Madre! barbacoa (Coachella 2019 food guide)
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Southern California’s oh-so-anticipated rite of spring is nearly upon us. Scenesters, influencers, Kardashians, and even a few music fans are mere days away from making the annual migration to Indio’s Empire Polo Club for the dual-weekend extravaganza known as Coachella. For the hundreds of thousands making the desert pilgrimage: Great news! This year organizers have assembled what is, without a doubt, the festival’s best lineup ever–at least when it comes to food.

Whether you’re slumming it as a general admission attendee or rubbing elbows with the hoi polloi in the V.I.P. zones, plenty of stellar sips and bites await for vegans, vegetarians, ketos, the gluten-free, and boozehounds alike. Scroll down for a list of all the vendors, but read on for more details on some of the best bets.

Take a Trip to Kogitown

Coachella wasn’t always a food lovers’ paradise. Prior to 2009, the availability of quality food reflected the fest’s desert locale. But then a decade ago, Roy Choi rolled in with his groundbreaking Kogi truck and suddenly it was “thank u, next” to the old guard.

Chego rice bowl (Coachella 2019 food)

Chego

In honor of the tenth anniversary of Choi’s Coachella debut, the fest will be devoting a large swath of the Food Court to the man, the myth, the legend. KogiTown will feature the Los Angeles and Las Vegas-based chef’s famed Korean-Mexican fusion creations along with the hits from his rice bowl sensation Chego.

Be sure to pay homage to the dude that started it all–and don’t forget to order the Ooey Gooey Fries.

More Food for the Masses

Shade is perhaps the hottest commodity at Coachella, and thankfully the Indio Central Market offers a refuge from the heat along with killer food. This year you can fill your belly under the tent with fried chicken sandwiches from chef David Chang’s popular Fuku chain, burgers courtesy of Watts icon Hawkins, and the photogenic egg salad sando from Konbi–a must for the Yeezus Easter Sunday service on weekend two.

Konbi egg sandwich (Coachella 2019 food)

Konbi

For dessert, cool down with ice cream from Brooklyn’s Van Leeuwen but don’t neglect scoops from West Coast rival Salt & Straw at the Boardwalk. There you’ll also find “Top Chef” favorite Marcel Vigneron’s Tacos Lobos and vegan selections from Seabirds.

Over in the Beer Barn, chow down on BBQ sandwiches from chefs Bruce Kalman and Tyler Anderson’s Square Peg, pizzas fired in a flash at 800 Degrees, and potatoes, wings, and Oreos fried up for your gluttonous pleasure at Beer Belly.

Joining KogiTown in the Food Court is familiar favorite Shake Shack, fried chicken specialist Wingman, and yet another ice cream must, Santa Barbara-based McConnell’s.

Van Leeuwen ice cream cone (Coachella 2019 food)

Van Leeuwen

V.I.P. Eats

Tame Impala aren’t the only Aussies that will be representing the land down under this year. Culinary wizard of Oz Curtis Stone and his brother Luke will be bringing a full-service pop-up of their popular Hollywood restaurant Gwen to the main V.I.P. area.

The Stone boys will be accompanied by several more casual eateries behind the proverbial velvet rope including L.A. deli favorite Freedman’s which will be serving up a Pastrami Crunch Wrap Supreme (drool) along with Pizzanista! and their carbtastic mac & cheese slice. For substantially lighter fare, you can’t go wrong with Backyard Bowls or Sweetfin poke, one of several vendors at the fest that can be ordered via Postmates for quick and easy pickup.

Freedman's pastrami Crunchwrap (Coachella 2019 food)

Freedman’s

Perhaps the most anticipated dining spot at Coachella is Tacos 1986 which will be making its festival debut. Essentially the Billie Eilish of the L.A. culinary scene, these exciting newcomers achieved near-instant success slinging addictive Tijuana-style street tacos prepared with homemade tortillas and a variety of stellar fillings.

Kazu Nori (Rose Garden) + Outstanding in the Field

Sugarfish handroll spin-off KazuNori and Honolulu’s Chingu Korean BBQ will be among the all-day stalls in the V.I.P. Rose Garden but at 6 p.m. each night the floral retreat will play host to the popular Outstanding in the Field dinner series which features multi-course meals from a rotation of big-time chefs. Week one features spectacular all-female lineup including “Top Chef” alums Shirley Chung, Casey Thompson, and Nyesha Arrington, James Beard award winner Jessica Largey, and Tartine L.A. trio Elisabeth Prueitt, Katie Hagan-Whelchel, and Leah Chin-Katz.

L.A. dominates the second week with chefs Adam Sobel, Ray Garcia, Jason Neroni, and the legendary “Too Hot Tamales” tandem of Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken taking center stage.

Though you don’t have to have a V.I.P. ticket to attend Outstanding in the Field you do have to pay up–tickets for each meal will you set back an additional $225.

Drink Up

Coachella is known to attract the thirsty but the festival is well equipped to quench. Attendees can get their caffeine fix from a number of spots including Third Wave coffee roaster LAMILL, MatchaBar, and boba tea purveyors Milk Box.

Cha Cha Matcha (Coachella 2019 food)

Cha Cha Matcha

For attendees not looking to stay sober, boozy options abound. Nightlife impresarios the Houston Brothers will be offering their patented brand of kitsch with the return of their mountain retreat-themed The Cabin. Oenophiles can sip rosé all day in the Rose Garden at Augustine Wine Car which will be popping bottles near Broken Shaker, a mainstay on the World’s 50 Best Bars list.

If you have a thirst for high-octane fruity rum drinks, you’ll want to post up at PDTiki assuming you can find it–the NYC speakeasy will set up shop in a mystery location.

Block Party slushy margarita (Coachella 2019 food)

Block Party

Below you’ll find the full lineup for your eating and imbibing needs at Coachella:

Indio Central Market

Fuku spicy fried chicken sandwich (Coachella 2019 food)

Fuku

Beer Barn

100 Degrees pizza (Coachella 2019 food)

800 Degrees

Main V.I.P.

Tacos 1986 Coachella 2019 food

Tacos 1986

Rose Garden

  • Augustine Wine Car
  • Broken Shaker
  • Cha Cha Matcha
  • Chingu
  • KazuNori
  • Me’ze
  • Nana Lu
  • Chefs Shirley Chung & Casey Thompson (Outstanding In The Field, April 12)
  • Chefs Nyesha Arrington & Jessica Largey (Outstanding In The Field, April 13)
  • Chefs Elisabeth Prueitt, Katie Hagan-Whelchel & Leah Chin-Katz (Outstanding In The Field, April 14)
  • Chefs Adam Sobel & Ray Garcia (Outstanding In The Field, April 19)
  • Chefs Susan Feniger & Mary Sue Milliken (Outstanding In The Field, April 20)
  • Chef Jason Neroni (Outstanding In The Field, April 21)
Me'ze Coachella 2019 food guide

Me’ze

Boardwalk

Tacos Lobos Coachella 2019 food guide

Tacos Lobos

Food Court

Wingman Kitchen Puff Daddy (puffle waffle with chicken), Coachella 2019 food guide

Wingman Kitchen

Beer East

Mystery Location

Camping

If you can’t go, you can always livestream Coachella 2019 on YouTube. And to make it feel more authentic, order up some delivery from the best taco place near you.

Caviar Delivery, $5 off your $30 order

Through April 30, use code CHOWAPRIL19 to get $5 off your $30 Caviar order! For new diners only.
Order Now

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Header image courtesy of Madre!

David is a food and culture writer based in Los Angeles by way of New York City. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, CBS Local, Mashable, and Gawker.
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