There isn't another city in the world that sports the diversity of restaurants you'll find in Los Angeles; pick any country in the world, and you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one spot in LA County where you can eat its food.
The only hard part is picking the MOST DELICIOUS one for each and every cuisine type. Or at least, it was until we did it for you.
You've probably driven by the Relax Inn Motel on La Brea a million times, and maybe you even noticed it has a restaurant inside it, and maybe maybe you even thought to yourself "Who the hell eats at that place?" People who love Belizean food and don't want to drive to Gardena for it, that's who.
If summing up an entire country's cuisine into cheese- and gravy-topped French fries is wrong, then we don't want to be right. Forget about all the gourmet versions of poutine popping up around town, and head to this Canadian chain's Hollywood location for a hangover buster like no other. Specialty toppings may not be “traditional,” but they include double-smoked bacon (!), Italian sausage (!!), and flat iron steak (!!!). So, kinda, who cares?
You haven't had the best empanada in LA until you've had one of the "grande" beef-, egg-, and olive-filled pies at this Hollywood takeout shop. While you're there you should probably grab one of its alfajores too, which are dulce de leche cookie sandwiches rolled in coconut... because, duh, dulce de leche cookie sandwiches rolled in coconut.
Take away the insane waits to get in and there's no better reason to make the trek east into San Gabriel Valley than this Sichuan restaurant. And now there's a second location to get down with some toothpick lamb and dumplings in chili oil (with a third noodle-heavy location on the way).
We've got nothing against the garlic chicken at Versailles or the sandwiches and pastelitos from Porto's, but to really feel like you're in Cuba (or Miami) you need to head to this little restaurant on Sunset in Echo Park, preferably on a Wednesday or Saturday when it serves braised oxtails and morros that will have you moaning "ay papi." Or just, like, thinking it or something.
The best Danish food is a danish, and the best danish can be found at this Culver City bakery. With a second branch in Pasadena, everybody is within striking distance of these flaky pastries with chocolate, custard, and almond paste.
There’s basically no wrong choice on the small stretch of Fairfax that makes up Little Ethiopia, but our pick is Rosalind’s: fast, attentive service; unctuous, meat-filled gravy; and it never stops with the injera -- the spongey bread used as silverware that makes eating Ethiopian so fun.
Snails drenched in butter and garlic? Check. Steak frites covered in creamy herb sauce? Check. The best omelette you've ever eaten? Check. An insanely tasty steak tartare? Check. Do we really need to keep checking?
There will always be a place in my baklava-clogged heart for Papa Cristo's, the classic Greek mess hall on Pico and Normandie. But for a real gyro, you need to head to Alexander's Greek in Vernon, where they're stacking thin slices of marinated pork shoulder onto the spit fresh every single day.
You can get kebabs, ghormeh sabzi, and Persian sandwiches at a lot of different places, but there are far fewer places for fresh baked sangak -- the surfboard sized flatbread that Kebab Mahaleh specializes in. Might as well get some kebabs and rotisserie chicken, too, while you're there.
You could easily replace this with your favorite sushi or ramen joint, but right now the best Japanese food in LA is happening at Aburiya Raku, the Vegas izakaya that just opened on La Cienega. Its skewers, green tea soba, fried chicken, and raw fish all taste great being washed down by tons of sake, plus there's tofu that's good enough to make you not hate tofu.
Every spot in Koreatown specializes in something, whether it's BBQ or chicken wings or noodles or pork belly. But to get it all at one table you'll need to go to Roy Choi's POT in the Line Hotel. The fancy cocktails and blaring hip-hop don't hurt either.
Forget about tacos and enchiladas. This Sinaloan place's gigantic grilled fish, ceviches, and smoked marlin tacos will impress all of your out-of-town friends, which is perfect because it's right by the airport. Have a good flight!
Ceviches and smoky rotisserie chicken is fine and all, but if you want saltado -- the Peruvian stir fry involving tomatoes, onions, and French fries -- nobody does it better than this Melrose + Vine institution. Its signature green sauce should be used with caution.
Ask your Filipino friend where to find the best pinoy food in LA and they will likely tell you "at my mom's house." But I can't imagine any of their moms cook as well as the dude behind RiceBar, the new Filipino rice counter in DTLA. Get the sweet and spicy longanisa sausage, and then thank us for not sending you to my mom. Because she’s Jewish. And probably doesn’t know what longanisa even is.
When you're ready to graduate from IKEA’s meatballs, this little market on Pico has got you covered with its OWN Swedish meatballs, shrimp salad, herring, and house-made gravlax, which is served on a bagel or toasted brioche bun.
Look, we’ll listen to your argument that there’s better Taiwanese food in the SGV… if you’ll have it with us, seriously, while eating Pine & Crane’s superlative dan dan noodles. Yeah. That’s what we thought.
Sure you'll still find us at Jitlada for crispy Morning Glory, Sapp for boat noodles, and Ruen Pair for that salty turnip omelette thingymabob. But for our all around fave, nobody is doing some of the stuff that Kris Yenbamroong is doing right now at his two locations of Night + Market. (Until Pok Pok finally opens, and then we'll see.)
You know what's better than a golden fried imperial roll from Golden Deli? A whole pile of golden fried imperial rolls from Golden Deli. Well worth the drive out to the SGV. And the long line. And the return visit.
Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.
At the Hollywood location of this Canadian chain, you'll find the dish our neighbors uptown are so famous for: cheese and gravy topped french fries, made even more irresistible with
specialty toppings like double smoked bacon (!), Italian sausage (!!), and flat iron steak (!!!).
No day is the same at La Caridad. Monday through Saturday, the family-owned Cuban restaurant rotates its menu and serves up a variety of traditional dishes: rabo encendido, or spicy beef oxtail stew (a quick Google search will tell you that translates to "tail on fire"), bistec empanizado (breaded steak), ropa vieja (shredded skirt steak marinated in tomato sauce), and, of course, the classic Cuban sandwich.
"Pastries bring people together," or so says this luxe Culver City spot dishing out what else but Danish-style pastry. And they're right -- their light and flaky sweet treats could probably ring about world peace, due to their far and wide selection of flavors, fillings, and toppings like apple, cinnamon, chocolate, coffee, raspberry, custard, nougat -- you get the picture; there's something here for everybody.
The Pikey's got an English-y interior (Union Jacks, coats of arms), a menu from a former Spotted Pig chef (cardoon & sunchoke soup w/ bone marrow, braised lamb shank & crispy pig's ear salad), and a drink list that includes the "Laddie Dill" (vodka, cucumber, dill & lime) and the "Divine Brown," which's filled with whiskey and Dr Pepper.
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.
Only a year old, Alexander's Greek Kitchen has become a Mediterranean monster in the food community. Loaded plates (chicken, beef, and lamb) and traditional small bites (spanakopita, tzatziki, and fasolia) have put this restaurant on the map.
The kabob at this Pico corridor kosher resto is delicious, but the true prize here is the bread. Mahaleh has a real sangak oven: its floor is covered in hot pebbles, and the dough is stretched across them, giving the chewy, several-feet-long flatbread its bumpy, holey texture and bits of perfect char.
It's worth the drive to this strip mall in Tarzana just for the side salads at Hummus Bar. You can order everything from eggplant to chopped liver, which is best eaten with the piping-hot homemade bread, an outstanding mix between lavash and pita.
From the people behind Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, Chi Spacca is the meat restaurant in the Mozza Group's Italian empire. Essentially an Italian steakhouse, the West Hollywood spot serves up top-notch charcuterie, juicy and tender steaks (the tomahawk is the best in town), and vegetable sides. The steaks are pricey but worth it.
Raku is a late-night izakaya, or pub, that's open until 3am on weekends. Alongside cocktails, this eatery—an expansion of the wildy famous Vegas location—serves house-made agadashi tofu, kobe beef tendon kushiyaki, and other authentic Japanese provisions.
19. POT 3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010 (Koreatown)
POT is a group-meal spot for sure. Try as many of the pots as you can but the dirty secret of Roy Choi's excellent Korean menu is that the best stuff is actually NOT in the pots -- rather its side dishes like this gooey, savory, creamy uni-and-rice dish.
Dont expect "Mexican" food like burritos or nachos. Instead, the chef travels regularly South of the Border and brings back ultra-fresh seafood for super-legit ceviches, smoked marlin tacos, and a whole-cooked snook served alongside stewed onions and tortillas.
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.
This ultra-casual, ultra-affordable Taiwanese cafe in Silverlake is the kind of restaurant you eat at once and crave forever. A solid player in LA's fast-casual scene, P&C offers up airy wontons, beef rolls, and noodle and vegetable dishes in a homey and modern space. The counter-service restaurant also features a wide variety of teas sourced from Taiwan, and a rotating list of craft beers and wine.