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Where to Chow Down near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum



There’s always something happening at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, be it the USC Trojan football team's home games or perhaps a huge rock concert or other gathering. The venue that is very close to the University of Southern California's campus seats 100,000 people (and more when the field is also used for seating), so when everyone that is going to or from an event is hungry, there is a big need for some great places to eat nearby. And while many of the food possibilities in the neighborhood lean towards fast-food chains, there are definitely some good places to chow down close by the Coliseum. Many are actually on or near the campus, including McKay's, The Lab Gastropub at USC and USC Traditions. Plus, just a couple of quick miles away (via local streets, not the freeway!) is downtown Los Angeles, where world-class restaurants await. You can look down on the city at Wolfgang Puck's award-winning WP24 or choose the hip scene at Katsuya L.A. Live. There really is a cornucopia of food choices near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, places that fit every taste and every budget; and we're here to help you find the best ones right in the neighborhood or just a short ride away.


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At Grand Central Market, you'll find a wide assortment of restaurants â€" and there is sure to be at least one that tickles your palate. Look for lean pastrami and other house-smoked meats and fish at Wexler's Deli; egg sandwiches done to perfection at Eggslut; Texas-style smoked barbecue at Horse Thief BBQ (who also have an outdoor garden and a bar); Las Morelianas, if you love authentic carnitas; and many other taste delights. For dessert, check out Valerie at GCM for baked goodies and McConnell's Fine Ice Cream, where you must try the Salted Caramel Chip and the Dark Chocolate Paso Brittle. All their ice creams are made from scratch, which is obvious from the first lick. So hit the market before heading to the Memorial Coliseum (it opens at 8:00 a.m.) or visit for dinner as the eateries stay open until 10:00 p.m.

Recommended for Restaurants near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because: The oldest farmers market in L.A., the newly re-imagined Grand Central Market is now one of the best multiple restaurant destinations located downtown.

Jenny's expert tip: Park in the structure right next to the Grand Central Market entrance on Hill Street, as the first hour is free when validated inside.

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Yard House
Photo courtesy of Jenny Peters


The convivial Yard House at L.A. Live is part of a nationwide chain of restaurants devoted to serving up craft beers paired with over 100 menu items. It's an easy place to have a beer (over 100 are on tap) and a burger, but if you're so inclined, you can feast on steaks, ribs, seafood, pasta and more, and wash it all down with wine from around the world or a specialty cocktail. It's close enough to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to make it an easy stop before or after hitting the stadium, especially if you've chosen a hotel at L.A. Live as your home base for all things downtown. Hit it during Happy Hour (3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) or Late Night (10 p.m. to closing) for discounted drinks and half-price apps and pizzas.

Recommended for Restaurants near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because: With plenty of varied food choices and a beer menu to make hops fans rejoice, the Yard House is ready to get your party started.

Jenny's expert tip: Look for a parking lot a block or two north of Olympic and you'll only pay $5 (or so) to park. That's a real deal downtown.

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Chichen Itza
Photo courtesy of Jenny Peters


Chichen Itza is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a big reputation. Located a few blocks from USC and the L.A. Memorial Coliseum inside the Mercado la Paloma (head straight to the back once you enter and get in the line), this famed Mexican joint specializes in fare from the Yucatan. Their Cochinita Pibil is an achiote-marinated, slow-roasted pork that is some of the best you'll have north of the border. Try their ceviche or the Torta de Pollo Asado, a charbroiled chicken sandwich on their homemade bread. Place your order and then choose one of the tables spread out around the mercado; they will bring your freshly made meal to you. Note that there is no alcohol served here, but do try the Horchata or Guanabana for a uniquely Mexican quaff.

Recommended for Restaurants near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because: This well-known Mexican enclave is almost close enough to walk to from the Memorial Coliseum, but why do that when parking is free?

Jenny's expert tip: In a refreshing change of L.A. pace, parking is free in the lot for the Mercado la Paloma.

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Rosso Oro's Pizzeria
Photo courtesy of Jenny Peters


For a quick bite before you stroll over to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Rosso Oro's Pizzeria is the perfect pit stop. Located across from the USC campus and next door to the Radisson Hotel USC, this place makes pizza just the way you want it. Order a single slice "Loaded" and you'll get a pile of mozzarella, pepperoni, sweet peppers, onions, sausage and mushrooms â€" all for only $3! Or settle in and eat a whole pizza pie for $18; Rosso Oro's has all your favorite combinations (including their signature "Tommy Trojan" pie), or you can build your own. Non-pizza lovers will find salads, pastas and hot italian sandwiches. Beer, wine and soft drinks round out your casual meal here.

Recommended for Restaurants near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because: This quick and easy pizza joint is within easy walk of the Memorial Coliseum, nearby the USC campus center.

Jenny's expert tip: Go for the $6.50 special, a real deal that includes a slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza, a house salad and a fountain soda.

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McKay's
Photo courtesy of McKay's

Located next door to the Radisson Hotel USC, McKay's features a comfortable lounge, welcoming dining area and a well-stocked bar. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this restaurant named for John McKay, one of USC's legendary football coaches, offers everything from burgers and sandwiches to elegant meals ranging from flat iron steaks to glazed salmon and jerk chicken. And just to prove how close McKay's is to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where the USC team plays, there's even a salad known as "The Coliseum," featuring Lollo Rossa greens, grape tomatoes and avocado stuffed into a garlic crostini. McKay's is the local spot for fine dining, before or after any big event at the nearby stadium.

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The Lab Gastropub at USC
Photo courtesy of The Lab Gastropub at USC


The Lab Gastropub at USC is a short, 15-minute stroll from the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, making it a great spot to begin or end your experience there. If you are part of a crowd, choose one of The Lab's "Group Projects" â€" plates to share of Chipoltle Nachos, Kalbi Short Ribs, Guac Fries, etc. Or try one of the "Class Favorites" like Steak & Fries or Mac & 3 Cheeses; but those are made for one, not the crowd. And in keeping with the in-school theme, be sure to try their "Final Exam," especially the Horchata Ice-Cream Sandwich, made with coconut, chocolate and macadamia nut cookies.

Recommended for Restaurants near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because: One of the closest restaurants to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, this place has an easy, laid back collegiate vibe.

Jenny's expert tip: Sit out on the patio for some fun people watching, especially on a USC Trojans football game day.

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USC Traditions Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of USC Traditions Bar & Grill


Located inside the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, USC Traditions Bar & Grill is a convivial pub open to all, USC students or not. So grab a bite to eat there before a big USC football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or simply hang out and watch the action on the pub's big-screen TVs. You'll find typical bar food here, ranging from chicken wings, lobster rolls, tacos and calamari to burgers, kale salad and even a fried honey bun for dessert. Open most days from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., USC Traditions has varied hours on game days, opening earlier to feed all the Trojan fans in the neighborhood.

Recommended for Restaurants near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because: One of USC's group of restaurants on campus, this is one of the places to get good chow that is nearby the Memorial Coliseum.

Jenny's expert tip: Get there early on USC football game days, or all the good seats will be long gone.

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WP24 by Wolfgang Puck
Photo courtesy of Peden Munk


When your team wins big at the Memorial Coliseum (or perhaps you're about to go and see the concert of your life after dinner), there's nothing quite like celebrating nearby at Wolfgang Puck's WP24. Sky high on the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at L.A. Live, with fantastic views of the city, this haute cuisine Chinese restaurant has to be tried to be believed. Go hungry, as the extensive menu is broken into either a three-course meal (for $80) or a four-course meal (for $110), with a wide range of choices for each segment of the meal. The "Angry Lobster" is a $25 extra supplement, well worth it if a melange of spice and garlic is your idea of heaven. It is ours!

Recommended for Restaurants near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because: When Wolfgang Puck goes all out to create his sensational version of Chinese cuisine, it is a wonder to behold.

Jenny's expert tip: Be sure to get spiffy before coming to WP24, for their dress code bars baseball caps, shorts and flip flops. But the food here really is worth dressing up.

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Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
Photo courtesy of Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop


The latest addition to the USC campus culinary scene is the Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, but this innovative restaurant serving up healthy fare (and a burger or two) is no stranger to Southern California's hot food scene. This outpost, located in the brand-new USC Village housing complex, marks the ninth Chopshop to open in just a few sort years. The brainchild of ex-Patina chef Jon Rollo, the menu allows patrons to build their own salads, choosing from organic greens, various vegetable toppings, proteins and house-made dressings (thus the "Chopshop" idea); or patrons can simply choose one of those juicy Angus-beef burgers, a platter of tacos, pizza or a sandwich. It's all reasonably priced, even with a protein shake, craft beer, fine wine or specialty cocktail added in. Go during Happy Hour for even better deals on Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop's delicious offerings.

Recommended for Restaurants near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because: Healthy, delicious meal choices at reasonable prices, all served in a California-chic setting within walking distance of the Coliseum make this a natural winner.

Jenny's expert tip: Sit at the bar and they will take your order right from your seat; otherwise, be sure to order immediately as you enter the Chopshop.

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For some of L.A.'s best sushi and coolest scene going, head over to Katsuya L.A. Live. Just a quick drive from Memorial Coliseum, the restaurant helmed by Chef Katsuya Uechi and designed by Philippe Starck must be seen to be believed. But don't let the hip decor fool you; this place is serious about its sushi. Try the signature Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno and don't miss the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna. We'd suggest simply putting yourself in the chef's hands with the Omakase ($75); you cannot go wrong. And don't miss the Flaming Mandarin cocktail, for it is a taste sensation like no other. Keep your eyes open, too, for there's always a chance to see a few famous faces at the table right next to you, enjoying their favorite Katsuya delicacy.

Recommended for Restaurants near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because: Fantastic sushi, incredibly good cocktails and an eye-popping Philippe Starck ambiance will make you feel terminally cool, all making Katsuya a not-to-miss experience.

Jenny's expert tip: Park in the East Garage and get a two-hour validation with any purchase at Katsuya.

Read more about Katsuya by Starck - L.A. LIVE →


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Meet Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good...  More About Jenny

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