The Best Restaurants & Bars In Echo Park
photo credit: Marie Buck
Echo Park packs an incredible amount of things to do into its humble 2.4 square miles. There's Dodger Stadium of course (love you, Mookie), swan boats in the park, and a convenience store for time travelers. It's also home to one of LA’s best pizzas, some sexy little wine spots, and a handful of sceney coffee shops. Feeling overwhelmed? The 19 restaurants and bars below will help narrow things down.
photo credit: Kevin Vu Kim
Going to Donna's is a total serotonin bump. This red sauce Italian joint from the people behind Bar Flores and Lowboy will make you—and the other diners having friend hangs, family gatherings, and tiramisu dates—happy. Bask in the room’s dinner-party energy, slosh back icy martinis in a booth, and down chicken parm and lasagna bolognese like a person with a medical degree told you they’d cure a bad day (they will).
photo credit: Jakob Layman
This izakaya near the entrance to Dodger Stadium has everything you want for date night: indoor and outdoor seating, a sake list longer than some dictionaries, and incredible Japanese food. Prioritize the yakitori (we like chicken oysters), but don't ignore the larger dishes. Tsubaki's garlic fried rice with dungeness crab is a requisite order unless you have a shellfish or fun allergy.
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
This tiny pizza parlor makes pan-style pies in their peak form, with buttery, inch-high crusts, and a spongy, focaccia-like interior that absorbs the flavors of the toppings. Opt for pepperoni and whatever the rotating Sicilian Corners special is, then follow up your pizza with nostalgia-rich desserts like slab cakes and pies. Even though Quarter Sheets does a swift takeout business, we recommend sitting in the dining room for the full experience. The retro, brick-walled space feels like a cross between a quirky natural wine bar and a '90s-era pizza joint you might’ve gone to after a soccer game.
photo credit: Marc L.
Every Monday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon, you’ll find Alejandra rolling out long, oval-shaped blue tortillas on her hot griddle in Echo Park. She’s been operating this stand for over 16 years and has her process down to muscle memory—it’s almost mesmerizing to watch her stretch out fresh masa and simultaneously memorize customers’ orders. Besides the essential Oaxacan quesillo, she creates incredibly tasty fillings using chicharron stew with onions and salsa roja, huitlacoche cooked with garlic and citrusy epazote leaf, or leafy squash blossoms that complement the oozing cheese.
This is the neighborhood pizzeria every neighborhood wishes it had. Cosa Buona serves great pizza (and even better appetizers) in a casual setting that feels like the diner that sitcom characters meet up in at the end of each episode. Aside from Friday or Saturday nights, you can usually show up without a reservation, get a table quickly, and spend the rest of the evening drinking beer and eating potentially too many mozzarella sticks.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
The lines at this taqueria get long, and we mean long. If you’re in the mood for birria but a Dodger game just got out? Forget about it. However, if you’re willing to wait (or come on any other day), make sure to get some meat from that sweet, rotating trompo out front. The marinated pork coming off it is beyond tender, filled with a smoky flavor and pineapple juices dripping from the chunks at the top. Pair this with a crispy, fried queso taco shell and you’ve got yourself a doubleheader.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Right next to Tsubaki is Ototo, a Japanese restaurant and sake bar run by the same people. With its more casual leanings (think small, shareable plates and a sake list about 20-pages long), we consider Ototo to be Tsubaki’s less serious and more adventurous younger sibling. They change their menu a lot, but luckily, our favorite dish remains—an Osaka-style okonomiyaki filled with cheese and scallions, and then topped with the classic bonito flakes, kewpie mayo, and okonomi sauce.
photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto
This place started as a successful food truck back in the 1970s, but now has a handful of locations around the central LA area, each serving some of the city’s tastiest pupusas. Make sure to try their rice flour pupusas, which take on a similar color to the corn version, but with a distinctive chewiness we love. Common fillings like chicharron, cheese, and loroco are all on the menu, but so is the way-less-common vegan cheese pupusa. The curtido is delicious and simple with cabbage and carrot, and the tomato salsa serves as a light, spicy dressing to drench your entire order in.
Grá is the cozy, neighborhood restaurant Echo Park deserves. The plant-filled patio has a slight warehouse vibe that makes you feel like you’re attending a dinner party at a friend’s art studio. The wine list is great, packed with skin-contact action; pizza is served on blistery sourdough and topped with cremini oysters or pickled pineapples; and there’s a gorgeous cured ham plate that we’ve certainly eaten by our lonesome before.
In addition to a location in Historic Filipinotown, one of our favorite tamale shops, Tamales Alberto, also has an Echo Park outpost. The original store was founded in 1997, but owner Alberto Meija has been selling his dense, corn leaf-wrapped blocks of perfection in Los Angeles since the 1960s. Our top pick here is probably the cheese and jalapeño, but both the chicken in salsa verde and pork with red sauce are must-orders as well. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
photo credit: Benji Dell
This Echo Park/Historic Filipinotown joint is the only place in the city where you’ll find Filipino flavors combined with Southern barbecue techniques. You’ll find them in a cozy dining room on Temple St. filled with groups of friends, families, and recent college grads taking advantage of their Worker Wednesday deal (a massive plate filled with their top-selling items). Coconut beef adobo gets smoked for 16 hours, timuay beef tri-tip arrives by the half-pound, and sweet and glutinous cornbread bibingka comes wrapped in a banana leaf. They’re also located next to Thunderbolt, if you want to grab a quick drink after.
Sure, it’ll take an ungodly amount of time for your food to be ready, and part of your order might be missing, but that’s just Patra’s. And we love it with our full heart. Open since 1976, this fast food counter on Sunset does things old-school: burgers arrive wrapped in yellow parchment paper, fries are made-to-order, and half of the best things on the menu are listed on a note taped up on the window. They have a small dining room (as well as outdoor seating) where you can enjoy fried chicken sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and charbroiled burgers, made just the way our forefathers intended. Also, did you know Patra’s has free wifi?
We understand that deep-dish pizza isn’t for everyone, but will never understand anyone who doesn’t like hanging out at Masa for a night. Eating at this casual spot feels like you’re eating at your aunt’s house that could probably use a paint job, but nobody says anything, because deep down the bright orange feels right. The waitstaff treats you like family and the two-inch deep, cornmeal-dusted crust will leave you in a state of catatonic bliss. Pizzas take 45 minutes to make, but you can call ahead and get it started early if you’d like.
photo credit: Clark Street Bread
Clark Street Bakery’s Echo Park outpost is an all-around star, joining the ranks of LeBron James, Steffi Graf, and that street performer we saw on Hollywood Blvd. last week who rapped into a microphone while doing backflips. The pastries, of course, are exceptional (we’re partial to the sugar-spun kouign-amann) but if you’re not ordering their incredible, three-pound burger at 7:30am, what are you even doing?
photo credit: Krystal Thompson
Step into Bar Flores and you step into a different, much better world. Overlooking Sunset Blvd., their second-floor space feels like a treehouse cabana, with arched, wooden ceilings and a gorgeous deck out back. The mezcal margarita should win some sort of liquid-related award for being tart and refreshing at the same time. And the pistachio and pandan daiquiri is the perfect thing to sip on a first date if you're too anxious to properly pay attention to the menu. Plan your schedule around the bar's live-music programming on Tuesday nights.
Run by the team at The Park’s Finest next door, Thunderbolt is a neighborhood cocktail bar that does it all—incredible drinks, Southern snacks, an extensive bottle shop, and contributions to the Echo Park Trash Club. They’re known for their Madeira wine collection but also serve fun, inventive cocktails made with everything from mango to tamarind to cocoa nib bourbon. Our tip is to order a few snacks from next door, like buttermilk biscuits dipped in pimento cheese, skillet cornbread slathered in honey butter, or, if you’re lucky, a seasonal cobbler.
photo credit: Jon Anthony
With their sprawling sidewalk café and menu packed with good wine, Tilda is where you go to delight pretty much anyone—even someone whose default position in life is to cross their arms and snarl. If you’re not familiar with skin contact wines (although, the fact that you’re eating in Echo Park somehow tells us you are), someone from their waitstaff will patiently walk you through their menu of Portuguese varietals and Cara Cara orange spritzes. If you're hungry, grab a tinned fish board or dish filled with the meatiest, most buttery Castelvetrano olives you’ve ever had in your life.
This cocktail bar is perpetually crowded with Eastsiders meeting up with other Eastsiders to talk about… whatever it is they talk about. (Pilot season? Gentrification in the neighborhood? How they personally benefit from intergenerational wealth?) Aside from Lowboy's fantastic cocktails, a standout factor here is that they also serve a banging burger with smashed beef chuck smothered in thousand island dressing and griddled onions.
At first glance, Bar Henry might seem like it was ripped out of a ‘40s noir film with its velvet leather seats, candlelit bar, and dark blue walls. Maybe The Big Sleep or Lady In The Lake. The Great Flamarion could work too. Weeknights at this cocktail bar tend to be much calmer than weekends. This makes it a useful place to catch up with friends on a random Thursday night, finding some secluded corner to discuss which of their mutuals hooked up with their Equinox trainer.