clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The 5 Best Bites I Ate in LA

And introducing our new travel newsletter

Two cardboard boxes filled with a cinnamon bun, pound cake, cookie, and milk cream bun.
Assorted pastries from Mil Bakery in LA.
Stephanie Wu/Eater
Stephanie Wu is the editor-in-chief of Eater, overseeing 20+ city sites, national food culture coverage, and an Emmy-award winning video program.

A version of this post originally appeared on August 13, 2022, in Stephanie Wu’s newsletter, “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world. Read the archives and subscribe now.

I’m often asked how I plan my meals when I’m traveling, and the truth is, like anyone else, I start by reading our Eater city site. I was in Los Angeles for work last week, and my first steps were to review Eater LA’s 38 essential restaurants, followed by the hottest new openings. After I booked my hotel in Koreatown, I browsed the recent posts about the neighborhood, in case there were any conveniently located spots to put on my list. This intel formed the basis of my planning, though when I’m lucky enough to be dining with a local, I’ll always still take their lead. I love getting a glimpse of a city’s restaurant scene, popping into places both new and classic, even if I’m only visiting for a short amount of time. Here are the best things I ate on my most recent trip.

A soft bun filled with cream and topped with powdered sugar.
The milk cream bun at Mil Bakery.
Stephanie Wu/Eater

Milk cream bun at Mil Bakery: When I saw this cream-filled pastry on Mil’s Instagram page, I knew I had to have it. It lived up to my expectations with a fantastic cream-to-pastry ratio, flavors of fresh milk, and pillowy-soft dough. A fork and knife will go a long way, but it’s so much more fun to just get messy with it.

A large porcelain plate with duck breast and garnishes, and a smaller bowl with rice, duck meat, and herbs.
Duck breast and lu rou fan at Kato.
Stephanie Wu/Eater

Duck lu rou fan at Kato: I splurged on the (very worth it) Taiwanese- and Japanese-inflected tasting menu at Kato, and the sleeper hit for me was a side of lu rou fan. Instead of the traditional braised pork, it’s made with shredded duck and served with duck breast, the final savory course. It reminded me slightly of duck confit, but was filling and comforting and a great way to top off the meal before heading into dessert.

White parchment paper topped with a various tostada and tacos.
Ceviche tostada, chorizo taco, and cochinita pibil taco at Guisados.
Stephanie Wu/Eater

Cochinita pibil at Guisados: A friend and I decided to grab tacos at Guisados after drinks at nearby Thunderbolt. The cochinita pibil taco looked simple, but the combination of the stewed pork, corn tortilla, and bright pickled onions was pitch-perfect. I went with the default three-pepper spice level, and will absolutely ask for a little more heat next time.

A white plate with a stuffed chile covered in a blanket of red sauce.
Chile Relleno at LA Cha Cha Chá.
Stephanie Wu/Eater

Chile relleno at LA Cha Cha Chá: This rooftop spot in the Arts District gets a lot of love for its stunning space, but the food deserves just as much attention. I was a big fan of the chile relleno, which was filled with cheese and quinoa, with a blanket of tomato sauce draped lovingly over the pepper.

A wooden table with three pastry-topped plates.
Assorted pastries at Republique.
Stephanie Wu/Eater

Key lime tart at Republique: I shouldn’t have been surprised at the line snaking out the door of Republique when we wrapped our breakfast at 10 a.m. on a weekday. The classic dishes, like the shakshuka and ricotta toast, are menu standbys for a good reason, but the pastry I can’t stop thinking about is the Key lime bar — well-balanced sweet and tart notes, with a dollop of fresh cream to keep things interesting. I wish I could have packed a couple of these for the flight home.

If you’d like more travel intel, sign up for Eater’s new travel newsletter, launching later this summer, here. It’ll be full of similar dispatches from our editors as they share the food and restaurants they loved from trips around the world.