Welcome to Local Hype, a travel diary where we compile a curated list of our "Hometown Heroes" for you to enjoy. Featuring the buzziest hotels, restaurants and local treasures that we've experienced for ourselves -- suggested by the city's locals.
Next stop, Los Angeles.
From the glitz and glamor of Hollywood to the natural beauty of its mountains and coastlines, the "City of Angels" is no doubt a must-see destination for your bucket list. Whether you're in town for work or living the tourist life, here are a few hotels, shops and restaurants that you need to add to your list.
Located in the Arts District, Yangban is inspired by a fusion of Korean and Ashkenazi Jewish flavors with locally sourced ingredients from California. Owners and chefs Katianna and John Hong previously worked at Michelin-star restaurants before establishing their own restaurant, combining a beautiful interpretation of their upbringings into every bite.
Some stand out dishes from their winter menu consisted of the Mackerel Tostada, Honey Glazed Carrots, Yangban Wings, Wood Grilled Sea Bream and the Tteok. Hands down the best dish had to be the Sujebi Dumplings, which were inspired by Jewish deli cuisine and Korea's hand-cut noodles dressed in a white kimchi beurre blanc, trout roe and dill. While there, you can't miss on the biscuit, with their take of a Japanese and Korean style gravy served with kimchi.
The restaurant, renowned for its unique dining experience, underwent renovations in September, unveiling an enhanced version of itself. With a newly introduced full-service dining area and revamped food and drink offerings, the essence of this highly acclaimed establishment persists as a Modern-Korean American restaurant, curated by the collaborative efforts of husband-and-wife chefs.
This West Adams wine and pasta bar is an elevated classic, perfect for a date at sunset. The esteemed pop-up chef Avner Levi opened Cento's doors on December 15 and has since received attention from locals to travellers alike. They have a plethora of delicious plates such as their Hamachi crudo which blends lemongrass, coconut milk, pear and elderflower.
Their sweet corn agnolotti is another standout, blending charred corn and chervil while their Beet Spaghetti consists of brown butter sauce, garnished with poppy seeds and whipped ricotta. We highly recommend popping into West Adams for this one and if you're a mocktail girly, this is the spot for you.
Founded by Chef Stephanie Izard in Chicago, Girl & The Goat has opened its doors in the heart of Downtown LA. Izard was the first woman to win Top Chef and is known for her no waste practices. In her kitchen, no part of the goat goes to waste. She believes that every part of the animal should be celebrated and utilized.
The Los Angeles location differs from their home base in Chicago, while remaining true to its roots. A few staples, however, did make their way to their new location. Our favorite dish is the magic green beans, which have graced their menu since the inception of Girl & The Goat over a decade ago. For drinks, we got their mocktail "Sunset Shrub" which blends pickled mango, passionfruit and ginger -- and we kept them coming!
Nestled near the beach in a lovely nook between Venice and Santa Monica, Coucou is all about French-inspired food and artisanal cocktails. The chef, Jacob Wetherington, brings the flavors of France and California together in dishes cooked on an open grill. Continuing with our raw fish obsession, our favorite dish from Coucou was the Ceviche which had hamachi, mango, jicama, avocado, coconut chili oil and opal basil blossom.
Besides the ceviche, a few other dishes stood out to us. The Zucchini Beignets, which were incredibly tasty balls with rich goat cheese and honey drizzle and the cured olive spread, creating a delightful sweet and salty combination. The Steak Frites were also a winner, a perfectly cooked hanger steak served with homemade fries and a generous amount of garlic jus. Lastly, the Soft Serve was a deconstructed simple treasure. As straightforward as it gets, it came with velvety vanilla ice cream, a side of peanuts, minced Luxardo cherries and a chocolate shell.
The Ace Hotel is always our preferred option when we're traveling to Los Angeles.
The 13-story, 1920s gothic landmark has been reimagined into a contemporary masterpiece. Since its reopening, the historic theater that once graced by luminaries like Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, has been completely restored to its former opulence, complete with its original murals and intricate plasterwork all around the building. Once you get to the lobby, make sure to take in the details all over, like the drawings and vintage photo booth. The rooms are spacious and full of natural light.
The hotel offers a range of rooms, starting from the "Medium" category and extending to luxurious suites. Each room is tastefully furnished with Noguchi lamps, fiberboard furniture and the occasional acoustic guitar or record player for a touch of artistic charm. We got to indulge in both of hotel's restaurants. Upstairs, a rooftop bar offers a fresh all-day menu next to the hotel's pool. On the ground floor, LOAM, another all-day dining establishment, serves delectable breakfasts and LA-inspired dinners featuring dishes like peri-peri blue prawns, braised winter squash and kohlrabi dressed with capers.
Located just a quick thirty-minute drive from LAX, The Hoxton finds its home in the heart of Downtown LA.
This urban retreat isn't just for out-of-towners; The Hoxton is cherished by locals and visitors alike. Nestled within a magnificent historic building on the lively Broadway of Los Angeles, it offers a harmonious blend of beachy California vibes and the timeless glamour of old Hollywood. The Hoxton features a variety of dining options. From Café Basque which pays homage to the southwest coast of France, meanwhile, Cabra serves Peruvian-inspired dishes.
Adding to the hotel's charm is the "Pantry," a convenient self-serve kitchen stocked with coffee, tea, fresh fruit and snacks, available for guests to enjoy at their leisure in the lobby. Come evening, the daytime "Pantry" transforms into a private bar, complete with a well-stocked fridge brimming with water and soft drinks.
Genero Neutral is a unique concept boutique intertwining the worlds of fashion, community and culture. The shop was meticulously crafted by its founders, Ashley S.P and Jennifer Zapata. The store launched in March 2021 in the vibrant neighborhood of Echo Park, a predominantly Latinx community which harmoniously aligns with the ethos of the brands it carries. Genero Neutral offers a vibrant array of streetwear, luxury items and cultural treasures, all thoughtfully curated in a gender-neutral format. They offer an impressive brand list including Eckhaus Latta, Kids of Immigrants, Paisa Boys, Valeria Anastasia and VARON.
Located at: 1816 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90026
Born in East London in 2018, 194 Local has now opened its doors on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles. 194 Local is the go-to destination for vintage designer clothing and collectibles spanning from the '80s to the late '00s. Their focus revolves around renowned designers hailing from Europe, the United States and Japan.
Located at: 4355 Melrose Ave Los Angeles, CA 90029
Mom & Dad, founded by Los Angeles natives Nick Flanagan and Alexis Muro, specializes in vintage fashion from the '90s and early '00s. Located in Downtown LA's garment district, their studio, showroom and shop is open to the public by private appointment. Mom & Dad has gained recognition from baes including Alexa Demie to Halle Bailey.
Located at: 935 Wall St Los Angeles, CA 90015
In Mid-City LA, you'll find Persona the Shop, a venture that emerged in 2020 by Jasmine Maldonado. Jasmine, a 25-year-old Latina, born and raised in Los Angeles, established this perfectly curated boutique right alongside her mother's eatery, Mariscos Maria's, which proudly holds the title of being the longest-standing Latino-owned business in the West Adams district. Maldonado's mother, Maria Cuevas, originally an immigrant and a single mother of seven, initiated her entrepreneurial journey with a humble seafood truck, which has since grown into two permanent brick-and-mortar locations. Her noble mission is to perpetuate her mother's legacy and serve as an inspiration for other Latinas to embrace their culture and support their community. Notably, Jasmine also played a pivotal role in co-founding the Mid-City Mercado, a monthly pop-up event that graciously hosts over 20 diverse businesses in the parking lot situated between her own boutique and her mother's restaurant.
Located at: 5646 W Adams Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90016
This vintage concept store made its debut on the east side in the fall of 2022, courtesy of the former stylist Piper Ogilby. She set out to fill a void in the market, stating, she wanted to create a vintage shopping experience that was both enjoyable and affordable. Inside, you'll find an ambiance adorned with elegant velvet accents, lush greenery and a dressing room entirely swathed in velvet with a diverse selection of items, ranging from unbranded gems to designer pieces.
Every Saturday, you can look forward to fresh additions in-store as part of their weekly collections. Their inventory spans a wide spectrum of styles and decades, including '90s basketball shorts, '80s-style lingerie corsets and '70s fringe jackets. In addition, Los Rodeos also releases limited quantities of customized items and reworked vintage pieces and hosts special events with other creatives to keep things exciting and unique.
Located at: 1541 Echo Park Ave Los Angeles, CA 90026