Get handheld poke with these colorful tacos
Best ramen: Jinya Ramen Express
6801 Hollywood Blvd #317
No, seriously: the best place to score a bowl of delicious noodles is inside Hollywood’s busiest mall, and you get to customize it to your liking. Pick your broth, your noodles (the spinach noodles are highly underrated), and then your toppings. If it's not one of the most delicious bowls of ramen you’ve ever had, you have no one to blame but yourself.
Best patio dining: Grub
911 Seward St
Any place that serves something called “Crack Bacon” has to be good, and this quaint little diner off the beaten Hollywood path definitely qualifies. It's made even better by the outdoor patio surrounded by foliage-covered trellises -- go during brunch or lunch to take advantage of the daylight while feasting on your croissant French toast and that insane bacon.
Best seafood: The Hungry Cat
1535 N. Vine St
Whether for lunch, brunch, or dinner, The Hungry Cat has been the go-to for inventive, LA-style seafood dishes for over a decade. Do it up by starting with a one-, two-, or three-tier seafood platter, and pair your meal with one of the market-fresh cocktails that complement basically everything on the menu.
Best New York pizza: Joe’s Pizza
6504 Hollywood Blvd
The classic NY-style pizza here is available by the slice and until 2:30am, every single day. It's simple, no-nonsense stuff that ticks the "I need a greasy slice in my body immediately" box handily.
Best breakfast: Sqirl
720 Virgil Ave #4
Sqirl single-handedly made Virgil Village a thing, as is apparent from the inevitable but well-deserved line that snakes out its glass doors and around the corner. Go early for the seasonal specials, and stay for favorites like the sorrel pesto rice bowl and seared polenta -- and the people watching isn't bad, either.
Best pub-style burger: Stout
1544 N. Cahuenga Blvd
Whether you're craving rosemary bacon or crispy prosciutto with your beef patty, the best pub-style burgers in Hollywood hold are more than a match. What's more, each of the signature burgers on Stout's menu includes a pairing suggestion for the best style of beer to amplify your chosen flavors. Stop by during happy hour (4-6pm on weekdays), and you'll get that burger half off (a measly $6).
Best old-school spot for when your parents are footing the bill: Musso & Frank Grill
6667 Hollywood Blvd
When a restaurant that doubles as a historical landmark employs bartenders who’ve worked there longer than you’ve been alive, you’ve got a must-eat-at-least-once situation best financed by the parentals. Start off with a famous martini (it comes complete with a sidecar), and finish with the bone-in ribeye. Done.
Best under-the-radar restaurant: Baroo
5706 Santa Monica Blvd
No wait staff, no cashier, yet nominated as Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation? That’s Baroo, a nondescript strip mall spot serving up Korean-influenced gems using unique ingredients for out-of-this-world flavor combinations, all of which will leave you in a fermented tizzy. Since the place is short on staff, wait to visit during the odd hours (like between lunch and dinner). Your patience will be rewarded.
Best pastrami: Greenblatt’s Deli
8017 Sunset Blvd
Greenblatt’s perfectly seasoned slices of pastrami are hot and juicy every time -- saddle that with a bottle of wine from the retail shop adjacent to the deli and enjoy your sandwich like a pro.
Best prix fixe dining: Papilles
6221 Franklin Ave
Smaller is never better, except when it comes to the seasonal, weekly changing menu at Papilles. You might want to add supplements, but will definitely need a glass or more from the top-notch wine selection to be paired expertly with your food.
Best Thai: Luv2eat
6660 W. Sunset Blvd
Strip mall Thai restaurants may be the norm in Hollywood, but don’t be fooled by the one with the cutesy name outside of Thai Town. Luv2eat may be close to Highland Ave, but it takes its dishes to a whole new level of flavor as well as authenticity. Order what you normally would as your favorite Thai spot, and you’ll get a version that’s to the nth degree. Or go big with dishes that employ purple blood clams, funky shrimp paste, or salted mussels.
Best chef-driven restaurant: Birch
1634 N Cahuenga Blvd
Birch might be the most adventurous restaurant ever to hit the neighborhood, blending together influences and flavors from all over the world (think scallop sashimi and rabbit baklava). As a bonus, you'll find a collection of inspired, market-forward cocktails with ingredient combinations like black lime and white tea rum, frankincense and irish whiskey, or vodka and pinecone.
Best date spot: Cleo at The Redbury
1717 Vine St
Cleo has a wide and delicious selection of the Mediterranean small plates known as Mezze, and its baba ghanoush and grilled octopus are not to be missed. There's a great “see and be seen” scene here as well, thanks to the place's posh surroundings and the consequent pretty people who frequent it.
Best pre-movie spot: Stella Barra
6372 Sunset Blvd
Headed to see Titanic III in the Cinerama Dome after your meal, but you only want to find parking once? Head first to Stella Barra next door, with great Neapolitan pies topped with the freshest ingredients. The starters and salads are no slouches, either, if you're going for that whole “balanced meal” idea.