5 Spots For Foodies In Southern California

Southern California may be known for its film industry and beaches, but when it comes to food, its reputation is lacking. However, times have changed, and now foodies can find all sorts of incredible meals if they know where to look. In no particular order, here are some places where you can find delicious and satisfying food in SoCal.

Starting off the list at #1 is Gelateria Uli, named after its founder, Ulviyya, who is originally from Baku, Azerbaijan. In 2013, she quit her job at an investment management firm in LA and started construction on her downtown kitchen and store. She's involved in every step of the process, including creating the recipes. The success of the shop allowed her to open a second location on Third Street near the Grove.

Committed to creating gelato that looks and tastes like Los Angeles, Uli offers a diverse set of flavors like green tea matcha with chocolate waffle bits, figs with balsamic reduction and almonds, and sweet white corn. Fans from across the country can sign up to receive a monthly delivery box featuring four seasonally-curated pints, and vegan options are available.

For #2, we head down to San Diego to try Communal Coffee, which has multiple locations and has caught the attention of media outlets like Eater, Sunset Magazine, and Zagat. Owner Jen Byard used her background in the art and non-profit worlds to design a space where she could provide superior craft coffee in a welcoming environment that fosters community. Customers also rely on Communal for floral arrangements and home & wellness products, which can be ordered online.

In addition to espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos, visitors can also enjoy teas, kombucha, and iced drinks. The food menu includes pastries and granola, as well as bagel sandwiches and avocado toast with egg and prosciutto. Those who wish to take Communal's tastes home can purchase cold brew or Sightglass coffee beans.

In the #3 spot is Downtown Manhattan Beach. This community, sometimes called the "Pearl of the South Bay," is home to a wealth of exciting dining options just steps away from its famous beach. Fans of sushi can try popular restaurants such as SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa and The Izaka-Ya by Katsu-Ya, while those in the mood for sweets can try Manhattan Beach Creamery or Blue Star Donuts.

If fine dining is your thing, Manhattan Beach is home to establishments such as SLAY Steak and Fish House, Mangiamo Ristorante & Bar, and The Arthur J. If you're in the mood for a casual outing with friends, there are also more laid-back but equally satisfying options like Simmzy's, Manhattan Pizzeria, and popular hangout BREWCO.

Coming in at #4 is Pez Cantina, located in downtown Los Angeles, walking distance from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It is a sustainable Coastal Mexican-style restaurant and bar inspired by Executive Chef Bret Thompson's visits to Baja California and his marriage into a Mexican family, aiming to capture the complexity and spirit of the food he has developed a strong love and passion for.

Diners can start out with chips and salsa or guacamole, and sample craft drinks from the bar. Pez Cantina offers everything from tacos and salads to ceviche and steaks. Thompson is also available for catering, crafting unique menus for special occasions.

Finishing things up at #5 is the city of Irvine, California, which can be found in Orange County. A diverse community where residents speak more than 70 languages, the city is home to a wealth of eateries. The famous Spectrum Center, in addition to being a coveted shopping destination, boasts Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, and Vietnamese cuisine, among food from other cultures.

Visitors looking to experience the local nightlife can try the Hive & Honey Rooftop Bar, where they can take in 360-degree views while sampling cocktails and light bites. There's also The Butchershop, a modern speakeasy offering craft cocktails, and Red Bar and Lounge, which has an extensive happy hour menu.