Long Beach, whose population is roughly equivalent to that of Atlanta, Georgia, has a distinct flavor all its own. Far more than a seaside hangout or home to one of the country’s largest shipping ports, the massive city includes fantastic dining options that span Levantine hits, old-school Italian spots, excellent tacos, and Cambodian restaurants, a rarity in Los Angeles. Here now are 20 essential restaurants in Long Beach.Read More
The 20 Essential Long Beach Restaurants
The LBC has it all with soulful Cambodian cooking, outstanding barbecue, impressive Colombian fare, and more
The Nest: A Breakfast Joint
The vibes are immaculate at the Nest. Owner Antonio Appling serves an undeniably Black Southern menu with a distinctly Southern California point of view. The biscuits and gravy are incredible, while the breakfast torta with roasted pork is on point.
Tacos La Carreta
José Morales and his son, also named José Morales, opened a taco cart (la carreta) in a Compton tire shop seven years ago. The Morales’s upgraded to a truck last year where they turn out some of Southern California’s best Mazatlán-style tacos. The truck is typically parked on the northernmost border of Long Beach and serves chorreadas, vampiros, and tacos de carne asada. Check Instagram for hours and availability.
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Robert Earl's BBQ
Be patient when ordering at Robert Earl’s BBQ, a laid-back, family-owned restaurant on the north end of Long Beach. The rib tips are particularly tender, while the sides are all spectacular — it is impossible to say which one is best.
Sal's Gumbo Shack
Always order the namesake gumbo at Sal’s two Long Beach locations, but don’t miss the po’ boys, candied yams, cornbread, oxtails, mac and cheese, and the occasional pound cake special.
Owner Cameron Slaugh spent time in the kitchens of Osteria La Buca and Eleven Madison Park before opening the Attic in Long Beach and most recently, Nonna Mercato. Part bread bakery, part patisserie, and part coffee shop, Nonna Mercato is an excellent weekend hangout with Roman-style pizzas.
Little Coyote, whose New York-style pizzas regularly sold out when it first opened on Retro Row in 2020, now has a second Long Beach location. Both restaurants serve pizzas, salads, pasta, and well-priced beer.
Find the fantastic Caribbean restaurant Grilled Fraiche in the same plaza as Target and Trader Joe’s. The menu includes traditional oxtails, patties, and jerk chicken, along with vegan crab cakes made from garbanzo beans. The restaurant has additional locations in Hyde Park, Hollywood Park, and Florence on Firestone Boulevard.
Most LA neighborhoods have an unfussy strip mall spot that turns out solid sushi and sashimi. Sushi Kinoya also makes maki rolls and offers wonderfully affordable lunch specials.
Phnom Penh Noodle Shack
Phnom Penh Noodle Shack started as a five-seat restaurant in 1985 and grew into a neighborhood favorite that’s filled with loyal fans most days of the week. On the menu are some of the city's best Khmer-style rice porridge, stir-fried noodles, and pork noodle soup.
La Esperanza Restaurant
Adriana Moran opened the original La Esperanza Bakery in 1994 in Torrance and a second outlet in the center of Long Beach in 2017. Moran serves Guatemalan and Salvadoran dishes in a cozy setting.
Pickle Banh Mi Co.
This Vietnamese sandwich expert serves every one of its 15 banh mi creations on house-made baguettes. Wash everything down with Vietnamese coffee and snag a baguette for later for just $1.
Chef Carlos Jurado’s restaurant is one of only a few Colombian spots in Southern California. The dining room boasts a long bar and bright windows, while the Colombian hot dog is a must-have on every table.
A&J Seafood Shack
It’s incredible how much food is produced from the small but mighty A&J Seafood Shack. Owner Vannak Tan’s 280-square-foot stall prepares a slew of fantastic dishes using family recipes spanning from Phnom Penh to Oahu’s North Shore.
Crystal Thai-Cambodian Cuisine
Find lukewarm service and red-hot cooking at this under-the-radar Cambodian restaurant. Some of the menu’s best items include the spicy papaya salad and the pad kee mao, flat rice noodles with meat, chile, and garlic. Note: the restaurant tends to close earlier than posted hours if the dining room is empty.
Sura Korean BBQ & Tofu House
Sura may pale compared to Koreatown’s finest, but this Long Beach restaurant keeps locals from having to trek too far for bubbling tofu soups and bibimbap. There’s also an interesting section of the menu that’s a mashup between Ktown-Long Beach with hand-battered crispy squid, panko breadcrumb shrimp fries, and bulgogi nachos.
The Long Beach bakery from Arturo Enciso has garnered national attention for its pastries, boules, baguettes, and cookies. Stop by to peruse Gusto’s daily inventory or place an order online before pick-up. Gusto often sells out early.
Ammatoli Mediterranean Bites
Dima and Sam Habibeh’s Long Beach restaurant Ammatoli has a menu straight from the Levant region that encompasses Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. Most dishes have a familiar Mediterranean ring with hummus, labneh, and spicy garlic lemon chicken. The wine list has winemakers from Italy, France, and Lebanon.
The Wild Chive
Chef Soozee Nguyen turns out an inventive plant-based menu near the ocean in Bluff Park including noteworthy burgers, pesto chicken sandwiches, and an excellent vegan croque-madame.
La Parolaccia Osteria
Born in Italy, Stefano Procaccini opened La Parolaccia in 2004 and brings a taste of Rome to Bluff Heights. He’s been serving pizzas and plates of amatriciana, carbonara, and cacio e pepe for nearly two decades, along with focaccia sandwiches stuffed with mortadella and burrata.
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Opened in 1945, the Reno Room dive bar is one of Long Beach’s oldest establishments. On the menu are beers and cocktails, along with wet burritos, tacos, and asada fries from the adjacent kitchen, Coco Reno.