30 Essential Women-Owned Restaurants to Support in Los Angeles
From fine-dining stalwarts to fast-casual spots and more, women restaurateurs and chefs represent the creme de la creme of LA’s culinary scene.
Women’s History Month is upon us, a reminder that generations of women who came before us had to work extraordinarily hard for basic rights automatically handed to their male counterparts—from the right to vote to the right to open a bank account without a husband (not kidding). Yes, times have changed, but it’s no secret that women still face extra obstacles when it comes to navigating society.
This is especially true for women in the food and beverage industry.According to the U.S. Labor Department, fewer than 20% of working chefs identify as women, despite making up more than half of culinary graduates. When it comes to senior roles, the numbers are even more abysmal, with women comprising just 7% of head chefs and restaurateurs across America. As an industry, food and beverage presents additional challenges for working mothers who often work outside typical childcare hours and lack standard employee benefits like paid leave and health insurance. And yet, more and more women in LA’s restaurant scene are successfully surmounting these obstacles, bringing diners one-of-a-kind food concepts and also making it easier for a new generation of women chefs and restaurateurs to join their efforts.
Last year, the newly founded women-led nonprofit Regarding Her Food (Re:HER) launched a 10-day festival celebrating the city’s women-owned restaurants with special menus (takeout-only at the time), chef collaborations, and virtual events, plus an ongoing grant program in partnership with DoorDash that provided $10,000 cash grants to 15 female restaurateurs in need. Fast forward a year and Re:HER is now 350 members strong, with a mix of restaurateurs, chefs, somms, and purveyors of everything from coffee to cupcakes. The organization just kicked off it’s first IRL 10-day festival (running from March 4 through March 13), featuring special menus, collaborations, discounts, deals, and pop-ups at more than 60 venues around the city.
Use Re:HER fest not just as an excuse to try a few new spots, but to show your support for businesses run by hard-working women who need it. And then, when Women’s History Month is in the rearview mirror, keep supporting their database of women-owned restaurants near you. To get you started, here are 30 women-owned restaurants around the city to hit next.
Here's Looking at You
We could all use a little feel-good energy right now and the return of this beloved Koreatown restaurant that’s helmed by Re:HER co-founder Lien Ta and chef Jonathan Whitener is the ultimate comeback story. The restaurant was almost a COVID casualty and was shut down for two years before a GoFundMe campaign brought it back to life in January 2022. A convivial space that’s been immersed in a new, optimistic energy since reopening its doors, Here’s Looking at You features an innovative menu with standouts like smoked-maple-dashed chicken liver that’s spread over Bub & Grandma’s bread, and crispy frog legs served with salsa negra, plus bespoke desserts like chocolate mousse with Thai coffee, courtesy of pastry chef Thessa Diadem. Cocktails include the Singing Cowboy with Thyme-infused Kin White Whiskey, Wild Turkey 101, Balcones Brimstone, Claremont craft pepper, Pale Ale syrup, pineapple vinegar, egg white, lemon, but a short list of beers and wines by the glass and bottle are available.
How to book: online.
This Portuguese-inflected restaurant from chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne of A.O.C fame landed in the Downtown LA Proper Hotel last fall, debuting Caldo Verde as a colorful lobby-level restaurant with murals and original tiles throughout, as well as Cara Cara, a slightly more casual rooftop concept with unmarred views of Downtown LA. With all-day service, visit Caldo Verde for breakfast to tuck into dishes like Carnitas and Sweet Potato Hash, for lunch to grab Lemon Chicken Paillard with herbed french fries, or stop by for dinner to enjoy favorites like the eponymous Caldo Verde stew that’s loaded with seafood, or the Piri Piri Chicken with french fries. Cocktails like Bairro Alto go down easy with tequila and pomegranate, though there’s also an impressive dry sherry and sweet wine list for those who want to drink their dessert.
How to book: Make reservations online.
The dynamic duo of chef Monica May and owner Kristen Trattner restored and reinvigorated this retro diner nearly 15 years ago, and have been serving up a menu of whimsical comfort food and plenty of decadent baked goods ever since. During the pandemic, they’ve gone above and beyond to support their unhoused neighbors in Downtown LA, offering a “Pay it Forward” meal program that only requires a $13 donation to provide a meal to someone else in need. Breakfast splurges include maple-bacon donuts, berry-topped brioche French Toast, and housemade Pop-Tarts, while lunch fare features burgers, mac n cheese, pozole, and a pulled pork sandwich. Vegans are welcome too, and can choose from tofu ranchero, tofu veggie scrambles, and a quinoa-stuffed avocado.
How to order: Walk in or order takeout online.
This soul food staple at the hangar-style retail-and-restaurant complex Long Beach Exchange is owner’s Nika Shoemaker-Machado’s tribute to her mother Gretchen’s long-standing recipes. Here, she and her husband Marlon dole out flavorful family specialties, including Louisiana Tilapia and Shrimp, Cornmeal-Crusted Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Jambalaya, and grilled-to-order 1855 Black Angus Choice Tri-Tip. If you happen to be in the OC, you can visit Georgia’s original location at the Anaheim Packing House food hall.
How to order: Walk in or choose a location and order takeout online.
This new, plant-forward beauty by Janet Zuccarini of Felix fame landed in the historic Green building at the beginning of the year and is all about creative, veggie-heavy dishes, many incorporating hempand terpenes thanks to the restaurant’s partnership with Ziese Farms. Order up Sprouted Beluga Lentils with spinach and coconut milk; Sourdough Puffed Pita with hemp heart zaatar and baba ganoush; and the signature chickpea-battered hemp leaf, which is surprisingly dense. Zuccarini was the first woman in Canada to become an AVPN-certified pizzaiola, so expect killer pizzas, too, many topped with nut cheeses and market veggies. The eatery is omnivore-friendly, and Zuccarini has added some sustainably raised fish, poultry, and beef dishes to the menu as well, all served beneath a custom-built, gorgeous greenhouse enclosure.
How to book: online.
Chef Tezeta “Tete” Alemayehu, who gained a following during her stint at Smorgasburg, has generated even more buzz since opening her self-proclaimed “unusual vegan restaurant” last year. Named for the Ethiopian spice blend, her plant-based fare comes with an Ethiopian twist, incorporating ingredients from the nearby Santa Monica Farmers Market to create innovative dishes like Blueberry Teff Pancakes and tofu-and-bulgur breakfast burritos in the morning and Rosemary Root Salad, cauliflower-and-mushroom-stuffed lettuce wraps, and a butternut squash-based burger come afternoon. You’ll also find an array of fresh-pressed juices and smoothies.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome. Reservations are accepted for special events and larger parties. Order online for takeout.
Any list of LA’s acclaimed women restaurateurs would be incomplete with powerhouse duo Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. The pair first launched Border Grill, a modern Mexican restaurant, in LA in 1985, and have since expanded the chain to include a location in the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas. Located in Santa Monica’s Gateway Hotel, Socalo is a seasonally-driven Cal-Mexican restaurant serving small-batch spirits, Mexican wines, and craft beers. Menu standouts include Lamb Birria Tacos, with slow-braised lamb shoulder, consomé, escabeche, and tomatillo mint salsita, and the Duck Carnitas Cassoulet, with Salvadoran red beans, Spanish chorizo, and fennel.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome, but reservations are recommended and can be made online; order takeout and delivery via Toast.
Love & Salt
Named after the two most important ingredients in any dish, Love & Salt is helmed by Sylvie Gabriele, whose father Guy Gabriele ran the successful French restaurant Cafe Pierre in the same location from 1977 until 2014, when it was rebirthed as Love & Salt. The restaurant features Italian-inspired cuisine with Cal-fresh sensibility, resulting in dishes like Creste di Gallo Midollo withbone marrow, roasted garlic, parsley, parmesan, and cracked black pepper,and intriguing wood-oven pizza options, like their Anchovy and Caper pie withsalted anchovies, fried capers, basil, Calabrian chili, and San Marzano tomatoes. The cocktail and wine list make the restaurant a favorite for weekend brunch.
How to book: Make reservations online. Order pickup via Toast and delivery online.
Chef/owner Sandra Cordero was raised between the bustling city center of Amsterdam and the rural, close-knit villages in the Galicia region in Spain, a dual heritage that’s reflected in each dish at Gasolina Cafe, which Cordero opened in 2015. Seasonally driven, sustainably raised, and locally sourced ingredients elevate what would be simple breakfast items like Avocado Toast, Patatas Bravas, and a Chorizo Omelet, into near religious experiences. Even more exciting, Cordero hosts regular paella nights, with a meat-based, seafood-based, and vegetarian paella on offer in a three-course menu with optional wine pairings.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining; pickup and delivery via their website.
Poppy + Rose
Founded in 2014 by husband-and-wife Michael and Kwini Reed, Poppy+Rose has earned its way onto an array of “Best Breakfast” and “Best Chicken and Waffles” lists and for good reason. Southern comfort dishes with fresh ingredients are the main draw here, with menu highlights including a buttermilk fried chicken and waffle, and the less-expected Kitchen Sink Bowl with sunny side up eggs, jasmine and basmati brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, kale, green onion, pickled carrot, chili, bacon, and BBQ pulled pork. Located directly across the street from the Original LA Flower Market, we’ve long decreed Poppy + Rose as the perfect way to fuel up before or after hitting the market.
How to order: Reservations are required for patio dining and can be made online; order pickup or delivery via Chownow.
Interstellar is defined as the space occurring between two stars, and in the case of chef/owner Angie Kim, those stars are her Korean and American heritages, with her menu acting as an ongoing homage to the flavors and dishes that shaped her upbringing. The restaurant successfully toes the line between coffee house, sake bar, and all-day restaurant, with plenty of seasonal dishes, and a short but worthwhile menu for those dining with their furry friends. Highlights from the breakfast menu include Shakshuka with three eggs and Breakfast Truffle Linguini, while the Branzino Ochazuke and Moroccan Harissa Papparadelle with Burrata are stellar choices for a main. Don’t disregard the happy hour menu that’s offered from 3–5 pm, featuring food specials and discounts on draft beer, sake, wines by the glass, and cocktails.
How to order: Make reservations via Yelp. Order online for pickup and delivery via delivery apps.
Hotville Chicken chef/owner Kimberly Prince’s family invented Nashville-style hot chicken almost a century ago, and though the trend’s gone global in recent years, nobody does it quite like the originator. But don’t let the restaurant name or claim to fame narrow your choices unnecessarily: their Mac and Smokin’ Cheese, waffles (only available on weekends), and Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake are just as noteworthy as their spicy fried chicken—and the swai fish, fried and dusted with your preferred level of spice, is also worth an order.
How to order: Walk-ins accepted or order pickup and delivery via UberEats.
Founded in 2012 by chef Wes Avila as a roving food cart, Guerrilla Tacos landed in its first brick and mortar home in the Arts District in 2018, where it quickly found success slinging elevated Mexican fare. In 2020, Avila stepped away to focus on different projects and his restaurant partner Brittney Valles stepped in as the sole owner. After getting through the pandemic with inventive offerings like an “Emergency Taco Kit” and bottled cocktails, she’s still killing the taco game with specialties like the Korean-fried fish taco, the hard-shelled puffy pocho,and the option to add Santa Barbara uni to any dish for 5 bucks. Look for events like comedy nights, too.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome, or make reservations online. Order takeout via Toast and delivery via Caviar or other delivery apps.
Jitlada Thai Restaurant
Celeb chef Jazz Singsanong and her late brother Tui Sungkamee took over Hollywood’s favorite strip mall Thai restaurant in 2006, transforming the menu with spicy Southern Thai cuisine that places an emphasis on seafood. Now, Singsanong runs the joint with chef Tui’s daughter, her niece chef Sugar Sungkamee. Passionate about giving back and helping others, Singsanong sells “Jazz is my L.A. mom” t-shirts and stickers, with 100% of proceeds going to three different causes, including a lunch fund for high school students at her alma mater in Thailand. Another can’t-miss LA spot, you’ll want to place your order well in advance of your hunger.
How to order: Walk-ins only for dine in. Order takeout by calling 323-667-9809, or delivery via UberEats and other delivery apps.
Named by late food critic Jonathan Gold as the best Oaxacan restaurant in America, Guelaguetza has been family- and women-owned since it first opened its doors in 1994. Now that original owners Fernando Lopez and Maria Monterrubio have stepped down, their children Fernando Jr., Paulina, Elizabeth, and Bricia Lopez have eagerly taken over their roles, becoming enthusiastic ambassadors for Oaxacan cuisine. Co-owner Bricia Lopez is also one of the founding members of Regarding Her Food and is credited with helping popularize mezcal across the United States. As Guelaguetza’s website hints (ilovemole.com), the dish to try is mole, which comes in six flavors that range from sweet and smoky to spicy.
How to order: Most tables are held for walk-ins, but reservations can also be made online; order takeout and delivery via Toast.
Meals By Genet
A long-time vegan, Genet Agonafer sources only the highest quality meats in her dishes and seems to take even greater care in bringing out the flavors and complexities of each cut, resulting in decadent dishes like Mamoshye’s Special Kifto, a steak tartare bathed in Ethiopian butter and spices. Her veggie dishes are similarly inspired, with the vegetarian combo platter representing one of your best options for a healthy and hearty comfort dish. During the pandemic, Agonafer decided to close her dining room to in-person guests, in order to spend more time with her family.
How to order: Meals by Genet is open for takeout only 5–8 pm, Thursday through Sunday. Place an order by calling 323-938-9304. For catering and events please contact Genet at email@example.com.
All Day Baby
One of the founding members of Regarding Her Food, Lien Ta knows all too well the challenges that restaurateurs have been up against throughout this pandemic. In July of 2020, Ta was forced to temporarily close her Koreatown restaurant Here’s Looking At You (which was brought back to life in January 2022 thanks to a GoFundMe campaign), and her all-day breakfast cafe, All Day Baby, launched just months before the pandemic struck, was forced to furlough over 60 employees. And yet, her scrappy Silver Lake operation has continued to hold on, featuring a menu of filling breakfast favorites, plus Southern-inspired dishes like a Hot Catfish Sandwich and half-rack of Smoked Baby Back Ribs. They’ve also expanded into dinner service, which features elevated dishes like Pork Rilette on Bub & Grandma’s bread, Crayfish Etouffee served over jasmine-fried rice, an Oyster Pot Pie, and a Smoked Pork Tomahawk Chop. Complete with boozy milkshakes and floats, the drink menu is similarly compelling, though they’ve also got classic cocktails, beer, and wines by the glass and the bottle. And don’t sleep on the pastry case or the Agua Frescas.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining and pickup orders; order online for pickup and delivery. Make dinner reservations online.
Chef/owner Minh Phan founded Porridge + Puffs, California’s only Asian porridge restaurant in Historic Filipinotown in 2018, quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite. Just weeks before the shutdown took place, Phan opened Phenakite and after a year of pumping out porridges, is now focusing solely on this new experiment. Located on Second Home’s coworking campus, Phenakite seeks to take diners on a journey between air, sea, and land, with a multi-course omnivore menu that places emphasis on seasonal plants and seafood.
How to order: Reservations can be made via Tock.
Executive chef Ria Dolly Barbosa combines her traditional French culinary training with the flavors of her Filipino heritage at Petite Peso, resulting in a vibrant menu with each dish acting as a heartfelt homage. The menu is straight-forward, offering you the option to select between a bowl (one entree and one side), plate (two entrees and one side), or a family meal for two or four, with rotating entree choices like Shrimp Pinakbet, Beef Kare Kare, and Pork Lechon Kawali. You can also order favorites like pork lumpias and a Longanisa Breakfast Burrito a la carte. Petite Peso also offers a selection of fresh Filipino pastries, like a Mango Money Bun and a Polvoron Cookie Box with flavors like peanut butter and chocolate and pistachio. You’ll want to order a glass of calamansi drink, a citrus fruit cultivated in the Philippines, to wash it all down.
How to order: Pickup via Chownow and delivery via delivery apps.
Lady & Larder
Twin sisters Sarah and Boo Simms are credited with not just opening LA’s favorite family-owned cheese shop, but also helping to launch a global grazing board movement—even earning their way onto Oprah’s list of favorite things in 2019. Lady & Larder places a focus on American-made seasonal ingredients and specializes in custom edible displays, using seasonal crudités, fruit, cheese, and charcuterie. For those who are unable to stop by the shop in person, the duo also ships curated cheese boards and charcuterie kits, seasonal treats, and gifts nationwide, in addition to offering online classes.
How to order: Purchase online for local delivery and pickup.
In June 2020, Moto Ramenowners Sarah Kim-Jenkins and Yuki Nakamoto took over the location that once held the acclaimed Ramen Yamadaya, at the corner of Washington and Sepulveda Boulevards in Culver City, shifting the menu to focus on Okinawa-inspired ramen.One of our favorite ramen spots in the city, Moto’s spicy tonkotsu is perfect for warming your bones on LA’s rare rainy days, while their cold tantanmen—served with a spicy sesame peanut sauce—is a refreshing choice all year long. Don’t miss happy hour Monday through Friday from 4:30–6 pm.
How to order: Walk-ins only. Order online for takeout.
An Inglewood institution since 1983, Harriet Park’s cheesecakes will make you forget that a well-known “factory” chain of cheesecakes even exists. With new flavors introduced each holiday season, Harriet’s menu now boasts over 65 options, with each cheesecake handmade daily and containing reduced sugar content so as to remain accessible for diabetic diners like Harriet’s son. Having trouble deciding on a flavor? The family-owned dessert shop is known for their infamous sweet potato cheesecake, while apple and spice (inspired by apple pie a la mode) remains Ms. Harriet’s favorite.
How to order: Call 310-419-2259 to place orders. Call 24 hours in advance for whole cake orders.
One of the longest continuously family-owned restaurants in the greater LA area, Casa Vega celebrated its 66th anniversary this year, and while we continue to mourn the loss of original owner Rafael “Ray” Vega, who passed away in January 2021 at the age of 86, the impact of his daughter Christy Vega’s stewardship over the classic Mexican restaurant is going strong with new menu items like a Tostada Chiquita that layers beef chorizo, refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, beets, parmesan cheese, and house-made vinaigrette over a crispy corn tortilla, and a Margarita Monday series, featuring Ray’s award-winning margaritas for just $5 every Monday from 2:30–7 pm.
How to order: Make reservations online and order takeout via Tock.
Perhaps Pasadena’s favorite fine-dining restaurant, and certainly a contender for best Northern Italian cuisine across the greater LA area, Union is led by Marie Petulla, who brings two decades of hospitality experience to the restaurant, helping to secure it as a destination for locally sourced, market-fresh items, from handmade pastas to sustainably raised seafoods and meats. The restaurant debuted its Cal-meets-NY-style U Street Pizza next door last year and Petulla is also the restaurateur behind Grand Central Market’s Knead & Co, an ode to Italian-American classics using fresh, small-batch ingredients, and Red Jungle, a chicken wing spot for health-conscious diners.
How to book: online.
Stuff I Eat
With all of the various challenges that women chefs and restaurateurs already face, we can’t imagine the additional hurdles encountered by those who champion niche diets like plant-based cuisine. Chef Babette of Stuff I Eat has been vegan for over 30 years, long before food challenges like Veganuary made it cool to cut out the meat. Even more impressive, Stuff I Eat specializes in rich Tex Mex cuisine—none of that so-called rabbit food that many believe vegan eaters are forced to subsist on—with hearty enchilada pies and a soul food platter complete with mac and cheese, yams, kale greens, black eyed peas, coleslaw, potato salad, and a cornbread muffin, plus your choice of bbq tofu or jackfruit.
How to order: Call 310-671-0115 for takeout; delivery online.
Ms. Chi Cafe
Chef/owner Shirley Chung infuses her background as a Beijing native and Chinese-American into this modern, fast-casual restaurant, with everything on the menu, including breads, dumpling wrappers, noodles, sauces, and more, made in-house. The result is fun, inspired dishes like Chung’s jumbo cheeseburger potstickers (a dish that sealed her Top Chef victory) and Tea-Smoked Duck with steamed lotus buns. With similarly compelling brunch (get the house-made scallion pancake), dessert (mochi donuts and shaved ice!), and cocktail (think boozy Thai teas, lychee, and passion fruit drinks) menus, there’s no question that you’ll be back to sample all of chef Chung’s delicious creations.
How to order: Reservations for patio dining can be made on Yelp, call 424-361-5225 for pickup, or delivery via delivery apps.
After three years of popping up at local farmers markets, chef/owner Soozee Nyugen opened her first brick and mortar in LBC’s Bluff Park neighborhood in June 2020, serving up soulful, stick-to-your-ribs vegan cuisine, with dishes like Stuffed Chik’n Pot Pie Croquettes, Fried Oyster Mushroom Po’boys, and a stacked Southern-Fried Chik’n Sandwich. The on-site daytime menu has expanded to include a Breakfast Banh Mi, Mushroom Burger, and Fried Pickles with a creamy dill dipping sauce.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome or make reservations via Tock. Takeout and delivery via Toast.
Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer opened Kismet, a full-service, all-day concept specializing in Cal-Med fare like flaky Yemenite bread, mezze platters served with farmers market crudites, and lamb meatballs in 2017. More recently, they expanded to open Kismet Rotisserie in Silverlake, offering to-go friendly roast chicken and sides—which turned out to be a lifesaver when COVID-related shutdowns struck last year. Now, you can dine in at Kismet and take down dishes like Whey-Brined Beets, Moroccan-Spiced Carrots, and Clams and Roasted Cabbage. For those who are in a rush or prefer to eat at home, you can still snag takeout at Kismet Rotisserie and take home a quarter, half, or whole-roasted chicken, with sides like a Wedge Salad, Pickled Veggies, Homemade Hummus, and Schmaltzy Potatoes.
How to order: Reservations are recommended for Kismet and can be made online. Order takeout and delivery from Kismet Rotisserie online.
Food writers Heather Sperling and Emily Fiffer decamped from NYC and Chicago, respectively, to open this local favorite back in 2017, specializing in Cal-Med fare with a farmers market-driven ethos. The ultimate slashie concept also includes a market at the front of the space where customers can take home pantry items like House-Made Dukkah, natural wines, and other staples. Botanica even has its own onlinemagazine featuring recipes and pantry items for sale. Grab a table on their dreamy string-lit back patio or in the bustling market-by-day, dining room-by-night up front.
How to book: online.
After sadly closing her OG LA Mediterranean restaurant, Lucques, at the very start of the pandemic (and unrelated to COVID), Suzanne Goin’s wine bar concept A.O.C. luckily still remains, with a new Westside location in the mix as well. Popular for both brunch and dinner, both offer Goin’s fabled farm-to-table shareable plates like balsamic-glazed Brussels and wood-roasted carrots, cheese and charcuterie plates, and large-format dishes like Ode to Zuni, a roasted half-chicken that acts as a nod to the famed bread-stuffed chicken at SF’s Zuni Cafe.
How to book: Reserve a table at the WeHo or Brentwood location via OpenTable.