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Moo’s Craft BBQ
Moo’s Craft BBQ
Clay Larsen

19 Essential Meat Dishes to Try in Los Angeles

Racks of lamb, pork belly, chops, and more

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Moo’s Craft BBQ
| Clay Larsen

Los Angeles has always boasted an impressive collection of meat-forward restaurants. From the city’s mid-century culinary institutions to contemporary small plate and mom-and-pop spots, it’s never been difficult to scratch an omnivorous itch. Here now are the 19 essential meat dishes to try in Los Angeles.

Removed: Union, Sotto, Bestia, Lawry’s, Petit Trois

Added: Bavel, Freedman’s, Moo’s Craft BBQ, Slab BBQ

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Shawarma at FurnSaj Bakery

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The incredible shawarma at this Granada Hills restaurant (recently renamed to FurnSaj from Saj Bakery) features both chicken and beef wrapped in plush, house-baked flatbread. And the best part—it’s all very affordable.

FurnSaj Bakery
Beef shawarma at FurnSaj Bakery
FurnSaj Bakery [Official Photo]

Grilled Pig Tail at Cassia

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The wood-fired grill is probably the best part of Bryant Ng’s Santa Monica restaurant. The grilled pig tail doesn’t look pretty, but it’s one of the tastiest things on the menu, served Vietnamese-style with butter lettuce, fresh herbs, and a fish sauce dip.

Pork Chop at Hatchet Hall

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The mushroom-dusted pork chop at this Culver City restaurant is a tender meat lover’s delight, with loads of flavor covering the chop and then strips of luscious fat along the side. It’s a bit much to eat by one’s self, so be sure to share with dining companions.

Hatchet Hall
Pork chop at Hatchet Hall
Matthew Kang

Lamb Belly at Manhattan Beach Post

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David LeFevre’s enduring Manhattan Beach restaurant has a few signature dishes, and the lamb belly is perhaps its most underrated. Covered with Chinese spices and sporting a rich, fatty texture; it’s got loads of flavor.

Veal Parmesan at Dan Tana's

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The chicken and veal parmesan at Dan Tana’s are inexplicably great. Perhaps it’s the old school interior packed with celebrities every night. Or perhaps it’s the way the meat is breaded and fried before being covered with an obscene amount of cheese. Either way, there’s a reason why everyone loves Dan Tana’s.

Veal parmigiana and other dishes at Dan Tana’s
Veal Parmesan at Dan Tana’s
Hillary Dixler Canavan

Sticky Pork Ribs at E.P. & L.P.

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One of the most addictive meat starters in the city is chef Louis Tikaram’s Chinese barbecue pork-style ribs, which are deep-fried before smothered in a sweet and tangy sauce.

E.P. & L.P.
Sticky pork ribs at E.P. & L.P.
E.P. & L.P./Facebook

Beef Brisket at Slab BBQ

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There is no need to complicate matters at Slab. Order the pitch perfect brisket by the pound, along with a side of one’s choosing, and sit back and dig into a little smoke-soaked heaven.

A plate of barbecue, including brisket, smoked chicken, ribs, and sauce.
Slab BBQ
Wonho Frank Lee

Chicken Parmesan at Jon & Vinny's

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The rich chicken parmesan at Jon & Vinny's is perfectly seasoned and fried to perfection. The thick layer of cheese keeps the dish together. It’s great with a side of the house-made bucatini cacio e pepe.

Roasted Rack of Lamb at Chi Spacca

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Chi Spacca might be the meatiest restaurant in LA, with an epic dry-aged bistecca alla fiorentina and some of the finest pork chops in the entire country. But the sleeper hit might be the black garlic-rubbed rack of lamb, with a gentle gamey flavor and luxuriously tender texture. Priced at $80 and portioned generously, it’s certainly enough for a table to share.

Roasted Rack of Lamb at Chi Spacca
Roasted rack of lamb at Chi Spacca
Chi Spacca/Instagram

Australian Wagyu Beef at Gwen

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The incredible Blackmore Australian wagyu beef at Gwen is fantastically expensive, but it’s also one of the most delicious steaks in all of Los Angeles. With a super-rich, almost buttery texture and a gentle funk, it’s something to order at the bar a la carte, or as an addition to the tasting menu.

A medium-rare steak sliced on a plate.
Australian Wagyu Beef at Gwen
Farley Elliott

Goat Barbacoa Enchilada at Gish Bac Restaurant

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Maria Ramos is a third generation master of Oaxacan-style goat barbacoa, called barbacoa enchilada and it is available at her restaurant Gish Bac in Mid-City. It starts with an aromatic paste of chiles, herbs, and spices that’s then roasted in a pot and served with the broth.

Spicy Braised Galbi at Sun Nong Dan

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The massive cauldrons of spicy braised galbi jjim are perfect for sharing with a crew. Entrenched with vegetables, aromatics, and chewy rice cakes, it’s one of Koreatown’s crowdpleasers. Just be prepared to wait during prime hours.

Sun Nong Dan
Spicy Braised Galbi at Sun Nong Dan
Farley Elliott

Glazed Brisket at Freedman's

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The glazed brisket at Freedman’s is a meal fit for three (or more). In addition to the star cut are sides of smoked bone marrow, potatoes, pickles, and rye toast. It’s a feast of epic proportions.

Chicharron at Broken Spanish

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Ray Garcia’s amazing pork belly dish is cooked sous vide for twenty four hours then fried in whole cuts before it gets covered in a lime-garlic sauce. Paired with some of the house made salsa and blue corn tortillas, it’s one of the best pork belly dishes in the city, period.

Broken Spanish Chicharron
Chicharron at Broken Spanish
Stan Lee

Roasted Suckling Pig at Rossoblu

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Steve Samson’s standout Northern Italian restaurant has a trove of excellent meat dishes, but perhaps the most impressive is the roasted suckling pig, which runs out nearly every evening. Diners can pick which part of the suckling pig they desire, from the shoulder, half saddle, or head with a braised tongue. With crispy skin and a deeply rich roasted flavor, it’s an essential for any carnivore.

Suckling pig at Rossoblu
Suckling pig at Rossoblu
Ed Anderson

Bavel Lamb Neck Shawarma

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There is much to adore at Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’ Arts District restaurant, but everyone keeps talking about the slow-roasted lamb neck shawarma. The deeply caramelized meat falls off the bone into house-made laffa bread that’s slathered with tahini and dotted with pickled vegetables.

Smoked Short Ribs at Majordomo

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The smoked galbi-seasoned short ribs take a Korean barbecue classic to the next level. Sure, the price is pretty high at $190, but it’s sliced tableside and comes with all the fixings for a complete, shareable entree. And it’s certainly big enough for four, perhaps even six, people.

Whole plate short rib at Majordomo with banchan sides
APL-Style Short Ribs at Majordōmo
Andrew Bezek/majordōmo

Beef Brisket at Moos Craft Barbecue

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Family-run Moo’s Craft Barbecue might just be the city’s best thanks to the insanely luscious brisket and pull-apart ribs, smoked to a Texas tenderness and offered with East L.A. sides and a smile. 

Moo’s Craft Barbecue
Moo’s Craft Barbecue
Clay Larsen

Toothpick Lamb at Chengdu Taste

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The tiny toothpick lamb at Chengdu Taste is covered with a heavy dose of Sichuan peppercorns and heady cumin. Share the plate as an appetizer and see who has the most toothpicks at the end.

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Shawarma at FurnSaj Bakery

FurnSaj Bakery
Beef shawarma at FurnSaj Bakery
FurnSaj Bakery [Official Photo]

The incredible shawarma at this Granada Hills restaurant (recently renamed to FurnSaj from Saj Bakery) features both chicken and beef wrapped in plush, house-baked flatbread. And the best part—it’s all very affordable.

FurnSaj Bakery
Beef shawarma at FurnSaj Bakery
FurnSaj Bakery [Official Photo]

Grilled Pig Tail at Cassia

The wood-fired grill is probably the best part of Bryant Ng’s Santa Monica restaurant. The grilled pig tail doesn’t look pretty, but it’s one of the tastiest things on the menu, served Vietnamese-style with butter lettuce, fresh herbs, and a fish sauce dip.

Pork Chop at Hatchet Hall

Hatchet Hall
Pork chop at Hatchet Hall
Matthew Kang

The mushroom-dusted pork chop at this Culver City restaurant is a tender meat lover’s delight, with loads of flavor covering the chop and then strips of luscious fat along the side. It’s a bit much to eat by one’s self, so be sure to share with dining companions.

Hatchet Hall
Pork chop at Hatchet Hall
Matthew Kang

Lamb Belly at Manhattan Beach Post

David LeFevre’s enduring Manhattan Beach restaurant has a few signature dishes, and the lamb belly is perhaps its most underrated. Covered with Chinese spices and sporting a rich, fatty texture; it’s got loads of flavor.

Veal Parmesan at Dan Tana's

Veal parmigiana and other dishes at Dan Tana’s
Veal Parmesan at Dan Tana’s
Hillary Dixler Canavan

The chicken and veal parmesan at Dan Tana’s are inexplicably great. Perhaps it’s the old school interior packed with celebrities every night. Or perhaps it’s the way the meat is breaded and fried before being covered with an obscene amount of cheese. Either way, there’s a reason why everyone loves Dan Tana’s.

Veal parmigiana and other dishes at Dan Tana’s
Veal Parmesan at Dan Tana’s
Hillary Dixler Canavan

Sticky Pork Ribs at E.P. & L.P.

E.P. & L.P.
Sticky pork ribs at E.P. & L.P.
E.P. & L.P./Facebook

One of the most addictive meat starters in the city is chef Louis Tikaram’s Chinese barbecue pork-style ribs, which are deep-fried before smothered in a sweet and tangy sauce.

E.P. & L.P.
Sticky pork ribs at E.P. & L.P.
E.P. & L.P./Facebook

Beef Brisket at Slab BBQ

A plate of barbecue, including brisket, smoked chicken, ribs, and sauce.
Slab BBQ
Wonho Frank Lee

There is no need to complicate matters at Slab. Order the pitch perfect brisket by the pound, along with a side of one’s choosing, and sit back and dig into a little smoke-soaked heaven.

A plate of barbecue, including brisket, smoked chicken, ribs, and sauce.
Slab BBQ
Wonho Frank Lee

Chicken Parmesan at Jon & Vinny's

The rich chicken parmesan at Jon & Vinny's is perfectly seasoned and fried to perfection. The thick layer of cheese keeps the dish together. It’s great with a side of the house-made bucatini cacio e pepe.

Roasted Rack of Lamb at Chi Spacca

Roasted Rack of Lamb at Chi Spacca
Roasted rack of lamb at Chi Spacca
Chi Spacca/Instagram

Chi Spacca might be the meatiest restaurant in LA, with an epic dry-aged bistecca alla fiorentina and some of the finest pork chops in the entire country. But the sleeper hit might be the black garlic-rubbed rack of lamb, with a gentle gamey flavor and luxuriously tender texture. Priced at $80 and portioned generously, it’s certainly enough for a table to share.

Roasted Rack of Lamb at Chi Spacca
Roasted rack of lamb at Chi Spacca
Chi Spacca/Instagram

Australian Wagyu Beef at Gwen

A medium-rare steak sliced on a plate.
Australian Wagyu Beef at Gwen
Farley Elliott

The incredible Blackmore Australian wagyu beef at Gwen is fantastically expensive, but it’s also one of the most delicious steaks in all of Los Angeles. With a super-rich, almost buttery texture and a gentle funk, it’s something to order at the bar a la carte, or as an addition to the tasting menu.

A medium-rare steak sliced on a plate.
Australian Wagyu Beef at Gwen
Farley Elliott

Goat Barbacoa Enchilada at Gish Bac Restaurant

Maria Ramos is a third generation master of Oaxacan-style goat barbacoa, called barbacoa enchilada and it is available at her restaurant Gish Bac in Mid-City. It starts with an aromatic paste of chiles, herbs, and spices that’s then roasted in a pot and served with the broth.

Spicy Braised Galbi at Sun Nong Dan

Sun Nong Dan
Spicy Braised Galbi at Sun Nong Dan
Farley Elliott

The massive cauldrons of spicy braised galbi jjim are perfect for sharing with a crew. Entrenched with vegetables, aromatics, and chewy rice cakes, it’s one of Koreatown’s crowdpleasers. Just be prepared to wait during prime hours.

Sun Nong Dan
Spicy Braised Galbi at Sun Nong Dan
Farley Elliott

Glazed Brisket at Freedman's

The glazed brisket at Freedman’s is a meal fit for three (or more). In addition to the star cut are sides of smoked bone marrow, potatoes, pickles, and rye toast. It’s a feast of epic proportions.

Chicharron at Broken Spanish