Every reason why Los Angeles is fast food heaven
Los Angeles is where fast food really took off, mainly due to cars, a desire for convenience, and inexpensive ingredients. Thankfully, Angelenos are starting to move past the mega chains like McDonald’s and Jack in the Box in favor of smarter quick-service fare. Of course, the original great fast food restaurant was In-N-Out, which prepared quality burgers using real produce, old school flattop grills, and freshly cut french fries.
Now plenty of small and larger concepts have adopted the model, such as Top Round and even the Korean chain Bibigo. Here now, the top high-quality fast food restaurants in Los Angeles, presented from west to east.
Removed: Sack Sandwiches, Everytable, Shophouse
Added: HiHo, Bibibgo, Oinkster, BacoShop, Marugame Udon, Loqui
1 HiHo Cheeseburger
One of the best new burgers on the Westside is HiHo Cheeseburger, the fast-casual burger stand that comes by way of Ojai. Two wagyu beef patties are dressed with cheese and ketchup for one of the most affordable and satisfying quick meals on this side of town.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
2 Bill’s Burgers
Bill Elwell might be one of the crankiest burger men in Los Angeles, but he sure knows how to grill a fantastic SoCal-style burger. Get a double burger loaded up with bacon for something that’ll make you (almost) forget about In-N-Out.
Van Nuys, CA 91411
3 In-N-Out Burger
Dude, it’s In-N-Out.
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
4 Marugame Udon
This fast-casual Japanese chain does one thing, and it does it really well: udon. Order a bowl up front, then add on a bunch of toppings like fried tempura. The equation is deadly simple, and yet there’s so much variation, whether it’s the soup base or the toppings and sides. There are long waits during prime hours, but otherwise it’s a very quick meal.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
5 Mitsuwa Marketplace
This Westside market has what might be one of the most authentic Japanese food finds in LA: a food court. With four spots that offer reliable and cheap Japanese comfort fare, from ramen and tempura tendon to soba and curry tonkatsu, it’s a veritable heaven of fast food.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
6 The Apple Pan
It’s quality forever at this Westwood burger shack. The hickory and steak burgers are imported from Ohio, but Angelenos have adopted the burgers and pies here like their own.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
7 Tito’s Tacos Mexican Restaurant
This Westside taco spot makes tasty crunchy tacos and gut-busting bean burritos. Sure the wait can get long during prime hours, but otherwise, it’s an affordable meal on the go with a heavy dose of nostalgia.
Culver City, CA 90230
8 Kogi Taqueria
Roy Choi’s Korean-Mexican taco fusion has a permanent spot in Palms, which means locals can finally get a taste without having to chase down a truck. Try the dirt-cheap burritos or some of the more innovative dishes like kimchi quesadillas.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Josef Centeno has unleashed an easy-going fast casual restaurant in Culver City serving his popular foldover sandwiches he calls bäcos. They’re served as burritos or bowls as well, and they’re all priced under $10, which works great for studio lunch crowds and locals looking for a quick, delicious, and relatively healthy lunch or dinner. Don’t skip the soft serve for dessert.
Culver City, CA 90232
Culver City’s high end taqueria tucked into the stylish Platform project continues to serve standout Rosarito-style tacos and plates all under or around $15 per person. While that might not quality for “cheap” these days, it’s still quite affordable and the dishes are served quickly. The mushroom tacos with cheese in flour tortillas are an excellent pick.
Culver City, CA 90232
Doner kebab is on the rise in Los Angeles, and this West Third Street spot now has a location on the Venice Boardwalk. With a traditional Turkish-style doner with a bit more vegetables mixed in to balance it out, Berlin’s serves a notably German take on the specialty.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
12 The Habit Burger Grill
This burger chain born in 1969 in Santa Barbara got some serious street cred when Consumer Reports ranked its burger as the best tasting burger from a chain in America. Sample the char-grilled burgers for yourself at one of the nearly 50 locations in the greater LA area.
North Hollywood, CA 91602
Salads are a way of life, at least according to Sweetgreen, which incorporates smartly tossed salads with chic environs in key locations around town. Check for the chef collaborations for something you can Instagram with abandon.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
14 Prime Pizza
With fantastic lunchtime deals on single slices (usually available with a can of soda), Prime has become a perfect landing spot for kids in the neighborhood. For the adults, it’s also open late — and delivers.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
15 Top Round Roast Beef
Now with big expansion plans in the works, this original roast beef sandwich shop on La Brea still turns out quick, delicious, and affordable East Coast style favorites — complete with curly fries.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
16 Capitol Burgers
This humble burger stand in Mid City is a community hub, and a place for cheap, well-grilled burgers that are pure L.A.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
17 The Oinkster
With locations in Eagle Rock and Hollywood, Andre Guerrero’s Filipino-leaning menu of burgers and sandwiches has developed a sort of cult-following, largely thanks to the restaurant’s annual Burger Week. The Royale burger, topped with pastrami and chili, is something of a legend in and of itself.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
18 Shake Shack
New York’s finest fast food burger has arrived in Los Angeles, with a Glendale and West Holllywood location, plus Hollywood opening in mid-October. Using a smashed burger technique, crinkle cut fries, and hand-made shakes, this roadside style shop makes affordable fare in stylish locales.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
19 Zankou Chicken
This Southern California institution has been slinging high quality Mediterranean food sans freezers and microwaves for over 50 years. There are few more reliable spots that offer falafel sandwiches for south of six bucks.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
20 The Halal Guys
The Halal Guys have landed in a prime location in Koreatown, with expansion plans in other nightlife-heavy spots. The street meat concept blends chopped lamb and chicken over a neon orange base of rice, plus spicy and white sauce for the perfect post-drinking munchie.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
21 Dino’s Chicken & Burgers
Things don’t get much more efficient than at this Pico Blvd. takeaway grilled chicken spot, where styrofoam platters of scorched, marinated birds over thin-cut fries stack up faster than the customers waiting outside can snatch them.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
22 Jim Dandy Fried Chicken
There’s not much else to do but take away your meal at this South LA fried chicken institution, where some of the city’s best bird gets crisped up alongside hushpuppies and other Southern-style favorites.
Los Angeles, CA 90044
Not to be confused with Bibibop, the fast-casual chain that absorbed all the former ShopHouse locations in Los Angeles, Bibigo has long been serving up build-your-own hot stone rice bowls to those looking to get their Korean food fix.
Glendale, CA 91210
Fine dining chef Charles Olalia went back to his roots with Ricebar, a Filipino bowl spot that serves sub-$10 options from inside a 275 square foot cabinet-sized storefront Downtown.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Roy Choi’s pan-Asian rice bowl spot Chego has become one of his most enduring legacies, even after moving from the Westside to Chinatown (well before the area blew up). With curbside service and rush orders for Dodgers games, these cheap options keep getting more popular.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson have a fast food concept for the future, with affordable but health-forward dishes that’ll be better than anything the large corporations can put out. With a community-focused hiring strategy and placement in neighborhoods like Watts and Oakland, Locol is the burger spot that thinks beyond the standard fast food joint.
Los Angeles, CA 90002
27 Los Cinco Puntos
An East LA carnitas institution, Los Cinco Puntos has been turning out tacos and meats by the pound for decades. With no indoor seating, you’ll have to perch on the ledge outside, or better yet buy a bag of to-go tortillas and enjoy at home.
Los Angeles, CA 90063
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