14 spots for L.A.’s best pies
Queue up and settle around a U-shaped counter at this West L.A. institution, which has somehow seemed to escape time. Burger patties sizzle on the griddle that’s been around for decades (since 1927, to be exact) and served by friendly waiters who seem to have been around for just as long. Whatever you order, be sure to end your meal with one of the Apple Pan’s trademark pies—specifically, the banana cream pie, which comes stuffed with thick banana slices and plenty of whipped cream. On a sweltering day, opt for a seat by the door at this AC-less joint.
Like so many of Echo Park’s worthiest eateries, Brite Spot has a knowing sort of charm. Their retro décor—complete with rosewood tufted booths and shiny display cases—matches the menu, which can best be described as classic diner with a SoCal twist. If you’re not here for stacks of pancakes and massive omelet plates, you’re probably here for the pie: salted honey, bourbon pecan, chocolate creme, strawberry rhubarb crisp, key lime. The honey whiskey pie at Brite Spot is a standout, as is the peanut butter pie.
Whether you’ve snagged her baked goods at Gjelina, Gjusta, Smorgasburg, Cofax or within a Shake Shack custard, you've probably tasted the love and care Nicole Rucker puts into her pies. One of L.A.'s top pastry chefs, she's just opened her first brick-and-mortar bakery, Fiona—and it's full of delightful pies both whole and by the slice. Sour cherry pops with bracing tartness under a flaky, sweet crust, while the custard varieties are rich, creamy and comforting. If you're craving something a little more savory (we still think you should eat dessert first), Rucker teamed up with chef Shawn Pham to bring Fairfax fresh, chef-driven toasts, pancakes and plates with Vietnamese and other global flavors.
Far East Plaza’s Unit 120 incubator may be no more, but that hasn’t stopped baker Isa Fabro, who’s become famous for her skillful—and always delicious—Filipino-inspired desserts. You can catch the baker popping up around town at events like Chinatown After Dark—just keep an eye on her calendar—but the best way to secure one of Fabro’s pies is via her website, especially to pull in one of her fan favorites, the ube pili nut pie. Made with all-natural ingredients (no food coloring!) the deep-purple ube gives the traditional and similar sweet potato pie a run for its money in both style and flavor. Topped with sea salt and toffee pili nuts, it’s a curstardy, crunchy win at any event.
Just two and a half blocks shy of the Hollywood border, this West Hollywood restaurant/bar/café feels like the sexy younger cousin to Dan Tana’s. The main room is straight out of Goodfellas, while the café hearkens back to a family restaurant you might find in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori. For dinner, there’s pizza and pasta galore, but anyone with a sweet tooth knows to order Jones’ famed apple pie for two. The ooey, gooey slice spills out onto a wrought iron skillet, accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s old school, old-fashioned and timeless.
If you can bake it in a crust, Jongewaard’s will make it. Opened by Roger and Carol Jongewaard in 1965, the family-owned restaurant specializes in dishes that conjure up a meal around grandma’s table: pot roast, chili, chicken fried steak, sandwiches. But it’s the pies (oh, the pies!) that make first-timers become regulars here, a never-ending list of sweet and savory options that include banana meringue, rhubarb, pumpkin streusel, lemon cream, French apple, pecan, boysenberry and more. Pie for every meal, honestly.
Knowrealitypie (yes, all one word) might have a strange name and an even stranger-looking storefront, but the Eagle Rock bakeshop is not messing around when it comes to pies. They’ve won ribbons multiple years in a row at KCRW’s pie contest, and it’s easy to see why when you sink your teeth into one of their sweet or savory slices. Seasonal pies include inventive options such as apple crumb with whiskey sauce, toffee praline caramel apple and hot buttered rum cream pie.
Whether you’re enjoying a more formal dinner at Odys + Penelope or lining up for a weekend meal at nearby sister spot the Sycamore Kitchen, you’d be wise to order a slice of pie made by über-talented pastry chef Karen Hatfield. At O+P, the signature chocolate rye pie is a thing of beauty, topped with a cocoa crumble and fresh-mint ice cream. At the Sycamore Kitchen, seasonal slices might include pumpkin or boysenberry, to be enjoyed on Sycamore’s sunny outdoor patio.
Don’t be fooled by the relaxed, homey vibe given off by this throwback diner, which first opened in 1963: As the name suggests, when it comes to pies and burgers, they mean business. In addition to the griddle-cooked patties (topped, of course, with a secret recipe house-made sauce), the selection of pie here includes pillowy meringues (banana, peanut butter, chocolate, coconut, lemon, butterscotch), seasonal fruit (strawberry, blackberry, peach and more) and classics (pumpkin, custard, cherry and even mince). Add ice cream or house-made whipped cream for $1.75.
Now with locations in Hollywood, Glendale, Pasadena, the Arts District, Venice and Pasadena, the Pie Hole has developed a reputation as L.A.’s go-to spot for a serious slice of pie. The family-owned café—whose interiors often include homey, rustic touches like wooden picnic tables and chairs—offers homemade (if slightly expensive) pies that range from Mexican chocolate to a savory mac-and-cheese hand pie. One of our favorites includes the light-as-a-feather earl grey tea pie, with its mound of whipped topping and a thin layer of chocolate ganache on top of the buttery crust.
Republic of Pie looks more like a homey living room than a coffee shop, but that doesn’t mean their menu is something you could whip up in your kitchen. Beautiful (and indulgent) pies are made fresh daily—and dare we say, they’re some of the best desserts in the Valley. If you’re craving something sweet, go for the chocolate banana bread pudding pie, the cookies n’ cream, or the coconut cream pie. Wanting something savory? Their mac and cheese pot pie is crazy good, as is their ham and swiss quiche. As for the drinks, a long list of coffee and tea is written out on a blackboard, boasting items like the NoHo cold brew and a refreshing jasmine tea.
Salt’s Cure may not seem like the place to find exceptional pie, but the grapefruit wedge at this L.A. staple has become one of the city’s best slices. Tart, creamy and full of zest, it’s been with Salt’s Cure since their move from West Hollywood to Hollywood in 2015, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sweet Lady Jane is known for just about everything—cakes, tarts, breads—and especially their signature crowd-pleaser, a Triple Berry Shortcake. But if pies are what you’re in the market for, Sweet Lady Jane’s don’t disappoint: Available as slices or entire rounds, fillings include apple, blueberry, cherry, boysenberry and mixed berry, as well as seasonal favorites such as pumpkin, pecan, peach and strawberry-rhubarb. Plus, there are locations in Encino, Santa Monica and WeHo—and the pie shop is also available on delivery services—so no matter where you are, there's pie within reach.
Brianna Abrams first lit up farmers’ markets with her mobile bakestand, ButterCrust Pies, but now she’s launched not one but two brick-and-mortars. Both her Brentwood and West Hollywood shops offer pies whole, by the slice, in individual-size 5-inch pies, square hand pies, and 2.5-inch pie bites. (Because sometimes you just need a bite of pie, right?) The focus here is Southern classics made with all-butter crusts, so you can expect options such as the sweet-tart Dixie Cherry, Southern pecan and the Blue Ridge Blueberry in addition to Key lime pies and other staples. There’s even ice cream and a full espresso bar, in a quaint country setting, no less.