Some things aren’t for everyone. Kombucha. Heavy metal pilates classes. Larry David. But unlike that sea salt harvesting class your roommate wants you to try with her, all of these restaurants are actually good for all human beings, and all situations. The spots on this list are the kinds of places where you can bring anyone - cool younger people, cool older people, un-cool people, picky people, dates, groups - and know you’ve made a choice that will please. Pat yourself on the back for making the first (only?) good decision of your night.
Yes, we put Jon & Vinny’s on quite a lot of our guides. Yes, it was also the first spot we wrote down when we were brainstorming for this one. In fact, we wrote it down before we started brainstorming, because you don’t need a brain to know that Jon & Vinny’s is perfect for literally everyone and literally every eating situation you might find yourself in. You will never have eaten that spaghetti bolognese too many times.
Do you hate feeling like you’re on the set of a Nancy Meyers movie (complete with the giant glasses of wine)? Then you’ll definitely hate A.O.C., with it’s stunner of a patio, dimly-lit dining room, and the best damn roast chicken in the greater Los Angeles area. Also, if you hate private dining rooms that feel like a cozy ski lodge crossed with a wine cellar, then you’d hate having your next very fancy dinner here. If you hate life, then you’ll definitely hate A.O.C.
Nothing bad can happen at Republique. You can come here for a solo weekday breakfast, a long lunch with a big group, or a sexy date and you will leave thinking that life doesn’t get any better. Except if you value your money, because they will take that from you. Sorry Janet Jackson, but the best things in life are not free.
It’s impossible not to start thinking about all the people you’re going to want to bring here from the moment you first get to Salazar. The all-outdoors Mexican restaurant in Frogtown makes you feel like you’re on vacation, and then backs it up with some insanely good food. We recommend going all in on the tacos (and the excellent cocktails), and adding one of the larger meat dishes at the end if you’ve got a big group. There’s enough to keep vegetarians happy too, and if it’s even a tiny bit chilly out, they’ll switch on the heaters and keep that one whiny friend happy.
The reason Belle Vie is perfect for everyone isn’t because of the excellent, modern spins on French classics, or the interesting wine list, or the fact that somehow they’ve airlifted a Parisian bistro onto the most boring part of Wilshire in Brentwood. The reason you are guaranteed to love this place is because five minutes after walking in, you’re already best friends with everyone who works here. They’ll tell you what to eat and drink, where to eat in Paris on your upcoming trip, remember you the next time you visit (because you will be visiting again), and do all of it in a very thick French accent.
The Larchmont isn’t cool - it’s just The Larchmont: a not-old, but also not-new restaurant inside a craftsman that’s a complete and utter crowdpleaser. There’s a burger that’s among the top three in LA, excellent octopus, and a kale salad for the picky member of the family in the corner. Bring your grandparents, your brother, or a date and every single one of them will love it. Bring them all at once if you’re feeling extra brave.
Kettle Black isn’t going to change anybody’s life. Unless it’s your third cousin who just landed here from Anchorage and has never had decent Italian food in his life. But out-of-body experiences aren’t what you’re looking for in your neighborhood Italian - you’re looking for pizza and pasta and somewhere you can have a date this week and a parent dinner next week. Kettle Black is all of these things, and if you order anything made in the wood-fired oven, everyone will be happy.
If you’re in Venice, Superba is the answer any time of day. Need a hangover-killing breakfast sandwich, but your friend is eating clean? Superba’s brunch menu is here for you. Pastries and a coffee at 11am (without the craziness of other local establishments), a lunch meeting, or even a casual weeknight dinner with friends and their spawn - Superba works in all of these situations. The menu itself is imaginative without being out-there, and the space is big and exists in that perfect place of having vibes, but not to the extent that it feels like a production.
The first reason Salt’s Cure works for everyone is their truly excellent pancakes. Because everyone likes pancakes, and Salt’s Cure makes some special pancakes. But brunch is just the gateway drug to Salt’s Cure - this spot in no-man’s-land Hollywood will help you out at 4pm when you need an actual meal, not a reheated slice of pizza left over from lunch, at 7pm for an easy dinner, and even at 11pm on a Friday night. If you’re not here for pancakes, get the pork chop.
Do you like cauliflower? And fresh-made ricotta, and cornbread, and hummus that’s made with some ingredient it’s not normally made with? Of course you do, you eat in restaurants in LA in 2017. All of these things are present and accounted for at Norah, but not in a “let’s make sure all the latest food trends are on our menu” kind of way. They’re at Norah because they’re delicious, and you should be at Norah because your night is guaranteed to be a good one here.
Sure, you found the right Moon Juice order on the internet, and your friends told you the best place to park for your weekly Runyon pilgrimage, but you found Jones all by yourself. It’s the place that makes you feel like you might actually know something about LA, and that you also know has you covered for whatever the night has in store. Which could be a lot of things, but should always involve the apple pie.
Everyone wants to find that restaurant where they can be a regular. Where you have “your table” and the bartender knows your name and, more importantly, knows that you like you gin and tonic with cucumber not lime. Well, if you live anywhere close to Playa del Rey, then you’re probably already a regular at The Tripel, and Jim definitely knows about your G&T preferences. And even if you don’t, you’ll love the casual neighborhood feel here, and you’ll definitely love the burger. And so will everyone you know.