Pan Pacific Park in Beverly Grove is one of our favorite picnic spots in the city. While it doesn’t have any ocean breezes or views of the Downtown skyline, it makes up for it by having large expanses of well-manicured grass, multiple playgrounds, BBQ pits, covered shelters, and an ideal central location that everybody can get to. So, if you’re trying to plan a picnic where you need both Westsiders and Eastsiders to show up, Pan Pacific is the geographic compromise. Now, you just need to make sure that you show up with some good food. Here are eight excellent picnic pick-up options all within a few minutes of the park.
Located directly across the street from the park entrance, Potato Chips is an ideal option when you pull into the parking lot and realize you completely forgot the potato salad you made at home. The compact menu only has 10 sandwiches on it, and we haven’t tried one we didn’t like. Standouts include the havarti and herb aioli-topped “Turkey” and the crunchy and slightly spicy “Chicken Milanese.”
Kimukatsu, a pork cutlet specialist, recently relocated their only US location from Sawtelle to Beverly Blvd., bringing with it some of the only pork katsu, sandos, and Japanese curry you’ll find in Beverly Grove. The cutlet itself has a thin, perfectly-crispy panko crust that compliments the savoriness of the meat without drying it out. The atsuyaki egg omelet sando is light and the ideal thing to be eating as the sun beats down on you in the park. If it’s a cooler day out, though, go for the curry. The broth is rich, earthy, and gravy-like, and if you dish out a couple extra bucks, they’ll happily dial the spice up for you.
This Tijuana-style taqueria, which started out as a Hollywood street cart in late 2018, has since expanded with four brick-and-mortars across LA, including one just down the street from Pan Pacific on Beverly. There are several delicious tacos on the menu (the mushroom and adobada are standouts), but our favorite is the one not actually listed on the menu: “El Perrón.” This secret taco uses the same flour tortilla as the other tacos, but comes with crispy cheese griddled into the side and is filled with mesquite-smoked carne asada, beans, guacamole, cilantro, onions, and red salsa. It’s a well-balanced and ridiculously savory taco.
Sycamore Kitchen is a daytime-only cafe on La Brea with excellent sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. In other words, an ideal pick-up spot for a picnic. We love the spicy Vietnamese salad and slightly sweet cured salmon toast with crème frâiche and sliced hard-boiled eggs, but if you’re picking up for the group, concentrate on the tremendous baked goods case. Whether it’s banana olive oil bread, toffee cookies, or apple crostatas, the baked goods at SK are delicious, varied, and will appease anybody at the picnic.
Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market
Located in The Original Farmer’s Market attached to The Grove, Monsieur Marcel is an upscale French restaurant that’s been serving excellent bistro-style food for over 25 years. When it comes to building a great picnic basket though, head to their marketplace next door. Filled with thousands of imported goods, you’ll find every kind of cheese board, charcuterie, cracker, sauce, and spread to complete your picnic masterpiece.
This upscale boutique grocery is expensive, scene-y, and borderline cultish, but their grab-and-go section has good picnic options and the front door is located basically ten feet from Pan Pacific. Also, if you avoid the produce, you actually won’t spend that much money. Their premade salad and sandwiches are all solid, but if the line at the hot bar isn’t too long, go get some buffalo cauliflower. It’s a spicy, tangy masterpiece and one of the best vegetarian dishes in town.
Being put on dessert duty for a picnic can be a little tricky, but one fool-proof option in Beverly Grove is Magnolia Bakery on W. 3rd Street. This famous NYC-import is certainly no secret, but their banana pudding is still one of the best desserts in the world. It’s thick, creamy, and won’t completely fall apart if it spends a few minutes in the sun. They also sell individual cups for $4.50, so everybody can have their own without fighting over the last few bites.
After skipping the last five Zoom parties, you’re getting the sense that the friend group is kind of mad at you at the moment. Quick remedy - show up to the picnic with a box full of pastries from Republique. This iconic French restaurant is only about a five-minute drive from Pan Pacific and makes some of our favorite baked goods in the city. If you see the strawberry passion fruit pie or poppyseed bread behind the glass, bring them with you and all drama will be resolved. Also, you can order ahead online for takeout, so you don’t have to wait in line.