While one of the smaller neighborhoods in LA, Echo Park packs an incredible amount of things to do into its 2.4 square miles. Things here are dense and extremely historic (Echo Park’s been around since 1892, back when it still went by the name “Edendale”), and is home to Dodger Stadium, swan boats in the park, and a convenience store for time travelers.
Oh, and fantastic restaurants. How could we forget about that? From sidewalk wine bars to fantastic taquerias, here are The Best Restaurants In Echo Park.
Inspired by convenience stores in Japan, Konbi’s tiny takeout window serves all sorts of pickled vegetables, pastries, and perfectly symmetrical sandwiches. They’re all relatively snacky and can be eaten with your hands, ideal for a day at the park or eating in the backseat of your Honda Civic. Get there early enough and you might be able to snag one of their prized chocolate croissants: a buttery, golden pastry stuffed with so much chocolate, we’d happily eat it for breakfast every day until the end of time.
This modern izakaya near the entrance to Dodger Stadium is the best casual date night spot in the neighborhood. You’ll want to order a lot of the small plates, ranging from vegetables and noodles to steak and sashimi, and you can do so with confidence since Tsubaki’s prices are quite reasonable. If you want the ideal experience, grab a seat at the bar where the waitstaff will make sure you get drunk on the best sake possible.
Located 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’ve changed their menu a lot since the start of the pandemic, but luckily, our favorite dish has remained - a savory okonomiyaki, or Japanese pancake made with cabbage, that’s filled with white corn, cheese, and topped with tuna flakes.
This backyard pop-up feels like hanging out at the cool kids’ party. There’s a fun, sunny atmosphere here, you’re likely to be handed a beer upon arrival, and the fried fish sandwich is pure seafood bliss. Golden-brown and served on a fluffy, white bun, it’s like the McDonalds’ Filet-O-Fish, but the shiny one they promised you in TV commercials. Plus, each box only costs $25 and comes with a hefty side portion (we recently had a very dill-heavy pasta salad) and a bag of Zapp’s kettle chips.
With their sprawling sidewalk café and menu packed with funky, orange wines, Tilda is where you go to impress the person sitting across from you. 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 native Portugal varietals and Cara Cara orange spritzes. Grab a tinned fish board or dish filled with the meatiest, most buttery Castelvetrano olives you’ve ever had in your life if you’re hungry.
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. It’s a bigger, better version of their original Grand Central Market stall, with high, soaring ceilings and an expansive front patio. 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?
It changes often, like Twitter’s White Boy of The Month, but at the time of writing, the coolest bar in Echo Park (that serves food) is Lowboy. You’ll find it in a dark, wide-open space on Sunset Blvd., 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?) They’ve got a banging burger, made with smashed beef chuck smothered in garlic mayo, plus a fantastic cocktail list. We like the Little Baddie, which is a bright-pink elixir including gin, hibiscus, lavender, sugar, and lime. Plus, we just like to say the name.
Grá is the cozy, neighborhood restaurant Echo Park deserves. The patio is so pretty, adorned with tastefully curated plants and 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 lots of funky skin contacts; 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 definitely eaten all by ourselves 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. Plenty of vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
This Japanese onigiri shop makes lunch feel like an art gallery - picturesque rice balls come decorated with ikura, rimmed with black sesame seeds, or coyly covered with shiso leaves like a snack version of Adam and Eve. There are a few heftier items on the menu, like chicken curry and salmon donburi, but we prefer to stick with the classics, like spicy tuna onigiri and kimchi fried chicken.
This beautiful, trendy cocktail bar has been one of our favorites since it opened in 2018. Nothing’s changed since then, it’s still got that cool, lounge energy, with low, velvet stools and a bright-red wrap-around couch. The menu is full of things perfect for sharing, like street corn elote fritters, mulitas encrusted in Oaxacan cheese, and honestly great guacamole and chips. Cocktails hover in that interesting, innovative, and very strong range - the paloma is our favorite, but the mezcal negroni’s not a bad choice either.
Angel’s Tijuana Tacos
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 cheese queso taco shell and you’ve got yourself a doubleheader.
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 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.
This is the neighborhood pizzeria every neighborhood wishes it had. Cosa Buona serves excellent pizza (and even more excellent 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 night drinking beer and eating too many mozzarella sticks.
Guisados might be a full-on chain at this point, but it’s still home to the best tacos in Echo Park. This order-at-the-counter spot is quick and affordable, with a nice back patio if you have a few minutes to sit. Get the taco sampler - six mini tacos for $7.50. Just make sure the mole poblano, the chicken tinga, and camarones make the cut.
This health-worshipping, new-agey breakfast place feels like one of those spots you run from because every ingredient sounds made-up and the cashier just asked if you’ve checked in with your aura lately. But, somehow, Honey Hi manages to steer clear from all that, and serve actually good food. Their bowls are big and delicious, and even the healthiest dishes don’t taste anything like dirt. And, who knows, maybe the adaptogenic mushrooms in your turmeric latte do have magical powers.
Run by the folks next door at The Park’s Finest, Thunderbolt is a neighborhood cocktail bar that does it all - incredible drinks, Southern-style snacks, a comprehensive bottle shop, and contributions to the Echo Park Trash Club. They’re known for their extensive Madeira wine collection but also serve fun, inventive cocktails made with everything from mango to tamarind to cocoa nib bourbon. The move 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.