While Budweiser is an obvious Superbowl beverage staple, that doesn’t mean you can shake things up for the non-beer drinkers out there. This weekend draw up a new game plan with the recipes we’ve rounded up below. We guarantee they’re delicious from beginning to end zone!
1.5 oz Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin
2 oz tomato juice
.75 oz lemon juice
1 oz chilli sauce
.5 oz worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a large glass. Add ice and stir to chill. Garnish with a celery stalk, lemon wedge, salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Instructions: Muddle the cardamom pods in the bottom of a pre-heated Irish coffee glass. Add whiskey, Demerara syrup, hot coffee, and salt and stir together. Combine the heavy cream, sugar, orange zest, and bitters and whip together until the mixture is thick, but still pourable. Float cream over the top of the drink by pouring gently over the back of a spoon. Add an additional garnish, if you like, of a lightly toasted marshmallow.
Created by Joaquín Simó at Pouring Ribbons
Bright Lights Big City
.075 oz Old Overheat
.075 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy
0.5 oz Gifford Rhubarbe
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.25 oz falemum
4 dashes of mango bitters
1 mint sprig (garnish)
Instructions: Shake ingredients and serve in collins glass with pebble ice. Top with tonic and mango bitters. Garnish with mint sprig.
Created by Kenneth McCoy, available at The Rum House.
The Wild Card
3 drops vanilla bean extract
Bar spoon of Maille Mustard
2 oz. El Peloton mezcal
.5 oz lemon juice
.75 oz agave nectar
.75 oz egg white
Peychaud’s Bitters swirl (for garnish)
Instructions: Put ingredients into shaker in this order: vanilla bean extract, bar spoon of mustard, lemon juice, agave, mezcal. Dry shake. Open up shaker and add ice. Double strain into a martini glass. Add a couple dashes of peychaud bitters and place star anise on top.
Instructions: Pour gin, elderflower liqueur and cucumber bitters into a long drink glass filled with ice and stir. Fill up with tonic water and stir again. Garnish with lemon wheel, cucumber slice, and mint sprig.
For football season, Liquor.com chose a bartender from each NFL team’s hometown to provide the perfect cocktail to represent their team.
“The D line and the linebackers are the strongest group in the Ram’s current lineup,” says John Coltharp, the head bartender at Los Angeles’ Seven Grand. “This stiff cocktail is a tribute to those seven players; it also features the earthy flavors the Rams want the opposing running back to experience when they shove his face into the ground.”
1 oz Slow Hand white whiskey
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Campari
1 dash Orange bitters
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Garnish: Lemon peel
Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until cold. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Express the oil from a lemon peel over top of the drink and garnish with the peel on the ice, skin up.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
For the New England Patriots, “this cocktail is a little taste of humble pie, with the strength and resolve of some local navy-strength rum providing structure, a little taste of the unexpected from the Amaro di Angostura and egg white, just like the Pats playbook,” says bartender Vikram Hegde at Cambridge, Mass.’s Little Donkey. “Plus, there’s a little something festive and tropical in the Giffard Banane du Brésil liqueur (you know, because Gisele).”
1 ½ oz Privateer Navy Yard rum
½ oz Amaro di Angostura
½ oz Giffard Banane du Brésil liqueur
½ oz Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 Egg white
Garnish: Angostura bitters
Add all of the ingredients to a shaker, and shake without ice until emulsified for about a slow 5 count. Add ice and shake vigorously for a slow 10 count or until the shaker frosts over. Fine-strain into a lowball glass without ice, and garnish with a few dots of Angostura bitters in the shape of the Patriots’ Flying Elvis logo (to the best of your artistic ability).
The Rams have made it to the Superbowl as any true Angeleno knew they would! While we all prepare to celebrate their eventual win, the next item on the Game-day checklist is of course the food. So skip the generic wings and chips set-up and opt for something equally worthy of a touchdown. We’ve rounded up Superbowl Sunday approved recipes that will send your tastebuds into overtime. Oh come on you know it’s “pun-ty!”
Dips that will have you Running Back for more
Clam Chowder Dip
The creamy soup is obviously best enjoyed in a bread bowl to sop up the flavor. So not why try it as a dip so you can bring some seaside flair to the party.
Don’t miss out on some of the best dishes available during LA’s favorite bi-annual restaurant event. Dine L.A. will be gone before you know it and so will these amazing opportunities to try the best in cuisine the city has to offer!
The relatively-new upscale-Filipino spot was one of our picks for the best new restaurants of 2018 thanks to chef Charles Olalia, who first made a name for himself at the no-frills Rice Bar downtown before expanding into this beautifully designed date-friendly Silverlake location. For DineLA, they’re doing a 3-course dinner for $39 that includes a glass of wine. S
Another best-new-restaurant pick, this steakhouse from Jimmy Kimmel’s best pal/BBQ expert Adam Perry Lang’s part of DineLA’s new “exclusive” series, which highlights some of LA’s most high-end spots. It’s worth it here, though: there’s a room especially for dry-aged steaks below the restaurant, and Lang puts intense amounts of care into each cut. The steakhouse’s special menu is a $115 five-courser — pricey, but a huge savings on their traditional dinners.
The beloved casual mini-chain has locations in both Westwood and Downtown that are great for a quick lunch or a more sit-down-y dinner. Though they’ve got a four-course for $39 option in the evening, Stacey’s pick is for their great lunch deal: $15 gets you a sandwich or salad, a side, and a dessert or a drink.
This KBBQ restaurant is known for eight different flavors of pork belly, which usually sets you back $60 — but during DineLA’s, the special menu here drops 4 flavors of pork belly, seafood and soybean stew, and mozzarella fried rice for $39.
This new-ish pizza spot’s from the chef behind beloved Italian restaurants Rossoblu and Sotto; here he’s using his deep Italian know-how for thin-crustiness that draws from both the NYC and Neapolitan styles of pie. For DineLA, he’s slinging whole pies with a salad and two drinks for $29, a crazy-good deal for a couple on a casual date-night.
The beloved steakhouse is known for tableside service and old-school hospitality in totally Grandma-friendly digs — in keeping with that trend, the special menu is intent on filling you up for DineLA with BOTH a lobster tail and prime rib (!!). You also get their famous spinning salad, a side, and a dessert for $59 all-in.
A Jonathan Gold favorite (of course), this SGV Sichuan spot’s known for their spiciness — in fact, Mr. Gold called said their crab is stir-fried with “ungodly amounts of chiles and szechuan peppers.” If you’re into the heat, though, during DineLA, for $29, you’re getting an app, an entree, soup, dessert, and a coconut water to chill out your palate in between bites.
When Dominique Ansel — the inventor of the cronut and other sweet goodies — opened up his first full-service restaurant last year, the food world took a collective breath: Could he pull off savory as well? The answer’s a resounding yes, although the desserts are still the star of the show to many; at DineLA you’ll get to try ‘em both, since the $49 deal includes three courses (plus coffee!)
Ted Hopson’s bistro-ish spot in Studio City was one of the, uh, bellwethers of the Valley’s emergence as a dining destination. He’s going for broke with their deal, with eight choices on their DineLA menu and patrons picking any three for a $39 dinner: Options include wagyu steak tartare, meatballs, and the cheeseburger.
David LeFevre’s tiny seafood spot has been a long-standing neighborhood standby, thanks to its quaint charm and — more importantly — LeFevre’s penchant for getting the best seafood in town, all the time. The raw bar platter’s the longtime favorite, and it’s one of the offerings during DineLA as part of a four-course menu that also includes a glass of bubbly for $59 — a totally ridiculous deal.
James Beard-nominated chef Casey Lane’s been an LA favorite for years thanks to Venice’s beloved Mediterranean spot Tasting Kitchen; his new Viale Dei Romani at the La Peer hotel has a gorgeous firepit-abetted courtyard and beautifully plated dishes. The lunch is the go-to for DineLA, but come hungry because $35 gets you four courses: a starter, a pasta, a protein, and dessert.
August in LA always feels like a waiting game: The city’s kids are just about to start school, we all know the heat is gonna break at some point, and restaurants are often biding their time to open and gain traction just before the holiday rush. That doesn’t mean we missed out this month, though; among the best new restaurant openings are a casual take-out window from one of LA’s hottest restaurant-preneurs, a new food hall with amazing offerings near USC, and one of the US’s most acclaimed ice cream chains. Here are LA’s most exciting new restaurants that opened in August, followed by the overall best spots in town at this moment in time.
Casual lunch takeaway spot from LA’s BBQ master
Adam Perry Lang’s steak-and-short-rib powerhouse APL opened just a couple months ago, but he’s already doubled down with this new lunchtime window, which is blasting out high-end chili dogs with hand-cut prime-chuck chili, house-cured smoked beef toasted sandwiches, and a nutso $50 sandwich with a heap of pit-cooked shaved Prime NY Strip, pickle salad, onions, and horseradish on Texas toast.
An all-day westside hang, for everyone
This new neighborhood spot has some serious pedigree, with Chef Vicki Fan Matsusaka (formerly of Superba) behind the stoves, and a Daniel Boulud alum as GM; they’re doling out upscale American classics like turkey meatballs in marinara on creamy millet, and a lunch chilaquiles with avocado mash and a 63-degree egg.
Chinatown’s new contender for noodle king
This dipping-ramen specialist makes all of its thick noodles in-house, along with broths literally cooked for days. Options include bowls stacked with grilled pork ribs and marinated soft-boiled eggs, as well as cold tofu noodle ramen.
A new food hall stacked with delicious options
This food hall’s conveniently located just next to the new incoming soccer stadium by USC, which means it’ll no doubt be crammed with Trojans chomping down on food from iconic LA vendors, including ceviches from Coni’Seafood, southern specialties from Barbara Jean, and burritos from Burritos La Palma.
A Jonathan Gold-inspired take-out window
Sarkis Vartanian’s new international sandwich window was inspired by hearing the late, great JGold speak. “He basically said that the Los Angeles food scene was an amalgamation of different ethnic foods within few blocks of each other,” says Vartanian, and this new spot’s trying to get all of it under one roof, with a Turkish-ish sujuk (sausage & egg wrap) and the British-themed chip butty (with double-cooked fries and schug sauce on lavash) among the offerings.
Finally, an In-N-Out-style burger joint for vegans
After wowing audiences (literally!) at Coachella and Eat Drink Vegan, Monty’s Good Burger now has a brick & mortar in Ktown with the same monstrous vegan burger they’ve sold — and sold meat eaters on — at those fests. They’re using Impossible meat for their burgs, also stacked with vegan cheese; there’s also milkshakes and more, all of which are entirely plant-based.
Boozy NorCal-based iced-creamery finally makes it down south
Sure, LA has tons (and tons) of artisan ice cream shops, but this newbie from San Francisco serves up some fascinating, boozy flavors like its signature bourbon-with-corn-flakes number and the seasonal Hawaiian Shaved Ice: a Roy Choi collab with condensed ice milk and a blueberry swirl.
The beloved Asian karaage chain comes to LA
This new Little Tokyo fried chicken spot is an import from ACTUAL Tokyo, with over 50 locations spread throughout Asia. At the first US drop, they’re doing their ultra-crispy fried chicken in a bowl, as a plate, or on a sandwich; if you’re not into chicken for some reason, they’ve also got shrimp stir-fries and curry.
A hot new burger joint with a special milkshake LA’s got plenty of great burger places, and this new one — from the guy behind Birdies, who is also the former personal chef for Pamela Anderson — seems to be a great new addition to the list. But the classic roadside-style burgers aren’t the only attraction: they also have a CBD-infused green matcha milkshake, for when it’s time to burger-and-chill.
Downtown’s acclaimed Japanese eatery makes its way west
It’s always good news when you no longer need to drive far for something great, which means that anyone who doesn’t live Downtown (or east of Downtown — we’re looking at you, Covina) should be celebrating the West 3rd opening of Inko Nito. The original restaurant has been crushing DTLA with delicious yellowtail collar, charcoal-grilled beef cheek, and fried shrimp maki rolls, all of which will also be on the menu at the new spot.
Notorious restaurateur Bill Chait returns with this Hollywood ode to meat
Bill Chait was once the most well known restaurateur in LA, with a hand in now-legendary spots like Republique and Bestia, and a seemingly golden touch — until he was forced out of his restaurant group, reportedly due to internal financial issues. He’s back in the game, though, with this meat-heavy restaurant on the Sunset strip serving charcuterie, crispy veal shortbreads, and a 34-oz dry-aged ribeye, all in a beautiful space that has wood-slatted ceilings and a tiled common table.
An indulgent meat-centric nirvana from Adam Perry Lang
BBQ genius/Jimmy Kimmel’s best friend Adam Perry Lang has finally opened his first LA restaurant, and to say it’s a barnburner would be an understatement. He legitimately may have the best steak in town with his rib-eye, the French onion soup will knock you out, and — oh yeah — there’s a giant dinosaur-sized short rib that’s as perfectly smoked-and-dry-rubbed as anything you’ve ever eaten in your life. Will your wallet feel hurt after you leave? It will, but this is definitely a good kind of hurt.
The Valley finally gets a taste of chef Ludo Lefebvre
Ludo Lefebvre’s Petit Trois has been a long-standing favorite in Hollywood thanks to absolutely perfect French omelets and a burger that many people rave about, but the second location in the Valley is larger and more ornate — a testament to the new excitement around food in a part of LA long considered a culinary wasteland. The menu here is expanded from the original, so expect breakfast tartines and crabcakes at dinner, as well as the old favorites.
Middle Eastern follow-up from the team behind Bestia
Bestia has been on our best-of Eat Seeker list since its inception, so it’s no surprise that the opening of the Middle Eastern sequel to that iconic Italian spot has also garnered a spot on the list. The menu’s full of cross-regional specialties like lamb flatbreads and confit turmeric chicken legs, as well as duck hummus (aka the one thing you never want to hear at a food fight).
Mozza and ERB’s chefs join forces for a new Eastside pizza spot
It says, “the place where they weigh the pizza” on the outside of this new small Highland Park Roman-style pizzeria, and that’s the basic concept: you tell ‘em how much you want, and you pay by the pound. You’re going to want a lot, though, because the pizza here comes from a truly legit pedigree: the chefs behind it are Nancy Silverton (Mozza) and Matt Molina (ERB), which has quickly propelled it to destination status. Get there quick.
The first LA spot from Momofuku’s David Chang
Celebrated Momofuku restaurateur/Ugly Delicious star David Chang’s first-ever LA concept is a tough reservation, which is no surprise: the dude’s food, which draws from Asian cuisine as well as US traditions, is practically made for LA. Early favorites include Benton’s sausage-stuffed, fried Korean peppers, and a short rib made a la BBQ master Adam Perry Lang, with kitchen duties from exec chef Jude Parra-Sickels (who was Roy Choi’s No. 2 man for years).
When Evan Funke was at the now-defunct Bucato in Culver City, his handmade pasta was considered some of the best in LA — and since closing that restaurant, he’s spent time in Italy and made it even better. It’s not hyperbole to say that the pastas at Felix are among the best we’ve ever eaten, anywhere, and they’re made even more delicious somehow by the open-kitchen vibe in the restaurant: The best seats are by the pasta-making window, where Funke and his staff hypnotically knead and roll dough. Come hungry.
This mysterious, much-hyped project from former Red Medicine/current Destroyer chef Jordan Kahn’s not for the weak-walleted: a set menu for dinner costs $250. But, when it’s been described by the team behind it as “a dimension of cuisine that is neither rooted in tradition nor culture — it is from a time that is yet to be, and a place that does not exist,” it’s impossible to not be intrigued. Essentially, it’s like the OK Computer of restaurants: moody, unique, and boldly futuristic.
Sure, these guys’ newer Italian restaurant Jon & Vinny’s is hot right now, too, and their seafood restaurant Son of a Gun is also a stone-cold classic at this point. But the OG from these dudes still stands out for its delicious creativity; years in, they haven’t let the menu get stale at all, which means you’re gonna be ordering the classics — and then whatever insanity they’ve put on the menu today, since it may not be there again tomorrow.
This tiny James Beard-nominated restaurant, hidden in a strip mall in a no-man’s-land section of East Hollywood, would be voted least likely to succeed on looks alone. Once you glance at the tiny, challenging-to-understand menu, you may be even more tempted to bounce. Don’t. The food is from guys who did time at Noma and Daniel — two of the world’s best restaurants — and the $15-or-less grain bowls and pastas they’re serving burst with the flavor and love of those 10-times-as-expensive world-class restaurants. Just check the website/give them a call and make sure they’re open before you head there — they leave for months at a time for “inspiration trips,” but when they come back, the food’s somehow even better than before.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Since its opening in 2012, Bestia’s sort of become the definitive LA restaurant, offering a menu that appeals to both eat-anything foodies (pan-roasted chicken gizzards!) and eat-carefully dieters (tomato & plum salad!) in a setting that feels both industrial and homey, with prices that won’t make you feel wallet regret when you wake up in the morning. It’s no surprise it’s still one of the few tough reservations in the city; despite its size, everyone who leaves immediately wants to go back.
Before she was on the wildly popular Netflix show Chef’s Table, Niki Nakayama’s hole-in-the-wall Culver City spot — where she makes impossibly meticulous Japanese food that seems to hit all your taste buds at once — was already one of the most buzzy restaurants among foodie-type people in LA. But now that the cat’s out of the bag, it’s become nationally famous as well, which means getting in is a struggle — a totally worth-it struggle.
Seriously, are they ever going to run out of stall space at GCM — which, at this point, should just be considered a treasure of the city? Let’s hope not: Not only are all the old spots great (and set up for killer mash-ups), but newer openings (like Union chef Bruce Kalman’s pasta spot Knead & Co, the vegan ramen joint Ramen Hood, a Golden Road Brewing stall, and the bivalve-y Oyster Gourmet) make it a must-visit. Like, all the time.
Despite lots of competition from upstarts, Providence is still LA’s best special-occasion restaurant: The service is impeccable, as is Michael Cimarusti’s seafood. Is it cheap? It is not. Is it worth it? Most definitely.
This fried chicken spot’s had lines from day one, but that’s no surprise: The now-defunct truck of the same name, which specialized in the same Nashville hot chicken as the brick & mortar, was absolutely exceptional. Add to that the fact that neighbors in the Chinatown mini-mall include Roy Choi’s Chego! and the revolving test-kitchen Unit 120, and you may want to hit them all with a large group for a sharing-friendly feast.
This long-standing, high-priced, gorgeous sushi bar Downtown finds its way back to Eat Seeker thanks to an insane premium omakase, just added to the menu. Give the chef a few days’ notice and he’ll source rare, seasonal fish from Japan and elsewhere around the world, with a 15+-course tasting of flavors you literally can’t get anywhere else in LA (and that al dente vinegar rice is outstanding, too).
LA Weekly’s Besha Rodell unexpectedly crowed about this unpronounceable Israeli spot, and now food fans in LA are racing to get there for dishes like Lamb Ragooooo (yes, the extra os are on purpose) and Instagram-ready presentation, with piles of meat and veggies atop heaps of labneh.
If we told you that one of the best pizza spots in the city was in Brentwood, would you believe us? You should: Chef Daniele Uditi is from Naples and insists his pizza taste like home, with Italian-imported ingredients making up the bulk of the toppings. Don’t miss his on-special margherita (which is topped with a crunchy basil mixture that gives it far more texture than a traditional pie) and the fried artichoke salad, which hits you with flavor and bite.
Situated next to the Silicon Beach enclave, small-but-mighty Marina del Rey has attracted a boatload (!) of seriously good restaurants over the past few years — to the point where it’s now one of LA’s strongest food destinations. This 1.5 square-mile coastal community is packed with everything from rustic Italian eateries to fancy waterfront restaurants… and then there’s the iconic pub that turns into a turtle-racing hub on Thursdays. What more do you need to know?
Best fancy restaurant for when you’re not paying: Cast & Plow
4375 Admiralty Way
Located inside The Ritz-Carlton, Cast & Plow is an upscale hotel restaurant that stands on its own. Aside from a picturesque view of the marina, you’ll also get impeccable service and dishes made with organic, locally grown and raised ingredients — like made-in-house herb brioche, ham and Manchego cheese fritters waiting for a dunk in paprika aioli, and lobster agnolotti cooked with brown butter and walnuts. Plus, if you’re visiting during off hours, a small bites menu is available from 3-5:30pm and 10pm-midnight daily.
4724 Admiralty Way
Get here early if you want to avoid the rush hour mob: Mendo’s fantastic and flavor-packed sandwiches, served on freshly baked artisanal bread, are a huge hit in the neighborhood. Now’s your last chance to snag summer specials — like a ripe heirloom tomato BLT drizzled with habanero honey, or chicken banh mi served with lemongrass relish — but the usual staples (hello, Study of Heat) will always be there. There’s also a ton of other stuff you probably didn’t know about this husband-and-wife-run sandwich shop, which is why we’ve outlined it all in a separate article.
4451 Admiralty Way
At Cafe del Rey, $44 gets you a three-course prix fixe brunch served with your choice of sparkling wine, cider, mimosas, or Bloody Marys — not a bad deal when there’s a Kobe burger and cured salmon toast on the menu. You’ll also be treated to a spectacular vista of yachts parked in the marina (they even livestream the view from coveted Table 18). Plus, if you’re coming during the day, you won’t have to worry about parking; unlike most LA restaurants, valet here is complimentary (and only $6 in the evening).
505 Washington Blvd
This strip mall joint — which is close to the beach without the inflated prices or tourist crowds usually associated with those establishments — makes killer burritos that all hover around the $5 mark. For a little extra, get yours either Pancho Villa-style (smothered in enchilada sauce and melted cheese) or El Norteño-style (stuffed with guac, cheese, and sour cream). They don’t skimp on the meat here, so expected a heavily loaded vessel that should satiate you for hours.
13455 Maxella Ave Suite 250
Settebello’s Neapolitan pizzas are the real deal, made with imported Italian flour and briefly tossed inside a wood-fired oven crafted by Italian oven makers (yes, that’s a thing). The result? Soft, slippery, delicious pies best eaten with a fork and knife — as they do in Napoli. Protip: Grab yourself a Margherita DOC pie, with crushed tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, parmigiano reggiano, and EVOO.
13208 W Washington Blvd
Locally owned Rainbow Acres has been hawking kombucha drinks, coconut ice cream bars, and yucca-flour bread since 1981, long before Whole Foods opened up in nearby Playa Vista. Vegans and vegetarians alike flock to this health food store’s hot-food counter, but its rotating selection of legitimately delicious takeaway food (like cranberry and wild rice pilaf and creamy shroom pasta) can satisfy everyone.
4211 Admiralty Way
One of the only spots in MDR that’s open 24 hours a day, Killer Cafe whips up hearty comfort food reminiscent of what you’d find at your county fair (only better). Load up on juicy peel-and-eat shrimp dripping in butter and lemon, beer-battered fried cod sliders, and blue cheese mashed potatoes — washed down with something from an extensive wine, beer, and specialty drink list.
3105 Washington Blvd
This hole-in-the-wall’s breakfast menu is impressive on sheer length alone; you’ll find it includes at least 20 different omelettes and leans heavy on griddle items like pumpkin-nut or lemon zest pancakes, cornflake French toast, and nutella crepes. If — for some crazy reason — you’re not feeling breakfast, don’t sleep on the wet mole burrito or signature Buna burger with all the fixings.
4375 Glencoe Ave
J Nichols’ menu has a lot going on — there’s everything from roasted beets to topped flatbreads and smoked ribs — but the burgers are what you want to eat here. The West LA version is a clear winner, bursting with flavor-packed bacon balsamic onion compote, melty blue cheese and gruyere, and a generous smear of lemon aioli on a buttery toasted French baguette.
13534 Bali Way
SALT’s happy hour, which runs weekdays from 4 to 6pm, is the area’s best-kept secret. Deals include quality apps like pork meatballs in San Marzano sauce and fried Alaskan cod tacos (both $9), $6 wines, and priceless harbor views — okay, that last one’s not so much a deal as a reason to scope the place early and get a seat by the outdoor fire pits. The restaurant, which is part of the Marina del Rey Hotel, also has food offerings for every other hour of the day, including a poolside menu (get the fried chicken bucket), breakfast (served with bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys on weekends), and dinner (where the Maine lobster pasta flavored with yuzu, vadouvan, and brown butter dashi is a must, as are the other seafood-heavy entrees).
12 W Washington Blvd
The pastas at this cozy Italian spot are homemade and perfectly cooked, which means you won’t feel too bad blowing your cheat day budget here. Menu all-stars include the black ink tagliolini noodles tossed in a spicy marinara, as well as Casa Ado’s famous red beet pasta served in Parmesan fondue.
4059 Lincoln Blvd
Marina del Rey clearly has plenty of top-notch Italian spots, but this intimate restaurant is the local favorite. Don’t be fooled by its unassuming location across from an IHOP; the wild boar pappardelle and fresh seafood linguine here will transport you straight to the Amalfi Coast. Don’t skip the complimentary bread, which is served warm and crusty alongside flavored olive oils, or the dessert: people rave about the lemon sorbet served with homemade limoncello and gelato trio
4077 Lincoln Blvd
When you’re craving legit Texas BBQ in MDR, go to Morfia’s for sauce-drenched ribs smoked in a brick pit — alright, maybe the sauce-drenched part is a bit more LA than TX, but you won’t be complaining. The portions are always generous, the meat’s always moist, and even if you’re stuffed, you can’t end the meal without a slice of peach cobbler or sweet potato pie.
4089 Lincoln Blvd
Yep: the dive bar known for its legendary turtle races every Thursday is actually a fantastic date idea. Thanks to a facelift last year, this long-standing MDR pub has a new, airy look with a marble-topped bar and spacious outdoor area for cornhole, Jenga, and other games (just in case there are any awkward first-date silences). The menu got an upgrade too, so you can snack on fried chickpeas, Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, and for late-night eaters, great pizzas — all while guzzling some eclectic beers. And aside from the excitement of the turtle races (which are still going strong), Brennan’s always has something cool going on — whether it’s Sunday dog yoga or Friday pizza nights where you can get a complimentary pie while listening to live music.
4325 Glencoe Ave #8
Family-owned Doma Kitchen’s moved around a bit (first opening in Redondo, then relocating to Manhattan Beach) before settling on its current home. Now it’s serving Uzbek rice, borscht, and other Eastern European/Central Asian dishes to Marina del Rey diners who didn’t realize they loved Lithuanian-style slow-braised buckwheat but can’t imagine their lives without it now. Chef Kristina Miksyte, a Lithuanian native, uses farm-fresh ingredients and house-made spices in every dish. For summer, there’s a peach-themed menu that stars a raspberry-drizzled bistro salad and a grilled peach dessert with toasted walnuts and balsamic glaze.
13455 Maxella Ave
No place does a build-your-own lunch plate better than Tender Greens, with options like consistently tender chipotle barbecue chicken, garlic vinaigrette-dressed kale, and silky mashed potatoes on the menu. They’re also mixing things up with a new special called the Endless Summer Bowl, which is packed with Mediterranean-inspired ingredients and flavors like tahini yogurt, eggplant, grilled trumpet mushrooms, and pickled golden raisins served with earthy kamut grains and a coriander- and cumin-infused dressing.
4371 Glencoe Ave #B4
The tone is set the minute you step foot inside Irori, where — in true Japanese tradition — you’re not allowed to wear your funky-smelling shoes (they provide sandals instead) at the low, sunken tables. The incredibly fresh fish just further solidifies this place’s authenticity; if it’s in season, get the succulent toro trio that boasts a scary-but-worth-it market price. Irori also does a few creative takes on sashimi, though, mixing bluefin tuna with burrata and putting black truffle on halibut for an umami sensory overload.
31 Washington Blvd
This beach-adjacent institution straddles the Venice/Marina del Rey border, but if you want to get technical, it belongs to the latter (plus, Venice’s restaurant scene is already brimming). The outdoor patio is always lively, the staff hosts a nightly sing-a-long, and everyone’s happy because even if you’re not full off of the generous pasta portions, there’s an unlimited, complimentary supply of garlic knots that practically slip out of your fingers because they’re so drenched in olive oil and butter.
Let’s face it, it’s hard finding things to do or places to visit that are a guaranteed good time. With so many venues, activities, and noteworthy spots in the city of angels, there’s an overwhelming amount of options.
Luckily, here’s a list of the top 10 cool spots in L.A. that actually live up to the hype. Consistently referenced, Instagrammed or recommended, these spots are actually worth the notoriety and renown, even enough to justify braving a crowd on a weekend.
And if it so happens you haven’t yet checked these off your L.A. bucket list just yet, it’s time to get planning!
Griffith Observatory at dusk. Photo by Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.
1. Griffith Observatory
There’s a reason this epic location is featured in countless TV shows and movies (ahem… La La Land). One of the oldest, most unique and best things you can do in L.A. is visit the Griffith Observatory. Stop by the observation deck atop the mountains overlooking the city or hike the various trails to the Bronson Caves or Amir’s Garden. If hiking isn’t your thing, visit the observatory itself for a look through their powerful telescope during a star party, or walk through the history of astronomy and take in a show in their riveting planetarium. Bonus Tip: This a great spot for a first date, as well as a fun day with the kiddos. -> More information
2. Hollywood Bowl
While L.A. does contain many eccentric, fun, and historical music venues, the Hollywood Bowl never disappoints. With a venue full of great seats (honestly, there are no bad views), attendees can watch their favorite musicians, actors, and entertainers on stage. It’s situated at the bottom of the Hollywood Hills against a perfect backdrop. You can currently visit their site for a list of lease events, but check back in March when their summer series line-up is announced. Don’t forget, you can also bring a picnic to enjoy before the show! -> More information
Sandstone Peak in Malibu is one of the most referenced hikes in the greater L.A. area and for good reason. Modern Hiker calls it, “perhaps the single best day hike in Southern California.” Guiding beginner and experienced hikers alike, the trail takes adventurers to the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. But don’t worry, the prize at the end is breathtaking coastal and inland views. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to branch out and explore some of the less-beaten paths. This is a hike you can do over and over again, experiencing different pathways, views, and more. -> More information
If you live outside the U.S. and plan to visit California, chances are you’ve been told about about the deliciousness provided by In-N-Out Burger. Foreigners from around the world come to California with the hope of tasting one of In-N-Out’s epic food options. From their juicy burgers to their drool-worthy animal fries and sweet milkshakes, In-N-Out always lives up to its reputation.
The story goes that in 1918, the owner of Philippe The Original accidentally dropped a french roll into a used roasting pan. From there, the French Dip Sandwich was born. On weekends, you’ll find a long line of regulars waiting for their French dip fix, along with a quick cup of coffee and deep food satisfaction. Stop by and see for yourself. This delicious sandwich will not disappoint. -> More information
Even if you’re not a fan of the undead, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is always a good option for both cold and warm nights. Hosting a wide variety of outdoor events from concerts to Cinespia movie screenings, groups of friends, romantic lovers, or adventurous individuals can enjoy eerie, but fun, evenings in this unique venue. The cemetery also hosts a wide variety of cultural events, including their annual Día De Los Muertos celebration. -> More information
The Huntington Library in San Marino is home to extensive art collections, engaging cultural events, and one of the most impressive botanical gardens in Southern California. The gardens, the most popular offering, feature a Japanese garden, lily pond, rose garden, children’s conservatory, and other more exotic sections. Springtime is especially colorful, but families and couples can visit the garden year ’round for a dose of greenery and calming serenity. -> More information
One of several historic theaters in Hollywood, the Cinerama Dome has been very well maintained over the decades and provides a one-of-kind movie watching experience. The first and only geodesic dome theater in the world, this venue includes over 800 seats in front a deeply curved screen. Whether it’s an action-packed or romantic movie, you’ll feel a part of the imaginary world you’re viewing. -> More information
The Cinerama Dome. Credit: Christopher Paulin via flickr cc
9. The Broad
If you’re an Instagram user, chances are you’ve seen a few Infinity Room selfies. Hosted at The Broad, this famed exhibit is one of many inside of the contemporary art museum. While lines are long and pre-purchased tickets are highly recommended, we’re here to tell you that it’s all worth it. Their interactive, thought-provoking and sometimes funny exhibits are a guaranteed fun afternoon with friends. Plus they really are Instagram-worthy experiences and art. -> More information
Infinity Room selfie at The Broad. Photo credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.
10. The Getty
Last, but certainly not least, The Getty is a perfect spot for a full afternoon of activities with family or friends. Located off the 405 freeway, this free museum offers art exhibits, an education center for kids, and sprawling grounds featuring benches, grassy areas, and gorgeous viewing spots. Visit here for a full day of art, or bring a picnic and spend a sunny afternoon outside. -> More information
The Getty Center. Credit: Ayleen Gaspar via flickr cc
Outside of Orange County, Anaheim is mostly known for its largest tourist destination: Disneyland. But locals know that the city extends far beyond The Happiest Place on Earth, with plenty of non-Disney things worth doing — and the food scene doesn’t end at the resort zone, either. Dig deeper into the strip malls, modern food courts, and transit terminals in Anaheim’s surrounding grid, and you’ll uncover restaurants serving food from around the world that are cool enough for LA, but could only exist in the OC.
From speakeasy fine dining to all-Halal feasts (and every down-home American breakfast in between), here are the restaurants you should be eating at in Anaheim right now.
Hidden spot for fine cocktails and decadent food
Orange County’s first speakeasy is thankfully still one of its best. Some of the most creative mixologists in the region continue to pass through The Blind Rabbit’s hidden front doors, where they craft seasonal menus of stalwart classics and custom cocktails that range from off-the-wall to tiki-inspired. A food menu of equal decadence (bone marrow, duck confit mac & cheese, lamb chops) awaits — if you can find the place.
Middle Eastern food at Little Arabia’s preeminent restaurant
Orange County’s unofficial “Little Arabia” is a conglomeration of restaurants and businesses around the intersection of Brookhurst and Ball in West Anaheim; Olive Tree is its most notable food ambassador. The eatery (which recently expanded across the strip mall) serves familiar Middle Eastern food like falafel and beef shawarma alongside hard-to-find regional specialties from Palestine, Libya, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
Filipino bowls and a dinner you eat with your hands
In the Philippines, chef Henry Pineda’s aunt and grandmother own a small chain of restaurants specializing in sisig, or crispy chopped pig-head parts that come sizzling on a cast-iron plate. In Anaheim, Pineda serves the same dish but is more well known for his quick-service rice bowls topped with everything from spiced chicken adobo to crispy pork belly lechon. Order in advance for a full kamayan dinner, where you’ll eat a traditional Filipino meal of various fried and stewed meats off banana leaves with no utensils.
The two best restaurants at the Happiest Place on Earth
Amusement parks are known for hocking lots of junk food, but Disneyland’s most exclusive dining experiences instead offer up-close views to upscale, cheffy freedom. At Napa Rose inside the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Chef’s Table offers custom, multi-course meals from chef Andrew Sutton, who puts SoCal twists on NorCal-inspired California cuisine. Club 33, meanwhile, is Sutton’s more historic affair. The exclusive, membership-only restaurant hidden somewhere in New Orleans Square is where, for $10,000 a year (plus a $25,000 initiation fee), you get five annual passes, private tours, access to VIP treatment and the privilege of reserving a time to try Sutton’s take on classic American fine dining.
Farm-to-table steakhouse and dance hall
THE RANCH (yes, all caps) can best be described as a new-school steakhouse — enough nostalgia to represent the genre, but with a contemporary upgrade to keep the food snobs happy. Executive chef Michael Rossi and master sommelier Michael Jordan (both formerly of Disneyland’s Napa Rose) represent Western farm-to-table with seasonal takes on classic meat dishes, like a 36-ounce bone-in rib-eye and Beeler’s Family Farm pork chop. Bring lots of friends, and stick around for the live music afterward!
Southern selections inside a transit hub
The Oyster Bar SKC is the only sit-down restaurant operating inside ARTIC: Anaheim’s new train and bus terminal that looks like a fluorescent rainbow airplane hangar just off the 57 Freeway. With a New Orleans theme, The Oyster Bar focuses on seafood-drenched pan roasts — made through steam kettle cooking, thus the “SKC” — and its raw bar, which stocks shells of all kinds from every coast.
Argentine market and deli that’s perfect for lunch
From the outside, El Gaucho looks like it could be just another suburban carniceria, but this Argentine market and deli counter offers so much more. Shelves of South American goods and a well-stocked butcher counter await for the grab-and-go set, while the attached deli oozes Italian influence with Argentine pizzas, charcuterie sandwiches, and empanadas stuffed with Mediterranean spiced meats like beef and tuna.
Pork-free dishes from Western China
If you ever needed a reminder of how diverse Chinese food can be, spend a Sunday grubbing with a posse at Ma’s Islamic Chinese, a restaurant that from the outside looks like a mosque but might as well be Muslim Chinese food heaven. No pork, but lots of beef, lamb, and noodles dot a menu of massively portioned dishes, each originating from the Hui people of Western China. Food here is hearty, heaving with spice and designed to be wiped up with a fresh sesame-seed flatbread that tastes like the bridge between the Arab and Chinese worlds — just like the Hui themselves.
Vegan fast food and other comforts
When a former manager of beloved Costa Mesa vegan restaurant Native Foods strikes out on her own, you get Healthy Junk: a haven of animal-free comfort food on a redeveloped promenade in Anaheim. Almost In-N-Out burgers, mock-meat Tex-Mex, and not-lame salads made this one of the OC’s early vegan spots that helped spawned the current wave of cruelty-free dining.
Churro truck straight outta Jalisco
Forget the Instagram-famous wannabes at The Loop and Churroholic: Don Churros Gomez is the real deal. Pulling from a family recipe brought here from the highlands of Jalisco, this Anaheim food truck makes not long and lean churros of the carnival variety, but puffy, fat and stout ones oozing caramel and topped with ice cream. It’s what churros have always wanted to taste like — worth the wait!
Old-school breakfast in a classic setting
The Original Pancake House might have started in the Pacific Northwest, but its Anaheim location has become a breakfast institution for its decades of dedication to the international art of flapjacks. Specializing in sugary and fruit-filled pancake recipes from around the world, TOPH is where you’ll find Danish, Dutch, and Tahitian specialties plus crepes, bacon waffles and enough maple syrup to put you in a sugar coma before lunchtime.
New, creative modern brunch
Traditional breakfast mashes up with contemporary SoCal culture at The Scratch Room, where brunchy burgers come on French toast-dipped brioche buns, and the Benedicts are topped with corned beef hash, salmon cakes, carnitas, and more. The family-owned restaurant is everything a modern diner in Anaheim should be — machaca breakfast burrito and all.
1. Known for its coastal Italian flavors, Cal Mare is a great choice for Father’s Day, with items like Whole Roasted John Dory, Carbonara Pizza and Korumbuta Pork Chop tempting dear old Dad.
2. Burbank’s classic Castaway restaurant, set high atop a hill and boasting great views, has just undergone a major renovation. For Father’s Day, the newly reopened eatery is hosting a Grand Celebration, featuring an elaborate three-course meal for $79 (or $35 for kids), with options like Lobster and Waffles or Seared Tuna Tartine.
3. Does Dad like to check out exotic cars? The Concours d’Elegance, a free event that closed down the 400 block of Rodeo Drive, showcases the best of the world’s best autos. If you’d like to take Dad for a bite before or after, 208 Rodeo, perched above Wilshire Blvd. on the cobblestone streets of Via Rodeo, offers elegant but unpretentious bistro fare, noteworthy cocktails, and great people-watching.
4. For the father who loves baseball and BBQ, head over to Anaheim’s Angel Stadium. This Father’s Day, Dad can play catch in the outfield, crack a bat in the Angels’ batting cages, enjoy a free drink (for 21 and over), engage in a behind-the-scenes stadium tour, and savor a BBQ picnic buffet in the Lexus Diamond Club. Tickets are $90 for adults, $20 for kids 6-12, and free for kids 5 and under.
5. If Dad loves beer, take him to Riverside’s gorgeous Mission Inn. Brunch at this 19th century National Historic Landmark will be extra special this year, with an additional beer-centric menu created in collaboration with So Cal brewery Hangar 24. Options include Pugachev’s Cobra Russian Imperial Stout-infused BBQ pork rib with baked beans and corn on the cob, Hangar 24 Orange Wheat beer-can chicken with warm German potato salad, and beer-infused éclairs.
6. Chef Philip Mack is offering a very special Bull & Oyster Roast at Maple at Descanso Gardens this Father’s Day. The La Cañada Flintridge eatery’s Father’s Day meal reflects Mack’s Maryland roots and passion for soul food, with offerings like the Low Country Boil (with peel and eat shrimp), Cherry-Glazed Pit Ham, Mesquite Grilled Oysters, crab soup, and beignets.
7.Greenbar Distillery in DTLA is hosting an open house and BBQ this Father’s Day, with FREE liquor tastings and BBQ!
8. Boasting a goth-infused decor, Mexican eatery Mi Corazon, located in Silver Lake, is offering 2-for-1 beers on Father’s Day, along with a barrel-aged tequila Old Fashioned for $9, in addition to its regular menu. We suggest ordering the 20-ingredient mole.
9. Savor Southeast Asian flavors with Dad at Bone Kettle in Pasadena, with dishes like Bone Marrow with scallion confit, Crab Lumpia, Garlic Steak Nasi Goreng or Beef Ribs with bone marrow au jus.
10. Santa Monica gastropub The Independence is offering Dad a free drink on his day. On Father’s Day, brunching dads can enjoy a complimentary “Man-mosa” at brunch or a Man-hattan at dinner.
11. If Dad loves Japanese food, take him to Katana in West Hollywood, which recently launched its Sunday-evening Red Sun BBQ Series. The elegant patio set high above the Sunset Strip is the ideal spot for listening to a live DJ while savoring freshly grilled lobster skewers, tacos filled with carnitas or popcorn shrimp, ceviche and sushi rolls.
12. Enjoy a poolside cookout at The Restaurant at Mr. C in Beverly Hills. Lunch on the elegant pool deck will include live music, games, grilled burgers and veggies, salmon chicken mattone, Cipriani pastas, housemade desserts, and endless pours of Peroni Nastro Azzurro or house wine. And to top if off, Dad gets his choice of a Cipriani bottled beer or a signature cigar from La Casa Del Tabac to bring home.
13. Bond with Dad over Clint Eastwood and James Bond movies — not to mention dinner — at the Stalking Horse in West L.A. Movies will play from 4 p.m. on, while the burger topped with pork belly, onion rings, bacon-onion relish and arugula is just one of the Dad-centered specials.
14. French bistro Church & State in DTLA’s Arts District will tempt discerning dads with their $45 four-course Father’s Day menu, featuring dishes like Roulade de Porc and Steak Tartare made with grass-fed beef.
15. If Dad loves food trucks, take him to Angel City Brewery‘s Father’s Day Food Truck Festival. Downtown Taco Co. and other food trucks will serve up tasty temptations, the Vignes Rooftop Revival will play gypsy jazz, and an assortment of Angel City’s limited-edition craft beers will help Dad feel both relaxed and appreciated.
This weekend it’s all about the big game. While the Philadelphia Eagles go up against the New England Patriots, thousands of Angelenos will be digging into 50-cent wings, bottomless beers and $2 shots. So where will you be? Check out our top picks on where to watch, eat, drink and play on Super Bowl Sunday.
DTLA’s Brack Shop Tavern will open its doors at 1 p.m. and offer 50 cent wings and $15 pitchers (60oz) of Budweiser and Goose Island IPA. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. and deals will last until the end of the game.
Baldoria located in Little Tokyo will be showing the game and offering happy hour throughout the entire game. Happy hour includes $8 pizzas and 20% off all beer, liquor, and wine. $2 shots will also be offered during every touchdown.
Mohawk Bend located in the heart of Echo Park, will host a Vegan Tailgate Party from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. with special game day offerings like the ‘Vegan Tailgate Platter’ from 2 p.m. until halftime, featuring vegan versions of sausage, pulled pork sliders, beef jerky and fried chicken paired with Anchor Lager for $23. In addition, Bowl of Wings will start at 3 p.m. serving real chicken wings with three different sauce choices for $12.
Ayara Lūk will host their popular Game Day Viewing party that will have football fanatics stuffed with bottomless Singha beer and AYCE Thai eats like Pad Thai, Chicken Satay and Spicy Tahi “Lobstah Roll.” There will be a 100 inch screen playing the game and tickets cost $60 in advance, $75 at the door and kids under 5 are free.
Chicas Tacos will team up with Boomtown Brewery in DTLA for a Big Game Fiesta from noon to 10 p.m. Guests can purchase eats by Chef Eduardo Ruiz while they watch the game on two 16-foot projection screen at Boomtown Brewery who will serve cool brews and wines all day.
Laurel Tavern in Hermosa Beach will play the Super Bowl on an extra-large projector and offer food and drink specials like $20 Corona buckets, $4 draft lager, $1 Smoked Louisiana Wings, and 2 for $4 sliders.
Recently re-opened Brennan’s in Marina Del Rey will host a Super Bowl House Party with food specials like Buffalo cauliflower $9, Buffalo Chicken pizza $15, Vegan Chili fries $9, Soft Pretzel with Beer Cheese $6 and $5 canned beer all day.
The Standing Room is hosting a Football Tailgate Party with a $45 all-you-can-drink and $6 off-menu food specials. The AYCE drink deal includes domestic, draft, wells, and house red or white wine. Food specials include Chicken Wings (Korean or Hot), Pork Rib Wings with Knob Creek BBQ Sauce, and Chili Cheese Hot Dogs, all of which are not on their daily menu. The deal starts at 1 p.m. and ends when the game is done.
People who live in Venice Beach have it all: from glittering beaches and man-made canals, to stylish Abbot Kinney and eclectic Rose Avenue, to classy tasting menus and dirt-cheap taco trucks. Here are 30 best restaurants you absolutely have to visit while in Dogtown — including some of the best restaurants in all of Los Angeles.
Unpretentious institution with a straightforward menu
This unassuming dive bar on the busy Washington strip is the type of place where, at 1am on a Monday night, you can play pool with a stranger, sip on ice-cold beer served from a frosty glass pitcher, and tear into a juicy, classic burger as unpretentious as the place itself. And if your surroundings look familiar, that’s because Hinano has appeared on shows like Dexter and NCIS: Los Angeles, as well as the movie S.W.A.T. — yes, the one that teamed up Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell.
Long-standing pizzeria famous for its bagel crusts
The geniuses at Abbot’s hit the jackpot by fusing two of man’s favorite foods. For over a decade, this place has been serving delicious pizzas made with chewy, yet crisp, bagel crusts — a starchy match made in heaven.
Sprawling open-kitchen restaurant serving all-day Californian fare
Under the helm of Chef Jason Neroni, Rose Cafe (which underwent a brilliant reinvention in 2015) has grown into a perpetually lively Rose Avenue hotspot, with reimagined favorites for breakfast and brunch like oat griddle pancakes and a breakfast burrito served with peanut-poblano mole. Dinner dishes fall on the rich end of the spectrum — ranging from charcuterie (whipped lardo and porchetta) to al dente pastas (carbonara is a classic, but order the yuzu- and uni butter-flavored wakame spaghetti for something unique). If none of the above floats your boat, there’s plenty more on the menu (which is vast enough to match Rose Cafe’s sprawling, stunning space).
Fun brunch or dinner spot with colorful, Caribbean flavors
Sunny Spot’s brunch scene is loud and celebratory — sort of like its bold, Caribbean-inspired food. The savory-leaning menu (which until 2015 was overseen by Roy Choi) boasts pulled pork burritos, huevos rancheros, and your pick of bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, or rum punch (see: loud and celebratory).
Delicious organic, vegan eats that will satisfy even omnivores
Venice Beach’s hippie-dippie vibes are written all over Cafe Gratitude’s organic, plant-based menu. Dishes go by names like I Am Grateful (a quinoa/kale bowl drizzled with garlic tahini sauce) or I Am Warm-Hearted (grilled polenta served with braised summer squash), but each one is surprisingly satisfying and delicious. When your brain’s screaming, “I am hungry, but want to eat healthy,” go here.
Upscale restaurant with a market-driven menu
The Tasting Kitchen is about as fancy as Venice Beach gets — meaning not very, although considering its unfussy attitude and spontaneous approach to food, that’s a plus. Order the salt-roasted branzino and the pimento cheeseburger a la carte, or if you’re feeling extra hungry, gun for the five-course chef’s choice tasting menu, which’ll set you back a not-so-terrible $95 per person.
Rustic, modern American food with charming decor
It’s hard to beat this Abbot Kinney standby for date night: The lighting’s dim, most of the food is meant to be shared, and the rustic-slash-romantic outdoor patio will charm your dining partner as much as the perfectly executed squash blossom pizza and crisp duck confit. That said, Gjelina’s brunch menu is equally excellent — y’know, in case the date goes especially well.
Tasty grab-and-go tacos for cheap
Perched on the corner of Rose and 4th, this taco truck is a local gem. The fresh ceviche tostada, which maintains a satisfying crunch without ever getting soggy (how?!), is a must, though the meat-centric menu is killer, too. Easy-on-the-wallet prices also mean you won’t mind grabbing a seat curbside.
Cozy cafe with filling breakfast and lunch options
Nothing fixes a tequila-induced morning migraine like one of Flake’s stuffed-to-the-gills breakfast burritos, or its hearty Super-Crojo: a pile of warm scrambled eggs, crisped bacon, smoked Gouda, and special secret sauce tucked into a flaky, toasted croissant.
Perpetually busy artisanal bakery-meets-deli-meets-cafe
What Gjusta lacks in seating, it more than makes up for with dripping porchetta melts and baklava croissants. Mix and match from different stations — one brimming with house-made pastries; the next filled with charcuterie, cured fish, and interesting spreads; still another displaying enormous pies and cakes — and eat it all while perched at a communal table out on the patio.
Spacious sausage-focused restaurant ideal for big groups
You won’t find any weird mystery meat dogs here — only succulent, flavor-packed, gourmet sausages served on freshly baked rolls. That said, there are still some exotic options, like mildly spicy rattlesnake or duck and bacon links. The food and venue are casual enough for a quick, post-work bite, but the vibe’s also fun and boisterous if you want to do a big group dinner or birthday celebration.
Unassuming made-to-order deli sandwiches by the ocean
Venice has plenty of exemplary dining options, but locals tend to avoid the overpriced, underwhelming eateries by the boardwalk. Bellissimo is an exception: the charming deli’s gourmet sandwiches are all you need pre-sun and -surf.
Authentic BBQ restaurant that encourages family-style dining
The restaurant’s got a Type A attitude about its meat, so all the prime cuts are tender, moist, and fall-off-the-bone delicious. That said, it’s the homemade barbeque sauces that really seal the deal. Pro tip: if you can handle the heat, smother your ribs in the fiery XXX blend.
Food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar hawking Asian fusion tacos
Taco purists may say that no self-respecting taco would include a sunny-side-up egg, but they’ve clearly never tasted Komodo’s MP3: It’s the perfect example of the restaurant’s Asian fusion mash-ups, it features chunks of sirloin steak, tater tots, and a fried quail egg. Meat, seafood, and accompanying dressings — like Indonesian-inspired pork rendang braised in coconut milk or chicken tossed with crushed peanuts and hoisin — can be made into a taco, burrito, or rice bowl, while sides like dumplings and kimchi nachos fill out the rest of the menu.
Wood-fired eats in a sleek steakhouse setting
The brainchild of Chef Josiah Citrin, Charcoal cooks almost everything (lamb chops, smoky chicken wings, bone-in short ribs) over a live fire. Even non-meat dishes — like grilled squash with yuzu pumpkin vinaigrette or cabbage wedges baked in the embers until charred — get the same treatment and end up tasting like comfort food.
Iconic neighborhood restaurant offering classic Mexican and tequila
Casablanca serves mouthwatering Mexican (the tortillas, rumored to be made with beef lard, are legendary) and margaritas. A bartender wheels a cart of top-shelf tequila around and prepares drinks tableside, making you 100 times more likely to call a Lyft after dinner.
Buzzy restaurant serving a modern take on old-school Italian
Venice restaurants generally tend to be low-key affairs, which is why Scopa — with its high ceilings, exposed brick, industrial vibe, and a playlist that includes Sampha — looks like it belongs more in the Arts District or West Hollywood. But there’s clearly a void that this cool Italian spot’s filling for Westsiders — especially in our stomachs, which have thoroughly enjoyed Chef Antonia Lofaso’s rich ricotta crostini, fried rice balls, and beautifully prepared pastas for the past few years. Scopa’s top-notch beverage program also means it’s a great place to kick-start your night out.
Relaxed atmosphere with beers on tap and Mexican fare
Expecting a classic Mexican joint? Not your place. If, however, you’re in the mood for chipotle beer shrimp and Mexican corn on the cob, Cerveteca hits the spot. It’s also known for craveable barbacoa and fish tacos, as well as a spicy, seafood-heavy hangover soup.
Lively, critically acclaimed Italian trattoria with the best pasta in LA
If you somehow managed to secure a dinner reservation at Felix — currently the Westside’s most hyped Italian restaurant — make sure it’s on the early side. That’s because some of chef Evan Funke’s best dishes — especially the mouth-watering sfincione (a rosemary-kissed focaccia with an olive oil-oozing crust and pillow-soft interior) and meaty pappardelle — are actually worth the hype and tend to sell out before the late dinner crowd arrives. Have an 8pm seating? The rest of the food is still very good, with pizza dough mixed by hand and pastas made in an on-site, temperature-controlled room.
Bright, airy, all-day restaurant with seafood-leaning menu
Salt Air doesn’t succumb to being your typical trendy Abbot Kinney hotspot, and that’s a good thing. This unassuming neighborhood spot nails its seafood dishes — like trout on brioche toast with Thai basil or chili-glazed Scottish salmon — with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and flavors that don’t overwhelm. Everything is fresh and light, which means you’ll never leave here with a bloated food coma, which also means you can pop by to nearby Jeni’s or Salt & Straw for dessert.
Recently revamped sports bar serving elevated comfort food
Surfside moved into the space previously occupied by local hangout Danny’s — and it tried hard to preserve and display some of the former spot’s artifacts. But this sports bar/restaurant has a spotless, new look (although given its proximity to the boardwalk, we don’t expect that to last long). Most importantly, Surfside has a totally updated menu worth checking out: casual American comfort food with a few Asian-leaning flavors, like fries smothered in caramelized kimchi and sesame seeds, slow-roasted miso caramel pork belly, and a bulgogi burger. There’s lighter fare too (grain bowls and salads), but when you’re watching a football game with your fourth IPA in hand, all you’ll want is something heavy and preferably fried.
Mexican seafood gem slinging tostadas, tacos, and ceviche
After experiencing major success at Grand Central Market, this Mexican seafood spot just opened a second location on Abbot Kinney, bringing its Baja-influenced ceviche and tacos to the Westside. Most items are on the lighter side — like the chilled white fish tostadas or gringos tacos (a mix of grilled shrimp and tender octopus loaded on a sturdy corn tortilla) — but you can always order the shrimp and Oaxaca cheese Patrona burger for something more substantial. Bonus: Topo Chico’s also on the menu.
Restaurant/cafe/bakery beloved for freshly baked goods and brunch
Superba’s a neighborhood go-to, welcoming at any time of day. Seasonal pastries, like churro croissants or pear pistachio danishes, are available to grab and go. Breakfast or brunch calls for an order of the delicious cheesy eggs served over levain toast, and the lunch menu has a varied selection of burgers, omelets, and sandwiches (fried chicken is a favorite), but dinner’s where things get a touch more creative, including flavor combos like roasted carrots with fennel and pickled raisins or fries drizzled with rice wine vinegar.
Cool, New American date night spot with artisanal cocktails
If you couldn’t snag a last-minute table at Felix and walked into nearby Neighbor for dinner, chances are you’d leave pretty happy — as long as you’re OK forsaking pure Italian food for the night. This relative newcomer to Abbot Kinney sports a typical new American menu (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and burrata for starters; diver scallops, chicken, and steak for mains), but there are a few surprises to be had, like potato-ricotta gnocchi and buckwheat noodles served with black garlic and enoki mushrooms. And don’t leave without ordering a drink: fancy craft cocktails boast names like Venice Queen and Kimmy Gimlet, while the wine list is handpicked by James Endicott (formerly of New York’s Per Se). Oh, and those groovy tunes you hear? That’s DJ Morse Code, the restaurant’s Music Director who was hired to curate its auditory vibes.
Late-night joint serving grown-up breakfast for dinner
There’s a huge chunk of the general population who thinks breakfast (or brunch) food is the best food, which is where Nighthawk comes in — but this breakfast-themed restaurant (formerly based in Hollywood) doesn’t just serve your standard morning fare. The soft, scrambled eggs come with foie gras and duck jus, French toast is saturated in pear brandy and topped with mascarpone mousse, bacon is candied (and amazing), and coffee drinks are made with alcohol. Perhaps most creative of all? Spiked cereal milk cocktails in pairings like Cinnamon Toast Crunch coupled with spiced rum or Cocoa Puffs and vanilla vodka.
Creamery hawking creative, crave-worthy flavors
Ohio-based Jeni’s has four fantastic LA shops, but the spacious Venice outpost might be best of all — bright and quirky like the vibe of the street it’s on. Flavors can range from understated and delicious (like Savannah Buttermint, a simple, minty-buttery ice cream with white chocolate flecks) to utterly loaded and delicious (such as gooey butter cake or the sweet cream biscuits and peach jam combo). And if those imaginative flavors don’t keep you coming back again and again, the ice cream’s rich, luscious mouthfeel will.
Family-friendly Italian eatery with hearty portion sizes
This family-friendly Italian restaurant straddles the Venice/Marina del Rey border, but deserves to be on dining guides for both neighborhoods thanks to three little words: free garlic knots. These hot, doughy, chewy balls are absolutely smothered in garlic and olive oil and come in unlimited quantities; feel free to supplement with C&O’s pastas, which are excellent and generously portioned but hard to finish when you’ve polished off your weight in complimentary bread.
Recently upgraded Japanese hangout with inventive dishes
The decor and menu at this long-time Japanese spot — formerly known as Wabi Sabi — got an upgrade recently that’s turned it into a hip hangout. Grab a table on the outdoor patio, where the walls and ceiling drip with lush hanging plants, and start with izakaya-style small plates. Then dive into the heart of the menu: signature Japanese-style seafood with a twist, like seared toro served with caviar, salmon sprinkled with ponzu and truffle oil, or amberjack with coconut chili lime. Rolls are innovative here as well; the Pablo Escobar includes fried leek and crawfish salad, while the PB&J is stuffed with sous vide pork belly, avocado mousse, and 24K gold (edible, of course).
Fresh and quick Mediterranean eats for the millennial
Dune is a Middle Eastern oasis in the sea of new American, Italian, and Mexican restaurants that make up the Venice dining scene. Few other spots on the Westside specialize in making falafel this good: a crisp exterior that gives way to a fluffy, tender interior, easily broken down for eating atop charred flatbread with pickled veggies, onions, and loads of creamy hummus. (If you’ve ever eaten at Paris’s L’As du Fallafel, Dune’s version of the balls is something like that.) There’s more to the menu — a fried chicken “shawarma” sandwich, chicken souvlaki, and lamb — but eating the falafel alone will leave you as happy as a clam.
Modern Indonesian fusion spot perfect for date night
There aren’t a ton of Indonesian restaurants on the Westside, and there are even fewer that are housed in a beautiful space with modern architectural details. Combined with good Indo food (somewhat traditional, somewhat not), this makes Wallflower pretty special. Get the nasi goreng, bakwan (deep-fried corn fritters balanced by a vinegar-chili dip), and a legitimately spicy beef rendang that’s been simmered in kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal.