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 on the 101. This is largely thanks to sub-pockets like Little Armenia and Thai Town, where Armenian and Thai restaurants flourish like nowhere else in the city (or the country, for that matter). In addition to those spots, you’ll find fancy seafood bars, Neapolitan pizzas, and the absolute best location of a classic LA taco truck. So here are 18 spots in East Hollywood to check off that big list you keep on your whiteboard at work.
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 resounding “YES.”
The minute Found Oyster opened up on Fountain 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, and you’ll have a truly incredible seafood feast.
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 also so full of iconic dishes that you could go here once a week for a year and still be ordering great, new things: Jade noodles with pork and dried crab, sen chan pad pu (blue crab with very eggy pad thai), coconut-heavy tom ka kai… 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.
Leo's Taco Truck
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 11am-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 whatever you choose from 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 to get Thai-style BBQ and expect to get 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 we think about late at night when the lights go out are what make Spicy BBQ one of our go-to’s in East Hollywood.
If you live in or near East Hollywood (or have ever taken Bette Davis’s famous advice), you’ve driven by El Zarape on Fountain. And if you’ve never stopped in before, it’s time you change that. This taqueria is home to the best cabeza tacos in the neighborhood - we recommend dabbing them with some habanero salsa, to add a wickedly spicy kick to the fatty head meat - then taking a seat to watch some soccer on their covered patio. The chilaquiles are also great, and if you want something more substantial, the shrimp and carne asada burrito is definitely the way to go.
Square One is your best bet for a consistent, simple breakfast/brunch in East Hollywood. Open only from 8:30am-3pm daily, lines can definitely get long during peak times on the weekend, so try to get there early, or prepare to hang out on the sidewalk scrolling through Instagram for a while. The menu has a standard array of omelettes, Benedicts, and breakfast sandwiches, but everything is very good and the patio is a surprisingly serene place to spend a lazy Saturday morning.
DeSano wins the award for the best LA pizza you probably don’t know exists. They also might win the award for the most authentically Italian. From the ovens down to the dough, everything is shipped directly from the motherland, and if that’s not enough, the large warehouse-ish space will most likely be dominated by middle-aged Italian men screaming at soccer (translation: calcio) 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 Vesuvio calzone, too.
NTFC is still very much the new kid on the block in Thai Town, but that doesn’t diminish their standing on this list. Plain and simple, this tiny, all-green space 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 rowdy, big-group meal spot, but if you’re looking for a quick solo lunch in the neighborhood, it doesn’t get better than NTFC.
Dave’s Hot Chicken
With the amount of hot chicken places in LA these days, it can be difficult to know which ones you should actually be going to. So we’ll make this simple - go to Dave’s Hot Chicken. This tiny counter on Western started as a late-night food stand in a Hollywood parking lot, before quickly gaining a rabid cult following and opening a brick-and-mortar spot. The menu is simple and features three different hot chicken combos, with your choice of tenders, sliders, or both. Just be careful with your heat level. Anything above a medium is going to be intense.
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 just $9, 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 omelettes, 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 stumbling 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.
We can fight about whether Virgil Village is even in East Hollywood, but regardless, Sqirl is going to be one of the best spots in any neighborhood. What started as a pickling workshop and grew into a pastry shop now has a huge selection of excellent, iconic breakfast dishes. You still see those origins in the menu - you could easily make an entire meal out of the daily pastries up at the counter, and no matter what you order, some aspect of your dish is going to be pickled or fermented. If it’s your first time here, your order should be the sorrel pesto rice bowl, with feta, lemon, and lacto-fermented hot sauce.
How good can egg salad really be? That’s a question we’d probably ask if we hadn’t 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 for the table. 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: Basturma, Armenian-style meat that gives bresaola a run for its money as our favorite cured beef, and soujouk, spicy Armenian sausage. We prefer the soujouk sandwich, since its hot pepper and garlic spices come through best on the white sub roll it’s served on. All their sandwiches are less than $9, so well within your budget if you work at Kaiser and want to walk over for a quick lunch.