Best Ethnic Cuisine in California

February 25, 2022
Food & Drink
jason wolfe

Eating in California can be like taking a trip around the world. That’s because there are so many different cuisines to sample here, everything from Indian to Thai to genuine Uzbekistan dishes. If you’d like to broaden your palate, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top-rated restaurants in California designed to take your taste buds to places you never considered.

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Bombay Beach

Experience the joys of comforting Indian food at Bombay Beach

Delicious Pani puri at Bombay Beach in Los Angeles. Image courtesy of Yelp.

1338 W. 7th St. | Westlake/ bombaybeachla.com

Los Angeles may seem like an unusual place to find Indian comfort food, but that’s just what you’ll find at Bombay Beach, a restaurant where the dishes carry the flavor of one of the world’s greatest cosmopolitan melting pots. Diners appreciate the large portions and rich flavors of the dishes, which include the Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Biryani, Tandoori Chicken, and Butter Chicken.

Want to try something other than chicken? No problem. Bombay Beach also serves up a tasty Lamb Curry and Basmati Rice. There’s also the Vegan Tikka Masala for vegetarians and vegans. You’ll also be able to try traditional Indian street food like the Pani puri, a delicious crunchy shell filled with potatoes, chickpeas, and spices that explode with flavor when dipped in spiced water. If you’re seeking something fun, new, and flavorful, Bombay Beach has the dishes you’re looking for.

“I absolutely love this place! The food is incredible, the hospitality makes my heart so warm and it just keeps me coming back for more. Do not skip on the Lamb Biriyani and the Garlic Naan. 10/10 recommended.” — Yelp Review

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M Grill

Amazing meats cooked over an open fire

Experience sumptuous Brazilian cuisine at M. Grill. Image courtesy of Yelp.

3832 Wilshire Blvd Fl 2, Ste 202 | Koreatown, Wilshire Center/ m-grill.com

Everyone loves a good steakhouse, but when you dine at M. Grill, you’re in for a particularly delicious treat. That’s because M. Grill is Los Angeles’ best Brazilian steakhouse and offers you a dining experience full of the flavors of Brazil. Feast on delicious grilled meats like their Linguica Brazilian Sausage, Garlic Chicken Thighs, Pork Spare Ribs, and Chicken Wrapped in Bacon. All of their meats are cooked over an open fire on giant skewers before being brought straight to your table, ensuring you eat only the freshest meals. And don’t forget to sample all the traditional Brazilian side dishes and yummy desserts!

While M. Grill may be known as a steakhouse (and an exceptional one at that), it does offer a full gourmet salad bar with plenty of seasonal fresh fruits, cheeses, spices, pastas, and vegetables that are sure to please any vegetarian. Reserve a place for a weekend lunch or private party and get to know the joys of feasting on Brazilian cuisine.  

“Exceptional food and exceptional service. Especially, shout out to Gustavo for making our dinner memorable. His quality service is one of the reasons why we come back to M. Grill time and time again (and for the delicious house picana too lol!) Amazing place, definitely must try if you are in LA.” — Yelp Review

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El Granjero Cantina

Vegetarians will love the menu options at El Granjero Cantina

Mexican food lovers will enjoy sharing the crispy fish and avocado tacos at El Granjero Cantina. Image courtesy of Yelp.

6333 W. 3rd St. | Fairfax/ cantinala.com

Located at the Farmer’s Market Plaza in Fairfax, El Granjero Cantina serves a large menu of contemporary Mexican dishes. You’ll find many new and classic favorites here, including the Crispy Avocado Bowl, Keto Bowl, Crispy Fish Tacos, tlayudas, papas fritas, handmade tortillas and more. The menu emphasizes vegetables, giving both vegetarians and vegans several options.

For those who enjoy a drink with their lunch or dinner, El Granjero Cantina offers a full bar with fresh made margaritas, sangria, and happy hour specials. Stop by for some fine Mexican food!

“The avocado tacos are one of the vegan items they have and they are TO DIE FOR. I could’ve had 6 of those tacos. The margaritas are good as well.” — Yelp Review

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Dolan’s Uyghur Cuisine

Experience traditional Uyghur cuisine at Dolan’s

Big plate chicken at Dolan’s Uyghur Cuisine. Image courtesy of Yelp.

742 W. Valley Blvd. | Alhambra/ ladolans.com

If you’ve never had the pleasure of sampling Uzbekistan cuisine, then you’re in for a treat. Dolan’s Uyghur Cuisine offers a variety of Central Asian food, including Uzbek, Kazakh, Turkish, and Chinese Halal food. Rather than Americanize their dishes, the chefs here take great efforts to recreate traditional Uyghur cuisine with its well spiced and seasoned meats, rice, and noodles.

Start with an appetizer of cold yellow noodles with special dressing or a Uyghur salad with spinach, cucumbers, tomato, parsley, and green onion. Then treat yourself to the exotic taste of spicy stir-fried chicken with potato, capsicum, and leek over hand pulled flat noodles. The Uyghur Goshnan, a handmade flatbread filled with beef, lamb, onion, and black pepper spice is another favorite.

Vegetarians can also order from a special menu that includes black mushroom with celery, fried broccoli, and shredded potato with spicy and sour sauce. There are also traditional desserts, including the baklava, honey cake, and homemade yogurt, along with a selection of special teas to complete your meal. With so many options on the menu, it’s a sure bet you’ll be returning for new flavors and dining experiences.

“Dolan’s perfectly captures the artisanal, handmade noodle tradition, combining it with hearty, halal options, from chicken to lamb. There are also plenty of salad and soup choices for those wanting to preserve a KETO-friendly, low-carb and/or vegetarian/vegan diet. I could come here almost every day and not get bored with the options.” — Yelp Review

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Ruam Mitr

Offering flavorful options for lovers of good Thai and vegetarian food

Beautifully prepared larb vegan chicken wings from Ruam Mitr. Image courtesy of Yelp.

7168 Melrose Ave. | Fairfax/ ruammitr.com

Visit famous Melrose Avenue to try the Thai cuisine of Ruam Mitr. Translated as “gathering of friends,” Ruam Mitr offers dining parties a menu of traditional Thai dishes along with vegetarian selections.

Try the Pad Thai, garlic chicken wings, and red curry. New vegetarian options include the delicious green bean with garlic sauce and the grilled vegetable dumpling with house sauce. You can even order a gorgeously prepared dish of vegan larb chicken wings the owners label as a “Must Try!”

Family owned and operated since 2017, Ruam Mitr offers a classy yet cozy atmosphere where the staff fives you their full attention. Come experience the full range of Thai flavors by ordering multiple dishes from their delectable menu.

“Everything here has been consistently good — I’ve gotten their green curry, their crispy rice salad (if you love crunch, this is great), pad kee mow.” — Yelp Review

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Yahaira’s Café

Order amazing Mexican breakfasts and lunches at Yahaira’s Café

Awesome shrimp tacos with salad at Yahaira’s Café. Image courtesy of Yelp.

698 E. Colorado Blvd. | Pasadena/ yahairascafe.com

Pasadena residents and visitors love coming to Yahaira’s Café, which offers wonderful breakfast and lunch dishes for lovers of Mexican food. Start your day off with a Mexican Omelette filled with chorizo, black beans, guacamole, and jack cheese with a corn tortilla. Or order a Quesadilla Especial — spinach tortilla with scrambled eggs, chorizo, Ortega chiles, melted jack cheese, salsa, and guacamole.

Then, for lunch, choose from a selection of delicious Mexican tortas sandwiches with chicken, pork, ham, bell peppers, avocado, tomato, and a host of different spices. There are also plenty of tacos, burritos, and quesadillas to please any palate. You can even order Mexican hot chocolate, horchata, or “Yaquis” juice to go along with your meal.

Yahaira’s does also offer more American-style options in its pancake combos, traditional ham and egg breakfasts, and French toast. However, with so many delicious Mexican dishes to sample, you’d be hard pressed to find something your taste buds won’t enjoy.

“I’ve never had Mexican hot chocolate before and for my first time ever, I’m glad it was from this place! It was an interesting taste, somewhat like horchata but a bit better! I liked it!” — Yelp Review

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