In Southern California, a thermometer reading of 62 degrees is reason to break out a parka and get cozy with a hot bowl of soup. In November, Chowhounds went to every corner of our chilled city, slurping up everything from chowder to galbi tang. When you need some warmth, seek out whichever bowl tickles your fancy.
For years, Encino’s Itzik Hagadol has impressed Chowhounds with its all-you-can-eat salad option, replete with Israeli and Mediterranean fare like silky baba ghanoush, mushroom hummus, matbucha, and more. At $17.99 per person, the cost is a bit steep, but the quality of the included 20 dishes (and the endless falafel balls) makes up for the price tag. A second location will open in Beverly Hills soon.
In the Arts District, the Factory Kitchen is upping the Italian ante with a menu helmed by veteran Valentino chef Angelo Auriana. Standout items include the pappardelle flecked with olives and topped with duck ragu, veal-and-prosciutto-stuffed modenesi drizzled with black truffle butter (pictured), and a tender plate of porchetta.
For a taste of Changsha-style cooking, pay a visit to Noodles King on Valley Boulevard in Rosemead, where the shao mai (pictured) are made with hefty wrappers and stuffed with sticky rice. Try a giant bowl of house-made rice or egg and wheat noodles as well, available in soups or “dry” (with little broth).
LA native Roy Choi made a name for himself by smashing together Korean and Mexican staples and serving them out of roving Kogi BBQ trucks. While the kimchi quesadillas and short rib burritos live on, Choi has expanded his empire with stationary, full-service restaurants around the city. If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying his creations, Chowhounds are happy to help you decide where to sit down first.
Spicy hushpuppies, chicken Kiev, and lamb chops with black-eyed peas are just a few of the dishes at Claud & Co. Eatery that recently won over the hearts of Pasadena residents. (The menu changes monthly.) For dessert, consider the crêpes suzette—prepared tableside—or relax and enjoy the restaurant’s new full bar.
Chowhounds delight in the holiday pie season, and the delicious scents of West LA’s top pumpkin and pecan pies are wafting through this must-read list.