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A sandwich bun stuffed with pieces of lobster.
Lobster sandwich from the Lobster Trap
Wonho Frank Lee

18 LA Tourist-Friendly Restaurants That Are Actually Good

Destination dining doesn’t always have to disappoint

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Lobster sandwich from the Lobster Trap
| Wonho Frank Lee

One of the largest industries in Los Angeles is tourism, with an estimated 213.5 million visitors in 2021. And with the tourists come restaurants that attract such visitors, whether through word of mouth or adjacency to a landmark. However, tourist-friendly restaurants can prepare excellent corn dogs, jerk chicken, or some fine fried chicken in a longstanding Beverly Grove spot. Here now are 18 restaurants that attract Los Angeles’s many visitors, but are actually very good.

Added: Cha Cha Chicken, Cielito Lindo, El Cholo, Hot Dog on a Stick, the Ivy, the Lobster, Randy’s Donuts, Waterfront Venice, Win-Dow Venice, Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe

Removed: 189 by Dominique Ansel (closed), Drago Ristorante (closed), Grill on The Alley, Michael’s, Mozzaplex, 71 Above, the Rose

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Hot Dog on a Stick

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There’s a lot to love about Hot Dog on a Stick. The small shacks are managed by workers wearing blindingly colorful uniforms and elongated hats. These employees churn lemonade in giant vats, while preparing fried hot dogs, cheese, and tofu pups in a perfect cornmeal batter.

Din Tai Fung

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Los Angeles is a city known for outstanding Chinese food, but there are two locations for those unable to trek over to the San Gabriel Valley. The company added Din Tai Fung in Glendale, The Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, and the Westfield mall in Century City to find those juicy pork dumplings, sauteed rice cakes, and other Chinese classics.

Din Tai Fung xiao long bao soup dumplings.
Din Tai Fung
flickr/ttseng

The Trails Cafe

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Griffith Park is one of the country’s largest urban parks, with miles of hiking and biking trails and open parkland to enjoy. Millions flock to the green space surrounding the Observatory and then make a run for the cozy confines of Trails Cafe to refuel with simple fare and great coffee afterward.

Musso & Frank Grill

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Hollywood icon Musso & Frank’s is still one of the best places in the city for sidling up to the bar and confidently ordering a stirred-only martini. It helps that cocktail is one of the best in the region, the appetizers are solid, and the people-watching is even better.

Outside Musso & Frank, Hollywood, California
Outside Musso & Frank, Hollywood.
Photo: Caveman Chuck Coker/Eater LA Flickr Pool

The Ivy

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This 39-year-old restaurant used to be a celebrity hotspot in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The Ivy remains because its classic menu will always have an audience, whether the massive lobster salad, Icelandic salmon, A5 wagyu steak from the mesquite grill, or the signature Ricky’s fried chicken.

Pampas Grill Churrascaria

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A classic tourist destination, the Original Farmer’s Market has something for everyone, including a Brazilian barbecue restaurant that might be the best of the bunch. Load up a plate with grilled vegetables and salad before selecting freshly sliced Brazilian grilled meats, like picanha, leg of lamb, and garlicky chicken drumsticks.

Lawry's the Prime Rib

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Los Angeles’s Restaurant Row isn’t quite what it used to be, but that hasn’t stopped Lawry’s from continuing to anchor the La Cienega stretch, offering some of the city’s best service and prime rib. Despite the well-known name and national appeal, this first-ever location feels just as personal and important to Los Angeles as it always has.

Prime rib with sides at Lawry’s the Prime Rib.
Lawry’s the Prime Rib
Lawry’s the Prime Rib

Philippe The Original

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Now that the Cole’s versus Philippe’s debate as to the true progenitor of the French dip sandwich has been put to rest, there’s no better time to visit the 1908 institution that invented the jus-soaked specialty. If it’s too crowded on the bottom floor, head upstairs for a quieter meal.

Philippe The Original
Philippe the Original
Philippe’s

Cielito Lindo

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Open since 1934, Cielito Lindo is one of the best stands in Los Angeles. Stationed in the historic Olvera Street, Cielito’s deep-fried taquitos drowned in avocado salsa is worth a trek. Afterward, walk through LA’s first official street for more bites and knick-knacks.

Rolled taquitos in a cast iron skillet over a fire.
Cielito Lindo taquitos
Cielito Lindo

Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant

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Not only is Langer’s a home for celebrities trying to low-key nosh, it’s also home to what is likely the single best deli pastrami in America. Add some to an order of chili cheese fries for a gut-busting dish.

Langer’s

Eggslut

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Grand Central Market wouldn’t be complete without the winding line for Eggslut. Arrive early or head in late (and avoid weekends altogether) for one of the best morning sandwiches anywhere. The location around the corner from the Venice Beach Boardwalk satisfies the Westside’s weekend revelers, too.

Eggslut
Eggslut
[Official Photo]

El Cholo - The Original

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This family-operated restaurant is one of Los Angeles’s oldest, churning out classic traditional enchiladas, burritos, tacos, and margaritas by very busy bartenders. Order a dozen house-made flour tortillas for later.

A red and green neon sign for El Cholo restaurant.
El Cholo on Western
Mona Holmes

Malibu Seafood

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Be patient when at Malibu Seafood, as the line is as legendary as the food. This small, but mighty shack on PCH serves golden-fried fish and chips, creamy clam chowder, and other tantalizing seafood classics. It’s also a market, so consider buying fresh seafood to cook at home. Pick a table outdoors or grab it to go and enjoy while at the beach.

Ocean breezes and fresh seafood on a sign for Malibu Seafood on Pacific Coast Highway.
Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe
Cathy Chaplin

Cha Cha Chicken

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Don’t dismiss this beachside restaurant. Cha Cha Chicken menu features plantains, peas and rice, jerk chicken wings, coconut shrimp, and a patio that’s amenable to those carrying a bottle of wine.

The Waterfront Venice

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Go early and station yourself on the Waterfront’s patio. During warm weather months, it’s always packed, and throughout the summer it features a special cookout menu in the beer garden from noon to 4 p.m. There are options like a crab and lobster roll or smashburger.

The Window Venice Boardwalk

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If venturing to the Venice Boardwalk, the Window is open seven days a week to try its popular smash burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and grain bowls. A pro move is to order a classic chocolate s’mores milkshake, or the mint-cookies and cream-dipped cones.

Randy's Donuts

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If driving around Inglewood, always hit the Inglewood original Randy’s Donuts. Not only is the giant rooftop an iconic LA landmark, the doughnuts rival any other maker in the city. It’s also fashioned with a drive-thru, but there’s always a scene at the walk-up window.

Outside Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood.
Outside Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood.
Photo: Thomas Hawk

The Lobster Trap

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With a quirky East Coast seafood shack decor and friendly service, the Lobster Trap is a prime example of a tourist trap tucked off the main drag of Avalon, Catalina Island. The food is pretty solid, though, like the loaded lobster sandwich, broiled oysters Rockefeller, and steamed artichokes.

A wide shot of an aquarium-themed restaurant on an island.
Lobster Trap
Wonho Frank Lee

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Hot Dog on a Stick

There’s a lot to love about Hot Dog on a Stick. The small shacks are managed by workers wearing blindingly colorful uniforms and elongated hats. These employees churn lemonade in giant vats, while preparing fried hot dogs, cheese, and tofu pups in a perfect cornmeal batter.

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung xiao long bao soup dumplings.
Din Tai Fung
flickr/ttseng

Los Angeles is a city known for outstanding Chinese food, but there are two locations for those unable to trek over to the San Gabriel Valley. The company added Din Tai Fung in Glendale, The Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, and the Westfield mall in Century City to find those juicy pork dumplings, sauteed rice cakes, and other Chinese classics.

Din Tai Fung xiao long bao soup dumplings.
Din Tai Fung
flickr/ttseng

The Trails Cafe

Griffith Park is one of the country’s largest urban parks, with miles of hiking and biking trails and open parkland to enjoy. Millions flock to the green space surrounding the Observatory and then make a run for the cozy confines of Trails Cafe to refuel with simple fare and great coffee afterward.

Musso & Frank Grill

Outside Musso & Frank, Hollywood, California
Outside Musso & Frank, Hollywood.
Photo: Caveman Chuck Coker/Eater LA Flickr Pool

Hollywood icon Musso & Frank’s is still one of the best places in the city for sidling up to the bar and confidently ordering a stirred-only martini. It helps that cocktail is one of the best in the region, the appetizers are solid, and the people-watching is even better.

Outside Musso & Frank, Hollywood, California
Outside Musso & Frank, Hollywood.
Photo: Caveman Chuck Coker/Eater LA Flickr Pool

The Ivy

This 39-year-old restaurant used to be a celebrity hotspot in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The Ivy remains because its classic menu will always have an audience, whether the massive lobster salad, Icelandic salmon, A5 wagyu steak from the mesquite grill, or the signature Ricky’s fried chicken.

Pampas Grill Churrascaria

A classic tourist destination, the Original Farmer’s Market has something for everyone, including a Brazilian barbecue restaurant that might be the best of the bunch. Load up a plate with grilled vegetables and salad before selecting freshly sliced Brazilian grilled meats, like picanha, leg of lamb, and garlicky chicken drumsticks.

Lawry's the Prime Rib

Prime rib with sides at Lawry’s the Prime Rib.
Lawry’s the Prime Rib
Lawry’s the Prime Rib

Los Angeles’s Restaurant Row isn’t quite what it used to be, but that hasn’t stopped Lawry’s from continuing to anchor the La Cienega stretch, offering some of the city’s best service and prime rib. Despite the well-known name and national appeal, this first-ever location feels just as personal and important to Los Angeles as it always has.

Prime rib with sides at Lawry’s the Prime Rib.
Lawry’s the Prime Rib
Lawry’s the Prime Rib

Philippe The Original

Philippe The Original
Philippe the Original
Philippe’s

Now that the Cole’s versus Philippe’s debate as to the true progenitor of the French dip sandwich has been put to rest, there’s no better time to visit the 1908 institution that invented the jus-soaked specialty. If it’s too crowded on the bottom floor, head upstairs for a quieter meal.

Philippe The Original
Philippe the Original
Philippe’s

Cielito Lindo

Rolled taquitos in a cast iron skillet over a fire.
Cielito Lindo taquitos
Cielito Lindo

Open since 1934, Cielito Lindo is one of the best stands in Los Angeles. Stationed in the historic Olvera Street, Cielito’s deep-fried taquitos drowned in avocado salsa is worth a trek. Afterward, walk through LA’s first official street for more bites and knick-knacks.

Rolled taquitos in a cast iron skillet over a fire.
Cielito Lindo taquitos
Cielito Lindo

Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant

Langer’s

Not only is Langer’s a home for celebrities trying to low-key nosh, it’s also home to what is likely the single best deli pastrami in America. Add some to an order of chili cheese fries for a gut-busting dish.

Langer’s

Eggslut

Eggslut
Eggslut
[Official Photo]

Grand Central Market wouldn’t be complete without the winding line for Eggslut. Arrive early or head in late (and avoid weekends altogether) for one of the best morning sandwiches anywhere. The location around the corner from the Venice Beach Boardwalk satisfies the Westside’s weekend revelers, too.

Eggslut
Eggslut
[Official Photo]

El Cholo - The Original

A red and green neon sign for El Cholo restaurant.
El Cholo on Western
Mona Holmes

This family-operated restaurant is one of Los Angeles’s oldest, churning out classic traditional enchiladas, burritos, tacos, and margaritas by very busy bartenders. Order a dozen house-made flour tortillas for later.

A red and green neon sign for El Cholo restaurant.
El Cholo on Western
Mona Holmes

Malibu Seafood

Ocean breezes and fresh seafood on a sign for Malibu Seafood on Pacific Coast Highway.
Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe
Cathy Chaplin

Be patient when at Malibu Seafood, as the line is as legendary as the food. This small, but mighty shack on PCH serves golden-fried fish and chips, creamy clam chowder, and other tantalizing seafood classics. It’s also a market, so consider buying fresh seafood to cook at home. Pick a table outdoors or grab it to go and enjoy while at the beach.

Ocean breezes and fresh seafood on a sign for Malibu Seafood on Pacific Coast Highway.
Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe
Cathy Chaplin

Cha Cha Chicken

Don’t dismiss this beachside restaurant. Cha Cha Chicken menu features plantains, peas and rice, jerk chicken wings, coconut shrimp, and a patio that’s amenable to those carrying a bottle of wine.

The Waterfront Venice

Go early and station yourself on the Waterfront’s patio. During warm weather months, it’s always packed, and throughout the summer it features a special cookout menu in the beer garden from noon to 4 p.m. There are options like a crab and lobster roll or smashburger.

Related Maps

The Window Venice Boardwalk

If venturing to the Venice Boardwalk, the Window is open seven days a week to try its popular smash burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and grain bowls. A pro move is to order a classic chocolate s’mores milkshake, or the mint-cookies and cream-dipped cones.

Randy's Donuts

Outside Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood.
Outside Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood.
Photo: Thomas Hawk

If driving around Inglewood, always hit the Inglewood original Randy’s Donuts. Not only is the giant rooftop an iconic LA landmark, the doughnuts rival any other maker in the city. It’s also fashioned with a drive-thru, but there’s always a scene at the walk-up window.

Outside Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood.
Outside Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood.
Photo: Thomas Hawk

The Lobster Trap