Is LA the strip mall capital of the world? You’re damn right it is. And does being the strip mall capital of the world also mean LA has a bunch of incredible restaurants and bars next to check-cashing places and nail salons? YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT IT DOES.
Here are the 30 best of them.
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Koreatown What you’re getting: Combination Soon Tofu Anthony Bourdain-approved (and now, more importantly, Thrillist-approved), Beverly Soon Tofu has some of the best soondubu jjigae (tofu stew) in the city. Big, wooden communal tables, unlimited sides, and delicious, free barley tea? Gimme. Dat.
Canoga Park What you’re getting: Albacore Special and negitoro cut roll A lot of people say Go’s is the best sushi in LA, and we’re not gonna say they’re right, but we’re not gonna say they’re wrong, either. We’re just gonna say Go's puts creative flair into all of its fish (like shaved gold flakes!), and the flavors are absolutely unreal. Order yourself an off-menu Albacore Special, and you’ll realize the drive to Canoga Park was worth it.
Hollywood What you’re getting: Omelet As the name would suggest, Petit Trois is a much more accessible version of Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s other gem, Trois Mec. Its omelet made our list of the 50 LA things you’ve gotta eat before you die, so get on that soon. You never know...
Hollywood What you’re getting: Tandoori scallops This internationally renowned restaurant from Ludo Lefebvre and the Animal guys is one of the hardest reservations in town, and from the outside... it still looks like a Raffallo’s Pizza.
Hancock Park What you’re getting: Lomo saltado It’d be a real task to find something on the menu at Mario’s that isn’t a grand slam. The lomo saltado is *kisses fingers* and the ceviche is also *kisses fingers*. Arrive early because people line up to get their fingers (which they will then kiss) on all the goodness inside of Mario’s.
Mid-Wilshire What you’re getting: Cheeseburger Did you know there’s a modern Americana burger place hidden in a strip mall on La Brea? Well there is, and it’s great, and you need to eat there every day forever. “I’m so sick of beef burgers!” you moan. Well stop moaning, people are sleeping. Also, it has the best turkey burgers in town.
East Hollywood What you’re getting: Jazz Burger “Sure Jitlada is great, but I wish it had a secret menu item that I had to order ahead of time!” Well we’ve got good news: Jitlada has a secret menu item that you have to order ahead of time. It’s called the Jazz Burger, and it contains 10 Thai chiles. You’re welcome. Your tomorrow isn’t.
Sherman Oaks What you’re getting: White Russian If the Chimney Sweep isn’t one of the most iconic bars in the Valley, we don’t know what is. Grab a White Russian, play some pool and shuffleboard, and plan your sloppy walk to In-N-Out.
Hollywood What you’re getting: Yeah. Beers. You’ve probably driven past The Woods 10 million times without noticing. Well start noticing, because The Woods has legit drinks, even more legit atmosphere, and EVEN MORE even more legit bar food (like sliders and mini wrapped hot dogs).
Silver Lake What you’re getting: Spicy tonkotsu ramen The barely existent parking lot is enough to scare even the bravest of men away, but if you can find your way in, SLR will reward you. Its ramen is delicious, as are the many other goodies on the menu (like spicy tuna and salmon bowls).
Reseda What you’re getting: Molcajete plate You like bacon-wrapped shrimp? You like steak molcajete? You like beers the size of your whole body? You like the best effing bean dip LA has to offer? You do, don’t you? You do.
Sherman Oaks What you’re getting: Tacos There’s not a single type of person you won’t find inside Pineapple Hill, all probably munching on the free popcorn and $1 tacos (on Mondays). The drinks are cheap, the bartenders are great, it's got trivia... what else do you need?
East Hollywood What you’re getting: Chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, aloo gobi What India’s Restaurant lacks in a creative name, it makes up for in its outstanding food. And with its lunch buffet and dinner combinations, there’s no time of day you can go wrong. Unless you show up when it's closed. But like, dude, then you can just go back when it's open.
Studio City What you’re getting: Taco burger, tacos, everything else it sells Though for 51 years, Henry’s Tacos would not have made it onto this list, it unfortunately qualifies now that it was forcefully relocated from the original home up the street. Either way, the food is still that same killer quality, and it's in a strip mall now (well, on the side of a strip mall), so there ya go.
Koreatown What you’re getting: Steak and oyster tartare When this nondescript spot opened behind a red door in K-town, the whole neighborhood seemed to hipify overnight, thanks to a smart menu featuring non-Korean upscale food like steak and oyster tartare, fried chicken with snails, and scallops steamed in smoked kombu.
Valley Glen What you’re getting: Catfish plate You’ll be crying to your mom after you taste literally anything on the menu at Mom’s Bar-B-Q House (in a good way!). Its menu ranges from BBQ to Southern comfort food, including amazing catfish with collard greens and mac.
Long Beach What you’re getting: Fish, and chips while you’re at it It's still rockin’ Orange Bang, and it has fried pineapples. You’d think that’d be all that’s necessary, but its fish & chips are also out of this world.
North Hollywood What you’re getting: Foreman's Special Relocating from across the street clearly didn’t phase it much -- Hy Mart Sandwiches is still killing it in NoHo with some of the tastiest and most inventive sandwiches in the Valley. And if they tell you a sandwich will be spicy? You better bring a fire truck. ‘Cause it’ll be really spicy. Like a fire.
Los Feliz What you’re getting: Please not herpes please not herpes It's most famous for being the place where Courtney Love got her start in LA, and a night at LA’s best is-it-a-dive-bar-or-is-it-a-strip-club is always a good-bad decision. And it’s non-nude, so, uh, bring mom?
Koreatown What you’re getting: Penne alla Boscaiola Everything’s made from scratch. The pastas are outstanding. The pizzas are works of art. The calzones are, well, calzones, and that’s exactly what they’re supposed to be. Like a big Italian family, All’ Angolo has your back.
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