Los Angeles Restaurants

Los Angeles may be known for its beach living and celebrity-infused backdrop, but it was once a farm town. The hillsides were covered in citrus orchards and dairy farms, and agriculture was a major industry. Today, even as L.A. is urbanized, the city's culinary landscape has re-embraced a local, sustainable, and seasonal philosophy at many levels—from fine dining to street snacks.

With a growing interest in farm-to-fork, the city's farmers' market scene has exploded, becoming popular at big-name restaurants and small eateries alike. In Hollywood and Santa Monica you can often find high-profile chefs scouring farm stands for fresh produce.

Yet the status of the celebrity chef continues to carry weight around this town. People follow the culinary zeitgeist with the same fervor as celebrity gossip. You can queue up with the hungry hordes at Mozza or try and snag a reservation to the ever-popular Trois Mec that’s much like getting a golden ticket these days. Elsewhere, the seasonally driven bakery and insanely popular Huckleberry in Santa Monica has been given a Brentwood counterpart with the rustically sweet Milo & Olive created by the same owners. In Culver City, a run-down International House of Pancakes has been turned into the ski chalet–inspired A-Frame Tavern. The Ace Hotel opened an L.A. chapter Downtown, creating a hip haven when you can enjoy cocktails and locally sourced menu items poolside or in the restaurant.

Ethnic eats continue to be a backbone to the L.A. dining scene. People head to the San Gabriel Valley for dim sum, ramen, and unassuming taco lounges; Koreatown for epic Korean cooking and late-night coffeehouses; and West L.A. and "the Valley" for phenomenal sushi. Latin food is well represented in the city, making it tough to choose between Guatemalan eateries, Peruvian restaurants, nouveau Mexican bistros, and Tijuana-style taco trucks. With so many dining options, sometimes the best strategy is simply to drive and explore.

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  • 1. Angelini Osteria

    $$$ | Beverly–La Brea

    With a buzzy indoor dining room and ample outdoor seating, this is one of L.A.'s most celebrated Italian restaurants. The keys are chef-owner Gino Angelini's consistently impressive dishes, like whole branzino, tagliolini al limone, veal chop alla Milanese, as well as lasagna oozing with besciamella (Italian béchamel sauce). An intelligent selection of mostly Italian wines complements the menu.

    7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90036, USA

    Known For

    • Large Italian wine selection
    • Bold flavors
    • Savory pastas

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Reservations essential
  • 2. Bacetti


    Though it’s a relative newcomer to the dining scene, Bacetti instantly established itself as one of L.A.’s best Italian restaurants, serving Roman-inspired dishes with a California twist in a stylish, sprawling, wood-framed dining room and patio. This farm-driven, Roman trattoria--inspired spot, tucked in Echo Park’s intimate commercial strip in the midst of a quiet residential neighborhood, is worth a trip, if only for the Focaccia Ebraica, which has gained a little cult following. Salads here are a revelation, as are the antipasti, pastas, and desserts. 

    1509 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, California, 90026, USA

    Known For

    • Focaccia Ebraica
    • Stylish setting
    • Italian wines
  • 3. Baltaire Restaurant

    $$$$ | Brentwood

    The chicest and buzziest nighttime spot in the neighborhood, Baltaire attracts both well-heeled Brentwood denizens on dressed-up dates and single sippers looking for late-night rendezvous. The meat-heavy menu features giant slabs of porterhouse steaks as well as special A5 Wagyu straight from Japan. Rounding out the treats is a full raw bar, caviar selection, and a one-of-a-kind cocktail program. There's lunch on weekdays only, and live music on Thursdays and Fridays.

    11647 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90049, USA

    Known For

    • Sizzling steaks
    • Buzzing bar scene
    • Classic cocktails

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch weekends
  • 4. Bavel

    $$$$ | Downtown

    Fans of Bestia have been lining up for stellar Mediterranean cuisine at this Arts District hot spot, which is owned by the same restaurateurs. Rose-gold stools give way to marble tabletops as the open kitchen bangs out hummus and baba ghanoush spreads, along with flatbreads and lamb-neck shawarma. The vibe is lively, the staff is chill, the patio is a scene, and the food is out of this world. Reserve early, as this place gets filled fast.

    500 Mateo St., Los Angeles, California, 90013, USA

    Known For

    • Delicious Mediterranean cuisine
    • Reservations recommended
    • Great vibes
  • 5. Bay Cities Italian Deli

    $ | Santa Monica

    Part deli, part market, Bay Cities has been home to incredible Italian subs since 1925. This renowned counter-service spot is always crowded (best to order ahead), but monster subs run the gamut from the mighty meatball to the signature Godmother, made with prosciutto, ham, capicola, mortadella, Genoa salami, and provolone. At the market you can buy rare imported pastas, cheeses, wine, and sliced meats for a sunset beach picnic.

    1517 Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90401, USA

    Known For

    • Market with rare imports
    • Old-school, deli-style service
    • Huge sandwiches

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Cole's French Dip

    $ | Downtown

    There’s a fight in Los Angeles over who created the French dip sandwich. The first contender is Cole’s, whose sign on the door says it's the originator of the salty, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth meats. The restaurant opened in 1908 and today is still going strong with dark lighting, delicious sandwiches, and a secret speakeasy called the Varnish hidden in the back. The men’s room nods to the famous clientele of the past with plaques over the urinals notifying bathroom goers that Charles Bukowski and Mickey Cohen both "pissed here.”

    118 E. 6th St., Los Angeles, California, 90014, USA

    Known For

    • Historic L.A. dining
    • One of the top contenders for best French dip sandwich in the country
    • Secret speakeasy in back
  • 7. Crossroads

    $$ | West Hollywood

    From its famous Impossible Burger (you can’t believe it’s not meat) to its Sicilian pepperoni pizza (again, not meat), Crossroads's level of plant-based inventiveness knows no bounds. The space itself is dimly lit, with red-leather booths and a full bar illuminating its A-list clientele.

    8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, California, 90046, USA

    Known For

    • High-end plant-based cuisine
    • Great bar menu
    • Popular celebrity hangout
  • 8. Donut Friend


    When this music-influenced doughnut shop first opened on York Boulevard in the early days of Highland Park’s renaissance, there wasn’t much there, and its arrival helped shape the now-bustling strip and its vegan inclinations. Donut Friend has evolved into a destination in its own right, touting both a signature and limited menu of purely vegan doughnuts—which also happen to be inspired by the pop punk and emo music scene.

    5107 York Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90042, USA

    Known For

    • Fun flavors like Green Teagan and Sara (with matcha tea glaze)
    • All-vegan ingredients
    • Ice cream and shakes
  • 9. El Coyote Mexican Food

    $ | Beverly–La Brea

    Open since 1931, this landmark spot is perfect for those on a budget or anyone after an authentic Mexican meal. The traditional fare is decadent and delicious while the margaritas are sweetened to perfection. Inside you'll find busy, colorful decor, and string lights throughout. Servers wear traditional fiesta dresses. Look for the large neon sign on Fairfax.

    7312 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90036, USA

    Known For

    • Affordable, quality cuisine
    • Festive atmosphere
    • Being an L.A. staple

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 10. For The Win

    $ | Hollywood

    Are you even in L.A. if you haven't had a smashburger yet? Usurping all other burgers and burger joints, For the Win has become a power player on the burger scene in L.A., growing from this unassuming location in a strip mall in Hollywood to a collection of storefronts throughout the region. Seasoned beef patties are stuffed with onions and cheese, thrown on the hot plate then served on a perfect bun, customized with bacon, stacked to be a double or a triple (and why not), and then drizzled in homemade sauce. Simple recipe for success here: no-fuss focus on quality ingredients, flavor, and delivery. The fried chicken sandwich is also a winner.

    6221 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, California, 90028, USA

    Known For

    • Smashburger
    • House-made sauce
    • Recognized as one of the best burgers in L.A.
  • 11. Gjelina

    $$ | Venice

    Walk through the rustic wooden door and into a softly lit dining room with long communal tables and a lively crowd; come later in the night and the place heats up with an enthusiastic post-pub crowd lured by the seasonal menu and outstanding small plates, charcuterie, pastas, and pizza. Begin with a pizza made with house-made chorizo, grilled pear with burrata and prosciutto, or Snow Island oysters. For the main course, options include saffron spaghetti and pork belly with Oaxacan grits. Typically boisterous, the patio is a great hang-out spot and a gem for a Sunday brunch. 

    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90291, USA

    Known For

    • Lively crowd on the patio
    • Late-night menu
    • Michelin-recommended restaurant

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Reservations essential
  • 12. Grand Central Market

    $ | Downtown | Eclectic

    In continuous operation since 1917, Grand Central Market has always been a hub for ethnic eats from Jewish delis and Asian fishmongers to Italian butchers and Latino farmers. While the vendors have changed over time, the market continues to feature an ever-evolving array of all-day dining choices, like Wexler’s Deli for the best lox in L.A., or Madcapra for inventive falafel. For those willing to wait in a Disney-esque line, Eggslut is your breakfast go-to. And for lunch on a chilly day, don’t pass up the slurp-worthy vegan hot spot Ramen Hood by Top Chef winner Ilan Hall.

    317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, California, 90013, USA

    Known For

    • Breakfast at Eggslut
    • Fast casual dining
    • Popular lunch destination
  • 13. Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura


    Legendary Italian chef Massimo Bottura opened this spot, his first L.A. eatery, to loads of fanfare and celebrity sightings. The restaurant mirrors the Florence, Italy, location of the same name with a menu filled with favorites like a mouthwatering tortellini with Parmigiano Reggiano crema. The locale sits atop the roof of the Gucci retail outlet on Rodeo Drive with prime positioning for watching the high-end shoppers and glitzy denizens of the neighborhood.

    347 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, California, 90210, USA

    Known For

    • Excellent pastas
    • Great people-watching
    • Avant-garde design
  • 14. Guisados


    Family-owned Guisados has achieved cult status in L.A. with locations throughout the city (DTLA, Boyle Heights, WeHo) to accommodate its popularity. This Echo Park spot is worshipped and well supported locally for Nana’s slow-cooked stew recipes, cooked to perfection for five to six hours and slapped on house-grilled tortillas. Since this is L.A., there are vegan and vegetarian options as well, but the bestsellers include the steak picado, chicken tinga, and chorizo quesadilla. All tacos are delicious, so you may want to get a sampler to try a variety. Chase your picks with made-daily agua frescas like the summer-perfect Armando Palmero. 

    1261 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90026, USA

    Known For

    • Cult favorite
    • Breakfast tacos
    • Tacos with slow-cooked meats
  • 15. Gwen

    $$$$ | Hollywood

    Heaven for carnivores, this upscale European-style butcher shop and fine-dining restaurant serves wood-fire-cooked meats in a copper-and-marble art deco setting. From Australian celeb-chef Curtis Stone and his brother, Luke, and named for their grandmother, Gwen's butcher shop serves up quality cuts of humanely raised meats to locals during the day, while the elegant dining space within view of the glass-enclosed dry-age rooms, charcuterie curing, and roaring firepit elevates the smoking, searing, and roasting of those quality meats to an art form by night. The focus is obviously meat here but the seasonal sides, cocktails, desserts, and Australian coffees are superior, too.

    6600 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90028, USA

    Known For

    • House-made charcuterie
    • Wood-fire grilled steaks
    • Strong cocktails and good wine list
  • 16. Here's Looking At You

    $$ | Koreatown

    Hawaiian and Asian-inspired dishes can be found on this menu featuring veggie, meat, poultry, and seafood. The environment is eclectic, as is the food, with signature dishes like frogs' legs with salsa negra and blue crab tostadas with yuzu kosho. There’s also an exceptional cocktail program; if you’re lucky enough to sit at the bar, order a slice of pie.

    3901 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, California, 90020, USA

    Known For

    • Friendly atmosphere
    • Exceptional cocktails
    • Inventive dishes

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Tues. and Wed.
  • 17. Howlin' Ray's

    $ | Downtown

    Don’t let the hour-long waits deter you—if you want the best Nashville fried chicken in L.A., Howlin’ Ray's is worth the effort. Right in the middle of Chinatown, this tiny chicken joint consists of a few bar seats, a few side tables, and a kitchen that sizzles as staff yell out “yes, chef” with each incoming order. Opt for the sandwich with varying spice levels, but don’t skimp on sides, with collard greens and fries to help cool the fire in your mouth.

    727 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA

    Known For

    • Spicy fried chicken
    • Classic Southern sides
    • Long waits

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 18. Joan's on Third

    $ | West Hollywood

    Part restaurant, part bakery, part market, Joan’s on Third has a little bit of everything. This roadside French-style café caters to families, the occasional local celebrity, and lovers of all things wholesome. Inside, clean white walls give way to a daily fresh deli/salad counter, imported cheeses, crispy baguettes, and fresh pastries. People-watch on the outdoor patio while eating egg-white omelets and tuna melts. It's crowded on weekends; the key is to arrive around 9 am to secure your spot outside.

    8350 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, California, 90048, USA

    Known For

    • Crispy baguettes and fresh pastries
    • Deli sandwiches and imported cheeses
    • Long lines (get there before 9 am)
  • 19. Knowrealitypie


    The award-winning Knowrealitypie, hidden in a shop the size of a large walk-in closet, is truly a passion project, with co-owner Tracy Ann DeVore furiously paddling beneath the water's surface to make those homemade pies on her own. That's why it's only open from Thursday through Saturday until it sells out, which it often does. Partaking in a rotating menu of seasonal savories and sweet pies, turnovers, and other pastries is practically a Northeast L.A. initiation, however, so it's an important stop when visiting the neighborhood. Tracy also holds pie-making classes every month--a terrific opportunity for travelers to participate in something local.

    5106 Townsend Ave., Los Angeles, California, 90041, USA

    Known For

    • Triple berry Cabernet pie
    • Salted caramel mango rum pie
    • Vegan and gluten-free options on request

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.–Thurs.
  • 20. Kobawoo House

    $$$ | Koreatown

    Nestled into a dingy strip mall, this Korean powerhouse is given away by the lines of locals waiting outside. Once inside, scents of grilled meats and kimchi immediately fill your nostrils, and soon enough, your table will be littered with sides, kalbi beef, dolsot bibimbap, wang bosam (cabbage wraps with boiled pork), and tall bottles of Hite beer. A buzzer at the table allows you to alert the waiter for when you’re done, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the bill.

    698 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, California, 90005, USA

    Known For

    • Perfect kalbi beef
    • Long lines
    • Cheap eats

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

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