LAGuide

The Best Restaurants In Highland Park

From new restaurants to iconic neighborhood institutions, these are our 18 favorite spots in Highland Park.
The Best Restaurants In Highland Park image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

You only need to spend minutes on York or Figueroa in Highland Park to realize you're in one of the city's most dynamic neighborhoods. Whether it's outdoor beer gardens, old-school music venues, or the greatest bowling alley in the history of mankind, there's no shortage of stuff to do here. Add in new bars and restaurants, plus neighborhood institutions that have been here for years, and this is somewhere you should be hanging out. Here are the 18 best places to eat while you're there.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Evan Robinson

American

Highland Park

$$$$Perfect For:LunchWalk-InsOutdoor/Patio SituationCoffee & A Light Bite

Highland Park is the perfect pick for Highly Likely’s second location. It’s a neighborhood that apparently loves an all-day cafe (there are at least five others along Figueroa), and also needs more reasonably priced places to eat pasta with friends. The space kind of resembles an upgraded WeWork with its excessive foliage and open floor plan, and the laptop crowd dominates until 5pm. That’s when the counter-service cafe flips into a sit-down dinner spot with dishes like pappardelle bolognese and mushroom piccata. This Highly Likely is also home to a truly outstanding backyard patio where you can sit with a fig negroni and pretend you’re in a secret garden behind an artist’s studio.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

When it comes to great fusion restaurants, Amiga Amore sets the standard. The chef couple behind this tiny spot Frankensteins together an impressive lineup of Mexican-meets-Italian dishes inspired by the stuff they grew up eating: plump elote agnolotti, a caprese with diced cactus, and a bowl of chorizo and clams with thick slabs of chile de arbol toast. Whether you drop by the bar with a date or sit at a big round patio table with a group, it’s the food that’ll linger in your mind for weeks. And even if you would never have thought to make pasta dough out of masa or make a caprese salad with nopales, you’ll leave here glad someone else did.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

This strip mall Highland Park taquería takes a more-is-more approach with its fully loaded tacos. Each one comes on a Dodger-blue corn tortilla layered with crispy griddled cheese, diced onions, cilantro, crema, cotija, guacamole, and a mesquite-grilled protein of your choice. (Oh, and the option to add seven different salsas and hibiscus-pickled onions, too.) If this sounds like a messy mountain to you, you're not incorrect. But it's a mess worth making. Order the Villa's Trio, a cheesy, three-taco sampler that includes grilled asada, chorizo with potato, and chicken with black beans.

Mariscos El Faro is a Sinaloa-style seafood truck that will convince you to stay well past your 30-minute lunch break. Located outside a park off Figueroa, the truck sets up a few tables and stools on the sidewalk where you can enjoy an ice-cold michelada, fresh oysters, and their signature aguachile in a Clamato-y sauce with big heat from crushed chiltepín chiles. Everything we've tried from the truck's impressively large menu is delicious, which explains our tendency to over-order when we come here (and take a nap under a tree at the park afterward).

Pocha is a Mexican spot on York Blvd that blends flavors from both sides of the border, along with lots of hot pink and messages of female empowerment on the walls. You come here for a mix of traditional dishes and some creative spins that actually work: freshly charred elote with crema and cotija cheese, shrimp ceviche with Persian cucumbers and toasted sesame oil, and an ingenious creation called la burrita. It's a burrito made with a thin crepe that's incredibly fluffy, delicious, and light enough to contemplate ordering a second one. Go with the braised brisket as your protein option because it's tender and juicy, or try one of Pocha's vegan options, too.

Open since 2014, The Greyhound is Highland Park's—and arguably all of NELA's—go-to sports bar. It's the official home of the LA Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Club, the first English Premier League fan club in SoCal, and also hosts "Blue Hours" with food and drink specials during every Dodgers game. The menu is full of very solid bar fare—burgers, pizza, fries—but the crispy, meaty wings are a major standout. Try the "Judgment Day" flavor if you're feeling adventurous or want to chug milk for an hour afterward.

Maciel's is your best bet for a vegan deli sandwich in Highland Park, and possibly all of LA. They make their own plant-based meats in-house, offer dairy-free cheeses by the pound, and nothing costs more than $15. Our favorite lunch at Maciel's is the classic Italian—it's loaded with meat-free salami and pastrami, chopped pepperoncini, and a tasty pickled cherry pepper spread. If you're looking for vegan food that makes you feel like someone cares about you (and your taste buds), you'll love this place.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Hippo is a kind-of-Italian spot with qualities you currently find in most nice LA restaurants: high ceilings, graphic floral designs on the walls, and a menu full of crudos, pasta, and big plates of meat. But Hippo mashes all those familiar elements up in a way that feels exciting. The crudos and pasta are all excellent, and it's also a great spot for a few drinks before heading out to all the other bars along Figueroa.

This Peruvian restaurant on Figueroa has only been open since 2018 but somehow feels like it's been part of the neighborhood for decades. Rosty's menu features Peruvian staples like sweet and zesty pollo a la brasa and an excellent lomo saltado. But our go-to dish is still the la copa nostra: a massive glass goblet of mixed ceviche filled with an array of both raw and sauteed seafood in a leche de tigre that's actually spicy.

Goldburger opened its first brick-and-mortar in Highland Park back in 2020 and has since exploded in popularity. These are the most substantial burgers in LA's oversaturated smash scene. From their namesake "Goldburger," topped with american cheese, grilled onions, and garlic-mustard aioli, to the "LA Special," loaded with thick cuts of pastrami, these smashburgers will keep you full past dinner or possibly even into breakfast the next day. Get the kind-of-spicy curly fries, too.

Joy is a convenient Taiwanese restaurant for 30-minute lunch breaks where you'd rather eat popcorn kernels off the floor of your car than do drive-thru. Owned by the same people as Pine & Crane, the order-at-the-counter spot has a small menu with a ton of variety. They serve daily cold appetizers, a few different soups, noodle and rice sections (we love the salty, savory Chiayi chicken rice), and fantastic sandwiches made with their homemade scallion sesame bread. Almost everything falls under $15, and even when it's crowded, you can be in and out in 25 minutes.

Jeff’s Table isn’t the first deli hidden behind a liquor store in Highland Park—they’re not even the first one to occupy the space they’re in. But hidden or not, this is one of our favorite places to get a sandwich in the neighborhood. If you’re really hungry, get the “Jeff’s Special”—hot pastrami, sauerkraut, and what’s basically a big parmesan crisp on rye—or the “Dirty Baby,” which is a turkey salad sandwich that involves housemade chili crisp, two kinds of smoked cheese, and pickled onions. Order a side of the spicy, creamy Thai peanut mac salad to balance everything all out.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

This graffiti-adorned Spanish restaurant on Figueroa is a great place to celebrate an exciting life event and, in the process, find out what goat anchovy butter is (hint: it's good). The tapas are better than the larger dishes here, so grab a seat at the bar, snack on gambas a la plancha and ham croquetas, and then go all-in on their excellent cocktails. The gin and tonics are all dangerously drinkable, and the rioja sour will make you realize you don't actually hate whiskey.

La Fuente on Figueroa is the kind of old-school Mexican restaurant that heals your soul as soon as you walk through the door. The space is pretty big, but between the friendly waitstaff and the plates of food larger than your torso, you feel right at home immediately. Order the El Rey burrito and have enough food for three separate meals.

Belle's Bagels is a takeout spot on York Blvd. that makes double-fermented bagels with a unique yeasty aroma you won't find elsewhere in LA. It's also a big part of why their breakfast sandwiches are so good. If you're in the mood for a classic breakfast sandwich, we recommend the "BECA," which comes with eggs, bacon, cheese, and avocado spread. Otherwise, go for the "LEO" with sauteed lox, pickled fennel, onions, hard scrambled egg, and their house "shalom sauce," which resembles a garlic herb aioli. 

From the outside, Triple Beam looks like a random pizza-by-the-slice joint along Figueroa, but it's some of the best pizza you'll find on the Eastside. Started by the crew behind Pizzeria Mozza, Triple Beam's slices are priced by the ounce, and if that type of math gives you anxiety, just know you can pretty much order the whole menu for under $30. Don't assume that because this place is order-at-the-counter, you'll be eating your pizza on the curb—there's a fantastic patio in the back for that.

It's usually the case that burger spots will add a few vegan options, but it's the other way around at Burgerlords. Previously 100% vegan, this retro-themed diner put meat back on its menu. The namesake cheeseburger with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles is certainly tasty, but we usually get the "Brainburner." Their housemade vegan patty is topped with jalapeño chips, garlic aioli, and vegan provolone to create a spicy, crunchy, and very filling bite. Our advice: skip the fries and order the crispy tofu nuggets with a side of their signature sunburn hot sauce.

The donuts from this all-vegan shop on York Blvd. are what a car salesman would describe as fully loaded: piled with fillings and toppings. There's everything from coffee-infused cake donuts to the "Green Teagan And Sara," which comes with matcha tea glaze, toasted black sesame seeds, and raspberry dust. These are some of our favorite (plant-based) donuts in LA.

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