espresso flan.
El Patio Bar & Grill, 11672 Ramona Blvd., El Monte, CA, USA, +1 626 444 1963
For the area’s best-tasting pho — a Vietnamese noodle soup of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat — step into Pho Huynh. The no-frills menu offers pho almost exclusively, so come prepared to attempt to eat a bowl full of soup with chop sticks. The most popular item on the menu is the filet mignon pho. The beef, which cooks in the hot, flavorful broth, will be perfectly tender. Try an iced Vietnamese coffee — espresso with condensed milk served over ice — to kickstart your afternoon buzz. Pho Huynh is a popular lunchtime spot, and because the pho is painstakingly cooked to perfection every time, you may want to take a long lunch.
Pho Huynh, 9706 Garvey Ave., South El Monte, CA, USA, +1 626 350 6688