frozen yogurt is to los angeles like a cheesesteak is to philladelphia. it is a part of our culture. in other cities, people look confused when i ask them if there are any good yogurt shops, often directing me to a baskin robbins or ben and jerry's. luckily for us, we have a plethora of frozen yogurt options all over the city!
though the trend has died down, pinkberry (several locations) and red mango (several locations) seem to be the most popular tart yogurt chains. i prefer red mango, as the yogurt is much creamier, toppings are fresher, and the yogurt in general just tastes less chemically.
the big chill has (10850 w. olympic blvd) been a westside staple for many years, and there is a reason why there is always a line out the door: it is the best fro yo joint in the city! the yogurt is amazing (and for you tart freaks, their chillberry is to die for), there is an abundance of toppings to choose from (oatmeal cookie dough...yum), and the prices are low. be sure to ask for your topping "on the side". trust me. instead of scantilly sprinkling your topping on top, they will fill up a rather large cup for the same price. just be patient, and wait in the line. it goes fast and so worth the wait.
across the street (3280 westwood) and at other various locations around the city including marina del rey (4718 lincoln) and torrance (20016 hawthorne) is penguins frozen yogurt. the chain has been around since i was a kid, and it is the subway of frozen yogurt. it is good, but there is nothing exotic about it. the last time i was at the marina location, i noticed the prices were significantly higher: a medium with one topping was almost 5 bucks! regardless, if you are having a craving, it will do the trick.
across town and over the hill there is another a plus alternative to this big chill: studio yogurt (12050 ventura blvd). it is pretty much exactly like the big chill, but in the valley.
if you live in weho, you might want to swing by toppers (7158 beverly blvd). the yogurt is good, but the service sucks.
lately, a bunch of self serve yogurt places have popped up around the city. you pick up a cup, dispense your own yogurt, and sprinkle the toppings on yourself. at the end, they weigh your yogurt, and it actually comes out to be about the same price as any other yogurt place. do not walk into one of these places if you cannot exercise will power. i always walk out of these places feeling ill, because who really needs to eat cookie dough and brownie on top of their yogurt? in west la try twist (12105 santa monica blvd), in studio city menchie's (4849 laurel canyon blvd), and also the yogurt tree (11048 ventura blvd). another great option is yogotango (1300 n highland) in hollywood, where they serve you "tart" yogurt and you sprinkle the toppings.
thanks to my bff jess bilson who helped me with this and introduced me to the fro yo cult!