LAGuide

The 25 Best Restaurants In LA

Meet our 25 highest-rated restaurants.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman

Have you ever woken up and thought, “Gosh, I’d love to eat at a second-best restaurant today?” Of course you haven’t. Whether you’ve lived here your entire life or are visiting for the first time, it’s human nature to want to experience the best of the best. And that’s exactly why we wrote this guide.

These are the highest-rated restaurants in LA—the ones we’d sit in an hour of traffic on the 101 to get to and wouldn't complain if it were two. Food and experience are both taken into consideration, and any type of dining establishment is fair game. On this list you’ll find fancy spots, casual hangouts, walk-up windows, and taquerías. Every city has its classics and it's hot new places, but these are restaurants where greatness is guaranteed.


THE SPOTS

photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto

Thai

Sherman Oaks

$$$$Perfect For:Unique Dining ExperienceOutdoor/Patio SituationDrinking Good WineImpressing Out of Towners

What makes a restaurant the highest-rated in LA? For starters, you could dine at this family-run Thai spot in Sherman Oaks a hundred times and have a completely different—and equally special—experience each time. Come on Tuesdays for dry-aged fish tacos and collaborations with guest chefs, farmers, and foragers. Show up on just about any other night to drink wine that’s been sourced from a Slovenian commune and eat Southern Thai fried chicken you will be thinking about for the rest of your life. Then there’s the outdoor omakase—a multi-course, reservation-only experience where outdoor grills shoot twirling embers into the air. We get asked what our favorite restaurant in LA is quite every single day—and we used to give rambling answers that started with, “It depends…” Not anymore—the answer is Anajak. 

photo credit: Jakob Layman

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Mariscos this exceptional can speak for themselves—all citrus, chiles, and ocean zhush, no gimmicks, reservation mania, or fussy plating. But we’ll say a few words, since that’s what we do here. This Mexican seafood stall inside South LA’s Mercado La Paloma does mariscos 101 executed to razor-sharp perfection. A classic shrimp aguachile in a serrano marinade jolts the sides of your mouth. Meaty pulpo smooches a mesquite grill, and a smoked kanpachi taco gets an edge from salty queso chihuahua and smoky peanut chili oil. Every meal at Holbox sets the bar for the next restaurant we visit. The problem is that 99% of them can’t live up to it. 

Anyone who likes meaty prawns and plump oysters, and eating those meaty prawns and plump oysters under a disco ball will care for Found Oyster like a family member. That is to say, after one visit, you’ll continue to check in on this undeniably sexy East Hollywood seafood spot with the devotion of a lioness for her cub. The walls are lined with natural wine, the dining room only fits 30-ish people, and there's a handwritten menu of seafood specials that changes every day. We like coming to this walk-in-only spot with a group for an impromptu shellfish tower or scallop tostada with yuzu kosho, but it's also ideal for a glass of gamay and a wedge salad at the bar.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

We often find ourselves at this southern Thai spot in Hollywood after going to the Target on La Brea or the post office or the dry cleaner or the doctor. In other words, we’re lured in whenever we need some peace and jade noodle soup. Everything about Luv2Eat looks and feels like any other LA strip mall restaurant, but the ultra-spicy regional specialties and the warm service make it an extreme challenge to drive by without popping in. You’ll find many of the highlights in the Chef’s Special section of the menu, a mixed bag of dishes that showcases the two chefs’ family recipes from Phuket. The Phuket-style crab curry, for instance, when combined with the fatty crab meat bathing at the bottom, takes sweet, salty, and sour to euphoric levels. Even the moo-ping, a simple grilled pork skewer appetizer, is marinated and charred so perfectly that it should be rebranded as candy on a stick. If you've ever wondered where we eat on a “night off,” Luv2Eat is where to find us.

Gjelina and “LOL” have similar cultural trajectories. At first, both were trendy and irresistible. Then they became too obvious, a touch embarrassing. Immature, perhaps. But at some point over the years, they earned their staying power. Gjelina in Venice is the house that kale salad built. Even if kale is rarely on the menu now, there are always vegetables all dolled up with acid, some cheese, and something crispy-crunchy to take the edge off. Whether you build an order around green stuff, or pepper in a pizza and duck confit, a meal here is sure to feel “very LA,” complete with table neighbors who wear large-brimmed hats after dark and say “LOL” out loud unironically. Love to hate or hate to love Gjelina, it’s one of the city's all-time greats.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

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If you need an Italian restaurant in LA, you can find pretty much anything on the dining spectrum, from red sauce landmarks and new school pasta bars to tourist traps with temperature-controlled rooms. Then there’s Antico Nuovo, an understated Ktown strip mall spot that doesn’t fall into any established category. Antico makes the best pasta in LA, and yet, the pasta might not even be the best thing on the menu. That award could go to the towering focaccia, juicy pork ribs, or pistachio ice cream we’d wait in a 45-minute line to eat. This place isn't the newest or most nostalgic or most glamorous Italian restaurant in town, but it is the best. 

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Bavel is the middle child restaurant from the people behind Bestia and Saffy’s, two of the most famous—and famously crowded—restaurants in the city. Having such well-regarded siblings might seem like a tough gig, but Bavel is our favorite of the family. This upscale Middle Eastern restaurant in the Arts District is a model of consistency, serving deeply personal food that tastes incredible, with reliably great service and a stunning, blockbuster space that still buzzes with the same energy it did when it opened in 2018. The menu is packed with hits, but if it's your first time, prioritize the malawach platter, grilled prawns with tzatziki, and lamb neck shawarma.

You can come to this tiny convenience store in Northridge and find all the things you’d expect at a local corner store—a pack of cigarettes, an air freshener, and the calming waft of AC as you open the refrigerator for a Diet Coke. But what makes Baja Subs different is the secret menu of exceptional Sri Lankan food. You’ll find dishes like biryani topped with caramelized onion relish, garlicky Sri Lankan noodles, and kottu roti, a popular Sri Lankan street food made with flaky roti sautéed with vegetables, eggs, and spices. This is primarily a to-go operation, and though you can certainly order there, we recommend calling in at (818) 993-7064 before you head over, as most dishes take 20 to 30 minutes to make.

photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto

California’s central coast has a rich barbecue tradition and places like Maple Block, Slab, and Bludso’s continue to smoke delicious meats. But selling the idea of great barbecue in LA to anyone outside of LA has always been met with heavy eye rolls. The arrival of Moo’s in Lincoln Heights, however, changed everything. And that’s because this former pop-up isn’t just home to the best barbecue in LA, it’s home to some of the best we’ve eaten anywhere. This is Texas-style barbecue—meaning brisket is king—but what makes Moo’s even more special is how intricately owners Michelle and Andrew Muñoz have incorporated their East LA roots into things beyond smoked meat. Think side dishes like creamy, smoky esquites, dill-heavy red potato salad, and a tres leches bread pudding we’d rank among the best desserts in the city.

We can’t imagine LA’s restaurant scene without Dudley Market. It’s the best of the Pacific all in one place, with a fishing boat they use to catch all their bluefin tuna, a view of the coast, and our favorite burger in the city. Beyond the fish and the food, Dudley Market has an incredible natural wine program and a vinyl DJ series that turns the dining room into a neighborhood disco den for mollusk lovers. If this all sounds like too much for one restaurant to juggle—especially in a tourist destination hub like Venice—that’s because it is. But Dudley Market makes it look easy.

photo credit: Krystal Thompson

​​The omakase at Go’s Mart is an experience that can't be replicated, a meal you’ll be dreaming about for months, whether you’re a sushi novice or seasoned pro. Every surface at the Canoga Park sushi bar—from the walls to the ceiling—is painted deep orange, which creates an enveloping, almost claustrophobic effect in the dining room. The small bar, which only has six-to-eight seats, is usually filled with regulars chatting with each other and the chef. And there’s no menu here, per se. For about $200, you’ll receive a whirlwind meal of over 15 courses, including nigiri, cold appetizers, and grilled seafood dishes. Ahi is seared, salted, and served in more ways than we thought possible; blue crab hand rolls are laced with truffle and taste completely decadent. The meal ends whenever you tell the chef you’re full, so in theory, it could go on forever. We haven’t tested that, though.

LA’s Jewish deli scene has old standbys like Nate 'n Al's and Canter’s, new classics like Wexler’s, and the home of the greatest pastrami sandwich in existence—Langer’s. But the best overall deli? That's Brent’s. There are certainly iconic dishes—black pastrami reuben, stuffed cabbage, and a latke and blintz sampler—but this isn’t one of those delis where the quality drops off if you stray from a few specialties. Every page of this encyclopedic, 650-item menu hits. Even though the Valley institution in a Northridge strip mall opened in 1967, it’s still always packed with families, hungover college kids, book club gatherings, and solo diners who haven’t opened the menu in three decades.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

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The 19-course, $230 omakase at Sushi Sonagi could only exist in LA, or maybe only at this particular sushi spot in a Gardena strip mall. With help from his parents, wife, and sister, Sonagi’s chef splices together beautiful, meticulous nigiri with thoughtful nods to his Korean-American heritage, some of which are subtle and others that are big and showy, like chawanmushi seasoned with gamtae seaweed, or cut rolls filled with soy-cured crab. The two-hour meal flies past as you get chummy with sushi-eating strangers over sake and life-affirming snow crab bibimbap. Fancy knife work and micro-seasonal seafood aside, dinner here is like being pulled into a fun family reunion with Celine Dion throwbacks and incredible cuts of fish. Fair warning: Sonagi seats 10 and is open three days per week, which means reservations are scarce. But if there’s one sushi experience worth refreshing your browser at midnight, it’s this one.

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Rather than offering a trendy take on an onion tart that no one asked for, the French cooking at Pasjoli is all about good old-fashioned animal fat and the technique required to back it up. In the $200 duck extravaganza for two, you’ll eat every part of the bird—from the juices in a wine-cognac gravy to the crispy skin over a simple salad—and go home with duck-leg bread pudding leftovers for breakfast. Pasjoli is by no means reinventing the wheel, but the unforgettable food makes it an all-time great special occasion spot and wholly worth the bill.

The term “blink and you might miss it” is grossly overused, but in the case of Little Bangladesh, that really could happen. Established in the early 1970s, this neighborhood takes up only four blocks, right in the middle of Koreatown. This tiny stretch is where you’ll find Biryani Kebab House: home to some of the best Pakistani and Bangladeshi food in Southern California. You’ll want the hyderbadi lamb biryani, an aromatic plate of basmati rice laced with spices that comes with lamb shank the size of a football. Curries, filled with cardamom, turmeric, and ginger arrive with pillow-like, house-baked naan. A meal here is an excellent way to eat your way through South Asia, a healthy mix of saag paneer, chicken tikka, and the owner’s favorite biryanis. 

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

The Old Hollywood spot is a beloved LA restaurant category, but the reality is most rely on kitschy history to get people in the door—not great food or an exciting atmosphere. But La Dolce Vita has all three in spades. Dinner at this revitalized Italian American landmark in Beverly Hills feels like a portal to a different era, one filled with excellent red sauce classics, elite service, and some of the most titillating people-watching in the city. You might catch a Grammy winner eating spumoni or sip a perfect martini next to someone who owned a movie studio in the 90s. You know you’ve done a meal here right when your table’s filled with spicy shrimp diavolo, tableside caesars, and a gooey bone-in veal parm that feeds three grown adults. Even if you could care less about Hollywood history, facts are facts—a meal at LDV is a thrill from start to finish.

At Damian, the Arts District restaurant from the chef behind Pujol in CDMX and Cosme in NYC, Mexican classics you’ve eaten 400 times feel new again. Lobster al pastor oozes juices from its trips around the trompo, nutty caesar salad tops uni tostadas, and slow-roasted duck carnitas and heirloom corn tortillas unite to make the ideal DIY taco. In a city full of great Mexican food, it’s tough for any restaurant to stand out from the pack. But Damian is no typical restaurant—it's a fine-dining destination that treats Baja seafood dishes like custom couture. And now that the initial opening hype has died down, the concrete den works especially well for a celebration you forgot to plan in advance.

Yang’s Kitchen has been around since 2019—and we’ve been huge fans of this bright, breezy all-day Taiwanese-ish spot in Alhambra from the very beginning. But after their more recent introduction of dinner service, we can now say with confidence that Yang’s is not only one of the best places to eat in the SGV, but the entire city. At night, the lights in the white-wooded dining room are dimmed, soft indie music hums on the speakers, and friends huddle around tables ordering bottles of orange wine. It feels like a cool bookstore cafe that doesn’t close when the sun goes down. And while there are zero misses on Yang’s menu, the “larger bites” section is where you’ll want to concentrate your attention. That’s where you’ll find dishes like peanut-y dan dan campanelle, creamy prawns and millet, and a Hainan fish rice with chili butter that we think about every morning when we wake up. 

Anyone with an internet connection has heard about tacos in LA. But there’s eating a slaphappy roadside taco, and then there’s eating smoky asada at Tacos Los Cholos. The meat at this two-story taquería in Huntington Park is just as good (if not better than) America’s best barbecue—they just so happen to use tortillas as the transportation method. Every cut, from the lime-marinated ribeye to the crispy short rib, absorbs the mesquite charcoal’s woody flavor. The next time an out-of-towner asks you to suggest just one taco place, send them to Los Cholos. Between the clouds of smoke, the banda music blaring through the speakers, and the highest standard of asada, this is LA tacos in one fell swoop.

Saffy’s, a glamorous kebab house in East Hollywood, is the newest restaurant from the Bavel and Bestia team. Here you'll find the restaurant group's most casual offerings: shawarma sandwiches, tagine platters, and some life-changing hummus, all served in a bright and airy space that you’ll want to hang out in all night. Walk-ins are encouraged and accommodated, servers treat you like an old friend, and most dishes cost less than $25. The simple, high-quality kebabs are the best things on the menu here, and skipping them would be about as wise as going to the beach without sunscreen—you’ll slide tender beef cuts off of a three-foot skewer with a handful of fluffy laffa bread while sipping a rose vesper martini and admiring the fashion-world-adjacent crowd. We love that Saffy’s serves food worthy of a special occasion, but has the nonchalance of a neighborhood place where you can drop in unannounced.

Courage Bagels makes the best bagels in Los Angeles—but perhaps you already knew that? Since opening in October 2020, this order-at-the-counter bagel shop in Virgil Village has captured the hearts of everyone we knew: New Yorkers, locals, people who avoid carbs like the plague. The small, thin, sweetish, and slightly charred bagels at Courage have been called Montreal-style, but really, they're their own thing. They're topped with a basket's worth of local produce, and are dense and crispy, releasing a sharp crack when you bite into one. Lines will be long. Order the hand-sliced smoked salmon and Run It Through The Garden, a greenhouse-like bagel that's uniquely Californian.

We’ve loved our meals at Lasa over the years, but this Chinatown spot's current form as rotisserie-slash-wine-bar Lasita is its best version yet. The slightly more casual menu pushes the envelope with fun, delicious takes on traditional Filipino food, rounded out with bottles of beaujolais flowing from the bar. Come here to eat lemongrass-stuffed chicken inasal, flawless mushroom sisig, and spiral-cut pork belly lechon with the right amount of skin crackle, but stick around to feel hot and drink good wine. The dining room quite literally glows like a summer sunset, with soft light showering the pale pink walls. And if you’re not periodically making eyes at the mysterious hottie a few seats down, you’re caught up in the rapture of their calamansi cream pie.

photo credit: Matt Gendal

When people inevitably ask, “So, where are the best tacos in town?”, Los Cinco Puntos might not immediately come to mind, in the same way that a perfect piece of furniture covertly brings a whole room together. Los Cinco Puntos is an unflashy, Boyle Heights institution that we return to again and again. The family-run carnicería has been around for decades. You'll find fresh meats, spices, piñatas, tamales, chili sold in bulk, tacos, and cheeseburgers. Carnitas are technically the specialty here—the braised and simmered pork comes just slightly thicker than your average cut. But you’re here for the heavenly chicharron tacos served on fresh, super thick corn tortillas that squish like memory foam under your fingers. Each is topped off with a dollop of house-made guacamole, pickled nopales, and salsa that provides just the right amount of heat. Order at the counter, then devour either inside, outside, or in your car, like everyone else.

We never totally bought into the philosophy of only doing one or two things, and doing them well. Then we ate pizza and princess cake at Quarter Sheets in Echo Park. This retro pizza parlor specializes in thick, pan-style pies and nostalgic desserts, both of which are responsible for lines forming before the place even opens. Ignore the urge to order takeout and have a sit-down meal in Quarter Sheets’ dining room, instead. It looks like somebody’s uncle’s basement—no singing fish on the wall, but there could be. Just don’t fall in love with any specific dishes. The menu gets overhauled with different pizzas every week. Each one we try somehow becomes our new favorite.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastDining Solo

Saying a restaurant treats you like family is normally a cliché reserved for Olive Garden commercials. But if there’s one place where the sappy statement holds true, it’s this legendary Cambodian spot in Long Beach. We’ve seen servers pull up a chair to give their personal dining preferences, like how they squeeze sambal oelek into their velvety rice porridge instead of using the sweeter sriracha, or suggesting you order rice noodles in your soup because they absorb the bone broth better than egg noodles do. A meal at Phnom Penh makes parking tickets, smog alerts, and every other daily sh*tstorm feel like distant memories. We’ll happily drive 90 minutes for that kind of comfort (and some very good rice porridge). On your worst days, you should do the same.

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