Eating food and seeing a movie immediately afterwards (or vice versa) is a time-honored tradition. Whether you’re on a date, catching a matinee with your roommate, or seeing a movie by yourself because your AC broke again, it’s important that you don’t end up starving and having to resort to under-buttered popcorn that cost $16.
Below, we’ve selected 12 major movie theaters in Los Angeles and a great restaurant nearby where you should eat before or after the show, ensuring that even if the movie is terrible, the night is still salvageable.
At this point, Stout is a mini-chain, but that’s because good burgers and beer always win out, and Stout has both. In the thick of Cahuenga Blvd., Stout’s space is refreshingly low-key, with a front wraparound patio ideal for people watching. The brie and fig jam-covered Six Weeker burger is our usual go-to, but if you’re feeling like being a little healthy today, their Bollywood veggie burger is a nice compromise.
Pacific Theaters at The grove
The goal is always to spend as little time inside The Grove as possible. Go to Escuela Taqueria. The tiny Mexican spot on Beverly has a relaxed atmosphere, good tacos across-the-board, and the only true BYOB policy in the neighborhood. If there’s a preferred way to enter The Grove on a Saturday night, it’s with half a bottle of chardonnay in your bag and a few pork rib tacos in your stomach.
Ma’am Sir is a modern Filipino restaurant with a bright space, hanging vines from the ceiling, and leafy wallpaper that all combine to make you feel like you’re on vacation. It’s hard to go wrong with anything here, but the longganisa sandwich, uni lumpia, and mango verrine dessert should all hit the table at some point. Despite the Silver Lake address, Ma’am Sir is only about a five-minute walk down Sunset from The Vista in Los Feliz. Make a reservation, as this place gets pretty crowded.
Arclight Culver city
Pasta Sisters’ second location in Culver City is similar to the original in that you have to order at the counter - but this place is pretty different otherwise. The space is massive (with two separate dining rooms and patios), there’s an expanded menu (you’re going to want that beef stew with polenta), and they even have a liquor license. Which is especially important right now, since you’re about to see your ninth superhero film of the year and the first eight didn’t entertain you.
Amc Cinemas at citywalk Hollywood
Daichan is a tiny stripmall spot in Studio City that specializes in Japanese soul food like spicy curry udon, Japanese-style fried chicken, cold soba, and gigantic tempura rice bowls. But the main draw at this family-run cafe is the “original poki bowl” - Daichan was cranking out giant portions of fresh fish on top of rice and lettuce decades before chopped raw fish in plastic bowls became part of the LA food pyramid. It’s huge and tastes incredible.
Arclight Beach Cities
In a stripmall in downtown El Segundo, Workshop Enoteca looks a bit like a suburban chain restaurant on the inside, but don’t let that deter you. This tiny Italian spot makes some incredible pasta. The beef cheek scarpinocc is our favorite right now, but the mandilli (handkerchief pasta with pesto) and the bavette with rock shrimp ragu should also hit the table. You’re going to walk out very full, but what’s a Steven Soderbergh film without a little cat nap in the middle?
Regal cinemas l.a. live
For a city that didn’t previously care much about hotel restaurants, we suddenly have a whole lot of them. Breva is inside the renovated Hotel Figueroa and its LA Live-adjacent location makes it convenient before a lot of different activities, like a date night dinner before catching a movie at Regal Cinemas down the street. This Spanish-inspired spot has good ham and cheese croquettes, great fried chicken, and a standout burger.
Open since 1947, this tiny counter inside a bungalow on Pico still makes the kind of lettuce-tomato-pickle topped burgers that are growing extinct in Los Angeles. It’s not our favorite burger of all time, but it is one we want to eat before sitting through another Oscar contender that’s an hour longer than it needs to be. Get a slice of apple pie too.
arclight sherman oaks
We’re not saying you shouldn’t go to The Cheesecake Factory in the same complex as the Sherman Oaks Arclight, but we do acknowledge that shrimp scampi and enormous barbecue chicken “salads” aren’t for everyone. Little Izakaya is the kind of place that will please both your purist sushi friend and your other friend who always orders the teriyaki. The food here comes out quickly, and you can get miso black cod that rivals Nobu’s for $10 instead of $38.
Pacific Theaters at The Americana
Glendale is a city that lives and dies by its neighborhood staples, and Raffi’s is one of the very best. The Middle Eastern restaurant’s specialty is kabobs, and you’ll be thinking about the barg (thinly-sliced filet mignon) weeks after consumption. Most dishes run over the $20 mark, which might seem high until you realize Raffi’s portion are big enough to feed you and your roommates for a whole week. The space itself is big, festive, and only one block away from the theaters at The Americana.
arclight santa monica
If you’re going to brave downtown Santa Monica to see a movie, the good news is that you can eat at Tumbi. The modern Indian spot on Santa Monica Blvd. is only a block from The Promenade, but feels a world away from the manic chaos. The cheese dosa, patiala chicken and toothfish curry are some of our favorites, but don’t leave without getting the saffron panna cotta either.
amc century city
This sprawling Italian food emporium is the ideal pre-movie spot when you aren’t exactly sure what you want to eat. There are three sit-down restaurants as well as a bunch of stalls specializing in everything from pizza by-the-slice and roast meats to salads, pastries, and some of the best bombolone we’ve ever had. We aren’t telling you to sneak some into the movie theater, but we aren’t not, either.