The Best Restaurants in Los Angeles, California

The 18 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is a cultural melting pot. Whether you’re an aspiring actor or a chef hoping to create the next big celebrity hotspot, people come from all over to fulfill their dreams in La La Land. And it’s for that reason that LA is filled with people of all backgrounds, bringing bits of their culture to the city to create one very unique Los Angeles culture.

Perhaps no place is this diversity more apparent than in LA’s food scene. From Mexican street tacos and Japanese sashimi to Vietnamese pho and Columbian arepas, you’ll find places to eat filled with delicacies from all across the world. And, of course, many of the city’s restauranteurs have put their own spins on these traditional plates, creating flavors that are unique to the LA restaurant scene.

With so many places to eat in Los Angeles, where should you start? Well, we’ve put together a list of some of the best restaurants in LA – from rooftop restaurants with ocean views to a romantic hotspot with nature truly at its core. Stick to this LA dining bucket list, and you’re bound to have an incredible time eating your way around the City of Angels.

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18 Must-Try Restaurants in Los Angeles

1. Juliet

If you could eat French food every day, you’ll feel perfectly at home at Juliet in Culver City. This new restaurant is where you’ll find some of the best food in Los Angeles, all in a truly stylish setting. Marvel at the wicker-wrapped archways, the embroidered light fixtures, and that marble bar centerpiece. 

While the atmosphere is enough to get you in the door, the food is what will have you coming back for more. From duck confit “cigars” to sea bream tartare, every bite will have you in foodie paradise. Although the wine program here is top-notch, be sure to order up a specialty cocktail with your meal. Just like the food, they come with their own unique twists on classic drinks.


2. Élephante

Best Restaurants in Los Angeles: Elephante
Images courtesy of Jakob Layman

Looking for one of the best rooftop restaurants in Los Angeles? You’ll find it at Élephante, located above Santa Monica’s Laemmle Theater. Listen to ocean waves and enjoy the beauty of Santa Monica as you sit in this super chic rooftop dining area, perfectly named the Sunset Room. With modern wood furnishings and a soft color palette throughout, it exudes beachy vibes that you can’t help but relax in.

On the menu are Italian-inspired plates that match the Southern Mediterranean feeling found throughout this restaurant. From tagliatelle with shaved black truffle to burrata pizza, you’ll find traditional Italian favorites with added twists that elevate the experience. 

The drink list is highly eclectic, with nearly every cocktail having a different spirit as its base. And for those who would prefer no spirits at all, there’s also a delicious mocktail list.


3. Leona’s Sushi House

Every inch of Leona’s Sushi House in Studio City is unmatched in elegance. Inside, you’ll find impressive artwork adorning the romantically lit dining area. Outside, the patio is even more inviting, with marble floors and a matching marble bar, a roaring fireplace, greenery hanging overhead, and twinkling lights behind the bar to really further the romance.

Though largely Japanese-inspired, Chef Shigenori Fujimoto infused the menu with tastes from around the world. From blue crab croquettes to udon carbonara to black rice paella, this restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Los Angeles, thanks to it being the definition of fusion. By taking so many amazing dishes from around the world, Fujimoto made something very unique and very delicious.


4. Casa Madera

Best Restaurants in Los Angeles: Casa Madera
Image Courtesy of AVABLU

The West Hollywood-based Casa Madera is one of the best restaurants with a view in Los Angeles. These massive arched windows give way to an unmatched perspective of Hollywood as you soar above it all. 

And the restaurant’s interior is perhaps just as beautiful as the view. With elegant yet cozy beachside vibes all around, you’ll take a seat in a plush, circular booth, with the soft neutral color palette allowing the beauty just outside the window to truly shine.

On the menu, you’ll discover coastal Mexican cuisine with unique French and Japanese touches. All dishes are made with sustainably-sourced ingredients. With the restaurant feeling so much in touch with nature, it only makes sense that it focuses so strongly on protecting it as well. 

Alongside each dish, you can enjoy the eclectic cocktail program, built out by a master mixologist. The cocktail menu is made strongly around mezcals and tequilas, with some gin cocktails mixed in for a little more variety.


5. Villa’s Tacos Los Angeles

Over in Highland Park, popular street stand Villa’s Tacos has opened up a permanent location for what’s long been considered some of the best food in Los Angeles. All meats are grilled over mesquite, whether you’re a chorizo fan or a carne asada lover. And for vegan taco fans, there’s a soyrizo option with grilled pineapple, onion, potato, and black beans.

But perhaps the biggest draw to this location is its incredible array of sauces, all of which are family-made. Owner Victor Villa’s father and grandmother make several of the sauces, as the salsas here are secret family recipes. Villa himself makes the guacamole, which, by the way, is never extra.


6. Poltergeist

Over in Echo Park, Poltergeist is brand new to the scene and quickly becoming one of the coolest restaurants in Los Angeles. This fusion restaurant blasts punk tracks all night long while you dine on classics with new twists, like a Thai Caesar salad with puffed rice croutons, as well as meals with pairings you’ve never imagined before, like a tres leches carrot cake with Thai iced tea sorbet. 

Poltergeist is located inside Button Mash, a barcade known for vintage favorites. So while you wait for your meal, be sure to get in a few rounds of pinball!


7. Monarch

Minimalism got you down? If you’re anti-neutral color palette, can’t stand when there’s simply no art on the walls, and live for patterns, you might be a maximalist. And you’re bound to love Monarch in Arcadia, one of the best new restaurants in Los Angeles.

Monarch is a Hong Kong-style cafe with just-stepped-into-a-watercolor-painting vibes. From the glass bead mosaic to the splashes of bright paint on the walls to the wavy ceiling, everything here is truly in Technicolor. Even the plates here are Instagram-worthy, with colorful butterflies dotting each one.

But if the aesthetics get you in the door, the food will have you sitting back and relaxing in your tie-dyed seat. Although there are certainly Hong Kong influences on the menu, you’ll find there’s a lot of fusion happening here, from the Australian Wagyu beef brisket to the Chinese egg noodle bolognese.


8. Farmhouse Kitchen

Farmhouse Kitchen has already taken Portland and the Bay Area by storm. And now it’s finally made its way to the West Adams neighborhood, where it’s quickly becoming one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles.

What makes this Thai restaurant so unique? Could it be the totally Instagrammable bright pink flower wall with a matching unicorn statue among all the other colorful and kitschy furnishings? How about the eye-catching food presentations, like the overflowing volcano of noodles served in a Cup Noodles container? 

Maybe it’s the cocktails that are so extravagant and elegant, like the Make a Wish, which is served in a bejeweled “Aladdin”-inspired tea set. Or it could be that people love the shareable portion sizes here. But whatever the reason, guests (and their social media followers) have fallen in love with this one-of-a-kind spot.


9. Saltie Girl

Best Restaurants in Los Angeles: Saltie Girl
Image courtesy of Wonho Lee

As a Boston transplant, Saltie Girl has a hard time with California cuisine. This new West Hollywood joint tries its hand at some Los Angeles favorites, like crab rolls, but where Saltie Girl really shines is when it highlights the cuisine from the region that started it all: New England. 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better lobster roll or New England clam chowder in Los Angeles than at Saltie Girl. There’s a reason why even Bostonians, who can get these delightful treats at many more venues than Angelenos can, have long loved Saltie Girl’s take on these New England favorites. 

Don’t skip out on the tinned fish collection, either, which includes everything from mussels to mackerel. Your selections will arrive on a photo-worthy board with whipped butter, chutney, a trio of salts, and house-made bread.


10. Mother Tongue

What Restaurants to Try in Los Angeles: Mother Tongue
Images courtesy of HEIMAT

As one of the best rooftop restaurants in Los Angeles, Mother Tongue, located in Hollywood, is in a category all its own. Found inside a luxury fitness club, this restaurant feels both healthy for the body and for the mind. 

Enjoy the stunning view as you bask in a tranquil environment filled with soothing color and lighting. The open and airy space features plush and cheerful yellow booths, elegant overhead lighting, and loads of greenery. 

On the menu are carefully curated dishes made with ingredients designed to make you feel good, with health benefits galore, like roasted beets, bone broth, nutritional yeast, and kimchi. Much of the menu also has the added benefit of being vegan-friendly, making it a perfect spot for a night out with all your friends.


11. Selva

Selva’s style is fairly minimalist. This Long Beach spot receives an abundance of natural light during the day, but the dining room turns to dim, romantic lighting in the evening with flickering candles on the table. 

Dark wood and equally dark booths meet simply tan walls with greenery hanging overhead. And this quiet color palette allows pops of brightness from the Columbian statues and artwork to shine.

What’s also allowed to shine is the exquisite Columbian fare on the menu. Created by Columbian native Chef Carlos Jurado, each plate is a mix of traditional and more modern flavors, enhanced by the wood-fired grill. 

But one of the biggest bonuses of this top Los Angeles restaurant is that it’s served family-style. You’ll likely find yourself having trouble picking what you want to try. This way, you can try it all. The bar menu is also not to be missed. If you’d also like to share your drink, you can order up a trio of pitchers of margaritas. 


12. Sant’olina

Located in Beverly Hills, Sant’olina is one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles with a view and perhaps one of the most romantic restaurants as well. No matter what time of day you dine here, you’ll take in spectacular views of the hills. But at night, the romance comes alive on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton.

Lined with citrus trees, this rooftop excludes Mediterranean vibes, with wicker chairs, hardwood floors, and soft strings of lights overhead. The mood lighting allows you to get an even better look at the world outside the floor-to-ceiling windows. And if you arrive on the weekend, you may just hear some beautiful live Greek music being played.

The menu takes a great deal of inspiration from the Mediterranean, with some Southern California twists thrown in. You’ll experience rich flavors that don’t go easy on the spices, creating a feast for the senses. 

The menu also boasts an extensive drink list, whether you want a specialty cocktail, a spirit straight, or a bottle of wine from California’s biggest wine regions, as well as areas from around the world.


13. Mίrate

What experience will you have when you visit Los Feliz’s Mίrate? Will you sit in the indoor bar area that’s all at once industrial and tropical, with romantic lighting, leather chairs, and big leafy foliage all around? Or maybe the open-air courtyard, complete with an illuminated tree growing through it all? Or perhaps you’ll get a view from above at the “tree house” terrace.

Wherever you dine in this massive Mexican restaurant, which is becoming known as one of the best places to eat in Los Angeles, you’re in for a good time. From the Kobi hangar steak tlayudas to the pork belly tacos, you’ll be dining on traditional Mexican treats with abundant flavor.

And no matter what you eat, be sure not to skip out on the drink menu, where you’ll discover specialty cocktails you haven’t seen anywhere else.


14. Bar Chelou

Located inside the Pasadena Playhouse, Bar Chelou is one of the best Los Angeles restaurants to go to if you want dinner and a show. “Chelou” means “weird” in French, and indeed this French-ish restaurant is on the weird side.

It’s not the atmosphere, though, which is upscale and elegant, yet at the same time inviting. It’s the food that earns it its strange name. Nothing here is quite as it seems. Though some traditional dishes are on the menu, everything comes with a twist, like a cheesecake with toffee date cake and spiced coffee anglaise or a pork chop seasoned with furikake. 

Although you can order pretty much any cocktail you’d like at the bar, the wine list is another main attraction at this bistro. Featuring an extensive list of wines from France, Italy, Spain, and every other major wine region around the world that you can think of, splitting a bottle before a show is a great way to kick off the night.


15. 71Above

What Restaurants to Try in Los Angeles: 71Above
Images courtesy of 71Above

Sitting atop the US Bank Tower at 71 floors above the city, 71Above is one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles with a view. From so high up, you can see for miles and take in the beautiful LA skyline. 

Inside, the vibe is decidedly industrial chic, with a geometric patterned ceiling, dim overhead lighting, and leather couches or dark wood booths for you to get cozy on as you take in the view.

You can have a prix-fixe meal either in the dining room or at the bar. The menu takes influences from cuisines around the world, from Italian to French to Japanese. The cocktail menu is also a must-try. You’ll find both classic cocktails on the menu, as well as a list of drinks inspired by different LA neighborhoods. 


16. Mama Shelter’s Rooftop

What Restaurants to Try in Los Angeles: Mama Shelter's Rooftop
Images courtesy of Mama Shelter’s Rooftop

Over in Hollywood, you’ll find one of the best rooftop restaurants in Los Angeles, Mama Shelter’s Rooftop. Dining with a view of the Hollywood sign is a truly quintessential Los Angeles experience, and this rooftop restaurant and bar gives you one of the best panoramas of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline and the iconic sign. 

In general, this restaurant gives off classic California vibes, from the multi-colored chairs to the relaxing and oversized lounging couches to the also oversized planters filled with a litany of colorful plant life. The bar’s cocktails are all unique, though Mama does do a few spins on classic cocktails like Sidecars as well. 

The menu’s entrees are unfussy and unpretentious, with an array of California favorites, like Baja fish tacos and hot fried chicken. They’re the perfect easy-to-eat bites to enjoy as an after-work treat or a midday lunch during your Los Angeles vacation.


17. Kuya Lord

Best Restaurants in Los Angeles: Kuya Lord
Images courtesy of Kuya Lord

There are plenty of great fast-casual restaurants in Los Angeles, but one of the best newcomers is East Hollywood joint Kuya Lord. Although you could take your meal to go, this Filipino restaurant is warm and inviting inside, and the flavors on the menu are just as welcoming.

What started as a pop-up has now become a permanent fixture on the corner of Melrose and Western. And it’s easy to understand why Kuya Lord has been welcomed into the Hollywood community. 

At its core, it’s heavily influenced by a traditional Filipino noodle shop, with an emphasis on Southern Tagalog cuisine. The bulk of the menu is made up of rice bowls, noodle bowls, and “Kuya trays,” which come with garlic java rice and chami noodles. Each bowl or tray comes with an array of sweet and savory flavors, from twice-cooked pork belly to pickled green papaya.


18. Moonshadows

Moonshadows is a Malibu institution for a good reason. It’s long been considered one of the best Los Angeles restaurants if you want to dine on the water. Whether you’re seated on the airy sundeck or indoors, where massive windows let the view take center stage, you’ll see beautiful blue ocean waves throughout your meal. 

Come for brunch and take in the ample sunlight as you dine on fresh seafood mixed with breakfast and lunch classics, like a rock shrimp and bay scallop omelet and miso-glazed black cod. Or swing by for dinner and catch the sunset over the ocean as you browse a surf-and-turf-filled menu, featuring filet mignon, braised short ribs, Maine lobster, and of course, surf and turf itself. 

The wine list is extensive, though you’ll mostly have to pay by the bottle for the majority of the menu. But if you want to skip the wine, the cocktail menu is just as long and has an array of options for each of your favorite spirits, from a trio of martini choices to a list of tequila-filled delights.

There you have it! The 18 best restaurants in Los Angeles. What are your favorite places to eat in LA?


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Author

  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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