clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A tilted look at a hot dog stand in the shade at summertime.
Tail O’ the Pup in West Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

20 Classic Los Angeles Restaurants Every Angeleno Must Try

Throwback to LA's best old-school eateries and dives

View as Map
Tail O’ the Pup in West Hollywood.
| Wonho Frank Lee

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 LA restaurants that every Angeleno must try.

Read More
Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Brent's Deli Northridge

Copy Link

Head to Northridge in the San Fernando Valley for a never-fail Jewish deli experience. Brent’s Delicatessen and Restaurant, operating for more than 55 years, has been serving its pastrami sandwiches, behemoth breakfast plates, and delicate blintzes to ravenous masses coming locally from the Valley and beyond. While the assortment of soups and triple-decker sandwiches bring in out-of-towners, longtime diners tend to go for more comforting dishes: think fall-apart stuffed cabbage rolls filled with tender beef and covered in a sweet and sour sauce, plump sides of kishka, and steaming potato knishes.

Dimly lit interior of classic Jewish deli Brent’s, with blue-green banquettes and wood-paneled table tops.
Dining room of Brent’s Deli in Northridge.
Stan Lee

Smoke House Restaurant

Copy Link

Burbank’s Smoke House has a lot going for it. For starters, the place is a stone’s throw from some of LA’s biggest studios. It’s also got one heck of a signature dish in its cheesy garlic bread, though reducing the historic place (circa 1946) to just a side menu item wouldn’t quite be fair. No, this Lakeside Drive spot is more than all that, it’s a home for creatives who come for a charred steak and a stiff drink after work, in a dining room that looks just as rustic and fun as it always has.

Newport Seafood Restaurant

Copy Link

Opened in 1996, Newport Seafood Restaurant is one of SGV’s most popular Vietnamese Chinese establishments thanks to heaping platters of scallion, ginger, and garlic-flavored lobster and beef luc lac. Today, Sophia Lau, the daughter of owners Wendy Lam and Ly Hua, helps operate this bustling San Gabriel restaurant day-to-day, serving diners willing to line up during prime meal hours.

House-special lobster at Newport Seafood.
House-special lobster at Newport Seafood.
Cathy Chaplin

Musso & Frank Grill

Copy Link

Hollywood’s oldest restaurant might be its very best, even after more than a century of serving grilled chops and Continental classics like French onion soup. The pastas are better than they should be, like a super-simple fettuccine Alfredo or sumptuous rigatoni vodka. And of course, everyone needs a cocktail like Ramos gin fizzes and the legendary martinis served with a sidecar. There’s something about the quiet dining room, filled with only the sounds of clicking silverware and suave servers pitching the day’s specials, that makes this one of LA’s most special meals.

French onion soup at Musso & Frank.
French onion soup at Musso & Frank.
Matthew Kang

Jitlada Restaurant

Copy Link

As classic as it gets in Thai Town (the first such neighborhood in the U.S.), Jitlada has been open since the 1970s but saw a second life in 2006 under the ownership of Jazz Singsanong and her late brother and chef Tui Sungakamee. Together, they infused Jitlada’s enormous menu with then-rare Southern Thai specialties, like crispy morning glory salad, mussels in lemongrass broth, and spicy turmeric-fried catfish. Enjoy the timeless ambiance with its packed tables and dim lighting, and bring enough people to get through a good portion of the Southern Thai dishes.

Crispy morning glory salad from Jitlada in Thai Town.
Crispy morning glory salad from Jitlada.
Cathy Chaplin

The Tower Bar

Copy Link

Legendary doesn’t even begin to describe the Tower Bar on the Sunset Strip. This Jeff Klein-owned staple hotel bar has been ground zero for innumerable Hollywood deals and covert discussions over the decades, thanks to its status as a coveted and understated home for socially mobile Angelenos. That might sound like a negative, but it’s definitely not. Tower Bar is an industry haunt in a town where power and access mean a lot, and these days a whole new generation of Old Hollywood-seeking newcomers have begun to populate the shadowy corners of the room. It’s all great fun — and great people-watching to boot.

An overhead shot of a white plate with a cooked steak and pile of fries at Sunset Tower Bar in Los Angeles.
Steak frites at Tower Bar in West Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Tail O' the Pup

Copy Link

Opened in 1946 and one of LA’s most historic programmatic theme buildings, Tail O’ the Pup has been fully revived in West Hollywood with the refurbishment of its hot dog-shaped building, which only acts as the cashier now along Santa Monica Boulevard. The updated Tail O’ the Pup is located mere blocks from the original on La Cienega Boulevard. Fans of LA history can bite into split-grilled hot dogs, fries, and cups of beef chili.

A hot dog with mustard swizzled on top inside of a red cardboard sleeve.
Split hot dog with toppings at Tail O’ the Pup.
Wonho Frank Lee

Dan Tana's

Copy Link

Dan Tana’s is the quintessential Hollywood hangout. Opened in 1964, the Italian American haunt serves late every night of the week, with hits like chicken parmesan and grilled steaks. The bar continues to be 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

Polo Lounge

Copy Link

One of LA’s storied lunchtime establishments, the beautiful secluded patio of Polo Lounge could tell Hollywood tales for days. Its lush garden ambience and splendid service do more than enough to compensate for the fairly basic, expensive food. You’ll want to order the classic McCarthy salad and maybe a few other midcentury plates that won’t challenge any palates, but really, you’re there for the experience of maybe hobnobbing with the stars.

Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills Hotel
Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Beverly Hills Hotel

Dan Sung Sa

Copy Link

Koreatown’s most popular pub has endured since 1997, when owner Caroline Cho wanted to open the kind of late-night, street-style drinking establishments called pojangmacha, or pocha for short, that one could only find in Korea at the time. That means grilled skewers, cheesy corn, and soul-satisfying stews that work well to soak up bottle upon bottle of beer or soju. Dan Sung Sa is open daily until 2 a.m.

Dishes and Korean beer from Dan Sung Sa against a wooden table.
Pub dishes and Korean beer with soju at Dan Sung Sa.
Wonho Frank Lee

Philippe the Original

Copy Link

Opened since 1908, Philippe is famous for its bustling lunchtime crowd and made-to-order service. 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 long time.

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

Cielito Lindo

Copy Link

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

Langer's Delicatessen

Copy Link

Serving perhaps 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

Chosun Galbee

Copy Link

Opened for 22 years now, this is Koreatown’s longest standing premium barbecue destination (old-school classic Woo Lae Oak closed years ago). Chosun Galbee continues to draw fans for its tender, fatty cuts of short rib and marinated beef served with some of the best mul naengmyeon in town. It helps that the modern ambience and elegant service delivers every night.

Chosun Galbee kkotssal arrayed on a plate
Unmarinated beef short ribs on a platter at Chosun Galbee.
Chosun Galbee

El Cholo

Copy Link

This legendary family-operated restaurant has hit the century mark. El Cholo remains packed while still churning out classic traditional enchiladas, burritos, tacos, as well as shaken margaritas. The flour tortillas are worth ordering a dozen before leaving the premises.

A red and green neon sign for El Cholo restaurant.
El Cholo’s iconic neon sign.
Mona Holmes

The Apple Pan

Copy Link

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.

Golden Bull Restaurant

Copy Link

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 operates Ashland Hill and Margo’s in Santa Monica. The old-school vibes continue to charm the beachside restaurant. Order the fantastic prime rib, a relatively rarity outside of Lawry’s and Tam O’Shanter in LA.

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

Bill's Taco House

Copy Link

Bill’s is a South LA legend, just below Downtown, that focuses primarily on one thing: the cheeseburger taco. It’s a mashup made purely for Los Angeles, the kind of last-century dining innovation that just makes perfect sense. The orange and yellow corner location today is stuffed with old photos of days gone by, and the cheeseburger taco still beckons all who come in, some 74 years later.

Tacos and more from Bill’s Taco House.
Tacos and more from Bill’s Taco House.
Farley Elliott

La Casita Mexicana

Copy Link

Jaime Martín del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu first opened La Casita Mexicana in 1998 in Bell, serving classic Mexican fonda fare like enchiladas tres moles, chiles en nogada, and mole poblano in a colorful, vibrant room. Now, 25 years later, it’s arguably the finest sit-down Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles, continuing to serve the Southeast LA community with polished but reasonably priced fare.

Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu of La Casita Mexicana.
Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu of La Casita Mexicana.
Elizabeth Daniels

Pann's Restaurant

Copy Link

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 Restaurant.
Pann’s Restaurant
Wonho Frank Lee

Brent's Deli Northridge

Head to Northridge in the San Fernando Valley for a never-fail Jewish deli experience. Brent’s Delicatessen and Restaurant, operating for more than 55 years, has been serving its pastrami sandwiches, behemoth breakfast plates, and delicate blintzes to ravenous masses coming locally from the Valley and beyond. While the assortment of soups and triple-decker sandwiches bring in out-of-towners, longtime diners tend to go for more comforting dishes: think fall-apart stuffed cabbage rolls filled with tender beef and covered in a sweet and sour sauce, plump sides of kishka, and steaming potato knishes.

Dimly lit interior of classic Jewish deli Brent’s, with blue-green banquettes and wood-paneled table tops.
Dining room of Brent’s Deli in Northridge.
Stan Lee

Smoke House Restaurant

Burbank’s Smoke House has a lot going for it. For starters, the place is a stone’s throw from some of LA’s biggest studios. It’s also got one heck of a signature dish in its cheesy garlic bread, though reducing the historic place (circa 1946) to just a side menu item wouldn’t quite be fair. No, this Lakeside Drive spot is more than all that, it’s a home for creatives who come for a charred steak and a stiff drink after work, in a dining room that looks just as rustic and fun as it always has.

Newport Seafood Restaurant

Opened in 1996, Newport Seafood Restaurant is one of SGV’s most popular Vietnamese Chinese establishments thanks to heaping platters of scallion, ginger, and garlic-flavored lobster and beef luc lac. Today, Sophia Lau, the daughter of owners Wendy Lam and Ly Hua, helps operate this bustling San Gabriel restaurant day-to-day, serving diners willing to line up during prime meal hours.

House-special lobster at Newport Seafood.
House-special lobster at Newport Seafood.
Cathy Chaplin

Musso & Frank Grill

Hollywood’s oldest restaurant might be its very best, even after more than a century of serving grilled chops and Continental classics like French onion soup. The pastas are better than they should be, like a super-simple fettuccine Alfredo or sumptuous rigatoni vodka. And of course, everyone needs a cocktail like Ramos gin fizzes and the legendary martinis served with a sidecar. There’s something about the quiet dining room, filled with only the sounds of clicking silverware and suave servers pitching the day’s specials, that makes this one of LA’s most special meals.

French onion soup at Musso & Frank.
French onion soup at Musso & Frank.
Matthew Kang

Jitlada Restaurant

As classic as it gets in Thai Town (the first such neighborhood in the U.S.), Jitlada has been open since the 1970s but saw a second life in 2006 under the ownership of Jazz Singsanong and her late brother and chef Tui Sungakamee. Together, they infused Jitlada’s enormous menu with then-rare Southern Thai specialties, like crispy morning glory salad, mussels in lemongrass broth, and spicy turmeric-fried catfish. Enjoy the timeless ambiance with its packed tables and dim lighting, and bring enough people to get through a good portion of the Southern Thai dishes.

Crispy morning glory salad from Jitlada in Thai Town.
Crispy morning glory salad from Jitlada.
Cathy Chaplin

The Tower Bar

Legendary doesn’t even begin to describe the Tower Bar on the Sunset Strip. This Jeff Klein-owned staple hotel bar has been ground zero for innumerable Hollywood deals and covert discussions over the decades, thanks to its status as a coveted and understated home for socially mobile Angelenos. That might sound like a negative, but it’s definitely not. Tower Bar is an industry haunt in a town where power and access mean a lot, and these days a whole new generation of Old Hollywood-seeking newcomers have begun to populate the shadowy corners of the room. It’s all great fun — and great people-watching to boot.

An overhead shot of a white plate with a cooked steak and pile of fries at Sunset Tower Bar in Los Angeles.
Steak frites at Tower Bar in West Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Tail O' the Pup

Opened in 1946 and one of LA’s most historic programmatic theme buildings, Tail O’ the Pup has been fully revived in West Hollywood with the refurbishment of its hot dog-shaped building, which only acts as the cashier now along Santa Monica Boulevard. The updated Tail O’ the Pup is located mere blocks from the original on La Cienega Boulevard. Fans of LA history can bite into split-grilled hot dogs, fries, and cups of beef chili.

A hot dog with mustard swizzled on top inside of a red cardboard sleeve.
Split hot dog with toppings at Tail O’ the Pup.
Wonho Frank Lee

Dan Tana's

Dan Tana’s is the quintessential Hollywood hangout. Opened in 1964, the Italian American haunt serves late every night of the week, with hits like chicken parmesan and grilled steaks. The bar continues to be 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

Polo Lounge

One of LA’s storied lunchtime establishments, the beautiful secluded patio of Polo Lounge could tell Hollywood tales for days. Its lush garden ambience and splendid service do more than enough to compensate for the fairly basic, expensive food. You’ll want to order the classic McCarthy salad and maybe a few other midcentury plates that won’t challenge any palates, but really, you’re there for the experience of maybe hobnobbing with the stars.

Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills Hotel
Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Beverly Hills Hotel

Dan Sung Sa

Koreatown’s most popular pub has endured since 1997, when owner Caroline Cho wanted to open the kind of late-night, street-style drinking establishments called pojangmacha, or pocha for short, that one could only find in Korea at the time. That means grilled skewers, cheesy corn, and soul-satisfying stews that work well to soak up bottle upon bottle of beer or soju. Dan Sung Sa is open daily until 2 a.m.

Dishes and Korean beer from Dan Sung Sa against a wooden table.
Pub dishes and Korean beer with soju at Dan Sung Sa.
Wonho Frank Lee

Philippe the Original

Opened since 1908, Philippe is famous for its bustling lunchtime crowd and made-to-order service. 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 long time.

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

Cielito Lindo

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

Langer's Delicatessen

Serving perhaps 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

Chosun Galbee

Opened for 22 years now, this is Koreatown’s longest standing premium barbecue destination (old-school classic Woo Lae Oak closed years ago). Chosun Galbee continues to draw fans for its tender, fatty cuts of short rib and marinated beef served with some of the best mul naengmyeon in town. It helps that the modern ambience and elegant service delivers every night.

Chosun Galbee kkotssal arrayed on a plate
Unmarinated beef short ribs on a platter at Chosun Galbee.
Chosun Galbee

El Cholo

This legendary family-operated restaurant has hit the century mark. El Cholo remains packed while still churning out classic traditional enchiladas, burritos, tacos, as well as shaken margaritas. The flour tortillas are worth ordering a dozen before leaving the premises.

A red and green neon sign for El Cholo restaurant.
El Cholo’s iconic neon sign.
Mona Holmes

Related Maps

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.

Golden Bull Restaurant

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 operates Ashland Hill and Margo’s in Santa Monica. The old-school vibes continue to charm the beachside restaurant. Order the fantastic prime rib, a relatively rarity outside of Lawry’s and Tam O’Shanter in LA.

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

Bill's Taco House

Bill’s is a South LA legend, just below Downtown, that focuses primarily on one thing: the cheeseburger taco. It’s a mashup made purely for Los Angeles, the kind of last-century dining innovation that just makes perfect sense. The orange and yellow corner location today is stuffed with old photos of days gone by, and the cheeseburger taco still beckons all who come in, some 74 years later.