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A turquoise and gold bar area inside of a new restaurant.
The bar at Nativo in Highland Park.
Wonho Frank Lee

15 Fabulous Restaurants to Taste in Happening Highland Park

Classic cheeseburgers, Mexican “sandals,” Peruvian cooking, and more

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The bar at Nativo in Highland Park.
| Wonho Frank Lee

Strolling along York Boulevard and Figueroa Street, there’s no denying that Highland Park is undergoing some tremendous changes. While the city’s restaurant scene has steadily transformed over the past decade, the recent uptick in new tenants has left some local residents and business owners feeling uneasy. It is a complicated matter for certain — one that will continue to face many of Los Angeles’s neighborhoods in the coming years. For better or worse, Highland Park is one of the most exciting places to grab a bite in the city. From excellent Peruvian to smash burgers and more, here now are the 15 restaurants to taste in happening Highland Park.

Removed: Holdaak, Parsnip, Pocha, Ichijiku Sushi

Added: Nativo, Otoño, Penny’s Burgers, Via-Mar Seafood, Mariscos El Faro, Burgerlords, ETA

A number of LA restaurants have resumed dine-in service. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Los Angeles Public Health website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Belle's Bagels

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Belle’s Bagels is slinging its wares in the former Côté Est Bistro and Bar space on York Boulevard in Highland Park. The shop opens at 7 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on weekends, and is closed on Tuesdays.

The lush backyard hangout that is Nativo feels perfect for Highland Park. The tiered open-air space is awash on weekends with locals, hip kids, and folks just stopping in for some music and a sip or two of mezcal and tequila cocktails.

At night a seating area with string lights and neon.
Outdoor dining at Nativo in Highland Park.
Wonho Frank Lee

Pine and Crane founder Vivian Ku’s sophomore effort delivers on all fronts from food to service and ambiance. The menu of Taiwan’s greatest hits includes shrimp wontons, mapo tofu, dan dan noodles, and minced pork over rice. Wash it all down with milk tea drinks made with housemade puddings and tapioca balls.

The interior at Joy in Highland Park
Joy, Highland Park
Wonho Frank Lee

El Huarache Azteca

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The Mexico City-style antojitos or little whims served at this neighborhood gem are perfect for any meal of the day. The namesake huraches, deep-fried “sandals” made of masa dough and topped with things like huitlacoche (corn smut), head cheese, and chorizo, never fail to satisfy.

Goldburger

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Fans of Goldburger know owner Allen Yelent from a variety of coffee and bar pop-ups across the city, including days at Smorgasburg in Downtown. For this iteration in Highland Park, Yelent is serving grass-fed smash burgers, fries, and pie from Wednesday through Monday, noon to 8 p.m. for takeout and delivery. Be sure to order ahead.

Cheeseburger at Goldburger in Highland Park.
Goldburger
Cathy Chaplin

Penny's Burgers

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Corner burger and breakfast burrito spot Penny’s has been serving Highland Park since 1969, offering a neighborhood-anchoring menu that spans the Mexican and American comfort food playbook. Stop in soon for fries, burritos, tacos, burgers, and just about anything else.

Mariscos El Faro

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One of LA’s best mariscos trucks parks almost daily in Highland Park. The Figueroa-based El Faro is a staple spot for oysters, ceviches, tostadas, and more.

Mason's Dumpling Shop

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Mason’s Dumpling Shop comes from the same family behind Monrovia’s Luscious Dumplings. The shop along Figueroa serves the family’s signature fried pork dumplings, as well as xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Open daily except on Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for dine in, takeout, and delivery.

Housed in the former Highland Park post office, Hippo comes from Mozza alum Matt Molina. The plates, which run big and small, are smartly composed with seasonal influences and well-sourced ingredients. The handmade pastas are particularly excellent. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Jeff's Table

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Jewish deli sandwich lovers will get a kick out of Jeff’s Table, a semi-hidden shop inside Flask Fine Wines & Whisky, with new-school takes on roast beef, hot pastrami, and more that draw from owner Jeff Strauss’s global influences. The Jeff’s Special is a showstopper with hand-sliced pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and comte cheese on rye.

Reuben sandwich from Jeff’s Table.
The Jeff’s Special from Jeff’s Table.
Cathy Chaplin

After a long pandemic hiatus, Spanish spot Otoño is finally open and ready to dazzle once again. Teresa Montaño’s expert menu, which is offered on the patio, at the bar, and in the dining room, includes the restaurant’s signature paellas, along with a variety of tapas and small bites.

Paella at Otoño in Highland Park.
Paella at Otoño in Highland Park.
Wonho Frank Lee

Tuesdays are packed at ETA on Figueroa, the low-lit cocktail bar that offers weekly oyster platters and other rotating food options. For live music nights or intimate time spent lingering in a corner, ETA is the spot.

ETA Highland Park 1
ETA
Wonho Frank Lee

Burgerlords

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With its prime location next to the Lodge Room, the Highland Park outlet of Burgerlords boasts plenty of diner-style seating and an entirely plant-based menu of fries, single and double burgers, and tahini milkshakes. 

Burgerlords
Burgerlords
Farley Elliott

Opened by Maritza Gomez, Rosty serves traditional Peruvian fare inspired by her mother’s restaurants in Lima. On the menu are traditional dishes like ceviche, fried rice, and lomo saltado, as well as a smattering of vegetarian options.

Via-Mar Restaurant Express

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For a daily dose of cocteles, fish and shrimp tacos, tostadas, and more, get to the longstanding Via-Mar Seafood on Figueroa. The few-frills walk-up spot is still turning out some of the neighborhood’s most flavorful fried fish, all served in a friendly outdoor space where the sun shines in.

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Belle's Bagels

Belle’s Bagels is slinging its wares in the former Côté Est Bistro and Bar space on York Boulevard in Highland Park. The shop opens at 7 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on weekends, and is closed on Tuesdays.

Nativo

The lush backyard hangout that is Nativo feels perfect for Highland Park. The tiered open-air space is awash on weekends with locals, hip kids, and folks just stopping in for some music and a sip or two of mezcal and tequila cocktails.

At night a seating area with string lights and neon.
Outdoor dining at Nativo in Highland Park.
Wonho Frank Lee

Joy

Pine and Crane founder Vivian Ku’s sophomore effort delivers on all fronts from food to service and ambiance. The menu of Taiwan’s greatest hits includes shrimp wontons, mapo tofu, dan dan noodles, and minced pork over rice. Wash it all down with milk tea drinks made with housemade puddings and tapioca balls.

The interior at Joy in Highland Park
Joy, Highland Park
Wonho Frank Lee

El Huarache Azteca

The Mexico City-style antojitos or little whims served at this neighborhood gem are perfect for any meal of the day. The namesake huraches, deep-fried “sandals” made of masa dough and topped with things like huitlacoche (corn smut), head cheese, and chorizo, never fail to satisfy.

Goldburger

Fans of Goldburger know owner Allen Yelent from a variety of coffee and bar pop-ups across the city, including days at Smorgasburg in Downtown. For this iteration in Highland Park, Yelent is serving grass-fed smash burgers, fries, and pie from Wednesday through Monday, noon to 8 p.m. for takeout and delivery. Be sure to order ahead.

Cheeseburger at Goldburger in Highland Park.
Goldburger
Cathy Chaplin

Penny's Burgers

Corner burger and breakfast burrito spot Penny’s has been serving Highland Park since 1969, offering a neighborhood-anchoring menu that spans the Mexican and American comfort food playbook. Stop in soon for fries, burritos, tacos, burgers, and just about anything else.

Mariscos El Faro

One of LA’s best mariscos trucks parks almost daily in Highland Park. The Figueroa-based El Faro is a staple spot for oysters, ceviches, tostadas, and more.

Mason's Dumpling Shop

Mason’s Dumpling Shop comes from the same family behind Monrovia’s Luscious Dumplings. The shop along Figueroa serves the family’s signature fried pork dumplings, as well as xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Open daily except on Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for dine in, takeout, and delivery.

Hippo

Housed in the former Highland Park post office, Hippo comes from Mozza alum Matt Molina. The plates, which run big and small, are smartly composed with seasonal influences and well-sourced ingredients. The handmade pastas are particularly excellent. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Jeff's Table

Jewish deli sandwich lovers will get a kick out of Jeff’s Table, a semi-hidden shop inside Flask Fine Wines & Whisky, with new-school takes on roast beef, hot pastrami, and more that draw from owner Jeff Strauss’s global influences. The Jeff’s Special is a showstopper with hand-sliced pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and comte cheese on rye.

Reuben sandwich from Jeff’s Table.
The Jeff’s Special from Jeff’s Table.
Cathy Chaplin

Otoño

After a long pandemic hiatus, Spanish spot Otoño is finally open and ready to dazzle once again. Teresa Montaño’s expert menu, which is offered on the patio, at the bar, and in the dining room, includes the restaurant’s signature paellas, along with a variety of tapas and small bites.

Paella at Otoño in Highland Park.
Paella at Otoño in Highland Park.
Wonho Frank Lee

ETA

Tuesdays are packed at ETA on Figueroa, the low-lit cocktail bar that offers weekly oyster platters and other rotating food options. For live music nights or intimate time spent lingering in a corner, ETA is the spot.

ETA Highland Park 1
ETA
Wonho Frank Lee

Burgerlords

With its prime location next to the Lodge Room, the Highland Park outlet of Burgerlords boasts plenty of diner-style seating and an entirely plant-based menu of fries, single and double burgers, and tahini milkshakes. 

Burgerlords
Burgerlords
Farley Elliott

Rosty

Opened by Maritza Gomez, Rosty serves traditional Peruvian fare inspired by her mother’s restaurants in Lima. On the menu are traditional dishes like ceviche, fried rice, and lomo saltado, as well as a smattering of vegetarian options.

Via-Mar Restaurant Express

For a daily dose of cocteles, fish and shrimp tacos, tostadas, and more, get to the longstanding Via-Mar Seafood on Figueroa. The few-frills walk-up spot is still turning out some of the neighborhood’s most flavorful fried fish, all served in a friendly outdoor space where the sun shines in.

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