Best Street for a Food Crawl (2013)

Sawtelle Boulevard

Just north of the intersection of Sawtelle and Olympic, there's a quadrant of Los Angeles with so much outstanding food crammed into a relatively small space that it makes you wonder why the neighborhood planners responsible for it can't have a crack at other parts of town. Little Osaka, as that area of Sawtelle Boulevard is called, has always been a terrific food neighborhood: It's home to Kiriko, one of the best sushi restaurants in town; Balconi, one of the only shops in L.A. serving siphon coffee; and Asahi Ramen, one of the city's first ramen shops. But recently the neighborhood has gone into hyperdrive, with Tsujita's twin ramen palaces, Gottsui's okonomyaki shop and a great new soba place, Soba Sojibo. Yes, this is an actual walking neighborhood, and you can get superior sushi, oden, okonomiyaki, tsukemen and ramen without having to repark — or do more than cross the street. Sure, it would be more fun to food crawl in Tokyo's Roppongi or Shinagawa districts, but you don't have to shell out for a plane ticket to eat on Sawtelle. Now if only somebody would just install those noodle shop payment machines. Sawtelle Boulevard between Olympic and Santa Monica boulevards, Sawtelle. —Amy Scattergood