L.A. gets plenty of its reputation from the film industry, but we prefer when our stars come draped in a tablecloth and feeding us some of the best food we’ve ever tasted. And in this golden age of dining destinations, plenty of our city’s restaurants have become their own sort of icons. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, believe the hype: These famous Los Angeles restaurants have stood the test of time or made waves with newer fare, and live up to their reputation. From hot dogs and hole-in-the-wall Japanese cafés to Victorian-era food halls and star-studded fine-dining, here’s where to find L.A.’s most famous restaurants worth a visit—and who knows, maybe you’ll see a a celebrity there, too (but we all know the real draw is the food).
20 famous Los Angeles restaurants actually worth trying
With movie cameos, glitzy clientele and cult-like Instagram followings, these L.A. restaurants are practically celebrities themselves
These famous L.A. restaurants are worth a visit
With late hours and solid homestyle Korean fare, this iconic L.A. restaurant’s Wilshire Boulevard location has endured for decades as a longtime after hours spot for the clubgoing crowd in Koreatown and beyond. Crack an egg into BCD’s extremely solid soondubu with your choice of protein or vegetables, and you’ll soon see why. Combined with the cozy atmosphere and camaraderie among patrons, there’s no better way to unwind after 2am.
California gets a little dose of Canada with Courage Bagels, an always-packed Virgil Village bagel shop slinging wild-yeasted, Montreal-style bagels. Featured in the New York Times, the bagels are worth the early morning wait on this sleepy Silver Lake-adjacent stretch for anyone who considers themselves a true bagel aficionado. Slightly burnt, lightly chewy and barely sweet, they’re crispier and thinner than your standard New York style—all the better to throw on farmers’ market veggies like heirloom tomatoes and sustainably farmed lox.
Follow the smell of taquitos to this L.A. institution that sits on the edge of historic Olvera Street. The tiny stand has been serving freshly stuffed, rolled and fried taquitos since 1934, enough to earn its street cred title of “world famous.” The thing to order is obviously taquitos, though there are also burritos and chile relleno, which come smothered in guacamole sauce and optional beans and cheese. (Always go for the beans and cheese.)
Queue up and ring around a U-shaped counter at this West L.A. institution, which has somehow managed to escape time. Burger patties sizzle on the griddle that’s been around for decades (since 1947, to be exact) and served by friendly waiters that seem to have been around for just as long. The go-to order: Don’t miss the smoky hickory burger, which comes slathered in house sauce and can only be made better by ordering double the cheese. Pair it with an order of crispy fries and save room for a slice or two of the equally-famous house-made pies (á la mode, all the way). Be prepared to pay cash only and, on a sweltering day, opt for a seat by the door at this no-AC joint.
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