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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Best donuts in LA: Randy's Donuts, Bob's Doughnuts and The Donut Man, Los Angeles

randys donuts inglewood la los angeles california

"You can't miss the giant donut!" That's what the service station attendant told us - in a heavy Southern drawl - when we'd asked for directions to Randy's Donuts. It was after midnight and our GPS had failed us, but even we had to laugh when the enormous donut loomed out of the darkness as we approached. It was huge!

Even before we'd left for our USA trip, Suze was already calling this a donut tour. We ended up eating at three donut places in Los Angeles, each said to offer the offer the best donuts in LA.

donut menu at randys donuts inglewood la los angeles california
Donut menu

Everyone ends up at Randy's Donuts - because really, who can resist a giant donut? It's also conveniently located right by LAX airport, which is how we ended up making a second visit for better photos during daylight hours. It was also an excuse to eat more donuts. Ha.

glazed donuts long johns donut twists and cinnamon rolls at randys donuts inglewood la los angeles california
Glazed donuts, twists, long johns and cinnamon rolls

Randy's Donuts is perched right on the corner in a large parking lot. There's a fried chicken shop in the same parking lot (empty both times we went past) but there's a constant queue at Randy's, even though the shop trades 24/7.

The donuts are plentiful and cheap, with about 20 different kinds to choose from, starting at 75 cents.

sugar raised donuts and long johns at randys donuts inglewood la los angeles california
Sugar raised donuts and long johns

On our first visit in the dead of night we feasted on long johns filled with cream, buttermilk donuts, glazed donuts and a bear claw filled with a surprise of chunky apple pieces.

chocolate raised donut at randys donuts inglewood la los angeles california
Chocolate raised donut US$0.80 and cinnamon roll US$1.10

On our second visit I had the chocolate raised donut, remarkably light and fluffy with a rich chocolate icing, and a cinnamon roll (what we call a cinnamon scroll) that was soft and sweet with a thin layer of glaze.

drive thru donuts at randys donuts inglewood la los angeles california
Drive thru donuts

And you don't have to get out of your car either - there's even a drive through window for the ultimate in donut laziness.

Bob's Coffee and Doughnuts

bobs coffee and doughnuts at la farmers market los angeles

Bob's Coffee and Doughnuts is another institution, founded in 1947 and churning out donuts ever since. You'll find it at the LA Farmers Market in Mid City West. Although it originally started as a farmers market with farmers selling direct to the public, these days it's more like a food village, with permanent restaurants and food stalls amid butchers, fishmongers, fruit shops and gourmet cheese stores.

cinnamon rolls raised donuts apple fritters and new orleans beignets at bobs coffee and doughnuts at la farmers market los angeles
Cinnamon rolls, raised donuts, apple fritters and New Orleans beignets

In America, coffee and donuts go together like peas and carrots, and there's a neverending line at Bob's Coffee and Doughnuts. People pick up coffee, iced tea and Arnold Palmers (a mix of iced tea and old fashioned lemonade) and a paper bag of donuts too.

raised donuts at bobs coffee and doughnuts at la farmers market los angeles
Raised donuts out of the fryer

If you head down the side of the shop, you can sneak a look at the deep fryer. You can also usually spy the onsite baker rolling and shaping donuts down the back.

bear claws nutella donuts danishes dinosaur donuts cat donuts at bobs coffee and doughnuts at la farmers market los angeles
Bear claws, Nutella donuts, danishes and dinosaur and cat donuts

There's plenty of lurid coloured icing and wacky donut shapes to suit kids of all ages.

cinnamon roll long john powdered sugar cake donut arnold palmer at bobs coffee and doughnuts at la farmers market los angeles
Cinnamon roll US$1.45, cream-filled long john US$1.40
powdered sugar cake donut US$1.10 and an Arnold Palmer US$1.75

I stuck with two of their famed specialties: the powdered sugar cake donut and the cinnamon roll. Suze got the cream-filled long john. An Arnold Palmer helped all the sugar go down.

famous cinnamon roll at bobs coffee and doughnuts at la farmers market los angeles
The famous cinnamon roll

The cake donut was soft but quite dense in texture but we were hypnotically drawn to the cinnamon roll. This photo doesn't really convey its size effectively, but let me assure you it must have been about 20cm across! Pillowy soft, it peeled away like a dream, coiled up with a generous layer of cinnamon sugar and topped with a thin shell of glaze.

The Donut Man

giant donut at the donut man inglewood la los angeles

Can you see Suze's grin? I'd been trailing behind Lex and Suze and watched them turn the corner, suddenly stop, eyes widen and then break out into the biggest grin.

devils food chocolate cake donut at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Devils food chocolate cake dipped in chocolate frosting with sprinkles $US0.90

Could donuts really be that exciting? I chortled to myself, walked towards them, turned around the corner, and did exactly the same.

Because that's what you do when it's 3am and you suddenly come face to face with six shelves laden with over 400 donuts.

raspberry jam and cream donut at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Raspberry jam and cream donut $US1.50

Although you can't tell from the logo, the Donut Man is actually Jim Nakano, a third generation Japanese American who started selling donuts with his wife, Miyoko, in 1972. Customers started calling him the Donut Man and the name has stuck ever since.

chocolate frosted donut at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Chocolate frosted donut with peanuts $US0.95

There's a dizzying array of donuts, all neatly lined up on display. It's hard not to take photos of each and every one of them. Ok, maybe I did.

apple stuffed cinnamon crumb donut at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Apples stuffed in a cinnamon crumb donuts $US1.50

glazed donut with sprinkles at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Glazed donut with sprinkles $US0.90

sugar dusted raised donut at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Sugar dusted raised donuts $US0.90

glazed french crullers at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Glazed French crullers $US0.95

fresh strawberry filled donut at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Fresh strawberry filled donut $US3.25

The most famous specialty here is the fresh strawberry filled donut, only available when strawberries are in season. It's a plain sugar round donut stuffed with a mountain of fresh strawberries and brushed with glaze. You're given a fork to eat it with, but Nakano apparently recommends you eat it with your hands, just like a burger.

There's so much fruit in this baby it's practically good for you, right?

maple bar, chocolate frosted old fashioned donut, chocolate frosted raised bar donut and raspberry jam and cream donut at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
[clockwise from bottom left] Maple bar donut $US1.35, 
chocolate frosted old fashioned donut US$0.95,
maple frosted raised bar $US1.35, tigertail $US1.60; 
and raspberry jam and cream donut US$1.50

Suze is like a kid in a candy store, ok, a donut store.

tiger tail donut at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Tiger Tail donut $US1.60

The tiger tail is the highlight of the night. Yeasted donut dough is twisted with chocolate paste, deep-fried and then coated in a sugar glaze. Ours is fresh from the fryer so it's still warm. It's unbelievably addictive, with its supreme fluffiness contrasted with the crisp glaze and chocolate paste. We scoff down one and Suze immediately orders another.

3am donut crowd at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
3am donut crowd

We love that the Donut Man is open 24/7 and that there are plenty of other night owls in need of a 3am donut fix.

frying donuts at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Frying donuts

Three of the walls to the shop are windowed, giving you a clear view of all the donut-making action. We pressed our noses up against the glass and stared, transfixed, like homeless urchins.

chocolate glazed raised donuts at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Chocolate glazed raised donuts

glazed donuts at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Glazed donuts

frying the tiger tail donuts at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Preparing to fry the tiger tails

Watching the deep fryer was impressive too, with the donuts laid onto a wire tray which is then submerged by pushing down another wire rack on top.

fresh tiger tails at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Tiger tails fresh from the fryer

tiger tail donuts at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Arranging the tiger tails for glazing

The best part was watching the donuts being glazed...

waterfall of glaze at the donut man inglewood la los angeles

Who isn't thinking about standing underneath that icing waterfall right about now?

donut glaze at the donut man inglewood la los angeles
Delicious sweet sugar

Oh delicious donuts of LA, we miss you already.

the donut man inglewood la los angeles

View Larger Map
The Donut Man on Urbanspoon

The Donut Man
915 E Route 66, Glendora, Los Angeles, California, USA
Tel: +1 (626) 335 9111

Open 24 hours 7 days a week


View Larger Map
Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts
Stall 450
LA Farmers Market
6333 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, California, USA
Corner of Third and Fairfax
Tel: +1 (323) 933 8929

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 6am-9pm
Sunday 6am-8pm


View Larger Map
Randy's Donuts on Urbanspoon

Randy's Donuts
805 West Manchester Avenue, Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Tel: +1 (310) 645 4707

Open 24 hours 7 days a week

>> Read the next USA 2013 post: Animal Restaurant, Los Angeles
<< Read the first USA 2013 post: Cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC

Related Grab Your Fork posts: 

USA 2013
Austin - BBQ tour - Franklin, Ruby's, Green Mesquite, Salt Lick & La Barbecue
Austin - Gourdough's bacon donut, Hoover's, Whole Foods and Biscuits + Groovy
Chicago - Deep pan pizza, Al's #1 Italian beef & Cheesecake Factory
Kansas City - BBQ: Gates, Oklahoma Joes & Arthur Bryant's

LA - Animal Restaurant
LA - Boiling Crab
LA - Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery
LA - Donut tour of LA's best: Randy's Donuts, Bob's Doughnuts & The Donut Man
LA - In-N-Out, Roscoe's Fried Chicken & Waffles, Kogi food truck & Pink's Hot Dogs
LA - Mexican: Loteria Grill, Tamales Liliana's & El Flamin Taco
New Orleans - Willy Mae's fried chicken, Felix's Oyster Bar & beignet

NYC - Cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery
NYC - Doughnut Plant, Carlo's Bakery, Baohaus, Lobster Joint & Clinton St Bakery
NYC - Jewish food tour: Katz's Deli, Russ & Daughters, knish and bagels
NYC - Momofuku Noodle Bar fried chicken, Ssam Bar & Milk Bar
NYC - Motorino brussels sprout pizza, Best Pizza and Big Gay Ice Cream
NYC - Shake Shack, Tom Colicchio's Craftbar and Union Square Greenmarket
27 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/14/2013 03:45:00 am


  • At 7/14/2013 6:44 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    Wowwah! I got the donut cravings right now! Thanks Helen :P I've only had the chance to try Bob's. had their New Orleans beignet and choc glazed donut. Gotta try the other places on my next LA visit.

  • At 7/14/2013 7:19 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I'm not sure whether this marks me as a poor excuse for a human being, but I think I like cake donuts best. Cinnamon sugar cake donuts. Though I would definitely give the cinnamon rolls and maple bar donuts a try. (Yep, I've decided not to be an idiot and actually like donuts after all ;) )

  • At 7/14/2013 8:18 am, Anonymous Holiday Baker Man said…

    I give... I give!

  • At 7/14/2013 7:44 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    EAT ALL THE DONUTS!!!!! hahaha i want to stand under the icing sugar waterfall! I WANT MORE DONUTS TOO!!! It wasn't enough Helen! It wasnt enough *weeps*

  • At 7/14/2013 10:29 pm, Blogger MAB vs Food said…

    Whoa so many donuts :9

  • At 7/14/2013 10:42 pm, Blogger Jarhead said…

    These donuts look outrageously good. I've wanted to check out Randy's ever since I saw this video on the 'Tasted' YouTube Channel where the Melt Master makes a grilled cheese donut: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJXwjdDCqzw Pretty insane.

  • At 7/14/2013 11:25 pm, Blogger Vivian - vxdollface said…

    Holy moley over 400 donuts O_O haha not sure if I would grin or stand there shocked at that lol. You guys sure ate a whole lot of donuts between the three of you! But no jelly donuts?

  • At 7/14/2013 11:29 pm, Blogger retrodaze said…

    Now I'm craving a donut! Drooling....

  • At 7/15/2013 9:22 am, Blogger Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said…

    Monday morning donut - fest, all up in my computer! I love that you had to try all the donut places for us. I think my favourite one is that giant strawberry filled creation – and I would totally eat that with my hands!

  • At 7/15/2013 10:01 am, Anonymous thesuzchef said…

    Oh my God, so much wow. I can't believe I didn't eat a single donut when I was in the US!

  • At 7/15/2013 10:52 am, Anonymous JJ - 84thand3rd said…

    Awww crap. Now I have to lose 15 lbs instead of 10 before we head to the states in September because I want ALL OF THESE. Especially Bear Claws, I adore Bear Claws.

  • At 7/15/2013 11:00 am, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    LOOK AT THOSE DONUTS! That's so extreme...and so creative compared to the donuts we get here in Aus!

  • At 7/15/2013 11:53 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    the amount of donuts you guys ate is incredible! *pats on back* keep these posts coming!

  • At 7/15/2013 11:55 am, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    Goddamn! Look at all those donuts, I'm seriously salivating. The 3am donut crowd is seriously insane.

  • At 7/15/2013 3:18 pm, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    so. many. donuts. Good thing you tried them all, now you need to find a place in sydney that does something remotely similar. not sure if we would have the 3am crowds though... lol

  • At 7/15/2013 9:45 pm, Anonymous Simon @ the heart of food said…

    To get donuts from the Donut Man at 3am in the morning with that kind of range, freshness and quality would be truly awe-inspiring for anyone. Not surprised you had big grins on your faces :)

  • At 7/15/2013 9:51 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    There was once a stage in my life in which I kept thinking how lucky I was to have Krispy Kremes in Australia. Little did I know...

  • At 7/15/2013 9:54 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Oh my god, too amazing! I love donuts, and I totally love this post! You guys are so hardcore! *bows down*

  • At 7/15/2013 10:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh wow! I am in love with this post! The donuts and that iced tea from Bob's coffee and donuts looks soo good. I'm now craving donuts. I can't to go to bob's coffee and donuts when i travel to america.

  • At 7/15/2013 11:29 pm, Anonymous Flick Your Food said…

    3 am donuts oh my! Im now craving donuts!

  • At 7/16/2013 2:41 pm, Anonymous Ally @Edibles&Travels said…

    SO MANY DONUTS! Donut tour sounds so much better than a USA trip ;)

  • At 7/17/2013 2:01 am, Blogger CQUEK said…

    Wow, these look and sound delicious! I love your photos too, I almost feel like reaching a hand in the screen and grab the delicious donuts.

  • At 7/17/2013 12:11 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Oh I am in total AWE!!
    I have never seen so many different varieties of donuts and I want to eat them all!!!!

    It may even warrant a specific donut trip to LA ;)

    SO jealous right now :)

  • At 7/18/2013 9:08 am, Blogger missklicious said…

    Wow, talk about spoilt for choice! Have never seen so many versions of donuts in my life!

  • At 7/18/2013 9:14 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    wow that's a lotta donuts! There's so many varieties I wouldn't know what to choose...

  • At 7/18/2013 10:55 am, Blogger Love Swah said…

    I've been bookmarking Suze and your USA blog posts as I'm off in a few months! And I love donuts! I fully hold both of you responsible for any weight gain ;D

  • At 8/13/2013 11:37 pm, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    Good lord the Yanks do do doughnuts well. Now, if it is filled with seasonal strawberries, it has to be good for you... right?


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