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An assortment of dishes at Serving Spoon restaurant in Inglewood, California.
Serving Spoon.
Wonho Frank Lee

23 Incredible Restaurants To Try in South LA

Jerusalem chicken, Mexican mariscos, and red sauce Italian

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Serving Spoon.
| Wonho Frank Lee

South LA covers a wide swath of Southern California. The massive area — it’s larger than Manhattan — is filled with a collection of smaller cities and independent neighborhoods that represent a cultural cross-section of Los Angeles. From old-school spots in Inglewood, Compton, and Lynwood to newer restaurants in West Adams and View Park and everything in between, it’s possible to dine well on dozens of different cuisines within these communities. Here now are 23 great places to drink and dine in greater South LA.

Added: Country Style Jamaican, Guajillo Restaurant, Highly Likely Cafe, Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen, Jack’s Family Kitchen, Jerusalem Chicken, Mizlala West Adams, Mr Fries Man, Ricos Tacos Naomi, Southern Girl Desserts, Sunday Gravy

Removed: Ackee Bamboo, Alta, Belizean Paradise, C.W. and Chris Fish & Chicken, Fish Town, Jade Siam, Jim Dandy Fried Chicken, Simply Wholesome, Tacos Los Guichos, Tire Shop Taqueria

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Ricos Tacos Naomi

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A husband and wife team launched Ricos Tacos Naomi in 2018 after meeting and falling in love aboard the Kogi truck. To whet one’s appetite, glance through Ricos Tacos Naomi’s Instagram feed, where photo after photo shows mouthwatering tortas, mulitas, quesadillas, burritos, and tacos with a slice of pineapple and layered with salsas.

Mizlala West Adams

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A seat on the cozy patio is the ideal spot to try Mizlala’s shawarma, the lamb or beef kefta, or the fish kebabs. When ready to cool off, the halva cinnamon or salted caramel tahini shakes do the trick.

A bowl of hummus with herbs, paprika, and parsley.
Mizlala West Adams.
Joshua Lurie

Harold & Belle's

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Harold & Belle’s still rocks a menu of Louisiana favorites to a large and loyal local clientele. And for the record, gumbo and jambalaya taste even better as leftovers. There’s even vegan options available for the plant-based crowd.

Highly Likely Café

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As far as cafes go, Highly Likely is one to spend an afternoon at. It’s bright and cheery with great music to accompany the breakfast burritos, sweet potato tacos, and turkey sandwiches.

Chef Gilberto Cetina has seen plenty of success just south of Downtown — first with Chichen Itza and then with Holbox. The seafood-centric Holbox covers the bases with ceviches and tostadas, along with simpler preparations of Yucatanean and Baja specialties including blood clams.

Colorful uni-topped ceviche tostada on a white plate with colorful tablecloth.
Holbox.
Farley Elliott

Earle's On Crenshaw

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Earle’s Grill is a South LA institution found on Crenshaw Boulevard. There’s outdoor seating and a rapid ordering process that include vegan dogs, excessively decadent chili dogs, and so much more.

Mr Fries Man

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Craig Batiste and his wife Dorothy launched Mr. Fries Man as a pop-up from their Gardena home. There are now five locations throughout the Southland serving the now-famous fries loaded with barbecue ranch chicken and lemon garlic shrimp.

French fries loaded with cheese, and faux meat.
Mr Fries Man.
Mr. Fries Man

Hotville Chicken

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Kim Prince established Hotville Chicken as one of Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw’s most notable restaurants. Here, at this casual spot, Nashville hot chicken rules the roost; sides like mac and smokin’ cheese, a trio of baked beans, shredded kale coleslaw, and weekend-only waffles are also compelling.

Hotville chicken on a tray with checkered paper and pickles.
Hotville Chicken
Matthew Kang

Swift Cafe

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Chef Kyndra McCrary’s daytime spot sits right in Leimert Park. McCrary consulted with a nutritionist to prepare jerk chicken, sea bass, and vegetarian chili and gumbo using less fat. Her menu changes regularly, so check Instagram for the latest offerings.

Woody's Bar-B-Q

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For some of Inglewood’s best smoked meats, Woody’s Bar-B-Que is the place to be. While there are other locations for this LA institution, the Slauson location opened 45 years ago. Nab a lunch or dinner plate with hot links, ribs, sliced beef, and chicken packed with mac and cheese, beans, greens, cornbread, and arguably some of the city’s best potato salad.

A paper boat filled with saucy ribs and white bread at Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Farley Elliott

Jerusalem Chicken

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If a delightful punch in the taste buds is needed, get to Jerusalem Chicken and order the lemon garlic chicken. Be warned, it is full flavored — savory, pungent, and so incredibly juicy. The bed of rice absorbs plenty of the sauce as well. This Windsor Hills restaurant also boasts some of the city’s best hummus.

Roasted chicken stuffed with rice, mushrooms, and beef at Jerusalem Chicken in View Park/Windsor Hills in Southern California.
Jerusalem Chicken.
Jerusalem Chicken

Guajillo Restaurant

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Huntington Park’s hidden gem is Guajillo Restaurant. This family-owned business takes pride in its chilaquiles, where options include carne asada, milanesa, and chorizo.

Court Cafe

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Court Cafe is the delicious collective restaurant from Taco Mell’s Jermelle Henderson, Bleu Kitchen’s Calvin Johnson, and Keith Garett of All Flavor No Grease. Together, they combine their unique South LA food-style like the taco omelette, waffles with brown sugar butter, and the crowd-pleasing lobster and waffles.

Sunday Gravy

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This unfussy brother-and-sister-owned restaurant offers straightforward Italian-American fare. Look for red checkered tablecloths and the genre’s greatest hits like cheesy garlic bread, New York-style cheesecake, and fettuccini alfredo. There’s a special lasagna every weekend.

Dishes from Sunday Gravy in Ingelwood, California
Sunday Gravy.
Wonho Frank Lee

The Serving Spoon

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Those in the know are acutely aware of the Serving Spoon’s history and food. The owners have served a soulful breakfast and lunch since 1982. Always required are the cheese grits with catfish and eggs, collard greens, candied yams, or chicken and waffles.

French toast, butter and fried chicken at the Serving Spoon.
Serving Spoon.
Wonho Frank Lee

Gwen's Specialty Cakes

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Gwen Vance opened her specialty bake shop over 20 years ago. Arrive early to purchase one of her mini-bite pecan, sweet potato, or apple pies. It’s good to get on Vance’s email list to stay on top of her Southern-style dinners prepared weekly for pick-up in the heart of Inglewood.

Country Style Jamaican Restaurant

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It’s constantly busy at Country Style Jamaican. This business is successful because of the sheer volume of customers who return regularly for the escovitchn fish, jerk chicken, peas and rice, and more.

Snapper escovitch from Country Style Jamaican Cuisine in a styrofoam tray.
Country Style Jamaican’s snapper escovitch.
Matthew Kang

M'Dears

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Look for the retro pink sign just off Western and Florence. Once seated, order the fantastic fried chicken, mac and cheese, and greens, and the 7-Up cake before it sells out.

Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen - Inglewood

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Daytime fare and good coffee is always in order at Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen. But the second location has something most cafes don’t: A cozy, spacious interior that’s in central Inglewood. There’s a similar wide-open layout and menu at the View Park-Windsor Hills location.

Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen

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Soul food restaurants don’t get much more famous than Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen. The restaurant turns out massive portions of fried or smothered chicken, fish, and pork chops, along with stewed oxtails and incredible sides. Note: the location on Century Boulevard has a comfy patio, while Crenshaw’s operates a food truck on weekends.

Banadir Somali Restaurant

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Banadir Somali Restaurant is among the only Somali restaurants in Los Angeles. Owner Hussein Mohamed always suggests the goat or lamb platters. All of the halal meats are marinated then slow roasted for three hours and served with a side of rice, a simple salad, and a side of bas bas (a traditional bright green sauce is made with basil, jalapeno, and cilantro). It packs a heated punch.

A plate of Somalian food with rice, meat, and a side salad.
Banadir Somali Restaurant
Mona Holmes

Coni'Seafood

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One of LA’s best Mexican seafood restaurants rests comfortably in Inglewood. Coni’Seafood continues to wow weary LAX travelers and locals alike. The marlin tacos alone are worth the trip, but it’s the big platter of pescado zarandeado that really turns heads.

Coni’Seafood
Coni’Seafood
Cathy Chaplin

Hawkins House of Burgers

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Endless fans flock to Hawkins in Watts, beguiled by the towering burgers that come fresh off the grill. The space across from Nickerson Gardens carries few frills, but that’s hardly the reason to keep anyone from going.

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Ricos Tacos Naomi

A husband and wife team launched Ricos Tacos Naomi in 2018 after meeting and falling in love aboard the Kogi truck. To whet one’s appetite, glance through Ricos Tacos Naomi’s Instagram feed, where photo after photo shows mouthwatering tortas, mulitas, quesadillas, burritos, and tacos with a slice of pineapple and layered with salsas.

Mizlala West Adams

A bowl of hummus with herbs, paprika, and parsley.
Mizlala West Adams.
Joshua Lurie

A seat on the cozy patio is the ideal spot to try Mizlala’s shawarma, the lamb or beef kefta, or the fish kebabs. When ready to cool off, the halva cinnamon or salted caramel tahini shakes do the trick.

A bowl of hummus with herbs, paprika, and parsley.
Mizlala West Adams.
Joshua Lurie

Harold & Belle's

Harold & Belle’s still rocks a menu of Louisiana favorites to a large and loyal local clientele. And for the record, gumbo and jambalaya taste even better as leftovers. There’s even vegan options available for the plant-based crowd.

Highly Likely Café

As far as cafes go, Highly Likely is one to spend an afternoon at. It’s bright and cheery with great music to accompany the breakfast burritos, sweet potato tacos, and turkey sandwiches.

Holbox

Colorful uni-topped ceviche tostada on a white plate with colorful tablecloth.
Holbox.
Farley Elliott

Chef Gilberto Cetina has seen plenty of success just south of Downtown — first with Chichen Itza and then with Holbox. The seafood-centric Holbox covers the bases with ceviches and tostadas, along with simpler preparations of Yucatanean and Baja specialties including blood clams.

Colorful uni-topped ceviche tostada on a white plate with colorful tablecloth.
Holbox.
Farley Elliott

Earle's On Crenshaw

Earle’s Grill is a South LA institution found on Crenshaw Boulevard. There’s outdoor seating and a rapid ordering process that include vegan dogs, excessively decadent chili dogs, and so much more.

Mr Fries Man

French fries loaded with cheese, and faux meat.
Mr Fries Man.
Mr. Fries Man

Craig Batiste and his wife Dorothy launched Mr. Fries Man as a pop-up from their Gardena home. There are now five locations throughout the Southland serving the now-famous fries loaded with barbecue ranch chicken and lemon garlic shrimp.

French fries loaded with cheese, and faux meat.
Mr Fries Man.
Mr. Fries Man

Hotville Chicken

Hotville chicken on a tray with checkered paper and pickles.
Hotville Chicken
Matthew Kang

Kim Prince established Hotville Chicken as one of Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw’s most notable restaurants. Here, at this casual spot, Nashville hot chicken rules the roost; sides like mac and smokin’ cheese, a trio of baked beans, shredded kale coleslaw, and weekend-only waffles are also compelling.

Hotville chicken on a tray with checkered paper and pickles.
Hotville Chicken
Matthew Kang

Swift Cafe

Chef Kyndra McCrary’s daytime spot sits right in Leimert Park. McCrary consulted with a nutritionist to prepare jerk chicken, sea bass, and vegetarian chili and gumbo using less fat. Her menu changes regularly, so check Instagram for the latest offerings.

Woody's Bar-B-Q

A paper boat filled with saucy ribs and white bread at Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Farley Elliott

For some of Inglewood’s best smoked meats, Woody’s Bar-B-Que is the place to be. While there are other locations for this LA institution, the Slauson location opened 45 years ago. Nab a lunch or dinner plate with hot links, ribs, sliced beef, and chicken packed with mac and cheese, beans, greens, cornbread, and arguably some of the city’s best potato salad.

A paper boat filled with saucy ribs and white bread at Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Farley Elliott

Jerusalem Chicken

Roasted chicken stuffed with rice, mushrooms, and beef at Jerusalem Chicken in View Park/Windsor Hills in Southern California.
Jerusalem Chicken.
Jerusalem Chicken

If a delightful punch in the taste buds is needed, get to Jerusalem Chicken and order the lemon garlic chicken. Be warned, it is full flavored — savory, pungent, and so incredibly juicy. The bed of rice absorbs plenty of the sauce as well. This Windsor Hills restaurant also boasts some of the city’s best hummus.

Roasted chicken stuffed with rice, mushrooms, and beef at Jerusalem Chicken in View Park/Windsor Hills in Southern California.
Jerusalem Chicken.
Jerusalem Chicken

Guajillo Restaurant

Huntington Park’s hidden gem is Guajillo Restaurant. This family-owned business takes pride in its chilaquiles, where options include carne asada, milanesa, and chorizo.

Court Cafe

Court Cafe is the delicious collective restaurant from Taco Mell’s Jermelle Henderson, Bleu Kitchen’s Calvin Johnson, and Keith Garett of All Flavor No Grease. Together, they combine their unique South LA food-style like the taco omelette, waffles with brown sugar butter, and the crowd-pleasing lobster and waffles.

Sunday Gravy

Dishes from Sunday Gravy in Ingelwood, California
Sunday Gravy.
Wonho Frank Lee

This unfussy brother-and-sister-owned restaurant offers straightforward Italian-American fare. Look for red checkered tablecloths and the genre’s greatest hits like cheesy garlic bread, New York-style cheesecake, and fettuccini alfredo. There’s a special lasagna every weekend.

Dishes from Sunday Gravy in Ingelwood, California
Sunday Gravy.
Wonho Frank Lee

The Serving Spoon

French toast, butter and fried chicken at the Serving Spoon.
Serving Spoon.
Wonho Frank Lee

Those in the know are acutely aware of the Serving Spoon’s history and food. The owners have served a soulful breakfast and lunch since 1982. Always required are the cheese grits with catfish and eggs, collard greens, candied yams, or chicken and waffles.

French toast, butter and fried chicken at the Serving Spoon.
Serving Spoon.
Wonho Frank Lee

Related Maps

Gwen's Specialty Cakes

Gwen Vance opened her specialty bake shop over 20 years ago. Arrive early to purchase one of her mini-bite pecan, sweet potato, or apple pies. It’s good to get on Vance’s email list to stay on top of her Southern-style dinners prepared weekly for pick-up in the heart of Inglewood.

Country Style Jamaican Restaurant

Snapper escovitch from Country Style Jamaican Cuisine in a styrofoam tray.
Country Style Jamaican’s snapper escovitch.
Matthew Kang

It’s constantly busy at Country Style Jamaican. This business is successful because of the sheer volume of customers who return regularly for the escovitchn fish, jerk chicken, peas and rice, and more.