Food Influencer Nate Nguyen’s Favorite LA Spots for Pho, Tacos, Burgers, and More

Need some LA recs? ‘Nate Eatz’ has you covered.

8 min read

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Nate Nguyen was never big on social media. “I didn't have Instagram until two years ago,” the Southern California native tells me. But a passion for food, particularly a love of Vietnamese, Japanese, and Italian cuisines, led him to begin documenting his food excursions using the handle @nate.eatz. “There were a lot of barriers in my head. What are my friends going to think? What are the restaurateurs going to think?” he says of his struggle to finally put himself out there. Working as a pharmacist, Nguyen didn’t have a culinary background. But his videos struck a chord with audiences, amassing 240K followers on Instagram alone in the span of only two years. He covers a range of cuisines as well as things to do in and around Los Angeles and Southern California. Here are some of Nate’s favorite places to eat in the LA and SoCal area, all available on DoorDash.

What are your favorite fish taco places in the OC?

I have so many but my absolute favorite is Taco Mesa in Orange, CA. You have to get their wild pescado frito taco which features beer-battered fish, cabbage, pico, cream, and queso. It’s super crispy and delicious!

Best spot for pho in LA?

Golden Delight in Rosemead is my top pick. I always get the pho dac biet which features rib eye, brisket tripe, tendon, and beef balls. You can get it served in a hot stone pot; it is the perfect cure for a hangover!

What do you order when you don’t feel like cooking dinner?

One of my go-tos is Panini Kabob Grill (multiple locations). Start out with their hummus trio for an appetizer. For entrees, the charbroiled chicken shish kabob and the beef koobideh kabob are winners! Another favorite is Flame Broiler (multiple locations). When I’m on the go and looking for a quick, healthy meal with loads of protein, this is my go-to. I’ve been eating Flame Broiler religiously for about 10 years now.

Favorite neighborhood spots?

I love Brodard in the OC; it’s an iconic Vietnamese eatery known for their spring rolls dipped in an absolutely amazing sauce. Another favorite is Pickle Banh Mi Co in Garden Grove, it’s arguably some of the best banh mi in all of Little Saigon. I usually order the crispy pork belly or the dac biet (all cold cuts). I love Uroko in Costa Mesa for non-Hawaiian style poke in Orange County! Shlap Muan in Long Beach has some of the absolute best and most unique chicken wings (infused with southeast Asian flavors) in LA County. 

Best Thai food?

Ruen Pair in Thai Town is one of the most iconic and authentic Thai restaurants in LA that’s been here for generations. You have to order the papaya salad, stewed pork leg, and pad thai.

What are your 5 favorite burgers in LA?

I love For The Win in East Hollywood. They specialize in smashburgers with perfectly crisp edges. The Win-Dow (multiple locations) is also great. They’re known for their incredibly affordable burgers and killer kale salads — where else can you get a cheeseburger of this quality for $4.85? People say Burgers in Silver Lake has the best smash burgers in all of LA. It’s an extremely simple, no-frills smashburger with fries that taste just like McDonald’s. The Original Tops, located in the heart of Pasadena, is great too. You HAVE to get the Tops Special, it’s a quarter-pound burger topped with famous pastrami, mustard, and American cheese. This burger is in a class of its own.

What are the LA essentials for a first timer?

Porto’s Bakery & Cafe (multiple locations) is an iconic Cuban bakery known for their wide array of baked goods. The Donut Man in Glendora was Elvis Presley’s favorite spot for a donut – it doesn’t need any other explanation! They’re famous for their sinfully sweet strawberry donuts.

What’s your ideal day of eating in LA?

For an early lunch, Lunasia Dim Sum House is my top pick for the best dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley. As a snack, few people know corn dogs are my favorite food, and Two Hands Corndogs (multiple locations) is serving up Korean corn dogs unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. For dinner, Suehiro in DTLA is serving amazing Japanese comfort food. You have to order the udon, katsu curry rice, ramen, and katsu don. For dessert, the mint monster at Afters Ice Cream (multiple locations) here is one of my biggest vices.

What are your favorite spots for Korean fried chicken?

BB.Q Chicken (multiple locations) has the crispiest, and juiciest Korean fried chicken in all of LA. I recommend the Golden Original Chicken with no sauce (to retain crispiness), but if you like sauced-up wings, try the honey garlic flavor. (Here are DoorDash’s additional tips for how to order fried chicken so it stays crisp.)

Go-to coffee spots?

Da Vien in Little Saigon is my absolute favorite. I’m a sucker for Vietnamese coffee due to its high caffeine content, and bold, earthy flavors. Matcha foam coffee, ube coffee, and egg coffee are the top sellers here.

Favorite Mexican spots and dishes?

I love Tacos Los Cholos in Anaheim. They won LA Taco's Taco Madness competition for the best tacos in Southern California last year. Try the ribeye and arrachera tacos, but don’t forget about their papa loka (loaded baked potato). I also love Guisados (multiple locations) for tacos. I usually order the Sampler, which comes with six mini tacos of your choice! Be sure to order the chorizo, cochinita pibil, and steak picado. HomeState — I love that these guys are doing something different to shake up the LA taco scene. They're a Texas kitchen known for their breakfast tacos, queso, brisket, and house-made flour tortillas. I've been getting their Trinity breakfast taco for years now! I’m also a big fan of Tacos 1986 (multiple locations) for Tijuana-inspired street style tacos: just a little bit of onions, cilantro, creamy guacamole, salsa, and adobada/carne asada on a warm tortilla can go a long way here!

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Nate Nguyen