6 Awesome Cafes to Check Out in Los Angeles

Photo by T.Tseng/Flickr

6 Awesome Cafes to Check Out in Los Angeles

When talking about memorable culinary experiences, Los Angeles has one of the most jealously-inducing cafe culture in the world. The art of going to a cafe is not a mere escape from the daily routine in the city of bright lights and famous faces. Rather it's a way of living adopted by locals with elan. LA cafes are, after all, an engaging indulgence that will often leave visitors in awe of everything that they have to offer.

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6 Awesome Cafes to Check Out in Los Angeles

Paper or Plastik Cafe

Paper or Plastik walks the line between healthy and comfort food perfectly with a menu both enticing and enriching. A family-owned cafe, POP, as it is popularly known, uses primarily organic and locally grown ingredients that promise colorful dishes bursting with unique flavors. The cafe is infamously known for having a 'no laptop policy.' However, there is free Wi-Fi and a couple of tables at the back where you can work on your laptop if required. The interiors have an industrial vibe with exposed brick walls and there's also a small sitting area out on the street, ideal for soaking in the rays on a sunny LA afternoon.

Must-try: Paper or Plastik change their menu seasonally and have a different selection of dishes during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The POP Veggies Burger during lunchtime is especially wonderful with an exotic taste thanks to the use of brown rice, roasted and pickled beet, aioli and a mushroom patty.

Crumbs and Whiskers

Walking into Crumbs and Whiskers is a cat-tastic experience. A cafe with a difference, customers get to play with rescued kittens and cats and even have the opportunity to adopt them. Crumbs and Whiskers has gained quite a fan base over the years at both its LA and DC outlets.

Among the many celebrities to have visited Crumbs and Whiskers are movie stars such as Drew Barrymore, Hayley Atwell, and Chris O'Dowd. Making a reservation before visiting the cafe is best if possible to avoid disappointment, especially during event days. Crumbs and Whiskers also sells a host of cat-inspired tees and tote bags, with profits going towards various charities.

Must-try: With the emphasis being on the cute fury felines, the menu at Crumbs and Whiskers is limited to a few basic teas and coffees. They do offer some quick bites from which the yogurt parfait is an excellent and refreshing choice.

JiST Cafe

JiST Café is all about the unification of ancient heritage with modern-day gastronomic philosophy. Situated in Little Tokyo, the Ishii family has successfully carried on this 70-year old legacy that started as a mom-and-pop store back in the 1940s. Now, JiST continues to surprise its patrons with a range of delicious dishes featuring robust and striking flavors.

A bright and welcoming space, JiST Café has a deep Asian connection that reflects in its wooden decor as well as the menu. However, the cafe's most spectacular offering is its marinade that has been aging now for several decades.

Must-try: Chashu Hash Skillet is the one item on the menu that every customer must have at JiST Café. It comprises of pork belly braised in their handed-down homemade aging marinade and is an absolute joy to bite into.

Balconi Coffee Company

Balconi oozes the kind of hipster vibe that even makes non-coffee drinkers drawn to enter this unique coffee shop. A 20-year-old establishment, the cafe takes pride in its siphon brewing method that gives every cup of coffee a smooth, full-bodied, and less bitter taste. As a result, the baristas here are quick to recommend having your coffee black, instead of milk, to experience its authentic taste.

Balconi's bright red painted walls make an uplifting statement that along with the coffee, wakes the mind and the soul. The walls are also the perfect background for the several art shows they have in-house from time to time.

Must-try: There's not much on offer besides the delicious coffee here, but do pick up a slice of their marbled coffee-cake if available.

Alfred Coffee

Situated in the iconic Melrose Place, Alfred Coffee is the place to go when you want to see and be seen in LA. Although they have outlets across the city, the one at Melrose is their much-visited flagship store.

Not the biggest of cafes around, customers often need to wait a while to be seated. The interiors are bright, eccentric, and feature their now legendary 'But first, coffee' slogan. Keeping in tune with the Californian lifestyle, the cafe gives its customers the option of adding coconut, almond or oat milk to their coffee in place of regular milk.

Must try: The menu at Alfred's is brimming with delicious delights. From salads and sandwiches to juices, teas, and coffee, they have several unique variations to explore and experiment. The matcha green tea with a juicy turkey sandwich is a particular stand-out.

Ignatius Cafe

A genuine 'hidden gem,' Ignatius Cafe is not easy to spot. Firstly, you ought to be looking for a house and not your typical commercial enterprise in a shopping district. Moreover, the cafe is part of a Korean Catholic church and operates as a non-profit establishment.

The volunteer-run Ignatius Cafe is especially popular with the student body for having cheap eats and coffee that costs only $3, that doubles up as a donation. Situated on the ground floor of a residential house, there is a charming, homely feel to the cafe. Customers, when seated, can take in the view of the garden at the back while appreciating the stained-glass windows and wooden staircase. The cafe has several outdoor seating options, including a large covered patio with communal tables.

Must try: The drink menu at Ignatius comprises of four hot coffee options, two cold versions and lemon tea. The iced latte is a big hit and one of the best in the city.


The Californian way of life that reflects through its cafes in LA is genuinely something worth embracing. Places where people go to eat healthy food, mingle, do business, and spot celebrities, LA cafes are trendsetting institutions that continue to shine brightly, be it day or night.