The Best Restaurants In Culver City
Our favorite spots to eat in Culver City and Palms.
Culver City will always have a bit of a tough gig. Cornered by two of the biggest freeways in Southern California, the area is quite literally cut off from the rest of Los Angeles. But it’s also full of cool shops, galleries, and movie theaters—not to mention Sony Studios and a whole cavalry of tech offices. Plus, there’s a Metro station that takes you to and from DTLA and Santa Monica, which means you can’t use Culver’s location as a reason not to visit.
And that’s crucial, because perhaps more than anything else, Culver City has become a major food destination. Old restaurants are thriving and new ones pop up every day. It’s an exciting time to be in the neighborhood—here’s your guide to hitting the best restaurants.
Hatchet Hall is a restaurant where sharing isn’t just a suggestion—it’s a requirement. From savory shaved country ham and deep-fried cabbage leaves to white cheddar cornbread topped with an ice cream scoop of butter, the food at this Southern-leaning spot is so hearty and stick-to-your-ribs delicious that small plates are the only way you’re going to get through it. The space can best be described as barnyard gothic, and there’s a secret bar—appropriately called Old Man Bar—hidden in the back, just in case you needed another reason to check this place out.
Located in a part of Culver filled with very cool people who work in very creative offices, Destroyer is a daytime cafe unlike any other. We’re pretty sure the coffee machine was brought here from the future (it’s built into the counter), and it’s entirely possible the food was, too. Seemingly simple dishes like raw oatmeal and almond milk or chicken schnitzel into works of abstract sci-fi art. The whole place is straight-up weird, and also oddly Zen, but in the kind of way that has us planning a return trip as you read this.
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Go Go Bird
Of all the stalls in Culver's Citizen Public Market, Go Go Bird should be your first priority when you’re craving the crunch of fried foods. This chicken specialist serves Szechuan-seasoned tenders with a thick, crunchy batter that reminds us of fish and chips. Dipping sauces like spicy honey and Japanese ranch are great, but the creamy togarashi aioli pairs best with the slightly spicy chicken. Every order comes with a side of pickles and a cheddar biscuit (drizzled in condensed milk and miso powder), plus they offer solid vegetarian sides like baked mac and cheese, veggie gyozas, and a Japanese-style poutine smothered curry gravy. Come here for a long lunch on a slow afternoon, or to catch up with a friend over a reasonably priced meal.
Lonzo’s makes some of the best Peruvian food in the city. Half-bakery, half-restaurant, this Culver City staple serves beautiful honey bay oysters, made fresh and spicy with a drizzle of rocoto pepper sauce and ponzu, plus decked-out marisco cocteles piled high with seafood and a glass of leche de tigre. There’s a patio in the back, complete with heaters, just in case it’s an especially cold day on the Westside (a.k.a. below 65 degrees), making it a perfect place to stop for a quick lunch break or casual dinner with a few friends.
Mayura is a fantastic Indian restaurant that specializes in dishes from the Southern state of Kerala like fish curry, cheese uthappam, and avail, a mixed vegetable dish cooked with coconut and curry leaves. The dining room is much larger than it looks on the outside and is filled with long purple tables that are ideal for a family dinner when you know people will be joining at the last minute. There’s also a separate vegetarian section on the menu.
Bang Bang Noodles
If you’re looking for a quick lunch that isn’t sad and/or boring, Bang Bang delivers. There might be a line at this small counter inside Citizen Public Market if you come around noon, but at least you can watch your thick, chewy noodles being slapped and stretched to order while you wait. Bang Bang’s menu is concise—three different kinds of hand-pulled Chinese noodles (available dry or as a soup), plus a few small dishes like chili cucumbers and dumplings. We usually go back and forth between the tingling cumin and Szechuan garlic as our favorite flavors, but either way, order your noodles dry: the bold, fragrant sauces at Bang Bang are more pronounced when they’re clinging to the noodles instead of bobbing in broth.
It might sound like something you’d come across in a strip club with an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, but Sexy Beans is where you’ll find some of the best Brazilian food in Culver City. It's a ghost kitchen right around the corner from the Fox Hills mall that offers pickup or delivery service anywhere in West LA. They make excellent feijoada, and their juicy rotisserie chicken has crispy skin that tastes like it's been seasoned by a generous poultry god. This spot is a great weeknight dinner spot, especially if you order ahead so you can skip the line at their pick-up window.
photo credit: The Jerk Spot
The Jerk Spot Jamaican Restaurant
As you might have guessed from the name, The Jerk Spot serves some of the best jerk chicken in town. Their standout element is the spicy jerk sauce that comes with every order. If they sold it by the bottle, we’d buy it in bulk. And yes, we’ve asked. They also give you the option of ordering their jerk chicken with just white meat or dark meat. Whatever route you end up going, make sure you order some festival bread to go with it. We usually take our order to-go from this casual Jamaican operation, but The Jerk Spot does have a few tables inside its narrow, counter-service dining room.
photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto
Whether it’s the restaurant’s all-day breakfast options or delicious feijoada, all the food at this Brazilian café has been feeding the neighborhood for the past three decades. Late mornings at Café Brasil usually involve scrambled eggs with collard greens, fried plantains, pão de queijo, and fresh passion fruit juice. And if you’re coming for lunch, expect some great pasteis—fried empanadas stuffed with ground beef, cheese, or hearts of palm.
In nearby Palms, Madre is a tremendous Oaxacan restaurant that originated in Torrance that now has a third spot in West Hollywood. We like this location though, because it’s a bit more laid back than the other two, but with the same great food and cocktails. Order any of the memelas, the negro mole, and a cauliflower taco you’ll definitely order again the same night. From there, explore their seemingly endless stock of specialty mezcal and tequila.
Lodge Bread Co
This tiny bakery with a handful of tables is your best bet for breakfast in Culver. There’s not much in the way of eggs, but that’s fine, because instead there are huge slabs of avocado toast, a cured fish platter, and the world’s largest cinnamon buns. A newborn baby could probably use one as a very soft (and beautifully scented) mattress. They also make great pizzas, including a pan pizza that will unquestionably sell out unless you get there early.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Pasta Sisters Culver City
The second location of one of LA’s best pasta spots, Pasta Sisters at the Helms Bakery complex might be even better than the original—mainly because it’s the one where you can drink wine on a patio. Two patios, actually. Most of the bowls are build-your-own, meaning you get to choose the type of pasta and sauce (except for the clams and garlic, which they’ll only serve with spaghetti). Our favorites are the pesto with tagliatelle and bolognese with pappardelle, but when you’ve got freshly made pasta and sauces this good, you really can’t go wrong. If you’re there on Sunday, make sure you get the carbonara—it’s fantastic, and only available one day a week. We suspect that’s a good thing for our health.
photo credit: Uzumaki
Culver City might be the only part of Los Angeles without a Sugarfish, but Uzumaki more than fills the affordable, quality sushi hole. This spot on Washington is sleek and quiet, with a small sushi bar and dining room, and no hour-long waits. There are a couple of omakase options on the cheaper side, or you can order some quality nigiri and sashimi a la carte. There’s a stream of local regulars who have caught on that this is the best bet for sushi in the neighborhood, and are hoping they can keep walking-in for an easy, casual lunch.
Great tacos had long been the mythical creatures of the Westside...at least until Loqui opened up. The office workers of the area are clearly pleased they’ve arrived (there will be a line at lunch), and so are we. Lots of them order at the counter and take their food to go, leaving more room on the cute patio out back for you to have a transcendental taco experience. It is not an exaggeration to say we have dreams about Loqui’s flour tortillas. Because yes, we regularly have dreams about tacos - and that’s not weird at all.
Banana Leaf Restaurant
Banana Leaf in Culver City has 13 different biryanis on their menu, and if you feel the need to try every single one, that’s a journey that’ll result in eating 13 very good biryanis. That said, if you only have time to try one, we recommend the Chicken 65. This spicy, deep-fried chicken dish was first invented at Buhari Hotel in Chennai in 1965 (hence the name), and while it’s a delicious dish on its own, when mixed with herb and spice-filled basmati rice like it is at Banana Leaf, it’s taken to new levels of excellence.
There’s a reason that Margot continues to be so popular—it’s one of the best places on the Westside to catch a sunset. It’s on the roof of Culver City’s Platform complex, and has excellent views of the adjacent train junction. There’s also a wide-ranging menu filled with solid tapas, pasta, and big plates of meat, but you’re really here for the gin and tonics— because they’re fantastic. And the sunset, of course.
Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken
This Culver City spot has been cranking out supremely crunchy fried chicken for nearly 20 years. You can’t go wrong with any of their chicken combos, but we love the spicy wing basket - the skin is beyond crispy, the meat is moist, and they’re coated in a sweet and spicy sauce you’ll be licking off your fingers until halftime. Oh, and that basket comes with fries and one of their buttermilk biscuits, which are so good, you can purchase the mix on Amazon.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
The really great spots that remind us of old Frank Sinatra hangouts are largely concentrated in Hollywood and Weho—except for Dear John’s, the recently resurrected sort-of steakhouse on Culver Blvd. with serious Old Hollywood vibes. The drinks are strong, and the food is surprisingly interesting. There’s a bone-in chicken parm, fried and stuffed with mozzarella, and a perfectly briny tableside Caesar served by a person dressed like an old-timey butler. It’s also one of the darkest restaurants in LA, which preserves the illusion that Frank could be just down the bar throwing down martinis.
No burger in the city has caused more friendship implosions, breakups, and multi-generational family disputes than the one at Father’s Office—especially when it comes to the infamous “no ketchup” policy. But here at The Infatuation, we’ll track this classic down every time we’re near its sprawling Culver City location. Topped with caramelized onions, gruyere and Maytag blue cheese, bacon compote, and arugula, this is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and extremely tangy. Some could argue that it’s actually just a sandwich—and they might be right—but couldn’t you argue any burger is just a sandwich? Bonus: There’s also an excellent tap list.
Maple Block Meat Co.
Located on Sepulveda, Maple Block is a cool and affordable BBQ spot that arguably set off the modern LA BBQ craze that’s still ongoing today. The brisket is tremendous, but it’s everything else on the menu that keeps us coming back: the smokey chicken wings, the pimiento cheese sandwich, and whatever dessert they easily convince us to order. We want it all.
Jackson Market and Deli
Is Jackson Market actually too good to be true? Located on a hidden residential street, Jackson Market serves as deli, apothecary, wine shop, snack bar, and probably a few other things we don’t even know about. With its incredible back patio, this is the ideal place to catch up with friends after a long week.
As one of Culver City’s most iconic food spots, Tito’s has endured the test of time (over 60 years) and remains near and dear to the heart of the neighborhood. The walk-up, no-frills location still has long daytime lines that wait for the cheese-covered crunchy tacos and a whole helping of nostalgia.