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A platter of fried fish from Serving Spoon in Inglewood, California on a wooden table.
Fried fish from Serving Spoon.
Cathy Chaplin

Where to Find Outstanding Soul and Southern Food Around Los Angeles

We’ve got 16 options to score fried chicken, mac and cheese, jambalaya, and more

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Fried fish from Serving Spoon.
| Cathy Chaplin

Southern and soul food have a special place in the American food canon. Beyond the deep history rooted in many dishes, there’s also a simplicity to the deliciousness found in the fare — whether that’s a plate of pork chops, hot and buttery cornbread, chicken smothered in gravy or impeccable regional barbecue. On the best eating days in Los Angeles, the soft, chewy bread of a New Orleans po’boy will hit just right, as will a comforting bowl of jambalaya.

While some restaurants are longstanding spots that lean soulful or Southern, a handful of newcomers have taken their versions in offbeat and sometimes modern directions. Here are 16 essential Southern and soul food restaurants throughout Southern California, presented from west to east.

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Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ

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Out in Chatsworth is Les Sisters Southern Kitchen and Barbecue, a New Orleans restaurant that specializes in a lot of things including crawfish etouffee, collard greens, po’boys, fried chicken, and hush puppies. Don’t skip the barbecue either, 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

Uncle Andre's BBQ

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If fried fish, beef ribs, mac cheese, and baked beans from a San Fernando Valley restaurant sounds ideal on a cold night, then Uncle Andre’s BBQ is the place. Be sure to order the fried chicken, it’s the house specialty.

A Family Affair Southern

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A Family Affair Southern is nestled in Westchester where the less than year-old family-operated restaurant cranks out smothered turkey chops, fried catfish, lamb chops, and a mean peach cobbler that sells out regularly.

The Serving Spoon

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This community favorite has been in the daytime soulful breakfast and lunch business since 1982. Weekdays are an ideal choice, because the weekend wait is downright long, especially on Sundays after church. The savory options are endless, like cheese grits with catfish and eggs, collard greens, candied yams, and chicken and waffles.

A platter of fried fish from Serving Spoon in Inglewood, California on a wooden table.
Serving Spoon.
Cathy Chaplin

In his recent memoir, chef Keith Corbin defines his food as “California soul.” The cozy West Adams restaurant that he operates with chef Daniel Patterson buzzes in the evening hours with exactly that kind of soul, where Corbin’s creations include 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 on soul food with beautiful presentations like the creamy black-eyed pea hummus, a fried green tomato po’boy, and a plantain-stuffed pork chop.

Stevie's Creole Café

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Back in 1993, the late Jonathan Gold described Stevie’s Creole Cafe’s signature dish as “extremely good gumbo.” That’s only one of the many items to order at this long standing restaurant, including the etouffee and bacon-wrapped shrimp.

Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen

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An LA icon, Dulan’s does one thing well: traditional soul food. They’re also 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. Note: the Crenshaw location is under construction but operates as a food truck, while the Century Boulevard location is open with outdoor seating.

Smothered fried chicken with mac and cheese, greens, cornbread, and sweet potatoes at Dulan’s Soul Food in Inglewood, California.
Smothered fried chicken with mac and cheese, greens, cornbread, and sweet potatoes at Dulan’s Soul Food.
Mona Holmes

Chef Marilyn's, Queen of Down Home Southern Goodies

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Expect a line at 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 before heading out. Her fried chicken sells out quickly, but so does most of Marilyn’s inventory, so plan on arriving early.

Harold & Belle's

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This historic Jefferson Park restaurant opened over 53 years ago and continues to prepare respectable dishes that LA residents depend on, including fresh oysters, po’boys, fish platters, jambalaya, a $10 Sazerac cocktail, and liver and onions that deserves consideration.

Monty's Chicken & Waffles

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Monty’s Chicken & Waffles is not to be confused with a popular plant-based restaurant with a similar name. This menu leans into the soulful side of Los Angeles with soul food classics, but also a chicken pastrami sandwich, and a Korean fried chicken sandwich.

Crystals Soul Cafe

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Compton’s vegan staple Crystals Soul Cafe is a neighborhood restaurant that makes some of the city’s best cornbread along with soul platters that include options like greens and black-eyed peas and the choice of vegan shrimp or barbecue chicken. Staff also sell a bonus item: actual live plants.

Uncle Darrow's New Orleans Grill

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Uncle Darrow’s in Carson restaurant keeps a mostly modern fast-casual look at its corner location while 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

Comfort LA

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

The Boujie Crab

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Owner and New Orleans native Nickey McKnight opened the Boujie Crab in early 2020. Traditional Creole favorites are found throughout the menu, but McKnight twisted things up a bit by offering a mostly seafood-based menu that omits pork. Her bowls are generous with Cajun beef sausage and corn that can be topped with a protein of choice including snow crab, shrimp, and salmon.

Boujie Crab restaurant’s seafood platters in Long Beach, California.
Boujie Crab.
Courtesy of Boujie Crab

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 favorite in southern LA County. Crowd favorites include the lemonade, yams, turkey chops, and cornbread, but the smothered pork chops continue to draw locals and far-away customers.

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

Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ

Out in Chatsworth is Les Sisters Southern Kitchen and Barbecue, a New Orleans restaurant that specializes in a lot of things including crawfish etouffee, collard greens, po’boys, fried chicken, and hush puppies. Don’t skip the barbecue either, 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

Uncle Andre's BBQ

If fried fish, beef ribs, mac cheese, and baked beans from a San Fernando Valley restaurant sounds ideal on a cold night, then Uncle Andre’s BBQ is the place. Be sure to order the fried chicken, it’s the house specialty.

A Family Affair Southern

A Family Affair Southern is nestled in Westchester where the less than year-old family-operated restaurant cranks out smothered turkey chops, fried catfish, lamb chops, and a mean peach cobbler that sells out regularly.

The Serving Spoon

This community favorite has been in the daytime soulful breakfast and lunch business since 1982. Weekdays are an ideal choice, because the weekend wait is downright long, especially on Sundays after church. The savory options are endless, like cheese grits with catfish and eggs, collard greens, candied yams, and chicken and waffles.

A platter of fried fish from Serving Spoon in Inglewood, California on a wooden table.
Serving Spoon.
Cathy Chaplin

Alta

In his recent memoir, chef Keith Corbin defines his food as “California soul.” The cozy West Adams restaurant that he operates with chef Daniel Patterson buzzes in the evening hours with exactly that kind of soul, where Corbin’s creations include 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 on soul food with beautiful presentations like the creamy black-eyed pea hummus, a fried green tomato po’boy, and a plantain-stuffed pork chop.

Stevie's Creole Café

Back in 1993, the late Jonathan Gold described Stevie’s Creole Cafe’s signature dish as “extremely good gumbo.” That’s only one of the many items to order at this long standing restaurant, including the etouffee and bacon-wrapped shrimp.

Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen

An LA icon, Dulan’s does one thing well: traditional soul food. They’re also 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. Note: the Crenshaw location is under construction but operates as a food truck, while the Century Boulevard location is open with outdoor seating.

Smothered fried chicken with mac and cheese, greens, cornbread, and sweet potatoes at Dulan’s Soul Food in Inglewood, California.
Smothered fried chicken with mac and cheese, greens, cornbread, and sweet potatoes at Dulan’s Soul Food.
Mona Holmes

Chef Marilyn's, Queen of Down Home Southern Goodies

Expect a line at 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 before heading out. Her fried chicken sells out quickly, but so does most of Marilyn’s inventory, so plan on arriving early.

Harold & Belle's

This historic Jefferson Park restaurant opened over 53 years ago and continues to prepare respectable dishes that LA residents depend on, including fresh oysters, po’boys, fish platters, jambalaya, a $10 Sazerac cocktail, and liver and onions that deserves consideration.

Monty's Chicken & Waffles

Monty’s Chicken & Waffles is not to be confused with a popular plant-based restaurant with a similar name. This menu leans into the soulful side of Los Angeles with soul food classics, but also a chicken pastrami sandwich, and a Korean fried chicken sandwich.

Crystals Soul Cafe

Compton’s vegan staple Crystals Soul Cafe is a neighborhood restaurant that makes some of the city’s best cornbread along with soul platters that include options like greens and black-eyed peas and the choice of vegan shrimp or barbecue chicken. Staff also sell a bonus item: actual live plants.

Uncle Darrow's New Orleans Grill

Uncle Darrow’s in Carson restaurant keeps a mostly modern fast-casual look at its corner location while 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

Comfort LA

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

The Boujie Crab

Owner and New Orleans native Nickey McKnight opened the Boujie Crab in early 2020. Traditional Creole favorites are found throughout the menu, but McKnight twisted things up a bit by offering a mostly seafood-based menu that omits pork. Her bowls are generous with Cajun beef sausage and corn that can be topped with a protein of choice including snow crab, shrimp, and salmon.

Boujie Crab restaurant’s seafood platters in Long Beach, California.
Boujie Crab.
Courtesy of Boujie Crab

Related Maps

Soul Food Renaissance

It’s all about the portion size at Soul Food Renaissance in Long Beach. Formerly LBJs Fine Foods, the restaurant is a favorite in southern LA County. Crowd favorites include the lemonade, yams, turkey chops, and cornbread, but the smothered pork chops continue to draw locals and far-away customers.

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

Related Maps