Driving along York Boulevard and Figueroa Street in Highland Park, there’s no denying that the neighborhood is undergoing tremendous changes. While the restaurant scene has steadily transformed over the past decade, the ongoing uptick in new tenants has left some local residents and business owners feeling uneasy. Gentrification is a complicated matter — 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 LA. From excellent Peruvian cooking to smash burgers and more, here now are the 15 essential restaurants in Highland Park.Read More
15 Fabulous Restaurants to Taste in Happening Highland Park
Vegan sandwiches, Mexican “sandals,” Peruvian fare, and so much more
Bagel + Slice
Come into Bagel + Slice for hand-rolled, kettle-boiled, and plank-baked organic bagels, along with bagel sandwiches, pizza bagels, and 18-inch, New York-style pizzas sold by the slice or as whole pies. In addition to offering some of LA’s very best bagels and pizza, Bagel + Slice is an environmentally conscious and community-minded business.
Also featured in:
Joy 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.
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 rafts made of masa dough and topped with things like huitlacoche (corn smut), head cheese, and chorizo, never fail to satisfy.
Villa Tacos recently debuted a brick-and-mortar restaurant after five years of operating out of owner Victor Villa’s grandmother’s Highland Park house and along York Boulevard. The menu brings together family recipes with Villa’s culinary flair. The signature tacos are made using blue corn tortillas with a crispy cheese-griddled interior, refried beans, onions, cilantro, crema, cotija, guacamole, and a choice of three kinds of mesquite-grilled meat.
Fans of Goldburger make it a point to stop by Highland Park for smashed-style patties done with precision, and a menu of California classics that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Oh, and there’s pie and curly fries, too.
Maciel's Plant-Based Butcher & Deli
The stellar sandwiches at Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher & Deli are constructed using cold cuts made from recognizable ingredients like chickpeas, vegetables, seitan, tofu, spices, and brines. The Reuben comes with pastrami, sauerkraut, vegan cheese, and vegan Russian dressing on rye bread, while the popular Flores is made with Mexican ribs, pickled onions, arugula, and vegan mayonnaise on ciabatta.
Also featured in:
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.
The plates at Hippo (housed in the former Highland Park post office building), which run big and small, are smartly composed with seasonal influences and well-sourced ingredients. The handmade pastas are particularly excellent, especially the parcels filled with corn during summer months.
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. The Jeff’s Special is a showstopper with hand-sliced pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and Comté cheese on rye.
Also featured in:
Swing into Otoño for chef Teresa Montaño’s expertly-crafted Spanish menu. Sip on a well-made cocktail or some cider while nibbling on delicate ribbons of jamón Iberico de Bellota or boquerones y mantequilla to start. Sharing a large pan of paella is a must, and the negra is particularly excellent. The restaurant recently added lunch service on Wednesday through Friday.
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.
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. Note that the Chinatown location did recently begin to offer some animal proteins again, while Highland Park remains entirely plant-based.
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.