Remember when you used to brave hours of traffic or I-can't-even-see-where-this-thing-ends airport security lines to make it home for a turkey dinner with the family? Yeah, we're kind of over that too. If you're sticking around for Thanksgiving this year (and LA seems like a pretty good place to be at the moment for lots of reasons), here are tons of great ideas of what to do -- from big restaurant dinners and turkey takeouts to volunteer opps and turkey trots.
Where to dine out
The Bazaar by José AndrésAddress and Info
The deal: Prix fixe menu with family-style sides, $85
Thanksgiving hours: 4-9pm
You can do the more traditional roasted organic turkey with gravy thing here or get the lobster entrée with truffle butter because, ya know, you're eating at a Beverly Hills hotel on Thanksgiving night (take that, hometown peeps on Facebook). The dinner comes with six sides for the table and because it's José Andrés' place they're all pretty interesting (roasted carrots with smoked yogurt and z'atar and mashed sweet potatoes with passion fruit marshmallows, for example) followed by a sure-to-be-delish dessert.
Carbon Beach Club at Malibu Beach InnAddress and Info
The deal: Three courses, $75
Thanksgiving hours: 11am - 9:30pm
Here's where you get to call your friends in New York and tell them you're having Thanksgiving dinner on the beach. In Malibu. After a butternut squash soup amuse bouche, first course choices include a fall harvest salad with figs and persimmons and entrees include citrus and cider-braised free-range turkey with traditional fixings, or a pork chop with sambal Brussels sprouts, and maple-roasted sweet potatoes. You'll get pumpkin pie or a caramel chocolate fudge torte for dessert before taking a selfie in front of the ocean.
L.A. ChapterAddress and Info
The deal: Three courses, $40 and a la carte menu
Thanksgiving hours: 11am-9pm
At the stylish restaurant inside Ace Hotel Downtown, go with the prix fixe of root vegetable panzanella, a turkey terrine with sides, and sweet potato pie or order any of them a la carte along with anything from the regular menu (yep, you can actually just get a burger with no judgment).
Playa ProvisionsAddress and Info
Playa del Rey
The deal: Dinner and sides, $35
Thanksgiving hours: 3-8pm
The Thanksgiving dinner lineup at Brooke Williamson's normally seafood-focused spot screams good deal. You can sit down to a turkey or honey-mustard crusted ham meal along with salad, roasted acorn squash, sausage, and chestnut stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, maple yams with those little marshmallows, and pumpkin pie. There'll be a few regular old dishes available too.
BouchonAddress and Info
The deal: Three courses, $95
Thanksgiving hours: 11am-8pm
If France is on your list of countries you may be relocating to, then you can pretend you're in Paris at this Thomas Keller bistro (while also pretending they serve Thanksgiving dinner in France). He's got a foie-and-chicken liver mousse starter on the menu, and his classic steak frites entrée along with turkey with stuffing, gravy and sides, and multiple pie options. You can also do a wine pairing for $90 and there will be Bouchon's usual raw bar and seafood tower options available along with caviar service in case you're feeling fancy.
The AbbeyAddress and Info
The deal: Three courses, $26
Thanksgiving hours: 11am to close
The fabled gay bar will be doing lobster bisque, a hickory-smoked turkey breast with an array sides like truffled mashed potatoes and brioche stuffing and a choice of pie for this bargain price as well as offering wine and Champagne pairings. The extensive regular menu (and all those martinis) will also be there for the taking.
Maple at Descanso GardensAddress and Info
La Canada Flintridge
The deal: Three courses, $55
Thanksgiving hours: 4-7pm
The Patina Group's pretty new brunch spot at Descanso Gardens will kick off a six-week dinner service during the holiday season starting with a special prix fixe on Thanksgiving evening. You can start with a pumpkin and coconut milk soup or a winter squash salad and follow it up with either a turkey entrée with all the fixings or mix things up with osso buco with creamy polenta. Dessert offerings include pumpkin pie (duh) or the really-good-sounding chocolate pretzel bread pudding.
Ivory on SunsetAddress and Info
The deal: Four courses, $65
Thanksgiving hours: All day
Brian Malarkey's slick hotspot at the Mondrian will offer a multi-course, family-style supper for Thanksgiving, which should pair well with the sweeping views of LA that you can check out from the patio or dining room. You’ll find some classic dishes like the roasted turkey breast and garlic mash, as well as welcome twists like marinated pork loin and oyster stuffing. They’ll also have a lineup of salads and other sides, plus desserts like an apple tartlet and butterscotch pudding.
Coast Beach Café and BarAddress and Info
The deal: Prix fixe menu, $48
Thanksgiving hours: 4-10pm
Head to Shutters on the Beach for a Turkey Day dinner with an ocean view. The line-up includes butternut squash soup served with Maryland blue crab cake; free range Turkey paired with sweet potato mash, cranberries, Brussels sprouts and smoked bacon stuffing; and a slice of pecan pie topped with salted caramel and bourbon whipped cream. Post-dinner jump in the ocean: optional.
Where to order to eat in
Rose CaféAddress and Info
The deal: Full Thanksgiving dinner; feeds 6-8 people for $240 total
You can get a 14lb organic free-range turkey (this is Venice, after all) that's been brined and maple-glazed, giblet gravy, turkey jus, three sides (a Yukon Gold potato puree, sea salt roasted tri color carrots, carrot top pesto green bean salad), and parker house rolls included when you order the whole shebang from this Jason Neroni joint. Throw a pie in for another $25.
BoaAddress and Info
West Hollywood and Santa Monica
The deal: Sides and more sides; feeds 6-8 or 10-12 people for $36 to $168 each
We all know that the abundance of sides are the best part of Thanksgiving dinner anyway, correct? So whether or not you're planning on tackling a turkey, you can order one or all of these six high-calorie dishes, including truffle mashed potatoes, Brussels with bacon, creamed spinach, and goat cheese baklava (just like mom never made) -- from either of this swanky steakhouse's two locations.
The Church KeyAddress and Info
The deal: Full Thanksgiving dinner; feeds 6-8 people or 10-12 people for $199 or $249
You're looking at 15lb butter-roasted fresh free-range turkey (and we dare you to find a non-free-ranger on a menu in Los Angeles County), gravy green bean casserole, Yukon Gold potato puree, brioche-sausage stuffing, sage-roasted yams, and Hawaiian-style sweet rolls with the honey pine nut butter. Plus, they’ll have desserts like a roasted pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and ice cream by the quart. If you're over turkey this year, you can swap it out for a sea salt-roasted prime rib for an extra $50.
TiatoAddress and Info
The deal: Herb-brined whole turkey that feeds 10-12 people for $119; or herb-brined turkey breast that feeds 4-6 people at $49. Plus tons of sides.
Head to this Santa Monica favorite for classic Turkey Day options with an Asian twist. You can grab an herb-brined whole turkey or turkey breast, both with house gravy, depending on the size of your crew. Then for stuffing, you can opt for the turkey apple sausage variety or Mama’s Sticky Rice Stuffing with shiitake mushroom, Chinese sausage, and chestnuts, both available by the half or full pan. Sides include An's Famous Secret Kitchen Garlic Noodles (the only time of year they’re available for take-out), smashed yams, roasted potato and cauliflower gratin, plus a five spice pumpkin pie for dessert.
Maple BlockAddress and Info
The deal: Whole, wood-smoked turkeys, plus a la carte sides; feeds 8-10 or 12-16 people at varying prices.
While you may be tempted to swap BBQ brisket or ribs for turkey at this Culver smokehouse, they’ll also be offering whole wood-smoked turkeys for the holiday -- which is way safer than trying to fry the bird yourself at home. The turkeys are available in three different sizes, ranging from 12-19lbs, priced at $217, $252, and $276 each. So not the cheapest flock in town, but a top-notch option for a splurge. You’ll also find sides like cornbread sausage stuffing, braised greens, and buttermilk biscuits with honey butter, plus chocolate bread pudding. All turkeys must be pre-ordered by calling (310-313-6328) by 4pm on Wednesday, November 16th.
Ways to give back for the holiday
Westside ThanksgivingAddress and Info
This dinner, which has been going on for more 30 years, feeds thousands on Thanksgiving Day and can use lots of help both at the dinner, taking place Thursday and leading up to it. On Wednesday, you can show up anytime between 3pm and 8pm to help with the setup and if you want to help out during the actual event, call ahead to sign up for a shift. Oh, and if you're cooking a turkey or baking a pumpkin pie, consider making an extra to contribute.
Gobble Gobble GiveAddress and Info
Downtown, Echo Park, and Santa Monica
What started as a group of friends who first teamed up 18 years to feed homeless citizens in their Echo Park neighborhood on Thanksgiving morning has now expanded to include cities around the country, including multiple LA-based operations. There are tons of ways to help prior to and on Thanksgiving as the group is looking for everything from drivers to people who have an oven (and you're most likely one of those) who can warm a turkey. You can also drop off cooked dishes (sides, turkeys, and desserts), toiletry kits, and clothing and blankets on Thanksgiving morn.
Dinner in the ParkAddress and Info
This outdoor dinner that serves thousands every year is all set on volunteers but they're still looking for store-bought pies (home-baked ones aren't allowed due to health regulations), that you can drop off Thanksgiving morning. Before that, the organizers will be in need of a host of canned and packaged goods that they'll use to make the big meal, which you can bring by anytime between now and November 19th.
Other fun Thanksgiving activities
Turkey Trot Los AngelesAddress and Info
You can take on a 5K or go the extra mile (or 3.1 miles, actually) and do the 10K. Both start at City Hall and loop around landmarks like Disney Hall and The Hellman Building. Also, every participant gets a turkey trot trucker hat.
Dana Point Turkey TrotAddress and Info
It may be worth heading down to the OC for the biggest trot around. (C'mon, they even own the website turkeytrot.com, that's how big a deal it is). There's both a 5K and a 10K that give runners some pretty perfect coastline views, a costume contest, and a health and wellness expo so you can get one more dose of don't-overdo-it guilt before heading home to eat the equivalent of eight dinners.
Between stuffing your face, running a short distance and/or volunteering, it's been a long day. Wind Turkey Day down with a drinks at one (or more) of the many bars that stay open on the holiday. North Hollywood tiki shrine Tonga Hut will be mixing Mai Tais and will run happy hour specials from 8pm-close ($3 well drinks, $2 PBRs and Miller Lites, and $5 drafts); you can catch a live jazz-funk band in the lobby of the Culver Hotel in Culver City; get cocktails on the roof of Ace Hotel Downtown at Upstairs; or go the beer-and-football route at 33 Taps in Silver Lake.
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1. The Bazaar by José Andrés465 S La Cienega, Los Angeles
2. Carbon Beach Club at Malibu Beach Inn22878 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
3. LA Chapter927 S Broadway, Los Angeles
4. Playa Provisions119 Culver Blvd, Playa del Rey
5. Bouchon235 N Canon, Beverly Hills
6. The Abbey Food & Bar692 N Robertson Blvd, West Hollywood
7. Maple at Descanso Gardens1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada
8. Ivory on Sunset8440 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood
9. Coast Beach Café and Bar1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica
10. Rose Cafe - Restaurant220 Rose Ave, Venice
11. BOA9200 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood
12. The Church Key8730 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood
13. Huckleberry1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
14. Tiato2700 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica
15. Maple Block Meat Co.3973 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City
16. Tonga Hut12808 Victory Blvd, North Hollywood
17. Culver Hotel9400 Culver Blvd, Culver City
18. Upstairs Rooftop Lounge at Ace Hotel933 S Broadway, Los Angeles
19. 33 Taps6263 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
The Bazaar by José Andrés delivers a whirlwind series of culinary concepts and fantastically designed spaces, all wrapped into the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. A duo of wine bars are the opening act: Rojo embodies the traditional with textbook Spanish tapas (Catalan bruschetta, Iberian ham) while Blanca acts as the playful contemporary sister with avant-garde small plates like foie gras cotton candy. The creativity continues on the mixology-forward menu at Bar Centro, where classics are aggressively reimagined with liquid nitrogen and emulsifications (order a dirty martini and it will be topped with olive brine espuma). There’s more still: the bakery branch Patisserie turns its focus to elegant pastries in a fantastical tea house atmosphere, where afternoon high tea is defined by wanton bonbon consumption. Whatever you go for (not that you have to stop at one venue), expect dramatic furnishings and an adult playground experience.
A seaside surf & turf retreat does dining the Malibu way: al fresco and with transportive ocean views. The Waldo Fernandez-designed Carbon Beach Club at Malibu Beach Inn echoes the blues and grays of the sea in the decor, while Californian sensibilities fuse with Mediterranean cuisine on the food menu. The sunsets here, especially when augmented by the Carbon 47 (rye, campari, port, bitters, orange), are impeccable.
The Ace Hotel is known for its strenuously executed brand of casual hipness, and that same air translates to L.A. Chapter, an Asian-influenced restaurant within the hotel's Downtown outpost. Vegetables are heavily represented on the menu, but meat comes into play in larger entrées like crispy duck breast and flatiron steak. Brass bistro tables and black-and-white tile floors maintain an air of cool to complement the crowd.
Brooke Williamson may have been a runner-up on Top Chef, but her beachfront Playa Provisions, which is really four venues in one, is a winner. The food hall-like concept includes Small Batch, a frozen treat stand that sells ice cream by the scoop as well as in sandwiches, popsicles, and floats; King Beach, a quick-serve spot for breakfast, lunch, and dessert; a whiskey bar called Grain; and Dockside, a full-service seafood restaurant that serves a mix of classic and seasonal plates. The complex's dining areas, which include bright blue picnic tables, fire pits, and of course, Pacific views, make the ambience feel as effortlessly laid-back as the food.
Beverly Hills' Bouchon represents all of the culinary excellence you'd expect from Chef Thomas Keller, who has earned seven Michelin stars between the original Bouchon, the internationally celebrated French Laundry, and New York’s Per Se. Keller's take on age-old French bistro food is traditional but he employs modern techniques. Each dish is as familiar as an old friend, just dressed a little nicer than you remember him: roast chicken is plated atop carrots and onions on a thin pastry disk in a pool of pan sauce, and each garlic-buttered escargot gets a cute puff pastry hat. Brass fixtures, high ceilings, and mosaic tiles evoking La Belle Epoque complete the effect. Still, some things don’t need adornment, like red wine served in carafes and butter-topped steak next to a heaping pile of fries.
What makes West Hollywood's The Abbey one of the country's most popular gay bars? Four bars, lots of go-go dancers, and a quarter century of queer tomfoolery that has attracted luminaries like Elton John and Elizabeth Taylor. By day, the haunt acts as pub-style restaurant that's popular for brunch, but by night it's all flashing lights, drag queen throw-downs, and gyrating bulges in neon speedos. The space is ally-friendly, and while more straight tourists and bachelorette gaggles search it out now, it remains a part of rainbow history in the area.
In a city brimming with gorgeous outdoor dining options, few can rival Maple nestled in the Descanso Gardens. The Patina Group restaurant is a brunch go-to, where eggs Benedict and fried chicken with powdered sugar beignets can precede a stroll through the manicured grounds. Maple's hours are finicky, though. Year-round, it's open on the weekends for brunch and lunch hours, and it typically only serves dinner during the holiday season.
West Hollywood’s Ivory on Sunset offers elegance, both inside and out: upscale homey interiors are striking, but the real beauty lives in the sunset skyline views from the enclosed deck dining room. Pink and gold cityscapes make an ideal prelude to the Californian small plates, like veal and pork meatball, hamachi crudo, and roasted artichoke flatbread. Larger mains span the surf & turf category, with a Tomahawk ribeye or twin lobster tails satisfying big spenders. A piano, ivory keys and all, keeps the mood tranquil.
Coast Beach Cafe and Bar does waterfront eating and drinking the way it should be done in Santa Monica: with an emphasis on grilled seafood and breezy cocktails. Blueberry mojitos gesture at the deep blue sea and come with free ocean views on the enclosed outdoor dining patio. The seafood menu is brushed with Latin accents, and jumbo shrimp cocktail best followed by a trio of battered fish tacos or an ahi tuna burger that's tantalizingly pink on the inside.
Rose Cafe is a Venice institution that first opened in 1979 but underwent a huge revamp in 2015. Helmed by chef Jason Neroni (Superba Snack Bar, Catch & Release), the restaurant is a bright and airy morning-to-night spot with an open kitchen, communal tables, and two patios. The daily breakfast menu includes a breakfast burrito, pancakes, and egg scrambles, plus pastries, smoothies, and Verve coffee. Meanwhile, the dinner menu features house-made pasta, hearth-roasted chicken, and charcuterie. Rose 2.0 has a similar all-day vibe as Gjelina, minus the wood-fired pizzas.
This high-end steakhouse on the Strip is known for delicious steaks, sleek decor, and a glamorous clientele. Each cut of meat is perfectly juicy, and though you're undoubtedly here for the 40-day dry-aged New York strip or center-cut filet mignon, the mac & cheese side, made with smoked gouda and cheddar, is worth a trip in itself. And since this is LA, BOA has an entire menu dedicated to gluten-free food (thank god steak is GF).
The Church Key gets aggressively inventive with its Asian-influenced interpretations of modern American cuisine. Waiters push dim carts around the dining room featuring small plates that are familiar enough for you to recognize (sweet potato gnocchi, curried chicken pot pie) but exciting enough that some will only appeal to the most adventurous of eaters (pig ear cheetos). Signature cocktails continue to challenge expectations: Negronis come in a can and boozy popsicles are a common sighting.
This airy Santa Monica bakery and cafe has developed a cult following thanks to pastry chef Zoe Nathan's spot-on breads, pastries, and desserts. Every Saturday and Sunday morning brings a frenzy of locals waiting patiently in line for croissants (get the prosciutto), blueberry cornmeal cake, flatbreads, and more. The savory options are just as notable, especially the fried egg sandwich with bacon and arugula, and the prosciutto-and-pesto "Green Eggs & Ham" on a house-made English muffin.
This gem from chef Helene An wasn’t named after a mint-like Vietnamese herb haphazardly: the ingredient is grown in the restaurant's garden and integrated into many of An's fusion plates. The casual all-day space in a Santa Monica office building has a juice bar and snack market that draws a corporate crowd, but the full-service lunch is the real attraction. The menu features both updated Vietnamese standbys like banh mi and stewed beef noodle soup, and tweaked American comfort plates like turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes. A bar in the main dining room makes good use of the namesake herb, too, where bartenders pour tiato-infused sake that just tastes better when had on the spacious patio.
This Culver City BBQ spot is lead by a Southern-born chef who seriously knows how to work a grill and smoker. The seasonal menu at Maple Block Meat Co. serves traditional American BBQ dedicated to brisket and pork ribs, craft beers, and house-made soda. For lunch, you can order a sandwich and BBQ combo plate while dinner gets a bit fancier with small plates and Scottish ocean trout.
It's hard to think of tiki bars as a bygone fad when North Hollywood's Tonga Hut has been turning up the tiki since 1958. We're not talking just a plastic umbrella in your fruity drink or a few totem glasses (though you will see both): the cocktail bar looks like something between a retro knick-knack-littered living room and an Easter Island shipwreck. Just because the cocktails are kitsch doesn't mean they're an after-thought: the Hawaiian Eye mixes two rums with passion fruit puree, while the Coconaut Re-Entry is ignited with fire. This is the kind of corny that attracts patrons both young and old.
Housed in a 1920s flatiron building and once owned by John Wayne -- and is rumored to be where the Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz partied after filming -- the Culver Hotel is something of a Hollywood novelty. But its bar… isn’t. It’s a straight-out-of-the-20s speakeasy with a tinge of old-school Parisian boudoir. It’s dark, and only open after 8pm. This is not the place to see and be seen, but rather, the place to hide amongst the scene, with live music, craft cocktails, and paranormal activity from the ghosts of Hollywood past.
The only thing hipper than the Ace Hotel DTLA is its rooftop lounge, aptly named The Upstairs Bar. Though the roof boasts a pool and lounge chairs, the emphasis isn't really on swimming -- probably because the concrete pool is small enough to be a hot tub. But you're not there for poolside cabanas, you're there for the impeccable drinks and daily event lineup, which includes everything from DJ sets and live concerts to book release parties and yoga classes. Add in stunning city views, and you've got an unquestionable classic in the rooftop game.
The neighborhood sports bar gets super-sized at Hollywood's 33 Taps with 40 flat-screens playing just about every game, no-fuss American food, and as many taps as the name suggests. Take your pick: a UFC match and a mac & cheese-topped burger, or football and a pastrami sandwich with fries. Either way, you're probably going to be drinking beer (simple mixed drinks are as close to mixology as it comes here). Doors don't just open in Hollywood, sometimes you have to knock hard... or tap thirty-three times.