26 miles of food: Where to eat during the L.A. Marathon

What to eat and drink while other people are running the L.A. Marathon

The route for the 30th L.A. Marathon travels "from the stadium to the sea," starting just after dawn on Sunday morning at Dodger Stadium and ending at the California Incline in Santa Monica. Before or after your favorite runner passes by and you cheer, enjoy a snack or meal in some of L.A.’s diverse neighborhoods, each of which has plenty of great dining options open during the city's biggest race.

Mile 1 - Dodger Stadium

Guisados: Armando De La Torre’s stew-centric taco concept with thick house-made corn tortillas resides just down the hill from Dodger Stadium. Linger until they open at 9 a.m. and score breakfast tacos or an Armando Palmero, a Mexican play on the Arnold Palmer with two aguas frescas: limón and jamaica1261 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 250-7600, www.guisados.co. 

Mile 2 - Cesar Chavez Boulevard

Ocean Seafood: Most of Far East Plaza is still at rest when runners pass through Chinatown, but Ocean Seafood gears up at 8 a.m. on Sundays. The second floor restaurant rolls carts of Cantonese classics like har gow, shu mai, and baked pork bao. A takeout option is on the ground floor along Hill Street, in case you want to get back to the race sooner. 750 N. Hill St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-3088, www.oceansf.com.

Philippe The Original: This French dip legend swings open the doors to their sawdust-covered floors at 6 a.m., allowing customers to score pancakes, cinnamon-battered French toast and limited edition doughnuts. At 8 a.m., they start dipping sandwiches. The spicy mustard and cups of coffee are both strong enough to shake any lingering sleep from your mind. 1001 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, (213) 628-3781, www.philippes.com.

Cielito Lindo: One of the oldest food vendors on Olvera Street, since 1934, Aurora Guerrero (and now granddaughter Dianna Guerrero Robertson) have dispensed shredded beef taquitos that are pan-fried to order and doused in a tangy green avocado-garlic-chile sauce. E-23 Olvera St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-4391, www.cielitolindo.org.

Mile 3 - Downtown L.A.

JiST Café: Little Tokyo noodle houses like Daikokuya and Maragume Monzo sleep until lunch, but chef Glen Ishii and partner Caroline Shin fire up the griddle for flavorful brunch. Sit on the patio, which is the best place to take down a skillet of chashu hash with six-minute eggs or a stack of pancakes with TCHO chocolate, banana and house-made whipped cream, all within wafting distance of marathon runners. 116 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles, (213) 792-2116, jistcafe.com.

Café Dulce: Some of the best coffee available along the marathon route is available in Japanese Village Plaza, where baristas brew LAMILL coffee and tea, which contributes to Vietnamese-style iced coffee, Hong Kong milk tea, and masala chai lattes. House-made maple bacon doughnuts and spirulina churros don’t hurt matters. 134 Japanese Village Plaza, Building E, (213) 346-9910, www.cafedulce.co.

Demitasse: Bobak Roshan just might be the Willy Wonka of L.A.’s coffee scene, given his willingness to experiment with brewing methods and specialty drinks. Cold brew drips slowly from Kyoto-style towers, Demitasse’s signature roasts rise to the top of vac-pots, and molten chocolate awaits its marshmallow match. 135 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, (213) 613-9300, cafedemitasse.com.

Mile 6 - Echo Park

Brite Spot: Pie for breakfast? At Dana Hollister’s Echo Park diner with an aqua patio, pastry chef Darby Aldaco fills a pastry case with tantalizing pies, including whiskey buttermilk, peanut butter, and Meyer lemon meringue. They also sell omelets, benedicts and waffles galore at breakfast. 1918 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 484-9800, www.britespotdiner.com.

Elf Café: Sunday brunch kicks off at 11 at this small Echo Park restaurant with big flavors. Chef Dave Martinez busts out Mediterranean-inspired dishes like shakshuka with fava bean ragout and spicy mushrooms; or a grilled breakfast sandwich with maple smoked mushrooms, herbed goat cheese, avocado and tahini. 2135 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, (213) 484-6829, elfcafe.com.

Mohawk Bend: Hops maven Tony Yanow transformed the historic Ramona Theatre into a mecca for California craft beer lovers. Most of Mohawk Bend’s taps pour Golden State brews, all spirits are unique to California, and they’ve created a food menu to complement all this drinking. Sunday brunch kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and includes plates like Buffalo-style cauliflower and Elvis French toast with bananas, peanut butter syrup and bacon. 2141 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 483-2337, mohawk.la.

Cuscatleca Bakery: The Echo Park branch of a popular Pico-Union bakery is named for a town in El Salvador. House-baked bolillos help form hearty sandwiches, the best of which combine queso fresco, avocado, pinto bean puree and jalapeno. Sweet options include carrot cake and quesadilla, a cheesy cornbread-like muffin. 2501 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 483-0432.

Mile 7 – Silverlake

Gobi Mongolian BBQ: Laggards may still be trudging along when this welcoming Mongolian BBQ spot blazes up the jumbo wok at 11 a.m. At that point, people can file into the cafeteria-style line for stir-fried noodles, meat, veggies and a sauce of choice, which all cook in an instant. Bonus: Gobi is the only Mongolian BBQ spot in town that serves craft beer. 2827 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 989-0711, www.gobimongolianbbq.com.

WOOD Handcrafted Pizza: This Neapolitan-style pizzeria features ingredients straight from the motherland. Classic pies include Margherita and salsiccia, but toppings can get more unconventional. For instance, cavolo nero hosts mozzarella, Fontina, Gorgonzola, braised kale, Pecorino and crispy pancetta. 2861 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 667-9940, www.woodsilverlake.com.

Café Tropical: This Cuban café has been a Silver Lake fixture since 1975. Regulars flock here for pressed sandwiches that primarily host pork products and turkey. Guava and cream cheese pie stays warm in an incubator by the register. Strong coffee and a sea of pastries play supporting roles. 2900 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 661-8391.

Knuckle & Claw: Martha’s Vineyard native Chloe Dahl and business partner Nikki Booth start serving lobster-focused fare at their modern Silver Lake space starting at 10 a.m. That means you can score a lobster roll, with nothing but knuckle and claw meat (the good stuff), plus bisque, pot pie and other crustacean-fueled dishes. 3112 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 407-6142, www.knuckleandclaw.com.

Millie’s Café: This place is a mess, and owner Robert Babish wouldn’t have it any other way. Since 1926, Silver Lakers have filled the counter and sidewalk tables for comfort food. The most popular dish is probably the Devil’s Mess, eggs scrambled with Cajun turkey sausage and white cheddar. Rosemary roasted potatoes and muffin-shaped biscuits really fill out the plate. Neptune’s Mess is an oceanic variation with smoked salmon, cream cheese, sherry and scallions, and is no less of a mess. 3524 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 664-0404, www.milliescafe.net.

Pine and Crane: Vivian Ku and Moonlynn Tsai have crafted a hit with their modern Taiwanese restaurant. Ku’s family farm provides the produce, which is prepared simply and could include pea shoots, sweet potato leaves, or baby bok choy. Comforting bowls of beef noodle soup, beef rolls with house-made hoisin, and milk tea with boba are all popular. 1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 668-1128, www.pineandcrane.com.

Intelligentsia Coffee: This Sunset Junction coffeehouse is worth the stop just to take a selfie with your shoes on custom blue tiles. At least that’s what all the Instagram photos would have you believe. The Chicago import remains at a specialty coffee leader, and their most powerful offering is the Angeleno. Four shots of espresso are shaken with Straus milk and agave. Hand a glass to a passing runner if you want to give them the power of jet propulsion. 3922 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 663-6173, www.intelligentsiacoffee.com.

Mile 8 - Los Feliz

The Kitchen: This popular late-night spot at a high-traffic Silver Lake corner gets the kitchen in gear starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays. The Kitchen has been preaching comfort food since 2000. Fried chicken and eggs, pear pancakes with apple wood smoked bacon, and “piping hot” doughnut holes are all piled high. 4348 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 664-3663, thekitchen.la.

Ricky’s Fish Tacos: Ensenada native Ricky Piña sets the standard for Baja-style fried fish tacos in L.A. He parks a silver truck just south of Sunset Boulevard at the crossroads of Los Feliz and Silver Lake. Flaky deep-fried basa joins cabbage, crema, and a choice of salsas. Ricky’s fried shrimp tacos are also pretty damn good. 1400 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles.

HomeState: Briana Valdez recreates the Tex-Mex dishes of her youth in Los Feliz. Queso, cowboy beans and breakfast tacos all pay homage to her Texas childhood. Frito pie and bunuelos both come in bags, making eating them extra fun. Even the coffee hails from Texas, roasted by Austin-based Cuvee. 4624 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 906-1122, www.myhomestate.com.

Mile 9 - Thai Town

Taron Bakery: The east Hollywood branch of this Armenian mini-chain specializes in savory flatbreads. Lahmajoun, crisp discs touting spiced ground beef, is the bakery’s biggest seller. Cheese borek arrive in boat and triangle shapes. Triangular spinach pies and ultra savory za’atar-coated maneishe are also popular. Sesame-flavored tahini bread is the lean menu’s sole sweet item. 4950 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 663-4809.

Darabar Secret Thai Cuisine: This restaurant in back of Hollywood’s Hye Plaza isn’t nearly as secretive as owner Golf “Kevin” Seesod believes. However, the Bangkok native does have some dishes you won’t find many other places, including pungent shrimp paste fried rice, sliced pork with green eggplant and a peppercorn minefield, and “crunchy” soup with assorted pork parts. 5112 Hollywood Blvd. #109, Los Angeles, (323) 666-5055.

Carousel: The Tcholakian family’s restaurant in Hye Plaza has been producing great Lebanese  food since 1983. Fatayer is reliable starter, featuring deep-fried turnovers filled with three cheeses. Muhammara is a powerhouse dip crafted from crushed walnuts, red pepper and pomegranate molasses. Kebabs and buttery bulgur are also musts. 5112 Hollywood Blvd. #107, Los Angeles, (323) 660-8060, www.carouselrestaurant.com.

Sapp Coffee Shop: Jintana Noochlaor hails from Bangkok and opened Sapp back in 1982, when Thai Town was still sprouting. The owner used to frequent the Chao Praya River, where people sell noodles along the banks from boats. Sapp’s boat noodles feature a murky beef broth, rice noodles, a variety of beef and pork parts, chilies, scallions and sprouts. 5183 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 665-1035.

I Panini di Ambra: Milan native Ambra Ditonno was a longtime Hollywood caterer who started selling focaccia-like “pizza al taglio" (by the cut) back in 2008. Focaccia di Recco is stuffed with crescenza cheese. Pizza Sardinara draws on San Remo traditions and combines tomato sauce, black olives and oregano. Ambra also sells panini on the house focaccia. Grab a square or sandwich and sit at a sidewalk table as runners watch enviously. 5633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 463-1200, www.ipaninidiambra.com.

Mile 10 - Hollywood Walk of Fame

Blue Palms Brewhouse: Brian Lenzo has put together one of the city’s best craft beer programs in the front of Fonda Theatre. 24 taps rotate regularly. Duck into Blue Palms for a quick pint or goblet, and possibly a dozen hot wings, before returning to Hollywood Boulevard to cheer. 6124 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 464-2337, www.bluepalmsbrewhouse.com.

Delphine: Innovative Dining Group runs this restaurant in W Hollywood, right on the Boulevard. Sunday morning brunch is an almost even split of breakfast and lunch items. That means you can start slow with cinnamon ricotta pancakes, or hit your system hard with a cheeseburger with aged cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions and sunny-side hen egg. Like any trendy hotel, a patio out front maximizes action, especially on marathon day. 6250 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 798-1355, www.innovativedining.com/restaurants/delphine.

The Juice Fountain: Bogota native Elizabeth Perez opened this juice parlor in 1969, before “pressed juice” was even a notion. The business survived relocation and continues to pack shelves with fresh fruit such as bananas, melons and guavas. Each 16-ounce cup of juice comes with a half-full blender, which could contain a Blackberry Cream or Athlete’s Special. 6332 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 464-8986.

Mile 11 - TCL Chinese Theater

Skooby’s: This hot dog stand has become a fixture along Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Sit on a stool as runners pass by and proudly hoist your all-beef dog, which comes on a toasted King’s Hawaiian roll and is available with a parade of toppings. Hand-cut fries, house-made aioli and tart lemonade all provide valuable support. 6654 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 468-3647, www.skoobys.com.

Mile 12 – Hollywood

Aroma Bakery Café: This Israeli café has a wraparound patio facing Sunset Boulevard and consistently draws a young fashionable crowd. A huge menu of grilled proteins, salads and sandwiches make decision-making a challenge, though you can’t go wrong with hummus topped with ingredients like mushrooms, filet mignon or ahi tuna shawarma7373 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 850-8120, www.aromabakery.com.

Chibiscus: One of the only viable ramen options in Hollywood of course exists in a strip mall. Tonkotsu ramen touts crinkled noodles, singed pork belly, bamboo, bean sprouts, runny egg, scallions and gritty crusted sesame seeds. 7361 W. Sunset Blvd., (323) 977-9877, chibiscus.weebly.com.

Cheebo: This neighborhood Mediterranean restaurant is far from discreet, with a bright orange facade that could probably be seen from space. Still, the plant-lined patio is pleasant, and an eclectic menu delivers everything from pizza to pasta, organic salads and tagines that are available with house-made harissa if you ask nicely. 7533 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 850-7070, cheebo.com.

Zankou Chicken: The house that garlic sauce built now has branches across L.A. and Orange County, including this outpost at the gateway to the Sunset Strip. Of course, man cannot live on garlic sauce alone. That’s why spit-roasted chicken, shawarma and plenty of pita bread are imperative. The glass front makes it possible to consume chicken while watching the race. 7851 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 882-6365, www.zankouchicken.com.

Mile 13 - Sunset Strip

The Griddle Café: Pancakes are the main draw at this Sunset Strip destination, which Jodi Hortze founded near the Directors Guild of America Theater. Red velvet pancakes are the signature item, and she even sells a mix to make it at home, though you can always choose to follow the Yellow Brick Road to butterscotch, caramel and walnut-filled flapjacks. 7916 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles,  (323) 874-0377, www.thegriddlecafe.com.

Taco Love: This San Diego-style taqueria sports white subway tiles and aqua accents. The owners are particularly proud of their California burrito, which crams French fries, cheese and sour cream into its flour tortilla casing, along with the usual suspects. Carne asada fries are Taco Love’s co-star, topped with cheese, sour cream and guacamole. 7980 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 650-8226, www.tacolove.com.

Carney’s: Marathoners prefer to travel by foot, but you can take the train. Just climb aboard this Sunset Strip railcar and order chili burgers, hot dogs with spicy mustard and French fries. Sure, their menu includes wraps and salads, but hardly anybody eats those when they’re riding the rails. 8351 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 654-8300, www.carneytrain.com.

Joe’s Pizza: Giuseppe “Joe” Vitale was born in Italy and opened his first slice joint in New York in 2003. Four years later, he and Joe Jr. expanded west. Crisp crusted slices come in flavors like pepperoni, grandma and caprese, which sports mozzarella, tomato and basil. Pop some garlic knots along the marathon route if you’re in a rush. 8539 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 358-0900, www.joespizza.it.

Mile 14 - West Hollywood

The Eveleigh: Indulge in brunch on one of the city’s best patios. Sit up front if you want to watch runners pass as chef Jared Levy provides California fare like spelt hot cakes with huckleberry syrup or avocado toast with espelette and boiled egg gribiche8752 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (424) 239-1630, www.theeveleigh.com.

Mile 15 - Doheny Drive

Flavor of India: Darshan and Tarsem Singh have run this Indian restaurant at the center of West Hollywood’s party zone since 1998. During the day, the restaurant is relatively tame, with a decorative elephant mural and colorful flourishes. A sprawling menu is sensitive to vegan and vegetarian tastes, though you can still score sizzling tandoori meats and seafood. 9045 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 274-1715, www.flavorofindia.com.

Culina Modern Italian: Mette Williams is now firmly at the helm of the flagship Four Seasons Beverly Hills restaurant. The plant-lined patio won’t provide the best views of the race, though you’ll still get some prime people watching opportunities. Her California-influenced Italian menu is heavy on crudo, pasta and pizza, though nothing’s all that heavy. 300 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 860-4000, culinarestaurant.com.

Mile 16 - Rodeo Drive

9021Pho: The first link in Kimmy Tang’s casual French-Vietnamese chain is sandwiched between big and little Santa Monica boulevards. Noodles figure prominently in her colorful package, including pho both traditional (bo) and atypical (Spicy ‘N’ Sour). Grilled items and rolls both fresh and fried are also popular. 490 N.  Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 275-5277, www.9021pho.com.

Mile 17 - Century City

THEBlvd: CUT is the more famous dining option inside the Beverly Wilshire, but only TheBlvd is open during the day and has seats facing Wilshire Boulevard. Of course, tables facing Rodeo Drive come at a premium, so be prepared to pay $20 minimum per plate for dishes like an ahi tuna sandwich or London Bridges, aka an English breakfast with egg, baked beans, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, grilled tomato, juice and coffee. 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 385-3901, www.theblvdrestaurant.com.

Freds at Barney’s: On the fifth floor of Barney’s department store, chef Mark Strausman fuels a luxurious Sunday brunch with bagels made with a recipe he’s entrusted to the son of a local rabbi. Those chewy bagels form the basis of a smoked fish platter with nova, whitefish salad, sturgeon, and two types of cream cheese – chive and bell pepper. A planter-lined patio overlooks Wilshire Boulevard and marathon runners, providing a unique perspective. 9570 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 777-5877.

Mile 21 – Brentwood

SUGARFISH: Even on days when there isn’t a marathon, getting into this streamlined Brentwood sushi bar from chef Kazunori Nozawa and his partners can be a challenge. Good luck on race day, but if you make it past yoga practitioners and Soulcyclers, trust in their market-fresh sushi and locally famous blue crab hand rolls. 11640 W. San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 820-4477, sugarfishsushi.com.

Tavern: The westernmost outpost from chef Suzanne Goin and business partner Caroline Styne provides you with options. The Larder, which sits up front along San Vicente Boulevard, provides bites as simple as a croissant or monkey bread. Further back, the restaurant provides a serious Sunday brunch, including butternut squash pancakes with pomegranate seeds and spiced pepitas; or a sweet tea brined fried chicken biscuit with buttermilk gravy and sunny-side up eggs. 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles (310) 806-6464, www.tavernla.com.

Mile 22 - San Vicente & Bundy

Caffe Luxxe: Mark Wain and Gary Chau run a pair of Italian-style coffeehouses along the marathon route, the first being in the former Dutton’s café space. Most of the seats are outside, which comes in handy when sipping a cappuccino made with locally roasted coffee during the race. Brentwood Country Mart is only a mile away if you need a refill. 225 26th St., Santa Monica, (310) 394-2222, www.caffeluxxe.com.

Brentwood Farmers Market: Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Brentwood farmers market takes over Gretna Green Way. Shoppers can find seasonal produce, plus a wealth of prepared foods. Knuckle & Claw has a booth here, as do Homeboy Bakery and Ensenada Fish Tacos, which serve authentic fried fish and shrimp tacos. 741 Gretna Green Way, Los Angeles.

Mile 23 - San Vicente & 26th

Farmshop: The Brentwood Country Mart signals the marathon’s home stretch and provides a treasure trove of food and drink options. The bakery makes it easy to grab-and-go with a croissant or biscuit. The airy dining room also hosts an ambitious Sunday brunch. Sit and enjoy pastrami and eggs or shirred eggs with merguez, Medjool dates and chermoula225 26th St., Santa Monica,  (310) 566-2400, farmshopca.com.

Sweet Rose Creamery: This artisan ice cream shop from Shiho Yoshikawa and partners Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb keeps things fun and seasonal. Fill a house-made waffle cone with seasonal scoops like ginger parsnip or cherimoya, pile on house-made toppings and sit on the sunny patio. 225 26th St., Santa Monica, (310) 260-2663, www.sweetrosecreamery.com.

Reddi Chick: Rotisserie chicken, ribs and fries? What more do you need at this legendary market stall, which Steve and Carol Salita have run since 1979. Every order comes in a red and white paper boat, arrives on a bright red tray, and begs to be eaten at a picnic table on the patio, though you can grab and go if you need to cheer your favorite runner near the finish. 225 26th St., Santa Monica, (310) 393-5238.

Finish Line

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