The Best Free Table Bread In LA
Nothing beats the sound of that plastic basket hitting the table.
The pleasure of free table bread doesn’t need to be explained. It’s free, it’s carbs, and it's one of the last remnants of an era when places gave out stuff like matchbooks and pillow mints for the heck of it. But not all free bread is created equal. Some places will throw a basket of day-old baguette in front of you and call it a day, but a rare few go above and beyond. Behold, the best places for free table bread in LA.
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
This is it, folks. The best free table bread in LA and, arguably, in existence. Gwen is a fancy steakhouse in Hollywood where bread like this usually sets you back $10-15. The fact that it’s free and unlimited feels like a glitch in the system. The crispy, buttery crust crackles with each bite, giving way to a warm, pillowy interior that you should definitely smear with the accompanying housemade whipped butter. The servers will warn you multiple times to not fill up on it and it probably won’t work. And that’s OK.
While we’ll forever mourn the closing of C&O’s joyously cheesy, open-air trattoria a few blocks from the ocean in Marina Del Rey, the good news is this fun Italian spot’s other location is still going strong just down the street. And that means those world-famous garlic knots are still available for consumption. We can’t say that the pasta here is totally worth going out of your way for, but filling up on those buttery garlic knots before you even get seated is an LA rite of passage.
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Walking in and sitting at the bar at Jones Hollywood is one of our favorite activities in the world. And while this sultry Italian spot’s perfect martinis have a lot to do with that, so does the free bread they bring out. We’ll admit that the garlicky, oblong-shaped flatbread can sometimes be hit or miss depending on the night, but when it’s good, it’s great. Build your own little olive oil/balsamic kiddie pool on your plate, and tear and dip to your heart’s desire.
photo credit: Craig's
Craig’s needs no introduction, but in the event you’re new to LA or Earth, this Weho spot is one of the biggest celebrity restaurants in the city, and a place where movie deals and marriages are broken nightly. It can be a fun place to eat, but no one should arrive expecting great food—save for the table bread. Craig’s version is buttery, cheesy, and just a little sweet (you can thank the honey for that.) It’s so good you don’t need any butter or dips. Normally, we’d offer up a caution of not eating too much of it before the entrees arrive, but at Craig’s, go all out—it’s the best thing you’ll eat all night.
photo credit: Lala's
LALA'S On Melrose
Truthfully, the actual table bread at this Argentinian mini-chain is fairly unremarkable, but it’s on this list, because of the incredible chimichurri dipping sauce that comes on the side. It’s garlicky, herbaceous, and slightly spicy, with a slight kick of acidity at the end. Never mind a random basket of white bread, this dip would make a gym sock taste good.
photo credit: The Palm
The bread basket at The Palm is iconic simply because of the sheer variety of carbs that are included: three different kinds of very good bread (white, brown, and whole grain) plus those thin long breadsticks you used to put in your mouth as a kid and pretend to be a sea lion. We’re not saying you should do that here—you are at a steakhouse in the middle of Beverly Hills—but we’re also not not.
Located across the street from Grand Central Market, Maccheroni Republic is a unicorn in DTLA: a certified neighborhood spot with good pasta, unfussy service, and prices that won’t make you squirm. So it figures that they go the extra mile with their free bread, too. Warm, crusty-but-soft slices of ciabatta come wrapped in a cute paper bag, served with little bottles of balsamic, olive oil and spicy housemade chili oil. If you see us there constructing the perfect dipping sauce like a chemist, don’t judge, we’re professionals.
photo credit: The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory
Maybe you love it, maybe you hate it, but there’s no denying: The Cheesecake Factory’s oat-topped brown bread is an American classic and the pinnacle of free sh*t they give out at chain restaurants. Is it mostly sugar? Probably. Do we care? Nope. Put this thing in The Smithsonian already.