Los Angeles’s 22 Greatest Restaurants

Welcome to The Greats, a series on the restaurants that define their cities. Here now, a guide to the Los Angeles Greats.

After a long uphill battle filled with pandemic regulations, Angelenos can feel normal once more while dining out, passing plates with friends and family. Restaurants in Los Angeles have endured so much over the past two years, and it’s more apparent than ever that they are integral threads in the city’s cultural fabric.

Now that the city is reopening, it’s time to acknowledge those hard-working restaurants—new and old, from Silver Lake to Manhattan Beach—that have defined the city’s dining scene, nourished residents, and established Los Angeles as a global destination for anyone who loves food. These are The Greats, 22 restaurants that make Los Angeles shine.

Osteria Mozza (Hollywood)

Credit: Osteria Mozza

When it opened in 2007, Osteria Mozza changed the face of Italian food in Los Angeles. Helmed by James Beard Award winner and Chef’s Table documentary subject Nancy Silverton, the restaurant reminded Angelenos of the pleasures of fresh cheese and homemade pasta, and introduced relatively unknown items that are seen on menus across the city today, such as bitter Italian amaros and chicory salads—all of which nabbed the restaurant a MICHELIN star. The restaurant, like the food, has a timeless quality to it that’s helped it remain relevant to this day. You might still find Silverton plating up antipasti behind the best seat in the house: the mozzarella bar.

Dining at the restaurant: Mozza is open for indoor dining only.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available through the restaurant’s website.

Gracias Madre (West Hollywood)

This chic Mexican restaurant specializes in small-batch agave spirits and plant-based fare—a testament to Los Angeles’s inventive and delicious vegan food scene, one of the best in the country. The jackfruit carnitas tacos, potato pimento flautas, and mushroom fajitas are so flavorful and hearty that carnivores won’t even miss the meat. Executive chef Diana Briscoe is committed to sourcing local ingredients whenever possible and her healthy, sustainable approach to food extends to the bar program too, where zero-waste margaritas (made with leftover lime juice, lime, and orange peels) and mezcal slushies are popular orders. The courtyard is a great place to spot celebs too: Natalie Portman, Ellen DeGeneres, Selena Gomez, and Jessica Alba are all fans.

Dining at the restaurant: Gracias Madre welcomes people to dine on its spacious, outdoor patio, or indoors near their craft agave bar. Both areas of the restaurant serve the full food and cocktail menu. 

Takeout: Takeout is available online or by calling the restaurant.

MIAN (West Adams)

MIAN is the brainchild of James Beard Award-nominated chef Tony Xu, who is largely credited with popularizing Sichuan-style cuisine in Southern California after the opening of his first restaurant, Chengdu Taste, in the San Gabriel Valley in 2013. Named after the Mandarin word for “noodle,” MIAN specializes in Sichuan-style noodles and traditional dishes from the southwestern Chinese province. Timid diners, be warned: the flavors here are bold, pungent, and tongue-numbingly spicy, but worth every bite. It’s easy to understand why the late Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, after just one meal, asserted that “there is nothing quite like Mian,” and why the MICHELIN Guide selected the restaurant for a prestigious Bib Gourmand award in 2019.

Dining at the restaurant: MIAN’s newest location in West Adams is also its largest, and the only one to feature an open kitchen and chef’s counter. It currently offers indoor dining daily for lunch and dinner and serves natural wine and beer.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available via third-party apps.

Bacari (Silver Lake)

Since opening the first Bacari location in West Adams in 2008, the trio behind the Mediterranean restaurant has opened five additional outposts of their shared plates concept. Executive chef Lior Hillel and his co-owners Robert and Danny Kronfli cater to the local community, expressing each neighborhood’s personality with every location. Their newest Silver Lake restaurant opened in June 2021 and was an immediate hit, with cicchetti-style dishes such as signature fries topped with a fried egg, as well as larger plates like gorgonzola pasta and juicy lamb-stuffed eggplant. Everything is meant to be shared with the entire table for a collective experience. The Silver Lake location has live music every weekend and a late night bar program featuring small-production funky wines, sangria, beer, and specialty cocktails with housemade syrups, juices and bitters. 

Dining at the restaurant: Dine on Bacari’s outdoor shaded patio, complete with a fire pit, or indoors in the cozy dining room. Bacari Silver Lake is open for dinner and bottomless boozy brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Takeout: Takeout is available by calling the restaurant.

(abeautifullife) Jamaican Kitchen (Little Tokyo)

Since its founding in 2013, (abeautifullife) has been a destination for the restaurant’s distinctly Californian take on Jamaican food. Its airy, tropically decorated space provides the perfect backdrop for its plates, which combine island traditions with a commitment to responsible sourcing. The results are tasty mashups, such as jerk bone broth, oxtail ragu, and a range of bowls like jerked wild-caught salmon with rice and peas, sautéed cabbage, and fried plantains. It’s a combination that’s won (abeautifullife) such a loyal following that the restaurant now has two locations, a food truck, and a line of jerk-themed clothing.

Dining at the restaurant: Reservations are available for the South San Pedro street location, while the Spring Street location is only offering takeout.

Takeout: Takeout is available through the restaurant’s website.

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant, such as bottomless mimosa Sundays. Book by heading to the Experiences section here.

Park’s BBQ (Koreatown)

Seoul native chef Jenee Kim made a commitment early on at Park’s BBQ to serve USDA Prime and American wagyu beef, a decision that quickly established it as the city’s finest example of Korean barbecue. Come hungry and order one of the “Taste of Park’s” barbecue platters to try the full range of offerings, such as perfectly marbled ggot sal prime beef, or the boneless short ribs marinated in the restaurant’s beloved garlic, soy, and brown sugar mixture, all served with an assortment of banchan: side dishes of marinated vegetables, tofu, and more. You’ll immediately understand this restaurant’s influence upon walking in, where the walls are plastered with photos of the likes of David Chang and Anthony Bourdain.

Dining at the restaurant: Park’s BBQ is currently offering limited outdoor seating on the restaurant’s tented patio, where the tabletop grills have been relocated to preserve the quintessential Korean barbecue experience.

Takeout: Marinated meats and prime cuts of steak, beef tongue and pork belly are available to pre-order from the online butcher shop.

Felix Trattoria (Venice)

Credit: Wonho Frank Lee

There is no shortage of fresh pasta in Los Angeles these days, but no restaurant elevates it to an art form quite like Felix, where chef Evan Funke makes a kaleidoscope of shapes in a glass-walled, temperature controlled pasta “lab.” Funke’s single-minded pursuit of pasta perfection landed him a cookbook deal on the subject, a spot on Eater’s best new restaurants list in 2017, and Felix the reputation as one of the city’s definitive restaurants. Diners can travel Italy from the north to the country’s islands via the restaurant’s menu, eating through geographically organized pastas such as linguini with lemon and asparagus covered in a shower of pecorino.

Dining at the restaurant: Felix is currently open for indoor and outdoor dining.

Takeout: The restaurant does not offer takeout at this time.

Rossoblu (Fashion District)

For perfect renditions of regional Italian cooking, head downtown to Rossoblu, where chef Steve Samson draws upon his childhood memories spent at his grandparents’ house in Bologna, recreating dishes at such a high caliber that it has made the Los Angeles Times’s list of 101 Best Restaurants for several years running. Here, diners have the opportunity to try dishes rarely seen outside of Emilia-Romagna, such as erbazzone, a savory pastry filled with swiss chard, bitter greens, and cheese, or the now-infamous minestra nel sacco, a bowl of parmigiano reggiano dumplings in brodo.

Dining at the restaurant: Rossoblu is open for indoor and outdoor dining on the restaurant’s private outdoor piazza.

Takeout: The restaurant offers a seven-course “Rossoblu Experience at Home” as well as bundles of take-and-bake pizza and wine, both available to order online.

Bicyclette (West Los Angeles)

This homey 80-seat bistro, all mosaic tiles, oversize armoires, and vintage European posters, was masterminded by Walter and Margarita Manzke, the chefs behind Los Angeles’s widely acclaimed French-inspired bakery and cafe République. Kick off your meal here with toasty baguettes and Rodolphe Le Meunier butter from Normandy, a fitting preview for the decadent fare that will follow. Gallic staples, such as tuna “steak” tartare, duck leg confit, and beef short rib a la Bourguignonne, are prepared with locally sourced meats and produce. To that, add the charming maison-inspired interiors—the polished wooden tables were built by the multi-talented Walter Manzke—and you’ve got a slice of Paris in West LA.

Dining at the restaurant: Bicyclette’s ground floor is currently open for indoor dining; an additional upstairs restaurant space will open later this year.

Takeout: Takeout is not available at this time.

Gjelina (Venice)

Credit: Carla Choy & Margot Landen

Los Angeles’s penchant for all-day cafés and avocado toast has risen to the level of stereotype, but Gjelina is the mother of the genre—when the restaurant opened in 2008, there was nothing else like it in the city. And to this day, the restaurant’s wooden communal tables, industrial chic stools, and effortlessly stylish crowds invite anyone who visits to indulge in the fantasy of California cool. But more importantly, Gjelina pioneered the type of eating that Angelenos take for granted today, where a wood-burning oven cranks out creative pizzas alongside a variety of vegetable-forward small plates, such as charred romanesco cauliflower spiked with anchovies, capers, Fresno chiles, and mint.

Dining at the restaurant: Gjelina is currently open for indoor and outdoor dining on the restaurant’s rooftop terrace and backyard patio.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available a few doors down at Gjelina Takeaway.

Q Sushi (Downtown)

For the city’s best traditional omakase menu, head downtown to the MICHELIN-starred Q Sushi. Here, every single piece of fish is prepared by chef Hiroyuki Naruke, who avoids creative flourishes and instead stakes his reputation on perfect cuts of fish and well-executed, simple preparations of rare varieties such as black abalone or Hokkaido scallops. The small, spare dining room only accommodates two seatings per night, both for $300 per person. But compared to the cost of a plane ticket to Tokyo, it’s well worth it to experience some of the city’s most flawless fish. Pro tip: Head for lunch for a $150 version of the meal.

Dining at the restaurant: Q Sushi is open for limited indoor dining.

Takeout: The restaurant is not doing takeout at this time.

Bavel (Arts District)

Credit: DYLAN + JENI

Bavel, from the renowned team behind Bestia, is a Middle Eastern restaurant that follows the traditional format (spreads, salads, small plates, large plates) but utilizes wholly untraditional ingredients. The cloud-like hummus alone sets it apart as one of the city’s great restaurants, arriving in a bowl slicked with olive oil, either simply dressed with a slug of green zhoug or, more creatively, with duck ‘nduja. These unexpected additions—always perfectly executed—will make diners want to try every dish on the menu, and are the reason Eater named Bavel LA’s restaurant of the year when it opened in 2018.

Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant is open for indoor dining and outdoor dining on its covered patio. Walk-in diners can also enjoy the full menu at the bar.

Takeout: Bavel’s menu is available for takeout via the restaurant’s website.

A.O.C. (Beverly Grove) 

If you’ve had a bacon-wrapped date in the past 10 years, you can thank A.O.C. and chef Suzanne Goin. This venerable wine bar was one of the first to embrace the shareable small plates style of dining, kicking off a trend that would define LA restaurants for years to come. Co-owner Caroline Styne curates the award-winning wine list, while Goin continues to balance menu innovations with greatest hits, such as the Spanish fried chicken, served with romesco aïoli and chile-cumin butter. The duo opened a second A.O.C. location in Brentwood last year in their former Tavern space, with a new wood-burning oven and seating for 180 guests, including a spacious patio.

Dining at the restaurant: A.O.C.’s Beverly Grove and Brentwood locations are open for indoor and outdoor dining; at the former, the patio is considered one of the best in the city.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available through the restaurant’s website, including bacon-wrapped dates, charcuterie boards and their legendary grilled bread.

71Above (Downtown)

Set on the—you guessed it—71st floor of the 1,018-foot U.S. Bank Tower, this natty modern American restaurant, the highest west of the Mississippi, most definitely scrapes the sky. Drink in 360-degree city views along with signature cocktails, named for Los Angeles neighborhoods such as the Hollywood, a powerful mix of jalapeño vodka, fortified wine, and grapefruit cordial, or the Downtown, a bourbon, cognac, and apricot liqueur concoction. Fortunately, the plates are just as awe-inspiring as the sky-top vistas. Begin your evening with caviar service before sampling a variety of seasonal dishes, such as heritage pork topped with garlic-cherry purée and delicate handkerchief pasta with mushrooms. For a closer view of the kitchen action, sit at one of the two chef’s tables. 

Dining at the restaurant: Request a window seat in the dining room when making your reservation—or opt for the bar, which affords prime sunset panoramas. For peak seclusion, the restaurant offers a choice of three private dining rooms of varying sizes, overlooking Dodger Stadium.

Takeout: Takeout is not available at this time. 

Here’s Looking at You (Koreatown)

This critically acclaimed Koreatown restaurant, a celebration of Los Angeles’s signature multiculturalism, resurrected in January thanks to a crowd-funding campaign. And though it returns with an edited menu, owner Lien Ta and executive chef Jonathan Whitener confirm they are game-changers when it comes to global plates. While certain crowd-pleasers, such as the Chinese sausage-topped tomatoes, beef tartare, and the renowned frog legs remain, a selection of daily changing newer offerings, like a crispy duck confit, prove Whitener’s inventive instincts are firmly intact. Feast on it all in a cool and confident space, complete with penny tiles, taxidermy, and cookbook stacks.

Dining at the restaurant: HLAY is open for indoor dining.

Takeout: The restaurant does not offer takeout at this time.

Orsa & Winston (Downtown)

Orsa & Winston had already established itself as one of the city’s most creative restaurants before the pandemic struck, earning a MICHELIN star and rave reviews for chef Josef Centeno’s mash-up of Japanese and Italian flavors. But it earned the title of 2020 restaurant of the year from the Los Angeles Times due to the grace and creativity with which it weathered the pandemic: Centeno cooked for hospital workers, opened a pick-up window that served an excellent cheeseburger on Japanese milk bread, and even made masks via his clothing line. With dining open once again, Orsa & Winston is back to serving its famed tasting menu, featuring dishes such as hand-torn pasta with porcini bolognese, lovage-dashi butter, and salted shiso.

Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant is open for limited indoor dining, serving a five-course tasting menu that changes daily for $125 per person, with an optional wine pairing for $80.

Takeout: The restaurant does not offer takeout at this time.

Birdie G’s (Santa Monica) 

Credit: Jim Sullivan

After earning a MICHELIN star and literally writing the book On Vegetables, chef Jeremy Fox has moved on to global comfort food at his sprawling Santa Monica spot Birdie G’s. Inspiration comes from all over on this menu: homemade cavatelli is dressed with Calabrian chile and kimchi, while the Southern noodle kugel is a tribute to the Eastern European food Fox’s grandmother used to make—though it’s safe to guess his grandma probably didn’t weave in ricotta, chow-chow, pecans, and sage brown butter. There’s an excellent kids menu too, including potato-crusted chicken fingers even adults will love. The mix of nostalgia and fine dining skill have made Birdie G’s an instant hit just two years after opening.

Dining at the restaurant: Birdie G’s is open for both indoor dining and outdoor on the restaurant’s spacious patio.

Takeout: A good portion of the restaurant’s menu is available for takeout online or via third-party apps. 

Gwen (Hollywood)

Once one of the city’s most heralded tasting menus, celebrity chef Curtis Stone and his brother Luke Stone have transformed Gwen into one of the city’s most impressive takeout operations. Angelenos can pick up cuts from the lauded in-house butcher shop, which specializes in ethnically raised, hormone-free meats, or head over to the marketplace for fresh produce, pantry items, and entrées such as oxtail and beef cheek stew with cipollini onions. The restaurant also offers picnic kits, so diners can head to a nearby park with housemade charcuterie and pickles, cheese, freshly made cookies, and condiments.

Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant is open for indoor dining.

Takeout: Diners can call the restaurant’s butcher shop to pick up proteins.

Ospi (Venice)

Southern Italian specialities dominate the massive menu at this light-filled Venice spot, the sophomore restaurant of Jackson Kalb—one of the city’s best pasta chefs who will compete in Top Chef’s 19th season—and Melissa Saka, of Jame Enoteca fame. The duo took over the former space of the Canal Club, a 20-year-old beachy hangout, refurbishing it with blonde wood and expansive communal tables, plus a glass-encased pasta station made for watching chefs roll out a range of silky noodles. The restaurant is named after the Italian word for “host,” and fittingly, Kalb and Saka make frequent tableside appearances here. Choose from the aforementioned pastas, fett’untas (toasted breads), meats, and extra-thin Roman pizzas, including an especially inventive spin on a Hawaiian pie, which pays homage to a dish Saka grew up eating in her native Long Beach. 

Dining at the restaurant: Ospi offers indoor dining, along with outdoor dining for 40. 

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available via third-party apps, and the owners are known to slip in handwritten notes.

Fishing With Dynamite (Manhattan Beach)

Credit: Fishing With Dynamite

For the best seafood in Los Angeles, head to Manhattan Beach, where Fishing With Dynamite serves some of the city’s most expertly shucked bivalves alongside globally inspired fish dishes within a stone’s throw of the Pacific Ocean. Chef and owner David LeFevre offers several raw bar platters that give diners a taste of the restaurant’s intentionally sourced shellfish, such as the “Mothershucker” that places bicoastal oysters on a tray with a whole lobster, Alaskan king crab, and signature Peruvian scallops presented in their own shell with a bit of citrus. The rest of the menu at this tiny spot is basically an encyclopedia of seafood preparations from around the world, drawing inspiration from New England for the bacon-packed “chowda” bowl, or El Salvador for the shrimp pupusas.

Dining at the restaurant: Fishing With Dynamite is open for indoor and outdoor dining for lunch and dinner daily, plus weekend brunch.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available through the restaurant’s website.

Providence (Hollywood)

Chef Michael Cimarusti’s deft touch with seafood and partner Donato Poto’s legendary front-of-house presence have made Providence one of Los Angeles’s preeminent fine dining restaurants for more than 17 years, racking up almost every award there along the way—including two MICHELIN stars. Looking over the $250 tasting menu, it’s easy to see why: Dishes such as rock crab over creamy soy milk panna cotta with sweet corn and caviar are sustainably sourced and gracefully couriered through the sea-toned dining room by expert staff, giving the whole experience an overtone of luxury befitting of the price tag.

Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant is open for indoor dining at dinner service, offering an eight-course tasting menu for $250 per person with an optional $115 wine pairing and optional a la carte add-ons.

Takeout: Providence does not offer takeout.

LA Cha Cha Chá (Arts District)

This stylish Arts District restaurant was born in Mexico City. Its Los Angeles location, a happy hour dream and the brainchild of Mexico-based Grupo Palmares, is lined with cheery yellow floors and views of bustling Third Street. Tuck into tacos and tostadas, crafted with inventive ingredients such as octopus and bluefin tuna and handmade tortillas—rumor has it the kitchen, led by chef Francisco Moran, once churned out 400 a day. But leave room for reimagined family recipes, such as chicharos de sierra with fresh peas, serrano aioli, and crispy potato. Don’t sleep on the cocktails: this predominantly outdoor expanse is ideal for sipping colorful libations, such as a blue corn tortilla whiskey old fashioned and a red bell pepper mezcal negroni.

Dining at the restaurant: La Cha Cha Chá is open for indoor and outdoor dining on a charming, plant-filled patio; for a more private rooftop experience, opt for La Barra, a bar attached to the restaurant which opened in October.

Takeout: Takeout is available by calling the restaurant directly. 

Tried them all? Check out other options here.