California is coming back to life, and many restaurants are preparing for soft openings. However, we are still in the mourning phase of bidding farewell to our favorite restaurants and neighborhood watering holes that had to shutter their doors permanently in 2020. The restaurants that we lost during the pandemic will leave a hole in the hearts of their loyal patrons, but there is hope. Let’s pay homage to the neighborhood favorites that did manage to weather the storm of 2020 and expand.
MGD Kitchen–Meat. Grill. Drink: 1464 S. Harbor Blvd., La Habra, CA 90631
MGD’s Los Angeles location concept was a perfect fit for the shift as the drive-thru served as lifesavers for many restaurants. Located in the heart of bustling Chinatown, MGD is Los Angeles’ only drive-thru Korean BBQ restaurant.
At the La Habra location, which has seating both inside and out, the menu features traditional Korean BBQ favorites such as tender, melt-in-your-mouth Kalbi bone-in short ribs, and marinated beef brisket, alongside unique dishes like their loaded brisket tater tots, with grilled onions, nacho cheese, gochujang BBQ sauce, and onion ranch sauce–a definite must-try.
Prices range from $9.95 to an average of $25.00.
Chicas Tacos: 8312 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA. 90048
In Los Angeles, the taco reigns supreme, and Chicas has held a top spot since the opening of its first location in 2016. The brightly colored décor is as tasteful as their dishes, which are inspired by the delicious fresh cuisine of Baja, prepared with love and Los Angeles flair. The flavorful peppered Angus steak taco is topped with cheese, crispy potato, Morita salsa, shaved radish, scallion, and cilantro. But the most unique dish, and one I highly recommend, is their OG pizza. Two 12″ Michelin award-winning flour tortillas (yes, Michelin award-winning) and three cheese blend – baked and topped with Red Chicken Chorizo, queso fresco, house salsa, Morita salsa, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, and fresh limes will have you coming back for more. $14.99.
Eight Korean BBQ: 863 s. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90005
Los Angeles’ famed Koreatown lost quite a few beloved restaurants in 2020, but Eight, a neighborhood favorite, has thankfully endured. A standout among many Korean BBQ joints, Eight’s signature variety of marinades (eight to be exact) coat delectable pork belly. And the Kimchi fried rice at the end of the meal is the perfect way to wrap up a delicious meal, right before the meat coma.
To give you an idea of the prices, the ‘Paksaik Set’ which is a huge meal consisting of 8 flavors of Pork Belly, Seafood Soybean stew, mixed salad, mushrooms rice soup and veggies is $49.99 but you can also order a la carte, say the choice of pork belly served in your favorite marinade for $18.99.