The 10 Best Echo Park Restaurants
“Baked Japan”: La Colombe “Corsica” semifreddo, miso butterscotch, nigori sake fondue
Echo Park hasn't reached the yupster heights of its neighbor to the west, Silver Lake. But it might have better food. Some hip spots have opened recently (Ostrich Farm, Winsome, Button Mash) and Elf Cafe, a mainstay since 2008, makes some of the sexiest food of anyone on this list and is one of the best plant-based eateries in L.A. We've also included places that aren't necessarily destination restaurants – you might not drive across town for them, but when you do stumble in, you're met with comfort. That familiarity is an integral part of Echo Park, and all these places – listed in no particular order – are its beating heart.
Crispy deep fried tofu balls at Button Mash
To paraphrase Besha Rodell's review, come here to hang with the cool kids, stay for the tamarind chicken wings. The food is way better than it has to be for a place that has Mortal Kombat II. The garlic noodles are super garlicky, just as we like them, and are a standout main dish. The cheese corn side dish is served flat on a plate under a saucer of unctuous cheese and looks almost alien. It's ridiculous in the best way possible, as are the lurid green crispy fried tofu balls, which are just as good as you've heard. Dirty jokes, on the side.
1391 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. (213) 250-9903, buttonmashla.com.
The Salvadoran tamale at Gigi's
Courtesy Gigi's Bakery and Café
Gigi's Bakery and Cafe
Don't let the '90s serif logo fool you, this place is legit. The line begins at 6:30 a.m. here for the Salvadoran tamales, and that's where this bakery really shines. If you've ever suffered from attack of the dry tamale, know that you'll be safe here within the moist embrace of Gigi's securely wrapped banana leaves: inside, potato, masa and chicken meld into one savory, glistening unit, punctuated by a green olive. Gigi's also has Guatemalan and Mexican tamales, as well as potato balls, which some say are better than Porto's. You'll just have to see for yourself. (Note: Gigi's is technically one street over the Echo Park boundary into Historic Filipinotown – but it's so close, and so delicious, that we're including it in this list.)
2200 W. Temple St., Historic Filipinotown. (213) 483-6152, gigisbakeryla.com.
The kale and lentil bowl, usually served with fried eggs, and the chickpea bowl with poached eggs at Ostrich Farm
Yeah, you knew it’d be on this list before you started reading, and who are we to disappoint? At the Sqirl of Echo Park, brunch is definitely a scene, so dress the part if you care about that kind of thing. The spicy chickpeas in tomato sauce with poached eggs is one of the stronger brunch items; the blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes are a close second (even if you’re not a sweets person). Instagram, and dig in.
1525 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. (213) 537-0657, ostrichfarmla.com.
The deep dish don't play at Masa
We've got to give it up to the OG of Echo Park: Masa was among the first new-wave restaurants to open in the neighborhood in 2004, and for that, respect. If you don’t like deep dish pizza, don’t come here. Masa gives Chicago pies a run for their money, and while they might not be exactly as you remember from points east, they’re probably the closest you’ll get in Tinseltown. Can’t have it all, kid.
1800 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. (213) 989-1558, masaofechopark.com .
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