20 Great Black-Owned Restaurants In South LA
South LA is home to many of the city's most iconic Black-owned restaurants—here are some of our favorites.
Since the early 20th century, the huge 50-square-mile swath of the city known as South Los Angeles has been the heart of LA's Black community and home to many of its most revered restaurants. It's where you'll find, among other things, a Creole place with a live jazz band on weekends, powerfully delicious vegetarian food, a new-wave Southern kitchen with one of the best backyard patios in the city, and a char-broiled hot dog spot that always feels like a party. From fish fry specialists to community-minded coffee shops, there's too much to spotlight properly in a single list, but whether you're looking to support Black-owned businesses or just want to have a fantastic meal south of the 10, consider this guide a starting point—here are 20 great Black-owned restaurants in South LA.
Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen
Hilltop is a coffee shop and daytime hangout in View Park-Windsor Hills (with additional locations in Inglewood and Eagle Rock) that serves truly great food. The space is big and open, and filled with people hanging out and doing work—or pretending they’re doing work when they’re really just Slacking gifs to their co-workers. The breakfast sandwich with lemon-chili mayo is fantastic, and if you add shrimp to the Soul Bowl, you’ll end up with a bowl of very good shrimp and grits. You should probably come up with an excuse to work remotely soon, so you can camp out here and eat your way through most of the menu throughout the day.
photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto
The Serving Spoon
Walking into this classic diner on Centinela is like walking into the center of the neighborhood—families, big groups of friends, and solo diners who have been coming every week for 35 years, all clamoring to get The Serving Spoon’s Southern breakfast into their lives. No matter what day of the week you come here, expect lines out the door, but on the other side of that 45-minute wait are tremendous plates of fried catfish, chicken drumettes, and our favorite waffles in town. If you can snag a seat at the counter, do it and be treated to an endless conversation with the waitstaff.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
If you’re looking for all the charm and hospitality of a casual dinner in the South, but don’t particularly feel like leaving the Pacific Time Zone, head to Alta Adams. Their versions of Southern classics are great–specifically, the black-eyed pea fritters and the shrimp and grits–and the staff is very friendly and attentive. Book a table on their warmly lit patio and take advantage of the excellent list of cocktails. They’re the right balance of sweet and refreshing, not to mention strong enough to make you forget about that white hair you found on your head this morning.
photo credit: Krystal Thompson
Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen
A revered soul food spot with two locations in Inglewood (and one in Crenshaw), Dulan’s is an LA institution. Nothing can compare to the uninhibited joy that comes from digging into their plates of pork chops, fried chicken, greens, and incredible mac and cheese. There’s truly no wrong way to order here, though our favorites are the golden-brown fried chicken and the tender, gravy-smothered oxtails (which often run out by 6pm). Though the lines can be long, ordering here is done cafeteria-style, which means you don't have to wait for your food once you reach the front of the line. There's also a newly remodeled indoor dining area if you don't feel like taking your plate to go.
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
Post & Beam
South LA’s food scene has deep roots, but it was arguably Post & Beam that got a new generation of diners hooked on updated versions of traditional soul food dishes. The gastropub/pizzeria/Southern food restaurant in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza is reliably solid, and the ideal spot to eat your weight in jerk catfish on a Sunday afternoon or grab a quick cocktail before a Kenny Chesney concert at the nearby Forum. Post and Beam has an idyllic patio next to an herb garden that would be perfect for an outdoor birthday dinner. Plus, there’s no shortage of warm comfort food like shrimp and grits, pecan pie, and homemade cornbread topped with whipped honey butter.
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
Baba's Vegan Cafe
After eight years of running a plant-based catering company, the owners of Baba’s Vegan Cafe opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Historic Crenshaw District a few years back. It’s now a vegan powerhouse for the neighborhood—a place to eat BBQ tofu, lentil fritters, potato chowder, and chocolate cake slathered in cashew frosting. The specialty here is the vegan veggie patties—a Jamaican-style dish sold by the dozen and stuffed with fillings like curry potato, cabbage, sweet yam, savory hibiscus, and more.
Harold & Belle's
LA’s favorite Creole restaurant went under the knife in 2020, but now it’s back and looking better than ever. Most of the big leather booths inside are still filled with regulars who seem like they’ve been coming here for massive portions of crawfish etouffee since it opened in the '70s. This South LA staple feels like a small slice of New Orleans, so expect incredible gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets. And if you visit Harold & Belle’s on a Friday or Saturday night, you’ll probably catch a live jazz band jamming for diners in the restaurant’s bar and lounge area.
Simply Wholesome is one of the most crowded spots in View Park-Windsor Hills. It’s a health food grocery store with a restaurant inside and a huge patio outside, where you can enjoy their smoothies, burgers, and vegetarian tacos. Those smoothies are the reason we’re here most often—they come out quickly and are packed with fresh fruit and sherbet, but if you’re having a full meal, their turkey burgers are your best bet. Not only are they tasty, they come with Simply Wholesome’s killer fries–somewhere between a thin fry and a steak fry, not to mention perfectly golden and crisp.
Hawkins House Of Burgers
Hawkins House of Burgers has been a neighborhood fixture in Watts since 1939. And over 80 years later, the menu still involves a mix of classic hamburgers chargrilled to perfection, piled high with bacon, or stuffed with pastrami. Whether you order a simple cheeseburger or “The Leaning Tower Of Watts″ stacked with three patties, hot links, and chili, you’ll leave a much happier and greasier version of yourself.
photo credit: Earle's on Crenshaw
Earle's On Crenshaw
Earle’s originally started out as a mobile hot dog cart, but 30 years later, it’s grown into an always-busy lunch counter on Crenshaw that serves some of the best charbroiled hot dogs in the city. We usually go with their spicy beef link, but they also have turkey, beef, and vegan options as well—smothered with your choice of toppings, including meaty housemade chili and NY-style cooked onions. You’ll also find burgers, Jamaican patties, and lots of vegan options on the menu, along with their signature drink: a sweet and tangy lemonade/kool-aid mixture known as Playas Punch.
photo credit: Grilled Fraiche
With two locations in South LA and another in Long Beach, Cali-Caribbean spot Grilled Fraiche is a casual takeout operation with a fusion menu that goes big on flavor. The signature dish here is stir-fried garlic noodles, drizzled in honey-chipotle sauce with a side of fried plantains and seared salmon or shrimp. The rest of the menu is just as wild: coconut milk stewed beans with jerk seasoning, crispy wonton cabbage rolls, vegan crab cakes, and ooey-gooey bread pudding. There are a few seats available to eat outside, but most people pick up their food from the order window and head out.
Stuff I Eat
Inglewood isn't always the easiest neighborhood to eat in if you’re vegan, but luckily, Stuff I Eat is picking up a lot of the slack. This all-vegan restaurant in the heart of Market Street is one of the most popular places in the neighborhood, with lunchtime crowds to prove it. The menu mostly leans Tex-Mex, with everything from breakfast burritos to an enchilada pie. Our favorite dish is the soul food platter, complete with yams, mac ‘n cheese, kale greens, black-eyed peas, cornbread, and BBQ tofu. Also, if they have spicy chili on the specials board, get it.
photo credit: Court Cafe
The Court Cafe
A breakfast spot in Ladera Heights, Court Cafe is a definite cut above the usual greasy spoon diner. The portions are all big enough for two, especially the multiple-pound Ocho Burrito with fried shrimp, lobster, chorizo, potatoes, and eggs—it’s as good, massive, and out-there as it sounds. We also like the shrimp and grits and the taco omelet, with spiced ground chicken, guacamole, and cheese sauce. We suspect they use a dozen eggs in this thing, so make sure you’re ready for leftovers.
This charming Leimert Park cafe is the place to be if you're looking for healthful, filling food in the neighborhood. The entire menu was created with the help of a nutritionist, but as iffy as that sounds, everything from their jerk chicken to their bison burger is packed with flavor. If you're vegan or vegetarian, you'll be very happy to know that they also have a top-notch chickpea curry bowl, sweet potato ravioli, and a bunch of other great plant-based options.
photo credit: Flavor Table
This NOLA-inspired brunch spot on Florence just east of Inglewood offers creative breakfast items like jambalaya omelets and garlic chicken sausage with etouffee sauce, but the one that deserves its own parade is a little sweeter: the peach cobbler french toast. Thick, egg-battered sliced come with a side of peaches cooked down in a rich cinnamon sauce—no maple syrup necessary. On weekends, get here early if you can. The dining rooms decorated with mardi gras masks and family photos fill up fast.
photo credit: CW & Chris Fish and Chicken
CW & Chris Fish and Chicken
There are dozens of Southern-style fish fry spots across South LA, but the one that’s at the top of our cornmeal-crusted list is CW & Chris Fish & Chicken. This no-frills takeout spot offers a whole ocean of options—sanddabs, scallops, sole, and so on— dredged and fried to order. The crust is well-seasoned and crispy, while the fish stays tender and flaky inside. Meals come with sides of things like hush puppies, collard greens, coleslaw, or fries. And in case you forgot the second half of their name, they do great fried chicken and buffalo wings here, too.
Banadir Somali Restaurant
Banadir Somali is a family-run restaurant and community institution just south of downtown Inglewood. The bare-bones space feels like you’re in the basement of a neighborhood rec center, and everybody inside treats it as such. Big groups gather around large tables, eating massive platters of tremendous Somali food. Goat is the house specialty here, and it’s so packed with flavor it’ll ruin most other versions you’ve ever had. If you arrive around 11am, you’ll be able to order from both their breakfast and lunch menu, which is ideal, because the shakshuka, ful (bean stew), and crepe-like anjero bread are all just as good as the goat.
photo credit: Mo Better Burgers
Mo Better Burgers
Sometimes all you need in life is a simple burger—no crazy toppings, smashed patties, or puffy brioche buns. The burgers at Mo Better Burgers, a small strip mall spot in Hawthorne, are the pinnacle of that style. Imagine a burger you'd cook up in your backyard, made by someone with way more skills and without a "Kiss the Cook" apron. Mo Better tops their loosely packed, nicely seared patties with mayo, mustard, and grilled onions, delivering a lot of savoriness whether you choose the turkey or beef patty (both are great). You skip their old-school hard shell tacos here (they're fine), but don't miss out on the fresh-cut fries assertively seasoned with salt and pepper. And a cherry kool-aid, of course.
photo credit: The Breakfast Shack
The Breakfast Shack
Located in the former home of the South LA icon Art's Famous Chili Dogs—you can still see the old neon sign—The Breakfast Shack serves breakfast staples that don’t reinvent the wheel, but have enough heft to get you through one of those workdays when your boss schedules too many meetings. We especially like the breakfast sandwich with a seared hot link on a brioche bun—get the home fries on the side over the hash browns. If you’re looking for something that you can't eat one-haded, sit on the outdoor patio and enjoy the shrimp and grits or crispy salmon croquettes with housemade biscuits.
27th Street Bakery
Open since 1956, the original 27th Street Bakery on Central Avenue has become a household name thanks to its sweet potato pies. To make each personal-sized pie, they fly in sweet potatoes from Louisiana and use a family recipe that’s been passed down over three generations. While most people come here to try those rich and creamy orange pies, 27th Street Bakery also makes other options like red velvet cake, peach cobbler, and mini pecan pies sold by the dozen. If you want to skip the line, order ahead through their website.