Like any reasonable traveler, I planned my entire trip to the Big Apple around one thing: food.

Growing up in LA, I've always felt spoiled by all the incredible food around me. The variety and authenticity of LA restaurants has never failed me in my 18 years of living in the City of Stars. And yet, all the New York-based Instagram accounts I follow (s/o to @missnewfoodie and @infatuation) gave me an ever-present feeling of FOMO. Was the NYC food scene really that different from my beloved home? Well, lets find out... 


The main dividing factor I noticed between the two cities was mere proximity.

In LA, I've had to plan an entire day around visiting a restaurant just because of the time and effort it takes to get there. LA is huge, and most of the best places to eat are spread out over miles and miles of traffic.

I felt like NYC was different in that everything is concentrated into such a small area. It seemed like there was at least one world famous (or at least Insta famous) spot on every block. 


Overall, New York was a little more expensive. Not by much, though. 

Comparing fancy restaurants in LA to those in NYC, the prices aren't that different. Both cities have $10 açaí bowls and $2 pizza slices, but the amount of money I spent on food during my one week in New York still makes me laugh nervously. (Not that it wasn't worth it; it totally was.)


Walking around NYC, I saw so many familiar restaurants - not because I am an all-knowing food genius, but because a ton of popular NY restaurants have also opened shop on the west coast. 

Places like By Chloe, Serafina, Catch, Shake Shack, and The Butcher's Daughter all began in New York before making their way to my humble town. Opening later this year, Dominick Ansel and Momofuku Milk Bar are next on the list to share their deliciousness with me and my fellow Angelinos. 

The moral of the story, of course, is that LA is a copycat. Yes, LA  would be great without all its New York roots, but the restaurants that came from NYC make LA undeniably better. 

The Food Itself 

meat sauce, tomato, beef, meat, pasta, sauce
Tara Shooshani

Yeah, New York may be more original in the food its serving, but in terms of taste and quality, the two are about equal in my eyes. 

The avocado toast I had at NoMo SoHo was as good as the avo toast from Blue Bottle Coffee in LA. And while the pasta from Bar Pitti was insanely delicious, Il Pastaio Beverly Hills makes spaghetti Bolognese just as well.

At the end of my week in New York, I not only gained a few pounds, but also some knowledge on what NYC food is really all about. This knowledge was far from life-changing, as I had expected it to be. As it turns out, New York isn't drastically different from LA, and I am confident in saying that West coast is still the best coast.