Hollywood's best restaurants
With endless celebrity photos and numerous "Best of" lists on the walls, chef Jazz Singsanong’s Thai Town restaurant is one of the city’s cult favorites—and serves Angelenos in memory of L.A. Thai-food legend chef-owner Tui Sungkamee, who passed in 2017. The Crispy Morning Glory Salad is an obligatory dish: a flavorful mix of crunchy, deep-fried Chinese watercress, plump shrimp, red onions, cilantro, cabbage and bell peppers marinated in the spicy house dressing. If perusing the lengthy menu leaves you dazed and confused, the green mussel curry—succulent New Zealand mussels piled high and bathed in an aromatic Southern curry flavored with lemongrass, sweet pineapples and chiles—is a good place to start on the extensive list of fiery Northern and Southern Thai specialties.
Nancy Silverton's Italian-food mecca on Melrose still draws crowds more than a decade in. Whether you're looking for the refined pastas and soulful plates of Osteria Mozza, the perfectly blistered and seasonally adorned pies at Pizzeria Mozza, or the rustic, hearty and wood-fired fare in chi SPACCA, this corner restaurant complex has a little something for everyone and continues, unsurprisingly, to be the city's gold standard. It's that good. Just whatever you do, whichever concept you're in, be sure to save room for dessert—there's creamy butterscotch budino to be had in the pizzeria.
Curtis Stone’s modern bistro greets you with a butcher case as soon as you open the door, tempting you with coils of lamb sausage or hefty cuts of steak to take home. But not everyone is a wiz when it comes to cooking their own meat, which is why the stunning restaurant component is always worth a visit. For weekday lunch, find some of the city’s best-kept sandwich secrets, made from the butcher case’s exquisite cuts—and in the evening, a range of meaty, slow-roasted items cooked over an open fire, as well as small plates, handmade pasta, shellfish and of course Gwen’s expert house-made charcuterie. This Hollywood gem also features a five-course tasting menu in Gwen’s glitzy dining room, where chandeliers dangle above and that open fire pit separates diners from the kitchen for an entirely modern-elegant affair.
To watch an omelette being made at Petit Trois is a thing of beauty. First there is the butter, a massive pad that swirls around the pan before being flooded with whipped eggs over low heat. The mixture sits, briefly, then is taken off the stove and gently poked and prodded for minutes until it is finally folded into one uniform, buttercup-hued omelette. Oh, and did we mention that Boursin cheese is piped through the middle? Perceived simplicity is what Ludo Lefebvre aims for at Petit Trois, which sits right next to his first brick-and-mortar success, Trois Mec. The menu is a sparse list of classic French dishes—steak frites, mussels marinières, chicken leg—in a casual bistro atmosphere. If the Hollywood strip-mall exterior doesn’t sell you on this idea, the fantastic food certainly will.
Perched high above the madness of the Walk of Fame and the throng of costumed heroes posing for pictures, Inn Ann is a Japanese restaurant that doubles as a tucked-away escape—fitting, as its name translates to “hidden retreat.” The omakase and sushi-forward concept is helmed by local legend executive chef Morihiro Onodera (founder and formerly of Mori Sushi), and serves as the food component to cultural center Japan House. It's an artful, delicate component at that, and a totally unexpected gem hiding atop the Hollywood & Highland shopping complex.
BBQ and grilling authority Adam Perry Lang’s first L.A. restaurant brings turn-of-the-century steakhouse charm to life with APL, a temple to both beef and simplicity. The lights are low, you've just settled in at your comfy leather booth and you know full well that the dry-ageing cellar beneath your feet is about to provide some serious steaks. At lunch, find a casual menu of some of the best BBQ in the city; at dinner, opt for chops and "APL selects," plus old-school items like the decadent shrimp cocktail or a classic caesar upgraded by a slab of house-cured bacon.
This funky, fun Thai restaurant serves classics and dishes made from the recipes of a 90-year-old Thai grandmother. Enough said. OK, fine, if that didn't convince you, we'll give you a little more: The setting is no-frills, but we say that's just all the better to set the stage for some serious Thai heat. The Phuket-style crab curry Kanomjean is the move here, with whole claws and legs shooting up from a thick, spice-sludgy mix to be enjoyed with rice noodles and plenty of herbaceous accoutrements.
At 100 years young, Musso & Frank Grill is Hollywood's oldest restaurant, a steak-and-cocktails joint formerly favored by Charlie Chaplin and Raymond Chandler. With its many classic dishes and individually priced sides (and salad dressings), the menu can be daunting. However, some dishes are failsafes: At breakfast, grab an order of crêpe-thin flannel cakes; later in the day, a giant slab of steak will do the trick. And every table gets a half-loaf of house-made sourdough bread, the perfect accompaniment to Musso & Frank's legendary martini.
Angelenos rhapsodize about Thai Town’s Ruen Pair with a fervor that borders on obsession. At this round-the-clock, cash-only favorite, the enticing Southeast Asian menu is full of beer-friendly, shareable plates like fish cake pad ka prow, spongy, light rounds sautéed in basil leaves and vibrant chilies, which justifies a visit on its own. Stir-fry with Chinese olive and ground pork is served with crispy bits of flavorful meat and fresh garlic paired alongside a bowl of steaming rice. Another must order: the sautéed morning glory. Ask for it with crispy pork belly for the ultimate late-night Thai combo.
The Vietnamese-meets-French pop-up from chefs Casey Felton and Armen Piskoulian finally found a home, and at Banh Oui's bright, casual, counter-service spot, they brought all the flavor—and then some. You can catch their signature banh mi sandwiches, plus their cult-classic sesame fried chicken sandwich, specials, and some of the best wings in town. Oh, and there's also a restaurant within a restaurant: Tony Khachapuri, the chefs' Georgian-flatbread concept serving spins on the cheesy, eggy, doughy baked good you can't put down. Seriously, this is the two-for-one restaurant we wish every neighborhood in L.A. had.
One of the world's most famous—and oldest—pizza operations in the world touched down in Hollywood, carving out a garden oasis just off the main drag. L'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele is exactly the kind of place to escape Hollywood, but you can't, really—it's already proving to be a destination for celebs and industry power lunches. We get it. The bulb-lit patio is secluded, serene and stylish, and of course the pizza is phenomenal: Neapolitan-style pies gooey in the center and blistered around the crust are what you should always order, but we wouldn't blame you if you got distracted by the small plates and pastas.
The homestyle cooking of this Thai Town joint attracts traditionalists citywide. You won't find fusion or overly sweet noodles at Sanamluang Café—only some of the best Asian comfort food (and slightly intimidating waitresses). Start with the classic tom kha kai, a spicy coconut soup with plump chicken, mushrooms, lemongrass, lime juice and fresh chili for a refreshing starter. Then take a menu detour with the khao pad krapaow gai, a satisfying and fiery chicken-basil-rice stir-fry topped with an optional egg, and khana moo grob: This crispy and juicy chunks of pork paired with broth-wilted Chinese broccoli is a must. Wear relaxed clothing and dig in.
Brooklyn's all-day Five Leaves café is all class, and so is its West Coast counterpart. It's also one of the most casually stylish restaurants in Hollywood. Wide, colorful modern booths and charming bistro-style stools make for a kind of nouveau diner: the kind of place serving stacks of pancakes, scrambles and an eggs-and-bacon plate, but the pancakes come topped with honeycomb butter, and there are sides of truffle fries and grilled fennel. In the evening, the mood is sleek and sexy to match the fare: seared scallops, artichoke tarts, hanger steak under harissa butter, and killer cocktails.
Both an unsung hero and a perennial favorite of L.A.'s Italian-food scene, Osteria La Buca tends to fly under the radar—but real ones know. This casual, family-friendly spot in Larchmont Village isn't as difficult to land a table as some of the city's flashier pasta-centric spots, but is every bit as good, and regulars flock to it. The kitchen uses seasonal, local ingredients to create classic Italian dishes: pizza, pasta, dry-aged rib eye, seafood and more, in an industrial setting downstairs and an intimate indoor balcony, above. On Sundays, diners descend on it for the eggy bucatini carbonara and the Maria Verde, Osteria La Buca's modern take on the classic Bloody Mary.
Get here early in the morning and you’ll catch the last wave of Thai club kids in their party gear; later, the crowd shifts to their parents stopping in before work, and their grandparents lingering with friends over coffee. No matter who’s eating, at least half the tables will have a little dish of doughnuts: square pillows of lightly fried dough to be dipped in creamy condensed milk. Follow yours with a big bowl of jok, a rich, satisfying rice porridge sprinkled with white pepper, fresh slivered ginger and scallions, all of which elevates the earthy catfish buried at the bottom of the bowl. Take note: Cash only.
The idea behind Salt’s Cure is a noble one: Every meal is made from ingredients grown and raised in California, all of which are carefully butchered and crafted in-house. And it's not just a tagline here; it's a way of life for the young chef-owners. You can always count on a great burger, and there's almost always a good steak of some sort. Black kale, mashed potatoes, grilled corn—you almost expect to see an old red farm truck parked out front. It's best to get there early because the dish you really want will surely sell out before the night is over. Speaking of early, make sure to pay them a visit for brunch, where an order of their griddle cakes will make everything right in the world.
This darling Hollywood bistro, daintily named after the French word for "taste buds," serves up elegant edibles in a relaxed atmosphere. Papilles's seasonal menu, which changes weekly, is sourced from local farmers. The dining experience itself is charming and uncomplicated: Each night, Papilles offers a prix-fixe, three-course dinner and à la carte options, and a pared-down wine selection that is not in print, but instead displayed directly on shelves in the dining room—grab whichever bottle you'd like to drink. Quaint and authentic, a meal at Papilles serves as a rare escape from the seemingly inescapable urban excess.
Steps from the Arclight, Stella Barra is the perfect pre- and post–movie nosh stop. There's plenty of seating in the lofty space with a full bar serving local craft beers, Italian and Californian wines by the glass and bottle, and creative cocktails. To eat, there are farmers' market salads and small plates to share, and top-notch pizzas boasting a chewy sourdough crust and California-grown toppings. Try the fennel-flavored, house-made sausage pie topped with organic tomato and mozzarella, or the signature burrata that comes plated with warm house-made bread and prosciutto.
Pleasant but totally unassuming in appearance, one might not predict upon first glace that Prael on Melrose overfloweth with a delicious extensive menu of Thai goodies. From the juicy tofu pad thai to the flavorful Panang curries, this Wilshire Center joint satisfies in both taste and portion size. With their affordable prices and speedy delivery, Prael's a tried-and-true staple in Hollywood.
Karabagh is a market, deli and butcher shop that serves East Hollywood's Armenian community and in-the-know food (and bargain) hunters. Trays of lule, ground beef or chicken kebabs, are crafted in-house and on display. Order a kebab sandwich—packed with juicy lule, parsley and red onion in between lavash—at the counter and take it to-go or dine in at the next-door bakery with coffee and pastries. With each sandwich at around $5 apiece, two sandwiches easily make a bargain lunch.