Where To Get Great Greek Food In LA

8 spots for gyro, spanakopita, tzatziki, and more.
Greekman's spread

photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto

The most Greek thing in the Angeleno food pyramid is probably Greek yogurt. As much as we adore a nice gyro, this city has limited options when the craving for juicy lamb souvlaki or crispy spanakopita hits. Since you’re here, we’ll assume you’re craving those things, too. Here are our favorite spots in Los Angeles for a night of grilled octopus, seared saganaki, and maybe a shot of ouzo, too.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Greek

Pico Union

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCheap EatsClassic Establishment
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If you go to one Greek restaurant in LA, make it Papa Cristo’s. In operation since 1948, a meal at this restaurant/market in Pico-Union feels less like eating at a traditional restaurant and more like stumbling into a neighborhood potluck at a community center. Everyone orders what they want from the deli counter in front—we love the saganaki, veggie moussaka, and any plate involving lamb—then heads to the adjoining dining room where tables are pushed together as needed. Be sure to grab some housemade Greek yogurt and honey for dessert.

For being a small counter-service spot on W. 3rd Street, this Beverly Grove restaurant has a relatively huge menu. Run by the same owner as the now-closed Larchmont classic Le Petit Greek, Greek Eats offers well-executed staples like flaky spanakopita hot from the oven, buttery gigante beans in a warm tomato sauce, and juicy lamb souvlaki skewers. The lamb is cooked perfectly, and we like it with warm fries and fresh, bright tabbouleh. You’ll notice people grabbing takeout orders at the counter, but a sit-down meal on the sidewalk with a Greek spread is an undeniable upgrade. 

Located in the back corner of Malibu Country Mart, away from the revving Porsches and toddlers in Gucci, is Taverna Tony: an oasis of great (albeit pricey) Greek food. This romantic indoor-outdoor space is a quintessential Malibu date spot, but not nearly as sceney as the restaurants near the water. It’s a great option for a post-beach dinner, though, where you can stretch your sand-covered legs on the beautiful patio and split grilled octopus, bowls of creamy taramasalata, and whole grilled branzino. And if you’re looking for a little entertainment, they typically have live music and belly dancers on weekends, too.

Aliki’s is a tiny diner-esque Greek restaurant in the shadow of LAX’s hulking parking structures. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of spot (parking is shared with the Super 8 next door), so don’t get frustrated if you have to circle the bloc—there’s excellent family-style Greek food hidden inside. If you’re staying the night at a hotel near LAX, Aliki’s is one of the best options within walking distance, but even if you’re not, the hominess this place exudes makes it worth the trip. The menu covers a lot of ground, including a long list of traditional hot and cold appetizers. For entrees, stick to the classics—the juicy lamb souvlaki and sizzling feta plate are our go-tos.

photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto

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Not only do we love the food at Greekman’s, we also love the kitsch. This lively Silver Lake spot (previously Freedman’s) is adorned with miniature marble busts and grapevines, with a walled blue and white patio in the parking lot. Even after several ouzo shots, it does not teleport you to Paros, but it’s nice. Nights here involve white wine from the islands and small plates of tender grilled octopus, lamb chops over tzatziki, and feta-stuffed phyllo pockets that we’d happily order ten times over if the prices didn’t add up so quickly. Use Greekman’s for drinks and a few bites, and you’ll have plenty of fun.

When you want to celebrate something special over grilled seafood and spanakopita, Louka is the place. This Beverly Hills spot is on the fancier side and best suited for dinners where everyone is comfortable splurging a bit. The menu has as many whole fish options as CVS has “funny birthday” greeting cards. Servers stroll around the massive dining room in fitted blazers bearing crispy zucchini chips, marinated octopus, and lamb moussaka. Finish with dessert presented tableside, which involves a silver platter topped with things like flaky baklava and digestifs in crystal decanters.

Elena’s is a Greek/Armenian restaurant that’s been operating just south of downtown Glendale since the ’80s. The dining room has marble columns (naturally), and the Greek music blasting over the speaker and a massive flatscreen airing MSNBC are thrilling touches. This is your spot for lentil soups, Greek salads, lule kebabs, and lemony stuffed grape leaves—plus, the warm flatbread with whipped garlic sauce they give you to start the meal. If you’re looking for a midday pick-me-up, one cup of their Armenian coffee will pick you up, twirl you around, and send you flying into the stratosphere.

We’re not sure what’s with good Greek restaurants being next to airports, but as with Aliki’s, Long Beach's Pita Pitaki is a short drive from the tarmac (LBX in this case), squeezed between a sushi bar and a doughnut shop. The menu at this family-run operation is larger than you’d expect given the casual strip mall digs: usual takeout suspects like spicy feta dip, greek salad, and gyro wraps are done well, but there are also homey entrees like rice-stuffed peppers, beef-eggplant moussaka, and lemony roasted chicken worth hanging around for. If you’re looking to feed a group, the mezze combo and Pitaki Apola special are an excellent value.

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