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Oxtails from Alta Adams.
Oxtails from Alta Adams
Wonho Frank Lee

14 Essential Southern and Soul Food Restaurants in LA

Fried chicken, mac and cheese, jambalaya, and more

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Oxtails from Alta Adams
| Wonho Frank Lee

Southern and soul food have a special place in the American food canon. A plate of pork chops or chicken smothered in salty, thick gravy. Impeccable regional barbecue. The soft, chewy bread on a New Orlean’s po’ boy. Or a comforting bowl of jambalaya.

While some restaurants are longstanding spots that lean soul or Southern, a handful of newcomers have taken their versions in offbeat and sometimes modern directions. With that, here are LA’s 14 essential Southern and soul food restaurants, presented from west to east.

Added: Alta Adams, Comfort L.A., Hotville Chicken, Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen, My Two Cents

Removed: Phillip’s Bar-B-Que, Preux & Proper, Soul Hollywood (closed)

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ

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Out in Chatsworth is Les Sisters Southern Kitchen and Barbecue, a simple southern New Orleans restaurant that overlooks decor while focusing on crawfish ettoufe, collard greens, po’ boys, fried chicken, and hush puppies. Don’t skip the barbecue and be sure to wash everything down with Les Sisters bottomless sweet tea or lemonade.

Fried chicken from Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ in Chatsworth
Les Sisters fried chicken
Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ website

Krimsey's Cajun Kitchen

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Krimsey’s first opened in 2017, with a Cajun menu that’s entirely free animal products. In 2020, it’ll expand to a second location in Silver Lake, but for now head to North Hollywood for plant-based hushpuppies, gumbo, jambalaya, and etoufée.

The Serving Spoon

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The exterior of the Serving Spoon is a little underwhelming, but the regulars know to overlook the outside. Serving Spoon has been serving a soulful breakfast and lunch since 1982. Weekdays are an ideal choice, because the weekend wait is downright long, especially on Sundays after church. The savory, salty options are endless, like cheese grits with catfish and eggs, collard greens, candied yams, and chicken and waffles. They pay homage to black celebrities on the menu, with the Raphael Saadiq good morning special, or Mo’nique special.

Chef Keith Corbin’s defines his food as California soul at Alta. The cozy West Adams spot buzzes in the evening hours, with Corbin’s slight twist on soul food with a miso-infused oxtails, black-eyed pea fritters, shrimp and grits, and incredible cocktails.

Alta Adams
Alta’s signature oxtails
Wonho Frank Lee

My 2 Cents LA

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My Two Cents makes Southern classics that shine. Located in Mid-City, the menu is a refreshing take with creamy black-eyed pea hummus, a fried green tomato po’ boy, and a plantain-stuffed pork chop. Not to be missed is the incredible sweet potato pecan crumble.

Comfort L.A. Inglewood

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Chef Jeremy McBryde’s classics are personal. Dishes have a familiar touch from cousin Kina’s mac and cheese, or maw maw’s candied yams. The Inglewood dining room is a fantastic place to try his chicken wings, greens, and cornbread, especially during game time.

Comfort L.A. platter with mac and cheese, chicken wings, and sweet potatoes
Comfort L.A.
Mona Holmes

Ms. B's M & M Soul Food

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Owner Beverly Brinson is from Mississippi, and her friendly manner is part of the brand that is Ms. B’s M & M Soul Food. Her collection of license plates and customer photos adorn the walls, and the equally warm staff prepare Brinson’s signature oxtails short ribs, mac, greens, cornbread, and chitterlings.

Hotville Chicken

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Hotville Chicken hails from an actual member of the Prince family, who started the hot chicken craze in Nashville 85 years ago. Open since December, this Crenshaw spot comes at a time when hot chicken is all over Los Angeles. There’s far more than the headliner, with fried fish, baked mac and cheese, potato salad, and barbecue baked beans. Or opt for the chicken with four levels of heat.

Chef Marilyn's, Queen of Down Home Southern Goodies

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Expect a line outside of Chef Marilyn’s, Queen of Down Home Southern Goodies. There’s no seating, so select a traditional southern plate of collard greens, mac and cheese, candied yams or baked chicken, and take it to go. Her fried chicken sells out quickly, but so does most of Marilyn’s inventory, so plan on arriving early.

Dulan's on Crenshaw

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LA-native Gregory Dulan opened Dulan’s on Crenshaw over 25 years ago. This is traditional soul food, and Dulan is well-known for shockingly large portion sizes of smothered pork chops, fried fish, smothered chicken, or oxtails, served with mac and cheese, greens, stuffing, and gravy.

Harold & Belle's

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Harold & Belle’s dining room got a much-needed makeover in early 2016. That was the only change at the 40-year-old restaurant, and the menu remains the same. It’s filled with respectable options that LA residents depend on, including fresh oysters, po’ boys, fish platters, jambalaya, a $10 Sazerac cocktail, and liver and onions that deserves consideration.

Window sing for Harold & Belle’s restaurant in South Los Angeles
Harold & Belle’s
Frank Wonho Lee

Uncle Darrow's New Orleans Grill

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There’s nothing kitschy about Uncle Darrow’s in Carson. Rather than line the walls with fake wood and old road signs, the restaurant keeps a mostly modern fast-casual look at its corner location, turning out New Orleans staples like po’ boys, gumbo, and lots of fried catfish to anyone that comes calling.

A shrimp po’ boy from Uncle Darrow’s New Orleans Grill in Carson, Califiornia
Uncle Darrow’s shrimp po’ boy
Uncle Darrow’s New Orleans Grill website

The Little Jewel of New Orleans

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Marcus Christiana-Beniger and Eunah Beniger-Kang opened their New Orleans deli in 2014 in Chinatown of all places. The husband and wife team’s Big Easy menu was an instant hit, with authentic muffalettas, po’ boys, in-house smoked sausages and meats alongside fried catfish, jambalaya, and gumbo. There’s even beignets and chicory coffee for breakfast.

Little Jewel of New Orleans exterior in Chinatown, Los Angeles
Little Jewel of New Orleans
Courtesy of Little Jewel of New Orleans

Soul Food Renaissance

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It’s all about the portion size at Soul Food Renaissance in Long Beach. Formerly LBJs Fine Foods, the restaurant is a longtime Long Beach staple that generously piles food onto plates. Crowd favorites include the lemonade, yams, turkey chops, and cornbread, but the smothered pork chops continues to draw locals and far-away customers.

Soul Food Renaissance’s dining room in Long Beach
Soul Food Renaissance
Soul Food Renaissance website

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Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ

Fried chicken from Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ in Chatsworth
Les Sisters fried chicken
Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ website

Out in Chatsworth is Les Sisters Southern Kitchen and Barbecue, a simple southern New Orleans restaurant that overlooks decor while focusing on crawfish ettoufe, collard greens, po’ boys, fried chicken, and hush puppies. Don’t skip the barbecue and be sure to wash everything down with Les Sisters bottomless sweet tea or lemonade.

Fried chicken from Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ in Chatsworth
Les Sisters fried chicken
Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ website

Krimsey's Cajun Kitchen

Krimsey’s first opened in 2017, with a Cajun menu that’s entirely free animal products. In 2020, it’ll expand to a second location in Silver Lake, but for now head to North Hollywood for plant-based hushpuppies, gumbo, jambalaya, and etoufée.

The Serving Spoon

The exterior of the Serving Spoon is a little underwhelming, but the regulars know to overlook the outside. Serving Spoon has been serving a soulful breakfast and lunch since 1982. Weekdays are an ideal choice, because the weekend wait is downright long, especially on Sundays after church. The savory, salty options are endless, like cheese grits with catfish and eggs, collard greens, candied yams, and chicken and waffles. They pay homage to black celebrities on the menu, with the Raphael Saadiq good morning special, or Mo’nique special.

Alta

Alta Adams
Alta’s signature oxtails
Wonho Frank Lee

Chef Keith Corbin’s defines his food as California soul at Alta. The cozy West Adams spot buzzes in the evening hours, with Corbin’s slight twist on soul food with a miso-infused oxtails, black-eyed pea fritters, shrimp and grits, and incredible cocktails.

Alta Adams
Alta’s signature oxtails
Wonho Frank Lee

My 2 Cents LA

My Two Cents makes Southern classics that shine. Located in Mid-City, the menu is a refreshing take with creamy black-eyed pea hummus, a fried green tomato po’ boy, and a plantain-stuffed pork chop. Not to be missed is the incredible sweet potato pecan crumble.

Comfort L.A. Inglewood

Comfort L.A. platter with mac and cheese, chicken wings, and sweet potatoes
Comfort L.A.
Mona Holmes

Chef Jeremy McBryde’s classics are personal. Dishes have a familiar touch from cousin Kina’s mac and cheese, or maw maw’s candied yams. The Inglewood dining room is a fantastic place to try his chicken wings, greens, and cornbread, especially during game time.

Comfort L.A. platter with mac and cheese, chicken wings, and sweet potatoes
Comfort L.A.
Mona Holmes

Ms. B's M & M Soul Food

Owner Beverly Brinson is from Mississippi, and her friendly manner is part of the brand that is Ms. B’s M & M Soul Food. Her collection of license plates and customer photos adorn the walls, and the equally warm staff prepare Brinson’s signature oxtails short ribs, mac, greens, cornbread, and chitterlings.

Hotville Chicken

Hotville Chicken hails from an actual member of the Prince family, who started the hot chicken craze in Nashville 85 years ago. Open since December, this Crenshaw spot comes at a time when hot chicken is all over Los Angeles. There’s far more than the headliner, with fried fish, baked mac and cheese, potato salad, and barbecue baked beans. Or opt for the chicken with four levels of heat.

Chef Marilyn's, Queen of Down Home Southern Goodies

Expect a line outside of Chef Marilyn’s, Queen of Down Home Southern Goodies. There’s no seating, so select a traditional southern plate of collard greens, mac and cheese, candied yams or baked chicken, and take it to go. Her fried chicken sells out quickly, but so does most of Marilyn’s inventory, so plan on arriving early.

Dulan's on Crenshaw

LA-native Gregory Dulan opened Dulan’s on Crenshaw over 25 years ago. This is traditional soul food, and Dulan is well-known for shockingly large portion sizes of smothered pork chops, fried fish, smothered chicken, or oxtails, served with mac and cheese, greens, stuffing, and gravy.

Harold & Belle's

Window sing for Harold & Belle’s restaurant in South Los Angeles
Harold & Belle’s
Frank Wonho Lee

Harold & Belle’s dining room got a much-needed makeover in early 2016. That was the only change at the 40-year-old restaurant, and the menu remains the same. It’s filled with respectable options that LA residents depend on, including fresh oysters, po’ boys, fish platters, jambalaya, a $10 Sazerac cocktail, and liver and onions that deserves consideration.

Window sing for Harold & Belle’s restaurant in South Los Angeles
Harold & Belle’s
Frank Wonho Lee

Uncle Darrow's New Orleans Grill

A shrimp po’ boy from Uncle Darrow’s New Orleans Grill in Carson, Califiornia
Uncle Darrow’s shrimp po’ boy
Uncle Darrow’s New Orleans Grill website

There’s nothing kitschy about Uncle Darrow’s in Carson. Rather than line the walls with fake wood and old road signs, the restaurant keeps a mostly modern fast-casual look at its corner location, turning out New Orleans staples like po’ boys, gumbo, and lots of fried catfish to anyone that comes calling.

A shrimp po’ boy from Uncle Darrow’s New Orleans Grill in Carson, Califiornia
Uncle Darrow’s shrimp po’ boy
Uncle Darrow’s New Orleans Grill website

The Little Jewel of New Orleans

Little Jewel of New Orleans exterior in Chinatown, Los Angeles
Little Jewel of New Orleans
Courtesy of Little Jewel of New Orleans

Marcus Christiana-Beniger and Eunah Beniger-Kang opened their New Orleans deli in 2014 in Chinatown of all places. The husband and wife team’s Big Easy menu was an instant hit, with authentic muffalettas, po’ boys, in-house smoked sausages and meats alongside fried catfish, jambalaya, and gumbo. There’s even beignets and chicory coffee for breakfast.

Little Jewel of New Orleans exterior in Chinatown, Los Angeles
Little Jewel of New Orleans
Courtesy of Little Jewel of New Orleans

Soul Food Renaissance

Soul Food Renaissance’s dining room in Long Beach
Soul Food Renaissance
Soul Food Renaissance website

It’s all about the portion size at Soul Food Renaissance in Long Beach. Formerly LBJs Fine Foods, the restaurant is a longtime Long Beach staple that generously piles food onto plates. Crowd favorites include the lemonade, yams, turkey chops, and cornbread, but the smothered pork chops continues to draw locals and far-away customers.

Soul Food Renaissance’s dining room in Long Beach
Soul Food Renaissance
Soul Food Renaissance website

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