Bars and restaurants in LA are closed for dine-in service, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit in a corner and eat beans out of a can until you forget what plates look like. You can still order takeout and delivery, and help support local businesses while you do it. We’ve got spots for just about every scenario - from a Big Night In to When You Just Want A Bowl Of Something Warm - and you can jump to specific sections of the guide, or just scroll through for some ideas. Either way, we’ll keep updating this list, so stay tuned, and stay safe.
- When You Want Something Affordable
- When You Have A Whole Family To Feed (Or Maybe Just Want Leftovers)
- When You’re Having A Big Night In
- When The Only Vegetable In Your Fridge Is Old Bloody Mary Mix
- When You Just Want A Bowl Of Something Warm
- When You Want Something Really Spicy
- When You’re Vegetarian Or Vegan
- When You’ve Got Kids
- When You Want A Really Good Cocktail
- When You Want To Do It Yourself (But Only Kind Of)
WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING AFFORDABLE
A Cantonese spot in Chinatown, Pearl River Deli is a former pop-up serving all kinds of great comfort food. They’ve got a silky egg and shrimp scramble that’s highly worth time, as is the soy sauce chicken. And paying $10 for their Macau-style bone-in pork chop sandwich (served on a crunchy pineapple bun) seems like it’s too good to be true - especially since that massive, perfectly fried hunk of meat is big enough for an entire meal in itself.
Sometimes, you just need a f*cking cheeseburger. And there aren’t many better places to get one than HiHo, the burger spot with locations in Santa Monica and Mid-Wilshire. All their beef is wagyu and grass-fed, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still affordable - their double cheeseburger is $8 (though we highly recommend adding some spicy onion jam for $1.50 more). They double-fry their insanely crispy fries, so make sure you get an order of those, too.
If you’ve never had Teddy’s, you’ve been missing out on one of the most soul-curing meals around. Even though they only serve one thing - beef birria - you can get it a variety of ways. And whether it’s in a quesadilla, mulita, or quesataco, you’re going to get crispy handmade tortillas, melty cheese, and bright red, gamey, tender birria. Teddy’s also has locations in Slauson, Venice, and Echo Park.
With locations in Pico-Arlington near the 10 and Culver City near the 405, there’s a good chance that wherever you are, you’re not too far from Pasta Sisters. Which is a very good thing, because no matter what kind of sauce and pasta you’re in the mood for you - spaghetti, linguini, pappardelle, Bolognese, arrabiata, tomato and basil - they serve it, and most likely for under $14. Eating this pasta is like curling up in a blanket and watching your favorite Parks & Rec episode, which, conveniently enough, you can do while you wait for delivery.
WHEN YOU HAVE A WHOLE FAMILY TO FEED (OR MAYBE JUST WANT LEFTOVERS)
If you’re feeding a family, we’re not sure there’s a better (or more filling) option than Biriyani Kabob House, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi halal spot on 3rd St. Three entrees can easily be split amongst four people, especially if one of those options is the stunning, fantastic Hyderbadi lamb biriyani. Which it should be, because the dish involves a tender, football-sized lamb shank served over seasoned rice. Add whichever curries you want to go with it - our favorites are the nali nihari and the chicken karahi.
Osteria La Buca, the Italian restaurant in Larchmont Village, has a great set menu for groups of two, four, or six that all involve breads, salads, and tiramisu, in addition to a good selection of main courses. Our favorite of those “family meal” options comes with pappardelle Bolognese - which is $22 per person for the whole shebang - but it’s also hard to beat the spaghetti pomodoro option for $15 per person. Why else was Venmo created?
Casual Chinese spot Woon has one of the most solid menus around, especially considering every single thing on it is $12 or less. That includes the $6 tender pork belly bao and the $7 tofu fish cakes, which probably won’t jump out to you at first glance, but you should order them regardless. Only somewhat related: Woon also sells fantastic merch- like branded socks - which you cannot eat, but you can wear for the duration of this pandemic.
Pizza is about as crowd-pleasing of a family meal as you can find, which is why you’ll probably end up ordering from Hail Mary sooner rather than later. This excellent neighborhood joint in Atwater Village serves up all kinds of great pizzas which can easily feed two, and all are under $20 - including the $10 marinara, which is one of the best deals around. Our favorites are the Abbot (porchetta, Calabrian chiles, and olives) and the Lord Cheezus (too many cheeses - six in all - to name). Get the dandelion and anchovy salad, too. They’ve also been running free pizza deals for food service workers.
WHEN YOU’RE HAVING A BIG NIGHT IN
A Sichuanese spot serving some of our favorite food in all of the San Gabriel Valley, Chengdu Taste is ideal for a Chinese takeout feast. The key here is balancing the fantastic spicy dishes with the equally fantastic not-spicy dishes. So make sure that for every plate of mung bean jelly noodles with chili sauce, you get some of the comparatively mild couple’s sliced beef, which also comes in a chili sauce, but is more garlicky than anything else. Either way, don’t forget to order the mapo tofu or toothpick lamb with cumin, too.
Eszett, the new Austrian-ish spot in a SIlver Lake strip mall, has a great deal for delivery or pick-up that’s perfect for date night in your living room. They’ve got two “Dinner for Two” options that feature dishes like green chili, griddled polenta cakes, and pimento cheese sandwiches. They’ll also pack it up for you to prep at home, if you’re not ready to eat it right away (or if you’re trying to convince your significant other you made this yourself).
The best restaurant in Pasadena, and among the best places to eat pasta in the entire city, Union will put every single person in your house in a good mood. The tonarelli cacio e pepe, torchetti with Calabrese pork ragu, and local wild mushrooms and polenta are all non-negotiable parts of your order, and maybe add some eggplant parmesan. Just don’t volunteer to pick it up - we suspect it’s impossible to drive it home without “sampling” a bit of everything.
WHEN THE ONLY VEGETABLE IN YOUR FRIDGE IS OLD BLOODY MARY MIX
We’re not doctors, but we’re pretty sure fresh fish has a lot of fatty acids you’re supposed to be eating. Noshi Sushi is a great sushi restaurant in Koreatown that offers extremely high-quality, fresh fish for prices you rarely see. Most cuts here are two pieces for under $5, and rolls are all around $8. Our move, though, is always the chirashi bowl, which involves six kinds of fish for $13. Just remember to bring cash.
Are we really putting Sweetgreen on this list? Yes, we really are - because in addition to having super-affordable, high-quality salads, they’re also offering free delivery on any orders over $10 right now. So that means you can feed your entire family of four a super-healthy dinner for under $50. Our favorites are the Spicy Thai and the Veggie Caesar (with chicken added) but it’s Sweetgreen - you know what your favorite is.
WHEN YOU JUST WANT A BOWL OF SOMETHING WARM
If you tell us there’s a better way to make us forget about our problems than Sapp Coffee Shop’s boat noodle soup, we won’t believe you. This deeply aromatic, beef-laden soup is one of the most substantial, complex, and fantastic dishes around, and it costs less than $10. Beyond that, it’s hard to go wrong with the rest of the 100-odd things on the menu, but our other favorites are the crab fried rice with red curry paste, and the jade noodles with duck, pork, and dried crab. Heads up, though - this is another cash-only spot.
Combo A has quietly been Echo Park’s go-to Chinese spot for years. That’s because it’s super-fast and affordable, and their soups have been known to brighten even the worst days. Get the hot and sour or the wonton soup. And whatever you order, they’ll bring it right out to your car in the parking lot, so you don’t even have to take your seatbelt off to eat it.
If you’re in the mood for Filipino food, look no further than this family-run strip-mall spot in Pasadena. They’ve got pancit bihon, pork menudo, and beef kare-kare - all of which are so comforting, they go perfectly with rewatching Seinfeld for the 17th time. Plus, we’re not sure there’s a more satisfying treat in LA than their turon, which are basically fried and glazed banana egg rolls. Bonus points for the attached market, where you can pick up all kinds of cooking essentials, like fresh produce and boxed and canned goods.
If you need to clear your mind, and eat something extremely comforting, head straight to ASAP Phorage in Playa del Rey. Your order should definitely include the washugyu pho with rare American wagyu, and the lemongrass pork banh mi with pork belly added (for an extra $2). Oh, and maybe split some crispy tofu broken rice if you’re ordering with someone else.
WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING REALLY SPICY
Maybe you’ve been social distancing for two days straight and have started having elaborate conversations about semantics with your cat (this is definitely not from personal experience). Anyway - clear your mind with Michin Dark. This spot in a Koreatown parking lot serves some of the best (and spiciest) Korean fried chicken around. The fried chicken sandwich is a required order - be careful of how spicy you get it - and add some gangjung (Korean popcorn chicken) to split with your cat.
Sichuan Impression has locations in West LA and Alhambra, and should be right at the top of your list when you’re looking for something spicy. Their menu includes a healthy mix of fantastic traditional, burn-your-mouth-up Sichuanese dishes like mapo tofu with minced beef and tender boiled fish with rattan pepper and green peppercorns. Get some tea-smoked ribs and Street Corner Potatoes (crinkle-cut fries with cilantro and dried pepper) to balance it all out.
Jitlada is perhaps the best restaurant in Los Angeles, so it makes sense that it’s also one of the best for takeout. There are over 400 things on the menu, and the majority of the dishes will pack a fiery punch that you don’t often find in LA (or, really, anywhere in the U.S.) - especially the many-layers-of-spicy jungle curry, which you should order with the crispy pork belly. We could write thousands of words about this menu, but a quick rundown of our favorites is the off-menu Jazz Burger, the Taepo chicken curry, and the khua kling phat lung beef curry.
WHEN YOU’RE VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN
A vegan joint in Los Feliz, Honeybee’s versions of cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes are about as good as you’ll ever find. We highly recommend the Impossible Queen Bee - it’s basically a Double-Double, with vegan cheese that actually tastes like American cheese (which is seriously high praise). They deliver, and are also doing contactless pick-up from their window on Vermont.
Eating at this family-run Ethiopian restaurant has always felt like a meal at home. And now, their entire menu is available to-go. This includes everything from sambusas (triangle-shaped pastries stuffed with lentils and herbs) to steamed collard greens, but if you’re serious about your fiber intake, get the Vegetarian’s Delight. It’s a massive combo of all the plant-based items on the menu, and exactly what you want after another long day of staring out the window. Available for takeout and delivery.
WHEN YOU’VE GOT KIDS
This all-day spot in West Hollywood has a solid menu of sandwiches, pastas, and salads. But the reason we’re writing about them right now is because they’re offering free meals for kids 12 and under while LA public schools remain closed. That means you can get your shepherd’s pie and turkey burger, and your kids can get (free) chicken nuggets and mac & cheese. They’re open for delivery or pick-up.
Sonoratown - home to some of the best tacos in Los Angeles - has a set menu with taco meal kits that’ll feed up to five people. They include two pounds of chicken, chorizo, or carne asada, plus all the fixings (including their absolutely fantastic homemade flour tortillas) for $48, or one pound for $27. Considering just how good these tacos are, this is a stellar deal that we will absolutely be taking advantage of - whether we have kids in the house or not.
With locations in Burbank, Fairfax, and Little Tokyo, chances are, you’re not too far from a Prime Pizza right now. And that’s a great thing - because this shop gives you exactly what you want from delivery or takeout pizza: Massive pies that can feed a whole family. Our favorite is the sausage and kale, but you can’t go wrong with the classics, either. They’re also helping out anyone that relies on LAUSD for meals with free pies, so pass that along to anyone who might be in need.
WHEN YOU WANT A REALLY GOOD COCKTAIL
A coffee shop in Echo Park that’s secretly also one of the Eastside’s best bars, The Semi-Tropic is serving killer to-go cocktails, along with beer and wine. Their whole menu is available, meaning you can order drinks you’d never dream of making with your at-home bar set, including gin martinis, the Parrot Project (tequila and avocado-coconut cream), and the Two Cups Of Blood (three kinds of booze and chocolate). It’s the happiest you’ll ever be drinking a martini out of a plastic cup.
Madre has one of the best mezcal collections in Southern California, so we’re very thankful they’re offering to-go drinks. They’ve got batch cocktails, including their fantastic mezcal margarita, by the quart, along with heavily discounted bottles of rare, small-batch mezcal, and $6 individual cocktails. This Oaxacan spot has locations in Torrance and Palms, and if you live nearby, you don’t have any excuse not to be drinking from their collection.
Hippo in Highland Park has some of the most innovative cocktails in town, which means we had to order some when we saw they started offering them for delivery. They’ve got Gin Collins, Old Fashioneds, and Espresso Martinis you’ll actually want to drink (just be careful with them - they’re insanely potent), and, if you can’t make up your mind, they’re also offering cocktail five-packs at a deep discount.
If you and your roommates finished what little alcohol you had left last week, don’t stress - Barcito has you covered. Because not only are they serving huge bowls of batch cocktails, they’re also fantastically affordable - $20 for four servings, $30 for eight. That means that you can get their Old Fatshioned (with fat-washed bourbon) for less than $4 a glass. They’ve also got Aperol spritz kits and square cocktail ice cubes for pick-up. By the time you’re done, you’ll forget how much you hate those roommates.
WHEN YOU WANT TO DO IT YOURSELF (BUT ONLY KIND OF)
Venice’s Dudley Market is a great place for locals to hang out, so it makes sense that it’s the perfect place for Venice locals to get takeout. They’re serving much of their regular menu, along with a new $10 clam pizza, but if you want to cook yourself, your move is the prepped fish kit (caught on their own boat). The fish are all cleaned, gutted, and sold whole for $7-$8/lb, then served with different prep kits based on what you get - the rockfish with nuoc cham and citrus, the sand dab with curry and potato, and more. Plus, they’ve got free delivery if you live within two miles.
Alhambra’s Kang Kang Food Court is selling frozen dumplings, and we’re not sure there’s a better way to cheer yourself up after a sh*tty day. These excellent, hand-folded soup dumplings are doughy, fluffy, and stuffed with salty ground pork. The people at Kang Kang will give you instructions on how to cook them when you pick them up, but don’t worry - they’re extremely easy to pan fry.
Milo + Olive is a great place to eat a meal with your whole family, and it’s an equally great place to pick up dinner to feed your whole family. They’ve got pizza kits that serve 2-3 people, and pasta kits that can feed a family of four for $40-50. These include either fresh-made rigatoni or spaghetti, and sauces like Bolognese, tomato with chicken meatball, or alfredo with peas. And perhaps most importantly, they’re also serving the garlic knot to-go - get one for dinner, and another one to hide deep in your fridge for later tonight.