Before coming to USC, I would always get excited when I visited LA because I knew that meant great food! During my freshman year I took every opportunity I got to go out and try new places to eat. Often times your RA will plan events to take your floor out to dinner, and I highly recommend signing up for those events, but if you don’t have time, I tried imparting some transportation advice on how to get to these wonderful places. After being a student at USC for one year now, here is a list of my top 5 favorite places in LA.
I have just recently discovered this gem last month, and I am hooked! I have already gone back to show others this magical place. Ding Tai Fung is known to have the best soup dumplings (xiao long bao) in southern California. For those of you that don’t know what soup dumplings are, they are regular dumplings with meat, but they also have soup inside! It’s amazing. The two closest to campus are at the Americana in Glendale or in Arcadia. Both are equally delicious, but I prefer to go to the Americana because while you wait for your table (which can often be a long time) you can go window-shopping around at the Americana (a mall)! While you can take the metro to either of these places, it can be very time consuming to do so, so I’d recommend either finding a friend with a car, or snagging a USC zip car to get there.
2. El Cholo
Not only does El Cholo have amazing Mexican food, but also if you go Monday through Thursday, you get 50% your meal! The first time I went here, I got placed at the “Famous Nacho Table” and got free nachos for dinner! I am now on the look out for the “Famous Guacamole Table” (assuming they even have one). Their fajitas are amazing, and when paired with a tableside guacamole it gets hard to beat. This place is only a few miles from campus, so taking the metro shouldn’t be a problem.
For my whole life, I’ve always gotten excited to come to Korea Town and eat Korean BBQ and now that USC and Korea Town are city neighbors, I get to go there ALL the time! O-Dae-San is a great and cheap all you can eat Korean BBQ restaurant that you can get to through using the USC bus! It’s a close and easy place to go if you want a delicious but not too far away meal; however, beware, you will smell like Korean food until you shower and wash for clothes!
It’s very hard to make it through your time at USC and either not go to Bottega Louie or hear about how amazing it is. Every time I’ve gone, I’ve always gotten pizza and their bread/ crust is to die for! All their deserts look too pretty to eat, but they taste even better! This a great place to go for special occasions, or if you want a nice night out. This gem is right downtown so with a quick metro bus ride and you’ll be right in front of the restaurant!
5. Café Crepe
One of my favorite places to visit in LA is Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade and this restaurant makes going to Third Street so much better. They have amazing breakfast, lunch, and dessert crepes. When you walk in, the whole wall is covered in Nutella bottles that they put in most of their dessert crepes. I always get the strawberry dessert crepe (even if it’s not dessert). You can easily get to Café Crepe and Third Street with the Metro, but most people just get zip cars to cut down the time.
One of the biggest perks about going to USC (beside how amazing the school is) is that we’re right in the middle of LA with so many places to explore and taste! I highly recommend all of these places, but also go out and try new foods! It’ll be a great experience!