Diners are a beloved and familiar figure in American life. Every city is filled with restaurants that help start the day by serving short stacks of pancakes or hearty egg combination platters that include hash browns. And while lunchtime dishes include patty melts, Cobb salads, or salty pastrami, these dishes hit just right during late night hours, too. Los Angeles diners go beyond the traditional with Cantonese breakfasts, chilaquiles, or noodles from a longtime favorite in Thai Town. Below is a handful of options spread throughout the Southland, sorted from north to south.Read More
20 Classic Los Angeles Greasy Spoons Every Angeleno Should Try
Breakfast classics, patty melts, pork chops, and more
Lancers Family Restaurant
This pastel-toned Burbank diner staple continues to turn out some of the Valley’s best breakfasts for generations of families. Opt for a cozy booth, or squeeze into a counter seat for even faster service.
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Nat's Early Bite Coffee Shop
This Valley staple comes with a hearty side of Mexican breakfast classics, from chorizo and eggs to more inventive scrambles, and lunchtime fare like burgers and meatloaf sandwiches.
With multiple locations in LA, from Sherman Oaks to Hollywood and West Hollywood to Santa Monica, this enduring ‘50s-style diner serves dishes from morning to late night for hungry students and night owls in need of a hefty meal at an affordable price. Perhaps the vintage look of the restaurants is more appealing than the actual food, but that’s totally acceptable.
Pasadena coffee shop staple Russell’s is closing in on 100 years of serving pancakes, eggs, and bacon to waiting customers north of Colorado. Expect long weekend lines for this one.
When approaching Eagle Rock’s Cindy’s, it’s not uncommon to see a production crew shooting a film or TV show. But more often than not, Cindy’s is open throughout the morning and daytime hours to serve traditional pancakes, omelets, and a mean brisket hash.
Clark Street Diner
From the ashes of the 101 Coffee Shop comes Clark Street Diner, where retro cool is still very much in fashion. Expect the same basic layout and look, but with a retooled menu and more responsibly-sourced ingredients. Try the breakfast sandwich, served on crusty sliced bread instead of a bun.
Tam's Noodle House
This bustling strip mall gem is a dimly lit Hong Kong-style diner with affordable kaya toast, pineapple buns with butter, Hong Kong milk tea, curry with fried fish balls, and morning congee specials starting at 8 a.m. Tam’s Noodle House also has the entire pantheon of great Cantonese dishes later in the day, making this the perfect expression of a modern LA diner.
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sapp Coffee Shop might not be a traditional American greasy spoon, but the vibe inside and the comforting food absolutely work. That’s because Sapp opens at 8 a.m., serving fried egg-topped fried rice or soulful noodle soups, like the famous boat noodle soup that Anthony Bourdain popularized in the late aughts.
The Googie architecture at the Norm’s on La Cienega was deemed a city treasure and saved from demolition a few years ago. For a good time, just grab a stool at the counter and dig into an affordable platter of steak and eggs.
Whether dining in the mornings or well into the night, almost every table orders the pancakes that remain fluffy despite being drenched in clarified butter. It’s hard to go wrong with the chicken pot pie and classic meatloaf. And don’t forget to take a whole pie home.
Placed on the side of the road like a dusty highway diner, Nick’s Cafe continues to serve reliable breakfast fare and one of the city’s best ham steaks and eggs plates. Like any proper diner, the menu is much bigger than one could possibly decide from within a few minutes, but with handy parking and easy access from across the Eastside, Nick’s Cafe remains one of LA’s most beloved greasy spoons.
A Koreatown classic known for its fantastic pancakes, Olympic Cafe is part neighborhood staple and part hipster hole-in-the-wall. Diners can congregate en masse without spending a fortune.
The Original Pantry
While it’s no longer true that the Pantry never closes, this corner restaurant does still attract a decent daytime clientele comprised of office workers, tourists, and longtime local fans. These days hours are relegated to mornings and lunchtime only, Wednesday to Sunday.
Santa Monica’s enduring roadside diner could be the most picturesque place in the city to dig into a plate of fried bacon, eggs, and fried country potatoes. The beautiful turquoise paint, formica countertops, and friendly service just complete the diner feel. Just remember it’s cash only, like it’s still the 1950s.
Delicious Food Corner
The fare at Delicious Food Corner might not follow the classic American diner mold. That’s because it feels plucked right out of a busy Hong Kong side street. Think congee, rice rolls covered in soy sauce, and warm pineapple buns stuffed with soft butter. This is diner fare, Cantonese-style, with numerous locations across the San Gabriel Valley. Just ask for Hong Kong coffee (with milk and tea) and a plate of eggs with pork chops to complete the experience.
Del Ray stalwart Ronnie’s Diner is the type of place whose static energy is part of its charm. It serves incredible renditions of diner classics: think pillowy cinnamon roll pancakes (regular and gluten-free available) topped with a swirl of vanilla icing; sweet maple turkey sausage with still-yolky over-medium eggs and crispy-craggy home fries; and a chorizo breakfast bowl with sliced avocado, potatoes, eggs, and salsa.
Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
A must-stop on the way to LAX, Pann’s is a study in Googie diner architecture. Though it’s no longer open in the evenings, sitting down to a thick mug of black coffee and a plate of eggs is still a highlight.
The Serving Spoon
This timeless strip mall diner tucked away in Inglewood is a true local icon, a place where regulars can come for eggs, waffles, French toast, and fried chicken. Owners Angela and J.C. Johnson took over from Angela’s father back in 2004, but the Serving Spoon, which has been operating since 1983, continues to weather the changes in the neighborhood by leaning on old-fashioned customer service and charm.
Manhattan Beach’s enduring 24/7 diner the Kettle has managed to draw South Bay night owls and early birds with a homey country-style interior and reliable, heaping plates of comfort food. Think fried chicken, mac & cheese, fresh-from-the-oven muffins, and juicy braised pot roast dip sandwiches.
From omelets and enchiladas to patty melts, salads, and club sandwiches, this rustic diner just blocks from the water is perfect for a weekend getaway.