Traveling across the world is not so easy right now, but with Los Angeles’s melting pot of cultures, you certainly don’t need to hop on a plane to taste an authentic plate of food from just about any cuisine.
Many of the city’s restaurants are still open for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. From the small family-run restaurants to trendy hot spots, LA restaurants have been working tirelessly to keep their kitchens open and their staff employed amid ever-changing guidelines around COVID.
Whether you’re craving a warm bowl of tom yum soup or a plate of juicy kabobs, here are 15 restaurants that Los Angeles locals love.
Poppy & Rose (Downtown)
This Flower District cafe serves casual American comfort food in a space that pays homage to the surrounding neighborhood with its floral interiors and eponymous name. The husband and wife duo who own it have crafted a menu that brings seasonal touches to heartwarming dishes such as pulled pork hash and a fried chicken sandwich. But locals know that brunch is the most popular time to visit to try the buttermilk chicken and waffles and can’t-miss biscuits.
Dining at the restaurant: Poppy & Rose launched a rooftop, picnic-style patio called Poppy Patio, open for weekend brunch by reservation only.
Takeout: Curbside pickup and takeout is available by calling the restaurant to place your order or through most delivery apps.
Quiadaiyn Restaurant (Culver City)
This family-owned restaurant centers the flavors and dishes of the Martinez family’s Oaxacan roots, offering up no less than five types of mole to Angelenos in Mar Vista. Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the care put into the housemade mole and tortillas shines through in dishes such as the taquitos con coloradito and the enmoladas de quesillo, a dish of corn tortillas stuffed with Oaxacan cheese and covered with mole negro. In addition to the regular menu, weekly specials give the neighborhood many reasons to return often.
Dining at the restaurant: Reservations for indoor seating are available, though the outdoor patio is a favorite, especially on occasions when live mariachi bands entertain diners.
Takeout: The restaurant offers curbside takeout and delivery through third-party apps.
Javan (Santa Monica)
Succulent charbroiled meats and hearty stews are front and center at this Persian restaurant in West LA. Spices like saffron and sumac plus tons of herbs flavor standout dishes such as beef koobideh and fluffy Basmati rice called polo. Pair your meal with a side of torshi (mixed pickled vegetables) for an extra burst of flavors.
Dining at the restaurant: Javan does not offer outdoor seating.
Takeout: Takeout is available by calling the restaurant or ordering via its website. Delivery is also available through third-party delivery apps. Portions are generous and can easily feed two people, so order a few different dishes to enjoy a variety.
Felix Trattoria (Venice)
Dining at Felix has practically become an LA rite of passage. This Abbot Kinney haunt from superstar chef Evan Funke was crowned Esquire’s Best New Restaurant in America in 2017, and rightfully so. The main attraction here is the fresh pasta, which is handmade daily in a glass-enclosed, temperature-controlled laboratorio in the main dining room. Whether you opt for one of the decadent pastas or seasonally driven pizzas, tack on an order of the piping hot rosemary focaccia bread.
Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor dining is available. A reservation at Felix is a hot ticket, so make sure to book ahead of time as reservations tend to fill up weeks in advance.
Takeout: Felix does not offer takeout or delivery.
Joselito’s is a family-owned, California-inspired Mexican restaurant that’s been serving dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and tableside guacamole since 1977. For those looking to go beyond the classics, explore the “especiales de la casa,” featuring dishes such as chile Colorado, where chunks of Angus beef are simmered in a mild red chile sauce that’s perfect for sopping up with the restaurant’s homemade corn tortillas. Don’t miss the cocktail menu, packed with riffs on tequila-based classics such as the spicy ancho chile paloma.
Dining at the restaurant: Joselito’s has heated patio seating that’s especially dog-friendly.
Takeout: The restaurant currently offers both takeout or delivery.
Bao Dim Sum House (Beverly Grove)
There’s no need to leave LA proper to find good dim sum. Instead, head to Beverly Grove for Bao Dim Sum House’s family-style platters of dumplings, steamed buns, noodles, vegetables, and soups. The har gow (crystal shrimp dumplings) and xiao long bao (pork soup dumplings) are absolute musts.
Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining and heated, covered outdoor seating is available.
Takeout: Call to place an order for pickup or order takeout and delivery through the restaurant’s website.
Sasabune (Beverly Hills)
Sushi lovers go nuts for this Japanese restaurant that’s known for its traditional sushi, focusing on simple preparations of fresh fish and well made rice — you won’t find specialty rolls or even spicy tuna on this menu. For a really authentic experience, select one of the omakase options available, then sit back and let the chef choose for you.
Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant offers indoor dining and a few cafe-style outdoor tables.
Takeout: Sasabune is available for takeout and delivery.
Mazal (Echo Park)
This casual, family-owned Israeli restaurant is one of the few brave places that opened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The menu is a love letter to vegetables, highlighting what’s in season through Mediterranean flavors and paired with a rotating dessert menu crafted by the chef’s mother. In true Israeli fashion, the meal starts with small plates of hummus, babaganoush, stuffed grape leaves, and beets meant for sharing. For the main dishes, you’ll find a variety of flatbreads, bourekas (flaky hand pies) with your choice of potato or feta filling, and even a Jerusalem bagel toast that makes a strong case for eating bagels at dinner.
Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant offers socially distanced indoor dining and outdoor seating on the heated, string-lit patio.
Takeout: Pickup and delivery is offered through the restaurant’s website.
Modern Indian dishes are served alongside classics at this hip, family-owned restaurant with two locations across LA. The menu includes fragrant coconut curries, popular Indian street food, and traditional favorites such as chicken tikka masala and saag paneer. Beer and wine are also on the menu, but regulars make sure to pick up a glass of homemade oat milk chai, Indian cola, or sweet yogurt drinks such as mango lassi.
Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant offers indoor dining.
Takeout: Badmaash offers both delivery and takeout. Orders can be placed via third-party delivery partners.
Luv2Eat Thai Bistro (Hollywood)
It’s no secret that some of LA’s best food is found in strip malls, and Luv2EatThai is the perfect example. Locals love this casual neighborhood Thai restaurant that serves both classic and specialty dishes such as pad see ew, crying tiger beef, and the heartwarming tom yum soup. Lookout for family recipes like the crab curry, which has been passed down for generations and is a menu favorite.
Dining at the restaurant: Luv2Eat offers indoor dining.
Takeout: Takeout is available and the restaurant also offers delivery to nearby neighborhoods.
South End (Venice)
South End is an intimate, dimly lit wine bar serving specialty pizzas in a discreet strip mall in Venice. Here, a former Mozza chef is churning out rustic sourdough pies with an assortment of well-sourced ingredients such as Italian white anchovies or sottocenere, a semi-soft Italian cheese whose name means “under ash,” in reference to its black rind. For those with high credit limits, there’s the 24K pizza — a portrait of indulgence that includes edible gold, white truffle sauce, duck pâté, and black truffle — for $101. But the rest of the casual dishes are priced mainly around $20.
Dining at the restaurant: South End has indoor dining and outdoor seating in the parklet.
Takeout: The restaurant offers both takeout and delivery. If you’re a regular customer, check out the restaurant’s memberships to take advantage of discounts on every order.
Swift Cafe (Leimert Park)
Founded by nutritionist and chef Kyndra McCrary, Swift is a neighborhood cafe that serves comfort food that not only tastes good, but is also good for you. The eclectic menu is heavily inspired by international flavors and includes tons of plant-based options such as sweet potato ravioli with cashew milk ricotta, or the chickpea coconut curry bowl. Whether you are vegan or gluten-free or have no dietary restrictions, there is something on the menu for every type of diner.
Dining at the restaurant: Outdoor dining is not available.
Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available through most delivery apps. Order now.
Da Pasquale Trattoria Italiana (Beverly Hills)
This cozy, family-run Italian restaurant has been serving traditional Italian dishes since 1993, proving that classics never go out of style. Pasquale Morra, the owner, is usually busy greeting diners while his wife Anna Morra, the chef, is behind the restaurant’s delicious food. The simple pasta dishes such as spaghetti al filetto di pomodoro (spaghetti with tomato and prosciutto) or the penne arrabbiata are made using quality ingredients (and lots of love).
Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant offers indoor dining and a small outdoor heated patio.
Takeout: Da Pasquale accepts pick-up orders through the restaurant’s website and delivery through third-party apps.
Carlitos Gardel Argentine Steakhouse (Beverly Grove)
Carlitos Gardel brings Angelenos a taste of an Argentinian parilla, or steakhouse. While the longtime restaurant does offer pasta and chicken entrees, diners are really here for the large plates of tender USDA Prime beef, all expertly grilled and served with a side of the finger-licking good homemade chimichurri sauce. It’s so good, in fact, that the restaurant sells it to-go — grab one at the end of your meal and keep it in the fridge to add a dash of Argentina to anything you grill.
Dining at the restaurant: In addition to the restaurant’s dining room, diners have the option to dine al fresco on Carlitos Gardel’s custom-built, open-air patio deck made of Redwood floors and plexiglass dividers between tables. Reservations are allotted one-and-a-half hours at the restaurant’s outdoor tables.
Takeout: Call the restaurant for pick-up or you can order delivery through partner sites.
Messhall Kitchen (Los Feliz)
Messhall Kitchen is a neighborhood gastropub known for its relaxed vibe, classic American cuisine, and raw bar. Bar food favorites such as shrimp cocktail, macaroni and cheese, burgers, and baby back ribs are made with seasonal ingredients and pair well with the restaurant’s creative cocktail menu. For family-style dining, check out the BBQ packages, which include a variety of smoked meats plus a generous serving of sides such as house rolls, pickles, pit beans, and slaw.
Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor seating on the patio is available.
Takeout: The restaurant offers curbside pickup or you can order delivery through a number of delivery apps.
Leila Najafi is a freelance lifestyle and travel writer in LA, and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @LeilasList.
Lauren McDowell contributed reporting to this guide.
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