Food & Drink

The Definitive Westwood Dining Guide

Published On 04/09/2016 Published On 04/09/2016
bella pita, falafel, falafel sandwich
Courtesy of Bella Pita, Inc (edited)
courtesy of Hamasaku

Best strip-mall sushi: Hamasaku

11043 Santa Monica Blvd

Some of LA’s best sushi restaurants, like Hamasaku, are hidden away in strip malls. This nondescript spot -- which is surprisingly spacious inside -- has a solid sashimi selection, in addition to several non-traditional rolls and shareable starters.

Best non-taco-truck tacos: Tacos Tu Madre

1945 1/2 Westwood Blvd

No more chasing down your favorite taco truck after a night out; this colorful takeout window is tiny, but stays put. Plus, it specializes in unique taco offerings, like Korean barbeque or duck mole, breakfast burritos, and mouthwatering red velvet churros.

Best semi-secret café: Ammo

10899 Wilshire Blvd

Museum cafés usually try to stick you with overpriced, underwhelming food. But Ammo, tucked inside the Hammer Museum, is a tranquil courtyard oasis that serves stuff like fried egg/prosciutto sammies, farmers market fruit bread pudding, and ginger pear bellinis.

Courtesy of Scott Stewart

Best pizza: 800 Degrees

10889 Lindbrook Dr

Don’t expect sturdy pies that hold up perfectly as you’re eating at this build-your-own-pizza spot. 800 Degrees is known for slippery, piping hot, fresh Neapolitan-style pizza submerged in sauce and quality toppings.

Best place to watch sports: Palomino

10877 Wilshire Blvd Suite #150

The area doesn’t hurt for crowded sports bars, but Palomino scores thanks to plentiful overhead TVs and a killer daily happy hour that includes food specials, too. Pro tip: order the addictively good crab artichoke dip.

Best ice cream: Saffron & Rose

1387 Westwood Blvd

Even during one of LA’s wettest winters, there’s still a line at this Persian ice cream joint. Two things to expect: fragrant flavors (like pistachio-studded saffron or white rose), and an impossibly thick, gooey consistency that’ll make anything else seem a little too plain.

Courtesy of TLT Food

Best food-truck-turned-restaurant: TLT Food

1116 Westwood Blvd

The explosive flavors here -- Mexican-Asian fusion with a distinct Cali twist -- are all over the place in the best way possible. Nosh on braised pork belly nachos, cotija cheese-topped fries, and ahi tuna tacos with chipotle-honey slaw.

Best sandwich spot: Ike’s Place

1151 Westwood Blvd

Ike’s, a Bay Area fixture, boasts a massive number of sandwich options at its LA location. Whatever you order -- whether it’s the Hella Fat Bastard (ham, bacon, mozz sticks) or Menage A Trois (BBQ halal chicken, Swiss, and honey mustard) -- definitely request it with their popular Dutch crunch bread.

Best meal for when you’re sick of college student food: Ramayani

1777 Westwood Blvd

This authentic Indonesian gem gives you a tasty respite from the area’s chain restaurants. Adventurous palates will enjoy the soto madura (traditional soup with beef tripe and coconut milk) and ikan belado (fried-to-a-crisp whole fish smothered in a kicky sauce).

Courtesy of Fundamental LA

Best date spot: Fundamental LA

1303 Westwood Blvd

Fundamental’s sandwich-heavy lunch menu would be a contender for the neighborhood’s best hoagies. But by night, the restaurant’s intimate, no-frills space and locally sourced, artistically plated dishes make it perfect date-night material.

Best burger: In-N-Out

922 Gayley Ave

There aren’t many In-N-Outs on the Westside, so this outpost -- serving up the chain’s tasty double-doubles and animal-style fries -- is the area’s fast-food unicorn.

Best kabobs: Shamshiri Grill

1712 Westwood Blvd

South Westwood Blvd is often referred to as Little Tehran, so most of the Persian restaurants along the street know how to whip up a mean kabob. Shamshiri’s ground lamb koobideh skewers, though, are particularly juicy, tender, and flavor-packed.

Courtesy of Bella Pita, Inc

Best late-night food: Bella Pita

960 Gayley Ave

Night owls in Westwood have their pick of burgers, pizzas, tacos, and other greasy late-night eats around here, but Bella Pita’s probably the only spot that serves a satisfying falafel-loaded pita covered in veggies, hummus, and tzatziki sauce -- until 2am daily.

Best for vegetarians: Sunnin Lebanese Cafe

1776 Westwood Blvd

Westwood’s full of vegetarian-friendly options like Veggie Grill and Native Foods Cafe, but if you’re not in the mood for a kale salad or quinoa bowl, try this Lebanese spot’s baba ghanouj (roasted eggplant seasoned in lemon juice), fatayer (a flavorful hand pie glutted with spinach, onions, and pine nuts), and other specialties.

Best fancy restaurant for when you’re not paying: STK

930 Hilgard Ave

Though their porterhouse steak and jalapeño cheddar grits are revelatory, half the reason you’re going to this restaurant in the W Hotel is the sleek, stylish vibe, designed to make you feel like Vegas in Westwood.

Courtesy of Sync Marketing

Best brunch: Soleil Westwood

1386 Westwood Blvd

Brunch isn’t really Westwood’s strong suit, but this charming French-Canadian bistro lures locals with pleasant fare -- like light-as-air quiches and crepes -- and a great deal on bottomless champagne or mimosas on weekends.

Best cheap eats: Diddy Riese

926 Broxton Ave

Even if some say Diddy Riese’s famous stuffed ice cream cookie sandwiches don’t count as “real” eats (we’d beg to differ though), at two bucks a pop, they certainly qualify as cheap.