15 LA Restaurants With Free Parking
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
As a resident of Los Angeles, there’s a chance you spend more time in your car than you do on the couch, at your office, or with your loved ones. It's also possible an alarming percentage of that time is spent circling the block for a space (or debating spending $12 on valet). Well, we’re here with some relief: These are our favorite restaurants with stress-free parking situations, whether it's a strip mall lot, a multilevel parking structure, or an adjacent street where you won't be towed/ticketed after 6pm.
Located in an oversized lot, Le Great Outdoor is the one place in Santa Monica where you can afford to be picky about parking. All the spots are totally free and within a 60-second walk of the host stand. That means you're closer to the restaurant's outdoor kitchen, and groups of friends sharing grilled lamb chops and lambrusco at picnic tables. Come here the next time you're looking for a dinner that functions like a backyard barbecue (and no parking drama whatsoever).
The parking lot at Monarch could fit a superyacht. So if you’re having dinner at this Chinese banquet hall in Arcadia, just loop around back and take your pick. You’ll enter from the ramp below the butterfly sign and eat lobster tail with Hong Kong-style black pepper sauce, and crispy beet cakes. Monarch isn’t the only SGV spot serving high-end Cantonese dishes, but it's the only place with a cloud-themed dining room full of periwinkle blue banquettes.
Since 1929, this Italian deli has been making messy, sauce-covered sandwiches that are fairly rare in Los Angeles. So on those afternoons when we need a one-way ticket to a 3pm nap, you'll find us at their location in Los Feliz. It has the same signature sandwiches from the Chinatown original—including the meatball-stuffed D.A. Special—plus small a parking lot around back that never gets too full.
BCD is the late-night soon tofu restaurant that’s served everyone from Academy Award winner Bong Joon Ho to hungover food writers eating “breakfast” at 4pm. It has two locations in Ktown, but the one on Wilshire Blvd. has its own private parking lot. This is a crucial distinction because there are few things more excruciating than trying to find free parking in Koreatown.
The original Pasta Sisters in Pico-Arlington has a tiny strip mall lot that can lead to a battle royale-style showdown, but the second location in Culver City is a different story. Located in the Helms Bakery complex, this laidback Italian spot has a parking structure and plenty of inexpensive street parking that you can usually drive right into. Turn into Hutchison Ave. from Washington and you’ll find the small free parking structure inside the complex.
The Arts District is home to overpriced parking lots and endless circling, but its next-door neighbor (the Fashion District) has a dream parking situation. It’s a part of Downtown that almost completely empties out at night, so when you’re eating at Rossoblu you’ll be able to get a street spot and put the money you saved towards an extra bowl of pasta. That’s a win-win.
The plentiful free parking at the Row DTLA makes up for the fact that, at night, you have to navigate an industrial ghost town to get to your restaurant. But once you exit the multilevel parking structure, you’ll eventually come across signs of life hoarding around Pizzeria Bianco. This place makes delicious thin-crust pizza in a breezy semi-outdoor dining space, and you don’t pay a dime for parking if you’re out in two hours.
Guelaguetza has great parking, but we’re not referring to its private lot where you pay a valet to park your car five feet away. Instead, this Oaxacan restaurant happens to have the rarest of things: easy street parking in Koreatown. Just turn off of Olympic and onto one of the side streets (try Irolo), and you should easily find a spot before making the quick walk towards some mole and mezcal.
Located just off the 405 in Lawndale, Al-Noor proves once again that most of LA’s best food can be found in strip malls. This barebones family-run institution serves Indian/Pakistani staples like tikka masala, saag paneer, and lamb korma that make other versions we’ve had taste like they’re missing something. Since most people place pick-up orders here, the parking lot is usually never full. But you could always drop in for a sit-down meal after leaving LAX or whenever you get the uncontrollable urge to eat some piping hot garlic naan.
We’ve written several love notes to Dino’s Pizza over the years, but those mostly have to do with ricotta-filled lasagna pizzas and its kitschy Burbank dining room that feels like you’re eating at someone's grandparents' fishing cabin. This love note, however, is about their spacious front parking lot—an amenity that’s not always a given, even in Burbank. If you stop in for lunch, you’ll have the place to yourself, but even at night when things are busier, most people are just there for pick-up, so spots open up quickly.
It might be expected that parking in the deep Valley is fairly non-competitive, but even by those standards, the lot at Brent’s in Northridge is downright palatial. The iconic Jewish deli is situated in a giant shopping center with rows and rows of open spaces. Yes, on weekends, things get a bit more crowded, but in the unlikely event you can’t find anything, go around the corner and park at Kohl’s.
Little Beast in Eagle Rock might not have a designated parking lot of its own, but that’s no reason to sweat. Thanks to a quiet location at the end of Eagle Rock’s main drag on Colorado Blvd., there is copious amounts of street parking in every direction—even on Friday and Saturday nights when every couple in the area descends upon its twinkling patio for date night.
The stretch of PCH as it runs through Malibu is gorgeous, but also chaotic, congested, and filled with restaurants that only offer $20 valet. Not Reel Inn, though. This classic seafood shack has a massive, dusty parking lot that, even during peak weekend crush, will always have available spaces. And yes, it’s free.
Much like the cast of Three’s Company, Kazunori, Uovo, and HiHo are a trio with tons of loyal fans. The three restaurant concepts are all local mini-chains run by the same team, and in Marina Del Rey, they are all conveniently located in a shopping complex that has marina-front views and a free parking lot (a rare combo in LA). Whether you choose lobster hand rolls, cacio e pepe, or a wagyu double cheeseburger, this location is a great option for a quick lunch near the water.
When it comes to restaurants with ample free parking, Desano Pizza Bakery in East Hollywood is a poster child for the movement. The casual Neopolitan pizza spot is located in a former warehouse with a giant gated parking lot attached, which means there’s not just room to park your car, but also to host a community stage production of Macbeth or play a regulation-size street hockey game. Seriously, it’s huge. Oh, and the puffy, chewy-edged pizzas? They're great, too.