Excellent cocktails have the ability to make an already good meal a great one. Or at the very least, one that’s incalculably more fun. From a neighborhood seafood hangout in West Hollywood to a Downtown rooftop, here are 12 restaurants with great food and great cocktails.
Gigi’s is one of the toughest reservations to get in town right now, but if you’re able to snag a table at this French bistro in Hollywood, you’ll be treated to a night filled with oysters, burgers, and delicious steak-frites. We also recommend showing up a little thirsty, too. Trust us - a night of lounging around on their string lit patio, sipping martinis, and listening to the table of agents next to you scheming how to get ayahuasca to Tulum next week is far more healing than you’d expect. We love the briny Wilmot (gin, dry vermouth, and pickled ramp), but if you really want to turn things up a notch, go for the espresso martini with vodka, coffee liqueur, cocoa nibs, and espresso.
Soulmate is a new Spanish/Mediterranean restaurant on Robertson Blvd., right in the heart of all the West Hollywood action. This place is a scene, but with an airy, sun-lit patio and strong drinks, it’s the perfect summer hangout when you and your friends are feeling hot and want other people to know it. The menu is full of delicious, shareable tapas-style plates like chicken croquettes, pan con tomate, and paella bites, but at the end of the day, you’re here for the drinks. We love the vodka and passionfruit-filled “Weekend In Palm Springs” and the “Little Bit Alexis,” which is mainly red wine and curacao, and is one of the easiest day-drinking cocktails we’ve had in a long time.
It’s not often we get excited about hotel lobby restaurants, but The Barish is an exception. Located inside Hollywood Roosevelt, this Nancy Silverton spot has massive Old Hollywood energy (it helps being inside one of the most historic hotels in LA), plus a menu that’s stacked with standout dishes like goat cheese-filled rigatoni and one of our favorite steak tartares in town. It’s the kind of place that begs you to sip a fancy cocktail while you toast to a new client or build a tiny buzz before seeing a show at Pantages. We love the refreshing bitterness of the negroni bianco, but if you want to feel like a true Hollywood power player, go for the fennel-forward Barish martini with vodka, Italicus bergamotto, and finochietto.
ERB has officially reopened in the Arts District, bringing back one of our favorite spaces to eat and drink in all of Los Angeles. The casual bar/restaurant is a true neighborhood spot with one of our favorite big group patios in LA, excellent cocktails like their prickly pear margarita, a never-ending wine list, and bar food that’s worth driving Downtown during Friday rush hour to eat. Their burger is one of the best in LA and the warm, buttery biscuits aren’t to be missed either.
This cozy neighborhood restaurant is one of our favorite date spots not just in Highland Park, but all of LA. They’ve reopened their spacious back patio on Figueroa, so expect a lot of excellent cocktails, affordable Italian dishes like pork ragu and butternut squash cappellacci, and plenty of heat lamps to keep you from becoming, as your friends put it, “a frigid nightmare.” We love their negroni with Japanese gin and hibiscus, but their mezcal-infused martini is perfectly smokey - something we never thought we’d say about a martini.
The menu at Birdie G’s is filled with incredible Jewish-leaning comfort dishes ranging from noodle kugel to matzo ball soup to bundt cake. But if you ignore the cocktails, you’re only getting a portion of the experience. The drinks at this Santa Monica spot are herbaceous and citrusy, like the maraschino and lavender-filled “Sky’s The Limit” or the “Oh My Darling,” which comes with clementine gin and orange bitters. But if you want to go full old school, try “Not Your Grandma’s Grasshopper.” It’s vodka, creme de menthe, creme de cacao, a scoop of mint chocolate ice cream, and the best excuse to keep drinking through dessert.
Located on top of the Platform development in Culver City, Margot is just as much of a restaurant as it is a bar. And while the food is solid, we love it most as a place to lounge, sip some incredibly strong gin and tonics, and watch trains roll by towards the sunset. Yes, it’s as oddly romantic as it sounds. The EVOO Martini, which comes with olive oil-infused gin, fennel, and mignonette, is stand-out, but no matter what cocktail you order, you can confidently assume it’ll come filled with flowers, herbs, or other botanicals. Open nightly for dinner, as well as brunch on the weekends.
Located on a second-story rooftop in the Arts District, Cha Cha Cha is one of our favorite new restaurants. With shareable food like tuna tostadas and build-your-taco-own stations, a lush patio, and sprawling views of Downtown, we’d recommend this Mexican restaurant for just about any occasion that presents itself. Feel free to add “getting boozy” to the growing list. While we’ve liked almost every cocktail we’ve tried at Cha Cha Cha (the red pepper mezcal negroni is a standout), their margarita deserves extra attention. It’s a pretty straightforward version (tequila blanco, lime, salt), but the secret weapon is the touch of Combier L’Orange, which gives the cocktail a sweet bitterness that’ll stay on your tongue through dinner.
After being the subject of one of the more over-hyped restaurant openings in recent memory, this East Coast-style seafood spot in West Hollywood has settled in and become an even better version of itself: a neighborhood staple with good food, a great space, and a casual atmosphere that makes it a solid option any day of the week. While the seafood and the burger will always be why most people come here, you should definitely be taking advantage of the cocktail situation as well. If you’re looking for something spicy, go for the “Red Hot Lover” with bourbon, chile liqueur, and firewater bitters. Otherwise, their briny Bloody Mary goes perfectly with whatever seafood is on the table.
If you’re looking for all of the charm and hospitality of a dinner in the South, but don’t particularly feel like leaving the Pacific Time Zone, head to Alta Adams. Their versions of Southern classics are simple, but great - specifically the black-eyed pea fritters and the shrimp and grits - and their backyard patio is a perfect place to throw back a few of their signature cocktails. From serrano margaritas to hibiscus manhattans, they’re that perfect mix of sweet and refreshing.
When you step into Manuela’s expansive courtyard hidden behind a row of Downtown warehouses, you’ll be met with chickens waddling around a coop surrounded by herb beds, fruit trees, and murals. There’s a good chance your breath will be taken away, and you’ll probably question if you’ve stepped into an alternate reality. You haven’t, you’re just in the Arts District. The all-day restaurant is the perfect spot for salad and ribeye with friends, a mezcal cocktail with a frog gummy sitting atop a nasturtium, and letting any lingering stress and anxiety fall to the wayside.
This newer spot on Rose Ave. in Venice serves excellent steakhouse classics, like a killer dry-aged 32 oz. porterhouse and the requisite sides - namely, a big potato pancake stuffed with onion and sour cream. There’s also a brand new front patio adorned with colorful chairs, planters, and of course, that sweet Venice sunshine. It’s the perfect spot to take advantage of one of the many excellent cocktails on their menu, like the spicy tequila and celery-filled Friend Of The Devil, or our personal favorite, a dirty martini with bay leaf infused vodka.