318 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park
Laveta is minimalist and meditatively austere. And it’s a great spot to grab a coffee and gab with a friend. (If you’re posting up with a laptop, you’ll be most comfortable outside on the patio.) And for such a small coffee shop, their food menu is impressive: The kimchi fried rice, mushroom porridge, and an assortment of toasts are some of our favorites, though the menu varies by season.
This floral studio, helmed by creative consultant Alice Lam, puts together fabulous arrangements for private clients and local businesses.
Clark Street Bakery
331 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park
Clark Street started with a stall in Grand Central Market, and we’re glad they expanded to standalone bakeries. We like to stop in for a latte and a pastry, but don’t limit yourself: The heartier, eggy breakfasts and sandwiches are great, too.
1507 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park
The wine list here is great, and they make great finger food without reinventing the wheel—think cheese, charcuterie, olives, and chips with really good dip.
2920 W. Temple St., Echo Park
Woon serves homestyle Chinese—the recipes are the founders’ mom’s—and has a solid sidewalk dining situation. Go on a Friday or Saturday, when they serve their pan-fried pork and veggie dumplings. Also notable: the wok-charred beef noodles and five spice chicken wings (which are crispy on the outside and perfectly tender and juicy on the inside).
1549 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park
Artisanal grocer Cookbook Market has kept its shelves and fridges packed with essentials like flour, yeast, beans, and eggs, even as the big-box stores sell out. Both locations (Echo Park and Highland Park) are enforcing strict rules to keep everyone as safe as possible, cutting their hours to allow for deeper cleaning and pivoting to curbside pickup only. Call and place your order over the phone for same day collection (they’ll call you once your tasty goods are ready to go).
2150 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Thursday through Saturday, Echo Park’s sexiest bar, Bar Bandini, is offering curbside pickup. The goods: organic, biodynamic wines from the best of small-batch producers around the world. Also on the roster are the ultimate in refreshing, nonalcoholic beverages, effervescent Topo Chico, and Mexican Coke. We have spent many a night munching oozy grilled cheese and sipping glasses of whatever was on tap in the dark, moody confines of this vibey bar, and we would like to continue doing so once this pandemic passes. If you’re a dedicated Eastsider, keep the booze buy local and order a bottle or two from the Bandini stash.
1540 Sunset Blvd, Echo Park
Our favorite new but not-so-new Eastside bar. Lowboy is actually one half of the former LA institution the Lost Knight. If you're familiar with the location, you'll likely have some nostalgia for its former occupant. But once you enter, you'll be happy to see the space's new life. Lowboy is everything you crave in a bar: It's moody and softly lit, it has cozy booths and a generous beer list, and the bartenders can whip up a perfectly tart Paloma or a breezy and sweet mai tai in less time than it will take you to decide on your bar snack. (The popcorn sprinkled with Old Bay is a real crowd-pleaser.)
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.
Bar Caló (Closed)
1498 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
The most coveted seats inside this small, dim tequila bar are on the wraparound velvet couch, and if you can snag it, by all means do. On the weekends especially, Bar Caló gets crowded with Eastsiders who come for the mezcal and stay for the food. Everything on the menu is meant to be shared, like the Oaxacan hot chicken, roasted garlic guacamole, or a quesadilla with queso fresco and mezcal salsa. The cocktails are all impressive, the food is authentic, and in the summer when the patio is lively and bustling, the whole place hums with a good time.