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An overhead shot of red sauced grilled chicken atop fries in a takeout container.
Dino’s Famous Chicken
Wonho Frank Lee

16 Quality Spots For Fast, Delicious Food in Los Angeles

Forget the usual fast-food, these are the local spots that combine speed and deliciousness all in one package

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Dino’s Famous Chicken
| Wonho Frank Lee

Los Angeles is where fast-food really took off, mainly due to cars, a desire for convenience, and inexpensive ingredients. Thankfully, Angelenos are starting to move past the mega chains like McDonald's and Jack in the Box in favor of smarter quick-service fare, particularly during (and likely beyond) the pandemic. So what is fast, local food? Think quick-service takeaways, speedy meatless burgers on the go, drive-thru spots for tamales, and grab-and-go items from regional markets. Forget the big boys: This is where to eat fast-food right now.

Removed: Bill’s, In-N-Out, Marugame Udon, Lucky Boy, BacoShop, The Habit, Oinkster, Shake Shack, LocoL, South City, Mason’s Dumpling Shop

Added: Tamales Elena, Chori-man, Vowburger, The Hat, Tozai

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Prime Pizza

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Prime Pizza is busier than ever these days, owing to some positive Instagram attention and the world’s renewed love of all things sauce, cheese, and dough. The Burbank location has become a mainstay for local families, while the Fairfax shop still turns out slices on the quick, too.

A thin pepperoni slice being pulled away from the whole.
Prime Pizza
Prime Pizza

The Hat

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It’s all pastrami all the time at the Hat, the Southern California staple that has grown to multiple locations across the region. From sandwiches to loaded fries to burgers topped with shaved pastrami, this is the place for that hearty LA-area fix.

Zankou Chicken

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This Southern California institution has been slinging high quality Mediterranean food sans freezers and microwaves for over 50 years. There are few more reliable spots that offer falafel sandwiches for such low prices.

VOWburger

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Fairfax’s new-ish VOWburger is a lesson in simplicity. The plant-based shop just north of the main drag turns out some of the more reliable non-meat burgers in town, and don’t forget to add on one of their fried ‘chicken’ sandwiches, too.

Cassell's Hamburgers

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Koreatown’s Cassell’s is a history lesson in real time. Hanging signage recalls the longtime former location not far away, though today’s iteration inside the Hotel Normandie is a glossy reminder that times change. Thankfully the well-griddles burgers are as sturdy as ever, lovingly overseen by burger whisperer Christian Page.

Cassell’s cheeseburger with a round and pillowy bun on a red and white checkered paper.
Cassell’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Top Round Roast Beef

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Where else in LA can one get curly fries, roast beef, and breakfast sandwiches all under the same orange roof? It’s all about convenience and comfort at Top Round, the tiny walk-up spot on the corner of La Brea and Olympic.

Dino’s Famous Chicken

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Things don’t get much more efficient than at this Pico Blvd. takeaway grilled chicken spot, where styrofoam platters of scorched, marinated birds over thin-cut fries stack up faster than the customers waiting outside can snatch them.

A black grill as a hand reaches in to turn blackened chicken.
Grilling chicken at Dino’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Tozai Foods

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From takeaway snacks to staple home goods, Tozai is the spot to be in Rosemead for all things Japanese food. The market/restaurant has long been a part of the area dining landscape, and still today turns out some of the better Japanese eats in town.

A customer waits for food inside of a small Japanese market lined with soy sauce on the shelves.
Tozai pre-pandemic
Farley Elliott

The Apple Pan

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It's quality forever at this Westwood burger shack, which (now under new ownership) has pivoted successfully to takeout during the pandemic, and now even accepts credit cards. The hickory and steak burgers are Midwestern-style classics, but Angelenos have adopted the burgers and pies here like their own.

Hickory burger from Apple Pan.
Apple Pan
Matthew Kang

Los Cinco Puntos

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An East LA carnitas institution, Los Cinco Puntos has been turning out tacos and meats by the pound for decades. With no indoor seating, you’ll have to perch on the ledge outside, or better yet buy a bag of to-go tortillas and enjoy at home.

Loqui’s flour tortillas predate the city’s current craze. The restaurant’s original days as an SF-based Tartine pop-up have transformed into not just this Culver City staple stop, but a collection of restaurants that stretches from the Arts District now to Playa Vista.

An overhead shot of flour tortilla tacos in paper boats.
Loqui
Loqui

Earle's

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The former Earlez Grill operated for 25 years, and relaunched in early 2017 as Earle’s Grill. The Crenshaw location touts customized all-beef dogs, but has spicy links, and turkey dogs. The owners just added Beyond Meat as a vegan option, and there’s always the Jamaican patties.

Chili-slathered hot dog with pickled onions on a slate gray background at Earle’s on Crenshaw.
A super saucy chili dog
Farley Elliott

HiHo Cheeseburger

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HiHo Cheeseburger is a certified sensation, opening across Los Angeles with double-pattied wagyu burgers made for the masses. Don’t sleep on the fried chicken sandwich, either.

A double cheeseburger on a wooden table with lettuce on top.
HiHo Cheeseburger
Fried Chicken Sandwich Studios

Tito's Tacos Mexican Restaurant

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This Westside taco spot makes tasty crunchy tacos and gut-busting bean burritos. Sure the wait can get long during prime hours (even now), but otherwise, it's an affordable meal on the go with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

Tito's Tacos Matthew Kang

Tamales Elena Y Antojitos

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The city is currently in love with Tamales Elena’s new setup, a drive-thru window in Bell Gardens that offers tamales and small snacks on the go.

Three banana leaf tamales from Tamales Elena on a traditional plate.
Tamales Elena
Wonho Frank Lee

The Chori-Man

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San Pedro’s beloved Chori-Man turns out breakfast burritos and other hot foods in a flash, though an equal number of customers are likely coming for the takeaway meats too, all made and in house.

Chorizo breakfast burrito from The Chori-Man.
A chorizo-heavy breakfast burrito.
Farley Elliott

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Prime Pizza

A thin pepperoni slice being pulled away from the whole.
Prime Pizza
Prime Pizza

Prime Pizza is busier than ever these days, owing to some positive Instagram attention and the world’s renewed love of all things sauce, cheese, and dough. The Burbank location has become a mainstay for local families, while the Fairfax shop still turns out slices on the quick, too.

A thin pepperoni slice being pulled away from the whole.
Prime Pizza
Prime Pizza

The Hat

It’s all pastrami all the time at the Hat, the Southern California staple that has grown to multiple locations across the region. From sandwiches to loaded fries to burgers topped with shaved pastrami, this is the place for that hearty LA-area fix.

Zankou Chicken

This Southern California institution has been slinging high quality Mediterranean food sans freezers and microwaves for over 50 years. There are few more reliable spots that offer falafel sandwiches for such low prices.

VOWburger

Fairfax’s new-ish VOWburger is a lesson in simplicity. The plant-based shop just north of the main drag turns out some of the more reliable non-meat burgers in town, and don’t forget to add on one of their fried ‘chicken’ sandwiches, too.

Cassell's Hamburgers

Cassell’s cheeseburger with a round and pillowy bun on a red and white checkered paper.
Cassell’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Koreatown’s Cassell’s is a history lesson in real time. Hanging signage recalls the longtime former location not far away, though today’s iteration inside the Hotel Normandie is a glossy reminder that times change. Thankfully the well-griddles burgers are as sturdy as ever, lovingly overseen by burger whisperer Christian Page.

Cassell’s cheeseburger with a round and pillowy bun on a red and white checkered paper.
Cassell’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Top Round Roast Beef

Where else in LA can one get curly fries, roast beef, and breakfast sandwiches all under the same orange roof? It’s all about convenience and comfort at Top Round, the tiny walk-up spot on the corner of La Brea and Olympic.

Dino’s Famous Chicken

A black grill as a hand reaches in to turn blackened chicken.
Grilling chicken at Dino’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Things don’t get much more efficient than at this Pico Blvd. takeaway grilled chicken spot, where styrofoam platters of scorched, marinated birds over thin-cut fries stack up faster than the customers waiting outside can snatch them.

A black grill as a hand reaches in to turn blackened chicken.
Grilling chicken at Dino’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Tozai Foods

A customer waits for food inside of a small Japanese market lined with soy sauce on the shelves.
Tozai pre-pandemic
Farley Elliott

From takeaway snacks to staple home goods, Tozai is the spot to be in Rosemead for all things Japanese food. The market/restaurant has long been a part of the area dining landscape, and still today turns out some of the better Japanese eats in town.

A customer waits for food inside of a small Japanese market lined with soy sauce on the shelves.
Tozai pre-pandemic
Farley Elliott

The Apple Pan

Hickory burger from Apple Pan.
Apple Pan
Matthew Kang

It's quality forever at this Westwood burger shack, which (now under new ownership) has pivoted successfully to takeout during the pandemic, and now even accepts credit cards. The hickory and steak burgers are Midwestern-style classics, but Angelenos have adopted the burgers and pies here like their own.

Hickory burger from Apple Pan.
Apple Pan
Matthew Kang

Los Cinco Puntos

An East LA carnitas institution, Los Cinco Puntos has been turning out tacos and meats by the pound for decades. With no indoor seating, you’ll have to perch on the ledge outside, or better yet buy a bag of to-go tortillas and enjoy at home.

Loqui

An overhead shot of flour tortilla tacos in paper boats.
Loqui
Loqui

Loqui’s flour tortillas predate the city’s current craze. The restaurant’s original days as an SF-based Tartine pop-up have transformed into not just this Culver City staple stop, but a collection of restaurants that stretches from the Arts District now to Playa Vista.

An overhead shot of flour tortilla tacos in paper boats.
Loqui
Loqui

Earle's

Chili-slathered hot dog with pickled onions on a slate gray background at Earle’s on Crenshaw.
A super saucy chili dog
Farley Elliott

The former Earlez Grill operated for 25 years, and relaunched in early 2017 as Earle’s Grill. The Crenshaw location touts customized all-beef dogs, but has spicy links, and turkey dogs. The owners just added Beyond Meat as a vegan option, and there’s always the Jamaican patties.

Chili-slathered hot dog with pickled onions on a slate gray background at Earle’s on Crenshaw.
A super saucy chili dog
Farley Elliott

HiHo Cheeseburger

A double cheeseburger on a wooden table with lettuce on top.
HiHo Cheeseburger
Fried Chicken Sandwich Studios

HiHo Cheeseburger is a certified sensation, opening across Los Angeles with double-pattied wagyu burgers made for the masses. Don’t sleep on the fried chicken sandwich, either.

A double cheeseburger on a wooden table with lettuce on top.
HiHo Cheeseburger
Fried Chicken Sandwich Studios

Tito's Tacos Mexican Restaurant

Tito's Tacos Matthew Kang

This Westside taco spot makes tasty crunchy tacos and gut-busting bean burritos. Sure the wait can get long during prime hours (even now), but otherwise, it's an affordable meal on the go with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

Tito's Tacos Matthew Kang

Tamales Elena Y Antojitos

Three banana leaf tamales from Tamales Elena on a traditional plate.
Tamales Elena
Wonho Frank Lee

The city is currently in love with Tamales Elena’s new setup, a drive-thru window in Bell Gardens that offers tamales and small snacks on the go.

Three banana leaf tamales from Tamales Elena on a traditional plate.
Tamales Elena
Wonho Frank Lee

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The Chori-Man

Chorizo breakfast burrito from The Chori-Man.
A chorizo-heavy breakfast burrito.
Farley Elliott

San Pedro’s beloved Chori-Man turns out breakfast burritos and other hot foods in a flash, though an equal number of customers are likely coming for the takeaway meats too, all made and in house.