There are fewer things more refreshing than a mix of tea, fruit, ice, and small, chewy tapioca balls we call boba. Of course Los Angeles is a haven for boba lovers, with every kind of shop under the sun. While you’ll have plenty of places out in the Valley, we’ve focused in on places within Los Angeles to narrow this list (that, and the Valley deserves its own list of spots.) This is by definition not a full list of every great boba spot out there, of course, and is not in order of ranking.
Oh, and for these suggestions, don’t forget to adjust sweetness to your preference—nothing’s worse than a boba that’s too sweet for you.
701 S Vermont Ave, 3450 W 6th Street and other various locations
Sure, it’s a chain, but it’s a dang good chain at that (and means you don’t have to drive impossibly far to find one.) But the stores in Koreatown have the highest reviews for sure, at least as far as consistency goes. Your drink will be blended with real pieces of fruit, and the pistachio frappe even has ground up little pieces of pistachio in it—no fake syrups here. The cookies and cream shake is also all the rage if you don’t want to get too traditional with it.
Must try: Cookies and Cream. Trust.
131 Central Avenue
Their signature is their brown sugar milk tea (go figure), but they also serve fluffy teas (which are basically tea lattes) and sea salt tea. They lean more toward the traditional side and offer mostly classic tea and coffees, but we’re not complaining because of all the lovely twists they offer on classics.
Must try: Brown Sugar Milk Tea, Sea Salt Thai Tea and their grass jelly.
11573 Santa Monica Blvd and other various locations
This chain has plenty of great spots in the Valley, but most recently opened in Santa Monica to wide acclaim. Their awesome, unique honey boba is what gets people coming back—a taste that one Yelp reviewer described as “sweet and slightly chewy.” They’ve also got ice crystals, infused teas, and yogurt lush in every flavor under the sun.
Must try: House Milk Tea with Honey Boba.
7158 Beverly Blvd
Now, this place serves far more than boba, but that just means you can have an insanely amazing waffle with your cup. They are an espresso bar, so we highly recommend the coffee or tea options, but their fruit flavors are quite good as well.
Must try: Earl Grey Milk Tea or Coffee Boba.
Little Tokyo and various locations, go here to see where they’ll be next
If you like your boba fancy, try this truck that parks downtown. Not only does your drink come in a swanky glass bottle, but they have a self-serve topping bar right on the side of the truck where you can add slices of lemons, limes, cucumbers, and other fruit, chia seeds and basil seeds or even extra boba. They have a menu of delicious mix ideas to choose from, or you can get creative and make the boba of your heart’s desire.
Must try: Equality—equal parts housemade mango and strawberry syrup and green tea, pairs with brown sugar chia seeds. (And of course boba!)
318 S La Brea Ave
This adorable little spot will quench your boba craving, no matter what it is. As one Yelp reviewer noted, “They have so many flavors, it can be a little overwhelming for indecisive people.” But they also call their medium size drink a “hug” and their large a “kiss,” which is totally cute and makes us want to keep coming back for the positivity.
Must try: One of the snows—particularly lychee, mango or passion fruit.
518 W 7th St
Not only does this fancy-pants boba place serve in-house boba in a beautiful glass, but they have—wait for it—alcoholic boba. We’ll let that sink in for a moment. In addition to specialty cocktail-style bobas, they’ve also got a build your own option and a pretty hilarious menu.
Must try: We’ll go with the Applejito—A mint and lemon muddled, green apple mojito boba with green apple jelly. So fresh. As they say on the menu, watch out for leaves in the straw!
701 S Western Ave
The best place to get boba if you’re feeling snack-y as well—they’ve got quick a few options for munchies that include delicious stuffed pretzels. “Pots” of boba are the smallest drink you can get, and even though they’re short, they do contain a good amount.
Must try: Mango slush with boba or iced thai milk tea.
521 S Olive St
They’ve got really on-point fruit and yogurt options mixed with tea in especially refreshing combinations, like grapefruit, lemon and orange mixed with green, black and jasmine teas. This is your hot day go-to.
Must try: Grapefruit green tea with boba.
3512 W 8th St
If you’re in the mood for a smoothie-style boba, this is your place. They’ve got classic bobas and slush ones for sure, but their fruit and ice cream selection is where it’s at.
Must try: Straw-peach or just peach boba smoothie.
Where is your go-to boba spot within LA? Let us know in the comments below! (Oh, and if you’re ever in San Francisco, here’s the top 10 spots to get boba there.)
[Featured Image: Dumpling F. via Yelp]