Brentwood often gets a bad rap as the home of calorie-counting soccer moms and acai-slurping yogis; if you dig deep enough, though, you’ll find some truly bold eats around town. Yes, many restaurants here push organic, raw, sustainable, and gluten-free fare (this is Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady’s former home, after all), but it’s done with discerning taste buds and a growing, diverse community in mind. From a perpetually packed Neapolitan pizzeria to a refined farm-to-table brunch spot, here are 20 essential restaurants and eateries to try in Brentwood.
Timothy DeLaGhetto and David So Hit Up the Taste of Little Italy Food Festival
11678 San Vicente Blvd Before lawyer-turned-pie-maker Brianna Abrams opened her San Vicente shop in 2017, no one ever thought “there’s a dearth of good pies in Brentwood.” Now, though, it’s hard to imagine the neighborhood without Abrams’ flaky-to-the-touch butter crusts, which range from full-size to 2.5-inch bites. Her made-from-scratch fruit pies incorporate organic farmers market produce whenever possible, but you’d be remiss not to try classic pecan (North Carolina-raised Abrams knows something about Southern pies) and chocolate cowgirl, an intensely rich mix of caramel and fudgy Ecuadorian chocolate pressed into a salted oatmeal crust.
11712 San Vicente Blvd No other restaurant in Brentwood commands Pizzana’s long wait time, but its Neo-Neapolitan pies by master pizzaiolo Daniele Uditi are well worth the wait. Crusts are made from Uditi’s signature “slow dough” process, which turns a blend of imported Italian flours into a thin pie sturdy enough to support tasty toppings. Top picks include the saucy cacio e pepe -- yielding beneath the weight of cheese, cream, and cracked black pepper -- and the carnivoro, a meat-lover’s feast of sausage, prosciutto, and pepperoni. Leave some room for dessert; that menu’s driven by Candace Nelson, who co-founded Pizzana and Sprinkles Cupcakes alongside her husband Charles.
11930 San Vicente Blvd Though it seems like there’s an Italian restaurant on every Brentwood corner, long-running Vincenti remains a standout since opening in 1997. A modern dining space, flickering candlelight, and classy banquettes add up to the sort of sophisticated yet unpretentious place you can take dates to (without having anyone think you’re trying too hard). A fantastic seasonal menu focused on fresh ingredients -- excellent antipasti, authentically Italian pastas, pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven (Mondays only) -- by Chef Nicola Mastronardi seals the deal.
11633 San Vicente Blvd Situated next door to Toscana, intimate Bar Toscana got a revamp last year with a new contemporary design and upgraded menu. In other words, you can now pair your blood orange mezcal or elderflower vodka cocktails with some scrumptious Italian things to nibble on: silky burrata with pretzel bread, eggplant rolled in creamy ricotta, tender veal meatballs, and a highly recommended black truffle pizza. Making a meal of it? There’s even a dessert menu with a decadent-sounding tiramisu, Nutella martini, and more.
11906 San Vicente Blvd With 193 stores in Europe, this popular Danish franchise is on a mission to take over the U.S., and its health-conscious menu of cold-pressed juices and sandwiches made Brentwood a natural place to open one of its first LA outposts. You’ll probably want to stay and hang out a while; this cooler-than-your-average-smoothie-joint features a slick and welcoming interior, electronic menus, and funky ingredients like sea buckthorn and beetroot in its brightly colored drinks.
912 S Barrington Ave Compartés crafts artisanal chocolate -- in mind-blowing flavors like Scones & Jam (with actual buttery scone bits), marshmallow-studded Cereal Bowl, Animal Cookies (plastered all over dark choco), and Avocado Toast (a recent addition that blends caramelized toast and avo in smooth, white chocolate) -- that makes it tough to enjoy a good, old-fashioned Snickers bar ever again. Drool all over the truffles, bars, chocolate-dipped fruit, and other treats at the Brentwood outpost, where tours of the on-site factory are also available for groups and private events.
Best brunch with a possible celeb sighting: Farmshop
225 26th St Ste 25 This Brentwood Country Mart hangout serves quintessential brunch food made better, like house-made pastrami and poached eggs livened up with sweet corn and shishito peppers, or not-so-basic French toast with peach compote and sugared almonds. Definitely peruse its attached marketplace as well, which has everything you need for a gourmet picnic, including fine wine, craft chocolate, artisanal cheese, and cured charcuterie.
Best fancy restaurant for when you’re not paying: Baltaire
11647 San Vicente Blvd This sleek steakhouse has everything you’d expect from a classy establishment: intimate nooks with fireplaces, a retractable roof permitting sunlight to flood the space, and yes, great food. From well-executed steaks and seafood to traditional upscale apps like crab cake and steak tartare, you’ll have no shortage of options to choose from. For extra fancy-pants flair, order the incredible Greek salad or Dover sole -- both are prepared tableside. The brunch menu is equally impressive, boasting cinnamon monkey bread, skillet hotcakes, and a chilaquiles rendition so good you’ll want to order it every weekend.
225 26th St Ste 51 Known for exotic flavors like grape buttermilk sherbet or sweet potato swirl with sesame brittle, this ice cream shop is a homegrown talent (the first of its six LA locations belongs to Brentwood Country Mart) and prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients. Here, even classic flavors like cookie dough are turbo-charged with salt and malted fudge swirls, while a s’mores sundae arrives with homemade graham cracker crumbles and torched marshmallows. Plus, every weekend through Labor Day, Chef Shiho Yoshikawa is returning to her roots (she got her start at SF’s famed Tartine Bakery) by shilling flaky breakfast hand pies at the Brentwood location only.
Best restaurant with something to satisfy everyone: Tavern
11648 San Vicente Blvd It’s hard to believe this sophisticated space was once an old Hamburger Hamlet, but partners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne have since transformed the place into a triumvirate of exemplary dining options. In addition to the full-service, sit-down dining in an extremely photogenic, naturally lit atrium (where you can order stuffed squash blossoms, shrimp and cornbread pudding, and other consistently delicious fare), they’ve got The Larder, a marketplace/restaurant that was remodeled last year. Locals flock here for artisanal bread, gourmet picnic boxes, and take-away treats, as well as its monthly Winemaker Wednesdays where Styne selects a tony producer for tastings and charcuterie pairings. What’s more, the retooled Blue Room bar serves up craft cocktails and artisanal wines (pro tip: drop by from 3-7pm daily for exquisitely made gimlets and Rob Roys for $11).
11740 San Vicente Blvd In Brentwood, even the burgers are “healthy” -- like Burger Lounge’s legitimately tasty versions made with grass-fed beef and sustainable, organic ingredients. You can also dig into burgers made from quinoa, free-range turkey, or Alaskan cod, and enjoy fries cooked in peanut oil for an extra-crisp finish.
Best restaurant that stands the test of time: Toscana
11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100A This quaint, cozy eatery turns 30 next February -- a testament to the timelessness of its Tuscan-style fare. Long before wood-fired ovens became ubiquitous at every Italian restaurant in LA, Toscana was using theirs to bake impeccable thin-crust pizzas (do yourself a favor and order the black truffle), meat, fish, and poultry. Go for the wild mushroom pappardelle or crisp artichoke fusilli, two dishes where the noodles are handmade by master pasta chef Francesco Crestanelli at Toscana’s sister restaurant in Santa Ynez and brought to Brentwood on a weekly basis.
11625 Barrington Ct Superbly crafted hot and cold sandwiches are the name of the game at this casual joint tucked away in Brentwood -- do yourself a favor and order the roast beef, or the rosemary chicken. This is also probably the only bakery in town that serves Oreo croissants.
12225 Wilshire Blvd A French-inspired bakery/patisserie that serves breakfast all day, Amandine makes its breads, pastries, cakes, and desserts from scratch every morning. It’s also the perfect place to go when you’re in the mood for homemade quiche or ratatouille, FYI.
140 S Barrington Pl Few places in Brentwood are open late, but this Italian spot serves phenomenally good pizza and pasta until 3am for late-night carb loading. Pro tip: use the site to order wine for delivery until 1:30am.
13016 San Vicente Blvd This sorta-Mediterranean spot has a ton of vegetarian-friendly dishes (veggie burger salads, falafel wraps, and spinach enchiladas), but thanks to lemon garlic chicken and spicy salmon tacos, carnivores and pescetarians won’t starve.
225 26th St It’s Brentwood, so nothing’s ever really that cheap. That said, this food stand has been around since 1979 and still whips up tender, fall-off-the-bone rotisserie chicken and fries (as well as ribs, fried clams, and chicken tenders) at a more-than-reasonable price.
11645 San Vicente Blvd You can’t have a Brentwood restaurant guide without mentioning Coral Tree, a neighborhood staple off the main San Vicente thoroughfare. Here you’ll find UCLA grad students studying while gorging on hot paninis, egg skillets, and plenty of organic coffee.
13050 San Vicente Blvd Ste #110 The area has a few solid sushi restaurants, but Nagao takes the cake for its exquisitely fresh fish. Get one (or several) of its signature no-rice Moonlight Rolls—cucumber strips wrapped around a ton of raw goodness and doused in tangy ponzu sauce.
11819 Wilshire Blvd #106B When Mama Hong’s first opened on Wilshire, it received a warm welcome from hungry West LA residents who longed for a decently priced, well-prepared bowl of steaming hot pho with beef brisket. Or a rib eye steak banh mi sandwich. Or even a vermicelli combo with grilled shrimp and egg rolls.
Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.
Tiffany Tse is a freelance contributor at Thrillist and, for the record, would like everyone to know she actually loves acai. Follow her adventures around town at @twinksy.