Salad is to LA what the cheesesteak is to Philadelphia - a complete and utter cliche, but also something we suspect roughly half the city is eating at any given moment.
That said, not all LA salads are created equal (especially those sad build-your-own ones you see people eating every day at that place across the street from your gym). If you’re going to stick a bunch of vegetables in your mouth at once, you might as well find a salad that’s actually great. And you live in a city that’s full of them. We can’t promise all of these are healthy, but just take the fact you’re ordering a salad as a personal victory and call it a day. Here are the the best salads in LA.
Check out the rest of our Guide To Being A Little Healthier, presented in partnership with Bai (a drink that helps us be a little healthier).
Your Order: Bimbim Salad
The bimbim salad at Baroo gets a pat on the back for not just being the most creative salad on this list, but also for getting the most ingredients you’ve never heard of inside the same bowl at once. With over 16 vegetables, a quinoa base, and something called passion fruit powder sprinkled on top, this is a magical journey to the island of eternal salad life.
Your Order: Endive Salad
You don’t walk into Petit Trois expecting to eat something healthy. This is the home of a cheese-oozing burger, and we’re pretty sure everything else involves more than your average daily serving of butter. But if you have some self-control, go for the endive salad - a pile of endives on top of chunks of avocado on top of an incredible walnut vinaigrette. In case you were feeling too healthy, it’s all topped with a mountain of cheese.
Your Order: Spicy Vietnamese Salad
The industrial-ish cafe on La Brea has become well-known for all of its phenomenal lunch foods, but it’s the Spicy Vietnamese that takes the cake (or salad?) for us. The shredded chicken is great, but it’s all the chiles and peanuts and lemon vinaigrettes mixed in that make it so addictive. Also: It’s. Actually. Spicy.
Your Order: Crispy Rice Salad
This tiny North Hollywood staple is one of the most overlooked Thai restaurants in LA. And while pretty much everything on the menu is fantastic, you actually can’t leave without ordering the crispy rice salad. They’ve been serving it here since the 1980’s (long before you became obsessed with the one at Night + Market), and for good reason - this minty, slightly spicy classic is worth the drive over the hill every time.
Your Order: Caesar Salad
There are a lot of well-thought-out, beautifully constructed and plated salads on this list - the Caesar at Dan Tana’s is not one of them. Made by an old Italian guy in the corner of the dining room, Dan Tana’s is the kind of old-school, no-frills Caesar you grew up eating at family reunions and still dream about when you have to eat other Caesar salads.
Your Order: Southwestern Salad
HealthyCA is the best place to get a salad in the Valley, and the best salad here is the Southwestern. Not only is it massive, but all those ingredients stacked on top (corn, beans, jicama, pepitas, avocado, bell peppers) are also as fresh and delicious as they come. If you’re looking for a not-sad salad on your lunch hour, this is your easy solution.
Your Order: Tea Leaf Salad
This big guy arrives to the table deconstructed. But then your server at this adorable Burmese restaurant in Silver Lake will mix up those fermented tea leaves, shredded cabbage, steamed corn, lentils, and peanuts into a salad you actually want to tell your friends about.
Your Order: Chopped Salad
La Scala is a restaurant best known for its lunchtime Bravo celebrity crowd, but it’s also home to what is possibly the city’s most famous salad: a giant mound of chopped lettuce, salami, mozzarella, and garbanzo beans. But the real trick here is to think of the salad itself as only a base for the many, many things you’ll add - pepperoncini, cucumbers, and tomatoes are a good place to start. And hey, there’s Larry King in the corner having one too.
Your Order: Farro Salad
Some people might argue whether farro salad actually qualifies as a salad, but it has the word right there in the name, so we’re counting it. This is always on the menu at Bestia, although the other things in the bowl change regularly. It could be shaved cauliflower and avocado puree, or kohlrabi and creme fraiche, but no matter what, it should be on your table.
Your Order: Caribbean Chicken Salad
Don Cuco does not have the best Mexican food in LA. But this nearly 50-year-old Burbank spot is still a Valley staple and where studio execs will get trashed after work until the end of time. Also, they have the Caribbean Chicken Salad. Pineapple, tomato, avocado, raisins, and beans with a handful of tortilla strips on top helps wipe away any notion that you actually ordered a salad.
Your Order: Gem Lettuce Salad
The gem lettuce salad at this Fairfax staple is simple - little gem leaves, a (not-too-spicy) chili dressing, parmesan, and breadcrumbs. But we maintain there’s a fifth ingredient from the dark side in here, because there’s no other explanation for how they make this so good. You’re going to need something to balance out all the pizza and pasta you eat here, and it definitely should be this salad.
Your Order: Vermicelli Salad
The vermicelli salad at Croft is the salad for people who don’t really do salads. The base is rice noodles, not greens (although there are some of those too), and there are pickled carrots, cucumber, and crispy shallots on top. The real star though is the tangy coconut dressing. This thing makes you feel healthy even when you’re actually just eating a bowl of noodles.
Your Order: Chinese Chicken Salad
The Chinese chicken salad at Joan’s on Third is a straight-up LA icon. A mix of shredded lettuce, chicken, crispy wontons, almonds, and a very tasty vinaigrette, it’s served in a giant metal mixing bowl and we’re pretty sure you get a medal if you can finish it in one sitting.
Your Order: Nancy’s Chopped Salad
Inspired by La Scala’s classic chop, Nancy’s chopped salad at Pizzeria Mozza is the kind of salad that could constitute an entire meal, and is also not really very good for you. Sure, there’s lettuce, but there’s also (thankfully) a whole lot of salami and provolone to cancel it out. It’s a balanced meal in salad form, and might just be better than the original.
Your Order: Caesar Salad
The caesar salad at Huckleberry is sometimes a kale version, sometimes lettuce, and either way, always part of our regular rotation here. It’s nothing fancy - a big bowl of greens with croutons and parmesan, some cranberries, and a lot of dressing. Which is really the best way to be with caesar dressing.