The diner. The coffee shop. It's a style of restaurant that's as definitive as the city of Los Angeles itself. As car culture expanded across Southern California (and the nation), places both small and large opened up across town, boasting good food and comfortable dining rooms with flashy neon signs, expansive roof lines, and large windows. They were those comfort joints where everyone from celebrities to the hoi polloi could enjoy a solid breakfast, lunch or dinner for a reasonable price. Hollywood took to these modest haunts, using them as backdrops in scenes for every conceivable genre. Here now, Eater presents a guide to iconic greasy spoons in Los Angeles, along with recommendations on what to order at each spot.Read More
A Guide to Iconic Greasy Spoons in Los Angeles
1. The Original Pantry
The quintessential old-school diner in Los Angeles, Downtown's iconic greasy spoon on the corner of Figueroa and 9th serves everything from pancakes to t-bone steaks, all night, all day, and every day of the year. The bacon, ham steak & eggs, and french toast are popular picks.
2. Rae's Restaurant
Santa Monica, CA 90404
A Westside fixture for decades, the Googie sign at Rae's is iconic on its own. It's hard to fault biscuits and gravy that are still priced from bygone days at $1.85, but the chicken-fried steak, club sandwich, and pancakes are special.
3. Norm's Restaurant
Now a steadily growing chain across Southern California, Norm's is a standard bearer for all-night diners, with plush, delicious pancakes and a massive menu of diner plates. The iconic design of the La Cienega location has been immortalized in film and art, but it's best enjoyed early mornings with that ridiculously cheap plate of steak & eggs.
A Silver Lake fixture since 1926, Millie's is still one of the best coffee shops in the city. Order the hangtown fry, corned beef hash, or huevos rancheros.
5. Dinah's Family Restaurant
This Westside icon has been serving loads of comfort food since the 50's, with an expansive dining room, friendly staff, and still-low prices. The all-you-can-eat fried chicken is worth getting if it's the right night of the week, as are the Dutch apple pancakes.
6. House of Pies
The pies are this Los Feliz icon are still amazing, especially the strawberry cream pie when they're in season. The charming coffee shop feel is great to experience late into the night. The regular diner plates are serviceable, but seriously, what's the name of the joint?
7. Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
With one of the best Googie neon signs ever, this South LA landmark makes a mean fried chicken and waffles, along with a hefty chicken fried steak that might be coma-inducing. Still one of the best coffee shop scenes in L.A.
8. Brite Spot Family Restaurant
An Echo Park fixture for over a century, this iconic diner has changed hands over the years. The food has adopted to the times, with plenty of vegan options and terrific baked goods, but Brite Spot is still good for omelettes and pancakes. Basically anything to either fight or cure a hangover.
Serving Glendale since 1964, Foxy's is one of the best breakfasts in the city. The A-Frame building and expansive patio make it easy to linger until well past noon. The carne asada and eggs might be one of the most addictive dishes ever.
10. Bob's Big Boy
One of the city's truly iconic restaurants, Bob's still hosts car shows on Friday nights for fans of vintage wheels. The double-decker "Big Boy" burger is still a popular order, along with the ham steak breakfast.
11. The Apple Pan
This old-school diner specializes in sizzling burgers and limp french fries, but there's also a number of sandwiches and of course some of the most terrific pies in the city. Easily one of the best counters in LA.
12. The Fountain Coffee Room
This fancy coffee shop inside the Beverly Hills Hotel has been restored to its former glory, serving things like silver dollar buttermilk pancakes to corned beef on rye. There's also healthy options like vegetarian eggs benedict.
A Mid-City staple, Du-Par's has a great selection of pies and blue plate specials, like french toast, hotcakes or a complete breakfast, with coffee and all, for very cheap. Later in the day, there's a monstrous Monte Cristo for something that'll bust a gut.
14. Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill
A hidden gem in L.A., Mickey Fine looks like a pharmacy on the outside (and a famous one at that - it's where Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston would pick up prescriptions), but deep inside the building resides a breakfast and lunch counter where locals and office denizens pick up one of the cheapest meals in the Golden Triangle. The breakfast burritos are good, and the lunch-time patty melt is no slouch.
15. Nick's Cafe
This old-school diner in Downtown's northern throes has pretty good eggs benedicts and country breakfast skillets. The portions are generous, which is good for sharing things like the waffles topped with fresh fruit or the ham & eggs.