Studies show the average person will spend two years of their life waiting in line, nine years surfing the internet, and 13 years listening to music. And if you live in Los Angeles, you spend the rest of your life figuring out where to meet people halfway for dinner.
In a city this size, agreeing on a fair middle point is a way of life. Your friend’s coming from Koreatown, but you just got out of a 5pm in Brentwood, and neither one of you want to cross La Cienega. It’s a game of give-and-take that only really leads to one thing: wasted time. So we made a guide to help. Here are 10 places to eat when you’re coming from opposite sides of town.
Need to meet Between: Hollywood & Downtown
Located in that southern part of Silver Lake that’s not actually Silver Lake (a.k.a Sqirl land), Melody is a casual French spot inside an old bungalow house, and the kind of hangout every neighborhood in LA wishes they had. The place reads more like a wine bar, but their food menu is ideal for snacking while talking about your string of bad dates on their patio. Get the smoked brandade, a creamy fish dip that’s actually addictive.
Need to meet between: Santa Monica & West HOllywood
Unless you feel like braving Eataly, Century City’s reputation for being a restaurant desert is still very true. But there’s one exception: Craft. Yes, this upscale restaurant is filled with every talent manager and lawyer west of Beverly Hills, but no one can deny the food is actually great. The scallops, the salads, and $100 steaks are some of the best versions in town. If you finally agreed to meet up with that other assistant from a competing agency and neither of you are paying for it, Craft is where you go.
Need to meet between: Silver Lake & Culver City
Despite a name that sounds more like a Hollywood and Highland gift shop than a restaurant in Koreatown, Here’s Looking At You is that reliable date spot you need for when you swipe right on someone who lives 13 miles away. The menu is made up of Asian-influenced small plates, and covers a lot of ground - from curry to a chopped salad to our favorite beef tartare in town - so whoever you’re meeting will definitely find something they like. Just know the space is small and fills up quickly. Make a reservation.
Need to Meet Between: venice & koreatown
Doughroom is a neighborhood sports bar/pizzeria in Palms, a mostly residential neighborhood in between all the neighborhoods you and your old coworker are trying to drive from. If you aren’t in the mood to drink cheap beer and listen to people scream at a sporting event on TV, don’t worry. Doughroom’s atmosphere is extremely relaxed, they have an excellent craft beer list, and aside from Sundays, most people here could care less about the game. Get the spicy bear pizza.
need to meet between: Beverly Hills & Burbank
La Carmencita is one of our go-to Hollywood spots simply because parking is easy and the food is good - two things that don’t often go hand-in-hand around these parts. The modern Mexican restaurant has a cantina feel, but not in the same way as those soul-crushing tourist traps up on Hollywood Blvd. The atmosphere is relaxed and the crowd is a mix of neighborhood people eating tacos and actors drinking margaritas before they have to be at rehearsal.
need to meet between: Century City & Malibu
Best known as that wine bar you get a drink at while you’re waiting for your table at Cassia, the secret to Ester’s is that it’s actually a great place to eat all on its own. Their wine list stacked, the food menu is huge and full of things that aren’t just finger food, and the atmosphere is far more relaxed than its upscale and always-crowded next door neighbor. Get the grilled cheese.
Need to meet between: Brentwood & los Feliz
Remember Connie & Ted’s? It’s that casual seafood spot in West Hollywood you went to for bunch when it opened a few years ago and then stopped going for no particular reason at all. Update: it’s better than ever. The crowds and overall chaos are long gone, leaving the place to be a true neighborhood seafood joint. The giant menu is great across the board, you’ll always be able to find a table in their big dining room, and their burger is one of the best in town.
need to meet between: Highland Park & Beverly Grove
This modern Silver Lake comfort food spot is one of our favorite new restaurants, and an ideal setting for you and your old roommate to sit and bitch and eat reubens. Located in a stripmall along Sunset, Freedman’s menu is filled with unique twists on Jewish deli staples that go way beyond matzo ball soup and smoked fish. There’s also caviar on toast, popovers with trout roe, and a guava cheesecake you’ll still be thinking about the entire ride home.
need to meet between: Playa Vista & mid-Wilshire
Sotto’s only been open for several years, but it feels like a real classic. Located in a basement along Pico Blvd., this small Italian joint was the original restaurant from the same crew behind Rossoblu. But unlike like that massive Fashion District operation, Sotto is full of people who live in the neighborhood, and it’s not so romantic that you feel awkward eating there with a friend. Their margherita pizza will make you glad you finally agreed to see your old co-worker.
need to meet between: Manhattan Beach & Fairfax
In downtown Culver City years, The Wallace has been around since the dawn of time (2013). This modern American restaurant has become the old reliable of casual fine dining in Culver City, and is the place you go when you want to mildly impress someone and eat some scallops, but also have no intention of putting on dress shoes. The menu is stacked with good versions of very crowd-pleasing dishes.