The Best Restaurants In Hollywood
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Hollywood is perhaps the most storied neighborhood in LA. It’s filled with cultural landmarks, movie studios, and knock-off Cookie Monsters who, for $20, will allow you to take their photo. Another thing about Hollywood is that it’s overflowing with some pretty great food.
From high-end Italian restaurants to some of the best Thai food in the city, eating well in Hollywood is easy—especially if you use this guide.
Luv2eat looks like any other strip mall restaurant in the city, but the Thai food and the warm service make this one of our favorite restaurants in all of LA. Its greatness lies in the Chef’s Special section of the menu, a mixed bag of dishes that showcases the two chefs’ family recipes from Phuket. Get the Phuket-style crab curry. When combined with the fatty crab meat bathing at the bottom, it takes sweet, salty, and sour to euphoric levels. Even the moo-ping, a simple grilled pork skewer appetizer, is marinated and charred so perfectly that it should be rebranded as candy on a stick.
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
Gwen is the most consistent high-end dinner spot in Hollywood and a place where spending $200 on a hunk of meat feels worth it. The dining room has crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, pendant light fixtures illuminating dramatic white pillars, and multiple hearths roaring with fire in the open kitchen. Though the menu changes seasonally, you can generally expect dishes like charcuterie boards arranged like a meaty painter’s palette, parmesan risotto with a marrow-filled bone towering from the center, and some of the best steaks in LA.
While its Italian menu overlaps with Funke and Felix, Mother Wolf is cooler than both of Evan Funke's other restaurants. The massive, all-pink dining room feels like it's part Las Vegas, part Carbone, and part Roman banquet hall wedding—all crammed inside the Madonna Inn. A-list celebrity sightings are about as common as perfectly made pasta (the cacio e pepe and rigatoni all’amatriciana are standouts). And now that this place has been open for a while, it’s easier to get a table. Stop by with a friend, split some ricotta-filled squash blossoms before your tonnarelli arrives, and plan on sticking around for a negroni nightcap.
If we had to pick one shawarma in LA to reign supreme over its cone-shaped kin, it’s the mixed lamb and beef combo from Sincerely Syria (formely known as Hollywood Shawarma). Thinly sliced and tender as filet mignon, each juicy slice at this Syrian-owned spot is rich with a potpourri of spices. Order one of their pan-grilled wraps and bliss out. This counter-service operation has a takeout window right along the Walk of Fame, with a couple of stools and tables scattered across the sidewalk. It's open until at least 1am daily (and until 3am on weekends) to serve the post-club crowds near Hollywood and Vine.
photo credit: Nicole Franzen
The LA outpost of this Tokyo-based ramen shop is one of the rare date spots in the neighborhood that doesn't require much planning. You can usually get a 7pm table without booking a reservation ahead of time, and their spicy tan tan ramen has the kind of rich, nutty heat that’ll give you something to discuss when the small talk dies down. So keep Tonchin in mind the next time you want to sip plum sake in the dark with someone you'd like to spoon. Or drop by for lunch on weekends when the patio fills up with designer poodles and their well-dressed owners.
The first thing you might notice about Mr. T in Hollywood is a server walking around the dining room setting food on fire while a Jay-Z song plays in the background. You’re looking at their comte and mimolette cheese flambé, which shows up in a few signature dishes at this French-ish spot on Sycamore. The menu melds street food with traditional French cooking, and you can watch the action in the open kitchen from seats at the counter. Bring a date to snack on minty-sweet tuna crudo or invite friends to crowd around a patio table for wagyu burgers, truffle mac and cheese, and chicken mille-feuille.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
One of our favorite bakeries in the entire world, Clark Street, took over the old 101 Coffee Shop and did exactly what everyone in LA hoped they would: they kept the space exactly the same. You’ll still find vintage leather booths, a wraparound bar, and classic stone wall (you know, real old-school diner stuff) only now the food is better. The menu’s smaller than the old 101 one, but everything’s of higher quality—all the bread comes on their signature Clark Street baguettes and toasts, plus they have a fantastic patty melt loaded with freshly ground beef, swiss cheese, and some grilled onions that we haven’t stop dreaming about since eating.
Superba in Venice has always been a nice fallback for chicken-pasta-salad brunches, lunches, and dinners, but its newest location on Sunset is an absolute destination. The food is good—they’ve got vegetable-y breakfasts with eggs that let you know they’re fresh and baked goods that remind you why the restaurant’s full name is Superba Food + Bread. And later in the day, you’ll find salads, hulking sandwiches, pastas, and meatier things—most of which come with generous sides. But it’s the space that makes this Superba recommendable. If we didn’t have anything better to do, we’d spend every morning on the patio picking at olives and reading novels where not much happens. There are enough citrus trees and yellow-striped umbrellas to provide the illusion that you’re somewhere in the Mediterranean.
This seafood restaurant on Melrose is arguably the fanciest restaurant in all of Los Angeles. Don’t be surprised if the final bill here comes out over $300 per person. You're paying for many hours of ridiculously fresh, inventive fish, a visit from a roaming cheese cart, and a waitstaff that makes you feel like you’re in good hands from the second you walk through the door.
El Compadre always has your back. At the end of a long day, this Mexican cantina is ready with cozy red booths, mariachis, and a stiff drink. The Hollywood staple (there’s an Echo Park location, but the atmosphere isn’t nearly as fun) has been serving classic California-Mexican food (i.e. a lot of cheesy enchiladas) and very strong flaming margaritas since the 1970s and they show no signs of stopping. Definitely make a reservation as crowds get bad almost any day of the week, but just know, at El Compadre the party never stops.
photo credit: Britt Lucas
Gigi’s is a sceney French place on Sycamore where you’ll be treated to a night filled with very good burgers, oysters, and steak frites. We recommend showing up a little thirsty. A night of lounging around on their string-lit patio or intimate dining room with plushy green booths, sipping gin martinis, snacking on tartare, and listening to a table of agents next to you scheming how to get ayahuasca to Tulum next week is exactly how we want to be partying right now.
Musso & Frank has been open for a century and is one of the only restaurants in town where fannypacked tourists and old men complaining about Eisenhower’s foreign policy live in complete harmony. This legendary Hollywood steakhouse is one of the most bizarre restaurants in LA, and while you don’t need to rush to eat any of the food, sitting at the bar and drinking their iconic martini is a quintessential LA experience. Stirred and served with a sidecar on chilled ice, it’s a technically perfect martini that’s been served the same way for decades, and one that makes gravity tricky after just a few sips.
With a tiny non-descript storefront on Melrose, Oui is a place you could pass a hundred times without noticing. And once you do spot it, you probably wouldn’t guess that inside are our favorite sandwiches in Hollywood. With everything from a classic tuna sub to double smashburgers to spiced chicken laffa wraps, the menu certainly covers a lot of ground, but we haven’t tried a single sandwich that we wouldn’t order again. Plus, with such a wide variety, it’s an ideal spot for a to-go team lunch when everyone wants something different.
photo credit: Sam Frost
Lemon Grove is a laid back rooftop restaurant that has some nice city views and a few couches where you can sit and drink a good cocktail. This restaurant on top of The Aster never gets too crowded or hectic, and the food is much better than it needs to be. There’s a somewhat Italian, somewhat Thai menu, including tom kha lemon pasta covered in a tangy layer of yellow foam, a creamy hamachi tartare, and a fluorescent pink dragon fruit panna cotta that wins extra points for its beautiful presentation. If you want to impress someone with a night out in Hollywood, Lemon Grove is a very solid option.
MozzaPlex is not a restaurant, it’s the catch-all term for Nancy Silverton’s mini-empire of Italian restaurants at Melrose and Highland. While three restaurants from the same owner on the same corner might seem like overkill, each spot serves an entirely different purpose. The most casual of the three is Pizzeria Mozza, home to Neapolitan pies that put LA pizza on the map in 2007. Osteria Mozza is fine dining, with hand-made pasta and a full mozzarella bar that’s become a favorite hangout spot for Nancy herself. But if you’re in the mood for a medieval-level meat feast, head to Chi Spacca, an intimate, upscale steakhouse where red wine, focaccia, and $285 porterhouse steaks rule the kingdom.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
This low-key Thai spot has a fantastic all-day breakfast menu. We always get the kai-kata: a little pan of sour ground pork, sweet sausage, and eggs, with grilled bread, and OJ or Vietnamese coffee. It’s the perfect midday pick-me-up, especially when your agent won’t stop asking about the last two pages of your pilot. Speaking of getting work done, they’ve got a bright, quiet space, with some communal tables and a tiny patio.
Though Petit Trois has a big patio out front, the popular French bistro’s magic will always be found inside. The cramped space is essentially just a counter and a few chairs lining the wall, but the chaotic environment is still one of the most fun and unique dining experiences in Hollywood. You’ll eat well-executed bistro food like steak tartare, croque monsieurs, and the greatest omelette we’ve ever put in our mouths. If it’s your first time or you’re with someone from out of town, the Big Mec is hard to miss. The massive bordelaise-covered burger is probably the most decadent burger in LA. Everyone should try it at least once.
photo credit: Ixlb Dimsum Eats
On those days when you want dim sum, but the idea of driving to the SGV during rush hour isn’t palatable, go to Ixlb. Everything here, from har gow to shumai, is homemade daily (though they sadly don’t serve chicken feet). Translucent har gow have bouncy skin and plump shrimp, while the egg tarts have a nice, flaky crust. This is mostly a takeout and delivery operation, but there’s a tiny dining area with counter seating if you walk over from one of the studios during lunch or you simply can’t wait to get home to eat.
Hollywood has a lot of rooftop bars and restaurants, but this spot on top of a boutique hotel remains one of our favorites in the neighborhood. The snacks taste great while you’re talking and drinking with friends, the cinematic-themed cocktails get the job done, and the 360-degree views never cease to impress visitors. Sure, the place can be a scene, filled up with people celebrating 10,000 followers, and early-20-somethings wearing floppy hats and matching Levi’s, but that’s also part of the fun. They don’t accept reservations, so we recommend sticking to weeknights when crowds are always much smaller.
We love Hoy-Ka not only for their excellent Thai food, but for having a fun space that’s great for everything from a team lunch to a midweek hang with friends. The wood-covered interior feels kind of like a tavern, and with plenty of TVs playing sports, you won’t have any trouble finding a reason to drink. When it comes to food, the crispy pork ka prao, with its chili and basil-topped tower of white rice, deserves priority in your order.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele is only a few blocks from the manic energy of Hollywood and Highland, but their big back patio—with exposed brick walls and a legitimate mini-forest—feels like a completely different universe. The name of the game here is Neapolitan pizza: perfectly charred, bubbly crust and fresh, simple toppings like basil, pecorino, and prosciutto. It’s the same pizza they’ve been making for over 150 years in Naples, Italy, and it’ll take exactly one bite for you to realize why they’re going strong at the LA outpost. Don’t stray too far from the pizzas, but if you want to throw a few appetizers on the table, we recommend the properly deep-fried calamari or the squash blossoms, when available.