Food & Drink

30 Essential Hollywood Restaurants You Need to Know

Believe it or not, Hollywood's not just a place where movies get made and sex tapes get "leaked" -- it's also a neighborhood jam-packed with places to get your chow on. Yes, you may have to navigate tourist-riddled Hollywood Boulevard or spend 15 minutes trying to wedge yourself into a tight parking spot on Sunset, but these days it’s worth braving all of the above to indulge in inventive Japanese cuisine from a Nobu-trained chef, extravagant prix-fixe menus that actually live up to their price tags, and a carnivore’s utopia helmed by Curtis Stone. And since it’s Hollywood, you might -- just might -- have a literal brush with fame if your dining neighbor’s a Franco or Jolie-Pitt (or you saw your server play Night’s Watch Guard 3 on Game of Thrones). Star power aside, here are 30 Tinseltown restaurants to keep on your Walk of Fame list.

providence the ugly bunch
Noe Montes

Providence

A three-hour tasting menu experience worth every penny
5955 Melrose Ave

You can order a la carte at this fine-dining establishment, but everyone comes here for the wildly extravagant tasting menu, which can take several hours and set you back a few hundos (more if you go for the wine pairings). After the first course, it’s clear why dinners here take forever to leave; each dish is creatively prepared and beautifully presented, with an emphasis on seafood like abalone, spiny lobster, and spot prawns. Plates and utensils are thoughtfully swapped out after each course, the table cleaned, water glasses refilled. The standout meat dish here is a mouthwatering marbled cut of A5 wagyu, followed by a pick-and-choose cheese cart that rolls up to your table. And just in case you’re still hungry the next day, they send you home with treats -- usually artisanal chocolates and a fresh baked pastry a hundred times tastier than your usual breakfast cereal.

Delphine

Classy pre-Pantages bites and non-basic cocktails
6250 Hollywood Blvd

Located in the W Hollywood right across the street from Hollywood Pantages, Delphine is the ideal place to grab a pre-show bite -- and while there are tons of other restaurants in the area, Delphine’s laid-back-yet-elegant ambiance and solid menu sets the mood for a classy evening watching Wicked. If you’re aiming for lighter fare, ask for the yuzu-infused ahi crudo and juicy diver scallops; for a more substantial meal, the chorizo hush puppies and lobster artichoke melt should do the trick. Either way, you’ll also want to down a cocktail or two, like the delightfully refreshing Diamonds and Pearls: a vodka and ginger beer concoction kicked up a notch with lime juice and raspberries.

Gwen

Carnivore’s paradise with an in-house butcher shop
6600 Sunset Blvd

Pro tip: Don’t bring your vegetarian friends to Curtis Stone’s second Los Angeles restaurant Gwen. This place is an all-out celebration of meat -- and even has an in-house butcher shop that supplies the kitchen and sells everything from house-made sausages to dry-aged meat and game birds. Order the stunning charcuterie plate, creamy foie gras torchon, ricotta-stuffed agnolotti, and a splurge-y Australian Blackmore Wagyu bone-in ribeye from Australia that’s 42 ounces (and runs you $390). Though the original 10-course tasting menu is gone, you can still opt for the five-course Taste of Gwen, which is priced a bit more reasonably at $85.

Umeda

Traditional and unconventional Japanese fare from Nobu-trained chef
6623 Melrose Ave

A protégé of the renowned Nobu Matsuhisa, Chef Takuya Umeda trained at several Nobu outposts around the world before launching his own namesake restaurant last year: a gem tucked away on Melrose that features a suspended glass walkway and furniture constructed by traditional Japanese carpenters. Tradition extends to the food as well; many of Umeda’s dishes incorporate ancient techniques from Japan’s Edo period, including the thin, hand-stretched noodles in the Inaniwa udon soup and fresh sushi and sashimi prepared Edomae-style. Expect a heavy dose of creativity too: spot prawn served pomodoro-style in a shellfish broth (an example of what you might find on the seasonal omakase menu), the succulent quartet of uni that arrives sizzling in olive oil (a highlight from the a la carte selection), and much more.

Trois Mec
Courtesy of Trois Mec

Trois Mec

Unexpectedly creative dishes that push your imagination
716 N. Highland Ave

Snagging a reservation at Trois Mec is a lot like trying to buy a pass for Coachella. Tickets go on sale every other Friday at a specific time, so you have to be ready to pounce (trust us, you’re competing with a million other people). But the hassle is worth walking through the door with the old Raffallo’s Pizza sign above it and experiencing Ludo Lefebvre’s wildly inventive tasting menu, with dishes that combine ingredients in ways you never imagined -- like cantaloupe soup with avocado and white chocolate or crispy tapioca bites filled with passionfruit and fried in parmesan.

Petit Trois

Legit-delicious French eats served in close quarters
718 N. Highland Ave

While Trois Mec excels in out-of-the-box creativity, this next-door eatery -- Lefebvre’s other venture with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo -- focuses on French classics done well. Petit Trois doesn’t take reservations, so if you’re coming around dinner time, expect a line of customers waiting for the famous escargot drenched in garlic and parsley; the beloved butter-glazed omelette with its soft, creamy interior; and the colossal Big Mec, Lefebvre’s take on an American cheeseburger that comes dripping in Bordelaise sauce and requires a fork and knife to eat every last bite of brioche bun, tender pink meat, and caramelized onion.

Inn Ann

Hidden gem helmed by a Japanese master chef
6801 Hollywood Blvd

Yes, it’s inside Hollywood and Highland -- one of the last places you’d ever find a local -- but it’s worth braving Hollywood Blvd weirdness for this minimalist restaurant concept, part of a larger cultural endeavor called Japan House that’s owned and operated by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The idea is to showcase the country’s best and encourage appreciation for its design, technology, art, and gastronomy (as if we needed convincing on that front) through a gallery, event space, library, and this restaurant, which serves elevated, modern menus created by the legendary Mori Onodera. Expect meticulously prepared bites -- like sesame tofu croquettes and miso-marinated cheese (examples from Chef Taro Araki’s opening menu) -- served on delicate porcelain Japanese dishware and accompanied by your choice of rare sakes, shochus, and Japanese whiskies.

Los Balcones

Authentic Peruvian spot perfect for a pre-Arclight meal
1360 Vine St

This Peruvian restaurant recently expanded to Studio City, but its original Hollywood location remains a favorite for an Arclight movie pregame (or post-game, for that matter). The space got a makeover several years ago, so its warm, rustic interior brings a nice date night feel to accompany the array of bright, fresh ceviches (their specialty); Peruvian BBQ dishes like grilled beef hearts in a chili pepper marinade; and crispy pork chicharrones nestled in butter lettuce cups and served with a piquant salsa you won’t find find anywhere else.

Katsuya

Stylish Japanese spot patronized by the see-and-be-seen crowd
6300 Hollywood Blvd

Ever since LeBron announced he was joining the Lakers, he’s had food and drink specials named after him at restaurants all over the city -- but the tastiest dish belongs to Katsuya, the sleek, trendy Japanese chain that has locations in Glendale and Brentwood too. Its King XXIII Roll is a slam dunk (sorry, had to) -- a decadent medley of king crab, A4 Wagyu beef, truffle butter, wasabi, and ume topped with caviar. The luxury is balanced with philanthropy, too: Parent company SBE will donate $1 from every roll sold to the Lebron James Family Foundation to support the newly opened I PROMISE School in Akron, Ohio.

25 Degrees

24-hour elegant diner in the heart of Hollywood
7000 Hollywood Blvd

This 24/7 burger spot’s location inside the Hollywood Roosevelt -- smack dab in the center of all the nightlife action -- makes it the perfect spot for tackling your 3am munchies in a mahogany leather booth. You can build your own burger here, choosing from cheeses like rich gruyere and smoky mozzarella, extras such as portobello mushroom and prosciutto, and sauces ranging from horseradish cream to garlic parmesan. Failing that, you can indulge in other diner-inspired offerings like bacon-wrapped gourmet hot dogs and malt shakes.

Filifera

Swanky rooftop bar with stunning views and strong sips
1150 N. El Centro Ave

Perched on the 22nd floor of the Residences at Columbia Square, this swanky rooftop bar and lounge has glorious views of some iconic Los Angeles landmarks: the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and the Capitol Records building. Thankfully, Filifera doesn’t just get by on its good looks and 360-degree panorama of the Hills. The expertly crafted cocktails are delightful, particularly a hibiscus gin and tonic and mezcal drink mixed with elderflower liqueur, while food ranges from the expected and delicious (shrimp cocktail and hummus) to the surprising and still very delicious (Thai crab fritters served with red curry aioli). The bar’s newly reinstated Golden Hour goes from 5-7pm Tuesdays through Fridays and 3-6pm on weekends, when you can wash down tacos and shishito peppers with $8 prosecco and sangria.

Beauty & Essex

Glamorous date night restaurant designed to impress
1615 Cahuenga Blvd

This Los Angeles outpost of TAO Group’s glitzy restaurant -- which has locations in New York and Las Vegas -- occupies 10,000 square feet, starting with a pawn shop in the front that leads into a network of plush lounges and grand dining rooms, all outfitted with crystal chandeliers and antique-looking decor. The opulence makes Beauty & Essex an impressive date night contender -- as does a strong raw bar selection and multi-ethnic menu of shareable dishes like chile relleno empanadas, deep-fried shrimp with Thai papaya slaw, and banh mi sliders.

Kali

Chef-driven spot with an emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients
5722 Melrose Ave

Chef Kevin Meehan and co-owner/wine director Drew Langley’s critically acclaimed Kali is technically located in Hancock Park, but it’s close enough to Hollywood (literally across the street) to deserve a spot here. You could order a la carte, but we highly recommend the eight-course chef’s tasting menu -- which gives you the full scope of Meehan’s contemporary Californian cuisine driven by seasonal farmers market ingredients. And while every chef in LA shops at their local farmers market, Meehan often picks produce from his home garden and looks at his fixings a little differently than most, infusing nutty barley risotto with fermented black garlic tea and shaving savory salt- and sugar-cured egg yolk on top of meringue gelato. If you’re just dropping in for a quick bite, the new cocktail program (which has non-alcoholic drinks like homemade apple-guava kombucha) and bar snacks (featuring an off-the-menu burger and chicken sandwich) are equally irresistible.

Mozza Group

Incredible Italian restaurant group with plenty of accolades
6602 Melrose Ave

Run by Nancy Silverton and Joe Bastianich, Mozza Restaurant Group’s trio of all-star eateries -- Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, and Chi Spacca -- also fall outside of Hollywood’s borders, but again, they’re right at the cusp. Osteria Mozza serves up excellent pastas (from goat cheese-stuffed ravioli to a rich butternut squash tortelloni), as well as a mind-blowing mozzarella bar with a handful of options. Chi Spacca is a meat-centric eatery that hawks cured meats, a majestic tomahawk pork chop, and a beef cheek-filled pot pie with a fatty bone marrow plunged through through the middle. And finally, Pizzeria Mozza’s obvious specialty is pies -- the kind with a perfectly charred crust and crisp exterior that serves as a delicious vessel for toppings like squash blossoms and burrata.

Banh Oui

Banh mi shop that takes its sandwiches seriously
1552 N. Cahuenga Blvd

After shilling their tasty sandwiches at Smorsgaburg, partners Casey Felton and Armen Piskoulian opened up a brick-and-mortar spot back in 2017. Yes, the name is fun (meaning “bread yes” in Vietnamese and French, respectively), but this place takes the art of making banh mi pretty seriously. Pork belly is braised for six hours, seared until crisp, and loaded into a crusty French roll that’s been slathered with homemade chicken liver pate. The fried chicken sandwich is a great non-banh mi option, combining ingredients from several different cultures like Lebanese-inspired garlic spread, a coat of Japanese panko crumbs around the chicken, and Midwestern bread and butter pickles. And sticky tofu bites covered in caramel sauce and garlic cilantro fries help round out the menu.

Jane Q
Courtesy of The Kimpton Everly

Jane Q

Airy hotel cafe with a reliably tasty all-day menu
1800 Argyle Ave

Jane Q might not be a destination in and of itself when you’re trekking to Hollywood, but the Kimpton Everly Hotel’s bright, airy, all-day cafe is a no-brainer when you’re looking for a casual bite in the area. LAMILL coffee is brewed here, pizzas are made in-house and fired in a brick oven, and most ingredients are sourced locally from the nearby Hollywood Farmers Market. If you’re in the mood for something more filling, they’ll whip up fried chicken and sourdough waffles during brunch or braised beef short rib with collard greens for dinner, all of which can be enjoyed on white marble tabletops illuminated by sunlight streaming through tall atrium windows.

Jitlada

Beloved Thai Town spot with seriously spicy options
5233 W. Sunset Blvd

While some restaurants might water down their curries and sauces for non-Thai diners, Jitlada does no such thing. This strip-mall joint is one of East Hollywood/Thai Town’s most revered restaurants, famous for its vast menu featuring Southern Thai dishes and seriously spicy food (most people struggle with the medium level). So, unless you’re ready to handle tongue-searing, tear-jerking dishes like the infamous khua kling phat lung -- a shredded beef curry backed by turmeric and powerful chiles -- resist the temptation to bump up the spice level here. Don’t want to chug gallons of Thai tea and water to alleviate the heat? Order still-delicious comfort classics like pad see ew, crab fried rice, and crispy duck rolls.

Duidough

Craft cookie lab shilling fresh, made-from-scratch treats
6334 Selma Ave

Duidough calls itself a cafe and cookie lab, and while the former’s menu includes tasty items like challah French toast and loaded breakfast burritos, it’s the latter we’re most interested in. Owner David Vanlochem has been perfecting his formula since childhood, and bakes cookies from scratch twice a day -- from classics like chocolate chip or peanut butter to more interesting flavors like fig with a balsamic reduction or brown butter. The secret lies in his technique: He hand-mixes the dough (no machines allowed) to avoid overworking it, resulting in cookies that are, like the cafe’s name suggests, doughy-soft and delicious throughout.

Tocaya Organica

Quick and easy vegetarian- and vegan-friendly Mexican eats
6550 Sunset Blvd

Mexican food usually isn’t associated with vegetarian- or vegan-friendly fare, but the success of this popular chain -- which recently opened a 5,000-square-foot location in Hollywood -- proves otherwise. Organic bowls, tacos, burritos, and salads are customizable; meat eaters can opt in for free-range chicken and grass-fed beef, while vegans and vegetarians can take advantage of toppings like vegan mozzarella or proteins like chipotle adobo tofu.

Jinya Ramen Express

Counter-only, fast-casual ramen you can customize
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), your noodle thickness, and then your toppings -- of which there are over 20 to choose from, including garlic oil, crunchy garlic bits, and a perfectly soft-boiled seasoned egg. If it's not one of the most delicious bowls of ramen you’ve ever had, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Grub

Mouthwatering comfort food served on a picturesque patio
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 (which has been generously dredged in bourbon vanilla bean and cinnamon batter) and that insane bacon.

The Hungry Cat

Exceptionally fresh seafood accompanied by a solid wine list
1535 N. Vine St

Whether for 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. And during happy hour on weeknights from 5-7pm, gorge yourself on fresh, juicy, briny oysters for only $1 each.

Joe’s Pizza

No-frills, New York-style pizza for late-night munchies
6504 Hollywood Blvd

The classic NY-style pizza here is available by the slice and until 2am, every single day (except Thursday through Sunday, when the doors stay open until 3am to cater to late-night hungry revelers). It's simple, no-nonsense stuff that ticks the "I need a greasy slice in my body immediately" box handily, and while true New Yorkers will never be fully satisfied with it, Joe’s thin-crust pies keep Angelenos pretty happy.

Sqirl

Breakfast favorites, bowls, and more at a neighborhood institution
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.

Stout

Tasty pub-style burgers and beers
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 (starting at a measly $6).

Musso & Frank Grill

An old-school classic your parents will love
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), finish with the bone-in ribeye, and you’re done. That is, unless you’re interested in the classic (but never pedestrian) desserts, like the melty diplomat bread-butter pudding or famous torten cake, which is comprised of many layers of flaky pastry dough, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream.

Greenblatt’s Deli

Wine shop and Jewish deli that specializes in pastrami
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. And because it’s also open until 2am 365 days a year, Greenblatt’s is also the perfect place to pick up party platters stacked with corned beef, applewood-smoked ham, cheese, bread, and pickles for all your holiday parties.

papilles hollywood
Jenni Hwang

Papilles

Prix-fixe French dining in an understated space
6221 Franklin Ave

Smaller is never better, except when it comes to the seasonal, weekly changing menu at Papilles, which -- on any given day -- could kick off with tender pork rillons, move onto braised rabbit in Roquefort sauce, and end with a mound of simple vanilla ice cream melting into a sweet poached pear. 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.

Luv2eat

Strip mall Thai food serving authentic classics
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. Order what you normally would at your favorite Thai spot, and you’ll get a version that’s refined to the nth degree -- or go big with dishes that employ purple blood clams, funky shrimp paste, or salted mussels.

Stella Barra

Lively pizzeria with thin-crust pies and booze
6372 Sunset Blvd

Headed to see the new Spider-Man 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.

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Tiffany Tse is a contributor for Thrillist and is still trying to figure out how to cure egg yolks in sugar a la Meehan. Check out her cooking experiments and more at @twinksy.