The city of L.A. requires a lot of beauty sleep, which is unfortunate for its night owl residents awake and hungry at 3 a.m. Street tacos and danger dogs may taste good after stumbling out of a bar, but where are those great kitchens open well past midnight that offer unique dining experiences?
The good news? They're out there. Whether you're working extra late, a diehard insomniac, or just don't feel like going to bed, L.A. offers vegan paninis, steaks and Korean barbeque joints open well past your bedtime. Service is uniformly slower, but you'll meet the most interesting people you've ever encountered, for better or worse - usually for worse.
BCD Tofu House
Have you met Koreatown? Because if you're an insomniac, it's about to become your new best friend. BCD Tofu House runs 24 hours a day and is the perfect place for a full scale feast - intoxicated or not. For less than $10, grab a gigantic bowl of spicy and comforting Pork Soon Tofu and dig in to the banchan, which includes a whole fried fish on top of the usual kimchi, rice, and greens fare. For something even more substantial, try a combo with bulgogi and order the pork and kimchi dumplings to start. 3575 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 382-6677; 869 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 380-3807. Open 24/7.
Tom N Tom's Coffee
Tom N Tom's is a great option if you want to get coffee alone after 3 a.m. and don't want to get stabbed. Unlike its subdued franchise outposts, which pack it in around midnight, the Wilshire branch is jammed with college students using free Wifi and ordering tasty honey butter bread that's somewhere between toast, cake and diabetes. The espresso is good, but the Green Tea and Sweet Potato lattes are a more interesting, if not sickly sweet, alternative. 3974 W. Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; (213) 908-5619. Open 24/7.
Bulrocho is far and away the quietest place on this list. Probably because it's kind of difficult to track down a place without English signs. Next time, wait until 1 a.m. and then just head towards the only place open within three blocks. Bulrocho is well known for its goat stew, but the ribs are also excellent and can easily feed two people for $12.99. The downside to visiting at night is that the area gets eerily isolated, but since the valet is closed by midnight, at least you can park close for free. 955 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 383-0080. Open 24 hours except when they close at 2 a.m. Sunday nights/Monday mornings.
Warning: if you're in Kitchen 24 after 3 a.m., there's going to be a whole lot of break-ups and eating of feelings around you. This place is incredibly popular with the 2 a.m. closing call crowd looking to line their stomachs before they pass out. You're better than that, Kitchen 24. Wait a little bit later than 3 to check out all the upscale comfort foods on offer. The place is known for its breakfast food, but sometimes people need steak at 4 a.m. And by people, we mean us. 8575 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (424) 777-0959. Open 24 hours except 4 until 9 a.m. Mondays.
Considering how many daylight hours are spent debating who sells the best burger in L.A., expectations are shockingly low come nightfall. Luckily, Stout's Hollywood branch is out to win the hearts of burger lovers who refuse to compromise, even after midnight. Try the gourmet fig jam and brie "Six Weeker" if you like a more inventive burger, or the cheddar "Imperialist" for something more classic. Unfortunately, the grill stops at 3:45 a.m. and the place shuts down at 4 every night. Man up, Stout. 1544 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 469-3801. Open until 4 a.m. every day.
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Delicious food, slower service and a four out of five on the oh-God-I-should-text-someone-where-I-am scale, LA Café stands out as the only place to get healthy food options at any time of the night. Drunk vegetarians and gluten-intolerant serial killers rejoice! If you're up this late, personal health is probably not your greatest concern, but if it is, try the Cosmic Crunchy Kale Salad for $8.99, then hit up the glorious baked goods section. LA Café might be a better delivery choice past a certain point at night. Even the best falafel isn't worth being mugged. 639 S. Spring St., Los Angeles; (213) 612-3000. Open 24/7.?