There was a time when Culver City was supposed to be the next big thing—and then that time came and went, and the Westside neighborhood chugged along as a charming, albeit somewhat sleepy, locale. Yet in the past year, a steady stream of new cocktail bars and restaurants have started to open, both in Downtown Culver City and on its quieter outskirts. Now you can find exceptional fried chicken, along with plenty of Indian restaurants, BBQ spots and bakeries. Here are some of our favorite Culver City restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner—finally, this neighborhood is starting to become a true dining destination.
Dine at these fantastic Culver City restaurants
If you enjoy a good steak or pork chop or slab of fish, this might be your new favorite restaurant. Chef Brian Dunsmoor (The Hart and the Hunter) has created a love letter to rustic American cuisine at Hatchet Hall, with an environment and menu that channels a relaxed, beautifully curated Southern vibe. Take, for example, the benne yeast rolls, which arrive four to an order and come with luxurious honey butter. Or the plate of just-ripe melon from Weiser Farms, presented on a tangled bed of fatty, Mangalitsa ham and sprinkled with mint. A phenomenal pork chop is combined with a bite of blackened peach, everything drizzled with fig and brown butter maple jus. To drink, choose from an inventive cocktail or wine list—or just head to the back, where Old Man Bar serves a slew of great old-fashioneds.
Meat butchered on premise, brisket smoked over peach wood logs, a pitmaster from Texas—Maple Block Meat Co. is checking off all the right BBQ boxes. Chef Adam Cole, who grew up eating 'cue in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina, is paying tribute to his roots at this Culver City spot, where lunch and dinner options range from chopped pork shoulder to ranch beans seasoned with meat drippings. Before you even get to the entrées, smoked chicken wings appear under the menu’s snack column, small in size but packing a flavorful punch. Other smoked meats include a pork chop, prime rib and incredibly tender brisket, but the pork spare ribs are the standout choice. Sporting a beautiful rub, the ribs alone are worthy of sitting through 405 traffic.
Before sinking your teeth into a leg or thigh of Honey's Kettle fried chicken, give it a moment to cool: the golden pieces come out piping hot, with a skin that crackles under each bite and tender meat that is perfectly cooked. Diners who frequent this spacious Culver City spot can choose from pre-constructed meals or have the option to select their own assortment of fried chicken pieces, plus sides—we're partial to the decadent macaroni salad. One item you shouldn't skip out on: Honey's biscuits, which has a cornmeal-esque texture and comes with a side of maple syrup, which you can drizzle into the dimple on top.
Right off the 405, this endearing old school deli serves up what are arguably the best deli sandwiches in LA. Johnnie's famed hot pastrami will set you back $10.95, but if you’re buzzed enough from swigging all those cans of oatmeal stout at the Corner Door, it just might seem worth it (no regrets so far). Plus, the place has its own parking lot, which conveniently makes up for its not-so-endearing cash-only policy.
You could say that the Netflix documentary Chef's Table helped shine a spotlight on n/naka, but the Palms restaurant was already on the map, front and center. Chef/owner Niki Nakayama is a former protégé of the legendary Morihiro Onodera (once the chef/owner of Mori Sushi), though Nakayama focuses her talent on kaiseki, a classical style of Japanese cooking that dictates a specific progression of textures, temperatures, tastes and seasonal ingredients. À la carte is not an option: n/naka offers either a 13-course modern menu ($185) or a 13-course vegetarian menu ($160), and both can be paired with wine for $85. The menus change daily and seasonally, but there is always something to delight in: a glass filled with sea urchin and lobster in a bath of chilled dashi, maybe, or a seared diver-harvested scallop cuddled next to a warm okra pod. It can take two or three hours to get through a meal here, but it's well worth it. Nakayama is one of LA's best culinary talents, and scoring a meal at her restaurant is money well spent.
Whether you're visiting the Culver City or Santa Monica location, a convivial buzz fills Father's Office with hungry diners jonesing for a burger and craft beer. The 30-plus beers on tap mainly come from California microbreweries; there's also a nice range of wines. Food-wise, forgo the tapas in favor of the fabled Office Burger. Just be prepared to eat it in the way the menu suggests: no additions and no substitutions. And definitely no ketchup.
Previously known as Wildcraft Pizza, Wildcraft revamped itself to focus on modern Italian cuisine, featuring an array of antipasta, salads and pasta, along with seafood and a fantastic wine list. Fans of the old space will be happy to know that their pistachio and squash blossoms pizza is still available, as is a slew of their other fantastic pies—plus grilled octopus, brisket meatballs and Italian fried chicken. Stop by from 4-7pm for happy hour.
Alexander Phaneuf and Or Amsalam have brought their incredible baking skills to Culver City with Lodge Bread, a small bakery dedicated to big loaves. Their dedication to organically grown, seasonal whole grains put through a naturally levened process results in a selection of bread that has drawn raves from chefs and ordinary eaters alike. At the counter, you'll find cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, a muesli bowl and cookies, along with loaves of seeded country, whole wheat, spelt and red quinoa wheat. Sunday night is pizza night from 5-8pm—just be sure to get there early since pies sell out fast.
Sawtelle Boulevard may be home to a large number of ramen shops, but other parts of the Westside are starting to see their fair share, too. With locations in Culver City and Westwood, Ramen Yamadaya is just as popular as any noodle joint along Sawtelle. Twenty hours of simmering pork bones is what goes into Yamadaya’s signature tonkotsu (pork) broth, forming the base for one of the creamiest, cleanest, porkiest bowls of tonkotsu ramen in town. The thin noodles work well here; you’ll slurp them up much too quickly for them to lose their bite. Don’t miss the dip-and-slurp tsukemen, which is equally as good.
Mayura's cuisine is inspired by Kerala, a coastal city in South India. Cuisine from this area is heavy on the spices and sour sauces, so at Mayura you'll find dishes rich with cumin, coriander, turmeric and cardamom, and creamy stews that sway more sour than sweet. You'll also find uthappam: a pizza-like concept that features various toppings cooked into dosa batter. Other fantastic options include palak paneer, puttu (steamed cylinders of ground rice layered with coconut), upma (porridge cooked from semolina and vegetables), and classic dishes like chicken tikka masala, lamb vindaloo and vegetable biryani.
Sang Yoon's Lukshon, located in the Helms Bakery complex, is just steps away from his other eatery Father’s Office. But the similarities end with chef and geography. Where Father’s Office is one of the city’s first gastropubs with a decidedly American menu, Lukshon is the first of its own kind—an upscale and polished restaurant that reinterprets Southeast Asian flavors. Glorious spicy chicken pops is an addicting bowlful of drumettes slathered in thick sweet soy sauce and sprinkled with subtly spicy Sichuan salt. While dishes like Dan Dan noodles and Chinese black mushrooms may seem ordinary, they’re reinvented just enough so you don’t mind paying the upscale prices. To end, the nightly-changing dessert—carrot cake one evening, mango panna cotta another—is complimentary and, invariably, fantastic.
As one of the few Danish bakeries in LA (Copenhagen Pastry has another location in Pasadena), this Culver City shop dedicated to dough is not for those who shy away from carbs. You'll want to eat everything in sight here—the braided cinnamon rolls, the macaroons, the nougat crowns straight out of the oven. The kringle, filled with almond paste and custard, is a must-try, though you really can't go wrong with anything behind the case. Open early in the morning, a stop at Copenhagen Pastry is a great way to start the work day.