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 costs $16.
Below, we’ve selected great restaurants near 12 major movie theaters in Los Angeles, 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 wraparound front 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.
This casual Peruvian spot on Vine gets a bit lost in the Hollywood shuffle, but the laid-back atmosphere is perfect for a date when neither of you are taking this too seriously. As you might expect, it’s all about the ceviche here, and one or two (or three) pisco sours during their 4-7pm daily Happy Hour never hurt anybody - particularly when you’re about to sit through 180 minutes of Oscar bait.
Pacific Theaters at The grove
For anyone who lives within a half-mile radius of Beverly and Crescent Heights, Marvin is your Cheers. For anyone else, this is a French bistro with food good enough to drive across the city for and a great spot to fill up on wine before braving the hordes of tourists at The Grove. Things can get a little pricey here, so we recommend coming in with the intention of aggressively snacking instead of throwing down for a three-course meal. Just make sure what you’re snacking on is one of the toasts.
If the goal is 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 handle 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.
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. That last bit may be 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.
Amácita is one of the newest restaurants in downtown Culver City and provides yet another casual date-night option in a neighborhood that can never seem to get enough of them. The lively Tex-Mex spot is from the same people as Bar Amá, which means you can expect excellent queso, fluffy tortillas, and big plates of meat. The pork collar pibil, served with sweet-and-sour roasted pineapple and pickled habanero onions, is an early favorite, as well as a hibiscus frosé that’ll keep conversation flowing until the movie begins.
universal cinema amc at citywalk Hollywood
Daichan is a tiny strip-mall 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 diced raw fish in plastic bowls became part of the LA food pyramid. Their version is huge and tastes incredible.
From the outside, Rustic Spoon appears to be just another Toluca Lake filler restaurant, but inside you’ll find healthy, affordable, and very delicious Thai food. This isn’t the most traditional Thai menu in town, but the cinnamon chicken curry with roti bread is special, and we’d drive here at any time of day to eat it. Its location on Lankershim assures easy access to the human car maze that is the Universal Studios parking garage system.
Arclight Beach Cities
Located in a downtown El Segundo strip mall, Jame 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
Mizlala is a casual Mediterranean restaurant just a few blocks down from The Galleria in Sherman Oaks. With colorful tile and shelves of knick-knacks running along the wall, the space is cute without being obnoxious, and though it can get crowded during peak hours, the atmosphere is always laid back. Get the artichoke hummus, eggplant moussaka, and at least two orders of the Moroccan chicken.
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 Izaka-ya 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 portions are large 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
There’s a reason that Tar & Roses is still one of the hardest tables to get in Santa Monica - the food is excellent and the slightly romantic (but still fun) space is perfect for just about any occasion. And that includes a casual dinner before walking over to Arclight. Ordering several rounds of their oxtail dumplings is non-negotiable, but make sure some trumpet mushrooms, the shellfish pot, and strawberry tostada dessert all hit the table as well.
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
Eataly might seem a little obvious here, but there’s no denying this sprawling Italian food metropolis 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 stalls specializing in everything from pizza by-the-slice, roast meats, 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.