Fear not, the next debate with your friends about where to eat has been prevented! As a foodie, I am always looking for new places to try, especially in LA; the options are endless! However, I do acknowledge that scanning the Internet and looking at all those endless options can be daunting. Therefore, this article is a compiled list of restaurants recommended by Bruins, for Bruins. Happy sampling! Here are 19 restaurants you need to try this year.
- Bollywood Bites
This Indian cuisine recommendation comes from Guinivere Kimber. The HC at UCLA Feature Writer and third-year Political Science major says she loves this restaurant because “it has a comfy atmosphere and the food is absolutely to DIE for!!!! Plus it’s close to campus!” Bollywood Bites is right on Gayley Avenue, so it is within walking distance from campus and any Westwood apartment. They are open until 10pm every night, perfect for lunch or dinner.
- Kazu Nori
This next recommendation comes from *Cally Malik. Kazu Nori is also a close option, as the chain has a location right on Gayley Avenue. They have a 4.6-star rating on Google, and are described as a “stylish restaurant with an industrial vibe specializing in Japanese seafood rolls.” The second-year Psychobiology major recommends it because it is “so authentic, fresh and delicious!!”
- Perch LA
Grace LaPlante, an HC at UCLA Feature Writer and fourth-year English major excitedly recommended Perch. Perch LA is for my girlies who love aesthetics, as Google describes it as a “glamorous rooftop setting with French small plates, handcrafted cocktails, and grand views of the city.” Grace loves it because “not only is the food incredible, the atmosphere is fun yet elegant. I went here with friends the weekend after I was accepted into UCLA so it holds many happy memories for me!” It is an easy place to make happy memories because on the weekends it has a brunch option, and it is perfect for a night out with friends because it is open until 1:00 on weekdays and 1:30 on weekends.
- Ami Japanese Restaurant
This restaurant is so popular that two people raved about it. Both Olivia Lam, a fourth-year Communications major, and Ella Smith,* a second-year Economics major, recommended the sushi and Japanese cuisine restaurant that is within walking distance from campus and apartments. When recommending Ami, Ella wrote, “If you love sushi as I do, Ami is a go-to in Westwood. I used to have it almost weekly with my friends because we love it so much. The sushi + hot food is such good quality and the service is great. I also love the ambiance inside! It’s a great place to go any day of the week.” Ella shared a similar sentiment when writing about Ami: “The sushi is really good and an affordable price for college students!”
- BOA Steakhouse WeHo
BOA is one of the most popping places in West Hollywood at the moment, and second-year Economics major Hannah Duckworth has gotten to experience the hype: “The food is AMAZING, literally the best steak I’ve ever had. Also, the environment and ambiance are so nice, they have an indoor seating area and bar and a beautiful outdoor area with fairy lights.” BOA is on the pricier end, but definitely worth saving your money and a special occasion for. Who knows, you might even see the newest influencer or celebrity while you are dining there.
- Din Tai Fung
“The spicy chicken wontons are so good,” says Lily O’Neal, an HC at UCLA Feature Writer and second-year Political Science major when describing why she recommends Din Tai Fung. Located in one of the best malls near UCLA, Westfield Century City, Din Tai Fung is a super popular restaurant that is also great for a variety of occasions from a night out with friends to a celebration. It is described as a “modern Century City outpost of a Taiwanese chain known for handmade soup dumplings and Chinese fare.” There’s a reason why the chain has gone viral on TikTok multiple times.
- CrossRoads Kitchen
For all my vegans, these next couple of options are for you. Kate Green, HC at UCLA’s Editor-In-Chief and third-year English major, shared CrossRoads Kitchen because it has “great slightly upscale vegan options (for when you want more than the basic salad/veggie burger options most places have).” Crossroads is on Melrose, making a great location for a day of good food and shopping. It has 4.6 stars on Google and is described as an “upscale eatery that provides an elegant backdrop for refined vegan dishes paired with wine and cocktails.”
- Double Zero
Kate also recommended Double Zero (thanks queen for all the great recs!). Another vegan option, this restaurant is located in Venice. It is a little less expensive than CrossRoads, but still has delicious food. The restaurant’s website specifically mentions its pizza menu, seasonal ingredients, plant-based pie and a variety of sustainable Italian food and wine. So many options!
- The Lazy Daisy (Westwood)
Personally, I think brunch is the greatest invention ever, and I am so happy there are options for the superior meal in Westwood. Second-year Business Economics major Ariana Stanton recommended The Lazy Daisy in Westwood. It’s another option that doesn’t require a car (you can safely drink mimosas if you are 21+), and “It’s the best place to go for brunch with friends. The portions are perfect, and the food itself hits every time.”
- Marugame Udon
Sometimes you just need a big hug in the form of a bowl, and that is what Marugame Udon provides. Kourtney Han*, a second-year Economics major, recommends the restaurant because it is “good comfort food.” Keila Kimura, a fourth-year Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major, also recommended Marugame because it’s “relatively cheap and [has] simple options so it’s not too overwhelming. Even though it is simple, they give you a variety of options to customize your bowl. I’m always full and very satisfied after eating there. The sides are really tasty as well.” Marugame is also in a great location: Sawtelle! Before or after eating, you can stroll the Asian markets and convenience stores and get Somi Somi or a mochi donut as dessert.
- Sun Nong Dan
Kortney has our back when it comes to comfort food. She also recommended Sun Nong Dan. This chain is described as “traditional Korean dishes served around the clock in straightforward, compact quarters.” It’s affordable and open super late. Some locations (such as the one on 6th street) are open 24 hours every day of the week!
If you are looking to get out of Westwood for brunch, Audrie Lau’s recommendation has you covered. The HC at UCLA Senior Editor and fourth-year HBS major recommends Bardonna because it is a “super cute brunch spot in Santa Monica, [and has a] good selection of entrees + coffee and pastries.” Google says Bardonna is a “stylish coffeehouse with a hip ambiance offering creative American comfort foods.” It’s not a super far walk from the beach either!
- Road To Seoul
If you have never experienced Korean BBQ, I am sorry to say you are missing out. I am definitely adding this KBBQ spot to my list. Jordan Tang* recommends this spot because it has “great portions & great prices for kbbq.” The restaurant has all-you-can-eat specials and a variety of meat from beef to squid. Do you have a late-night craving after a night out? No problem because the restaurant is open until 1am on the weekends.
- Pasta Sisters
Do you want a super satisfying Italian meal? Look no further than Pasta Sisters. I don’t have to add any extra description to Anuradha Srikanth’s because the fourth-year Physiological Science major says everything one needs to: “[it is] the most incredible pasta I’ve ever had, and the sauces are just to die for! They have their standard menu but when you go into the store they have a secret menu + drinks! Every combination of sauce and pasta shape is wonderful, the free focaccia is airy and delicious, and the service is incredible! The food is on the pricier side but the portions are great and you walk away satisfied! Tip for first-timers: you need to order *everything* including appetizers, mains, desserts, and drinks when you go to the register! Fav dish: truffle butter + Pappardelle & Prosciutto+melon appetizer!”
- Hangari Kalgusku
As you can see, Asian food is a lot of people’s favorite, including mine. We are coming at you with another Asian restaurant recommendation from fourth-year MIMG major *Maddie Wang. Hangari is a “popular restaurant offering generous servings of Korean fare such as bibimbap in an unfussy setting” according to Google. Maddie says she loves Hangari Kalguksu because “it always makes me feel happy and content. The clam noodles are full of vegetables and other healthy things and it just makes me feel really refreshed after a tiring time. The bolssam is just the perfect combination of vegetables, meat and sauce.”
Erica Hou, a third-year Music Performance and Applied Linguistics major, recommends Junbi. Junbi is an option right in Westwood and is described as offering “multi-hued matcha-based drinks plus Japanese snacks from a hip and tiny shop.” Erica loves Junbi because “1) I love matcha, 2) their rice balls >>>>, 3) I have an account there lol.”
- Just Boba Tea House
Rounding off our final Westwood suggestion is Just Boba Tea House. Alexandra Williams,* a fourth-year Communications major said, “The popcorn chicken is so good, I once ate it three days in a row.” There is also a great selection of drinks and other snacks, and it’s surrounded by multiple small restaurants if your friend group wants different things.
- Bossa Nova
Finishing this article with a couple of my favorites, my first recommendation is Bossa Nova. This restaurant is in a fun location, the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. It’s technically Brazilian fusion, but they have a little bit of everything. Their goat cheese pizza and carbonara pasta are so good, and their chocolate cake is absolutely unbelievable.
- Pink Taco
Some people may say this recommendation is a little basic, but that does not make me love it any less. I am obsessed with the Pink Taco because the flavors are always on point, and the taco shells are always the perfect texture. Plus some of the shells are pink, so how could you not love it? If you go, you also must order the lemonade.
Food is so amazing because it can symbolize good times, memories and so many of our favorite things. Trying someone’s favorite restaurant is like seeing a new layer of them because behind each recommendation is a love unique to each person.
*All starred names are aliases of students who wished to be anonymous.