Ippudo is a Japanese ramen chain, and their NYC locations have pretty insane wait times. The Santa Monica one is significantly calmer, and they serve good, casual Japanese comfort food, with absolutely top-notch service. It’s known as a ramen spot, but our favorite dishes are the small plates. The karaage and shishitos are both solid, and the best are the buns - the vegetarian ones come with a deep-fried eggplant patty, and the pork belly is tender but not too fatty. Add in a bottle of sake - served in a fancy wooden box filled with ice - and this makes for a great date spot.
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Satdha is a cozy, casual place on Lincoln serving plant-based Thai cuisine that will make you forget there are no animal products involved.
Cafe Bolivar in Santa Monica has great coffee, a decent selection of pastries, and fast wifi, and it never gets too loud to focus.
Santa Monica’s Via Veneto has the kind of classic, upscale Italian food that New Yorkers claim you can’t find in LA.
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Otafuku Noodle House
Otafuku is an excellent Japanese restaurant in Gardena that treats cold soba noodles like a science.
Joon Shabu Shabu
Joon is a very good shabu shabu joint in Glendale, and your move when you feeling like cooking meat yourself tonight.
Daichan is a stripmall spot on Ventura in Studio City that specializes in Japanese soul food.
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Sawtelle’s Tsujita does the best tsukemen-style ramen this side of the Pacific and some of the best overall ramen in Los Angeles.
Santa Monica’s HiHo Cheeseburger is home to the best classic burger in Los Angeles.
Marugame Udon is a casual, cafeteria-style spot to get your weekly (daily?) noodle fix on Sawtelle.
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