Echo Park Specialty
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.
1549 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park
Cookbook Market, founded six years ago by two long-time 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 their 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.
1606 W. 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.
Fix Coffee (Closed)
2100 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park
Deep in Echo Park, this spot is hidden in a residential neighborhood, meaning it's protected from the overwhelming hustle and bustle that plagues most other coffee shops in this part of town. There's a lovely outdoor patio with shaded and unshaded space, and (rare for an outdoor space) tons of outlets. Another great thing about this cafe is their considerable food and drink menu, which allows you to camp out for the whole day and have something to subsist on other than coffee and pastries. Plus, you can transition to after-work drinks without giving up your table.
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.
1620 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
The newest 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), expect to find 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.
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.
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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