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.Read More
20 Classic Restaurants Every Angeleno Must Try
Throwback to LA's best old school eateries and dives
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 the 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. —Nicole Adlman
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 incredible prime rib.
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Hot Dog on a Stick
Santa Monica’s iconic, 75-year-old Hot Dog on a Stick stand has revived, reopening after being demolished in March 2022 as an even brighter red beacon to hungry beachgoers craving something filling and nostalgic. New and longtime customers will find that though the building has been refurbished, the quality and recipes remain the same: from the puckery neon limeade to the fluffy cornbread exterior surrounding its original turkey dog. —Nicole Adlman
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.
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.
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.
Next year, this legendary family-operated restaurant turns 100. 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. —Mona Holmes
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. Its popularity continues to grow thanks to celebrities like actress Kiernan Shipka, who loves to feature the restaurant on her social media.
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.
Damon's Steak House
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 is simple and easy to love, with grilled steaks, coconut fried shrimp, and weekend pork ribs, all at reasonable prices.
Watts Coffee House
A South LA institution that’s been around for a quarter of a century, Watt’s Coffee House is the true definition of a warm community gathering space. The diner’s walls are covered with posters, photos, and memorabilia that pay homage to the sheer amount of talent to come out of Watts, including Huey Newton, Martin Luther King, and Redd Foxx. And the food is memorable as well, from its incredible crispy fried chicken wings with smothered potatoes, to shrimp and grits. —Jean Trinh
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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.
Yang Chow Restaurant
The 45-year-old Yang Chow is charming in so many ways, from the celebrity photos adorning the walls to its lively dining room and attentive service. Its most popular dishes, like slippery shrimp and Szechuan chicken, have put the Chinatown restaurant on the map and keeps people from all walks of life returning for more. —Jean Trinh
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.
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, very long time.
Al & Bea's Mexican Food
Opened in 1966, this legendary Boyle Heights restaurant has tremendous bean-and-cheese burritos that were immortalized by the late food writer 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.
A truly timeless fixture of Boyle Heights, Otomisan is the last remaining Japanese restaurant in the area when it was once 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.
Dal Rae Restaurant
The epitome of an old-school steakhouse, Dal Rae in Pico Rivera dates to the 1950s and is most famous for its pepper steak. The restaurant’s also known for tableside spinning salads tableside, live music, and classic car showcase in the parking lot.