Tsubaki gave Echo Park the izakaya we never knew it needed: This dimly lit, neighborhood Japanese restaurant from Charles Namba and Courtney Kaplan is always packed, and with good cause. The pricing is sensible, the sake list is phenomenal—and you can find more next door at sibling bar, OTOTO—and the menu reinvents drinking food with options like fried sweetbreads with karashi mayo; lamb-belly yakisoba; and sake-steamed crab with French seaweed butter. The range of yakitori, small pates and heartier braised fare gives you complete control over your mix-and-match menu, with endless possibilities (and sake) in sight.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a fine-dining restaurant in Echo Park, but that doesn’t mean this neighborhood is lacking in quality cuisine. Vegan restaurants are aplenty here, along with laid-back cafés, pizzerias and Mexican gems. After checking out the many things to do in the area—like, oh, paddling around in a swan boat—head to one of our picks for the best restaurants in Echo Park. And if you’re in need of a drink later in the day? We’ve got you covered on that, too.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Echo Park