As a KCRW DJ, Travis Holcombe's taste is impeccable — which is why we named him L.A.'s best radio DJ in our 2016 Best of L.A. issue. And when he's not searching for the best new music, he's prowling our city for the best after-midnight dining options. We asked him to share some of his go-to destinations for late-night grub.
Los Angeles is a city of abundant choices when it comes to dining options. After midnight? Not so much.
Limited options doesn't necessarily mean a dearth of quality choices. As a DJ at KCRW, I've been working the 10 p.m.-to-midnight shift for the last couple of years, and I've found a groove when it comes to finding food after my show. Here's some of my favorite spots:
Daikokuya in Little Tokyo was the O.G. spot back when ramen wasn't quite the thing it is now. The Sawtelle branch opened a couple years ago with later hours than its predecessor but the same great, hearty tonkotsu flavor (and a much shorter wait). The tsukemen down the street at Tsujita is another great option, but for me, something about Daikokuya's signature Daikoku ramen feels like home. 2208 Sawtelle Blvd., West L.A.; (310) 575-4999, daikoku-ten.com.
Canter's Deli: I mean, if you've never been to Canter's, what are you waiting for? It's an L.A. institution and the city's best 24-hour diner. The mere thought of their corned beef Reuben puts my salivary glands into overdrive. You can't go wrong with the breakfast items on the menu, either. 419 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax District; (323) 651-2030, cantersdeli.com.
Popeyes: Between Howlin' Ray's, Hotville and Gus's, L.A. feels like it's in the midst of a fried chicken renaissance. Unfortunately, none of those places are open after midnight. Day or night, Popeyes is always a solid option and, at the location on La Brea, the drive-thru window is open 24 hours. If you hit the drive-thru at the wrong time, you might be in for a 20-plus-minute wait, but this is the best option for those times when you have a hankering for fried poultry but don't feel like getting out of your car. 3050 S. La Brea Ave., West Adams; (323) 734-7340, popeyes.com.
Full House Seafood: I've been following Jonathan Gold's breadcrumbs into the 626 and expanding my Chinese food palate for the past couple of years, but Full House has been my neighborhood standby for most of the time I've been in L.A. The service can be brusque, but I'm always amazed at how quickly the food comes out of the kitchen and never disappointed in the quality. 963 N. Hill St., Chinatown; (213) 617-8382.
Leo's Tacos: I'd be remiss to talk about late-night dining in Los Angeles and not mention a taco truck. Everyone who's spent some amount of time in L.A. has a taco truck they swear by, and Leo's is my pick. Leo keeps the menu simple: tacos, burritos, quesadillas — that's it and that's all you need. You won't find an array of salsas on the bar because the avocado salsa that comes on your taco is already the best. Whatever magic seasoning they add to the asada and pastor is my crack. 4300 Eagle Rock Blvd., Eagle Rock; (323) 268-6897.
You can hear Travis Holcombe weeknights from 10 p.m. to midnight on 89.9 FM KCRW and streaming anytime on KCRW.com.