Echo Park Specialty
1555 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
We love our almond milk lattes as much as the next person, but when we’re looking for a break—and not for coffee—Hey Hey is where we go for milk teas and boba. And the experience is more like one you’d have at a cocktail bar: The drinks are handcrafted by a barista who layers chewy tapioca balls with loose-leaf tea and other ingredients that are all made in-house, like almond pudding and sea salt cream. The space, which is meant to be like a modern tea room, is more like a lounge for locals, often serving drinks late into the evening.
1412 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park
By day, this Echo Park hangout is a café where patrons curl up on leather sofas with books and laptops, sipping coffee and ordering salads packed with veggies and grains or comforting bowls of tomato soup with toasted sourdough. Once early evening hits, though, it transforms into a jam-packed bar and restaurant, where locals stop in for the popular happy hour and huge cocktail list.
1716 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Stories is Echo Park’s much-loved local bookstore, but what most people don’t realize is that behind all the books is a tiny café (and a good one, at that). We love escaping here for the quiet—the stacks and stacks of haphazardly arranged tomes soak up all the street noise. The tables are filled with other studious folks tapping away on computers or reading through screenplays, so there’s not much chatter. You can sit here for hours munching through the pastry selection without being disturbed.
1549 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park
Cookbook Market, founded six years ago by two longtime Echo Park residents (who also happen to be married), is the serious home cook's culinary playground. The tiny, tightly edited space stocks plenty of daily provisions (farm-fresh dairy, organic meat and vegetables, homemade pasta, pickles, and salsas), alongside harder-to-find artisanal items (Anson Mills grains, obscure oils and vinegars, special spice blends). Aside from fresh produce and pantry items, you'll also find a host of flavorful prepared salads, sandwiches, and tempting baked treats by the counter. Order a cup of the espresso-based coffee and sip it surrounded by buckets of wildflowers on the benches outside. For those living farther east, a second Cookbook Market location has just opened in Highland Park.
1342 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park
While this Echo Park staple is considered a truck because it's technically located inside a truck, it only has one location: In the parking lot of an Echo Park Von's. It's best known as a late-night spot (it's always crowded on Friday and Saturday nights with people on their way home from bars), but locals come here for dinner, too. The al pastor and carne asada are both great—as is the horchata, if that's your thing—but the local order of choice is the suadero, which is like a brisket. Get a generous helping of the fresh salsa, which might be the best part of the entire operation.
1620 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
A new-ish kid on Echo Park’s Sunset Strip block, Honey Hi is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood. Owned and operated by two best friends (one of whom is a nutritionist), Honey Hi offers a menu full of the type of food you wish you ate more often: gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, GMO-free, and seriously satisfying. A small, pleasantly bright, but no-frills space, this little café is the perfect place to grab a late breakfast, lunch with a friend, or a smoothie to go. While everything we’ve tried has been excellent, a few highlights include the Moroccan bowl, the miso bowl, and the matcha moringa drink. Oh, and the chocolate chip cookies made with cassava flour, grass-fed butter, and Maldon salt are no joke, either.
1608 1/2 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Dinette is a sidewalk eatery by Café Stella owner, Gareth Kantner. There's a walk-up window and tiny interior showcasing Dinette's pastry treats. Also on the (changing) menu: heartier options like smoked salmon toast, Kobe beef burger, ricotta frittata, skirt steak with chimichurri, and an all-day breakfast pizza. And of course, coffee. You can take your food to go, or find a spot at one of the small tables outside the café.
Guisado’s Echo Park
1261 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
There's no short supply of Mexican food in LA, so when we say that Guisado's has some of the best, it's a hefty stamp of approval. Guisado is the Spanish word for stew—the kind of slow-braised, spiced meats that taste just as good with a side of rice and beans as they do starring in a taco—and that's exactly where this spot excels. Slow roasted pork with pickled red onions is the fan favorite, but they also do excellent fish, steak, and chicken. The original is in Boyle Heights, though they now have locations in Echo Park, West Hollywood, and Downtown as well.
Blue Bottle Coffee
1712 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Blue Bottle is a top-notch coffee roaster and café with a sustainable ethos, in multiple locations throughout LA, the Bay Area, NYC, (and Tokyo). This Echo Park outpost has a handful of small tables, breakfast, and lunch offerings. We go for the coffee, though. Our picks: The siphon filter and the New Orleans iced coffee.
1305 Portia St., Echo Park
According to lore, the medieval “trencher” is an ancestor of the modern-day open-face sandwich, so it makes sense that the Veggie Trencher—eggplant and kale topped with a dollop of fresh burrata—is top notch. There's also a proper dining room where you can sit, should you want to make your sandwich into a bit more of an event.
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