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Matteo’s
Matteo’s
Matteo’s

17 Los Angeles Restaurants That Are Stuck in Time

Delightfully dated menus served in spaces with history and character

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Matteo’s
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In a city that’s obsessed with all that’s hot and new, gracefully aging restaurants are a rarity. However, there are a handful of notable dining institutions that have been operating for decades without flexing or bending with changing times and trends — save for price adjustments here and there. The restaurants on this guide have been quietly and confidently serving mostly the same menus in largely unchanged dining rooms since day one, and their legions of devoted diners wouldn’t have it any other way. Here now are 17 Los Angeles restaurants that are stuck in time in a very, very good way.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Chez Jay

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1657 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-1741
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Opened by Jay Fiondella back in 1959, Chez Jay is as lively as it ever was. It’s perfectly acceptable to just stop in for a stiff drink, but the enticing atmosphere begs to be enjoyed over a meal of steaks or seafood, or better yet, both.

Inside the colorful, packed Chez Jay in Santa Monica.
Chez Jay
Elizabeth Daniels

2. Chinois On Main

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2709 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 392-9025
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Considered to be the birthplace of Asian fusion cuisine since opening in 1983, Chinois on Main combines Chinese flavors with California ingredients and French technique. The signature Chinois Chicken Salad is an absolute must for all diners. Throw in an order of the duck-stuffed spring rolls for good measure.  

Chinois On Main
Chinois On Main
Adrian Robert H./Yelp

3. Vito Restaurant

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2807 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 450-4999
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Roberto and Giovanna Somma’s Italian spot has been going strong for nearly four decades. The Naples-born duo serve up classics like the Calamari Posillipo (sauteed baby squid) and the Spaghetti Della Casa made with chopped shrimp sautéed with shallots, cognac, cream, and tomato sauce. It’s like an upscale Italian restaurant from a 1970s Scorsese film.

Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant [Official Photo]

4. Barone's

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13726 Oxnard St
Valley Glen, CA 91401
(818) 782-6004
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Crowds have been descending upon Barone for dependable Italian-American fare since it opened in 1945 (though it’s moved locations multiple times, landing in this building a few years ago). Most every table has an order of mozzarella sticks and a rectangular Neapolitan-style pizza to share. But for a real blast from the past, dig into the veal saltimbocca “Monteleone Style,” pounded veal cutlets stuffed with spinach and prosciutto.

Barone’s
Barone’s
Yelp

5. Matteo's

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2321 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 475-4521
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This dinner-only institution had been around since 1963. Cozy up to a booth and settle in as a tuxedoed waiter takes orders. Start with the vitello tonnato, thinly sliced roasted veal served cold in a tuna sauce, before moving on to pasta and proteins. Apparently Matteo’s was a favorite of Frank Sinatra, and it looks like it hasn’t changed much since the Rat Pack frequented the restaurant.

Matteo’s
Matteo’s
Courtesy Matteo’s

6. The Ivy

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113 N Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 274-8303
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This is the kind of place that is as much about the scene as what’s on the table. A favorite among a certain set of celebrities, don’t be surprised if there are paparazzi hovering outside the restaurant. Order a big salad, preferable the Cobb with beets, avocado, tomato, eggs, blue cheese, and bacon, and gab with a girlfriend while on the lookout for Jennifer Aniston.

The Ivy
The Ivy
Dragano H./Yelp

7. Matsuhisa

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129 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 659-9639
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Drawing from 20 years of experience working in sushi bars from Tokyo to Lima, Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa opened Matsuhisa in 1987. There are straightforward sashimi, sushi rolls, and tempura, of course, but it’s the “Matsuhisa Special Dishes” that set this institution apart from the countless sushi counters in town.

Matsuhisa
Matsuhisa
Matthew Kang

8. Musso & Frank Grill

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6667 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 467-7788
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The oldest surviving restaurant in Hollywood, Musso & Frank remains a popular spot for tourist and locals alike. Strong drinks, especially the martinis, are a main draw, though the American-Continental fare does a good job of giving guests a sense that they’re in a time warp.

Musso & Frank Grill
Musso & Frank Grill

9. Chili John's

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2018 W Burbank Blvd
Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 846-3611
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Homesick Ohioans have been heading to Burbank for a taste of Cincinnati chili, a dish of warmly spiced meat sauce served over spaghetti, since 1946. The orange seats surrounding the U-shaped counter are as comfortable as ever. Save room for a slice of pie for dessert.

Chili John’s
Chili John’s
Chili John’s [Official Photo]

10. Marino Ristorante

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6001 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 466-8812
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For a taste of classic New York Italian fare in the center of Los Angeles, there’s the dependably solid Marino. It’s hard to go wrong with the fettuccine lobster, followed by the pollo vesuvio, a roasted chicken with garlic and white wine.

Marino Ristorante as shown from the inside, with dark booths and white tablecloths during the day.
Marino Ristorante
Yelp

11. Jeon Ju Korean Bibimbap Restaurant

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2716 W Olympic Blvd Ste #101
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 386-5678
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Sizzling stone bowls heaped with steamed rice and a rainbow of vegetables and topped with a wobbly egg are the specialty at this Koreatown stalwart. While there are a couple of bibimbap varieties listed on the menu, the one with kalbi (marinated beef) is the most flavorful. When the bibimbap first arrives at the table, hissing and searing like it means business, leave it be so that a nice, crisp crust can form.

Jeon Ju
Jeon Ju

12. The Dresden

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1760 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 665-4294
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Prime rib and live jazz is what it’s always been about ever since The Dresden opened in 1954. Most nights are filled with the regular crowd, but every so often a Swingers fan pops in to see how money the place really is.

Dresden
Dresden
Dresden [Official Photo]

13. Yang Chow Restaurant

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819 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 625-0811
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The Yang family opened the original restaurant upon arriving in Los Angeles from Hong Kong in 1976. Even though there are well over 100 items on the menu, every customer that comes through the doors orders the same thing: “Slippery Shrimp,” an ocean-dwelling cousin of General Tso.

Yang Chow slippery shrimp
Yang Chow Restaurant
Yelp/Mary F.

14. Pho 87

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1019 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 227-0758
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Pho 87 has been dutifully serving the downtown community since opening its doors for business. There’s pho on the menu, of course, in addition to a smattering of classic Vietnamese offerings like broken rice and egg rolls.

15. Stoney Point Bar & Grill

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1460 W Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 449-9715
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Take a drive across the Colorado Street Bridge to Pasadena’s San Rafael neighborhood for continental cuisine at Amedeo Contantino’s 1994 classic. Groove to piano tunes and fill up on Fettuccine Fantasia (chicken sun dried tomatoes, and mushrooms) and sand dabs in a creamy lemon sauce.

Stoney Point Bar & Grill
Stoney Point Bar & Grill
Stoney Point Bar & Grill [Official Photo]

16. El Toreo

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21 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 793-2577

Located in the heart of Old Pasadena, El Toreo has been family owned for more than four decades. Come here for huge portions of classic Mexican fare paired with imported Mexican beer. Vintage photographs and a retro jukebox gives the little cafe an old timey feel.

El Toreo
El Toreo
Alex G./Yelp

17. Venice Room

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2428 Garfield Ave S
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(323) 722-3075
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Family-owned and operated since 1955, the specialty here is cook-your-own steak for just $8.95 at lunch. The Venetian-themed interior is dusty, dated, and dingy, but truth be told, quite charming too.

The Venice Room
The Venice Room
GastronomyBlog

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1. Chez Jay

1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Inside the colorful, packed Chez Jay in Santa Monica.
Chez Jay
Elizabeth Daniels

Opened by Jay Fiondella back in 1959, Chez Jay is as lively as it ever was. It’s perfectly acceptable to just stop in for a stiff drink, but the enticing atmosphere begs to be enjoyed over a meal of steaks or seafood, or better yet, both.

1657 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401

2. Chinois On Main

2709 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Chinois On Main
Chinois On Main
Adrian Robert H./Yelp

Considered to be the birthplace of Asian fusion cuisine since opening in 1983, Chinois on Main combines Chinese flavors with California ingredients and French technique. The signature Chinois Chicken Salad is an absolute must for all diners. Throw in an order of the duck-stuffed spring rolls for good measure.  

2709 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

3. Vito Restaurant

2807 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant [Official Photo]

Roberto and Giovanna Somma’s Italian spot has been going strong for nearly four decades. The Naples-born duo serve up classics like the Calamari Posillipo (sauteed baby squid) and the Spaghetti Della Casa made with chopped shrimp sautéed with shallots, cognac, cream, and tomato sauce. It’s like an upscale Italian restaurant from a 1970s Scorsese film.

2807 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405

4. Barone's

13726 Oxnard St, Valley Glen, CA 91401
Barone’s
Barone’s
Yelp

Crowds have been descending upon Barone for dependable Italian-American fare since it opened in 1945 (though it’s moved locations multiple times, landing in this building a few years ago). Most every table has an order of mozzarella sticks and a rectangular Neapolitan-style pizza to share. But for a real blast from the past, dig into the veal saltimbocca “Monteleone Style,” pounded veal cutlets stuffed with spinach and prosciutto.

13726 Oxnard St
Valley Glen, CA 91401

5. Matteo's

2321 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Matteo’s
Matteo’s
Courtesy Matteo’s

This dinner-only institution had been around since 1963. Cozy up to a booth and settle in as a tuxedoed waiter takes orders. Start with the vitello tonnato, thinly sliced roasted veal served cold in a tuna sauce, before moving on to pasta and proteins. Apparently Matteo’s was a favorite of Frank Sinatra, and it looks like it hasn’t changed much since the Rat Pack frequented the restaurant.

2321 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

6. The Ivy

113 N Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048
The Ivy
The Ivy
Dragano H./Yelp

This is the kind of place that is as much about the scene as what’s on the table. A favorite among a certain set of celebrities, don’t be surprised if there are paparazzi hovering outside the restaurant. Order a big salad, preferable the Cobb with beets, avocado, tomato, eggs, blue cheese, and bacon, and gab with a girlfriend while on the lookout for Jennifer Aniston.

113 N Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

7. Matsuhisa

129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Matsuhisa
Matsuhisa
Matthew Kang

Drawing from 20 years of experience working in sushi bars from Tokyo to Lima, Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa opened Matsuhisa in 1987. There are straightforward sashimi, sushi rolls, and tempura, of course, but it’s the “Matsuhisa Special Dishes” that set this institution apart from the countless sushi counters in town.

129 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

8. Musso & Frank Grill

6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Musso & Frank Grill
Musso & Frank Grill

The oldest surviving restaurant in Hollywood, Musso & Frank remains a popular spot for tourist and locals alike. Strong drinks, especially the martinis, are a main draw, though the American-Continental fare does a good job of giving guests a sense that they’re in a time warp.

6667 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

9. Chili John's

2018 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506
Chili John’s
Chili John’s
Chili John’s [Official Photo]

Homesick Ohioans have been heading to Burbank for a taste of Cincinnati chili, a dish of warmly spiced meat sauce served over spaghetti, since 1946. The orange seats surrounding the U-shaped counter are as comfortable as ever. Save room for a slice of pie for dessert.

2018 W Burbank Blvd
Burbank, CA 91506

10. Marino Ristorante

6001 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Marino Ristorante as shown from the inside, with dark booths and white tablecloths during the day.
Marino Ristorante
Yelp

For a taste of classic New York Italian fare in the center of Los Angeles, there’s the dependably solid Marino. It’s hard to go wrong with the fettuccine lobster, followed by the pollo vesuvio, a roasted chicken with garlic and white wine.

6001 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

11. Jeon Ju Korean Bibimbap Restaurant

2716 W Olympic Blvd Ste #101, Los Angeles, CA 90006
Jeon Ju
Jeon Ju

Sizzling stone bowls heaped with steamed rice and a rainbow of vegetables and topped with a wobbly egg are the specialty at this Koreatown stalwart. While there are a couple of bibimbap varieties listed on the menu, the one with kalbi (marinated beef) is the most flavorful. When the bibimbap first arrives at the table, hissing and searing like it means business, leave it be so that a nice, crisp crust can form.

2716 W Olympic Blvd Ste #101
Los Angeles, CA 90006

12. The Dresden

1760 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Dresden
Dresden
Dresden [Official Photo]

Prime rib and live jazz is what it’s always been about ever since The Dresden opened in 1954. Most nights are filled with the regular crowd, but every so often a Swingers fan pops in to see how money the place really is.

1760 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

13. Yang Chow Restaurant

819 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Yang Chow slippery shrimp
Yang Chow Restaurant
Yelp/Mary F.

The Yang family opened the original restaurant upon arriving in Los Angeles from Hong Kong in 1976. Even though there are well over 100 items on the menu, every customer that comes through the doors orders the same thing: “Slippery Shrimp,” an ocean-dwelling cousin of General Tso.

819 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012

14. Pho 87

1019 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Pho 87 has been dutifully serving the downtown community since opening its doors for business. There’s pho on the menu, of course, in addition to a smattering of classic Vietnamese offerings like broken rice and egg rolls.

1019 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012

15. Stoney Point Bar & Grill

1460 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105
Stoney Point Bar & Grill
Stoney Point Bar & Grill
Stoney Point Bar & Grill [Official Photo]

Take a drive across the Colorado Street Bridge to Pasadena’s San Rafael neighborhood for continental cuisine at Amedeo Contantino’s 1994 classic. Groove to piano tunes and fill up on Fettuccine Fantasia (chicken sun dried tomatoes, and mushrooms) and sand dabs in a creamy lemon sauce.

1460 W Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105

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16. El Toreo

21 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
El Toreo
El Toreo
Alex G./Yelp

Located in the heart of Old Pasadena, El Toreo has been family owned for more than four decades. Come here for huge portions of classic Mexican fare paired with imported Mexican beer. Vintage photographs and a retro jukebox gives the little cafe an old timey feel.

21 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105

17. Venice Room

2428 Garfield Ave S, Monterey Park, CA 91754
The Venice Room
The Venice Room
GastronomyBlog

Family-owned and operated since 1955, the specialty here is cook-your-own steak for just $8.95 at lunch. The Venetian-themed interior is dusty, dated, and dingy, but truth be told, quite charming too.

2428 Garfield Ave S
Monterey Park, CA 91754

Related Maps