The 20 Best Restaurants In Los Angeles

Is Los Angeles a food city? It often gets a bad reputation for playing it too safe or following along with the latest food trends. But, if you know where to look, Los Angeles has some of the most brilliant, hard-working restauranteurs in the world. The best part is its diversity. People have different tastes, so throughout this list, you'll find a little bit of everything — from burgers to sushi.

As somebody who has lived in multiple neighborhoods around the city throughout the last 10 years, I've experienced many of the restaurants on this list and they have become places that I swear by — places I take visiting family or friends, a co-worker I want to impress, or my best friend when we want to catch up. So, if you're just coming for a quick visit or if you're a local looking to shake things up, here are the 20 best restaurants to try in Los Angeles. 

1. El Cholo

El Cholo

(323) 734-2773

1121 S. Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006 

El Cholo celebrated its 100th year in business in 2023, which is a major accomplishment for any restaurant. It's an even bigger feat in Los Angeles, where new restaurants seem to come and go faster than you can snag a reservation. El Cholo is one of the most famous Mexican restaurants in the city, but it's also a place you won't have to worry about missing out or making a reservation. 

Located in Koreatown, El Cholo isn't the only restaurant to claim they have the "best Mexican food in Los Angeles." While that's up for debate, no one can argue that at El Cholo, you'll have one of the most memorable dining experiences of any Mexican restaurant in the city. 

You'll find two sets of numbers next to each item on their menu. One is the price, per usual. The other number corresponds with the year that each item was added to the El Cholo menu. You can't go wrong with the fajitas, introduced in 1984. Their classic 1923 Sonora Style Enchilada recipe is a fan-favorite as well. No matter what you're craving, El Cholo's old-school menu is voluminous enough to appease everyone from a Mexican local to an occasional Taco Bell patron. 

2. For The Win

For The Win

323-871-2026

317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Over the past few years, smash burgers have become incredibly popular all over the country. In Los Angeles, few places make these patties as good as For The Win. 

This local chain has four locations around the city, all with few seats and even fewer frills. The energy saved from skimping on the interior design goes straight into making what's possibly the juiciest, cheesiest smash burger to ever exist. But, it's the pickles that add the sweet and tangy punch that puts For The Win over the top of their plentiful competition. While delicious, the burgers aren't huge; you could probably add some bacon and get the fries on the side and not be too full. FTW's modest pile of thinly sliced fries are cooked to golden brown perfection. You won't find one soggy dud in the whole bunch.

If you're visiting the city for the first time, stop by their location in Grand Central Market downtown. This historic mess hall is touristy, but even the locals know to come here just for a double cheeseburger from For The Win. 

3. Electric Owl

Electric Owl

(323) 545-6565

1451 N. Gardner St., Los Angeles, CA 90046

Nestled on the site of what once was a functional railcar station, Electric Owl brings old Hollywood to the future with their progressive happy hour and ever-changing menu. This cozy neighborhood restaurant feels too good to be true on the corners of Sunset Blvd and Gardner — a short walk from Hollywood & Highland. Still, when you walk inside the almost-hidden garden entrance of Electric Owl, you'll find the place bustling with working locals and the occasional B-list Hollywood producer. 

What makes Electric Owl unique is that the menu is almost guaranteed to be different every time you go. Even their signature dishes aren't safe. The dry-rub spicy fried chicken has come in various forms over the past few years, from nuggies to burgers to wings and skewers. Their ranch fries now come with grilled skirt steak and house chimichurri. Their pizzas, once personal-size flatbreads, are now large enough to fill a whole table. Still, flavors remain largely the same: The chicken is tender and lip-tinglingly spicy in any form, the shishito peppers are seasoned and sautéed beautifully, and their tequila tang is always reminiscent of a Y2K-era Sunny D. 

Electric Owl may struggle with its menu identity, but the beautiful interior has largely stayed the same. Inspired by the old-fashioned trams that used to run down Sunset Boulevard, spending happy hour here transports you back to the golden age of Hollywood. 

4. Girl & The Goat

Girl & The Goat

(213) 799-4628

555-3 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

If you're looking for the quintessential brunch experience in Los Angeles, look no further than Girl & The Goat. Originating in Chicago, their newest location in the Arts District of Downtown is as LA as it gets: a little fancy, packed with artists and hipsters, with a menu that is most certainly going to contain a few ingredients that will make you scratch your head, like pikliz in the confit goat curry or sumac yogurt in the tadka crunch chicken. 

Nevertheless, the bright, open-air dining room is always bustling, and for good reason. Girl & The Goat utilizes fresh, local produce and turns them into unexpected dishes inspired by Middle Eastern and Asian flavors. Take the crispy, savory potato crepe — stuffed with juicy Vietnamese sausage and pickled veggies. Their fluffy spiced apple pancakes drip with brown butter. They also boast a large vegan menu that anybody can enjoy, including items like their sautéed green beans with soy-sake vinaigrette.  

5. Sōgo Roll Bar

Sōgo Roll Bar

(323) 741-0088

4634 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Los Angeles does not play around when it comes to sushi or hand rolls. There are all sorts of places to find very popular — and very good — hand rolls throughout the city, but you won't find anything else like Sōgo Roll Bar. 

A small establishment tucked away on the borders of the East Hollywood and Los Feliz neighborhoods, Sōgo Roll Bar feels more intimate than some of its famous predecessors. You most likely won't need to wait in line to get in, and the general vibe doesn't feel like they're trying to get out of the door as quickly as possible. The outdoor patio seating is a nice touch, but the trick is getting a seat inside at the bar where you can watch the magic happen. 

Place your order on the set menu, ranging from 3 – 6, depending on how hungry you are, and watch the sushi chefs behind the counter make and present them one at a time. The first, regardless of how many rolls you order, will be a fresh and crisp snapper paired with small pieces of citrusy yuzu. YOu can then expect anything from albacore kari kari to spicy tuna or crab.

You'll want to eat each of these rolls in a bite or two. It's almost recommended that you do because the nori wrappers won't stay super crisp for long. 

6. Maccheroni Republic

Maccheroni Republic

(213) 346-9725

332 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

A fancy Italian dining experience without the fancy Italian dining price tag. This downtown trattoria was awarded with the Michelin Guide's Bib Gormand in 2019 celebrating the quality of the food and the affordability of the pricing. 

You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu — from their meaty bolognese to the pillowy gnocchi. All of Maccheroni Republic's pasta is made in-house, and if you stop by at the right time of the day you can see them laboriously working away in their detached pantry. 

They also boast some of the best and friendliest service of any restaurant in the city. The owner or manager will more than likely stop by your table to discuss your meal, and the sommelier isn't pretentious about the restaurant's stellar wine list. One downfall of Maccheroni Republic, though, is that they don't take reservations. Either get there early or hope nobody else has a sudden craving for lasagna

7. Dear John's

Dear John's

(310) 881-9288

11208 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

This steakhouse has nothing to do with Taylor Swift or John Mayer. Its roots actually date back to a singer that came long before either of them — Frank Sinatra. 

What used to be the iconic entertainer's stomping grounds in the early '60s has remained largely the same. Walking in you feel transported to a bygone era, filled with red tablecloths, deep lighting, and brick walls. At one time, here you would find Sinatra playing piano as you savored your 16-ounce New York strip steak. Now, unfortunately, the historic landmark is struggling to stay afloat. In the summer of 2023, after a tough uphill battle, Dear John's managed to secure its lease for five more years. In the grand scheme of things, having opened in 1962, that's not a long time. 

Dear John's didn't just make the list because of their rich history and cultural significance. They've also perfected their prime cuts over the years. Their juicy, tender steaks are perfect for a special event or a fancy night on the town. 

8. La Bohème

La Bohème

(323) 848-2360

8400 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

You get the best of both worlds at La Bohème. Sitting outside on their garden patio is a luxe experience, with a roaring fireplace and decor straight out of a Hollywood star's estate sale. Inside, you'll find a massive multi-story entertaining space complete with lounge seating, romantic pink and red lighting, and a baby grand piano. 

Though it can trend on the expensive side for dinner service, La Bohème is one of the best places for happy hour in the West Hollywood area. Their artfully crafted cocktails come at less than $10 per glass, which is exceedingly rare for this neighborhood. Spend a nice evening with a few friends on the patio and order half a dozen oysters and one of everything on the happy hour menu for the optimal La Bohème experience. Their short rib tacos and spicy garlic edamame are fan favorites, but after a few of their spicy margaritas, you'll be happy with whatever they give you. 

9. Sonoritas Prime Taco

Sonoritas Prime Taco

(213) 275-1826

1050 Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

It's all about the guacamole at Sonoritas Prime Taco. Even if you don't live in Los Angeles, you may have heard about this downtown establishment. They're really popular on social media, and they are worth the hype. 

Their mar y tierra — or surf n turf — burrito is their claim to fame. With spicy grilled shrimp, angus beef (or carne asada), and a whole ton of guacamole this burrito is more than enough to split between two people. The California burrito or the BBQ burrito, with sweet short rib, is worth trying as well. They can also turn any of their burritos into bowls if you're looking for the good healthy fats of an avocado but want to hold the carbs in their flour tortillas. 

The dining room is deceptively large, and despite their TikTok virality, Sonoritas is never too busy for walk-ins. It's a great spot for a casual lunch or bite to eat before walking over to the LA Convention Center or the Crypto.com Arena (Formerly the Staples Center) for a game. 

10. Met Her/Him at a Bar

Met Him At A Bar  Met Her At A Bar

(323) 852-3321

801 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Heading down La Brea Ave in mid-Wilshire, you'll see two little restaurants side-by-side on opposite ends of a bustling crosswalk. Though Met Him at a Bar and Met Her at a Bar are owned by the same couple (who did, in fact, meet at a bar) their cuisine couldn't be any more different. 

Met Him at a Bar is a modern twist on some Italian favorites. Their spaghetti pomodoro is hearty with red sauce and tons of basil. For less of a hefty meal try one of their sandwiches, like the classic Italian. Meanwhile across the street, Met Her at a Bar is a brunch-lover's dream. Their Thai chicken and waffles are massive, with crispy chicken topped with spicy Thai chili peppers and sweet maple syrup. During the brief couple of hours between brunch and dinner when both restaurants are open, you can even sit at one and order off of the other's menu. That's amoré.

11. Pine & Crane DTLA

Pine and Crane DTLA

(213) 536-5292

1120 S Grand Ave Suite 101, Los Angeles, CA 90015

This Taiwanese restaurant specializes in small plates best shared among friends. The original Pine & Crane operates in Silver Lake, but the downtown location that opened in 2022 quickly took over as their magnum opus. 

While the pandemic turned the original Pine & Crane mostly into a to-go order window, this new space hosts a large indoor/outdoor dining area with plenty of seats. In traditional dim sum practice, this location is also open for breakfast. 

Their delicate dan dan noodles are delicious, covered in sesame-peanut sauce and a generous portion of cucumbers and crushed peanuts. The saucy mapo tofu has the perfect amount of kick to it and goes splendidly over white rice. The pan-fried pork buns are usually the first item to sell out for the day, and the beef roll is a snack you won't soon forget. 

12. Formosa Cafe

Formosa Cafe

(323) 850-1014

7156 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

Formosa Cafe has been around since the late 1930s. Since then, the iconic red facade and matching interior dining room have appeared in several movies and television shows, including "L.A. Confidential" and "Beverly Hills Cop II". 

Formosa Cafe is best enjoyed in large groups where you can share a little bit of everything. You'll want at least one of their novelty cocktails all to yourself, though. The dimly lit dining room is massive, and portions aren't much smaller. This classic Asian fusion restaurant has everything from orange chicken, to braised pork belly, to New York-style egg rolls. Their kung pao Brussels sprouts are an inventive nod to more modern Asian fusion restaurants you'll find around the area. They're delicious, but what you go to Formosa Cafe for is the old-school favorites. Los Angeles and the rest of the West Coast might not have as great Chinese food as the East Coast, but Formosa Cafe comes pretty darn close.

13. Canter's Deli

Canter's Deli

323-651-2030

417 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Another Hollywood staple, Canter's Deli is a premiere Jewish deli in Los Angeles. There are plenty of delis around the city that compare with the quality and authenticity of Canter's — Langer's Delicatessen, Daughter's Deli, to name a few, but if you only try one it's gotta be Canter's on Fairfax. Their reputation precedes them, as they're also featured in several films and TV shows including "The Disaster Artist" and "Mad Men". They're also on the cover of Haim's album "Women in Music pt III." 

Though it's grown exponentially over the decades, Canter's Deli is still a family-managed business. Go to Canter's for the history, and stay for the heaping bowls of matzo ball soup and sandwiches you could never finish in one serving. They're famous for their grilled pastrami and hot corned beef sandwiches, which are even better when turned into a proper Reuben. No matter what sandwich you go with, they're of course accompanied by a massive dill pickle.  

14. Gritz N Wafflez

Gritz N Wafflez

(213) 568-3382

1243 S Alvarado St B1, Los Angeles, CA 90006

Gritz N Wafflez is a small restaurant owned and operated by promising young chef Jurni Rayne. They used to operate mostly as a ghost kitchen, but their prolonged success recently brought them to a brick-and-mortar location in Pico-Union. 

If you're a southern transplant living in Los Angeles, this is the place to go for a quick fixin'. The grits are some of the best in the city — a thick and creamy consistency that will transport you right to the deep south. Their crispy, juicy fried chicken certainly isn't bad either. If you're feeling more sweet than savory, go for the peach cobbler waffle. All of the waffles here are made with vanilla bean, but the peach makes the perfect combination. 

The southern hospitality runs deep at Gritz N Wafflez. The service is always above and beyond, and you're guaranteed to leave with a full belly and a big smile. 

15. Ixlb DimSum Eats

ixlb DimSum Eats

(323) 848-4766

5900 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

If there's a list of the best restaurants in Los Angeles that excludes ixlb, they're lying to you. Like Pine & Crane, their dim sum is some of the best in the city. Unlike Pine & Crane, prices are incredibly affordable and the menu is twice as long. 

Their steamed pork buns are soft, juicy, and addicting. Their cha siu is tender and flavorful — even their simple white rice, seemingly cooked in pork juice, has a flavor you'll be thinking about for days afterward. This counter-service dumpling shop in East Hollywood makes everything to order. So, while you might be waiting around for a while, the food is certainly worth it.

Portions aren't huge, but for the price point, you can order quite a few different items to make a personalized meal for yourself. Take your large to-go bag and head down the street to Hollywood Forever Cemetery where you can catch a late-night movie and nibble on a few BBQ pork bao.  

16. De La Nonna

De La Nonna

(213) 221-1268

710 E 4th Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90013

A new pizza shop that popped up next to the trendy club The Let's Go — De La Nonna is certainly a little different than other restaurants you'll find in the Arts District. Part table service and part counter service, De La Nonna seems like it's just a tiny bit confusing on purpose. Still, their pizzas are inventive and tasty like the white pizza which includes Japanese sweet potato and fennel. Their wine list is extravagant and features all the trendy bottles as of late like orange wines, skin contact wines, or whatever else the imagination can conjure. 

The Caesar salad in particular is impressive. Like everything else, it comes in a large portion to share with others. For the most part, the pan pizzas are soft in the middle and crispy on the edges. They change out seasonally with fresh, local ingredients like summer squash. They also don't turn their backs on the classics — their pepperoni is delicious with just the perfect amount of spiciness. 

17. Bludso's BBQ

Bludso's BBQ

(323) 931-2583

609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

If you've got a hankering for meat, nothing will satiate that craving like Bludso's. Their BBQ is famous city-wide, and people have been known to travel over an hour for a taste of their brisket. 

This Texas-style BBQ with Californian flare is all about the sauce. They have three options of different sauces for you to choose from, all of different spice levels. Their pulled pork or quarter chicken plates are more than enough to fill up one person, but it's recommended to go with a group and try as many things as you can. 

Don't skimp on the sides, as sometimes those can be the best parts. Their mac n'cheese is creamy and topped with fine bread crumbs. The baked beans are swimming in juices and bacon fat. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu at Bludso's. Just grab some extra napkins and a to-go bag. 

18. Rappahannock Oyster Bar

Rappahannock Oyster Bar

(323) 435-4004

777 South Alameda Street ROW, #154, Los Angeles, CA 90021

Seafood is a little different on the West Coast than on the East Coast, but Rappahannock Oyster Bar meshes them beautifully together in a way that many others before them have tried (and failed). That's because there are five Rappahannock Bars throughout the United States, with the one in Los Angeles as the sole West Coast location.

You have to try the oysters while you're here, which are imported fresh daily from the Chesapeake Bay off the coast of Virginia. Sticking with seafood, the lobster mac and cheese is cheesy, delicate, and delicious. They're generous with the portions of lobster, too. The shrimp and grits are surprisingly sweet and earthy, largely in part due to the addition of Korean gochujung. It's an ingredient that sounds unusual in shrimp and grits, but pairs perfectly with this dish. 

Their outdoor patio seating is perfect for a warm summer day. Order yourself a few fruity drinks and some salty oysters on the side. 

19. Johnny's West Adams

Johnny's West Adams

(323) 840-3048

4327 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018

Johnny's has been around for decades as a window service restaurant with the best pastrami around. But, their recent addition of a massive, cozy bar room is what finally qualifies them for this list. 

This unique hangout spot located in West Adams is well-known amongst the locals. It's popular in the summertime, with a large outdoor seating area that surrounds the original ordering window still used today. In the winter, head inside to their bar where they serve drinks all day and whatever award show might be playing. Though new, the space indoors is rustic — staying in line with the origins of this former hole-in-the-wall. Still, having plenty of seating and a large place to gather with friends makes you feel right at home at Johnny's, which is exactly what you want from a comfort food restaurant like theirs. 

Their menu centers largely around pastrami, like their pastrami fries or their pastrami burnt ends. They do deviate from what they already do well, with alternatives like a hearty green goddess salad. 

20. Brother's Korean BBQ

Brother's Korean BBQ

(213) 387-9292

3680 W 6th St. Los Angeles, CA 90020

Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without Korean BBQ. Los Angeles is home to the largest Korean population in the United States. Though it's subjective, LA also has the best Korean food in the country, too. 

There's no better Korean BBQ restaurant for a first-timer than Brother's BBQ in Koreatown. Walking in feels like a fever dream, with steam pouring from open grills at every table and loud music over the speakers. At the table, you'll find plenty of cups of banchan — little side dishes meant to be consumed with (and before) your meat. The menu consists of different combos and packages that you can split between anywhere from two to eight people.  Once you've decided on your order, you'll cook the meat yourself, with plenty of assistance from the helpful staff. 

Brother's uses quality cuts of meat that are both delicious and fun to make with family or friends. It's a unique dining experience here that you won't want to leave LA without trying. 

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