These are uncertain times, so it’s normal to have a lot of questions - “Should I dine-in at restaurants?” “Can things ever go back to normal?” “If time doesn’t exist anymore, how can my crush still be ‘too busy’ to text me back?” etc.
And while you wait for answers, you’ve probably found comfort in the familiar, like looking through old photos, reaching out to former roommates, or ordering from your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Then ordering from that same restaurant again. And again. And again. Your life already feels like someone took a Groundhog Day DVD and ran it through the dishwasher, so the last thing you want is for your diet to become as monotonous the rest of your waking hours. But we’ve got a guide for that. From Japanese eel specialists to “The best Cuban sandwich in the world,” these 35 spots are guaranteed to break up your delivery deja vu.
Obet & Del's Coffee
It’s been three months since you had a proper espresso, and no offense to drip coffee, but... it just doesn’t hit the same. Especially when you were up all night listening to the sweet, sweet sounds of your neighbor’s fireworks until 4am. Enter: Obet & Del’s, a very cool, retro-themed coffee shop in Thai Town. Located right across the street from Ruen Pair, this is the perfect place to get your fix of cold brews, cortados, and something called a “golden milk cappuccino,” made with turmeric, milk, honey, and coconut sugar.
Ăn Cơm is a new homestyle Vietnamese pop-up. Here’s how it works: Once a week, they drop their menu on Instagram - most recently, it’s featured dishes like gà rô-ti, or five-spiced roasted chicken, thịt kho (caramel-braised pork with quail eggs) and pastelitos, flaky pastries made with banana jam and coconut caramel. Once that goes live, head to their link in bio to place an order, then wait for them to send you the address for pick-up. But be warned - you gotta be quick. Pre-orders tend to sell out within the hour.
LA’s coolest, most Instagram-friendly dessert is a vegan-friendly shaved ice. Ice-cold and hyper-vibrant, the joyful frozen treat comes in flavors like Rainbow Rocket, Strawberry Lemon Lush, and Mango Madness, and is the perfect choice for when you’re craving something sweet - but don’t want to return to the bucket of ice cream you bought pre-quarantine and still haven’t finished. Happy Ice now has three locations - two trucks and a brick-and-mortar spot on Melrose Ave. - check their Instagram for the latest updates.
Natraliart Jamaican Restaurant
Unlike many of the other spots on this list, Natraliart isn’t some sort of new pop-up: This Jamaican restaurant in Mid-City has been serving incredible food for over 35 years. But if you haven’t had the chance to try them yet - or if you haven’t been back in a while - there’s no time like the present. In addition to traditional Jamaican dishes such as jerk chicken, oxtails, and ackee & salt fish, Natraliart also serves a variety of fresh juices, such as pineapple and ginger, sorrel (hibiscus flower), and the “energizer,” which is made from a blend of seam moss milk, stout, banana, and spices - a.k.a., a good thing to add to your cart if you, like a certain person writing this, has eaten three different cheeseburgers in the last two days (and one of them was a quarter pounder, smh).
The Ricans Food
Once a week(ish - it varies), this Puerto Rican pop-up goes down at Lokels Only, a community space in the Arts District that doubles as a takeout and delivery hub for various pop-up restaurants on the weekend. And while there are a few different dishes on the menu, such as smashed pork burgers and tripleta burritos, the central focus here is on mofongos. If you’re not familiar with the dish, consider The Ricans your ideal introduction: green plantains are mashed with a secret blend of garlic, oil and spices, then molded and served hot with everything from fried pork to chicharrones de pollo to jackfruit guisado.
Located in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, Amboy is selling “quality meats and delicious burgers.” That means you can expect everything from double smashburgers to harder-to-find cuts of meat like Denver steaks and Brazilian-style sirloins from the recently opened butcher shop, which was started by the chef behind Eggslut. Place your pre-orders through their website.
Although you could do delivery from this Little Bangladesh restaurant, picking up your order is half the fun - because it gives you a chance to chat with the owner, who, when we called to see if they were still open during the shutdown, simply replied “We’re going to stay open as long as they let us stay open” (but with, like, a lot more UPPERCASE letters). But delivery/takeout/pick-up/contactless/etc. aside, it all becomes pretty immaterial once you start eating their fantastic Pakistani and Bangladeshi dishes, like their deeply aromatic basmati rice, tender lamb shank curry, and a rich, buttery chicken karahi that tastes like liquid gold, or Sonoya Mizuno’s bathwater. Available for takeout and delivery, call (213) 384-3570 or find them on most major apps.
Oh, Blessed Tropical Jamaican Cuisine. What was once an evocative, charming name has turned into something almost like a taunt, winking knowingly as we stare out of the window, longing for a time when Corona was just a beer and the only thing keeping us from vacationing in the Caribbean was a lack of funds. Well, the past is the past, and if we’re going to be stuck in our respective homes for the foreseeable future, we might as well be doing it with a plate or two of their incredible jerk chicken and marinated oxtail. Available for takeout and delivery, call (310) 330-0649 or find them on the apps.
From sizzling catfish to oxtail pho, much like our unbridled love for Sydney Sweeney, the options for excellent Vietnamese food in Westminster are truly limitless. All you need is a little guidance and a push in the right direction. So, consider this your push - Brodard is one of the most popular restaurants in the area , mostly because of their flavorful, textually complex nem nuong cuon, or grilled pork spring rolls. Filled with sweet sausage, crunchy, deep-fried bits of rice paper, and fresh mint leaves, we’d happily eat this dish every single day, kind of like we were Sisyphus and these spring rolls were our boulder. Available for takeout, call (657) 247-4401 to order or find them on the apps.
This one might require a little more coordination and planning, but in a town with shockingly few Burmese spots, it might just be worth it. As you probably gathered from the name, Burmese, Please! is a Southeast Asian pop-up with incredible manners in Downtown LA. They have a variety of party packs and kits available to-go, like tea leaf salads with fermented tea leaves, fish sauce, and shallots, and kits for making mohinga, a traditional Burmese soup, with catfish, split pea fritters, and rice noodles. There’s just one catch: Pick-ups are only available on the second Tuesday of the month. So even if you’re starting to think that time doesn’t exist anymore, plan accordingly. DM their Instagram account to pre-order.
Although freezers across the city are packed with the frozen wares of Mama Lu’s, Lao Tao, and Little Fatty, if you’re the type of person who suspects pan-frying dumplings might be just a little out of your skill-level, then head to CHD. This Koreatown restaurant specializes in made-to-order mandu, and serves everything on the dumpling spectrum, from grilled to steamed, and with fillings like ground pork, kimchi, galbi, and shrimp, all available for takeout and delivery - call (213) 334-4333 or find them on most major apps.
El Cochinito’s Cuban sandwich isn’t just the best in Silver Lake, or even the best in the city - according to the International Cuban Sandwich Festival, it’s the best in the world. And now, you can enjoy this award-winning sandwich from the comfort (and safety) of your own home, where you’ve been busy contemplating life’s greatest questions, like “Is Michael Barbaro cute?” and “How hard is it to cut your own bangs, really?” In addition to the aforementioned sandwiches, this family-owned restaurant is also offering plates of their slow roasted pork, arroz con leche, and tons of beer and wine. Available for takeout and delivery - call (323) 668-0737 or find them on the apps.
If you’re tired of ordering from Bay Cities, but you’re still in the mood for an Italian sub, then it’s time to head to E Stretto. Everything on the menu at this tiny Downtown shop comes on their excellent house-baked ciabatta, but we’re especially partial to their spicy turkey pesto and pressed roast beef. However - the real reason you travelled here is for the Il Papa, a giant sub filled with mortadella, chorizo, manchego, and giardiniera, which serves as their remix to the ubiquitous Godmother. And much like the cinematic, Western stylings of the Violents version of Kacey Musgraves’ “High Horse,” this is one of the few remixes that are just as good as the original. Available for takeout and delivery - call (213) 265-7017 or find them on the apps.
Fat & Flour
While eating the pies and baked goods from this Eastside pop-up, you might find yourself getting hit with a wave of actual déjà vu . Maybe that’s because you’ve eaten it in a parallel universe, but most likely, it’s because you’ve had the food at Fiona, the now-closed Fairfax restaurant that was run by the chef behind Fat & Flour. She’s now brought those signature pies back, and is offering them in flavors like rhubarb cherry and Key lime topped with whipped cream, as well as a variety of brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and pure, raw, cookie dough. Check Fat & Flour’s Instagram for updates, or pre-order for pick-up through their website.
Dessert has always been important, but during quarantine, it’s been downright essential. But if you can’t handle another box of powdered donuts or tub of cookie dough, give your needy sweet tooth something new, like an order from FrankieLucy Bakeshop. This small Silver Lake storefront is the ultimate usurper of ube (except, like, in a nice way… we just wanted to hit that triple alliteration) and serves all sorts of treats made with purple yam, including bread pudding, horchatas, and upside-down pies filled with a smooth, creamy ube custard. FrankieLucy Bakeshop is available for takeout and delivery. Pick-up in-store, call (323) 285-1458, or order through their website.
If you’re overwhelmed by the persistent feeling that nothing matters and a healthy dose of “hope is a genetic defect,” then maybe it’s time to put down the Medium article and pick up some dessert. And Fugetsu-Do, a very sweet Japanese confectionary in Little Tokyo seems like the right place to start. They sell everything from house-made manju (traditional mochi filled with adzuki, or red bean paste) to mochi made with chocolate ganache - which is, in short, the perfect salve for all of that ultimately boring nihilism. Available for pick-up in-store, or visit their website to place an order.
We’re not sure when sourdough became the king of quarantine activities, but for some reason, we’ve been talking about bread a lot lately. Like, a lot a lot. And whether you’ve been the one leading that charge, or simply have soured on all things dough, you should head to Furn Saj. Located in The Valley, this pair of Lebanese bakeries (there’s a second outpost in Glendora) serves all sorts of life-affirming baked goods, like labneh drizzled in honey and saroukh, a bread filled with cheese, onion, and parsley. But what’s really worth the drive to Granada Hills/going outside are their beef and chicken shawarmas - both of which are among the best in LA. Available for pick-up in-store, or find them on the apps.
Even under quarantine, life continues to surprise us: No-sew masks are apparently quite hard to make, RuPaul, evidently, is fracking, and this bowling alley in Gardena is still making some of the best Hawaiian food in LA. And while the actual bowling part is closed for the time being, the tiny diner attached to it is still going strong, and serving everything from smokey kalua pig to their house special, the Hawaiian Royale - a simple but massive scramble of eggs, rice, chashu, and Portuguese sausage. Call (310) 532-0820 to place an order for pick-up.
Haven’t you heard? The old world is burning, capitalism is the real virus, and the revolution is now - so you might as well have a good fried chicken sandwich in hand. And it doesn’t get much better than Hotville - the Crenshaw restaurant owned and operated by a relative of the family behind Nashville’s iconic Prince’s Hot Chicken. And they have the super-hot chicken (and the tremendously buttery mac and cheese) to prove it. Available for takeout and delivery, call (323) 792-4835 or find them on the apps.
After a brief closure, Kato is back, with a newer, more concise version of their Taiwanese tasting menu. Called “Kato at Home,” for $60 (which is about half of what you’d pay for a sit-down dinner here), you’ll get eight courses, ranging from dishes like braised pork rice to steamed fish topped with ginger and scallion, plus a dessert featuring buttermilk pudding, kaya (coconut jam), pineapple, and coffee brown-butter oats. Not exactly a casual meal, but who cares? Every day that you don’t lose it on a random person on Omegle is a reason to celebrate. Kato At Home is available for pre-order.
Korean BBQ - what a concept. Can you imagine doing that today? Eating at a communal table while everyone picks at the same, small plates of banchan? But that doesn’t mean you can’t have galbi, pork belly, and, in theory, good times at home - The Korean BBQ Kit is now selling kits for two-four people, complete with seasonal banchan, your choice of marinated meat, rice, and dipping sauces. And, if you’re like us (and we’re guessing, many other people) and don’t have your own Korean BBQ set-up at home, they also have table burners, charcoal grills, and butane fuel for purchase. Now the only thing left to do is find a well-curated playlist of Twice songs. Order for delivery through their website.
Kitsune is a small takeaway counter in Silver Lake, and an offshoot of Kombu Sushi. And there’s basically only one thing on the menu here - perfectly crafted onigiri, or Japanese rice balls, which are the ideal snack for doomscrolling through Twitter and/or staring blankly at the wall until a car passes by and snaps you back to reality. Each rice ball comes with a filling, like salted salmon, tuna mixed with Kewpie mayonnaise, and chicken gochujang. Available for takeout or delivery, order through their website.
Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
Forcing yourself to eat vegetables while in quarantine is kind of like doing, well, any other activity during quarantine: Pretty unpleasant. Unless, that is, you’re ordering from Lalibela in Little Ethiopia. We usually order the Veggie Utopia, a giant spread of 14 different plant-based dishes, such as spicy chickpea stew, collard greens, and split peas, all served upon on soft and spongy injera - which just so happens to be perfect for mopping up the occasional tear. Call (323) 965-1025 to order, or find them on delivery apps.
Right now, it feels imperative to feel less, whether that’s burying yourself in Survivor marathons, or spending hours in front of the mirror at night, trying to coax your reflection to switch realms with you. Or, you could just try numbing your mouth on some super-spicy hot pot. If that’s the route you’ve chosen (wise), then it’s time to order from Malubianbian, a Chengdu-based hot pot chain that recently opened their first U.S. storefront in Rowland Heights. The name of the game here is skewers filled with meats and veggies such as lamb, beef, tofu, and mushrooms, dipped into a spicy, chili-loaded broth. Now available for takeout and delivery, call (626) 656-6140 to order.
From breakups to Slack-related embarrassments, for years, this family-run Armenian restaurant in Studio City has been our go-to for all of our bad days. So yeah, we’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. But rest assured that there’s still a way to feel comfort, via mouthfuls of dolma, plates of sizzling, hot feta, and mantee, boat-shaped ravioli filled with ground beef and topped with yogurt, their namesake dish. Available for takeout and delivery, call (818) 761-6565 or find them on the apps.
If we had to pick the perfect quarantine companion, our first choice would be a post-Lion Dev Patel, then an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccination, and then the Vampiro Taco from Mexicali Co. No disrespect to the other items on the menu - their Baja-style Mexican is among some of the best in the city - but when it comes down to it, this half taco, half quesadilla behemoth is exactly what we want to be eating while we engage in the thrilling quarantine activity of moving from one couch to the other couch. Plus, the garlic sauce is so good, it could win a Nobel Peace Prize if given the chance, and may actually ward off vampires. What? At this point, anything could happen. Available for takeout, call (213) 613-0416 to order.
Morfia's Ribs And Pies
Located in a particularly BBQ-less part of an even more BBQ-less town, Morfia’s is a simple, homestyle Southern restaurant serving all of the seafarers, octogenarians, and occasional Senior Editors residing in Marina del Rey. Is their pulled pork revolutionizing the world of BBQ? Not really. Does their Key lime pie hold the answers to questions like “When will I ever be in a group-setting again?” Definitely not. However, it is the only place in LA that serves both true Texas brisket AND baklava cheesecake - which, in these dark times is enough. Available for takeout and delivery, call (310) 821-6939 or find them on the apps.
If you’re getting a bit bored of the ol’ boxed fusilli + ketchup routine (we ran out of tomato sauce), but still want a big bowl of noodles, then it’s time to order from Otafuku. This family-run Japanese restaurant in the South Bay makes their soba in-house every day, with special buckwheat flour imported from Japan. Served with nothing but a tiny dish of garlic soy sauce for dipping, this is the kind of straightforward, simple meal that’s exactly what you need when you can’t bear to squirt Heinz onto dry pasta any more (we didn’t want to waste water). Otafuku Noodle House is available for takeout, call (310) 532-9348 to order.
Operating out of Ronan’s dining room twice a month, this Italian-style pop-up is - to lift a phrase from the ‘ol School Of Good Journalism - doing a lot. And say what you want Parm Boyz’ fratty social media presence, Tony Soprano memes, and… that z in their name, but they’re never boring. And more importantly - their Italian tasting menu, which is only $40 and comes with antipasti, Caesar salad, tiramisu, and their eponymous parm, is actually one of the better red-sauce-related deals in town. Head to their website to place an order.
Much like our belief in a higher power, this Chinatown restaurant is constantly evolving. Ever since their first pop-up at the beginning of the year, we’ve already seen Pearl River Deli through name changes, menu rehauls, and most recently, a paint job, but what’s stayed consistent is an unwavering, singular focus on innovative Cantonese food like Macau-style pork chops, and a silky egg scramble that’s basically one, big siu mai omelette. But our favorite dish here, and one of their most recent additions, is the white cut chicken. Poached chicken, somehow made plump and tender by the poultry-genius known as the chef behind Side Chick in Arcadia, is served over a bed of rice and covered in an aromatic minced ginger/scallion sauce. Text (626) 688-9507 to place an order.
Petite Peso is a mere babe in restaurant years (and in normal years, too). That’s because this Filipino restaurant opened during the age of Coronavirus. Located in teeny storefront in DTLA, they’re serving a variety of traditional classics here, such as buttery pan de sal (slightly sweet bread rolls), lumpia, kare kare (a thick, savory stew made with peanut sauce), and adobo - all of which can upgraded to family size. Whether you’re actually feeding other people, however - that’s between you and your God. Available for takeout and delivery, call (209) 438-7376 or find them on most major apps.
You’ve had the same rice+protein+veggie combo for eight consecutive days, so it’s time to make like a Nintendo console and Switch™ things up. Enter - Rice Guys. This Filipino restaurant has a variety of hearty, flavorful bowls with toppings we really haven’t seen anywhere else, like tocilog with pineapple-cured pork shoulder, binakol (poached chicken in coconut broth), and inihaw na gulay, a roasted mixture of bok choy, squash, Chinese eggplant, and king trumpet mushrooms. And, we think it goes without saying, all of these are served over rice. Rice Guys is available for takeout and delivery, call (310) 584 -1138 to order, or find them on most major delivery apps.
No tea, no shade to a certain um, saccharine fish restaurant, but there’s only so many times a month you can order a Trust Me. We’ve got an alternative for you: Sogo. This tiny hand-roll spot in Los Feliz is owned and operated by the team behind Sushi Note, so expect the same crazy-high levels of fish quality, as well as unique dishes like brandy-soaked albacore topped with garlic ponzu. Right now, the only things they’re offering are cut rolls and sashimi (hand rolls don’t travel well), and they come in sets of three to six. Sogo is available for delivery and takeout, order through their website.
Toku Unagi’s elaborate, obsessively crafted boxes of freshwater eel are perfect for celebrating a big night in, even if all you’re commemorating is surviving another day without texting your ex. Available for both pick-up and delivery, LA’s first (and only) eel-specialist is now offering their signature imported Japanese unagi to-go, and for much lower prices - sets now start at $15 (compared to the $53 they used to cost pre-quarantine). But if you’re not really f-eeling like eating unagi, this Weho restaurant also has a large assortment of curries, high-quality sushi, teriyaki plates, and sake by the bottle for sale. Call (310) 854-7285, or place an order through their website and most major apps.
Valle is the newest restaurant on this list, but the people running it are far from novices. The chefs behind Gjelina and MTN look over the latter’s space and turned it into a Venice pop-up, serving a variety of Oaxacan dishes - everything from tacos topped with pollo adobado and birria in consomé to ceviche made with kanpachi and squash blossom quesadillas. They’re only doing pick-up right now, but honestly, it might be good for you to get outside. Pre-order online.