The Best Restaurants In Highland Park guide image


The Best Restaurants In Highland Park

From new restaurants to iconic neighborhood institutions, these are our 22 favorite spots in Highland Park.

You only need to spend 20 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 22 best places to eat while you're there.

The Spots

Mariscos El Faro

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).

This popular Van Nuys brewery has taken over the old Maximiliano space on York Blvd and transformed it into a spacious brewery and pizzeria hybrid equipped with a great outdoor patio. You can show up to the taproom for a few rounds of British-style cask ales at the bar, sit down at the restaurant for a whole pizza dinner, or do a mix of both. If you show up with more of an appetite for beer than food, stick around past 10pm, and the restaurant sells $3 slices of cold pizza at the bar.

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.

Wolfie's is a counter-service vegan spot on York specializing in hot chicken, street tacos, and various bar foods. You order everything from your phone, seat yourself, and someone will bring your order out to your table. The hot chicken sandwich is perfect for vegans (or really anyone) who wants a little spice in their life. It's piled high with juicy breaded "chicken," housemade coleslaw, pickles, and garlic aioli on a soft, seeded bun. Enjoy one at a table on their quiet little front patio, which is one of the most pleasant places to hang out in the neighborhood.

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.

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LA Guide

The Best Burgers In LA

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 $10, and even when it's crowded, you can be in and out in 25 minutes.

Jeff's Table is a deli hidden behind a liquor store that also happens to be one of our favorite places to grab a sandwich in Highland Park. 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. Get a side of the spicy, creamy Thai peanut mac salad to balance everything.

Villa's Tacos is a Highland Park stand home to some outstanding tacos, made with Dodger-blue corn tortillas layered with crispy griddled cheese, diced onions, cilantro, crema, cotija, guacamole, and a mesquite-grilled protein of your choice. These tacos might sound overloaded, but the more-is-more approach works here. We suggest going with the Villa's Trio, a cheesy three-taco sampler that includes grilled asada, chorizo with potato, and chicken with black beans. Keep an eye on their Instagram as they pop up at various locations along York Blvd.

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.

Ichijiku is that affordable neighborhood sushi spot you should put directly into your monthly—and weekly—rotation. Almost all rolls and nigiri cost under $10. Our recommendation is to stick mainly to the nigiri section (the $7 branzino is a standout) with a few yellowtail and habanero rolls thrown in as well. The big shaded back patio is also a great place to hang out with friends and drink some wine and sake.

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. 

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LA Guide

The Best Bagels In LA

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.

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LA Guide

The Best Pizza Places In LA

Lines at this strip mall dumpling spot are long. And if you come on a weekend, they're even longer. But people are here for a reason - these are the best dumplings you'll find outside of the San Gabriel Valley. Once you're inside, this order-at-the-counter spot has quick service, affordable prices (8 dumplings for $13), and a hanger steak bao you're definitely going to want to get involved with. They also have a serious to-go operation if you're looking to stay on your couch tonight.

If it hasn't been your day, week, or even your year, head to Cafe Birdie. The neighborhood spot on Figueroa serves some of the best comfort food on the Eastside in a relaxed space that's great for low-key nights with friends (or by yourself, contemplating life at the bar). Get the Moroccan spiced chicken and pork cheek ragu, and definitely a cocktail or three. The gin and Thai basil-infused Green Grass Grew is a personal favorite.

After transitioning to a 100% vegan menu, Burgerlords now has a second location in Highland Park that looks and feels like a retro diner you'd find off of a freeway exit. 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 donuts in LA.

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LA Guide

The Best Donut Shops In Southern California, According To A Donut Dynasty

Operating as a walk-up window on York Blvd, Sticky Rice is a Thai spot with a fairly expansive menu that includes boat noodle soup, tom yum salad, and a sweet and savory panang curry that ranks among our favorite versions in town (they also have a stall in Grand Central Market, FYI). The window is currently open Tuesday through Sunday from 6pm to 10:30pm, making it a great option after a concert and a few glasses of wine at The Goldfish across the street.

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