clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Los Angeles skyline from a distance with palm trees to the side.
Los Angeles skyline from a distance.

Filed under:

An Eater’s Guide to Los Angeles

Unofficial, highly opinionated information about the City of Angels

Hollywood, the beaches, the hills, the valleys, and the wide boulevards chock-full of cars — it’s all part of LA’s sun-baked concrete jungle. This urban expanse of hazy light, long sunsets, vivid street art, towering skyscrapers, swaying palm trees, and celebrity mansions also boasts what some consider to be the country’s most vibrant restaurants. This guide will make it easy to navigate it all.

Los Angeles is anything and everything for first-time visitors. It’s the center of celebrity and influencer culture. It’s an international hub of arts, design, creativity, and entertainment. It’s also one of the greatest places to eat in the country, not only for its endless varieties of cuisines but also for its incredible produce and talented chefs.

Eater publishes countless guides in the form of handy maps to keep restaurant-goers on top of the latest and greatest in Los Angeles. The site’s editors constantly traverse the city’s tangle of freeways to make sure that these guides are up-to-date and representative of the city's geographic and cultural breadth. From the Essential 38 — the city’s very best restaurants — to the hottest restaurants right this minute, and everything in between, look no further than this collection to point you in the right direction.

In addition to maps that provide a broad overview of the Southland’s panoply of offerings, Eater also brings together plenty of recommendations focused on specific occasions (splurge-worthy, breathtaking views, happy hour), beloved dishes (pasta, dim sum, tacos), popular cuisines (Caribbean, Chinese, French), and local neighborhoods (Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood). Dive deep into what moves you this moment with Eater as a dependable guide. —Cathy Chaplin

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Los Angeles

Where to find the best food in town, from tacos to pasta to dumplings

For polished, composed Thai fare with a great wine list: Anajak Thai.
Kampachi crudo at Anajak Thai in Sherman Oaks.
Matthew Kang

For a quintessential Los Angeles day of eating, start with a beachside breakfast at Venice’s Rose Cafe, known for its loungey all-day brunch scene and silken breakfast carbonara. Around the lunch hour, the crispy, airy baguettes and pate at My Dung Sandwich Shop make for one of the best Vietnamese sandwiches in town, while the Hong Kong-style delights at Tam’s Noodle House are good for a crowd. For dinner, dive into the crimson-rimmed barbacoa plate at Gish Bac or take in the pasta and grilled meats at Antico Nuovo, perhaps the most polished California Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. Later that night, head to Ototo in Echo Park to sample some of the sakes from its award-winning beverage program — all the better to soak up snacks like sweet soy-glazed jidori fried chicken wings and cheesy okonomiyaki.

The Hottest Restaurants to Try in Los Angeles Right Now

Answering the age-old question of “where should I eat tonight?”

A side angle of a full restaurant table at Baar Baar with meats and fish and mains.
Dishes from Baar Baar in Downtown LA.
Wonho Frank Lee

The Eater LA Heatmap has been listing the most popular new restaurant openings for well over 16 years, updated monthly with input from Eater editors who go check out the splashy openings, talked-about neighborhood finds, and anticipated restaurants from established chefs.

Oaxacalifornia: The Amazing Oaxacan Restaurants of LA

From mole to parrilladas to tlayudas, Los Angeles has some of the best Oaxacan cuisine outside of Mexico.

A plate of barbacoa with rice and beans and tortillas on the side from Casa Tlayuda.
Barbacoa with rice and beans from Casa Tlayuda.
Wonho Frank Lee

Among Mexico’s 32 wildly diverse culinary regions, none garners more attention than the southern state of Oaxaca, the most Indigenous state south of the border. From Oaxaca, there’s mezcal, a culture of landrace corn, and recipes preserved by cultural groups that transport this rich culture to Los Angeles. Here in Oaxacalifornia, the moniker for Southern California’s Oaxacan community, Zapotecos from the Valles Centrales region have been opening restaurants since the early 1990s, primarily in the neighborhoods of Koreatown, Hollywood, Arlington Heights, and West LA.

An amazing collection of ingredients, from tlayudas, quesillo, chapulines, and chiles to mole pastes and other essential items from Oaxaca to Tijuana. Those ingredients become standout dishes like the mole negro made from scratch and grilled tlayudas as good as you’ll find in Oaxaca. There are backyard comedores (casual family-style restaurants) serving segueza (mole thickened with maize), multi-generational barbacoa cooks preparing pit-roasted lamb, and an even annual tejate festival. There’s a strong case for Los Angeles as Oaxaca’s unofficial ninth region.

The Essential Guide to Incredible Sushi in Los Angeles

From high-end omakase extravaganzas to fantastic reasonably-priced chirashi bowls.

Intricately sliced sea bream sushi on a black board.
Kasugo dai, or young Japanese sea bream, from 715 Sushi in Arts District.
Matthew Kang

LA’s immense restaurant culture has had a deep love and appreciation for Japanese sushi. For years numerous LA-based chefs claimed to have created the California roll, launching a particular style of cut makizushi covered in sauces and non-traditional ingredients like avocado and mayonnaise. Recently, with the growing popularity of Edomae sushi and omakase, chefs are sourcing pristine seafood from across the country, and all the way from Japan, often aging fish to maximize flavor and placing slices over well-seasoned rice. Today, LA’s sushi scene combines its fun-loving roll scene (especially in the San Fernando Valley but across the city) with more developed, traditional sushi served at counters by talented chefs. There’s great sushi almost anywhere in America, but from top to bottom, it’s hard to argue with the incredible quality — and tradition — of Los Angeles’s sushi.

There’s an Amazing Sandwich in Every LA Neighborhood

From some of the best delis to epic fried chicken sandwiches, LA knows its way around bread and meat.

Italian deli sandwich opened up in parchment paper.
Italian deli sandwich from Italia Deli in Agoura.
Matthew Kang

In a city known worldwide for its tacos, its Korean barbecue, and its Armenian grilled meats, the endlessly modifiable sandwich is LA’s great everyday dining secret. Every neighborhood has at least one sandwich of note, and there are plenty of sandwiches that are outright famous, from the Italian grab-and-go option at Roma Market in Pasadena to Santa Monica’s stacked Godmother. The #19 at Langer’s is pastrami purity at its best, while Tel Aviv Grill’s falafel reigns supreme. The simple truth is this: In LA there’s a sandwich for any occasion and every corner of town — and at just about every price point imaginable.

Getting Around in Los Angeles

Street vendors in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Street vendors in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Los Angeles is big — really big. Part city, part county, part region, the landscape alone covers 469 square miles and fits over 10 million people, eclipsing cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and New York in size and breadth. That’s great news for diners who want to experience huge concentrations of cuisines from large ex-pat communities, be it Armenian, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, or beyond. It’s not so good for people who expect to easily jaunt from one side of the city to the other in a matter of minutes.

Traveling around Los Angeles is best understood as an exercise in patience. The city’s storied traffic is real, and coming for one-off events like an NFL game usually translates into an all-day affair. Instead, try dining locally in some of LA’s best neighborhoods like Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Downtown before boldly attempting to make an early reservation at some far-away restaurant during rush hour. No matter what, you can rest assured that there is always a delicious payoff at the end.

All the Delicious Things to Eat at Disneyland

You’re probably going to go to Disneyland at some point. Good news is that the food, drinks, and desserts at the Happiest Place on Earth are better than ever.

Hand-dipped ice cream bar at Clarabelle’s at Disney’s California Adventure held by a worker.
Hand-dipped ice cream bar at Clarabelle’s at Disney’s California Adventure.
[Official Photo]

All Roads Eventually Lead to Downtown Los Angeles

With historic buildings, modern sports venues, and major art destinations DTLA has everything from affordable fare to upscale dinner spots.

Angel’s Flight railroad in Downtown LA.
Angel’s Flight railway in Downtown LA.

The span of Downtown LA is so vast, with neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Flower District, South Park, Olvera Street, and the very busy Arts District representing a few within six square miles. Though historic buildings tower over DTLA streets, there’s constant development revealing new apartments, condos, and hotels. Inside those buildings, both old and new, contain often some of the best restaurants for both Downtown dwellers and those venturing into this bustling part of LA.

Downtown’s classic and historic restaurants are still cranking away like Cole’s French Dip and Philipe The Original. Grand Central Market resides only blocks away from the rooftop stunner 71 Above. Visiting Disney Hall got significantly easier when chef Ray Garcia opened Asterid in early 2022. And a visit to citywide favorite Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo can yield great results, as would a food crawl that starts with cocktails and light bites at chef Enrique Olvera’s Damian, shared slices at Pizzeria Bianco, then dinner at innovative French fusion bistro Camphor.

The Los Angeles food glossary

Tacos de birria de res at Birrieria Gonzalez
Tacos de birria de res at Birrieria Gonzalez
Matthew Kang
LA Delivery

Turns Out the LA Robot Delivery Revolution Hasn’t Arrived Yet

LA Restaurant Openings

It’s Snacks and Sake at Virgil Village’s Cool New Izakaya

Something for the Weekend

4 Restaurants to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles