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A Food Network chef + mama obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouth watering food. I also own a gorgeous cooking school in Italy. My mission? To share the secrets of La Dolce Vita so you can create a healthy, beautiful, delicious life filled with joy!

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Anyone that knows me, knows I love to eat. I am happiest when I am devouring something delicious. I am not impressed with the priciest or fanciest places. When I get a night out of the kitchen, the only thing that’s important to me is where can I get fresh food, that tastes good.

I have lived in Los Angeles for 16 years. The city is massive, with a huge choice of places to grab a bite. It can be overwhelming. So if you live here, or you are just passing through, check out my all-time favorite spots in the City of Angels.

Taverna Tony

There are no words for their Greek Feast ( it’s big enough to share). It includes a variety of dips and pita bread, a salad, dolmas, spanakopita, lamb, chicken, moussaka and so much more. And keep your eyes open for some famous celebrities too.

BOA Steakhouse

I love the Cesar salad they make tableside. All the steaks are amazing and the candy floss for dessert is a big hit with the kids. Their lunchtime menu is also a lot cheaper than dinner time.

The Lobster

The freshest seafood in the city. It’s also the perfect place for a romantic date night. Overlooking the ocean and the pier you can take a walk on the boardwalk after dinner.

Café Gratitude

I am not really into vegan or vegetarian food but I’ll make an exception in this case. The kelp pasta with pesto is incredible.

Gjelina

I love the little courtyard. It makes me feel like I am in Italy. I usually head here for brunch. A mimosa and the Smoked Salmon Plate with a poached egg. The Baklava Croissant in their bakery is off the charts.

Bandera

Hands down the best burger in the city and the fire-roasted artichokes are brilliant. They also make a mean martini. Be sure to make a reservation.

The Tavern

I love everything Susan Goin does, and this place doesn’t disappoint. Everything on the menu is good and don’t forget to order “The Tavern on the Green” cocktail.

Toscana

A Tuscan Trattoria serving classic Italian dishes. It’s been around for 26 years. The food is incredible and they make you feel like part of the family.

Sugar Fish

The fish is of the highest quality and paired with the warm rice each bite will literally melt in your mouth. Order the set menu. You won’t be sorry

Big Chill Frozen Yoghurt

Before the frozen yogurt craze, there was Big Chill. They have a die-hard following and have been serving happy customers for over 20 years. There is always a line out the door.

Il Forno Caffé

This is my top place to eat in the city. It’s the place we go to celebrate or to enjoy a casual Sunday dinner. It beats any of the Italian restaurants in Italy. Chef Dominico is always in the kitchen overseeing his food. The staff is warm and friendly. I love the Bruschetta (loaded with garlic) with warm bread, the Antipasto Misto, the Spaghetti Bolognese, the fillet steak, and the Linguini Mare Monte.

The OP Café

Perfect for weekend breakfast. My kid orders the 2,2,2 (2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 strips of bacon), Saul orders the 6,6,6 and I love their omelets.

Go Greek

I am a huge fan of Greek Yoghurt and this is the real deal. I also love their candied carrots in honey.

Bouchon

Head here for the happy hour bar menu. The steak frittes are sublime.

AOC

Another of Susan Goin’s places, this one is set in a courtyard with a big olive tree reminiscent of Spain. They serve small plates for sharing. It’s a tapas-style menu and the bacon-wrapped dates are a must.

Gulfstream

A classic steakhouse in the Century City Mall. I love the grilled artichokes, the rotisserie chicken, the chopped salad with Ahi and they make a wicked dirty martini.

Pampas

This is a self-serve Brazilian churrascaria. Everything is priced by weight and it is great value for money. The hot and cold salad bar is overflowing with fresh veggies and the lamb, chicken, and beef is slow roasted with garlic and salt.

Sotto

The gorgeous setting is enough to get anyone to walk in the door, but the food is equally as fabulous. A selection of classic Italian dishes with a modern twist. And the bread is perfection.

Picca

Modern Peruvian cooking with a Japanese twist. A great place for a ladies’ night out. Order a ton of small plates and share.

European Deluxe Sausage Kitchen

They sell all my South African staples. Gary is a German butcher but he makes the best Biltong (South African jerky ) and Boerewors (South African sausage). I am there every week without fail to stock up. And they also have South African chocolates and groceries. Keep your eye peeled for Charlize Theron.

Fogo De Chou

You have to starve all day before heading to this all-you-can-eat Brazilian feast. The salad bar goes on for miles. The meat never stops arriving and the plantains and mash are worth all the extra calories.

Angelini Osteria

It’s a small rustic Italian restaurant that was recommended to me by the people at the Italian consulate. Pizza, wine, pasta, wine, and more wine. A perfect romantic evening.

Joans on 3rd

An awesome restaurant, bakery, deli, and marketplace. I love the fresh selection of salads and the cheese counter. It’s a great place to grab a casual lunch and the food is so good.

I hope you enjoy this list and if I missed anything please leave a message in the comments below so I can update it.

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I'm Melissa, your host & tour guide.

A Food Network chef, author, mamma, eternal optimist, wannabe-mermaid, spice mixologist, and “dough therapist” (yep, it’s a thing)—

I'm also the founder of Susina Cucina, the gorgeous, Italian cooking school of my dreams that I manifested into my reality. I’m obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouthwatering food… especially pizza and pasta.

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