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Ravioli di nonna at Antico Nuovo.
Pasta from Antico Nuovo.
Wonho Frank Lee

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Los Angeles

LA’s definitive restaurants across an array of cuisines, neighborhoods, and price points 

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Pasta from Antico Nuovo.
| Wonho Frank Lee

Every quarter, Eater LA publishes a map of 38 standout restaurants that best represents Los Angeles’s incredible dining scene. In this massive metropolis, there are both new and decades-old street food stands, a cornucopia of international cuisines, and restaurants of every scale and size that use the best of the region’s folkloric produce. An overarching theme of Los Angeles’s food and restaurants is that flavors need to stand out — ideally heat, acid, and umami are present, in some form, in every dish.

At its core, the city’s far-flung neighborhoods, cultures, and flavors coalesce into an array of culinary boundary-bending restaurants that make it the most compelling place to dine in America. Here now, the 38 essential restaurants in Los Angeles.

Added: Soowon Galbi, Ruen Pair, Lan Noodle, Jerusalem Chicken, Otomisan, n/naka, My Dung, Tacos y Birria La Unica, Musso & Frank Grill, Delicias Bakery and Some, Marouch, Phnom Penh Noodle Shack, Country Style Jamaican, Hatchet Hall, Horses, Holbox, Pizzana, Newport Seafood, Pie ‘N Burger, Felix, Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen

Removed: Angler, Cupid’s Hot Dogs, Angelini Osteria, Union, Lasita, La Azteca Tortilleria, Otium, Gusto Bread, Sonoratown, Found Oyster, Angry Egret Dinette, Here’s Looking at You, All Day Baby, Crossroads Kitchen, Dulan’s Soul Food, Park’s Barbeque, Baja Subs, Hotville Chicken, Botanica, Tel Aviv Kosher Grill, Tamales Elena Y Antojitos (closed)

Restaurants are located in geographic order, from west to east.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Pasjoli

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Dave Beran’s Santa Monica French restaurant has developed into one of the Westside’s most impressive fancy restaurants, with stellar renditions of Parisian bistro dishes with a California mentality. Though Beran’s ambitious tasting menu restaurant Dialogue had to close due to the pandemic, the team’s efforts at Pasjoli show an extra level of creativity and execution, from gorgeous chicken liver-stuffed brioche to dry-aged ribeye with roasted fingerling potatoes. —Matthew Kang

Sliced pressed duck at Pasjoli in Santa Monica on a white porcelain plate.
Sliced pressed duck at Pasjoli in Santa Monica.
Matthew Kang

Felix Trattoria

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Evan Funke’s temple to pasta remains one of the most compelling places for upscale Italian food in Los Angeles. The elegant dining room feels like a stylish nonna’s home while the cuisine ranges various regions of Italy, from the buttery herb-tinted gamberi in bagnetto verde to the blistered pizzas to the crisp ricotta-filled squash blossoms. Of course, the fresh pasta dishes, produced almost exclusively by hand (fatto a mano), are must orders. —Matthew Kang

A terracotta-colored stone bowl filled with five grilled prawns and a green sauce made from herbs at Felix Trattoria.
Gamberi at Felix Trattoria.
Felix Trattoria

Anajak Thai Cuisine

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It’s always a bustling dinner party at Anajak Thai, the coolest restaurant in Sherman Oaks. And better still, there’s something for everyone from the Thai food classicists to the hip new kids looking to take down bottles of natural wine and party in the back alley for Thai taco Tuesday. Stop in for one-off chef collaborations and a party, or grab some take out on the way home. —Farley Elliott

A floral table-top covered with an assortment of Thai street food dishes, including a white plate with meat skewers, peanut sauce, and cucumbers, a black stone bowl filled with curry and sliced chiles, and a banana leaf topped with rice and chile-laden fish sauce.
Dishes from Anajak Thai Cuisine.
Fiona Chandra

Hatchet Hall

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The plates — each one a kind of blending of elegant and old-timey — come fast and furious over dinner at Hatchet Hall, the Culver City institution known for its Southern affectation and boundless energy. Under new(er) chef Wes Whitsell the bones of the place remain, from the cornbread to the roasted meats, but there is a lightness to the food, a modern California sensibility that marries well with the usual flavors. A touch of acid, a kick of heat; Hatchet Hall gives a little bit of everything, and on some very nice plates.  —Farley Elliott

A dining room view showing guests seated at the bar, a long party-sized dining table with plateware set for 12, and hanging ceiling lights overhead.
Inside Hatchet Hall in Culver City.
Wonho Frank Lee

It’s been over a decade since chefs Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama first opened two-Michelin star N/naka on the corner of Overland and Lawler in the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles. Since then, the kaiseki restaurant has entranced critics and diners alike with its contemporary interpretation of a centuries-old, multicourse Japanese tradition. The 13-course modern kaiseki is priced at $310 per person. The menu changes with the seasons, along with the chef’s whims, while the flow of the meal adheres to Japanese traditions. Reservations are released a month in advance via Tock, so persevere and plan accordingly. —Cathy Chaplin

Small tasting dishes on a black stone tray as part of the kaiseki meal at N/Naka in Los Angeles.
Dishes as part of the kaiseki meal at N/Naka in Los Angeles.
Wonho Frank Lee

Sushi Chitose

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Redondo Beach’s Sushi Chitose remains one of the most unsung sushi spots in town. serving a stellar omakase for under $70 a person from chef Hirofumi Sakamoto. With a traditional, very lived in, dining room but friendly service, this is arguably the best bang for your sushi buck in LA. —Matthew Kang

A wooden counter with toro nigiri (thinly sliced tuna stop a pat of vinegar rice) at Sushi Chitose in Redondo Beach.
Toro nigiri at Sushi Chitose in Redondo Beach.
Matthew Kang

Pizzana West Hollywood

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Daniele Uditi is quickly becoming a Los Angeles household name. From star turns on television, to his celebrity backers, to the pizza and pasta and sandwiches he turns out at Pizzana, the Italian chef is everywhere at once. Pizzanas have begun to spring up in the Valley and soon in Silver Lake, making his cacio e pepe pie one of the more recognizable items in town, and that’s to say nothing of the wood-fired meatballs, charred broccolini, and tricolore salads that surround the pizzas at nearly every table. It’s all simple, delicious, and (increasingly) well-known across the wide spectrum of Los Angeles — food that is at least as famous as the man himself. —Farley Elliott

A black background featuring an uncut, charred vegetable pizza from Pizzana.
Pizza from Pizzana.
Wonho Frank Lee

Rosalind's

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There are many terrific restaurants lining Fairfax Avenue in Little Ethiopia, but Rosalind’s is the one that started it all. Take owner Fekere Gebre-Mariam’s advice and order the iconic doro wat — a soul-satisfying, deeply ruddy stew fortified with ground chiles and spiked with warming spices. This chicken-and-egg staple has been on the menu since day one and is even considered the national dish of Ethiopia. —Cathy Chaplin

A red table-top with doro wat, plantains, and other Ethiopian small plates at Rosalind’s Restaurant.
An Ethiopian feast at Rosalind’s.
Wonho Frank Lee

Country Style Jamaican Restaurant

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Prepare wisely before heading to Country Style Jamaican in Inglewood. It’s on a busy stretch of La Brea and takeout or delivery-only. The gruff staff are busy. They don’t have time to be polite, as they’re in the back meeting the high demand of loyal customers who order the brown stew chicken, patties, ackee, saltfish, and of the always-popular jerk chicken. Not to be missed is the deep fried red snapper escovitch over peas and rice, vegetables, and a side of plantains that should be washed down with Ting. Eat it in the car for best, and hot, results. —Mona Holmes

A white plate with snapper escovitch (fried, peppery fish cooked with vinegar, peppers, and chiles) with Jamaican rice and peas, steamed cabbage salad, plantains, and festival dumplings at Country Style Jamaican Restaurant in Inglewood.
Snapper escovitch at Country Style Jamaican Restaurant.
Country Style Jamaican Restaurant

For color and attitude, richness and smiles, it’s all about Horses on Sunset in Hollywood. This is where the New York Times says diners should go; where young LA eaters angle in for bar seats; where Jay-Z and Beyonce gather looks from a bright yellow booth. Horses is the kind of restaurant that will make even jaded Angelenos believe in the power of restaurants again, from the birthday dessert flourishes to the subtle ways that servers move about the room, quiet forces amid the chaos. Be sure to order the fig-tinged Horses vesper from the bar, and of course the roast chicken.  —Farley Elliott

An angled photo on a white background of a plate with a full roasted chicken atop.
Roast chicken at Horses.
Wonho Frank Lee

Jerusalem Chicken

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Finding a restaurant that defines its food as Palestinian is a bit of a challenging endeavor in Los Angeles, where catch-all “Middle Eastern” themes and menus conflate the rich history and cuisine of Palestine with other nations in the region. But Jerusalem Chicken has nailed the fast-casual chicken recipe at this South LA restaurant. Roasted birds get full displays through the kitchen, stuffed with rice, beef, and mushroom; or covered with tangy lemon and garlic. Sides might include roasted potatoes, fluffy pita, verdant tabouli, and hummus. Los Angeles loves its chicken, but there might not be a more delicious half chicken in town, dripping with tangy, fatty juices and brimming with heady Palestinian seasonings. —Matthew Kang

A clear plastic container featuring lemon-garlic chicken, fluffy rice, hummus, and Arabic cucumber-tomato salad at Jerusalem Chicken in View Park-Windsor Hills.
Lemon garlic chicken at Jerusalem Chicken in View Park-Windsor Hills.
Mona Holmes

Republique

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When Walter and Margarita Manzke took over the iconic Campanile space, they knew the stakes were high. And who in LA would have thought they would’ve succeeded this much, offering a breakfast-to-dinner menu with a French point of view? Throw in some pockets of new American and Asian influences, and the bill of fare will likely appeal to everyone. The desserts, breads, and pastries by Margarita are as good as one can expect, while the charcuterie board is sure to stun anyone. —Matthew Kang

Inside the colorful and soaring dining room at French restaurant Republique.
The blue interior of French all-day dining icon, Republique.
Elizabeth Daniels

Musso & Frank Grill

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Walk into Musso & Frank Grill and one is immediately transported to the club entry scene from Goodfellas. Diners veer through the parking lot and entry, maze of stairs, loud kitchen, and directly into the retro dining room. Jacketed waiters and bartenders are impossibly busy and unfazed by tourists or celebrities. Sure, Musso & Frank is dated, some of the wallpaper is peeling, and the menu hasn’t changed much over the decades, but that’s part of the 103-year-old restaurant’s charm. Sit at the bar and watch the gentlemen prepare stirred-only martinis. In the dining room, order a ribeye, prime rib au jus, or the lobster thermidor with a bottle from Musso’s extensive wine list. Take a look at the server’s and bartender’s jackets. The cuffs adorn embroidered stars indicating the number of years each has worked at the restaurant. —Mona Holmes

Dining room of Musso & Frank in Hollywood with lights and covered tables.
Inside Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood.
Musso & Frank

Earle's On Crenshaw

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South LA’s iconic counter service hot dog spot Earle’s founded by Duane and Cary Earle endures because of its deep connection to the neighborhood and approachable menu of chili dogs, burgers, and more, with plenty of veggie and other ingredient options. The prices are fast food-level, but the service, attention to detail, and ingredients are premium, which is why the place remains beloved after more than three decades. —Matthew Kang

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

Gish Bac

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There are a bevy of excellent Oaxacan restaurants in Los Angeles thanks to the influx of settlers from the 1990s, but Gish Bac might be the best of the bunch thanks to the work of chef and owner Maria Ramos. This Mid-City classic serves a bit of everything from Oaxaca, including a great tlayuda and delicious torta, but the star of the show is the goat barbacoa enchilada, slow cooked for five hours in guajillo chiles. Truly one of LA’s best regional Mexican restaurants. —Matthew Kang

White plate holding a stacked torta sandwich with meats, lettuce, and sauce from Gish Bac.
Torta from Gish Bac.
Matthew Kang

Providence

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There’s a reason why the 17-year-old Providence is sold out almost every night. Chef Michael Cimarusti and partner Donato Poto took the care and time to assemble a crew that executes the best tasting menus in Los Angeles. If the timing is right, Cimarusti might offer a glass from his private whiskey collection, recently procured during a recent trip to Kentucky. But the emphasis here is on the seafood, a rotating menu with eight courses. The catch is as fresh as it gets, with art form preparation, and an experienced server who explains the process. In all, Providence is the definition of fine dining by a team who cares. —Mona Holmes

The “Ugly Bunch” dish from Los Angeles’s Providence restaurant: a gray-beige bowl filled with an artful array of uni, glistening salmon roe, and edible floral garnishes.
The Ugly Bunch dish from Providence, with uni, salmon roe, and garnishes.
Noe Montes

Bong Joon Ho made it a point to celebrate here after winning Best Picture for Parasite. The Koreatown restaurant specializes in ganjang gejang — raw marinated flower crab — which tastes like the pinnacle of Korean cuisine with its rich, slightly fermented umami and buttery sweetness (especially over warm rice). Get the spicy braised black cod and braised short ribs for the complete experience. —Matthew Kang

A white plate with navy blue trim filled with ganjang gejang (raw crab marinated in soy sauce) and pickled vegetables at Soban in Koreatown.
Ganjang gejang at Soban.
Matthew Kang

Antico Nuovo

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Chad Colby’s enduring Italian restaurant has returned to its original form after serving pizzas and ice cream to-go during the pandemic. With an elegant dining room that somehow feels homey despite the lack of windows, Colby and his team are currently producing some of the finest pastas and grilled dishes through a Californian lens, with an excellent wine list to match. —Matthew Kang

Minimalist white-walled dining room with wood furniture and table settings.
Dining room of Antico Nuovo.
Wonho Frank Lee

Ruen Pair

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Thai Town’s enduring all-day and late night destination might have trimmed its hours (it used to serve until well past 2 a.m.), Ruen Pair has come out of the most challenging parts of the pandemic with a remarkably comforting array of shareable Thai Chinese classics, from stewed pork leg or roasted duck over rice, crispy pork belly with morning glory, and, of course, the signature omelet laced with salty turnip strips. Service now runs from 4 p.m. to just past 10:30 p.m., making it more of a dinner spot that can accommodate bigger parties up to 10 people. —Matthew Kang

Papaya salad at Ruen Pair in East Hollywood on a plate.
Papaya salad at Ruen Pair in East Hollywood.
Cathy Chaplin

Marouch Restaurant

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Open since 1982, Marouch is an LA staple. Starting as a small shawarma wrap restaurant, it evolved into one of the city’s most consistent Armenian-Lebanese spots. Nestled into an East Hollywood strip mall, it’s easy to settle into one of the tables and order lamb, luleh, or chicken kebabs. Every recipe has a family origin, especially the hummus and baba ghanoush that surpasses many of its competitors. The only changes are the new owners who bought the place three years ago, and the sliding glass window that opens an entire wall to face Santa Monica Boulevard. —Mona Holmes

Kebabs and rice from Marouch with onions and tomato.
Kebabs and rice from Marouch.
Crystal Coser

Soowon Galbi

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This prototypical premium Korean barbecue restaurant tucked into a strip mall plays all the right parts: heaping platters of tender, richly marbled beef, well-executed banchan, and attentive service. While the restaurant’s interior isn’t modern or sharply designed, by any means, that might be exactly what longtime KBBQ fans don’t want from Soowon, with its worn-in seating and smoky environs. Soowon Galbi doesn’t get the love of its peers like Park’s, Chosun, or even Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong or Quarters, but its reliability and consistency are proof that not everything needs to be shiny to be good. —Matthew Kang

Raw sliced meats on white platters with metal tongs.
Meats from Soowon Galbi in Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

Holbox is a perfect encapsulation of a kind of LA that rarely gets the larger spotlight outside of this city. Here chef Gilberto Cetina takes care to present the unexpected fish varieties in myriadways, from tacos of course to ceviches, cocteles, tostadas, and aguachiles. The provenance of the smoked kanpachi is clear when eating but isn’t hammered over the customer’s head while sitting at the bar inside the airy mercado. No, Cetina isn’t that kind of person. He lets the mariscos do the talking.  —Farley Elliott

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

Langer's Delicatessen

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Yes, the No. 19 pastrami sandwich is an amazing sandwich, but the pure pastrami on house-baked rye is simplicity at its best. There's a reason why people make pilgrimages to try this place’s pastrami and even corned beef: There is no better version anywhere in town. Pro tip: Try the No. 44, served on griddled rye bread with hand-sliced pastrami, nippy cheese, and sauerkraut, for a decadent take on a Reuben sandwich. And don't skip the rest of the classic Jewish deli menu — it's all very well executed in one of the best daytime dining rooms in town. —Matthew Kang

Pastrami sandwich on rye bread with pickle on a diner plate.
Langer’s #19 sandwich
Wonho Frank Lee

My Dung Sandwich Shop

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My Dung (pronounced me yoong), a teeny tiny market slash sandwich shop on Ord Street, doesn’t offer much in the way of ambiance, but that matters little with one bite of its fantastic banh mi. Every sandwich is made fresh to order on a baguette that’s airy yet substantial and toasted to a warm and inviting crisp. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the stuffings, from simple pate to shredded chicken to the house special with cold cuts and head cheese. The next time you’re in the neighborhood and hunger pangs hit, head to the back of My Dung’s cramped quarters, fork over four dollars, and be prepared for one of the greatest sandwiches in town. —Cathy Chaplin

Split banh mi held in hand with sliced meats and pickled vegetables.
Banh mi from My Dung.
Matthew Kang

Bridgetown Roti

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Rashida Holmes’ tribute to Caribbean food, inspired by her mother Joy Clarke-Holmes, has wowed LA diners with incredible red pepper goat and chicken curry rotis, wonderfully crisp cod cakes, hearty oxtail-stuffed patties, and saucy, puffy doubles. Bridgetown pops up on weekends in Arts District and on Sundays at Smorgasburg. —Matthew Kang (Note: Eater LA reporter Mona Holmes is related to Rashida Holmes and was not involved in the writing of this entry)

Doubles, cod cakes, sauces, and beef patty from Bridgetown Roti at Smorgasburg laid out in takeout containers.
Doubles, patty, cod cakes, and plaintains from Bridgetown Roti.
Cathy Chaplin

Bestia is the hallmark of seasonal, meat-driven rustic Italian located in the heart of the Arts District. Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis cook fantastic Neapolitan-style pizzas, inventive pastas, house made salumi (a rarity in LA), and large plates like a great pork chop. Wines and cocktails are top rate, and the desserts from Gergis are simple, but prepared with a perfectionist’s attention to detail. Note: The room is cavernous, boisterous, and immensely loud, so request an outdoor table for something less intense. —Matthew Kang

Bustling dining room with diners sitting at cramped tables, and hanging lamps at Bestia in Los Angeles.
Bestia, Arts District
Sierra Prescott

Mexico City chef Enrique Olvera’s LA restaurant didn’t quite land with the fanfare of his New York City restaurant Cosme, with its similarities of a la carte offerings inspired by his upscale approach to modern Mexican cuisine. But Damian has found a stride by resonating with Los Angeles flavors and staying the course with stellar service, a restrained dining room and outdoor patio, as well as top notch execution. —Matthew Kang

Fish tartare, avocado, furikake at Damian in Los Angeles on a plate with a slice of lime.
Fish tartare at Damian.
Araceli Paz

Majordomo

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Though it remained mostly closed during the pandemic, Majordomo is now fully back under the guidance of chef Jude Parra-Sickels, who has been leading the kitchen since its opening. With big tableside smoked meats like pork shoulder “bossam” and plate short ribs, plus all of the classic starters of stuffed jalapenos and bing bread, Majordomo remains one of LA’s most reliable and well-executed modern Asian restaurants. —Matthew Kang

Modern industrial dining room with multiple minimalist tables with hanging lamps and diners in the backround.
Majordomo, Los Angeles.
Wonho Frank Lee

Moo's Craft Barbecue

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Longtime LA operation Moo’s Craft Barbecue found a permanent home in Lincoln Heights and has quickly established itself as one of the top Texas-style barbecues in the city. Founders Andrew and Michelle Muñoz have done a great job of capturing the spirit of Austin with a walk-up counter, wide list of craft beers, and well-executed array of smoked meats with sides. Anyone who says LA doesn’t have good barbecue will be pretty quiet after taking a few bites at Moo’s. —Matthew Kang

Sliced barbecue meats with pink onions and chile pepper on butcher paper.
Moo’s Craft Barbecue.
Farley Elliott

Tacos Y Birria La Unica

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As one of Los Angeles’s most popular food trucks, Tacos Y Birria La Unica operates in two neighborhoods. The family-run business opens at 8:30 a.m. in Boyle Heights, while the Mid-City truck — complete with a temporary seating area — on Venice near Fairfax serves until 6 p.m. The Mendozas stand out in LA’s competitive taco field by using handmade tortillas, as well as birria options that include beef or goat. In addition to the shredded meats, there’s steak, cabeza, lengua, and even chicken. Enveloped in a slightly crispy shell, the quesabirria taco is always a must. —Mona Holmes

A white plate three radishes, a lime, and two birria-soaked quesabirria tacos topped with onions and cilantro.
Tacos y Birria La Unica.
Farley Elliott

Otomisan Restaurant

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Otomisan, a family-run restaurant serving homey Japanese comforts and sushi, is a reminder that Boyle Heights was an enclave for Japanese immigrants years ago, mostly due to its proximity to Little Tokyo. The nearly 70-year-old restaurant doesn’t miss a beat after all these years, so snag a seat at the well-worn stools lining the front counter or tuck into a red booth that lines the opposite wall. From spicy tuna rice balls to salmon skin sushi, order whatever sounds good on the reasonably priced menu. —Cathy Chaplin

Japanese curry with pork over rice with vegetables on a traditional blue plate.
Japanese curry with pork over rice at Otomisan.
Farley Elliott

Delicias Bakery and Some

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As Mexican bakeries go, Delicias Bakery and Some is an LA gem. Operating since 1990, the Delicias produces beautiful pan dulce, egg breads, empanadas, puerquitos, conchas, or the donut-like novias. There’s also an entire section dedicated to plant-based pan dulce. Everything at this family-run business is made on-site, where lunch, sandwiches, salads, coffee, or a customized fresh juice is entirely possible in a low-key, unfussy setting in Highland Park. —Mona Holmes

Conchas from Delicias and Some Bakery on a glass display case.
Conchas from Delicias and Some Bakery in Highland Park.
Mona Holmes

Phnom Penh Noodle Shack

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Long Beach has the largest concentration of Cambodians of any city outside of Cambodia. So it’s no surprise that a crop of restaurants made their mark on this part of the Southland. In 1985, Phnom Penh Noodle Shack opened as a compact daytime restaurant making savory, soupy, saucy food, especially the number one house special: the phnom penh noodles. It’s full of shrimp along with pork that’s been sliced, ground, and with stomach and liver. There’s five noodles to choose from, from rice to egg noodles with variations on the size. Ask the staff for guidance, and you can’t go wrong. —Mona Holmes