clock menu more-arrow no yes
Badmaash Fairfax’s orange bowl of curried chicken.
Butter chicken at Badmaash on Fairfax
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

LA's 15 Most Iconic Restaurant Dishes, Fall 2021

Signature dishes worth seeking out

View as Map
Butter chicken at Badmaash on Fairfax
| Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

With dynamic new restaurants opening every day all over the greater Southland, it’s common for in-the-know diners to seek the latest and greatest, leaving behind the beloved institutions that have paved the way. Consider this rundown a friendly PSA to support the dependable establishments that have fueled Los Angeles over the years. From one of the city’s best burritos to a truly amazing lobster roll, here are the 15 most iconic dishes in Los Angeles.

Removed: Fried chicken at Mizalala, ricotta toast at Sqirl, pork belly dumpling soup at Spoon by H, boiled chicken at Majordomo, rolled tacos Cielito Lindo, congee at Nightshade

Added: Chivichanga at Sonoratown, tamales from Tamales Elena y Antojitos, lobster roll from Broad Street Oyster Co., hot chicken from Hotville, coconut beef from the Park’s Finest, butter chicken from Badmaash

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kebab plate at Mini Kabob

Copy Link
313 1/2 Vine St
Glendale, CA 91204
(818) 244-1343

Come into this tiny Armenian restaurant in Glendale for one of the city’s best kebabs, served family-style with a choice of chicken, lule, and more. The requisite garlic sauce provides the perfect punch while the hummus and eggplant caviar play as the ideal side dishes.

Kebabs plate at Mini Kabob
Kebabs plate at Mini Kabob
Farley Elliott

2. Cha gio at Golden Deli

Copy Link
815 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 308-0803
Visit Website

Chances are good that you’ll have to wait for a table at Golden Deli, but persevere because the pork- and mushroom-stuffed cha gio (Vietnamese deep-fried spring rolls) are blistered-golden and well worth the inconvenience. Pluck some herbs and lettuce from the communal platter for garnishing and wrapping.

3. Badmaash Fairfax

Copy Link
418 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(213) 281-5185
Visit Website

The butter chicken at Badmaash is one for the ages. With a deep, lasting flavor of tangy yogurt, garam masala, cardamom, fenugreek, and tomatoes, this celebratory Indian dish topped with a sliver of butter is one of the most delicious dishes in Los Angeles. The dish is also available at Badmaash’s Downtown LA location.

Badmaash Fairfax’s orange bowl of curried chicken.
Butter chicken at Badmaash.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

4. Coconut beef tri-tip at the Park's Finest

Copy Link
1267 W Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 481-2800
Visit Website

The coconut beef is a rich, creamy version of classic Filipino adobo, but with a smoky, crumbly tri-tip instead of the more familiar chicken. The Park’s Finest melds Filipino flavors and classic American barbecue like no one has ever done before.

5. French dip sandwich at Philippe the Original

Copy Link
1001 North Alameda
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 628-3781
Visit Website

For a taste of culinary history, look no further than the French dip at Philippe The Original. Try the juicy, fall-apart tender sandwich “double-dipped,” with au jus served on the side and drenched on the buns. Eat it right away with some of that super-spicy mustard before all the bread withers away.

Philippe’s French dip sandwich on a table surrounded by other accoutrement like pickles.
French dip.
Wonho Frank Lee

6. #19 at Langer's Delicatessen

Copy Link
704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 483-8050
Visit Website

The #19 may very well be LA’s most iconic sandwich, complete with a hand-sliced stack of pastrami, Swiss cheese, and coleslaw on twice-baked rye.

7. Chivichanga at Sonoratown

Copy Link
208 E 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 628-3710
Visit Website

The diminutive but truly delicious mini burritos at Sonoratown, filled with shredded chicken or beef, cheese, tomatoes, and smoky anaheim chile, are among the most flavor-packed vessels of food one can get in Los Angeles. Wrapped with the shop’s award-winning flour tortilla, it’s hard to have just one.

A burrito with meat and vegetables.
Sonoratown
Sonoratown

8. Hickory burger at the Apple Pan

Copy Link
10801 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 475-3585
Visit Website

Not all burgers are created equal, which is why the Apple Pan’s hickory burger continues to stand the test of time. Rich and served with a touch of zip thanks to a proprietary barbecue sauce blend, this burger from a West LA institution is a must-do for anyone passing through the city.

9. Lobster roll at Broad Street Oyster Company

Copy Link
23359 CA-1 #3874A
Malibu, CA 90265
(424) 644-0131
Visit Website

Malibu’s Broad Street Oyster Co. has done something many Angelenos have clamored for: a truly great lobster roll. The example here, placed into a butter roll and stuffed to the gills with fresh Maine lobster, will cost a pretty penny, but it’s possible the most reliable bite along LA’s legendary beaches.

Lobster roll at Broad Street Oyster Co. in Malibu.
Lobster roll at Broad Street Oyster Co. in Malibu.
Mona Holmes/Eater LA

10. Oxtails and rice at Alta Adams

Copy Link
5359 W Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(323) 571-4999
Visit Website

Alta does a fine job of introducing soul food in a polished, friendly environment in West Adams. The oxtails and rice might be the showstopper here, with chef Keith Corbin’s version swimming in a rich brown sauce of soy sauce, ginger, miso, onions, scallions, and carrots.

Oxtails and rice at Alta Adams
Oxtails and rice at Alta Adams
Wonho Frank Lee

11. Burger at Father's Office

Copy Link
1018 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 736-2224
Visit Website

There are many great burgers in LA, but Sang Yoon's is the seminal gourmet burger in America. Using house dry-aged beef, arugula, caramelized onions, and Maytag blue cheese on an elongated sandwich bun, it's big enough to share.

Father’s Office Burger
Father’s Office Burger
Elizabeth Daniels

12. Shrimp taco at Mariscos Jalisco

Copy Link
3040 E Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90023
(323) 528-6701
Visit Website

While there is no shortage of outstanding taco trucks in Los Angeles, Mariscos Jaliscos may very well be the most beloved of all thanks to Raul Ortega and his crispy shrimp tacos. The wonderful textural interplay of the crunchy shell and shrimp filling can’t be beat.

13. Nashville-style hot chicken at Hotville Chicken

Copy Link
4070 Marlton Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90008
(323) 792-4835
Visit Website

Kim Prince brought her legendary family’s mentality toward Nashville Hot Chicken and brought it to the heart of Los Angeles. With a terrific, crisp exterior and deeply flavored, incredibly spicy seasonings, there’s a reason why Hotville is among the best examples of hot chicken anywhere in LA.

Hotville chicken on a tray with checkered paper and pickles.
Hotville chicken.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

14. Banana leaf tamales at Tamales Elena Y Antojitos

Copy Link
8101 Garfield Ave
Bell Gardens, CA 90201
(562) 674-3043
Visit Website

Famed Watts truck Tamales Elena has a drive-thru and takeout-ready location in Bell Gardens serving possibly the most epic banana leaf-wrapped tamales in Los Angeles. The menus change daily.

Banana leaf tamales from Tamales Elena.
Banana leaf tamales from Tamales Elena.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

15. Pescado zaradeado at Coni' Seafood

Copy Link
3544 W Imperial Hwy
Inglewood, CA 90303
(310) 672-2339
Visit Website

The legendary pescado zarandeado at Sinaloan specialist Coni’Seafood is an amazing snook that’s butterflied then grilled with precision. Served with tortillas and an onion salsa, it’s one of the most spectacular seafood dishes in the city. Also available at Coni’Seafood’s Culver City location.

Loading comments...

1. Kebab plate at Mini Kabob

313 1/2 Vine St, Glendale, CA 91204
Kebabs plate at Mini Kabob
Kebabs plate at Mini Kabob
Farley Elliott

Come into this tiny Armenian restaurant in Glendale for one of the city’s best kebabs, served family-style with a choice of chicken, lule, and more. The requisite garlic sauce provides the perfect punch while the hummus and eggplant caviar play as the ideal side dishes.

313 1/2 Vine St
Glendale, CA 91204

2. Cha gio at Golden Deli

815 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

Chances are good that you’ll have to wait for a table at Golden Deli, but persevere because the pork- and mushroom-stuffed cha gio (Vietnamese deep-fried spring rolls) are blistered-golden and well worth the inconvenience. Pluck some herbs and lettuce from the communal platter for garnishing and wrapping.

815 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776

3. Badmaash Fairfax

418 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Badmaash Fairfax’s orange bowl of curried chicken.
Butter chicken at Badmaash.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

The butter chicken at Badmaash is one for the ages. With a deep, lasting flavor of tangy yogurt, garam masala, cardamom, fenugreek, and tomatoes, this celebratory Indian dish topped with a sliver of butter is one of the most delicious dishes in Los Angeles. The dish is also available at Badmaash’s Downtown LA location.

418 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

4. Coconut beef tri-tip at the Park's Finest

1267 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90026

The coconut beef is a rich, creamy version of classic Filipino adobo, but with a smoky, crumbly tri-tip instead of the more familiar chicken. The Park’s Finest melds Filipino flavors and classic American barbecue like no one has ever done before.

1267 W Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90026

5. French dip sandwich at Philippe the Original

1001 North Alameda, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Philippe’s French dip sandwich on a table surrounded by other accoutrement like pickles.
French dip.
Wonho Frank Lee

For a taste of culinary history, look no further than the French dip at Philippe The Original. Try the juicy, fall-apart tender sandwich “double-dipped,” with au jus served on the side and drenched on the buns. Eat it right away with some of that super-spicy mustard before all the bread withers away.

1001 North Alameda
Los Angeles, CA 90012

6. #19 at Langer's Delicatessen

704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

The #19 may very well be LA’s most iconic sandwich, complete with a hand-sliced stack of pastrami, Swiss cheese, and coleslaw on twice-baked rye.

704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057

7. Chivichanga at Sonoratown

208 E 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
A burrito with meat and vegetables.
Sonoratown
Sonoratown

The diminutive but truly delicious mini burritos at Sonoratown, filled with shredded chicken or beef, cheese, tomatoes, and smoky anaheim chile, are among the most flavor-packed vessels of food one can get in Los Angeles. Wrapped with the shop’s award-winning flour tortilla, it’s hard to have just one.

208 E 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

8. Hickory burger at the Apple Pan

10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Not all burgers are created equal, which is why the Apple Pan’s hickory burger continues to stand the test of time. Rich and served with a touch of zip thanks to a proprietary barbecue sauce blend, this burger from a West LA institution is a must-do for anyone passing through the city.

10801 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

9. Lobster roll at Broad Street Oyster Company

23359 CA-1 #3874A, Malibu, CA 90265
Lobster roll at Broad Street Oyster Co. in Malibu.
Lobster roll at Broad Street Oyster Co. in Malibu.
Mona Holmes/Eater LA

Malibu’s Broad Street Oyster Co. has done something many Angelenos have clamored for: a truly great lobster roll. The example here, placed into a butter roll and stuffed to the gills with fresh Maine lobster, will cost a pretty penny, but it’s possible the most reliable bite along LA’s legendary beaches.

23359 CA-1 #3874A
Malibu, CA 90265

10. Oxtails and rice at Alta Adams

5359 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Oxtails and rice at Alta Adams
Oxtails and rice at Alta Adams
Wonho Frank Lee

Alta does a fine job of introducing soul food in a polished, friendly environment in West Adams. The oxtails and rice might be the showstopper here, with chef Keith Corbin’s version swimming in a rich brown sauce of soy sauce, ginger, miso, onions, scallions, and carrots.

5359 W Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

11. Burger at Father's Office

1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403
Father’s Office Burger
Father’s Office Burger
Elizabeth Daniels

There are many great burgers in LA, but Sang Yoon's is the seminal gourmet burger in America. Using house dry-aged beef, arugula, caramelized onions, and Maytag blue cheese on an elongated sandwich bun, it's big enough to share.

1018 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403

12. Shrimp taco at Mariscos Jalisco

3040 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023

While there is no shortage of outstanding taco trucks in Los Angeles, Mariscos Jaliscos may very well be the most beloved of all thanks to Raul Ortega and his crispy shrimp tacos. The wonderful textural interplay of the crunchy shell and shrimp filling can’t be beat.

3040 E Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90023

13. Nashville-style hot chicken at Hotville Chicken

4070 Marlton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90008
Hotville chicken on a tray with checkered paper and pickles.
Hotville chicken.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

Kim Prince brought her legendary family’s mentality toward Nashville Hot Chicken and brought it to the heart of Los Angeles. With a terrific, crisp exterior and deeply flavored, incredibly spicy seasonings, there’s a reason why Hotville is among the best examples of hot chicken anywhere in LA.

4070 Marlton Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90008

14. Banana leaf tamales at Tamales Elena Y Antojitos

8101 Garfield Ave, Bell Gardens, CA 90201
Banana leaf tamales from Tamales Elena.
Banana leaf tamales from Tamales Elena.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

Famed Watts truck Tamales Elena has a drive-thru and takeout-ready location in Bell Gardens serving possibly the most epic banana leaf-wrapped tamales in Los Angeles. The menus change daily.

8101 Garfield Ave
Bell Gardens, CA 90201

15. Pescado zaradeado at Coni' Seafood

3544 W Imperial Hwy, Inglewood, CA 90303

The legendary pescado zarandeado at Sinaloan specialist Coni’Seafood is an amazing snook that’s butterflied then grilled with precision. Served with tortillas and an onion salsa, it’s one of the most spectacular seafood dishes in the city. Also available at Coni’Seafood’s Culver City location.

3544 W Imperial Hwy
Inglewood, CA 90303

Related Maps