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Where To Eat and Drink On Highland Park's Figueroa Street

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Most of the hoopla surrounding Highland Park centers around York Boulevard. While the super-hip strip is a great place to eat—and be seen eating—the northeast L.A. neighborhood's other main drag, Figueroa Street, is less of a scene with plenty of good food spots, old and new. Here's our list of the best eats on Highland Park's Figueroa Street.

Photo by Valentina Silva/LAist

Via-Mar Seafood

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A window with a patio describes the ambiance at Via-Mar Seafood. The unembellished stand keeps the focus on Baja-style fish and shrimp tacos, which are done well — the meat stays moist and the batter is crispy and full-flavored. The ceviche has a nice citrus kick, and if you order it on a tostada, you get not one but two deep-fried tortillas to go with it. On Mondays, hard-shell shrimp tacos, dressed with salsa and an avocado chunk, are two for one.

Via-Mar Seafood is located at 5111 N Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, (323) 255-4929

Photo by Valentina Silva/LAist

Good Girl Dinette

A few doors down on Avenue 56 is Diep Tran's Good Girl Dinette. With a menu billed as "American diner meets Vietnamese comfort food," the retro-inspired space serves one of the tastiest banh mi sandwiches in town and a black pepper pork confit that will set your soul on fire. Regulars pine for the spicy garlic fries with maggi mayo and house-made sodas. Don't miss the breakfast menu, which includes a croque monsieur dubbed the "Lady Boy," perfectly flaky seasonal hand pies, and a creamy coconut milk oatmeal with ginger maple syrup.

Good Girl Dinette is located at 110 N Ave 56, Los Angeles, (323) 257-8980

Photo by Valentina Silva/LAist

Chez Antoine

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Unpretentious and very legit, Chez Antoinne is a sweet little cafe by day and bistro by night helmed by French-born chef Guillaume Sabbadin. The crepes mostly go the traditional route with savory options, like the egg-topped ham and gruyere or the sweet Parisian street food favorite stuffed with Nutella. Classic dishes, including Boeuf Bourguignon and Moules Marinieres, are soulful and rustic.

Chez Antoine is located at 5511 N. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, (323) 982-9480

Tropical Fruit and Juices

This colorfully painted stand was squeezing out juice long before it was trendy. Detox concoctions, traditional vampiros, and a buzz-inducing green blend are offered alongside fresh-squeezed mango, papaya and melon juices. If you're really looking for a treat, try the Chocomilk, a decadent chocolate drink with stiff, frothy peaks. If you don't see what you want on the menu, just ask — they're up for making almost any combination.

Tropical Fruit and Juices is located at 5729 N. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, (323) 340-8794

Photo by Valentina Silva/LAist

Metro Balderas

The weekends are the best time to hit up Metro Balderas because that's when they bring out the Mexico City-style carnitas — eight different kinds, in fact. They don't cheat by boiling the meat here; instead, the pork is first fried in lard then braised for four hours with moist and tender results. Also on the menu is a wide variety of antojitos, traditional Mexican breakfasts, and delicious agua frescas.

Metro Balderas is located at 5305 Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, (323) 478-8383

Penny's Burgers

A neighborhood tradition, Penny's Burgers is where cravings for fat breakfast burritos and classic hamburger stand-style burgers are satisfied. The avocado-bacon burger is especially pleasing. The portions here are big, and the fries are crispy and seasoned. Cheese-laden Mexican-American standards, like giant quesadillas, are exactly what you expect.

Penny's Burgers is located at 6300 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, (323) 254-7223

Photo by Valentina Silva/LAist

The Greyhound

This casual bar and grill has introduced a touch of nightlife to Figueroa, attracting long-time locals and newbies, alike. The cocktails list is short but well-devised, and the beer selection, which is separated into user-friendly categories, like "Clean & Crisp" and "Fruity, Sour & Funky," includes over twenty craft beers on tap. The food is straight-up bar fare with over 14 different flavors of chicken wings and a no-frills, yet very juicy, burger that comes with Schlitz (for only $8) during Dodger games.

The Greyhound Bar & Grill is located at 5570 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, (323) 900-0300

Fanny’s Restaurant

Originally a Lincoln Heights mainstay, Fanny’s is now serving their famous tortas in Highland Park. The friendly, family-run restaurant is a tiny spot with just three tables and a big menu of tacos, burritos and other Mexican joint staples. Your best bet is at the back of the menu, where you’ll find two tortas—milanesa (fried breaded steak) and the Fanny Special. Go for the latter, made with carne asada, sliced avocado, mayo, chopped onions and cilantro on a super-soft, toasted roll.

Fanny’s Restaurant is located at 5455 N. Figueroa, Los Angeles, (323) 478-7054

Photo by Valentina Silva/LAist

Kitchen Mouse

Perhaps the biggest sign of "the times" (a.k.a. gentrification), is the debut of Kitchen Mouse, a vegan restaurant with clean, crisp decor and a steadily growing, mostly "hip" crowd. However, the prices and attitude here are very accessible, and the hearty dishes, like the bean and rice bowl doused with buffalo sauce or the Tempeh Reuben, could maybe even woo your skeptical meat-loving friends. Gluten-avoiders will love their wide array of gluten-free options.

Kitchen Mouse is located at 5904 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles (323) 259-9555

Antigua Bread

Part coffee house, part restaurant, Antigua Bread has one of Highland Park's best breakfast menus. The chilaquiles with salsa verde are a neighborhood favorite, and the Ultimate Antigua Breakfast features steak, eggs, black beans, fried plantains, a chunk of queso fresco, tortillas and bread for under $10. Their selection of baked goods is small but includes delicious large soft rolls and addictive cookies.

Antigua Bread is located at 5703 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, (323) 259-9345

La Cuevita

La Cuevita is a new take on Little Cave, a neighborhood bar that previously occupied the space. The venue, brought to you by the 1933 Group (Thirsty Crow, Harlowe), is still small, dark and lively, but now craft cocktails and top-shelf tequilas are on the menu. Despite the changes, the crowd is still a mix of newcomers and old timers, looking for a good time. On Tuesdays, La Cuevita offers free tacos and Sundays equal live jazz. DJs spin most nights of the week, so if you're looking for quiet, intimate conversation, it won't happen here.

La Cuevita is located at 5922 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles (323) 255-6871

Valentina Silva is a freelance writer who edits her own blog Eastside Food Bites. Watch her eat her way through L.A. on her Instagram.

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