The Best Restaurants In LarchmontWhere to eat in LA's quaintest neighborhood.
Larchmont is a neighborhood that feels like it was created on a studio backlot and then plopped in the center of LA as an experiment. There are well-manicured sidewalks, cutesy cafes, and ice cream parlors where pimply-faced high schoolers pick up shifts during the summer. It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting IRL. And given its central location between Hollywood, Beverly Grove, and Koreatown, and mere blocks from Paramount Studios, it’s also somewhere you’ll probably find yourself hungry from time to time. These are the places to prioritize when you’re there.
Simply put, there are sandwiches and then there are Larchmont Wine and Cheese sandwiches. This neighborhood wine shop might merely look like a place to pick up a good bottle of pinot (it is) but there’s also a not-so-well-kept secret lurking in the back: one of the best sandwich counters in the city. There are only seven sandwiches on the menu, and though the #5 with prosciutto and mozzarella (on baguette, always) is a classic, we’d make a case you should order each of them at some point. Waiting in line can be annoying at lunch, so if you’re in a rush, call in your order ahead. And grab a bottle on your way out.
Mario’s is a tiny strip mall spot on Melrose that specializes in delicious Peruvian-style seafood. Their ceviche mixto is a heaping mix of white fish, shrimp, and squid that gets lightly cured in citrus and paired with boiled potatoes, steamed corn, and fresh red onion, making it a perfect size for sharing with coworkers at lunch hour (we’re looking at you, Netflixers up the street). Mario’s also has a fantastic crispy chicharron de calamares served with tartar sauce and pickled red onion salsa. It’s served hot and fresh from the fryer and goes great with either a squeeze of lemon or their ají salsa. Expect to see people hoarding containers of this spicy green sauce in their bags because it’s seriously delicious. You might even consider joining them.
Contrary to what New York transplants will tell you, there are actually plenty of solid NY-style slice shops around town. They might not be on every corner, but if you know where to look, you’ll find them. In Larchmont, look for Village Pizzeria. The grungy, memorabilia-filled pizza parlor is one of our favorite spots in town for big, greasy slices that we can fold in half as we walk (yes, that’s an activity people do in Larchmont). Our favorite slice is the oil-dripping pesto with garlic and romano cheese, but their classic, slightly spicy pepperoni is reliably great, too.
For what Larchmont has in photogenic daytime cafes and movie-ready farmers markets, it lacks in buzzy dinner spots. But that’s beginning to change with the arrival of Tonchin. This refined Japanese spot has everything you’d want in a fun dinner—good ramen, solid bar bites, a long list of natural wines, and a packed dining room that's energetic without being annoyingly loud or chaotic. They've even got some attention-grabbing desserts like matcha kakigori and a caramelized banana served on a slab of shortbread. Keep Tonchin in mind for your next date night, or a fun night out with friends.
Kali doesn’t have the buzz and energy it did a few years ago, but the food at this minimalist fine dining spot on Melrose is still good enough to warrant a visit. Some plates definitely feel trapped in 2015 (you’ll spot a foam or two), but others, like a decadent duck breast with pistachio gremolata and barley risotto that tastes like Christmas Eve on a plate, are flat-out delicious. Everything can be ordered a la carte (our preference), but if you want to leave the decision-making to someone else, they also offer a seasonal tasting menu for $165 per person. That’s not cheap, but it certainly beats the folks hemorrhaging mortgage payments down the street at Providence.
Don’t check our math on this, but there are approximately 5,000 places to pick up baked goods in Larchmont Village. The best of the bunch is Clark Street. The popular bakery/cafe operates a sleek, minimalist shop in the heart of the neighborhood and is the perfect spot for some late-morning pastries or a well-built sandwich at lunch. There is a tiny area in the back with some tables, but we use this place mostly for takeout. And if it’s freshly baked bread you’re looking for, get there no later than 10am or else the shelves will be empty.
Osteria Mamma is the definition of a neighborhood standby. No one needs to be crossing town for their pasta, but if you live in the area (or are stuck in traffic on Melrose), this cozy, family-run trattoria always has a bowl of noodles and glass of wine ready for you. There are 15 pastas on the menu ranging from pappardelle with short rib to a very traditional all'amatriciana, but we suggest starting with the bigolotto nero. The squid ink pasta is tossed with shrimp and Calabrian chili and has a nice balance of heat and brininess. They also offer lunch, making it a good option if you work at a nearby studio and need to take a meeting.
If there’s an official beverage of Larchmont, it would be coffee. Hot, iced, black, or topped to the brim with the latest pumpkin-vanilla seasonal foam, it doesn’t matter—strolling Larchmont Blvd. on a Saturday morning is like witnessing a coffee 5k. There are more caffeine options on this stretch than anyone can count, but our favorite is Great White. The Australian cafe has multiple locations across the city these days, but its bright, breezy Larchmont location is an ideal spot to post up on a hazy Sunday morning with a flat white and one of the best breakfast burritos in the city. Also, if you’re in the Weho/Beverly Hills area and have a coffee date with someone coming from the Eastside, this is a fair geographic middle ground.