There are some dishes from certain places that stand out from the rest, however, and if you haven't tried them but are still walking around calling yourself a Californian, what are you even doing, man?
Tacos, avocado toast, brunch, generally...they're all on this list, sure. But SoCal is so much more than tacos (though, honestly, just TRY finding them better anywhere else — you can't).
Here are 14 of the most popular dishes served at some of Southern California's most beloved restaurants.
Taquitos At Celito Lindo
Why You Need To Go: The taquitos at this little stand are a must-have. Why? Well, first of all, they're world-famous. They've been being served up on Olvera Street since 1934.
A Pastrami Sandwich At Langer's
Address: 704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA
Why You Need To Go: The house-made pastrami and coleslaw sandwich at this famous Jewish deli in the Westlake District of Los Angeles is a food staple of the city. The iconic #19 is hands down the best most delicious pastrami sandwich on the West Coast.
A Hot Dog At Pink's
Address: 709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Why You Need To Go: Pink's is known for celebrities waiting in line at Pink's and ALSO for its hot dogs, both of which are newsworthy and important. Whether you order a classic chili dog or one of their more extravagant dogs (Martha Stewart dog, Lord of the Rings dog, etc), it's hard to be disappointed. Might I personally suggest the simple yet elegant Carl Reiner Dog (mustard + sauerkraut)?
Fish & Chips At Neptune's Net
Address: 42505 CA-1, Malibu, CA
Why You Need To Go: Ah, Neptune's Net, the absolute king of seafood in all of Los Angeles — this is simply a fact. Not only are the views incredible (it's RIGHT on the beach), but the fish & chips (as well as other variations of fried seafood) will make the tastebuds inside of your mouth actually dance.
Brunch at Home
Address: 1760 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Why You Need To Go: Brunch at Home, which is the name of a restaurant, is an essential rite of passage into being a true Southern Californian because you must develop the talent of remembering that you absolutely MUST make a reservation for brunch. You think you can just show up at Home? I don't think so. Everyone loves this dang place and for good reason — the food is delicious and it looks like a fancy house (thus, the name).
Bratwursts & A Gigantic Pretzel At The Red Lion Tavern
Address: 2366 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Why You Need To Go: The Red Lion Tavern is German food heaven right smack in the middle of LA, and the scenery is just as good as the food you're eating. The Biergarten patio is one of the best spots in the city to hang outside, and since you're here, why not order one of their incredible bratwurst and a German pretzel as big as your head? You kind of have to. They're very good.
Avocado Toast At...Anywhere, Really
Address: Literally every restaurant
Why You Need To Go: When someone says "Los Angeles," you automatically think "avocado toast." That's just what happens! It's not my fault! Most restaurants have a version of it, and honestly, it's hard to do wrong — but if you're going to call yourself a Southern Californian, you have to have had avocado toast served to you at a restaurant, any restaurant, at least once. I don't make the rules.
Tacos At...Oh, God So Many Places
Address: Everywhere, kind of??
Why You Need To Go: This is a hard one, because there are several, and you can't get mad at me about that, legally. Sorry! Tacos are huge in Los Angeles, and while every taco truck is special, some places stand out. For the nontraditional taco, Sky's Gourmet Tacos serves up spicy delights and fun flavors. Aqui es Texcoco is an institution of East LA. Guerilla Tacos is one of the best taco restaurants in all of Los Angeles. For the love of god, just eat a taco in LA, somewhere.
Korean BBQ at Park's BBQ
Address: 955 S Vermont Ave G, Los Angeles, CA
Why You Need To Go: Korean barbecue is very popular in Los Angeles and another rite of passage for living here. Anthony Bourdain once called this place one of his favorite spots in Los Angeles, so that right there proves that Park's does KBBQ right. That is all I even need to say for this one!
A Classic In-N-Out Burger
Address: Oh, geez, everywhere.
Why You Need To Go: If you live in SoCal, you gotta have a classic In-N-Out burg at some point. That's just a given. This popular chain began here and moved all around the Southwestern United States, but this is its birthplace, and therefore, you must eat it. And, hey, for the vegetarians, there's always the fries, which are also famously good!
Diner Food At Fred 62
Address: 1850 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Why You Need To Go: Sometimes, there's nothing better than a good ol' diner over here in Southern California. The menu is huge, they're open all night, you can just order coffee if you want, the list goes on. Fred 62 is one of the best options in Los Feliz, and even their vegetarian menu is delicious.
A Slice 'O Pie At House Of Pies
Address: 1869 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Why You Need To Go: ...After you're done having the diner food at Fred 62, hop right across the street on over to House Of Pies. Yes, it's another diner. No, I don't retract this statement. There's a reason it's called a "house" of pies — the pies that live here are very, very good.
Grand Central Market (Generally)
Address: 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA
Why You Need To Go: You've got a LOT of options at Grand Central Market, a Downtown LA gem, and while you truly can't go wrong with literally any of them (I'm serious!!), you're going to have to try an egg sandwich at Egglsut at some point, so you might as well get it over with. Yes, the line is stupidly long, but, sigh, it IS worth it.
A Vegan Donut At Donut Friend
Address: 5107 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Why You Need To Go: When you hear "vegan donut," you might go, "What? No" but I swear that these things are actually the best things you will ever have in your life and this is NOT a hyperbole, okay? The donuts have delightful names, are gorgeous looking, and taste incredible.