It's been posited that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice for a person to become really good at something. Pho So 9's chef has crafted the same delicious pho for more than 40 years, making him arguably a soup and noodle genius. His dark, rich broth simmers with rice noodles and chunks of rare steak, a complement to his lighter, seafood-rich stir-fries, all made with authentic ingredients. In the dining room, wait staff pour creamy Thai iced teas and coffees, surrounded by contemporary, Asian-inspired decor that gives the space a casual elegance.
Although originally a Mexican restaurant, these days, Senor Big Ed is more like a trip to Puerto Rico, from the cuisine to the flags on display. And, as Miles Clements writes for the Los Angeles Times, “past those patriotic goods are wispy white curtains and sun-bleached walls…light and bright enough to recall a breezy beach scene despite its landlocked location on Lincoln Avenue.” If the decor alone doesn’t transport diners, the food will: helpings of mofongo (plantains, pork rinds, and garlic), plus roasted leg of pork and stewed beef impart signature Puerto Rican flavor, not unlike a bite of the fortress walls surrounding Old San Juan.
Frostbites Crepes & Frozen Delights' freshly made delectable desserts have garnered this ice creamery several accolades: MyFOXla voted Frostbites the best ice-cream parlor, while The Tonight Show granted it a custom-made jingle. Loosen up with the 16 flavors of sorbet chill (starting at $2.59), made with authentic italian ice, or dive taste buds into creamy chocolate frozen custard (starting at $2.79), made from natural ingredients such as egg yolk. Commitment-phobic customers can combine the two with the sorbet cream (starting at $2.89), where fruity flavors such as watermelon, coconut, and orange merge with rich vanilla custard. Those in the mood for pancake-esque desserts can fill up with a sweet crêpe ($3.29) hot off the griddle and topped with a choice of sauces (each $.69) and accoutrements (each $.89). Buck traditional notions of French cuisine with a sandwich crêpe (starting at $3.99), stuffed with a choice of meat, cheese, condiments, and fresh vegetables.
The chefs at Sushi World take pride in their sushi rolls and Asian fusion cuisine, looking at their creations as not merely food, but edible art. They prepare baked blue-crab handrolls with garlic aioli and strawberry Cypress rolls behind the striking dark-granite sushi bar and send plates of orange-salsa-draped salmon carpaccio out to meet their fate in a flock of four-seater tables. From the kitchen also comes steamed red snapper, as well as tempura green-tea ice cream wrapped in the same kind of chocolate cake prizefighters are wrapped in after winning a match.
Head Chef Ray brings more than 20 years of culinary expertise to the kitchen of Papa Pilo’s, where he champions a menu of Italian recipes that won CityVoter's Best Italian prize in 2011 and 2012. Thin-crust, New York–style pizzas don toppings such as fresh tomatoes and meatballs, and specialty pies include the breakfast pizza with eggs, bacon bits, onions, canadian bacon, and a snooze button. Papa Pilo’s also whips up dishes such as chicken parmesan, fettuccine in spicy fra diavolo sauce, and meat lasagna with ricotta, romano, and mozzarella.
Super Mex’s vibrant neon signs have burned 24 hours a day since 1974, beckoning diners in for authentic Mexican fare, drinks, and games of chance. Mexican flags flutter from the rafters and massive flat-screen TVs beam down from colorful walls, illuminating diners as they place bets on the number of bristles in Mark McGwire’s goatee. Meanwhile in the kitchen, frying pans simmer with authentic Mexican breakfasts and dinners, along with an extensive menu of healthier entrees—including low-carb options, whole-wheat tortillas, soups, and salads. At some locations, meals can be paired with horchata or buckets of miniature Coronas.