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Hickory burger from the Apple Pan in West LA.
Hickory burger from the Apple Pan in West LA.
Matthew Kang

20 Classic Restaurants Every Angeleno Must Try

Throwback to LA's best old school eateries and dives

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Hickory burger from the Apple Pan in West LA.
| Matthew Kang

Los Angeles is a city blessed with a tapestry of long-standing restaurants. Even after decades of service, these places continue to thrive thanks to a loyal following of dedicated regulars who find comfort in dependable cooking and familiar hospitality. Here now are 20 classic restaurants every Angeleno must try at some point.

Removed: The Bull Pen, the Prince, Colombo’s, Matsuhisa, Taylor’s Steakhouse, Newport Seafood

Added: Otomisan, Factor’s Famous Deli, Golden Bull, the San Franciscan, Al & Beas, Jeon Ju

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Golden Bull Restaurant

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Hearkening to an era of stiff martinis and big chops, Golden Bull received a second chance at life with new ownership under Mark Verge, who does Ashland Hill and Margo’s in Santa Monica. The old school vibes continue to charm the beachside restaurant. Order the incredible prime rib.

Prime rib at Golden Bull
Prime rib from Golden Bull
Golden Bull [Official photo]

Chez Jay

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Westside dive bar legend Chez Jay is still humming along on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica after all these years. Originally opened in 1959, the charm and kitsch of the place remains as strong as the drinks themselves.

Antonio's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant

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Sherman Oaks classic Antonio’s keeps longtime fans happy with kitschy decor and hearty food. With over 60 years under its belt, this Italian throwback knows what it takes keep the crowds coming for more.

The Apple Pan

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A much-beloved Westside institution with Ohio-style burgers served in a humble diner-like stand along Pico, the Apple Pan makes consistently good sandwiches and pies. It’s hard to think of a more enduring greasy spoon in LA.

George Petrelli Steak House

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Culver City legend George Petrelli offers a bit of steakhouse magnificence. The place seems cool and only slightly retro from the outside but look inside to find 85-plus years of well-worn hospitality.

Factor's Famous Deli

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Pico Boulevard’s iconic Factor’s Famous Deli could be one of the more unsung Jewish delis left in town. Nate n’ Al and Canter’s Deli tend to take much of the spotlight in this part of LA, but Factor’s has been serving since 1948 in the same location, though the Markowitz family has owned the institution since 1969. Try the sky-high pastrami sandwich or the smoked fish lunch platter.

Factor’s pastrami
Factor’s Famous Deli
Aliza J. Sokolow

Dan Tana's

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Dan Tana’s is the quintessential old-school Hollywood hangout. Opened in 1964, the Italian-American haunt serves late every night of the week with hits like chicken Parmesan and steaks. In the Before Times, the bar was a legendary place to grab a drink and hobnob with celebrities.

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

Pann's Restaurant

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A must-stop on the way to LAX, Pann’s is a diner study in Googie architecture. Though it’s no longer open in the evenings, sitting down to a thick mug of black coffee and a plate of eggs is still a highlight.

Pann’s 2
Pann’s Restaurant
Wonho Frank Lee

The San Franciscan

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With fantastic grilled steaks, prime rib, fresh seafood, baked potatoes, and more, this midcentury classic in Torrance is a bit of a South Bay find. Opened in 1963, old school American steakhouse vibes don’t get much better than this.

Jeon Ju Korean Bibimbap Restaurant

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This classic Koreatown restaurant serves stone pot bibimbap in screaming hot bowls, though everything from the banchan to the fried fish are excellent here. Opened in 1997, it’s become one of the oldest Korean restaurants in LA under the ownership of Jennifer Lee, though its popularity continues to grow thanks to celebrities like actress Kiernan Shipka, who loves to feature the restaurant on social media.

Langer's Delicatessen

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Serving the greatest pastrami in America, Langer's is a fantastic diner in Westlake offering everything from reuben sandwiches and corned beef to matzo ball soup and lox. It's easily the best Jewish deli in a city full of great delis.

#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
Wonho Frank Lee

Bill's Taco House

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This 1940s-era taco shop packs traditional hamburger ingredients into a tortilla. One bite of Bill’s signature hamburger tacos and it’s clear why this place is a much-beloved classic.

Damon's Steak House

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Glendale’s long running Tiki-style steakhouse opened back in 1937, first on Central and most recently with a prime Brand Boulevard location. Founder Loyal Damon sold his chain of candy stores to open this Polynesian-designed restaurant, passing on ownership and its famous cocktail recipes to his son Loyal Jr., wife Donna, and daughter Jennie. The menu’s simple and easy to love, with grilled steaks, coconut fried shrimp, and weekend pork ribs all at reasonable prices.

Damon’s Steak House
Damon’s Steakhouse cocktail
Damon’s/Facebook

Hawkins House of Burgers

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This colorful Watts institution has been open since 1939. Current owner Cynthia Hawkins’s father first opened the burger destination after migrating west from Arkansas, and the menu still mostly sticks to hefty burgers stuffed with pastrami, cheese, bacon, as well as breakfast platters, from morning to evening.

Hawkins House of Burgers cheeseburger loaded up.
Hawkins House of Burgers
Hawkin’s House of Burgers [Official photo]

Phoenix Inn Chinese Cuisine

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Opened in 1965 in the heart of Chinatown, Phoenix has now turned into a veritable empire of bakeries, dessert shops, and restaurants across the county. But it all started here at this big menu destination with traditional preparations of thousand-year-old eggs, cold boneless chicken, and tangerine chicken.

Phoenix Inn, Founded in ‘65, is LA’s Most Authentic Chinese Chain
Phoenix Inn Chinese Cuisine

Cielito Lindo

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Cielito Lindo has been serving its famous rolled tacos since 1934. The proud tradition continues today as the restaurant anchors bustling Olvera Street in Downtown's northern edge.

Philippe the Original

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Opened since 1908, Philippe is famous for its bustling lunchtime crowd and made-to-order attention to detail. Served simply with one’s choice of meat — and, crucially, degree of dipped-ness — the century-old French dip is the kind of inexpensive, satisfying, and wholly unique meal that reminds eaters with every bite that Los Angeles has been cooking great food for a very, very long time.

An abundant spread of French dip sandwiches and more at Philippe.
Philippe the Original
Wonho Frank Lee

Al & Bea's Mexican Food

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Opened in 1966, this legendary Boyle Heights restaurant has tremendous bean-and-cheese burritos that were immortalized by the late critic Jonathan Gold. However, the Mexican American community has revered these burritos for much longer than Gold’s review, and this roadside stand has been a fixture in this neighborhood for almost 55 years.

Al & Bea’s
Al & Bea’s
Farley Elliott

Otomisan Restaurant

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A truly timeless fixture of Boyle Heights, Otomisan is the last remaining Japanese restaurant in the area when it was a melting pot of immigrant cultures. Though now predominantly Latino, the neighborhood was once the second most significant community of Japanese Americans after Little Tokyo. This small, but charming family-run diner serves classics like oyakodon, curry, and sushi.

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

Dal Rae Restaurant

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The epitome of an old-school steakhouse, Dal Rae in Pico Rivera dates to the 1950s and is most famous for its pepper steak. Before the pandemic hit, the restaurant was spinning salads tableside and hosting live music.

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Golden Bull Restaurant

Prime rib at Golden Bull
Prime rib from Golden Bull
Golden Bull [Official photo]

Hearkening to an era of stiff martinis and big chops, Golden Bull received a second chance at life with new ownership under Mark Verge, who does Ashland Hill and Margo’s in Santa Monica. The old school vibes continue to charm the beachside restaurant. Order the incredible prime rib.

Prime rib at Golden Bull
Prime rib from Golden Bull
Golden Bull [Official photo]

Chez Jay

Westside dive bar legend Chez Jay is still humming along on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica after all these years. Originally opened in 1959, the charm and kitsch of the place remains as strong as the drinks themselves.

Antonio's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant

Sherman Oaks classic Antonio’s keeps longtime fans happy with kitschy decor and hearty food. With over 60 years under its belt, this Italian throwback knows what it takes keep the crowds coming for more.

The Apple Pan

A much-beloved Westside institution with Ohio-style burgers served in a humble diner-like stand along Pico, the Apple Pan makes consistently good sandwiches and pies. It’s hard to think of a more enduring greasy spoon in LA.

George Petrelli Steak House

Culver City legend George Petrelli offers a bit of steakhouse magnificence. The place seems cool and only slightly retro from the outside but look inside to find 85-plus years of well-worn hospitality.

Factor's Famous Deli

Factor’s pastrami
Factor’s Famous Deli
Aliza J. Sokolow

Pico Boulevard’s iconic Factor’s Famous Deli could be one of the more unsung Jewish delis left in town. Nate n’ Al and Canter’s Deli tend to take much of the spotlight in this part of LA, but Factor’s has been serving since 1948 in the same location, though the Markowitz family has owned the institution since 1969. Try the sky-high pastrami sandwich or the smoked fish lunch platter.

Factor’s pastrami
Factor’s Famous Deli
Aliza J. Sokolow

Dan Tana's

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

Dan Tana’s is the quintessential old-school Hollywood hangout. Opened in 1964, the Italian-American haunt serves late every night of the week with hits like chicken Parmesan and steaks. In the Before Times, the bar was a legendary place to grab a drink and hobnob with celebrities.

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

Pann's Restaurant

Pann’s 2
Pann’s Restaurant
Wonho Frank Lee

A must-stop on the way to LAX, Pann’s is a diner study in Googie architecture. Though it’s no longer open in the evenings, sitting down to a thick mug of black coffee and a plate of eggs is still a highlight.

Pann’s 2
Pann’s Restaurant
Wonho Frank Lee

The San Franciscan

With fantastic grilled steaks, prime rib, fresh seafood, baked potatoes, and more, this midcentury classic in Torrance is a bit of a South Bay find. Opened in 1963, old school American steakhouse vibes don’t get much better than this.

Jeon Ju Korean Bibimbap Restaurant

This classic Koreatown restaurant serves stone pot bibimbap in screaming hot bowls, though everything from the banchan to the fried fish are excellent here. Opened in 1997, it’s become one of the oldest Korean restaurants in LA under the ownership of Jennifer Lee, though its popularity continues to grow thanks to celebrities like actress Kiernan Shipka, who loves to feature the restaurant on social media.

Langer's Delicatessen

#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
Wonho Frank Lee

Serving the greatest pastrami in America, Langer's is a fantastic diner in Westlake offering everything from reuben sandwiches and corned beef to matzo ball soup and lox. It's easily the best Jewish deli in a city full of great delis.

#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
Wonho Frank Lee

Bill's Taco House

This 1940s-era taco shop packs traditional hamburger ingredients into a tortilla. One bite of Bill’s signature hamburger tacos and it’s clear why this place is a much-beloved classic.

Damon's Steak House

Damon’s Steak House
Damon’s Steakhouse cocktail
Damon’s/Facebook

Glendale’s long running Tiki-style steakhouse opened back in 1937, first on Central and most recently with a prime Brand Boulevard location. Founder Loyal Damon sold his chain of candy stores to open this Polynesian-designed restaurant, passing on ownership and its famous cocktail recipes to his son Loyal Jr., wife Donna, and daughter Jennie. The menu’s simple and easy to love, with grilled steaks, coconut fried shrimp, and weekend pork ribs all at reasonable prices.

Damon’s Steak House
Damon’s Steakhouse cocktail
Damon’s/Facebook

Hawkins House of Burgers

Hawkins House of Burgers cheeseburger loaded up.
Hawkins House of Burgers
Hawkin’s House of Burgers [Official photo]

This colorful Watts institution has been open since 1939. Current owner Cynthia Hawkins’s father first opened the burger destination after migrating west from Arkansas, and the menu still mostly sticks to hefty burgers stuffed with pastrami, cheese, bacon, as well as breakfast platters, from morning to evening.

Hawkins House of Burgers cheeseburger loaded up.
Hawkins House of Burgers
Hawkin’s House of Burgers [Official photo]

Phoenix Inn Chinese Cuisine

Phoenix Inn, Founded in ‘65, is LA’s Most Authentic Chinese Chain
Phoenix Inn Chinese Cuisine

Opened in 1965 in the heart of Chinatown, Phoenix has now turned into a veritable empire of bakeries, dessert shops, and restaurants across the county. But it all started here at this big menu destination with traditional preparations of thousand-year-old eggs, cold boneless chicken, and tangerine chicken.

Phoenix Inn, Founded in ‘65, is LA’s Most Authentic Chinese Chain
Phoenix Inn Chinese Cuisine

Related Maps

Cielito Lindo

Cielito Lindo has been serving its famous rolled tacos since 1934. The proud tradition continues today as the restaurant anchors bustling Olvera Street in Downtown's northern edge.

Philippe the Original