Here’s where to find the best midnight snacks.
By Neal Webster Turnage
Sooner or later, it happens: You’re out late, time flies, and the next thing you know, you’re starving. There’s only one solution—find a late-night hot spot with seriously good eats served round the clock. Luckily for us, local gourmets in Loews cities are willing to dish on their favorite places for midnight snacks and after-hours treats, from food trucks to hole-in-the-wall haunts and retro lounges.
“Top Chef” alumnus C.J. Jacobson of Girasol in Studio City, located just minutes from the Loews Hollywood Hotel, has a few recommendations for late-night dining. His favorite spot is Red Medicine on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, a Vietnamese-themed joint venture from chef Jordan Kahn, Noah Ellis and Adam Fleischman (of Umami Burger fame). “I always get the French dip or the banh mi open-faced sandwich,” Jacobson says.
The chef also cops to frequenting late-night taco trucks such as El Chato (open until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays) on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, where bite-sized $1 tacos are a hit along with cheesy quesadillas and burritos laced with a supremely addictive smoky chipotle sauce. Nearby, legendary deli fare is available 24 hours a day at Canter’s Deli on Fairfax Avenue, while vintage diner Du-par’s offers classic burgers, sandwiches, pancakes and pies sure to satisfy that late-night sweet tooth.
“I don’t think anyone is thinking healthy when it comes to late-night dining,” Jacobson adds. “It’s more about indulging.”
For even more indulgence, head to LA’s trending downtown area, which has experienced a renaissance in culture, nightlife and, of course, food over the past few years. In-the-know foodies flock to the Pacific Dining Car, a refurbished coach that’s been in operation as a restaurant since 1921, for top-notch steaks, brioche French toast and eggs Benedict.
On the opposite coast, perhaps no other city caters to hungry night owls as much as New York does. International restaurateur Richie Notar has been in the business since the days of Studio 54, when he was club co-owner Steve Rubell’s right-hand man. After overseeing the spread of the Nobu sushi empire, Notar settled down to open the hotly anticipated Harlow restaurant in Manhattan. Once Notar and Harlow chef Danny Ye call it a night, they often set out in search of a good bite and brews.
A few of Notar’s post-midnight stops include Great N.Y. Noodletown on the Bowery for its menu of classic noodle bowls, Roti Boti in Queens for authentic Pakistani dishes like grilled lamb chops and chicken tikka with garlic naan, and Tacos El Bronco in Brooklyn for arguably the best tacos in New York. For Korean barbecue, he recommends the 24-hour New Wonjo Restaurant in Koreatown, known for serving up plates like scallion pancakes and short ribs.
Notar is eager to offer tips to those looking to explore a city’s after-hours dining scene: “Look at magazines like BlackBook or food blogs like Eater and Grub Street. In my opinion, though, the best way is to ask the person that’s waiting on you or the person making your drink. [They are your] best source for late-night dining and party spots.”
Moving south of the Mason-Dixon Line brings just as many solid late-night options. In particular, beloved New Orleans food writer Lorin Gaudin carries a torch for late-night dining in the Big Easy. “The city stays alive virtually all the time with something incredible to see, sip, eat or experience,” she says.
One of Gaudin’s top picks is The Saint Bar & Lounge located in the Garden District, about 10 minutes from the French Quarter. She says the popular nightspot is “small and a bit grungy, but that’s the charm. The cocktails are standout, especially on Tiki Tuesday.” Don’t even think about showing up before midnight—this is the kind of place that doesn’t hit its stride until 2 a.m.
In the French Quarter, locals praise the 24-hour Deja Vu Bar & Grill for its omelets and chargrilled burgers. And in the nearby Central Business District, the gourmet pizzas at Pie, Pizza & Pastas draw late-night revelers jonesing for Italian classics.
Head to one of the South’s other culinary capitals, Nashville, for even more alternatives. Just a few miles from the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, the 12South neighborhood is home to the inimitable M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers. The home-style restaurant attracts new converts every day with hearty burgers, barbecue standards and gourmet waffle fries.
For a nontraditional take on late-night entertainment, stop by Pinewood Social in hip East Nashville. The recently launched concept includes a full bar, lounge, restaurant, coffee station, event space and, coming soon, a swimming pool. Quell Southern cravings with fried cheese curds or a pork belly salad with poached egg.
With so many temptations offered at all hours in Loews cities, staying out late never tasted so good—just plan on sticking around for breakfast, too. L