Meals off the Metro: A guide to global cuisine for Trojans staying local

Staying in L.A. for spring break? Hop on the Metro and grab a bite with your week off!

No doubt you’ve seen the orange buses traveling up and down Figueroa and Hoover, and the trains rumbling along Exposition. While it’s often said to be impossible to navigate Los Angeles without a car, the city has a more-than-capable public transportation system that can take you to a countless number of mouth-watering restaurants.

So, if you find yourself at USC this spring Break, yearning to break free from the culinary confines of Cava or El Huero, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best restaurants in LA that are easily accessible through the Metro system.

While USC students are no strangers to Lyft, many L.A. transplants have never stood waiting underneath the green awning of a bus stop. But, for those students without an AMEX in their Goyard wallet, the Metro system provides a reliable and inexpensive means to get around the city.

Emma Garcia, a freshman majoring in law, history and culture, finds the Metro to be a “very cost-efficient” way of traveling around L.A. “I’ve only used the Metro once actually, but I’m hoping to utilize it more in the future,” Garcia said.

Students that grew up in L.A. have long been aware of the Metro’s convenience. Shant Kassabian, a homegrown Angeleno and sophomore majoring in business administration, said that even though he mainly uses his car now, he used to take the Metro everywhere.

For other Angelenos, like Kaylee Young, a freshman majoring in psychology, the Metro has always been a useful way of exploring the city.

“I’ve been in L.A. my whole life, so the Metro system has been a staple for me getting around anywhere,” Young said.

USC students who haven’t used the Metro before can buy a physical TAP card, which costs $2, plus fare, and includes transfers to Metro rail and bus. Students with iPhones can also add a Metro Card directly to their Apple Wallet. For the students who’ve escaped from the clutches of the pome-titled monopoly, a TAP app is available to download for Android users as well.

If you’re not headed to Cabo for spring break, don’t despair. Go out and explore all the incredible food options L.A. has to offer. We’ve gathered a list of eateries for you to try this spring break along with directions on how to get there.

Grand Central Market

A fixture in L.A. for over a century, Grand Central Market is a must-visit for tourists and Angelenos alike. The Market’s 40 stalls feature menus from a variety of cultures, designed for a variety of tastes. Visit La Tostaderia for some seafood-forward Mexican cuisine, grab a boba tea and banh mi sandwich at Moon Rabbit, or try an authentic taste of Berlin at Berlin Currywurst.

TO GET THERE: Get on the Metro E Expo Train Line and get off at the 7th St/Metro Center stop. Then, get on the B/Red Line or D/Purple Line to Pershing Square, and exit towards 4th/Hill.

Manson’s Dumpling Shop

Tired of the frozen Trader Joe’s dumplings you keep throwing in the microwave? Ditch the cardboard and get onboard the Metro to a cult-favorite spot for a hearty bowl of handmade dumplings. Made fresh to order, you can adjust your preferred spice levels to your desired preference. Vegan dumplings are also available for those following a greener diet.

TO GET THERE: Walk to the bus stop on Figueroa and Exposition, and ride Bus 81 on Figueroa until you reach Ave 57, Manson’s Dumpling Shop will be on your left!

Smorgasburg, DTLA

Wanting to spend some time outdoors? Then head to one of the largest open-air food markets in L.A. There’s something for everybody here, whether it be desserts, vegan options, pizza, Mexican — the options are endless. Open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Row in Downto L.A., Smorgasburg offers free entry and an opportunity soak up some sunshine while you take on some satiating grub.

TO GET THERE: Head to the Figueroa and Exposition bus stop, and hop on Bus 81 until you reach the stop at Hill and 7th. Get off, walk a block up to the stop on Hill and 6th, and get on Bus 60. Ride until you reach 7th and Central, get off, and head into the ROW LA Building to get a spoonful.


They don’t sell oxtail in the USC Village. For a taste of some authentic Belizean cuisine, look no further than Tracey’s, a favorite spot for South L.A. locals.

TO GET THERE: Behind the Marshall school, hop on the Metro E Line on Expo and ride west until you reach the Expo and Western station. Hop off the bus, head down S. Western Avenue, and Tracey’s will be down on your left.

Tibet Nepal House

Serving some delicious food, this restaurant’s all the way in Pasadena. Put on your favorite podcast or bring a book, and strap in for an hour-long bus ride. Serving Himalayan cuisine, the cozily-decorated place is adorned with art and statues showing the beauty of Nepalese culture. But don’t just feast with your eyes. Indulge in some phing noodles, treat yourself to some naan and tuck into some Yak Meat (a lean protein healthier than beef).

TO GET THERE: Hop on Bus 81 at the Figueroa and Exposition stop, and ride that baby 30 stops until you reach Figueroa and Woodside. Walk up Woodside to the Metro L Line and ride the train 14 stops until you reach Memorial Park. Hop off the train, and take a right up Holly Street where you’ll reach the restaurant on your left.

Dos Besos

Another tasty spot in Pasadena, prepare for another hour plus trip. They say it’s about the journey, not the destination, but the paella served here will have you thinking it’s both.

TO GET THERE: Hop on Bus 81 on any stop on Figueroa Street, and ride the bus until you reach Figueroa and Woodside. Walk up Woodside to the Metro L Line and ride the train 14 stops until you reach Memorial Park. Head down Ledge Alley and treat yourself to some delicious Spanish cuisine on your left.

Le Grande Orange and The Luggage Room

So, you and your friend can’t decide between pizza and salmon? Why not head to Le Grande Orange and The Luggage Room, two restaurants attached at the hip in Old Town Pasadena? Housed in the historic Del Mar Train Station, people go crazy for the menu items served here. Whether you want to sit in or outside, there’s something for everybody here.

TO GET THERE: Like the other Pasadena-located locales, you’ll hop on Bus 81 at any stop on Figueroa Street, and ride the bus until you reach Figueroa and Woodside. Walk up Woodside to the Metro L Line and ride the train 4 stops until you reach the Del Mar stop. Head down Raymond Avenue and treat yourself to a slice of warm pizza.


If you’re craving hot pastrami sandwiches, there’s only one place to go — Langer’s Delicatessen Restaurant. If you’re unsure whether their sandwiches are any good, just know that the old-fashioned deli has been serving customers since 1947. If you don’t know what to get from their expansive menu, try the No. 19, a combination of hot pastrami, cole slaw, a slice of Swiss cheese and Russian dressing on rye that is so delicious that the Los Angeles Times called it “the Marilyn Monroe of sandwiches.”

TO GET THERE: For a less than a half-hour bus ride, head to the Jefferson and Hoover bus stop situated across from campus and Rock and Reilly’s. Head on Bus 2, and ride until you reach Alvarado and 7th. Hop off, and the deli will be directly in front of you.

Millet Crepe

If you need to satiate your sweet tooth, some of the best crepes in L.A. can be found at Millet Crepe. You likely won’t be able to sit down at this tiny location in Little Tokyo, but you can watch workers make creme brûlée, custard and ice cream crepes in easy transportable cones right in front of you. The crepes aren’t small by any means, so come ready to eat!

TO GET THERE: You can’t take the train straight there anymore, but you can hop on a bus. At the stop on Fig and Jefferson, get on Bus 38 and ride until you reach Broadway and Venice. Get off, hop on Bus 40, and get off at the Los Angeles and 1st Stop. From there, you’ll take an approximately five-minute walk. Head down the lengthily-named Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street. At the stoplight, cross and head left on 2nd Street for some thin, delicious confections.

Birria Los Socios

For the birria lovers out there, fear not. Birria Los Socios is open for business five days a week, and they’ll put birria on almost anything. Birria pizza, birria ramen, and keto tacos are just a few of the options presented to customers of this beef and goat birria restaurant in Boyle Heights.

TO GET THERE: It’s going to take an hour to get there, but it’s going to be worth it. Head to the Jefferson and Figueroa Street Bus Station, and hop on Bus 423. Ride north until you hit the Fig and 6th Street stop, and head up 6th Street to the 6th and Flower Stop. There, get on Bus 40 and when you reach the 3rd and Indiana stop, hop off. Birria Los Socios is right there.

Hotville Chicken

Listen — you’ve got to indulge every once in a while. Treat yourself to some mind-blowingly tasty Nashville-style hot chicken and other Southern-based side dishes at this casual eatery. The food is fresh, and you can customize the level of spice to your ideal level of comfort (or pain). Forget the local Chick-fil-A, and treat yourself to some mind-blowing cuisine.

TO GET THERE: At the Jefferson / USC Expo Line, hop on the E Line headed West. Get off at the Expo and Crenshaw stop, and make your way to the bus stop at Crenshaw and Exposition. Get on Bus 210, and head South until you reach the stop at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Make your way to the Baldwin Hills Mall and prepare your taste buds for a healthy and hearty dose of spice and heat.