LA Confidential Magazine: Strip Mall Treasures

Strip malls might not be the most sightly installations of Los Angeles architecture around, but anyone who's lived in L.A. for a while knows that these ungainly blights house some of the best restaurants in town.

Some of these hidden gems are well known, while others thrive on the cult-like devotion of a select clientele who jealously guard their whereabouts. Want to know where some of these clandestine kitchens operate? Take a look at my article in LA Confidential's Food Issue below, or simply read on to see the text of my piece.


Strip Mall Treasures

Unsightly strip malls typify LA architecture, but surprisingly they also house some of its best restaurants. Wine lovers come to Lou (724 Vine St., Hollywood; louon—sandwiched between a Laundromat and a nail salon—to see what wine shop owner Lou Amdur is pouring. The ultra-spicy Thai food at Jitlada Restaurant (5233 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; and the Hemingwayesque Cuban flavor at El Floridita Restaurant (1253 N. Vine St., Hollywood; lurk in Hollywood’s darker corners. On the Westside, there’s fine dining to be had at Nook (11628 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles; nook, which looks like a travel agency from the outside. Hamasaku (8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; has fabulous high-end sushi, and Sushi Time (8103 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-658- 6700) on Beverly is an unlikely favorite of Hollywood A-listers. Though it moved across the street from its location in a luncheonette next to a locksmith to larger digs, Sunnin (1776 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles; still boasts LA’s best Lebanese food. Finally there are Peruvian delicacies to be found in the food-court atmosphere at Mo-chica (3655 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; in the Mercado La Paloma, south of Downtown.