Food & Drink

The 30 Best Strip Mall Restaurants and Bars in LA

Published On 08/10/2015 Published On 08/10/2015
Wilder Shaw
Hamasaku
Melissa Curtin
Mario's Peruvian & Seafood
Jitlada
Jay's Bar
Silverlake Ramen
Diana Jiminez
India's Restaurant
Amir's Falafel
Saint Martha Restaurant
Papilles Bistro
Mom’s Bar B-Q House
Benjamin Mangolino Yraola Jr.
Jumbo's Clown Room
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1. Beverly Soon Tofu 2717 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006 (Koreatown)

Anthony Bourdain-approved (and, more importantly, Thrillist-approved), Beverly Soon Tofu has some of the best soondubu jjigae (tofu stew) in the city. With big, wooden, communal tables, unlimited sides, and delicious, free barley tea, this is clearly a spot to hit.

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2. Soowon Galbi 856 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005 (Koreatown)

Soowon Galbi serves high-quality Korean BBQ that won't break the bank, which means you can load up your individual grill with bulgogi and brisket without sweating the bill at the end. The speciality meat is house-marinated short rib, but there are plenty of beef options, with or without seasoning, to choose from. Aside from grilled meats, the menu includes buckwheat noodle dishes, bimimpap, and tofu stews. The space is clean and filled with large booths, so it's perfect for group dinners.

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3. Go's Mart 22330 Sherman Way, #C12, Canoga Park, CA 91303

This semi-hidden spot in Canoga is doling out some serious sushi eats, from a strip mall. You can't go wrong with any of their hand rolls, sweet shrimp, or soups.

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4. Hamasaku 11043 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (Westwood)

This Westwood sushi spot combines sophisticated and traditional Japanese flavors with Californian twists in an elegant and welcoming space. Tucked in the corner of a strip mall is this beloved roll-zone, as noted for its celebrity clientele as it is for its food. The rolls are deliciously over-the-top (The Lourd: spicy tuna, avocado, tempura flakes, spicy rice, mango and Jalapeño sauce. Tell me that doesn’t sound good.), and the chef takes his omakase very, very seriously.

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5. Petit Trois 718 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038 (Hollywood)

This Hollywood bistro from Ludo Lefebvre and the Animal dudes has no phone number, no reservations, only 21 seats, and one of LA's most acclaimed chefs making French classics like steak frites and confit chicken, as well as lunch -- with only 20 servings of two sandwiches offered.

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6. Trois Mec 716 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038 (Hollywood)

A unique Hollywood restaurant with a constantly changing menu from the guys behind Animal and LudoBites, Trois Mec does not accept reservations. Instead, you purchase tickets (just like you were going to the theatre or a sporting event), thereby ensuring that Chef Ludo Lefebvre's tasting menu is only enjoyed by those truly there for the total foodie experience.

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7. Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood 5786 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038 (Hancock Park)

Everything at Mario's is great, but the lomo saltado and ceviche still manage to stand out. Get there early or you'll have wait in the line out the door to get your hands on some of this Peruvian goodness.

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8. Mo Better Burgers 901 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Mid Wilshire)

This little gem hidden in a La Brea strip mall has some of the best turkey burgers in town and you should eat them.

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9. Jitlada Thai Restaurant 5233 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

If this East Hollywood spot didn't have a cult following for its over-the-top spicy Thai food, it would easily go under-the-radar thanks to its nondescript strip mall exterior. Everything on Jitlada's super-long menu will take you out of your comfort zone, like the spicy catfish salad and green mussels curry. Speaking of curry, there are plenty of varieties, all of which are pretty darn spicy. The best thing about Jitlada, aside from the occasional celebrity sighting, is the affordable price.

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10. Chimney Sweep 4354 Woodman Avenue, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423-3031

Chimney Sweep is choc-full of all the essentials for a dive bar, pop corn machine pumping out free corn all night, cheap drinks and friendly vibes.

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11. Jay's Bar 4321 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029 (Silverlake)

Presumably owned by a dude who you're already on a first-name basis with, Jay's Bar is attempting to split the difference between dive and gastropub, with a no-frills, common-table-and-stool-and-TV interior, a dozen taps with everything from Deschutes to Nut Brown, plus eats like chili-lime dry-rubbed chicken wings and grilled bratwurst w/ sweet and sour red cabbage & crispy smashed potatoes.

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12. The Woods 1533 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

Escape the urban atmosphere of the strip mall and step into The Woods, a cocktail bar with wood block-lined walls, tree trunk tables, and antlered chandeliers. The drinks are cheap (especially during happy hour) and the ambiance is reminiscent of summer camp -- but instead of guitar by campfire, there’s a DJ and a dress code. The Woods is your ticket out of the city and back to nature… cocktails included.

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13. Silver Lake Ramen 2927 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Silverlake)

With its broccoli and tofu stuffed vegetarian ramen and willingness to swap out perfect-in-every-way pork belly with boring ol’ chicken, this hipster ramen spot is actually pretty darn good.

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14. Falafel Arax 5101 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029 (Hollywood)

This cash-only spot is a home-run -- make sure you get some of its fresh-made falafels and dolmas.

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15. Salsa & Beer 6740 White Oak Ave, Lake Balboa, CA 91406

You like bacon-wrapped shrimp? You like steak molcajete? You like beers the size of your face? You like the best freaking bean dip LA has to offer? You do, don’t you? You do. That's Why Salsa & Beer will become your new favorite place for an authentic Mexican meal in Los Angeles.

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16. Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill 4454 Van Nuys Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

This local Mexican joint has $1 tacos on Mondays, free popcorn, cheap drinks and trivia. What else do you need?

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17. India's Restaurant 4366 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Hollywood)

A mini-mall in East Hollywood is home to India's Restaurant, a popular delivery spot that also offers all of the pan-Indian buffet specials you'd expect. The saag paneer, a creamed spinach harboring scattered cubed cheese, is a standout, and unlimited naan during the lunchtime buffet proves necessary when a spread of chicken tikka and eggplant curry is before you. Just be sure to top your lamb samosas with the spicy plum chutney.

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18. Ye Rustic Inn 1831 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

Located in a Los Feliz strip mall, this dive bar has gained a cult following for one thing: its legendary chicken wings. The crispy, fall-off-the-bone wings can thank their vinegar-based hot sauce (and cheap price tag) for their popularity. More than just a bar, Ye Rustic Inn also serves a full dinner menu of classic American food (chicken fried steak, meatloaf, chili-cheeseburgers) and solid, unfussy drinks. The sports bar-meets-tavern space hasn't changed much since opening in 1971, so expect retro wood-paneled walls and deep leather booths.

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19. Amir's Falafel 11711 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

Don't let the strip mall vibe fool you, Amir's has great Middle Eastern food across the board. Great falafel and creative salad are king at this small deli, as is the fabulous chicken shawarma.

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20. Henry's Tacos 4389 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604 (East Valley)

Henry's Tacos is a 50-plus-year-old "gringo" taco eatery that once was housed in a roadside stand created via a form of architecture known as "googie," but is now in a patio-abetted window just across the street from its original location.

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21. Saint Martha 740 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005 (Koreatown)

The guys from TART and Farmer’s Daughter opened up this resto in Koreatown. It's got a great wine selection, seasonal brews, and awesome eats.

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22. The Drawing Room 1800 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

There are only a handful of bars actually open right when it's legal to serve at 6am, and most of them are dives, but none of them are as gloriously divey as this Los Feliz institution, where you're guaranteed to get super-strong drinks and ultra-charming characters.

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23. Papilles 6221 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

The first thing you notice when you walk into Papilles, a French restaurant tucked in the corner of a strip mall off the 101, is the gallery wall of artwork whose mismatching frames make the dining room feel a tiny bit like Gertrude Stein's salon. The modest and unpretentious bistro is best known for its affordable prix fixe menu that features modern Gallic dishes like frog legs with celery consomme, scallops with chanterelles, and caramelized peaches. The selection of Old World and natural French wines adds to Papille's understated elegance.

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24. The Bagel Broker 7825 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Mid Wilshire)

Fresh, piping hot bagels are traditionally known as a NYC favorite but The Bagel Broker has been serving them up in LA's Fairfax district since 1987. This family carbotoreum has 18 different flavors of bagels and one bialy. (Want a schmear with that?)

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25. Mom's BBQ House 14062 Vanowen St, Van Nuys, CA 91405

The menu at this casual spot ranges from BBQ to Southern comfort food, including amazing catfish with collard greens and mac. Mom's BBQ house is one of our favorite places for an authentic Southern meal in LA. It's about as close to a real Southern BBQ house as you'll get in California, if we're being honest.

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26. Daichan 11288 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604 (West Valley)

This strip mall challenges everything we believed with THREE spots that are more than just tolerable -- in fact they're seriously good. But for home-made japanese food and awesome poke bowls, go to Daichan. The self proclaimed "Japanese soul food" includes menu items like Hawaiian ginger chicken and house-made cucumber miso.

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27. England Fish & Chips 2614 Pacific Ave, Long Beach, CA 90806 (Long Beach)

This fish and chippery has still got Orange Bang and fried pinapples, and the fish and chips are out of this world.

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28. Hy Mart Sandwiches 4795 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91602 (Hollywood)

Hy Mart Sandwiches kills it with some of the tastiest and most inventive sandwiches in the Valley. And if they tell you sandwich will be spicy, expect fire. This mom & pop establishment isn't joking around when it comes to flavor. Bonus points to the fact that most sandwiches here are under $10. Score!

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30. All' Angolo 4050 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90020 (Koreatown)

Anybody who's tasted the house-made pasta at this beloved K-Town Italian gem won’t be surprised to know that its pizza is equally outstanding. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu, from the thin-crust pies topped with crispy pepperoni and breaded eggplant to the steaming calzones. The strip mall storefront is unassuming and basic, but the generous Italian-style portions will make you feel like royalty.