The 25 Best Restaurants In LA guide image


The 25 Best Restaurants In LA

Meet our 25 highest-rated restaurants.

Have you ever woken up and thought, “Gosh, I’d love to eat at a second-best restaurant today?” Of course you haven’t. Whether you’ve lived here your entire life or are visiting for the first time, it’s human nature to want to experience the best of the best. And that’s exactly why we wrote this guide.

These are the highest-rated restaurants in LA—the ones we’d sit in an hour of traffic on the 101 to get to and wouldn't complain if it were two. Food and experience are both taken into consideration, and any type of dining establishment is fair game. On this list you’ll find fancy spots, casual hangouts, walk-up windows, and taco trucks. Every city has its classics and its hot new places, but these are restaurants where greatness is guaranteed.


Anajak Thai

What makes a restaurant the highest rated in LA? For starters, you could dine at this family-run Thai spot in Sherman Oaks a hundred times and have a completely different—and incredible—experience each time. Come on Tuesdays for dry-aged fish tacos and collaborations with guest chefs, farmers, and foragers. Show up on just about any other night to drink wine that’s been sourced from a Slovenian commune and eat Southern Thai fried chicken you will be thinking about for the rest of your life. Then there’s the outdoor omakase—a multi-course, reservation-only experience where outdoor grills shoot twirling embers into the air. We get asked what our favorite restaurant in LA is quite every single day—and we used to give rambling answers that started with, “It depends…” Not anymore—the answer is Anajak. 

Whenever someone visits LA—parents, college friends, a coworker who we’ve never met but adore over email—we direct them to Holbox. It’s our second highest-rated restaurant in the city, and for good reason: this colorful stall at Mercado La Palma in South LA serves Mexican seafood that’s simply sublime, always fresh, and so innovative, it’ll make you question all other seafood in the world. Scallop aguachiles arrive in a tongue-searing green sauce that you can smell a mile away, thanks to the cilantro, jalapeno, and lime. Tacos are topped with tempura rockfish, diver scallops, and our favorite, jet-black pulpo. And don’t leave without ordering the uni tostada. It’s Holbox’s signature dish, a golden disc piled high in avocado crema,  kanpachi smooched by the juice from the brightest lemons on the tree, and juicy uni dollops. Could we eat this every day? Sure. And we would if not for the potential mercury poisoning.

Anyone who likes meaty prawns and plump oysters, and eating those meaty prawns and plump oysters under a disco ball will care for Found Oyster like a family member. That is to say, after one visit, you’ll continue to check in on this undeniably sexy East Hollywood seafood spot with the devotion of a lioness for her cub. The walls are lined with natural wine, the dining room only fits 30-ish people, and there's a handwritten menu of seafood specials that changes every day. We like coming to this walk-in only spot with a group for an impromptu shellfish tower or scallop tostada with yuzu kosho, but it's also ideal for a glass of Gamay and a wedge salad at the bar.

We often find ourselves at this southern Thai spot in Hollywood after going to the Target on La Brea or the post office or the dry cleaner or the doctor. In other words, we’re lured in whenever we need some peace and jade noodle soup. Everything about Luv2Eat looks and feels like any other LA strip mall restaurant, but the ultra spicy regional specialties and the warm service make it an extreme challenge to drive by without popping in. You’ll find many of the highlights in the Chef’s Special section of the menu, a mixed bag of dishes that showcases the two chefs’ family recipes from Phuket. The Phuket-style crab curry, for instance, when combined with the fatty crab meat bathing at the bottom, takes sweet, salty, and sour to euphoric levels. Even the moo-ping, a simple grilled pork skewer appetizer, is marinated and charred so perfectly that it should be rebranded as candy on a stick. If you've ever wondered where we eat on a “night off,” Luv2Eat is where to find us.

Bavel is the middle child restaurant from the people behind Bestia and Saffy’s, two of the most famous—and famously crowded—restaurants in the city. Having such well-regarded siblings might seem like a tough gig, but Bavell is our favorite of the family. This upscale Middle Eastern restaurant in the Arts District is a model of consistency, serving deeply personal food that tastes incredible, with reliably great service and a stunning, blockbuster space that still buzzes with the same energy it did when it opened in 2018. The menu is packed with hits, but if it's your first time, prioritize the malawach platter, grilled prawns with tzatziki, and lamb neck shawarma.

California’s central coast has a rich barbecue tradition and places like Maple Block, Slab, and Bludso’s continue to smoke delicious meats. But selling the idea of great barbecue in LA to anyone outside of LA has always been met with heavy eye rolls. The arrival of Moo’s in Lincoln Heights, however, changed everything. And that’s because this former pop-up isn’t just home to the best barbecue in LA, it’s home to some of the best we’ve eaten anywhere. This is Texas-style barbecue—meaning brisket is king—but what makes Moo’s even more special is how intricately owners Michelle and Andrew Muñoz have incorporated their East LA roots into things beyond smoked meat. Think side dishes like creamy, smoky esquites, dill-heavy red potato salad, and a tres leches bread pudding we’d rank among the best desserts in the city.

There are plenty of classic restaurants in LA, and a good number of late-night ones too. But when it comes to classic late-night restaurants, well, there’s none better than Sun Nong Dan. Although hours at the original Koreatown location have been reduced (closing time is now 1:30am—their second location on Western Ave., however, continues to be 24/7), you’ll still find lines of people, all waiting to be seated in front of big, bubbling cauldrons of galbi-jjim. There are about a million versions of this braised short rib dish across town—and Sun Nong Dan’s is not only unique, but by far, LA’s best. Served in a cast-iron skillet, the red stew bubbles violently, threatening to erupt. It’s made with a glorious broth—spicy, sticky, and packed with tteokbokki rice cakes that are glutinous without being mushy. There’s also a mozzarella cheese add-on, which is presented as a gigantic, gooey shredded mountain, blow-torched tableside. Experts know to order it. Now you do too.

There’s nothing more liberating than seeing the terror on an East Coaster’s face when we tell them LA has the best pastrami. So we’ll go ahead and say it again—LA has the best pastrami. And to get to the heart of LA’s pastrami culture, go to Langer’s and order the pièce de résistance— the #19. This massive pastrami sandwich comes stacked with swiss cheese and coleslaw, all smashed between two pieces of tangy rye bread slathered in Russian dressing. But even if you just came to this Jewish deli on the outskirts of Downtown for a cup of coffee (OK, and maybe some cheese blintzes), you’ll leave with the sense that everything will be alright. Between the smart-talking servers who seem like they’ve been here since Langer’s opened in 1947, families fighting over potato salad, and men with hard hats having a laugh over soup-and-sandwich combos, you can always count on the Langer’s feel-good factor.

You can come to this tiny convenience store in Northridge and find all the things you’d expect at a local corner store—a pack of cigarettes, an air freshener, and the calming waft of AC as you open the refrigerator for a Diet Coke. But what makes Baja Subs different is the secret menu of exceptional Sri Lankan food. You’ll find dishes like biryani topped with caramelized onion relish, garlicky Sri Lankan noodles, and kottu roti, a popular Sri Lankan street food made with flaky roti sautéed with vegetables, eggs, and spices. This is primarily a to-go operation, and though you can certainly order there, we recommend calling in at (818) 993-7064 before you head over, as most dishes take 20-30 minutes to make. 

​​The omakase at Go’s Mart is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a meal you’ll be dreaming about for months, whether you’re a sushi novice or seasoned pro. Every surface at the Canoga Park sushi bar—from the walls to the ceiling—is painted deep orange, which creates an enveloping, almost claustrophobic effect in the dining room. The small bar, which only has six-to-eight seats, is usually filled with regulars chatting with each other and the chef. And there’s no menu here, per se. For about $200, you’ll receive a whirlwind meal of over 15 courses, including nigiri, cold appetizers, and grilled seafood dishes. Ahi is seared, salted, and served in more ways than we thought possible; blue crab hand rolls are laced with truffle and taste completely decadent. The meal ends whenever you tell the chef you’re full, so in theory, it could go on forever. We haven’t tested that, though.

On any given night, Atwater Village’s sole sushi spot will be packed. There are parents with their surly teenagers, couples sitting on the same side of the table, and Millennials “born in the wrong generation,” just thrilled to hear Miles Davis softly playing over the speakers. But despite its upscale energy and $400 omakase option, Morihiro is a sushi restaurant for everyone. Set menus vary between six-piece sets and extravagant, hours-long adventures at the bar. And no matter what you order, everything is made with the same care and attention to detail you’d expect from a pageant mom choosing veneers for her daughter. Silky tofu cubes are draped in a house-made soy sauce. Japanese abalone is served on the gleaming half shell. And beneath every fish slice lies a scoop of wasabi, Morihiro’s freshly grated secret weapon—a sinus-searing ace the size of a pea that makes yellowtail, toro, sea bream, and the chef’s personal favorite, silver-skinned hikarimono (gizzard shad).

The term “blink and you might miss it” is grossly overused, but in the case of Little Bangladesh, that really could happen. Established in the early 1970s, this neighborhood takes up only four blocks, right in the middle of Koreatown. This tiny stretch is where you’ll find Biryani Kebab House: home to some of the best Pakistani and Bangladeshi food in Southern California. You’ll want the hyderbadi lamb biryani, an aromatic plate of basmati rice laced with spices that comes with lamb shank the size of a football. Curries, filled with cardamom, turmeric, and ginger arrive with pillow-like, house-baked naan. A meal here is an excellent way to eat your way through South Asia, a healthy mix of saag paneer, chicken tikka, and the owner’s favorite biryanis. 

Few things unite Angelenos more than the dread of going to LAX. But if there’s one thing that helps us stomach the “horseshoe,” it’s the prospect of eating at Al Noor before or after. The casual Indian spot in Lawndale is only an eight-minute drive from most terminals and is where you’ll find our favorite Indian food in LA. The bare-bones dining room doesn’t have much in the way of ambiance, but once the food starts hitting the table, your eyes will only be focused on the feast in front of you. They excel at dishes like chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and chewy garlic naan—many of which are front and center on most LA Indian restaurant menus. And yet, at Al Noor, it’s like you’re eating them for the very first time.  

The Old Hollywood spot is a beloved LA restaurant category, but the reality is most rely on kitschy history to get people in the door—not great food or an exciting atmosphere. But La Dolce Vita has all three in spades. Dinner at this revitalized Italian American landmark in Beverly Hills feels like a portal to a different era, one filled with excellent red sauce classics, elite service, and some of the most titillating people-watching in the city. You might catch a Grammy winner eating spumoni or sip a perfect martini next to someone who owned a movie studio in the 90s. You know you’ve done a meal here right when your table’s filled with spicy shrimp diavolo, tableside caesars, and a gooey bone-in veal parm that feeds three grown adults. Even if you could care less about Hollywood history, facts are facts—a meal at LDV is a thrill from start to finish.

At Damian, the Arts District restaurant from the chef behind Pujol in CDMX and Cosme in NYC, Mexican classics you’ve eaten 400 times feel new again. Lobster al pastor oozes juices from its trips around the trompo, nutty caesar salad tops uni tostadas, and slow-roasted duck carnitas and heirloom corn tortillas unite to make the ideal DIY taco. In a city full of great Mexican food, it’s tough for any restaurant to stand out from the pack. But Damian is no typical restaurant—it's a fine-dining destination that treats Baja seafood dishes like custom couture. And now that the initial opening hype has died down, the concrete den works especially well for a celebration you forgot to plan in advance.

Yang’s Kitchen has been around since 2019—and we’ve been huge fans of this bright, breezy all-day Taiwanese-ish spot in Alhambra from the very beginning. But after their more recent introduction of dinner service, we can now say with confidence that Yang’s is not only one of the best places to eat in the SGV, but the entire city. At night, the lights in the white-wooded dining room are dimmed, soft indie music hums on the speakers, and friends huddle around tables ordering bottles of orange wine. It feels like a cool bookstore cafe that doesn’t close when the sun goes down. And while there are zero misses on Yang’s menu, the “larger bites” section is where you’ll want to concentrate your attention. That’s where you’ll find dishes like peanut-y dan dan campanelle, creamy prawns and millet, and a Hainan fish rice with chili butter that we think about every morning when we wake up. 

There’s really nothing quite like Dan Sung Sa on a Saturday night. The sounds of sizzling meat and scraping knives emanate from the central grill, smoke hangs like mist over the dark, wooden booths, and everywhere you look are groups of friends pounding Hite like it’s the last batch in the world. This Ktown tavern is a sensory overload of the most thrilling variety, and why late nights here can go from one hour to three in a blink of an eye. As for the food, the large menu has over 100 different anju, or tiny Korean bar bites designed to be eaten while you drink. We recommend loading up on kimchi pancakes, sweet and spicy tteokbokki, and at least 10 different skewers—all of which arrive with the same perfectly charred exterior and smoky aftertaste. 

Saffy’s, a glamorous kebab house in East Hollywood, is the newest restaurant from the Bavel and Bestia team. Here you'll find the restaurant group's most casual offerings: shawarma sandwiches, tagine platters, and some life-changing hummus, all served in a bright and airy space that you’ll want to hang out in all night. Walk-ins are encouraged and accommodated, servers treat you like an old friend, and most dishes cost less than $25. The simple, high-quality kebabs are the best things on the menu here, and skipping them would be about as wise as going to the beach without sunscreen—you’ll slide tender beef cuts off of a three-foot skewer with a handful of fluffy laffa bread while sipping a rose vesper martini and admiring the fashion-world-adjacent crowd. We love that Saffy’s serves food worthy of a special occasion, but has the nonchalance of a neighborhood place where you can drop in unannounced.

Plenty of people at this indoor/outdoor bar in the Arts District are here to drink, and we get it. Sitting out on ERB’s string-lit back patio with a prickly pear margarita and a handful of your favorite humans is an ideal night in our books. That said, if you come here and don’t at least order some food, you can’t actually tell people you’ve been. Rules are rules. And that’s because this is bar food that’ll make you reconsider everything you thought about bar food. From flaky buttermilk biscuits to savory shrimp buns to a single patty burger that will change how you think about burgers, this is simple, straightforward snacking food that everybody should be driving long distances to eat. 

When people inevitably ask, “So, where are the best tacos in town?”, Los Cinco Puntos might not immediately come to mind. It’s like an art-house film that doesn’t need much promotion, or a piece of furniture that covertly brings the whole room together. Los Cinco Puntos is an unflashy, Boyle Heights institution that we return to again and again. The family-run carnicería has been around for decades. You'll find fresh meats, obscure spices, piñatas, tamales, chili sold in bulk, tacos, and cheeseburgers. Carnitas are technically the specialty here—the braised and simmered pork comes just slightly thicker than your average cut. But you’re here for the chicharron served on those heavenly, super thick corn tortillas. Crackling pork rinds ooze with oil. Tortillas squish like memory foam under your fingers. And to top it off, a dollop of house-made guacamole, salsa, and sliced pickled nopales, for just the right amount of heat. Order at the counter, then devour either inside, outside, or in your car, like everyone else. 

Courage Bagels makes the best bagels in Los Angeles—but perhaps you already knew that? Since opening in October 2020, this order-at-the-counter bagel shop in Virgil Village has captured the hearts of everyone we knew—New Yorkers, locals, people who avoid gluten. Our Editor in Chief declared it “the best bagel [she] had ever tasted.” The Montreal-style bagels—small, thin, and sweet—at Courage Bagels come out charred. They're topped with a basket's worth of local produce, and are dense and crispy, releasing a sharp crack when you bite into one. Lines will be long (a point of contention between those who live in the neighborhood and people who arrive in shiny Teslas and double park where they want). Order the hand-sliced smoked salmon and Run It Through The Garden, a greenhouse-like bagel that's uniquely Californian.

Are some restaurants overhyped? Of course. Is Mariscos Jalisco one of those places? Absolutely not. This guide is full of city-defining spots, our first-stringers, LA’s version of the ‘85 Bears, but Mariscos Jalisco… might just be at the top. This Boyle Heights taco truck (with additional locations in DTLA, Pomona, and West LA), serves seafood simply to let the ingredients speak for themselves. It’s almost impossible to order wrong, but here’s what we get. The Poseidon, an attractive tostada worthy of a sea god, loaded with shrimp aguachile, tender octopus, and creamy, creamy avocado slices. One campechana, a rich, tomato-based stew that comes with one entire raw oyster. And the tacos de camaron, arguably LA’s most iconic dish—beautiful, golden, deep-fried tacos stuffed with sweet shrimp and fresh avocado cream—two for each person. 

Open since 1982, Marouch is one of the city’s longest-standing Armenian and Lebanese restaurants and essentially LA royalty, kind of like the Barrymores or the giant Kermit the Frog statue above the Jim Henson Company. The interior looks like a Mediterranean palace, complete with stone brick facades, swooping arches, chandeliers overhead, and money trees blooming near the entrance. Very auspicious. And they do incredible things with mezze—try the bright red muhammara, made with red pepper and pomegranate. Or crispy sugok sausage, hummus and ful, or crunchy falafel. Overwhelmed? Just order the meze plate, made for either two, four, or six people. Whether those are individual people, or just saved for you on different days, is none of our business. 

LA is a place where everyone has their affordable neighborhood sushi spot and everyone wants to keep that spot confidential. But when it comes to the high-end spots? Those tend to be more known commodities—which is also why we love Matsumoto so much. This tiny, bare bones sushi bar in Beverly Grove is pricey (an 18-ish course omakase usually hovers around $180), and yet, it feels like a local secret. You don’t need a long-standing reservation, uncomfortable shoes, or a lengthy IMDb page to get a seat here. Instead, just head to the bar, let the chef know your likes and dislikes, and be whisked off on a tailor-made journey featuring simple, straight-forward cuts of fish (don’t expect gold flakes and caviar add-ons here) that proves when the sushi is this fresh, you don’t need any cover-ups. 

If you enjoy bánh mì, phở, or putting fresh basil on everything you eat, you understand an essential LA proper truth: this city lacks great Vietnamese restaurants. That is why we worship Golden Deli, a family-run Vietnamese restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley that’s become a Los Angeles institution. The chả giò, or deep-fried egg rolls, are a must. Rice wrappers, blistered to the point of cracking, are filled with ground pork and bright green lettuce and herbs. And like every other person, you will need a bowl of phở. It's the house specialty, a slow-cooked elixir filled with ribeye, fish balls, brisket, tendon, and/or tripe that tastes like getting over a nasty cold. 

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photo credit: Jakob Layman

The 25 Best Restaurants In LA guide image

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