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10 Best Eats on Third Street: Neighborhood Grub Crawl

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Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Third Street at night - CHRIS JOLLY
  • Chris Jolly
  • Third Street at night
In a city where nobody walks, here's a street that imminently walkable. While our low stucco architecture bears no resemblance to the brownstones of New York City, Third Street -- between La Cienega and Fairfax -- has become a Manhattan-esque mish-mash of bars, restaurants, cafes, dry cleaners, boutiques, and exercise studios.

This one-mile stretch has places for people who want to be seen (weekend brunch at Toast) and for people who want to hide (St. Nicks on a Tuesday); for families pushing strollers (Magnolia Bakery on Sunday morning) and girls dressed in their Vegas best (The Churchill on Saturday night). The street has had a lot of turnover the past year, and more to come, but here are some of the current best bets on the block.

Street parking can be hard to find unless you happen to live in the neighborhood, but there's valet up and down the street, and parking structures at either end: in the Beverly Center and The Farmers Market/Grove. Want to make it a real New York night? Take a cab, and create your own pub-and-grub crawl.

click to enlarge The Tiger Taco - CHRIS JOLLY
  • Chris Jolly
  • The Tiger Taco
10. Plancha: A Taco Joint

At least once a week you'll pass cop cars parked outside of Plancha. Don't worry about slowing down: the officers are always inside, ordering tacos. Here you'll find Mexican street food that's both cheap (half the menu is under five bucks) and delicious, with something for everybody. Need to fit in your size 2 dress? Get the grilled tilapia tacos on lettuce wraps. Need some carbs to even out your alcohol consumption? Do the poblano quesadilla, the con todo burrito (meat, rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa) or the potato taquitos. One of the best bets is the Tiger Taco: spicy garlic shrimp with melted jack cheese, onions and cilantro. The shrimp are large, cooked just to opaque, and are about 5 steps above the quality you'd expect in a taco joint. Those cops are onto something. 8250 W 3rd St., Los Angeles; 323-951-9911.

click to enlarge Manning the grill... - ROBATA JINYA
  • Robata Jinya
  • Manning the grill...
9. Robata Jinya

When you're craving home-style, non-sushi Japanese, this is the place to go to go. (NB: If you're a sushi purist, head elsewhere.) Order the homemade tofu -- soymilk literally curdled before your eyes, topped with dashi and green onions. Split a hakata tonkatsu ramen: a big steaming salty bowl of comfort and noodle and pork (tip: add the "optional" egg). In Japanese, robata means "charcoal grill", and here they specialize in small skewers of grilled meat and vegetables including a delicious soy-braised pork belly and chicken meatballs. The soaring space is beautiful and with the sake barrels and Japanese grill master and truly zen food presentations, you might just feel transported. 8050 W 3rd St., Los Angeles; 323-653-8877

click to enlarge The Oven at Olio - CHRIS JOLLY
  • Chris Jolly
  • The Oven at Olio
8. Olio Pizzeria

In Los Angeles, you won't have much luck finding truly awesome New York style pizza or Chicago deep-dish -- but this town has managed to churn out Italian-style pies at a rate rivaling Rome's. Olio is no exception: the entire (teeny) restaurant encircles a wood-burning oven from which the friendly staff pull blistery crust and melty mozzarella; grilled steak and Brussels sprouts. The pizza's crust has a great chew to it and has just enough burny parts to satisfy your carbon craving, and there are over a dozen options including a truly spicy sausage and pepper version and a fancy margarita made with burrata and arugula. There's a patio, free parking, and they care as much about their coffee and desserts (including an oven-baked apple crisp and chocolate chip cookies) as they do their pizza. 8075 W 3rd St. #100, Los Angeles; 323-930-9490.

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