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Fried chicken sandiwch at Howlin' Ray's
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanFried chicken sandwich at Howlin' Ray's

15 restaurants that L.A. tourists should definitely visit

Written by
Erin Kuschner
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We're all about introducing you to the greatest under-the-radar restaurants, but if you're visiting Los Angeles for the first time, there are a handful of time-honored places you just have to hop in line for. Whether it's an eastside brunch spot, a hot dog legend or an OG food truck, a trip to L.A. wouldn't be the same without dining at these 15 popular restaurants. 

Sqirl

No matter what time you get to this beloved East Hollywood spot, there will be line—but man, is it worth it. Order one of Jessica Koslow's thick-cut toasts smothered in homemade jam, or a grain bowl filled to the brim with fresh California produce.

Sqirl
Photograph: Courtesy Sqirl

Howlin' Ray's

Chef Johnny Ray Zone's Nashville fried chicken brings in crowds from across L.A.—standing in line, you might even run into someone who's driven all the way up from Orange County, it's that good. With varying levels of heat and a killer fried-chicken sandwich, there's no better place to eat fried chicken than at this Far East Plaza staple. 

Howlin' Ray's
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Din Tai Fung

With only a handful of Din Tai Fungs in America, this popular Taiwanese eatery draws in those looking to try their exceptional xiao long bao.

Din Tai Fung
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Bestia

You won't be waiting in line for Bestia—rather, you'll want to make a reservation months in advance for this acclaimed Italian eatery. Chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis deliver fantastic plates of pasta and decadent pastries in an industrial setting Downtown.

Bestia
Photograph: Becky Reams

Sprinkles 

Sprinkles introduced L.A. to a cupcake ATM, and nothing was ever the same.

Sprinkles
Photograph: Courtesy Sprinkles

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle

Tsukemen ramen is hard to come by in the U.S., but L.A. has a couple of fantastic options. The very best? Tsujita on Sawtelle, where you can dip your noodles into flavorful tonkotsu broth to your heart's content. 

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle
Photograph: Benny Haddad

Guerrilla Tacos

There are plenty of stellar food trucks in Los Angeles, but people flock to Guerrilla Tacos for chef Wes Avila's inventive, gourmet versions, like roasted sweet potato with leeks or foie gras and oxtail tacos.

Guerrilla Tacos
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Philippe the Original

Philippe's claims to have invented the French dip sandwich, and who are we to argue with history?  

Philippe the Original
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Bar Marmont

Get your celebrity sighting fix at Bar Marmont at Chateau Marmont, a place where everyone from Jim Morrison to Lindsay Lohan has gotten themselves into trouble.

Bar Marmont
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

In-N-Out

First time visitors to Los Angeles have a civic duty to stop at In-N-Out for their famous burgers (Animal-style, of course). And might we recommend a Neopolitan shake?

In-N-Out Burger
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Neptune's Net

After watching the sunset on the beach, cross the PCH and sidle up to Neptune's Net, where you can dig into fried shrimp and clam chowder while chatting up the restaurant's biker crowd.

Neptune's Net
Photograph: Courtesy Neptune's Net

The Polo Lounge 

Tourists come to this stunning restaurant and lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel for sweet patio views, live jazz and one of the city's best chocolate soufflés.

Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy The Polo Lounge

Pink's Hot Dogs 

Open since 1939, Pink's touts the most famous hot dogs in L.A., like their coveted chili dog smothered in chili, onions, cheese and mustard.

Pink's Hot Dogs
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Kogi

As the grandfather of L.A.'s modern food truck movement, chef Roy Choi's Kogi is a must-visit for any Los Angeles tourist. Stop by one of his trucks or the new Kogi Taqueria in Palms. 

Kogi
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Bob's Big Boy

If you're visiting a studio or two in the Valley, be sure to stop by Bob's Big Boy for their car hop service, classic car meet-ups and phenomenal chocolate shakes.

Bob's Big Boy
Photograph: Michael Juliano

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