Restaurant requests tend to fall into two major categories: The new spots and the classic spots. We all want to know what’s red-hot and buzzy and what’s time-tested and important. But what about those places that fall somewhere in between? They’re not really new but they’re not necessarily old. They’re the places that had their time in the sun and can now be found plugging away, keeping themselves relevant (and crowded) amidst a constant sea of turnover. Is there a tougher place to be? Do these places even exist? Absolutely. Here are our picks for great restaurants that have been open for over 10 years.
Los Angeles loves itself a mediocre Italian restaurant. Give us a decent pesto, some colorful macaroons, and call yourself Bottega Louie and we’ll be there. But then we have places like Angelini Osteria that, while still dishing out some of the best old-school Italian food in town, feels brand new every time. Just don’t let its small, informal space on Beverly deceive you. Angelini is a culinary giant and a well-deserved one at that.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
La Casita Mexicana
While a midweek trip to Bell is a bonafide death sentence in the minds of most Angelenos, if the destination is La Casita Mexicana you simply deal with it. Because this industrial enclave south of DTLA is home to one of the best Mexican restaurants in SoCal. With an eccentric, Dia de Los Muertos vibe, a fantastic regional menu, and a waitstaff fully accustomed to destination eaters, you’ll feel at home in no time. And just turn the car around now if you aren’t planning on ordering the chile en nogada.
Ok, this one could arguably be on a classics list but it deserves to be here too. Because the fact remains the most famous restaurant in Los Angeles is still among our best. Instead of resting on its 1980s super-stardom laurels, Wolfgang and Co. have continued to reinvent themselves time and time again, showing everyone in the business exactly how it’s done. Respect.
Meals By Genet
Smack in the center of the crowded Fairfax strip of Little Ethiopia sits its cornerstone restaurant, Meals By Genet. Aside from serving consistently great Ethiopian food, its candlelit dining room exudes a romantic vibe otherwise not found in the neighborhood. And that means you get to eat with your bare hands on date night. What now, Medieval Times?
Despite our city’s wild affinity for Mexican cuisine, Oaxacan still remains a bit on the fringe. Enter Guelaguetza, one of the best Oaxacan restaurants in the country. Located in an area even city aldermans can’t point to with confidence on a map, this James Beard Award winning shrine to mole has a live mariachi band, 65 different types of mescal, and you wondering how the f*ck it took so long to discover it.
Larchmont Wine and Cheese
Long a haven for unneeded coffee shops and yoga mom in-crowds, Larchmont is also home to one of the finest walk-up sandwich counters in LA. Located in the back of a fairly bougie wine shop, Larchmont Wine and Cheese’s menu is small, simple, and perfect. You pick the sandwich and the type of bread and watch the magic unfold in front of you. Just get there early because when that bread runs out for the day, so does your shot of getting a sandwich.
Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken
On the southern edge of downtown Culver City, you’ll find this squeaky-clean fried chicken joint that wouldn’t look out of place at a Westfield Mall food court. Nothing to see here, right? Wrong. With its commitment to higher-quality ingredients and now several major accolades under their belt, word is finally starting to get out. Honey’s has quietly been serving some of the best fried chicken in LA for over a decade and we aren’t kidding.
Melisse is one of the finest restaurants in the city and you’re gonna pay for it. One truffle egg will set you back a cool $95 and that hurts. Does said egg come with an engagement ring from Tom Hardy? Not most nights. But the point remains that whether or not Mad Max gets down on one knee, this two Michelin-starred French restaurant is something you must experience at least once in your life and credit cards exist for a reason.
This quirky Venice standby could’ve easily faded into the sunset years ago but instead has continued to elevate their now famous burgers and bring in some serious crowds. Back in the day, a sushi burger on a menu was a way bigger deal than it is today and 26 Beach knows it. But the food still holds up (especially brunch) and the grandma’s-back-on-Vicodin decor can’t be beat.