The Best Restaurants In Long Beach

From Cambodian classics to modern Mexican restaurants—and everything in between—these are the 25 best places to eat in Long Beach.
The Best Restaurants In Long Beach image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Long Beach—Birthplace of Snoop Dogg and Sublime, home to one of the busiest ports in the United States, and parking spot for a giant ship that doesn’t go anywhere. While some might be tempted to think of the area as an outer appendage of Los Angeles, Long Beach (and Snoop Dogg) would very much beg to differ—this expansive metropolis has its own distinct culture and a robust restaurant scene to match.

Here you can truly find it all—from a Cambodian noodle house to a classic diner and pie joint, to a bakery known for sourdough masa and a Peruvian food destination with its own drive-thru window. Choosing where to eat in the LBC can get a bit overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed things down for you. These are the 25 best restaurants in Long Beach.


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Long Beach

$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysOutdoor/Patio SituationDrinking Good Cocktails
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There’s no better restaurant in Long Beach for outdoor dining than this fusion spot at the Compound art center. Union’s huge patio has all the features of a serene sculpture garden—if a sculpture garden hosted weekly DJ sets. In terms of what they're serving, the long menu pulls inspiration from all over the map—expect garlic-lathered pancit noodles, branzino with nam jim, or cumin-spiced, dry-aged ribeye with golden raisin chili dip. Our approach is to snack and drink with friends in the courtyard, especially before strolling around the art installations and ordering a nightcap at the cocktail bar hidden inside the warehouse.

photo credit: Rosella Pisano



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If you’re looking for a place to eat a classic Neapolitan-style pizza and flirt, book a table at L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele in Belmont Shore. This upscale pizzeria from Naples has a huge, candlelit dining room that prominently features a fancy domed oven. But you’ll forget all about that when they bring out those chewy, bubbly-crusted pies, which are best with simple toppings like basil and roasted garlic. For some added romance, reserve a table on their string-lit patio and cosplay a wine-drunk Tuscan holiday by the massive stone fireplace.

A walk-up burger stand on 2nd Street, The Win-Dow serves a very good smashburger, and arguably an even better fried chicken sandwich. This mini-chain (with two other locations in Venice and Silver Lake) knows how to make a quality not-too-smashed beef patty with edges that stay crisp under a blanket of gooey American cheese, caramelized onions, and bright pink house sauce. Their short menu also features extra-crispy shoestring fries, milkshakes, a great kale salad, and a juicy, subtly crunchy fried chicken sandwich with jalapeno aioli and sweet cilantro slaw that you need to prioritize.

Marlena is a rare hybrid for Long Beach—a great all-day cafe and a big night-out dinner spot in one. This Mediterranean restaurant in Naples has an open-air dining room where you can order a morning cappuccino, but after 5pm flips into a wine-fueled clubhouse for locals. It’s usually packed with birthday groups, well-dressed people who likely pay dues at the local yacht club, and others who can’t control the volume of their voice. The well-rounded menu has a solid mix of tapas, pastas, and steaks, but it’s the wood-fired pizzas that stand out. The chef used to bake at Bestia and Gjusta, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the pies at Marlena arrive nicely blistered and crispy.

Phnom Penh is one of the best Cambodian restaurants in Long Beach, and one of our favorite spots in the whole city. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 7am-3pm, this tiny place specializes mostly in breakfast dishes like rice porridge and meat pies, but it’s their house special noodle soup with pork bone broth that we’ll brave even the foggiest of mornings to eat. You can choose between rice or egg noodles, but we prefer doing a mix of both. It’s not really a place that can accommodate groups, so most people just stop in with a friend for a midday meal.

The Bake N Broil is a Long Beach institution. They’ve been open in Bixby Knolls since 1965, serving diner food and incredible pies and cakes. Although there will probably be a wait when you arrive, if you’re cool with sitting at the counter (which you should be), just grab a seat when one opens up. The menu is huge, but you the smart ones go straight for the chicken pot pie. It comes with your choice of soup or salad, and though it might seem counterintuitive to get soup with a chicken pot pie for lunch, definitely get the French onion. Now isn’t the time to start holding back. But save room for dessert. Everything from the red velvet cake to the 10+ types of pie is worth trying.

A&J is a tiny to-go window in a small strip mall parking lot about a mile away from Phnom Penh Noodle Shack, which happens to be run by the same family. As much as we like that spot for noodle soup, this place is our go-to for all things Cambodian seafood: salt & pepper shrimp, grilled oysters, and fresh spring rolls. You’ll technically be sitting outside on the wraparound patio facing a huge intersection, but you'll feel like you're steps from the sea. Our top pick is the crispy salmon, tender fried chunks that come with mango salsa and a sweet tamarind sauce.

Selva is an excellent, slightly upscale Colombian restaurant near the Traffic Circle that’s ideal for group meals where you want to share as many small plates as possible. We love their family-style dishes like the market fish, which varies each day but always comes seared and crispy and served with a bright onion-tomato sofrito. It's the appetizers and sides, however, that should be covering your whole table, including the stewed pork frijoles with fluffy white rice, ceviche with creamy ají amarillo, fried plantains tossed in smoked salt, and one of the crispiest pieces of pork belly we’ve ever tasted paired with warm chewy arepas. Selva is a good spot for a drink, too—there's a long bar at the front of the restaurant serving mostly rum- and tequila-based cocktails, and at brunch, mimosas made with tropical fruit juices.

Long Beach's Cambodia Town is loaded with incredible restaurants, but if you’re looking for the best entry point, make Sophy’s your first stop. The family-run restaurant has been in the neighborhood for 20+ years and does Cambodian staples well. There are always at least a few groups seated in the big leather booths sharing noodles and scooping hot and sour soup from a cauldron. It’s perfect for a casual weeknight lunch, but on weekends, expect to wait up to an hour for a table. Get the red curry, the beef lok lak, and their beef jerky, guaranteed to ruin all other beef jerky for you.

Little Coyote is our go-to pizza spot in Long Beach and one of the best pizzerias in LA. They've got two locations in Long Beach, but we prefer the one on the Eastside for its casual dining room and massive outdoor patio set-up. Their pies are an ode to the classic New York-style slice, but with a more flavorful crust and a variety of topping combos. Folding these thin-crust pies topped with spicy, house-made pepperoni here brings us back to post-game pizza parties with our childhood soccer team. But the pizza we'd gladly travel across town for is the light and airy white pie, topped with the perfect balance of spinach, ricotta, garlic, mozzarella, Calabrian chili, and creamy white sauce.

Heritage is a relatively casual restaurant inside a converted house that offers a six-course tasting menu for $110. We haven't encountered any wait for a table for two here, though you probably should book ahead if you plan on coming with a group. The rotating menu typically involves things like aged duck, perfectly charred octopus, and a creamy, fruit-topped pavlova. Regardless, you’ll spend more time here clinking glasses with friends than waiting for a server to finish over-explaining the next course (like you might at some other tasting menu spots in LA). If you're looking for a laid-back, special occasion restaurant that isn’t as overwhelming as the chain restaurants down along the waterfront, Heritage is a great call for dinner. 

Speak Cheezy is our favorite pizza place in Long Beach that isn’t named Little Coyote. Their crust is a gorgeous cross between sourdough and New York-style, with a brittle crispness along the bottom and those leopard-spotted ends we know and love. The greatest pie in the house is the LBC, a classic cheese pizza topped with fennel sausage, pepperoni cups, and cute little dollops of ricotta for a bit of creaminess. They also have some Jersey-style bar pizza on the menu, which is so thin it’s mostly just a crunchy vessel for whatever toppings you want. With just a few bistro tables inside, Speak Cheezy makes for an exciting (but low-key) lunch move, or a to-go spot that you can brag about to anyone who will listen.

When it comes to old-school Mexican restaurants in Long Beach, people might point you to sports bar-ish Los Compadres, late-night hang El Sauz, or fusion-y Enrique’s near the Marina. But we like Rivera’s, a homey, family-run place on East 7th that has been open since the ‘90s. We love the retro wood-paneled dining room, glowing string lights on the ceiling, and the odes to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo covering the walls. Still, the highlight is the food, made with noticeable care in all the little details (even the salsa that comes with the free chips here tastes like freshly roasted chiles). The hefty carne asada nachos and wet burritos are excellent, and the best menudo and pozole in the city are served six days a week. Our sole quibble is that the margaritas are agave wine-based, though that’s never kept us from ordering one.

Ammatoli is an attractive outdoor/indoor downtown spot with big windows, tiled walls, and a long leather banquette that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Parisian cafe. The casual Mediterranean menu is an all-day affair, specializing in mezze platters, kebab plates, and more dishes from the Levant. Whether you're stopping by for spicy tomato shakshouka at brunch or a shawarma and hummus platter at dinner, everything here is beautifully plated and well-seasoned, with lots of sort-of-healthy options like a falafel bowl and beet-feta salad we could eat daily. The moussaka, a hearty casserole made with eggplant, ground beef, and creamy bechamel sauce, makes it onto our table just about every time we come.

You’ll probably have to wait for a table at this Peruvian-Japanese spot in Bixby Knolls. It’s tiny, with just a few seats at the bar and a couple of dining room tables. But when you finally sit and the staff starts bringing bright yellow bowls of Peruvian ceviche and lemon-coated parmesan scallops, you understand what all of the hype is about. Their menu is split between classic sashimi platters, tiraditos, and Nikkei-style sushi options like crispy tuna tacos and maki rolls drizzled with creamy acevichado sauce. All of the seafood here tastes like it was delivered from the ocean that morning, and the eye-catching use of garnishes and stylish atmosphere make this place feel a bit more upscale than your causal Tuesday night go-to sushi joint.

At Thai Curry Pizza in Long Beach, you'll encounter pies that sound wrong in theory, but taste extremely right in practice. Alongside takeout staples like papaya salad and pad see ew, this strip mall gem offers mashups that layer Southeast Asian flavors onto crispy crusts. The tom yum pizza in particular is a masterpiece, topped with gooey mozzarella, mushrooms, tomatoes, cilantro, and just enough tom yum paste to create an explosion of spicy-sour flavors. Dip any leftover crust into their panang curry sauce, which you can (and should) add on the side for $2. There are a couple of tables in the dining room, but most people take their orders home or to a nearby beachfront park, where they can lay horizontally and ponder what other promising food remixes should see the light of day.

An amazing Peruvian restaurant in a former KFC with a fully functional drive-thru is about as Long Beach as it gets if you ask us. When it comes to juicy wood-roasted pollos a la brasa and wok-seared lomo saltado, El Pollo Imperial in North Long Beach is unmatched. The place is a local institution known for its affordable plates and long list of Peruvian specialties, which includes everything from tangy ceviche with sweet potato and corn kernels to shrimp fried rice topped with a heap of green onions. To top it off, each entree comes with warm rolls, their zesty ají verde, and a cup of aguadito, a soothing cilantro-laced chicken soup. Most diners do takeout here (see: the drive-thru), but there are a few booths inside if you want to hang out sipping Peruvian lagers or Inka Kola.

We first stumbled upon Gusto Bread after noticing its long line one weekend, and our lives have been different ever since. This counter-service bakery and cafe specializes in indigenous and Mexican-inspired baked goods made with heirloom blue corn masa and sourdough starter. Their standard menu often sells out by noon, and includes everything from spelt loaves and sesame-crusted flatbread to buttery biscuits and chocolate conchas (plus many other kinds of excellent pan dulce). If you manage to score an early spot in line, make sure to ask one of the “breadtenders” behind the counter to walk you through any specials. If you’re planning a picnic, drop by Gusto’s fridge for cheeses, deli meats, jams, and tinned fish, too.

Long Beach has tons of great Thai spots, from the bare-bones Tasty Food to Go to the more upscale Thai District, but none of them are quite like Chiang Rai, a neon-hued Eastside restaurant that specializes in less commonly seen Northern Thai dishes. Make a beeline for anything in the “Chiang Rai Local Food” section of the menu, including fragrant sai oua sausage with a fiery green chile dip, dry-style khao soi noodles, and a vivid sweet-salty yellow curry that comes with fried chicken and flaky roti bread for dipping. And if you decide you just want to stay home and order takeout, Chiang Rai has you covered, too—the kitchen puts as much love into delivery staples like pad thai and pineapple fried rice as they do their Northern-style beef larb.

If you think you’ve tried every great taco in LA, make sure you’ve paid a visit to Tacos La Carreta before you pop off. This street-cart-turned-food-truck—which relocated from Compton to an industrial stretch of North Long Beach a couple of years ago—specializes in Sinaloa-style chorreadas, a toasted corn tortilla that’s slicked with pork fat, then topped with a mound of chopped grilled steak and a rough salsa thickened with chopped cabbage. It might look a little like a standard asada taco, but your first one will be a near religious experience. You can add melted cheese to the whole setup to make it a vampiro, or swap in a baked potato for the tortilla to make it a papa loca. All of them are fantastic with their agua de cebada, a creamy-sweet drink that’s like horchata but made with roasted barley. Make sure to check La Carreta’s Instagram for hours of operation.

Sesame Dinette, a tiny cafe just off PCH with a big menu of Vietnamese dishes, is perfect for a daytime snack. The white-walled space looks like a chic coffee shop that doubles as an art gallery, and there are several wooden picnic tables inside where you can eat things like pork banh mi, vegan duck noodle soup, and chicken cabbage salad. It’s run by the family behind Sesame LA, a local market and home goods shop in Chinatown, and will soon operate as an incubator for up-and-coming chef residencies and pop-ups. In addition to housemade pastries, and pantry staples from AAPI-run small businesses, they offer a sesame-studded banh mi sandwich that ranks among our favorites in LA.

Ellie’s is pretty special. Located in a quiet neighborhood not too far from downtown, with a big front patio and a small dining room, they serve some very tasty Southern Italian food. The seasonal vegetables dishes and handmade pastas are fantastic—especially the shrimp and ’nduja tagliatelle—but the best thing here might be the grilled bread and pork butter. Pork butter is as good as it sounds, but it’s even better when it comes on a board of grilled bread alongside caviar butter, apple mostardo, and optional grilled bone marrow (might as well go all in). This place is a great choice for an intimate dinner, but be warned: parking in the area is near-impossible at night.

When you walk into La Parolaccia Osteria, you might feel the urge to say things like “ciao bella” and take pictures in front of some Roman pottery. That’s because this restaurant looks like a villa in Tuscany where servers greet their regular customers with consensual cheek kisses. Most people come here to feast with a group of friends, but there are also a couple of candlelit two-top tables that work well for a lively date night. Beyond its charm, you should visit La Parolaccia Osteria for their wood-fired pizzas and well-priced handmade pastas that deliver big flavor. Our favorite dish is their velvety tortellini alla panna, which arrives with a thick dusting of freshly shaved parmesan and tender-chewy al dente noodles.

Long Beach’s most exciting oyster bar has a little something for everyone. From a platter of sweet and briny mollusks on ice and a fried oyster caesar to a mountain of fries covered in creamy seafood chowder, Liv’s in Belmont Shore isn’t afraid to let shellfish be the stars of the menu. Its sidewalk patio has so many string lights, you’ll feel like you’re eating under an old-school theater marquee. But if you’d rather sit inside, Liv’s long marble bar is the perfect place to bring a date. If you can, stop by on a Monday night to take advantage of Liv’s half-off oyster deal. And follow their Instagram for the latest on pop-ups and events, like a fried oyster pizza collaboration with another name on this list, Little Coyote. 

El Barrio Cantina is a self-described modern Mexican restaurant on Retro Row that reimagines traditional dishes without getting too carried away. There’s a fantastic carne asada-style ribeye with roasted tomato salsa (ask for a side of the homemade Sonoran flour tortillas), fresh Peruvian scallops on the half shell in spicy aguachile, and crunchy fried potato tacos doused with crema and salsa verde that are simple and straight up delicious. Don’t overlook the clever “Sea(Sar)” salad, which ups the umami with seaweed and a cilantro-anchovy dressing. The high-ceiling dining room is breezy and bright, but as the sun sets the place becomes moody enough for date night. Cocktails mix tequila and mezcal with lots of fruit and spice, plus there’s a solid list of affordable wines by the glass.

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