Soccer's World Cup happens only once every 4 years. It’s being held in this year of 2018, and runs June 14 thru July 15. As it features 32 different nations' teams, Los Angeles, with its tremendous multicultural diversity, is a fabulous and unique place to partake in the event. It's the most fun and culturally exciting to watch a particular team's game in an ethnic venue corresponding to that country and its cuisine, where the local expats/nationals of that country gather year-round.
Here is a list of eateries at which the games may be viewed on live TV. All are in reasonable areas, and are comfortable for both women and men. Recommended to arrive 1 hour early to get parking and a seat; sometimes even earlier, as noted. These events can pack ‘em in. As the event is being held in Russia, the timezone differential renders the games to have start times between 3am and 11am here in SoCal. Understandably some venues might not be open super-early. You should check with them first. Menus will lean toward the breakfast & lunch selections. All locations are in L.A. proper unless noted.
Pragmatically it’s wise to see the lower-ranked teams right away, as teams get eliminated starting June 28 upon which it will be over for them. Odds are the strongest teams (i.e. Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Spain) will endure longer into the schedule. But, you never know. :-p Navigate the top of this webpage for links to the schedule (make sure timezone is converted to Pacific): https://www.fifa.com/worldcup/
ARGENTINA: Buenos Aires Grill, 8856 Corbin Ave., Northridge is a wonderful, artistic, and even romantic restaurant with sangria, and big plates of grilled meats/mashed potatoes. These folks are very serious about their soccer and seeking a championship in light of finishing in 2nd place last time. Arrive at least 2 hours early; reservations recommended.
AUSTRALIA: No strictly Aussie venue in L.A.; but any of the British pubs (see England) draw the Oz element. Possibly a noteworthy one in this case would be the Cock ‘n’ Bull in Santa Monica, as the U.S.-Australian Football League has been known to throws its parties there.
BELGIUM: Little Bear, 1855 Industrial St., Downtown L.A. focuses mostly on brews but does have a lite menu of items like “Belgian fries”, liege waffles and cream of endive soup.
Brussels Bistro, 222 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach features SoCal’s most full-on Belgique environ and menu (bitterballen, croquettes, escargot, salade Liegeois, mussels Hoegaarden, crepes). Unfortunately it is scheduled to be showing only the July 7 game only provided Belgium makes it that far and if the game starts at 11am.
BRAZIL: Café Brasil, 11736 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City is colorful, tropical, casual and charming. Food selections are varied and incredibly yummy; this is not a “churrasco” joint of the ilk which are popping up all over. Rather, it has feijoada and carefully-seasoned combo plates; grilled sandwiches; and fruity drinks such as blend of champagne, passionfruit juice and grenadine. A sweet-touch avo-type cooks and takes care of her customers. I fell in love with this place last Cup, and will definitely be back again this time. Arrive at least 90 minutes pre-gametime.
Bella Vista Brazilian Pizza, 10826 Venice Blvd., Culver City is fairly spacious and sunlit, with big soccer mural on the wall. The pizzas and calzones feature some adventurous Brazilian toppings: green peas, catupiry, hardcooked eggs, bland calabrese sausage, squash, beef stroganoff with potato sticks (yes, you read correctly).
COLOMBIA: La Fonda Antioquena, 5125 Melrose Ave., Hollywood
El Meson Criollo, 15713 Van Owen, Van Nuys (@ Haskell)
Both of the foregoing have about 20 smallish tables and full menus. They are soccer mega-fanatics and will be open for the 5am games. I recommend arrival 2 hours before gametime, and reservations if they are taking them. Fonda Antioquena’s fare features mainly stewed beef and chicken dishes; but also beef/chicken empanadas, rich-stocked soups, and thin grilled meats ("lomo") with sides of plain white rice and soupy pinto beans. Meson Criollo’s menu is somewhat different.
COSTA RICA: Costa Rica Restaurant, 2500 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim is a slightly dark (in a nightclubby sort of way) multi-room community epicenter/dancefloor/party hole with nautical/fisherman’s theme. Arrive at least 2 hours before gametime; definitely 3 if on weekend. If you're squeamish or claustrophobic you should try to get seated near an exit, as this place gets fanatically crowded. Last time there was a $5 cash-only cover charge. No big deal, for the only such Costa Rican experience in the Southland. Plenty of free parking in the lot out front. Very reasonable prices on its Spanish language-only menu, and the food is quite tasty. Almost all selections are "gallo pinto"-oriented (rice & small beans cooked together, yummy and not overspiced).
CROATIA: St. Anthony’s Croatian Church at 712 N. Grand Ave. in Chinatown will be screening the June 16 Croatia game indoors as part of its parish festival. They will be serving specialty Croatian munchies too, yum! Call them to see if they will be featuring any further games.
Possibly Alpine Village, 833 W. Torrance Blvd. in Torrance might have some Croats on hand, due to the immigrants’ heavy presence in nearby San Pedro.
DENMARK: Olson’s Scandinavian Café & Deli, 5660 Pico Blvd. is going to be a BLAST! They will be open for the 5am games, and serving brekkie specials plus their regular items of gravlax, herring salad / egg salad sandwiches with Danish havarti cheese, Swedish pancakes, shrimp skagen, of course Swedish meatballs, more. There are several tables; grab one. The flags of Denmark, Iceland and Sweden outside their front door are beautiful. This place is a jewel. Don’t miss it.
EGYPT: Cairo Restaurant & Café, 10832 Katella Ave., Anaheim has both full restaurant and vaping lounge. It is the only known pure Egyptian venue in the Southland.
ENGLAND: Ye Olde Kings Head, 116 Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica a block away from the beach is most established and well-known gathering spot for limey expats in L.A. Arrive 2 hours prior to game if you want a seat/table; 3-4 hours ahead if on a weekend. Otherwise it’s just barstools, or standing. Even standing room will get filled to capacity well prior to gametime. Minimum $20 food/drink purchase probably required per seated table. Their TVs are mediocre and dated. Yet, that doesn’t stop the faithful! Park in nearby City pay-garages, such as the ones on 2nd Street.
Lucky Baldwin’s, 17 S. Raymond Ave., Old Pasadena. Arrive 90 minutes early. Parking in the city garage next door. Xlnt fish & chips. Bigscreens will be set up.
Cat & Fiddle, 742 N. Highland Ave. in Hollywood is rockingly quaint but a bit small at its new location. Get there maybe 2 hours early. Beware of tow-away on Highland; best to park on a sidestreet. Thoughtful kitchen which goes past (albeit includes) the usual Brit slop.
Cock ‘n’ Bull Pub, 2947 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica
Fox & Hounds, 11100 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; requires advance tix for England games
The Robin Hood, 13640 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks would have the least hysterical patrons of the pubs.
FRANCE: Atmosphere Mar Vista, 12034 Venice Blvd. says it will be open for the 7am/8am games.
La Poubelle, 5907 Franklin Ave., Hollywood will draw the L.A. French millennial/Gen X’ers of the entertainment industry. It has just one monitor, which is near the front entrance. It fills up fast so get there at least 2 hours early and try to sit near the TV. You'll have to cruise around to find street parking and if you do on Bronson St., beware the hidden bike cops who ticket for jaywalking.
The lounge of the Freres Taix Restaurant, 321 Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park is always a great place to dine and watch sports. No need for early arrival. They’re not exactly expats there; the Taix family has been in L.A. for over a hundred years. But again, a great experience for any event, and true gem of L.A.
GERMANY: Alpine Village, 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Torrance. Literally hundreds of people show up for Germany games. Big place. Arrive at least 1 hour prior if you want a seat at a table. Plenty of free parking. Many monitors set up; you’ll have no problem seeing. A great venue to dine as well as to see the games; last time they had a very generous warm buffet plate of bratwurst, Polish, hot wings, seasoned fried spuds and mixed vegies, with fresh fruit on the side, for only $9.
The Red Lion Tavern, 2366 Glendale Blvd. will be PACKED, and can involve a 2-3 hour advance wait in line on the sidewalk outside if you want to get in (let alone get a table). On a normal day it’s a great hofbrau/bar/biergarten, but unfortunately difficult and no guarantees during the Cup. Alpine Village is a safer bet to get in.
ICELAND: see Denmark.
IRAN: Cabaret Tehran, 16101 Ventura Blvd., Encino gives you a breakfast with its $25 cover charge for the Iran games. Reservations are needed, as it’s quite a popular vortex of Persian entertainment in L.A. Phone 818 985-5800.
JAPAN: Miyako Hybrid Hotel, 21381 S. Western Ave., Torrance in the past has had a large screening area set up in a ground floor multipurpose room; plus crystal-clear monitors in its adjacent Ise-Shima bar/restaurant a couple doors down the lobby. And since it’s a big hotel, it’s open 24/7 and probably viewable for early morning games. Free parking out front.
KOREA: Biergarten, 206 N. Western Ave. is a bona fide sportsbar with a terrific menu of gastropub fusion delectables such as bratwursts with kimchi on the side. Reservations strongly advised for Team Korea games; probably futile to try to get in at gametime without one.
Mok Maru Jong Sul Jip, also known as the sportsbar inside Piper’s, 222 N. Western Ave., also gets packed and reservations recommended. Lively Korean and American menu features its popular roasted-then-fried whole chicken. Spacious free parking lot. (enter on Beverly or Oxford)
MEXICO: Guelaguetza, 3014 W. Olympic Blvd. is a large, lovely, colorful, partly-skylit hub of tremendous Oaxacan cuisine. Their moles are renowned. You will not be disappointed. Several big TVs and full bar.
MOROCCO: No Moroccan venues are open in the morning during gametimes. Instead try a neutral all-American sportsbar, such as Barney’s Beanery in Burbank or Redondo Beach.
NIGERIA: Totos,15355 Sherman Way, Van Nuys is a real-deal ethno-diner run by nice people.
Also Veronica’s Kitchen, 528 W. Manchester, Inglewood, with wonderful aromas coming out of that kitchen!
PANAMA: No local Panamanian venue. Instead try a neutral all-American sportsbar, such as the 1739 Public House in Los Feliz.
PERU: Con Sabor a Peru, 5163 Venice Blvd., food looks great on its website!
El Rincon de Giovannita, 7605 White Oak, Lake Balboa, staffed by soccer fanatics.
POLAND: Polka, 4112 Verdugo Rd. in Eagle Rock is a diamond-of-a-place place with delightful cuisine and where you are treated like royalty. It’s small and they don’t currently have a TV, but are considering bringing one in for the games (i.e. June 24).
PORTUGAL: Natas, Ventura Blvd., 13317 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks is a tiled work of art (you’ll think you are in a palace in Lisbon), full menu, and chef top-rate. On top of that it has an exquisite bakery in the lobby. But this is a TINY place with only one monitor, just a handful of tables, and miniscule standing room. Arrive at least 2 hours before gametime to get a seat.
RUSSIA: No known local Russian venue will be open in the morning for the games. Traktir Restaurant in WeHo is doing nothing about it and perplexingly losing a rare and tremendous opportunity, as Russia is hosting the Cup. Oh well. Instead try a neutral all-American sportsbar, such as Joxer Daly’s in Culver City.
SAUDI ARABIA: No strictly Saudi venue in L.A. Instead try a neutral all-American sportsbar, such as Tom’s Urban at L.A. Live.
SENEGAL: No strictly Senegalese venue in L.A., but a pan-African restaurant such as Nkechi African Café, 2717 W. Manchester Ave, Inglewood would likely be supportive.
SERBIA: L.A.’s only Serbian venue, The Aroma Café, 2530 Overland Ave., does not have a TV, and say they will not have one for the games. Maybe they could be talked into it. Money talks, right? :p
Otherwise try a neutral all-American sportsbar such as Hollywood Way BBQ in Burbank.
SPAIN: Spain Restaurant, 1866 Glendale Blvd. offers Spanish cuisine (and L.A.’s best sangria); and despite the Argentinian origin of its proprietors, they will be promoting the Spain games. :D
(L.A.’s preeminent Spanish restaurant, La Paella on San Vicente Bl., is taking the World Cup so seriously that they are shutting down during it!!)
SWEDEN: see Denmark for Olson's.
Gravlax, 12400 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City claims it will open early to show the 7am/11am games.
SWITZERLAND: On The Waterfront Café, 205 Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach is owned by the same proprietor of the late great Swiss eatery Chalet Edelweiss near LAX. It has many Swiss and Euro brews and Swiss fare (bundnerteller, cervelar sausage, raclette, rosti, zuri gschnitzlets) plus American in its open-air table, beach-view biergarten.
TUNISIA: Hybrid Tunisian/Moroccan eatery Moun of Tunis in Hollywood unfortunately is not open in the morning when the games are on. Instead try a neutral all-American sportsbar such as The Crest in Torrance.
URUGUAY: No venue in L.A. Instead try a neutral all-American sportsbar such as Bar Melody in Westchester.
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