LAGuide

The Best Restaurants In Long Beach

From Cambodian classics to modern Mexican fare—and everything in between—these are the 25 best places to eat in Long Beach.

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 it 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.

THE SPOTS

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’s 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 are 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 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.

Long Beach's Cambodia Town is loaded with tremendous places to eat, 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 has a big menu filled with Cambodian staples. There are always at least a few groups seated in the big leather booths sharing Cambodian Khmer 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 top pizzerias around 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. In addition to incredible pizza, Little Coyote also serves subs loaded with things like soppressata and provolone as well as some excellent pasta dishes (sold under the side concept Jr.'s Pasta).

Heritage is a casual tasting menu restaurant inside of a converted house that offers a four-course meal for $70. There’s typically no 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. If you're looking for a laid-back, special occasion spot that isn’t as overwhelming as the rowdy chain restaurants down along the waterfront, Heritage is a great call for dinner. And if you’re after an excellent lunch option, the owners also run Heritage Sandwich Shop out of the same space during the day.

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 our money is on 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: comforting and generous, with noticeable care put into all the little details (even the salsa that comes with the free chips here tastes of 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 here are agave wine-based, though that’s never kept us from ordering multiple rounds.

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 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 buzzy 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.

If a foil-lined container of smoky pork ribs with a side of candied yams and collard greens sounds like your brand of self-care, we highly suggest Wrigley BBQ near Signal Hill. This casual takeout-only operation is short on frills (there’s a drink cooler and a few Lakers posters inside and that's about it) but they more than make up for it on the barbecue front. Brisket, spare ribs, rib tips, chicken, hot links—all the staples here are nicely tender and rich in smoke flavor, enhanced by a molasses-tinged sauce that is dabbed on everything. They also offer a standout selection of Southern-style sides like mac and cheese, fried cabbage, and dirty rice, each satisfying enough to make a meal. Get whatever dessert is on special that day (shout out 7-Up cake) and a cup of their peach lemonade, which might not involve real peaches but is so refreshing on a hot day you won’t mind.

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.

One drink turned into two drinks turned into you crawling down 4th St. last night, and now you’re paying the price. Get yourself to The Attic. This converted bungalow has been open for a decade and is still the most popular brunch spot in Long Beach. Everyone’s here for three things: A great side patio, massive Bloody Marys, and Long Beach’s unofficial/maybe official food icon, the Mac N’ Cheetos—a giant bowl of mac and cheese covered in hot Cheetos. This seems like one of those things that was created for Instagram, and maybe it was. But it tastes pretty fantastic. The Southern-inspired supper menu is a more polished than it used be since a chef with a fine dining background took over, and that's a good thing: oozing pimento cheese toast, fried green tomatoes, and a thick burger with house steak sauce are solid options. Arrive before the rush, or plan to wait it out on the sidewalk.

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 loved family-style dishes like the market fish, which varies each day but always comes seared and crispy and served with a bright spring onion and 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, a market ceviche with creamy ají amarillo, fried plantains tossed in smoked salt, and one of the crispiest pieces of pork belly we’ve tasted paired with warm chewy arepas. Selva is a good option 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.

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.

Chiang Rai review image
8.3

Chiang Rai

$$$$5624943003
Hours:TUE
11:30AM-3PM4PM-9PM

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.

Seabirds started out as a food truck back in 2010, and now the vegan spot has two brick-and-mortar restaurants and a third opening soon. If Anthropologie opened a restaurant, if would look a lot like their airy Long Beach location: filled with bright pastel walls, hanging plants, and tableware you actually want to look at and touch. And instead of shopping for summer dresses, you can eat things like al pastor-style jackfruit tacos, housemade burger patties served on vegan brioche buns, and creamy butternut squash enchiladas. It’s the kind of casual, sit-down vegan spot that makes delicious food highlighting vegetables rather than just swapping in meat substitutes.

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.

Sal's Gumbo Shack is a small counter-service spot with two locations in North Long Beach. If you walk by either one on a weekend after 5pm, you’ll see a bunch of people loitering around the entrance waiting for to-go orders of Cajun food. You can get things like croquettes and grits here in the early afternoon, but most people drop in for country fried turkey chops, shrimp po’ boys, and seafood boils around dinnertime. If you’re in the mood to crack crab legs somewhere other than your apartment, you’ll find a few tables inside where you can camp out with your food. Our usual order here is the seafood-heavy Louisiana gumbo and a cup of homemade sweet tea.

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. 

The Ordinarie is a tavern in downtown Long Beach with a tight menu of mostly traditional pub fare that is consistently good. The chicken pot pie bites are like vegetable and chicken dumplings with a flaky, buttery crust, and the scallion and cheddar popovers go surprisingly well with the honey truffle butter that comes on the side. As far as bigger plates go, we tender order a mix of appetizers and burgers/sandwiches instead of the actual entrees, especially the juicy short rib French dip or the huge fried chicken sandwich with pickles and cabbage slaw. They’ve got great cocktails, an extremely impressive beer list, and live music most nights, so expect to spend a lot of time here.

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.

A pizza, wine, and craft beer bar downtown, 4th Horseman is a very fun place to spend a night in Long Beach, especially if you're with a group. It’s a horror-themed spot, with old-school movies like Night Of The Living Dead and The Creature From The Black Lagoon playing on repeat, movie posters and memorabilia lining the walls, and pizzas named after horror icons. The pies themselves are very solid and are made even more special by their creative topping combos. Our favorites are the Jalapeño Popper, with cream cheese, jalapeños, garlic, and bacon, and the vegan Alchemy, made with gochujang tomato sauce, vegan sausage, pickled carrots, and cilantro. Get an order of the gooey, cheesy garlic knots while you're there, too.

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