Discover Expatowned Restaurants Beyond the Tourist Trail in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is synonymous with famous eateries, bold flavors, and diverse cuisines. The city's culinary scene is thriving, and an integral part of that is played by the expat community. Barrels of authentic ingredients are imported, and the aroma of foreign spices fills the air, transporting taste buds across borders without boarding planes. This article takes you on a journey - an expedition into the lesser-known eateries, where expats pull strings to provide a taste of home to other expats and locals alike. These hidden gastronomic gems offer an insight into the heart of the city where you can not only savor lip-smacking meals but also glimpse into the unique experiences of the expat community.

Exploring Hidden Culinary Treasures

If you're looking for hidden culinary gems beyond the tourist trail, your search ends here. Los Angeles is home to expat-owned restaurants, serving an array of international cuisines. You can find them tucked away in alleyways, hidden behind high walls, and sometimes located in buildings that merge seamlessly with their surroundings.

One such place is Marugo Ramen in Little Tokyo. Marugo's head chef, Takashi Abe, is a Tokyo native who harnessed his experience from revered ramen spots in Japan and built a machine that produces high-quality ramen noodles for Marugo. Other mouthwatering dishes that have captured the hearts of locals and expats alike include Katsu Curry at Yuzu Sushi & Japanese Kitchen in Sherman Oaks, Sambar Kacchi (Fried Shrimp) at Naskai Sushi in Culver City, Paella Asparagus (Asparagus Paella) at La Cava in Echo Park, and Tandoori Chicken at O pockets in Long Beach.

Insights and Experiences

Shall we hear testimonials from expats who have discovered and regularly frequent these hidden culinary treasures? Sure, let's. Christine Grace, 30, a Ghanaian expatriate who embarked on a career in advertising in Los Angeles shares her experience eating at O pockets in Long Beach. "As an expatriate far from home, it's difficult finding authentic food, but I not only found that at O pockets, but the staff is extremely cordial too," she says.

Also, Danielle Sanchez, a Mexican-American expat, says, "When I moved here, I was searching for authentic tacos, and that's how I landed at Tacos El Huequito, and what I found was more than just tacos. It's a place that immerses you fully in Mexican culture— the spices, the smells, and the warmth of the people. It's my go-to place when I need to watch a soccer game on TV while enjoying delicious food."

From Appetizers to Desserts

The comfort of familiar flavors is essential to any expat who moves to a foreign land, but finding them is not always easy, which is where expat-owned restaurants come in. That is what makes them unique. Walk in, and the air is thick with the aroma of your mother's cooking. The familiarity in tastes is rekindled, and that's true joy. Here is a list of recommended expat-owned restaurants and their popular dishes.

  • Pasta e Frutta (Italian) - Spaghetti Carbonara, Linguine, Margherita Pizza
  • La Alteña (Mexican) - Tacos Al Pastor, Chilaquiles, Migas
  • Ninong Bakery (Filipino) - adobo, sinigang, lumpia
  • Au Jus (Vietnamese) - Pho Bo Vien Suon, Banh Xeo, Bao
  • Yadah Falafel (Middle Eastern) - Falafel plates, Lahm Bi Ssanie, Mixed Grill (Majnun Yuzz W Toppings)
Join the Culinary Conversation

Share your experiences of eating out in Los Angeles at expat-owned restaurants, recount your fondest meals, and share recipes that remind you of home. This article is your avenue to connect with other expats living in Los Angeles and sharing a similar journey as you. We hope you enjoyed your meal at our restaurant, and we invite you to join us at future events replete with exciting gastronomic experiences.


Los Angeles is a melting pot, and it's evident in the culinary scene that's a perfect blend of different cultures. Expats' restaurants have brought a wave of change to the city, adding to the diverse culinary heritage of this food-loving city. We hope this article has given you a glimpse into the exciting world of hidden culinary gems beyond the tourist trail, enriching your travel experience. Let these hotspots add some spices to your travel bucket list, and when you do visit, indulge yourself in the varied flavors, while you imbibe the essence of the expat community. Bon Appetit!