Why do dinner and a movie when you can go to a dinner theater? We all know that dine-in theaters are a thing here in LA, but it doesn't stop there. From performing arts centers to themed restaurants, there are dinner theater options all across the Southland, including murder mystery dinner shows. So next time you're looking for some entertainment and a good meal, consider these spots.
Dinner theater options around Los Angeles
One of the last traditional dinner theater shows in the Los Angeles area, the Candelight Dinner Pavilion specializes in mixing fine-dining and entertainment. With chef Juan Alvarado at the helm, guests are treated to a curated meal specially made for each show, including appetizers, a meal, dessert and beverages—all of which are included in your ticket price. Once the meal has concluded, you'll enjoy a variety of theatrical shows including musicals, comedies and more. To find out the current show and the dinner menu associated with it, click here.
If you're lucky enough to get into this members-only castle (there are ways to get in without being a member, we promise), then you'll be treated to a multi-course dinner before traveling to various rooms for different magic shows. We aren't doing this place justice, but we also don't want to spoil the surprises in store for you—and there are many!
This Los Feliz "table and stage" offers lunch and dinner—grab a table inside the restaurant, bar lounge or alfresco patio—alongside live performances (think: cabaret, musicals, comedy and more). Bring a date or a group for dinner (show optional) nightly at 7pm or weekends for brunch. Fill up on steak and local fish or nibble on small plates and cocktails.
This epic show combines a theatrical performance, an equine show and competition, a multi-course meal and a time machine all under one roof. Here, you'll travel back to the medieval age and watch knights battle it out as you eat—with your hands, obviously—garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, roasted chicken, sweet buttered corn and potatoes at the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. You'll be sectioned off into groups so you can root for your section's knight to win the battle.
Like pirates more than knights? Then skip Medieval Times and head next door to Pirate's Dinner Adventure. Here, you'll dine on soup or salad, roasted chicken, shrimp and vegetable skewers, mashed potatoes and mixed veggies as you watch one of the various pirate shows the venue produces—during Halloween it's Vampirates and Christmastime it is Pirates Take Christmas!, while all other times of the year you'll see Rise of the Sea Dragon. Much like Medieval Times, you will be separated into groups to cheer on your designated pirate. Ahoy matey!
Long Beach's Dinner Detective has an intriguing setting among the Grand Romance Riverboat. Though the atmosphere won't be romantic—you know, with a murderer on board and an impending investigation—the riverboat adds to the atmosphere and entertainment of the evening, which includes a four-course meal. Much like the other Dinner Detective locations, Long Beach's show includes costumed detectives questioning guests as well as undercover actors hidden among the crowd. Clues throughout the evening help guests make their determination of who they think committed the murders, and at the end of the evening, the guest who has the best whodunit answer will receive a prize. Good luck!
D.W. Griffith built El Cid in 1905 and, ten years later, screened his controversial hit film Birth of a Nation here. Made over into a recreation of a 16th-century Spanish tavern in 1961, El Cid features flamenco dance dinner theater Friday through Sunday. During the week (and after the flamenco shows on the weekends) enjoy local musical acts, performance art, comedy and even short film screenings. Delicious tapas are available to order at the bar, or sit down for a full Spanish-fusion meal. Due to its small capacity of only 125, you’ll never feel crowded, except in the airplane bathroom–size toilets.
Eating dinner among a killer normally doesn't sound very appealing, but here, it's a thrill. The four-course meal at Vitello's Italian Restaurant is almost secondary compared to the investigation—set in present place and time—regarding who among the crowd is a murderer. Costumed detectives will question guests as well as undercover actors hidden amonst the crowd, placed there to help move the investigation and show along in an entertaining fashion, but guests can also interrogate each other. Clues will help reveal who the bad guy is, and the audience member who gives the best whodunit answer by the end of the night receives a prize. The Dinner Detective also takes place at the Doubletree Claremont (555 West Foothill Blvd) and the Gardens at Los Robles Greens in Thousand Oaks (299 S Moorpark Rd).
As if you need another reason to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory, the Riverside location is currently showing A Dance With Death—but it's not as dark as it sounds. Set at a 1950s sock-hop, a death on the dance floor leads to a murder mystery show while you chow down on spagehtti and meatballs. You can trade clues with other guests and gather information to figure out who among you is responsible. It's also encouraged for guests to don poodle skirts, bobby sockks, leather jackets, or whatever '50s-era clothing you have handy—we recommend dressing as innocent as possible so nobody will think you could possibly be a suspect. At the Duarte location (1431 Buena Vista St), the Murder Mystery Co. is putting on a Midnight at the Masquerade themed murder mystery show—just in case that's more your style, though the themes at both locations are subject to change.
Matteo's West LA gets a little extra murderous on Saturdays, when Keith & Margo's Murder Mystery Dinner takes over the restaurant. The show calls itself "LA's original murder mystery experience performed by professional actors." Diners will navigate their way through live suspects, clues, twists and turns to win prizes for the funniest and best solution to the murder mystery. The dinner includes appetizers and a meal (which includes a salad) as well as dessert, coffee and tea, but there is a cash bar for those who want a little booze to handle the suspense.