The 21 Most Underrated Restaurants in LA

Jonathan Bookallil (Eveleigh)
Jonathan Bookallil (Eveleigh)

By last count, there are approximately a zillion bagillion restaurants in LA. And yet, despite there being plenty (PLENTY) of really, really good ones, the same handful end up on basically every single "Best Of" list. Well not today, Los Angeles. Today we're going to lay out the 21 most underrated restaurants in LA, none of which appear on LA Weekly's 99 Essential Restaurants in LA, Jonathan Gold's most recent LA Times 101 Best Restaurants in LA, or Eater's most recent 38 Essential Restaurants in LA.

Go. Now. Go now.

Mohawk Bend

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Mohawk Bend</a></h2>

<em>Echo Park</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:</strong> Buffalo-style cauliflower and a beer<br />
It's so easy to take this Echo Park gastropub for granted: if you live in the neighborhood, you've been here, like, dozens of times; if you've dated someone in the neighborhood, you've been there, like, half dozens of times; and if you've eaten in the neighborhood, like, twice, it's likely that at least one of those times was at Mohawk Bend. Why? The great beer selection, for one; the veggie-friendly-but-also-there's-meat food menu, for two; and that back patio, for three (... four, five, six, seven, and eight).<br />

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Las Fuentes</a></h2>

<em>Reseda</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Burrito Pollo Con Rajas... Gringo Style<br />
You're gonna get a giant burrito, covered in ranchera sauce, topped with ooey-gooey cheese, and you're gonna wonder "Why haven't I been here before?"

Jeff Miller/Thrillist

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Bill's Hamburgers</a></h2>

<em>Van Nuys</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:</strong> A double cheeseburger<br />
This tiny ramshackle shack in an alleyway on Oxnard serves burgers that almost make you forget about that In-N-Out place (almost guys, just almost). This place is a lot like beloved burger joint Irv's (which made the <em>LA Weekly</em> list), with Bill actually cooking 'em up... until he's done for the day, whenever that is.<br />

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Taylor's Steakhouse</a></h2>

<em>Koreatown</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:</strong> Dinner Culotte<br />
A while ago, we called Taylor's the <a href="…; target="_blank">best steakhouse in LA</a>, and we'll stand by that: the meat is as tender and juicy as anything at, say, Mastro's, for half the cost, plus there's the added benefit of a dark-lit, Rat Pack-y classic interior. So if we ranked it so high, why are we still calling it underrated? 'Cause it didn't make a single damn one of the city's best "Best Of" lists.

Flickr/Ron Dollette

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Sushi Kimagure Ike</a></h2>

<em>Pasadena</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting</strong>: Omakase<br />
We've said it before, and we'll say it again (and again [AND AGAIN]): this hidden-away Pasadena gem does the most amazing sushi in LA, for about half the price of competitors like Q (which, unsurprisingly, made some of the "Best in LA" lists). Chef Ike is a master, and the last time we were there the Japanese tourists sitting at the sushi bar with us said they've never had better sushi... anywhere. Including Tokyo. Believe.<br />

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Gloria's Cafe</a></h2>

<em>Palms</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:&nbsp;</strong>Carne Adobada<br />
Blink and you'll miss this teeny-tiny Venice Blvd family-owned favorite, which breaks out not just tried-and-true Mexican faves, but also killer Salvadoran eats as well (F yeah, pupusas).

EMC Seafood &amp; Raw Bar

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">EMC Seafood &amp; Raw Bar</a></h2>

<em>Koreatown</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Seafood tower<br />
EMC has been holding court on a Koreatown corner for a few years now, blasting out high-endish raw bar seafood like oysters and clams, as well as cooked fare like crab cakes. And YET, it somehow hasn't gotten any of the critical acclaim of similar spots like (the very deserving) Fishing with Dynamite. That doesn't stop it from hour-long waits for tables, though, nor does it mean anything less than A-level food.

Courtesy of Eveleigh

<em>West Hollywood</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:</strong> Lamb meatballs, oysters, and, like, eight orders of bread<br />
It's kind of extraordinary that Eveleigh is constantly forgotten on "Best Of" lists: not only is it one of the only worthwhile places to eat on the Sunset Strip (and a purveyor of outstanding drinks), but its food is consistently exceptional. The dinner -- which includes plenty of farm-to-table goodness like prime hangar steak with buttered trumpet mushrooms -- is only part of the equation: it's got a weekend brunch with a Scotch egg-topped short rib that's killer, and just launched lunch with a crab salad sandwich on perfectly buttered brioche. And that country bread? Oh. My. God.<br />

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">The Griddle Cage</a></h2>

<em>Hollywood</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Pancakes with, like, 40 toppings<br />
Are you upset that The Griddle is on this list because its weekend line is interminable? Okay, we get that, we really do, but it shouldn't stop folks from recognizing that you won't find a better pancake in LA.

Taye Hansberry/La Poubelle

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">La Poubelle Bistro</a></h2>

<em>Franklin Village</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Steak frites<br />
Is there a neighborhood hang that's more, uh, neighborhood-hang-y in LA? Probably not. Also: the steak here is exceptional.<br />

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Maria's Ramada</a></h2>

<em>Hollywood</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Any combination plate<br />
You've probably driven by this Mexican restaurant -- which, from the outside, is so nondescript it could be a storage facility -- countless times. Next time, go inside: it's full of colorful kitsch and a friendly staff that'll serve you delicious tacos, enchiladas, and more.

Jason Clark Foto/Thrillist

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">The Overland Cafe</a></h2>

<em>Palms</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:</strong> Just about anything from its breakfast menu<br />
This neighborhood no-brainer has lines out the door literally every weekend for its breakfasts, but doesn't get the love of similar spots like Square One or Hugo's. The time for that to change is right... now.<br />

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">My Two&nbsp;Cents</a></h2>

<em>West LA</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Shrimp &amp; grits<br />
This tiny, chef-owned, ultra-casual Southern restaurant absolutely delivers on its promise of down-home cooking, with fried chicken, shrimp &amp; grits, and gumbo that are all as legit as they come. Don't pass up the cobbler, either.

Flickr/Marc Brown

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Hama Sushi</a></h2>

<em>Little Tokyo</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:</strong> Toro nigiri<br />
This&nbsp;miniscule traditional sushi spot in Little Tokyo is one of those places you just can't believe is as good as it is, every time. And guys, the toro (sliced perfectly, with a perfectly textured fat-to-muscle ratio) -- is the standout amid many, many standouts.


<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Bigmista's Barbecue</a></h2>

<em>Long Beach</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Pulled pork<br />
The longtime farmers market standby opened a brick and mortar in a Long Beach minimall, where it's serving up some of the best 'cue anywhere in LA.The only downside? Just a couple'a tables, which means you're probably gonna take it to go, which means the chance of it actually making it to your house where you have more napkins is slim to unbelievably slim.<br />

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Oo-Kook Korean BBQ</a></h2>

<em>Koreatown</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:</strong> Black Angus prime steak. And brisket. And...<br />
Any LA "Best Of" list worth its weight has some Korean BBQ on it -- and though both Park's and Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong are both totally deserving, so is Oo-Kook. Oh and by the way, only one of the three is all-you-can-eat. Guess which one.

The Anchor

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">The Anchor</a></h2>

<em>Venice</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Truffle-topped lobster roll<br />
We've told you about <a href="…; target="_blank">this year-old place</a> <a href="…; target="_blank">before</a>, and we're gonna keep telling you about it, 'cause it's that good, and apparently no one else will: the lobster roll's among the best in the city, and The Anchor's unusual take on chicken &amp; waffles (the chicken is FRIED IN WAFFLE BATTER AND TOPPED WITH MAPLE SYRUP) are just two of the can't-go-wrong choices on its menu.

Flickr/Jason Lam

<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Paru's</a></h2>

<em>Silverlake</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Punjab Glory<br />
First thing's first: if you've never been to this Indian restaurant on the border of Silverlake and East Hollywood before, be prepared to be confused and possibly concerned when you roll up to the iron security gate that doubles as the entrance. Once you're inside, though, you'll be in a lush outdoor garden eating the best damn veggie Indian food you've ever had. Yes, we said veggie. That takes a lot of courage. You won't be disappointed.

Firefly Studio City

<em>Studio City</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:</strong> Maine lobster ravioli<br />
If you live in the East Valley, and you've never been on a date here, you're living in the East Valley all wrong. Period.<br />

<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Kushiyu</a></h2>

<em>Tarzana</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting:</strong> Salmon skewer<br />
If you live in the West Valley, and you've never been on a date here, you're living in the West Valley all wrong. Period.<br />

<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Osteria La Buca</a></h2>

<em>Hollywood</em><br />
<strong>What you're getting: </strong>Bucatini carbonara<br />
If you live in the middle of the city, and you've never been on a date here... you get the idea.<br />
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<em>Jeff Miller will cut you off at the pass by saying, yes, he did grow up in LA, and yes, he knows he missed your favorite, and yes, he knows he's a horrible person. You can still tell him all these things at <a href="; target="_blank">@thrillistla</a> on Twitter or <a href="; target="_blank">@jeffmillerla</a> on Instagram, though.</em>