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. Cole's French Dip

    $ | Downtown | American

    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...Read More

  • 2. Donut Friend

    $ | Highland Park | Bakery

    When this music-influenced doughnut shop first opened on York Boulevard in the early days of Highland Park’s renaissance, there wasn’t much...Read More

  • 3. El Coyote Mexican Food

    $$ | Fairfax | Mexican

    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...Read More

  • 4. Knowrealitypie

    $ | Highland Park | Bakery

    The award-winning Knowrealitypie, hidden in a shop the size of a large walk-in closet, serves homemade pies every Friday through Saturday and...Read More

  • 5. Philippe the Original

    $ | Downtown | American

    First opened in 1908, Philippe's is one of L.A.'s oldest restaurants and claims to be the originator of the French dip sandwich. While the debate...Read More

  • 6. Pink's Hot Dogs

    $ | Hollywood | Hot Dog

    Since 1939, Angelenos and tourists alike have been lining up at this roadside hot dog stand. But Pink’s is more than just an institution, it...Read More

  • 7. The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada

    $ | Los Feliz | Mexican

    In mirroring the taco stands of Ensenada, Mexico—simple, cheap, and unceremonious, with a selection of spicy homemade salsas—this little local...Read More

  • 8. Chili John's

    $ | Burbank | Diner

    Hearty home-cooking may not be a big part of L.A.'s dining scene, but that doesn't mean you can't have it when you're visiting the city. Tucked...Read More

  • 9. Division 3

    $ | Atwater Village | Café

    Who would have thought that a take-out window concept that serves breakfast sandwiches would ever take off? The folks behind Division 3 and...Read More

  • 10. El Huarache Azteca

    $ | Highland Park | Mexican

    While you definitely should try the flat shoe-shaped dish El Huarache Azteca is named after—think somewhere between a flatbread and a tostada...Read More

  • 11. Link N Hops

    $ | Atwater Village | Hot Dog

    Almost just your typical sports bar, there are a couple of things that elevate Link N Hops above its competitors, like excellent hot dog sandwiches...Read More

  • 12. Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant and Market

    $$ | Mid-Wilshire | Ethiopian

    For a wholly authentic Ethiopian experience, you can’t really go wrong with Merkato. Not only does it serve the classics like spongy injera...Read More

  • 13. Porto's Bakery

    $ | Burbank | Cuban

    Waiting in line at Porto's is as much a part of the experience as is indulging in one of its roasted pork sandwiches or chocolate-dipped croissants...Read More

  • 14. Salt's Cure

    $$ | Hollywood | American

    Not only a part of the California gastronomy scene, Salt's Cure celebrates it by keeping all its ingredients locally sourced and homegrown....Read More

  • 15. Sepan Chicken

    $ | Atwater Village | Middle Eastern

    Despite appearances (it looks like a fast-food chicken shack), Sepan Chicken serves one of the best rotisserie chickens in town, or at least...Read More

  • 16. Sky’s Gourmet Tacos

    $ | Mid-Wilshire | Mexican

    If you’re searching for some of the spiciest and most succulent tacos in L.A., look no further than Sky’s. This quaint taco joint offers up...Read More

  • 17. Summer Buffalo

    $ | Burbank | Thai

    While there are plenty of great Thai restaurants in Los Angeles, if you're looking for something a little different, Summer Buffalo isn't just...Read More

  • 18. Tacos Villa Corona

    $ | Atwater Village | Mexican

    You likely won't notice this cramped little spot on Glendale Boulevard unless there's a line or you're a fan of the late, great Anthony Bourdain...Read More

  • 19. TeaPop

    $ | North Hollywood | Café

    At first glance, TeaPop may seem to be doing too many things at once, but this tea-centric café, with its art gallery–slash–industrial modern...Read More

  • 20. Wanderlust Creamery

    $ | Atwater Village | American

    This ice-cream shop showcases the flavors of the globe in artisanal frozen delights. Every single ice cream is light, creamy, and made with...Read More

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