It’s a scenario we’re all too familiar with. It’s 2 am and you’ve just been kicked out of a stuffy bar into the throngs of other revelers congregating outside on the sidewalk. Because you’re tipsy from all those cocktails, or perhaps because YOLO, “you only live once,” is your new motto, you’re suddenly charged with a furious desire to consume as much food as humanly possible. Besides, calories don’t count when you’re drunk, remember? But then comes the inevitable debate. The “where can we eat at this hour?” dilemma leaving you and your friends aimlessly Yelping and Googling for an answer, which ultimately leads you to the regrettable decision of scarfing down a chili-slathered dog at Pink’s. Again. After yet another weekend where we found ourselves stumbling out on Main street long after witching hour, we’ve decided to share our favorite hangover-prevention eateries. You’re welcome.
Chano’s, Downtown, Mon – Wed, until 2 am, Thu-Sat 24 hours, Sun until 1 pm
Let’s go off topic for a second and talk school rivalry. Bruins have always relished that Trojans were left to fend for themselves in the 90007 zip code, while they themselves were mere steps from Diddy Riese. But Chano’s Styrofoam containers loaded with greasy nachos is the neighborhood’s best kept secret. Order off the menu with “Chano’s fries,” blanketed with ground beef, cheese, beans, pico de gallo, and guacamole. Or slap a fiver on the counter and let the carnitas burrito or mix-up burger banish tomorrow’s hangover. Would we choose Chano’s chili cheese fries over Diddy Riese’s ice cream sandwiches? Yes, yes we would.
Danger Dogs, Hollywood/Various
We understand that as Los Angelenos we’re supposed to bleed with Pink’s pride. But when it comes to our favorite after-hours wiener, there’s nothing like this bacon-wrapped, sauteed onions-topped, booze-absorbent grandstander. Like sailors to sirens, we’re drawn to these sizzling carts, which park themselves on Hollywood Boulevard at prime intoxication hour. So what if we eat two in a row? We’re convinced they prevent hangovers.
El Matador Taco Truck, East Hollywood
How do you find the best 4 am grub? Why, have a friend who is nocturnal, of course. This is how we came upon El Matador, a no-frills truck serving up palm-sized tacos, fiery and bold. Don’t let the gritty tire shop parking lot or the pack of what you presume to be gangsters, deter you. OGs need to eat too, after all. And if you’re ever going to scarf down tongue or head or brain, now would be the time. Brilliantly spiced and marinated, you’ll be glad you did. Don’t ask. Just eat.
1174 N Western Ave and Lexington, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
Ikemen, Hollywood, Mon-Thu until midnight, Fri-Sat until 4 am
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, once you’ve slurped Ikemen’s dip ramen, you’re going to crave it incessantly. Inevitably, one of those cravings is going to hit after rolling out of Avalon, sweaty and disheveled, at 3 am on a Saturday night. Collect yourself and get into a bowl of their perfectly al dente noodles pronto. You’re not going to want to leave even a drop of their rich tonkotsu broth behind – we like to think of it as our effort to hydrate.
Thai Patio, Hollywood, Mon-Thu, Sat-Sun 11 am – 2 am, Fri 11 am – 3 am
In many cities you’d be hard-pressed to find a total of 151 dishes that you can eat at 1 am on a Wednesday night. At Thai Patio you’ve got that many options on a single menu, including blue crab papaya salad and a spicy bowl of Tom Yum Koong. Also, who doesn’t appreciate a girl and her guitar, crooning sweet melodies long after dark? That’s right. Crispy catfish and live music at 2 am. Try finding that in Small Town, U.S.A.5273 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027. (323) 466-3894.
Toi, Hollywood, Open until 4 am daily
The best part about Toi is it doesn’t discriminate against those of us who party on week nights, as if it were the weekend. i.e. The last time we dined at Toi, it was 3 am on a Monday morning, we were 4 drinks deep and famished. A cab ride later we were pouring panang curry over black rice and twirling mouthfuls of sweet pad thai. Cheers to those who dare.
75051/2 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046. (323) 874-8062.
Bossa Nova, West L.A., West Hollywood, Hollywood
Caipirinhas. Victoria’s Secret models. Carnival. What isn’t there to love about Brazil? Caipirinhas. Fried plantains. Open until 4 am. What isn’t there to love about Bossa Nova? We’ve become obsessed with smearing the buttery yucca flour on everything – the grilled chicken, the rice, the beans – and love the way it adds that grainy crunch. And we’re not ones to crave salads after a few cocktails and a night of dancing, but the greens here are vibrant and flavorful. Saúde!
Hollywood: 7181 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90046. (323) 436-7999.
West Hollywood: 685 N. Robertson Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069. (310) 657-5070.
West L.A.: 10982 W. Pico Blvd. West Los Angeles, CA 90064. (310) 441-0404.
Fat Sal’s, Open until 3 am daily
Okay, back to school rivalry. Maybe someone, like Jerry Ferrara, was jealous the Trojans got Chano’s, because a year and a half ago Westwood was granted the gift of Fat Sal’s. Ordinary subs, these are not. Between buoyant bread, the Italiano is dressed with a light yet tangy vinaigrette, a perfect complement to the strata of meat and cheese. The Korean BBQ layers a sweet and tender steak against the cooling crunch of cucumber. Even the veggie wrap, stuffed with crispy french fries, is a perfect late-night indulgence. Pun intended: Fat Sal’s is Westwood’s new hero.
972 Gayley Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90024. (310) 208-5070.
Kitchen 24, West Hollywood, Hollywood, 24 hours
We’re not going to name names, but there are a lot of diners in town that assume just because we’re eating in the middle of the night, we don’t care that their sandwiches are made with plastic wrapped cheese and that their fries are served lukewarm and soggy. But we do care, for goodness sake. At Kitchen 24, Eggs Benedict are dressed up with fresh avocado and bacon, while the grilled cheese is paired with a pungent tomato soup. Clearly, Kitchen 24 cares too.
1608 North Cahuenga Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90028. (323) 465-2424.
8575 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. (424) 777-0959.
La Cabana, Open until 3 am daily
La Cabana is the necessary stop after one too many drinks on Main Street and the hub for a 1 am rendezvous involving tequila shots in the musky corner booth (why yes, we are speaking from experience, why do you ask?). From a refreshing ceviche to a swamp of cheesy enchiladas, it’s a staple for all those who have gone AWOL (always west of Lincoln). Bonus: the courteous waiters, who are as much a part of the establishment as the food itself, park the guacamole cart next to your table and mash up a fresh serving, right before your eyes.
738 Rose Ave., Venice, CA 90291. (310) 392-7973.