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15 restaurants that L.A. tourists should definitely visit

15 restaurants that L.A. tourists should definitely visit
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman Fried chicken sandwich at Howlin' Ray's

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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Comments

4 comments
Rose K

Howlin' Ray's looks really good, hope it is. Also, is the Polo Lounge really good for Jazz?


Scott B

Any list that includes Pinks and Neptunes Net should immediately be held as suspect. You certainly aren't going to either one of these places for good food. Pinks built its fame, and the wall full of celebrity photos by providing cheap eats to the film and television industry. Even as late as the eighties you were still going there for a couple of dogs, a bag of chips a soda, and a likely celebrity sighting for two bucks. Now you wait in a slow line for an $8 dog pretending to be neuvo cuisine named after some "celebrity" that just isn't good. It really isn't. Don't buy into the hype. And Neptunes Net has a great patio, with an nice location at the LA/Ventura county line. But that is the only good I can say about it. Bad food, impossible parking, and a bunch of wanna be tough guys in poser leathers are really the reasons to not bother stopping. I used to surf there as it had one of the better breaks, and I still ride my motorcycle in the area (I live near here) but I don't ever stop here, and I give that advice to all my friends. And as to chasing down a Kogi truck, don't. If you come across one and the line is reasonable, do. It's good, but not some life changing experience that one should waste a half day on.

Charles R

Is there anything you DO recommend? I agree Neptunes net is full of wannabe tough guys and the price is a little high for a long wait. But, I don't regret going. It's a place you should at least try once. Same for Pinks. It's definitely good enough to try at least once. The line goes quick and their dogs are old school the way they used to be with the casing. Kind of hard to find that these days. Along with the ambience, I too recommend both.

Nick S

While strolling around in Los Angeles and sampling tasty morsels of artfully crafted edibles, check out some of the best Happy Hours in Los Angeles.

https://USAHappyHour.com