This buzzy Little Tokyo spot—which has five locations in L.A., all with a devoted following—is a ramen mecca. A wraparound counter faces the open kitchen, providing a social atmosphere while you dig into piping-hot bowls of flavorful pork broth and chewy noodles; we love the specialty Daikoku Ramen, where Chijire-style noodles sit in a rich tonkotsu soup and get topped with slices of kurobuta pork belly (pork fans can amp it up with the richer, back-fat–laden kotteri-style), plus boiled egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and green onions. Add an order of house-made pan-fried pork gyoza or crispy pork tonkatsu to make the line worthwhile.
On the edge of Downtown, Little Tokyo is a vibrant, bustling neighborhood that dates back to 1886, when a Japanese seaman opened a restaurant on First Street. While the area may have always served as a go-to for ramen, new, destination-worthy eateries have moved in alongside old-school joints, giving even more reason to explore the area. The best part? The neighborhood is small—just a few blocks, really—so a fantastic bowl of noodles isn’t more than a few steps away from a perfect plate of sushi or a quality cocktail bar. Whether you’re around for just a quick bite or plan to spend the entire day and night here, we have your meals covered with this guide to the best Little Tokyo restaurants and bars.
RECOMMENDED: Little Tokyo neighborhood guide