There’s a time and place for loud restaurants - bachelorette parties, life-changing job promotions, or when you want to tune out your roommate talking about how much they miss their ex. Other times, you just want to eat and talk in peace without having to compete with a Jason Derulo song. And those are times that you need one of these quiet places that aren’t boring. From a family-run Polish restaurant to the best sushi in the city, here are 12 great spots where you don’t have to scream while you eat.
It might sound like we’re playing make-believe, but it wasn’t all that long ago when Silver Lake was a bit of a food desert. Alimento had a lot to do with changing that reputation. The upscale Italian restaurant on Silver Lake Blvd. was one of the first major destination restaurants in the neighborhood, but as the area continues to fill up with other good places to eat, Alimento is still the best upscale option. The clam fusilli is one of our favorite bowls of pasta in the city and impure thoughts of the chicken milanese sandwich have kept us awake at night.
Papilles has been open since 2011, but through some likely backroom crystal exchange with a restaurant witch, this French restaurant has remained a relative secret. Located on a part of Franklin Ave. in Hollywood best known for its never-ending 101 on-ramp traffic, this neighborhood bistro has a low-key space ideal for getting wine drunk on a Wednesday and a $35 prix fixe menu that goes toe to toe with some of our other favorite French restaurants in town.
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 with 3,000 selfies on her phone. Consider Chez Tex one of them. This casual bistro (get the burger) is small and sparse, with only ten or so tables and a bar. It’s one of the few restaurants in the area where you’ll want to hang out all night. And then the next night after that.
There are great sushi restaurants and then there’s Sushi Park. On the second floor of a strip mall along Sunset, this classic spot is the absolute best sushi you can find in Los Angeles and perhaps the entire country. You’re definitely going to pay for it (good luck leaving here under $200 a person). But if you’re going to drop that kind of money on raw fish, Sushi Park’s omakase is where to do it. Despite its popularity - particularly among very famous people - the place still feels like a neighborhood sushi bar you might find in the deep Valley.
With black and white checkerboard walls, colorful furniture, and a pink unicorn head hanging above the tables, it’s easy to write Daw-Yee off as a place only intended to look cute on the internet. And that would be a mistake. This casual Burmese restaurant has fantastic food across-the-board and its bright space is low-key and not nearly as annoying as it looks. Get the tea leaf salad, platha bread, and the ohnoh noodles (coconut chicken soup).
Commerson’s objectively boring signage doesn’t exactly hint that something exciting is happening inside. Is it a dentist’s office? Your great aunt’s favorite cashmere shop in Scottsdale? Nope. Commerson is a seafood restaurant and one of the more underrated places to eat around Mid-Wilshire. Their salmon poke is better than almost all other poke, and the chorizo and shrimp burger is our favorite thing on the menu. It’s also a great place to watch some sports out of the corner of your eye without having to deal with people screaming uncontrollably.
From the outside, All Time looks like any other cute, approachable coffee shop in the heart of Los Feliz. While it’s definitely all of those things, the Thursday-Monday dinner menu here should be taken seriously. The vegetable and meat-heavy menu changes somewhat regularly, but this is the kind of food you drive across the city in rush hour traffic to eat. Also, if the burrata-topped focaccia is there, get at least three of them. Two for now, one to enjoy during the impending zombie apocalypse.
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 run.
There’s a full spectrum of sceney destination restaurants in the Arts District these days. Church & State is not one of them. This low-key French restaurant has an extremely traditional menu of things like French onion soup and ratatouille, but with a bright space that keeps things from ever becoming boring. Also, the traditional food is fantastic. If you’re looking for a good, relaxed dinner in the Arts District, Church & State is one of your best options.
If the idea of a prix fixe restaurant intimidates you or throws you into fits of anger because you have unchecked control issues, Kato might be a good place for you to dip your toe in. On a stretch of West LA where not much of anything happens, Kato is a tiny Japanese/Taiwanese restaurant with a tremendous eight-course prix fixe menu. At $85 a person, it’s not exactly a casual night out, but Kato’s quiet space makes every meal here feel casual. The always-changing menu tends to be seafood-heavy and portions are bigger than most other set menus we’ve had.
Including a wine bar on this list might seem like cheating because if a wine bar is loud, there’s probably something wrong with it. That said, we’re putting Good Measure on this list because of their excellent bar snacks menu (the pork rillettes are a must-order) and their big space that won’t have you trapped in a dark corner all night. This Atwater spot is owned by the same people as Bar Covell, so expect a massive wine list, free pours, and bartenders who’ll probably teach you a thing or two.
Located in a small bungalow house in Silver Lake, Bowery Bungalow feels worlds away from the fedora apocalypse that is Sunset Junction - even though it’s just around the corner. This modern 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.