LA city guide: Eating and drinking along Sawtelle Boulevard

Check out the best eating and drinking on Sawtelle Boulevard with our LA city guide to the the area's new wave of restaurants.

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Blockheads Shavery Company

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Teenagers, families and sugar hounds alike flock to this perpetually packed emporium for "snow cream"—Hawaiian shaved ice meets ice cream in layers of icy ribbons. Choose a base flavor, from original and black sesame to seasonal mango and avocado, then choose your own adventure with toppings from boba to brownie bites and "drizzles,” such as condensed milk and chocolate sauce. The blackboard menu guides you through the three-step, build-a-bowl process and lists favorite house combos. Highly recommended is the green tea snow cream with red bean, chewy mocha (rice cakes) and sweet condensed milk.

  1. 11311 Mississippi Ave
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Coco Fresh Tea & Juice

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Boba isn’t new to Little Osaka, but Coco’s take on freshness is. This tiny storefront of the Taiwanese chain makes new batches of boba every four hours, new brews of black tea every two hours, and freshly squeezes its juices while jellies are housemade. The extensive menu offers teas ranging from milk to fruit-flavored. Try grapefruit green tea made with soft tapioca pearls and pulpy Texas Red fruit juice or passion fruit green tea, tart and sweet with firm coconut jellies.

  1. 11301 W Olympic Blvd
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Coffee Tomo

  • Price band: 2/4

Little Osaka’s most ambitious specialty coffeehouse declares its intentions at the door: A red Diedrich roaster and canvas coffee bags greet you upon entering, signaling that coffee is taken seriously here. Coffee beans are roasted in-house and baristas live up to the billing (tomo translates as "friend" in Japanese) expertly plying their trade with a La Marzocco GB/5 espresso machine and a four-cone pour-over bar. Signature beverages include the Tomo Latte, sweetened with condensed milk, and non-coffee drinks such as the sweet potato latte and red bean latte. Other unique fare includes housemade pretzels—crab claw-shaped breads baked with stringy mozzarella and offered plain or filled with flavors such as sweet potato cheese or red bean.

  1. 11309 Mississippi Ave
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Soba Izakaya Sojibo

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Ramen gets all the hype, but soba—Japanese buckwheat noodles served hot or cold—satisfy another, unsung niche among noodle fanatics. The Japanese chain's second US outpost—the first opened in Torrance last spring—features an open kitchen, L-shaped bar outfitted in red, black and white tiles and red drum-shaped lanterns. Sojibo’s menu is varied, including "quick bites” such as fried gobo (burdock root) sticks and an entire section devoted to kushiage (deep-fried, panko-crusted skewers). But the main draw is soba, the nutty housemade noodles. Start simply with zaru soba ($7)—cold nori-topped soba is served on a plastic mat with dipping broth that benefits from scallions and wasabi served alongside. Upgrade with versions served with jumbo shrimp, sliced duck and, if you’re feeling adventurous, natto (fermented soy beans). Dessert is uncomplicated—choose vanilla, green tea, black sesame or lychee-flavored ice cream by the scoop ($2) or tempura-battered and deep-fried ($5).

  1. 2006 Sawtelle Blvd
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Gottsui

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This Tokyo import from Japanese film and TV star Tsuyoshi Ihara showcases okonomiyaki: savory, griddled pancakes. First-timers can reference the okonomiyaki diagrams on the wall—the eponymous version ($13) starts with batter filled with egg, pork, sweet shrimp, tender squid and potato chunks and topped with Kewpi mayo, sweet and savory sauce, bonito flakes and, for good measure, a Japanese flag toothpick. Other variations include combinations like garlic and Angus beef ($13), mentaiko, cheese and bacon ($15), or a veg-friendly corn, asparagus, tomato and avocado ($12). Stir-fry noodle versions are also available along with other menu highlights such as mini ramen ($6) made with beef and chicken broth, braised beef, pickled ginger, soft-boiled egg and fried scallions, and a bun-less Tsukune Hamburger ($8)—minced chicken patty on a sizzling platter with cabbage, fried egg and mayo, teriyaki sauce and seaweed.

  1. 2119 Sawtelle Blvd
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Users say

1 comments
Emily
Emily

So excited to see some love for my neighborhood! There are so many great restaurants in the area and this guide really covers the gamut.