Uttering “Jitlada” produces a visceral reaction in many seasoned food-loving Angelenos, who might grab their throats as they mime breathing fire. The Thai restaurant might be known for its unapologetically spicy dishes, but owner Jazz Singsanong’s eponymous secret menu burger is actually on the tamer (but still spicy) side. You can only get one when Singsanong is there, and if the longtime Thai American restaurateur feels like making it. Featuring two beef patties studded with chilis and caramelized with garlic and palm sugar, the low-carb Jazz Burger comes on a lettuce wrap with Thai basil, red onion and tomatoes, plus a drizzle of housemade Thousand Island dressing.
Can restaurant elitists have anything anymore? In the age of third-party delivery and takeout, the secret’s out at most L.A. restaurants, where off-menu items that once flourished among regulars and those in the know have scooted right onto online menus for the entire dining public to see.
Others, like Night + Market’s Thai fried chicken sandwich and Howlin’ Ray’s Luis-style chicken sando, have made their way onto the regular menu over the years, while some old-time favorites have reappeared, like Spago’s salmon pizza. We also don’t need to call out In-N-Out’s widely known “secret” menu items, as well as all the various viral TikTok fast food combos, for you to know how to hack your meal at a corporate restaurant chain.
However, a few secret menu items still persist, for L.A. diners in the know and a restaurant’s regulars; there’s nothing like the rush of ordering a secret menu item, like the ever-changing pasta dishes at Horses on Sunset Boulevard, or their delicate sugar-spun bell jars brought out for birthdays. These dishes typically speak to a kitchen or bar team’s creative range, a chef’s personal tastes and regulars’ longtime favorites.
In honor of this, we’ve rounded up and ranked the remaining proud few—so read on for the top eight secret menu items at L.A. restaurants and bars.