The Best Restaurants In Burbank guide image

photo credit: Karlis Dambrans / Flickr

LAGuide

The Best Restaurants In Burbank

The best places to eat in Burbank.

No matter who you are or how long you’ve lived in Los Angeles, one thing is guaranteed: at some point, you’ll spend time in Burbank. Especially if you’re an actor. If you don’t live here, you probably work here. And if you don’t work here, you probably live here. And if none of that applies, you’ve definitely come to Ikea here to buy some shelves you still haven’t put together.

It may never be an on-trend culinary destination, but if you think Burbank isn’t home to some fantastic local spots and old-time classics, you are dead wrong. Here are the best places to eat in Burbank.

THE SPOTS

Porto’s Bakery imageoverride image
8.6

Porto's Bakery

$$$$

3614 W. Magnolia Blvd, Burbank
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The pride and joy of Burbank, Porto’s Bakery is a straight-up classic. The family-run Cuban bakery has been serving guava pastries, potato rolls, and everything else under the Valley sun for the last 55 years and built a rabid following in the process. Come here at noon on a Tuesday and be greeted by 100 other people who had the same idea as you. But not to worry, Porto’s is a well-oiled machine and will have you in, out, and eating strudel for lunch alone in your car in no time.


Despite all the studios and chain restaurants out here, Burbank is basically still a small town filled with plenty of weird little restaurants. One of those weird spots is Chili John’s. This diner on Burbank Blvd. has a mountain mural on the walls, a chatty crowd of people who live nearby, and pretty fantastic chili. There are a bunch of different types, but we like the hot spice-level original beef one that’s served on rice and beans with plenty of sour cream and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar on top. Just save room for lemon cream pie for dessert.


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Tonir Cafe is home to some of our favorite kabobs in the Valley. There are a ton of excellent options here, from chicken breast to beef shish, but the standout is the beef lule, which is made up of ground beef, onions, and parsley, then slow-cooked over an open flame. It’s the kind of dish you eat once for lunch and immediately make plans to return to it the next week. If you’re looking for an affordable, on-the-go lunch in Burbank, Tonir takeout is your best option. Also, in the event you need a good stoplight car snack, grab an extra bag of six pitas for only $3.


Chained Rabbit looks like most dive bars. There’s no sign outside, and the interior is dark with plenty of barstools, a few booths, and better-than-average bar food. This is a place where a quick after-work drink quickly turns into a night out, especially once the group realizes that Happy Hour runs from 4-7pm and involves both food and drink specials. If you stay for food, the shrimp tostadas and fried chicken sandwich are fantastic, and you’ll want an order of the twice-fried fries.

Best pizza in the Valley? That would be Dino’s. The Burbank stand-by might be best known as that pizza you eat every day on the lot, but never realized it actually came from here. With over 38 specialty pizzas, their menu can feel a bit like the wild west at times, so we’ll narrow it down for you: get the lasagna pizza. Topped with Italian sausage, meatballs, and whipped ricotta, it’s a pizza that could easily get messy, but because of the expert placement of toppings on each slice and a crispy, medium-thick crust, it all balances out perfectly. Dino’s runs a swift takeout operation, but you should make time to eat in their old-school dining room that feels like the sunroom at your grandparents' fishing cabin.


In an outdoor mini-mall off Magnolia, this Cajun seafood spot is big, loud, and extremely messy. The set-up is simple: Choose your super-fresh seafood (we like the shrimp), your seasoning, spice level, and sides, and then about 15 minutes later someone will put a plastic bag full of seafood on your paper-topped table. There are no plates and no utensils (unless you order crab, which comes with a cracker), but you will get a plastic bib and plenty of napkins. It’s a fun place for a group dinner where everyone will end up with a red ring of sauce around their mouths.


photo credit: Jakob Layman

Handy Market imageoverride image
7.1

Handy Market (Saturday BBQ)

Perfect For:Lunch

Handy Market is a fantastic local grocer and a place you can come to any day of the week for craft beer, wine, and regular pantry items. Come on Saturdays, though, and you’ll be treated to an all-out BBQ wonderland in their adjacent parking lot. Rows and rows of tri-tip, ribs, turkey legs, corn on the cob, and sausages all wafting their smokiness through the neighborhood. It’s a sight to behold and a great place to take out-of-towners who can’t fathom anything local ever taking place in LA. This is a pick-up-and-go situation only, so get everything you want in the adjacent little building, and then eat it alone in your car like the rest of us.


Even though it’s only a few minutes away from the major studio lots, the pleasantness of sitting on My Little Thai Home’s front porch cannot be overstated. Tiny potted plants adorn the wooden walls, shade covers every table, and though Hollywood Way isn’t exactly a side street, it’s far more tranquil than the major Burbank thoroughfares. And yet, this family-run spot is more than just a peaceful patio—the food coming out of the kitchen is excellent, too. We particularly love the crispy marinated fried pork, tom yum soup that comes with a major kick, and the perfectly sweet yellow curry with vegetables. 


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Castaway

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Castaway is a Valley classic that sits on a hill overlooking Burbank. They recently had a big renovation, and now the place looks and feels like an expensive hotel rather than a relic of the ’90s. Although they’ve also overhauled the menu (think steaks, crab cakes, shrimp cocktails), it’s still a tad boring and expensive. But you don’t come here for the food, you come for the view, which spans from the north parts of the Valley to DTLA. If you bring some out-of-towners here for snacks and drinks at sunset, and they’ll insist you come back every night for the rest of their trip.


We could frankly write a three-book mini-series about this 63-year-old diner, but all we have is this one paragraph, so here we go. You don’t come to Tallyrand for the food. You come to gawk at the people inside. Each and every one is basically a living Hollywood time capsule, and you should know right now you’ll never be as cool as them. These people tried email once in the ’90s and hated it and are four cocktails ahead of you and judging you for it. Welcome to the best show in town.


If you can’t find Rafo’s, that means you’ve found it. Hiding in a corner strip mall next to a pawn shop and VIP Jewelers (same thing?), Rafo’s announces itself with only all-white sign out front that reads “Kabobs and Pizza.” And kabobs and pizza are exactly what’s happening here. While their kabobs are good, their pizza is better. And more specifically, their phenomenal, sauce-less, goat cheese-covered Armenian pizza.


This tiny Mexican brunch spot is a newer place around here (at least in Burbank years, 2015 was practically yesterday), but it’s quickly become very busy on weekends. Be prepared to wait a bit, but stick around and you’re in for a glorious Mexican breakfast of machaca, huevos divorciados, and multiple cups of that signature, cinnamon-infused cafe de olla coffee.


Despite having a footprint only slightly larger than one of those cigarette/newspaper shacks in Hollywood you wonder who pays rent on, Cottage Corner has a very big secret. And it’s not a well-kept one. CC has a breakfast burrito that rivals the best of LA. It’s only served until 11am and the 10:30 am rush is real because that’s when everyone who lives around the corner decides to show up.


This walk-up window bakery in the middle of Burbank is dishing out some of our favorite empanadas in LA. These are thick, flaky Argentine-style empanadas that come stuffed with everything from biscuits and gravy to Nutella and bananas. The tiny shop is open everyday from 11am-7pm, making it a great quick lunch option or when you want to surprise your team at work with a bag of perfectly golden treats. The spicy, smoky chile con carne is probably our favorite on the menu, but whichever you get, make sure to ask for several extra sides of their chimichurri sauce.


Pastrami, pastrami, and more pastrami. King’s Deli took over Cafe Magazzino’s original space in the shadows of the Warner Brothers lot and gained an overnight following for cranking out incredible New York-style deli sandwiches and house-made pastrami. There’s also an espresso bar that smartly caters to the enraged studio execs in need of a seventh wind.


You’re not going to find a better American breakfast in Burbank than Bea Bea’s. Their waffles and french toast are worth ordering, but we always go for the Green Tea Monster pancakes. Three gigantic things are topped with green tea mascarpone, whipped cream, and white chocolate chips. What happens in The Valley stays in The Valley.


Yes, as in that Bob’s Big Boy. Though the original in Glendale was demolished years ago, Burbank’s 73-year-old location lives on as the oldest Big Boy in America—and it’s overflowing with entertainment history. Sure, you’ll come here for a double-decker burger and a milkshake, but you really just want to sit in the same booth where The Beatles sat in 1964 and blast the experience on social media.


Burbank will never have a particularly big bar scene, but that doesn’t mean it’s not home to one of our favorite bars. Tony’s Darts Away is one of those elusive triple-threats. It’s a beer drinker’s paradise (the menu is divided into two sections, “IPA” and “Not IPA”), their menu is so much better than it has to be (we see you, Korean Bowl), and there are enough pool tables, dartboards, and a fun crowd to keep you there for hours.


Since 1956, this classic sub shop west of downtown has been serving excellent (and massive) sandwiches to the masses. You’re going to hear a lot about their pastrami, but our order is always the Italian cold cut. It comes with molinari, Italian salami, and capicola topped with more salt, pepper, oil, and onions than your coworkers within a 10-foot radius will be able to handle. And that’s a good thing.


Don Cuco doesn’t serve the best Mexican food in LA or even The Valley, but it benefits greatly from having a location adjacent to every major studio in Burbank—not to mention margaritas that’ll put even your most seasoned coworker under the table. You’re coming to this classic Mexican spot simply because it’s a great time, and to eat their delicious Caribbean Chicken Salad that comes so loaded with raisins, pineapple, beans, and tortilla strips that you legally can’t say you ordered a salad. 

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