The Best Restaurants in West AdamsFrom a famous fish market to LA's best pasta bar, these are our 14 favorite places to eat in West Adams.
Just south of Mid-City and east of Culver City is one of LA’s original suburbs: West Adams. There’s lots of history to unpack in this storied neighborhood lined with freshly built condos and Craftsman estates, but one thing has always been true: West Adams is home to some great restaurants. On this guide you’ll find an all-day cafe with an incredible breakfast burrito, the most inventive pasta bar in town, and a kitschy Thai dinner spot with a tree-lined patio, just to name a few. Whether you live in the area, or just hang out here occasionally because you like gawking at historic buildings from the sidewalk, here are the places in West Adams where you should be eating.
Mel's Fish Shack has been a staple in West Adams since 1995. The casual, counter-service fish market is about the size of a dorm room, so the menu here is takeout-only. Mel’s is best known for Cajun-style seafood plates and soul food sides—our favorite order is a pound of cornmeal-crusted fried red snapper, cooked crispy on the outside and flaky-tender on the inside. Pair that with a side of homemade hush puppies and some of their perfect potato salad, and be sure to get an extra order of their garlic-dill sauce to dip your fish.
In addition to being one of our favorite new restaurants of 2022, this Italian place also happens to be the best dinner date spot in West Adams. There’s a cozy front patio filled with string light-adorned trees and a long marble bar inside where you get a front row seat to the pasta-making show. Booking a primetime reservation here can be tough, but they usually save a couple of spots for walk-ins—we recommend showing up around 6pm and heading straight for the bar. The spicy pomodoro topped with a dollop of ricotta is a must-order, but you should also try their beet spaghetti, savory chicken liver crostini, and banana pudding tiramisu.
The soul food menu at Alta Adams isn’t exactly traditional, but each dish still tastes like a perfected classic. There’s moist, crunchy fried chicken served with homemade hot sauce and vanilla-coated candied yams topped with a handful of chopped pecans. They’ve also got a solid list of vegan options, including smoked tofu gumbo and BBQ cauliflower in a miso pureé. If you’re planning a special date night, book a table on their warmly lit patio here and take advantage of the $30 wine flight. Anyone interested in learning more about women & BIPOC winemakers should also check out Adams Wine Shop right next door, run by the same people.
With three locations across LA, Mizlala has grown a lot since it first opened in 2016—but one thing hasn’t changed: the excellent Israeli food. At their West Adams restaurant, you order at the counter, grab some pickled sides from the condiments bar, and take a seat on the patio. It’s the ideal place for a quick weeknight meal or a last-minute group dinner that won’t break the bank. The menu is small, but it’s hard to go wrong—you can order any of the main proteins in a pita, on a salad, or as a plate with rice, hummus, and veggies. We especially love their well-seasoned chicken shawarma, and the spiced kefta is a good bet, too.
Farmhouse Kitchen is a colorful, kitschy Thai restaurant in West Adams imported to LA from the Bay Area. With neon pink lighting, a giant back patio, over-the-top shareable entrees, and cocktails that are served in foot-high plastic crowns, it’s clear that this place caters to groups looking to party. The yellow curry, Thai-style fried chicken, and the panang neua, a braised short rib shank covered in rich panang curry, are all standout dishes. Although the elaborately-plated dishes here are more pricey than at other Thai spots, it’s actually worth it for a kind of rowdy night out after a long week of taking things too seriously.
If you want a proper bowl of spicy Chinese noodles without driving out to the SGV, head to Mian. This Sichuan noodle spot comes from the chef behind Chengdu Taste, one of our favorite spots in Alhambra, and specializes in hand-pulled Sichuan-style noodles made with tongue-numbing peppercorns. The spacious dining room has huge street-facing windows, a sleek open kitchen, and an easy-to-use QR code ordering system attached to every table. It’s a great spot to roll in by yourself for a quick sit-down lunch or bring a group for a casual weeknight dinner. Don’t leave without trying their pork chili oil wontons and a mug of mung bean tea.
The neon sign affixed to Johnny's Pastrami—an iconic neighborhood institution that was brought back to life a few years ago— shouts PASTRAMI in big, glowing letters, so there should be no confusion about what to prioritize here. The house-smoked pastrami is slightly peppery, sliced super-thick, and served simply on marble rye with a dab of deli mustard, though you should also save room for the matzo ball soup and banana cream pie. This casual, counter-service spot has a massive back patio that’s perfect for big group hangs, plus there’s a bar right next door for when you want dinner to transition into drinks. Although the restaurant itself closes at 10pm, the bar stays open until midnight.
Open Face Food Shop is a Danish restaurant that’s serious about serving fresh produce. Not only do they grow a bunch of their own vegetables, they also give away free stem cuttings from their herb garden. Run by a husband-and-wife duo, this neighborhood cafe has a short menu—mostly made up of sandwiches, salads, and smoked fish—that leans healthy without compromising on flavor. We're also big fans of their strong coffee, homemade pastries, and shaded patio garden that's usually packed during weekend brunch. After you eat, drop by the owner's home goods shop across the street—they sell everything from fancy jam to high-quality spices.
In a city full of scene-y cafes, Highly Likely is one of the most versatile options around. The open-air space on Jefferson Blvd. has a large menu of dishes that are actually worth planning your day around, including one of our favorite breakfast burritos in LA. During the day, the space is usually packed with well-dressed strangers sipping $8 lattes while pretending to work on their laptops. At night, it doubles as a natural wine bar where you can snack on fried halloumi sticks and catch up with a few friends. Whether you’re studying to become a sommelier or just looking for a coffee shop with strong wifi, you’ll inevitably find yourself hanging out much longer than you expected at this laid-back neighborhood spot.
Phillips Bar-B-Que is all business. The sign out front at this Southern-style spot reminds you that it’s to-go only (although there’s a spare table in the parking lot). Around lunchtime, expect things to get busy—what seems like half of the Mid-City community pours in for their excellent smoked meat, like succulent pork ribs and rib tips smothered in thick, glistening sauce. Everything on the menu is available either a la carte, in a sandwich, or as a plate with a few sides. Almost everyone orders the pork, but the sleeper hits are the chicken links. The snappy, smoky sausages are sliced into puck-like rounds with plenty of spice and texture. Order them by the pound.
At Taqueria Los Anaya, a family-run restaurant on West Adams Blvd., there's really no wrong order. The tacos are made with thick housemade tortillas, the rich molé is smooth like velvet, and the chilaquiles come topped with smoky salsa roja. Open from 8am to 9pm daily, this casual Mexican spot with bright yellow walls has a massive menu that works for just about any occasion. It’s also a great spot to bring a group for Happy Hour deals, like half-off margarita Mondays or bottomless mimosa Sundays.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Vicky’s All Day. For one, the charming dining room feels like a cross between a classic diner and a cozy French brasserie. Second, they serve excellent shakshuka with homemade laffa bread that you can order any time. In fact, this polished, mediterranean-leaning spot seems designed as a Swiss Army knife for the neighborhood: you can drop by for breakfast in your pajamas, grab a quick pita sandwich for lunch, or bring a date in the evening for pizza and wine. If we lived around the corner, we’d already be regulars.
Delicious Pizza is great for a quick NY-style slice during the day, but we like this unassuming pizzeria best around dinnertime. That’s when you can grab a table, order a whole pie, and take in the golden era hip-hop memorabilia lining the walls. The entire place feels like a museum exhibit dedicated to rap music, and since the owners run the record label that put J Dilla on the map, it kind of is. Bring a group of friends or a date who appreciates naturally fermented dough, fresh mozzarella, and a good Kendrick Lamar playlist.
Head to this little brewery on Jefferson Blvd. the next time you're looking for a good birthday venue in the neighborhood. They have a spacious front patio and a scenic top deck where you can sip refreshing sours, hazy IPAs, and housemade fruit seltzers under a galaxy of string lights. Party Beer serves a couple of vegan dishes that work well for a drinking snack. But if you want a full meal, drop by on a Friday when they host the Vegan Playground night market, featuring 15+ vendors from across the city—expect hungry crowds and lots of plant-based foods like cheesy nachos, XLB dumplings, pizza, donuts, and more.