DMV Survival Guide: Culver City Edition

Where to find sustenance before you take a number

The DMV is never fun, we know that. But why not schedule a nice day for yourself around it? In this DMV Neighborhood Survival Guide series, we’ll show you how and where to treat yourself, before or after your visit to that special section of Hades called the Department of Motor Vehicles. This week, we’ll explore Culver City. All of these spots are within walking distance or a short drive from the DMV office.

DMV Field Office 11400 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, 90066
Neighborhood: Culver City

Tanner’s Coffee Co || 4342 Sepulveda Blvd at Lindblade
Tanner’s Coffee Co is cozy and welcoming, with comfortable seating for working or lounging, free Wi-Fi, and books and board games to occupy those who want a respite from their computers. They take pride in the quality of their coffee and pastries, so it’s hard to go wrong with what you order here. We have a special weakness for their key lime tart. Maybe a little decadent for breakfast, but if you’re about to go spend a few hours at the DMV, you may as well reward yourself first.

Tito’s Tacos || 11222 Washington Pl at Sepulveda
Tito’s Tacos is an L.A. mainstay. Opened in 1959, their specialty is hard shell shredded beef tacos with a side of childhood nostalgia. Topped with shredded cheese and iceberg lettuce, they’re just how mom used to make ‘em! Only significantly oozier and more fried. We also love their floppy shredded beef burritos in thick, homemade tortillas. Tito’s is always packed, but as they have several windows for ordering both inside and out, the wait isn’t too long. But it is totally worth it.

Empanada’s Place || 3811 Sawtelle Blvd at Venice
Family owned and operated since 1985, this little empanadas café is a palace of flavor. We love the Arabe, an empanada stuffed with lemon herb ground beef, but the Criolla, a traditional Argentinian empanada with ground beef, raisins, green onions, egg, & assorted spices, is incredible too. And don’t skip their caramel flan. It’s a creamy slice of heaven.

Ramen Yamadaya || 11172 Washington Blvd at Commonwealth
Ramen Yamadaya’s Tokyo-style tonkotsu shoyu ramen is the stuff of food dreams. We mean it: have it once, you’ll dream about it for days after, and you’ll find yourself stopping in every time you’re in Culver City, whether you have an appointment at the DMV or not. Tonkotsu broth is made by simmering pork bone marrow and fat together for hours. Then it’s cut with soy sauce and flavored with black sesame paste. Celebrate renewing your license with an early dinner. (You’ll be so full afterward, you’ll need to dedicate several hours afterward solely to digestion.)

Happy Hour
The Cinema Bar || 3967 Sepulveda Boulevard near Washington Pl.
The Cinema Bar is the oldest bar in Culver City, and it feels like it. Small, rustic, and wood-paneled, it features live music nightly without a cover charge. The miniature size of the Cinema Bar is offset by a back patio, in case you start feeling claustrophic inside. Their tiny, old school bar makes excellent classic cocktails. Go for a Manhattan or a Martini—you deserve it!