LAGuide

The Best Restaurants In East Hollywood

The best restaurants in Thai Town, Virgil Village, Little Armenia, and every other pocket of East Hollywood.
The Best Restaurants In East Hollywood image

East Hollywood’s boundaries are extremely fluid. If you ask 100 people in the neighborhood to draw the boundaries between Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Koreatown, you’ll get 100 different doodles. But there’s one thing we know: For being so small—just under 2.5 square miles—there are a huge number of fantastic restaurants in this neighborhood along the 101. This is largely thanks to sub-pockets like Little Armenia and Thai Town, where restaurants flourish like few places in the city. You’ll also find fancy seafood bars, Neapolitan pizzas, and the best location of a classic LA taco truck. Here are the East Hollywood spots to check off that big list you keep on your whiteboard at work.

The Spots

photo credit: Jakob Layman

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Saffy’s, a glamorous kebab house on Fountain Ave., is the newest restaurant from the Bavel team. Though there’s plenty of shared DNA with its pita-pushing predecessor—life-changing hummus, a bright and airy space you can hang out in all-night—this is hardly some carbon copy. Saffy’s feels like the younger, more carefree sibling who’s rebelled against LA hot spot tropes: walk-ins are encouraged and accommodated, servers treat you like an old friend, and most dishes cost less than $25. Saffy’s serves food worthy of a special occasion with the nonchalance of a neighborhood place where you can drop in unannounced. Be sure to get the red snapper tagine and any meat that comes on a stick. 

When it comes to great Thai food in East Hollywood, your options are pretty much endless. That said, if you only have time to try one spot, make it Jitlada. This iconic family-run restaurant on Sunset Blvd. isn’t just our favorite place to eat Thai food in the neighborhood, it’s one LA’s great restaurants, and a place everyone needs to experience at least once. There’s a solid chance you’ll spot a celebrity or two inside the kitschy, cramped dining room, but even so, the star here will always be Jazz, the legendary owner who still walks around to every table asking if you’re enjoying yourself. Don’t worry, after a meal featuring savory jungle curry, catfish salad, and the off-menu Jazz burger, your only answer will be a resounding “YES.”


The minute Found Oyster opened up on Fountain Ave. in late 2019, it was clear that this place would stick around. They’re less of an oyster bar (they’ve only got two kinds of oysters, albeit great ones), and more of an all-purpose clam shack/wine bar, but that’s fine with us. Sit at the bar, and let the staff guide you. They’re friendly in a way that makes you feel like you’re a cousin of theirs, and they’ll gladly tell you everything about what they’re shucking that day. This will involve Skaket Beach oysters from the GM’s family farm on Cape Cod, littlenecks from Maine, and peel-and-eat blue prawns. Add in a lobster roll, a steak, or—if they have it—some steamers frites, for a truly incredible seafood feast.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Kuya Lord is a tiny cafe in Melrose Hill that's home to some of the most exciting Filipino food in LA. The order-at-the-counter space only has about four tables inside, but if you roll in with family or friends, there will somehow always be enough room. The menu consists mainly of rice bowls with garlicky java rice and your choice of protein (the prawns drenched in garlic sauce are a standout), but under no circumstances should you leave without the pancit chami. It’s a savory-sweet, decadent stir fry made with fish cakes, pork belly, oyster sauce, and plump, chewy wheat noodles. If you’re here with two to three people, share the longtapsilog tray, which comes with grilled sweet sausage and short ribs, pancit, garlic rice, salad, pickled papaya, and several dipping sauces for $42. Leftovers will be a given.


They might serve coffee, but Sapp is no ordinary coffee shop. This bare-bones, cash-only spot on Hollywood is also one of LA’s best Thai restaurants. The cinnamon-heavy boat noodle soup is deeply aromatic, layered with salty, sweet, and acidic flavors, and truly incredible. The menu is so full of iconic dishes that you could go here once a week for a year and still be ordering new and great every time: Jade noodles with pork and dried crab, sen chan pad pu (blue crab with very eggy pad thai), coconut-heavy tom kha. The list keeps going, and you’ll keep going back.


Open since 1982, Marouch is one of the longest-standing Armenian/Lebanese restaurants in Hollywood and a pillar of the surrounding community. You can certainly come to this family-run institution and find solid plates of shawarma and kabab combination platters, but Marouch’s greatness lies in their mezze. Muhammara (red pepper and pomegranate seed dip), sugok (crispy Armenian sausage), hummus with ful, and perfectly cooked falafel—bring as many people as you can to Marouch, because there are simply too many great things to order.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch

Ggiata might be a new kid on the block by Italian deli standards, but the reason we love this Melrose Hill sandwich spot is that its menu is thoroughly old-school. There are sandwiches filled with things like chicken cutlets drenched in vodka sauce, meatball parmesan, and tangy grilled balsamic chicken with roasted red peppers. Though there are a few traditional cold cuts to be had, most of Ggiata’s sandwiches are like Italian suppers on bread. The bright space at Melrose and Western is mainly a to-go operation—there’s little in the way of seating—but before you grab your sandwiches and head out, spend a moment at their dessert case for a perfectly moist olive oil cake or a box of rainbow cookies.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Similarly to Jitlada, Prael has a large menu filled with dishes you can find on Thai menus across town. Also similarly, the best move here is to order the dishes that you can’t find everywhere else. That includes gang pah, an herbaceous, clear broth curry packed with bamboo, eggplant, and chili, or the kanom jeen num ya, a rice noodle dish topped with bright yellow fish curry. We also love the earthy, gelatinous gravy in the lard na, and the fried shrimp rolls, which come with a perfectly crunchy exterior that pops with each bite. Prael has a well-oiled takeout situation, but a meal inside their charming dining room on Melrose adorned with portraits of Thai royalty and Muay Thai posters is worth your time.


You’re not officially an Angeleno until you’ve stumbled out of a bar—in this case, Harvard & Stone—and kept right on stumbling to one of Leo’s Tacos’ trucks. Their largest operation is at the WSS at Western and Sunset, where they have a full two-truck set-up and more picnic tables than most actual restaurants. They’re here from 10am-2am during the week (3am on weekends) so pretty much any time you want some spit-roasted al pastor, you’ve got access to it. And that’s what most people here are eating: Crispy, sweet al pastor on a corn tortilla, topped with pineapple and a huge selection of salsas. The mulitas are also great, and if we really want to make sure we’re hangover-free tomorrow, we get a carne asada burrito, loaded with rice, beans, cheese, and meat. Make sure you bring cash, otherwise, you’ll end up having to Venmo the stranger who lent you $10 last night.


We appreciate a restaurant that calls it like it is, and at Spicy BBQ, expect Thai-style BBQ and expect it spicy. That said, this six-table strip mall spot at Normandie and Santa Monica has much more than just a few excellent plates of BBQ pork. The spicy jackfruit salad, the pork patties, the chili dips, and a khao soi so good we think about it late at night when the lights go out, are what make Spicy BBQ one of our go-to’s in East Hollywood.


DeSano wins the award for the best LA pizzeria you always forget about. From the ovens down to the dough, everything is shipped directly from the motherland here, and if that’s not enough, the large warehouse-ish space will most likely be dominated by middle-aged Italian men screaming at European sports on the television. If you’re looking for a casual big-group dinner spot in the neighborhood, this is your best option. Concentrate on the DeSano or Bianca pizza, but we love the pepperoni-stuffed Vesuvio calzone, too.


This tiny, all-green space on Sunset is cranking out the kind of bold, wildly fragrant Northern Thai dishes that’ll stay on your mind—and lips—for several days. Think sweet and savory khao soi, jackfruit salad, and a sai oua (spicy sausage) that you’ll be texting your friends about before you even pay the bill. There are only a few tables to go around here, so this certainly isn’t a big-group meal spot, but if you’re looking for a quick solo lunch in the neighborhood, it doesn’t get better than NTFC.


photo credit: Jakob Layman

$$$$Perfect For:Dining SoloLunch

Pailin is a tiny Thai Town restaurant that specializes in Northern Thai cuisine. The large menu is full of rice and noodle dishes that your friends will order, but you’re here for one reason: a giant bowl of their incredible khao soi. This curry noodle soup is the perfect blend of sweet, savory, and spicy, and is one of our favorite versions in LA. Throw in the spicy shrimp balls appetizer and a quiet, serene space right on Hollywood Blvd. and you have one of our favorite solo dinner spots in the neighborhood.


There’s nothing easier than a meal at BBQ + Rice. Between their convenient location on Santa Monica and their affordable prices, there are a lot of reasons that this Korean rice bowl spot is an East Hollywood neighborhood standby. You’ve got a whole bunch of great options here, but we usually go for the bulgogi or the spicy chicken bowls: Both are under $11, and come with sauteed fresh vegetables and house-made pickles.


With a neighborhood that has as many great bars as East Hollywood does, you’d expect there’d be some good late-night spots, too. But you wouldn’t expect them to be as good as Ruen Pair, the Thai joint on Hollywood that’s open until 3am on weekends. They serve killer turnip and salty egg omelets, papaya salad with black crab, and great pork larb. They’ve also got some great pan-fried noodles (our favorite is the pad kee mao), for when you’re heading out of Jumbo’s and need something to soak up the vodka sodas you just drank.


Lolo is an ideal neighborhood wine bar, with a cozy patio (with heat lamps!), private tables, actual trees growing out of the ground, and another very important factor: Extremely heavy pours. The wine selection is massive here, and they’ve got a huge list that includes both regular and natural wines available by the glass and by the bottle. The food is solid, too—your best bets are the brick chicken, served with panzanella salad and anchovy vinaigrette, and the gnocchi with roasted romanesco and green onion.


For nearly a decade, Sqirl was one of the most talked about restaurants in LA, with lines snaking around the corner full of people waiting to try Instagram-famous dishes like sorrel pesto rice bowls and ricotta toast with jam. These days, the Virgil Village cafe is just as synonymous with jamgate, a 2020 moldy jam scandal that touched on topics of gentrification and recipe credit. Those conversations are still lingering, but if you’re in the area and craving a hearty breakfast or some delicious pastries, Sqirl remains a good bet. Plus, now you don’t have to deal with the lines.


How good can egg salad really be? That’s a question we’d probably ask if we'd never been to Friends & Family, the bakery and coffee shop across from Sapp that has one of the best deli cases around. That tarragon-heavy egg salad on some house-made sourdough is usually our go-to, but there are a lot of reasons why this place has long lines on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The date-and-walnut-loaded roast chicken salad is good, and if you’re hungover, not much can beat the patty melt. Regardless, make sure you supplement your order with some buckwheat pancakes. They’re light, fluffy, and, when doused with seasonal fruit preserves and barrel-aged maple syrup, everything you want pancakes to be.


A tiny Armenian deli on Hollywood, Sahag’s Basturma is exactly the kind of sandwich spot that everyone needs in their neighborhood. They specialize in two kinds of sandwiches: one with basturma, Armenian-style meat that gives bresaola a run for its money as our favorite cured beef, and another with soujouk, spicy Armenian sausage. Both are excellent, but we prefer the soujouk, since its hot pepper and garlic spices come through best on the white sub roll. All their sandwiches are less than $10, so well within your budget if you work at Kaiser and want to walk over for a quick lunch.


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