9 Quiet Restaurants That Aren’t Boring guide image


9 Quiet Restaurants That Aren’t Boring

When being able to hear the people at your table is part of the fun.

There’s a time and place for loud restaurants: bachelorette parties, life-changing job promotions, or when you want to tune out your aunt talking about how much she misses her ex-ex-husband again. Other times, you just want to eat in peace without having to compete with a Doja Cat song. And those are times that you need one of these quiet restaurants that aren’t boring. Here are some great restaurants where you don’t have to scream while you eat. 


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Antico Nuovo


4653 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles
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In a quiet strip mall on the edge of Koreatown, this charming little Italian restaurant is great for peaceful grown-up dates or intimate dinners with your closest friends. Sit at the bar and you’ll enjoy front-row seats to pasta twirling and scorching hot pizzas pulled out of the oven. There’s not a bad dish on here—focaccia is mattress-thick and drenched in olive oil; home-style agnolotti comes pinched around the edges and filled with pan drippings. If you don’t order ice cream at the end, return ASAP.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

If you’ve been waiting **checks notes** years for a N/naka reservation, we have good news: N/Soto exists. This casual Mid-City izakaya has the same chefs as the original restaurant, but now with a less expensive a la carte menu, a tranquil, white oak-heavy interior, and actual availability when it comes to snagging a table. The large, 50-odd item menu can be a bit overwhelming at first, so we recommend concentrating on chewy mochi flatbread with a side of eggplant dip and salted creme fraiche, miso-slathered bone marrow with pickled onions, and a miniature, one-bite flavor bomb of minced toro and caviar on sushi rice. 

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Located in a quaint, two-story yellow bungalow in Venice, this tiny Italian spot is a relic in every sense of the word and one of the last remaining places to experience the old Venice—long before the tech bros got their hands on it. Barrique is also a classic date spot, complete with candle-lit interiors, Italian servers with thick accents, and even a side balcony with only enough room for a couple of tables for two. This is your move for anniversaries, birthday dinners, or “We don’t need an excuse, we just want to go somewhere fancy” dinners.

With a small, old-fashioned dining room and a quiet front patio, there’s nothing particularly flashy about this family-run spot in Pasadena—and that’s exactly why we like it. Perle keeps things simple, providing an unfussy, romantic atmosphere and a menu filled with well-executed bistro food. Our favorite dish is the frisée Lyonnaise salad, which comes topped with bacon lardons, poached egg, chicken liver mousse crouton, and dijon vinaigrette. It’s a savory, rich salad that’s still light enough to leave you fresh on your toes. And that’s important, because you don’t want to miss the moules frites or tangy french onion soup either.

Mantee is one of the best Armenian restaurants in LA. The family-run spot has a quirky, rustic interior that feels like you’re eating lunch at someone’s aunt’s one-bedroom apartment in Ojai, and there’s a lush back patio ideal for a serene solo meal. As its name suggests, mantee is the specialty here, and while the sumac and yogurt-covered dumplings are among our favorite versions in town, don’t even think about getting the check until both the dolma and sizzling hot feta have made it to your table as well.

There are plenty of good restaurants in Venice. But there aren’t many where you can walk in at 7pm on a Friday night and actually get a seat without being laughed at by a hostess/model. Consider Chez Tex one of them. This casual bistro is small and sparse, with only ten or so tables and a bar. The menu is a rotating list of solid small plates like seafood conservas, charcuterie, and a particularly excellent tahini caesar. This is one of the few restaurants in the area where you’ll want to hang out all night. And then the next night after that.

​​This upscale soba shop in Beverly Hills likes to call itself the “pinnacle of noodle”—which we’re not really opposed to. Running around $32 each, these certainly are not the cheapest bowls of noodles in town, but then again, you’re in the 90210, baby. Our favorite is the #1, filled with chewy, house-made noodles, chashu pork, wontons, and a clear, umami-rich broth made with truffle and soy-based sauce that we’d happily drink out of a pint glass any day of the week. If you’re looking for a low-key quick lunch or dinner on La Cienega, Kazan is your best option. 

When everything in life seems to be falling apart, there are very few places we’d rather be than Polka Polish. This family-run Polish restaurant in Glassell Park has some of our favorite comfort food in the city—kielbasa, meat-filled stews, and gigantic platters of pierogis. It’s rich, hearty, and everything your dark heart could want on a solo midweek lunch or dinner run.

Located in a small bungalow house in Silver Lake, Bowery Bungalow feels worlds away from the ironic mullet apocalypse that is Sunset Junction—even though it’s just around the corner. This Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant has solid food across the board and a calm space ideal for a date night when it’s still unclear who likes the other one more. If you can, snag a table on their tiny back patio for even more privacy.

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