LAGuide

Where To Eat In LA After A Bad Week

19 places to grab a meal when the sh*t hits the fan.
Rémy Martin

Maybe you just got ghosted by your significant other of two years, or your fridge broke on an 80-degree day, or your boss told you that they need an attitude adjustment from you immediately. Some weeks can be great, but others dissolve into complete dumpster fires. And when it’s been one of those weeks, you need comfort food. Whether you’re looking for a giant burger, a plate of biryani, or a dessert to cry into, these are the LA spots to hit up after a bad week.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Sandwiches

Beverly Hills

$$$$Perfect For:LunchDining Solo
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This upscale Italian sandwich counter in Beverly Hills makes massive, luxurious sandwiches that will briefly take away the anxiety of having not one, but two different check engine lights on in your car. The mortadella and toasted pistachio-stuffed Lorenzo is our current favorite, but having tried all nine sandwiches on the menu, we can say with confidence there’s not a bad one in the bunch. So just follow your gut, and then walk over the Beverly Gardens Park for a little solo afternoon picnic. 

Open Tuesday through Sunday from 7am-3pm, this tiny Cambodian spot in Long Beach specializes in breakfast dishes like rich, creamy rice porridge and meat pies, but it’s their house-special noodle soup with pork bone broth that’ll bring you back to life after losing your wallet and keys in one morning. It’s not really a place that can accommodate groups, which is fine—more time to lightly sob by yourself. 

Nights filled with pizza, dessert, and wine have proven to raise the endorphin levels of the human body. It’s why, when things get rocky, you’ll find us hanging inside Quarter Sheets. The casual Echo Park pizzeria specializes in pan-style pies that arrive at the table with a thick, crunchy crust and toppings that range from burrata and hot peppers to BBQ chicken. It’s some of our favorite pizza in LA, and yet, the dessert here is just as big of a star. Specials change weekly, but just know that whether you’re eating a decadent princess cake or a peach-blackberry slab pie, this sugar will make your day better. A rotating list of four or five natural wines never hurts the situation either.

John O’Groats feels like a small-town restaurant that your family’s been going to for decades, the one where the owners still think you’re in high school even though they were at your wedding. And that’s exactly the kind of comfort you need right now. Everyone inside this classic American diner on Pico is either reading the newspaper, swapping neighborhood gossip, or eating the Biscuits From Heaven until they can’t anymore. Yes, they’re actually called Biscuits From Heaven and yes, it’s an accurate description.

A giant plate of smoked meat will always make life a little better, and you won’t find a better one than at Moo’s. The family-run spot in Lincoln Heights serves traditional central Texas barbecue—brisket is king here—but there’s plenty of East LA influence on the menu as well (side dishes include smoky esquites, and for dessert, there’s tres leches bread pudding). The bright, colorful space is perfect for hanging out while staring vacantly at whatever sport’s on the TV, but there’s also an efficient takeout service as well—if eating alone in your car is the vibe right now. 

Usually, we would never recommend eating in a bowling alley in good faith, but Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop is the exception to the rule. The old-school diner has every American breakfast staple in the book, but you’re here for the incredible Hawaiian food. Sh*tty week or not, the kalua pork and cabbage is smoky and fatty in all the right ways, and the Hawaiian Royal—a massive plate of eggs, rice, chashu, and Portuguese sausage—is edible therapy of the highest degree. And if that’s not enough to get your mind off things, they do have an actual bowling alley, so head over there and pretend that the pins are your landlord, and the ball is your fists right after opening their latest “Rent Hike!” email. 

You had the best first date of your life last night, and this morning you get a text saying they had a great time, too…and that they’re moving to Portugal next month. Grab the friend who’s seen you cry the most times, and head to Boyle Heights for some bean and cheese burritos. Open since 1966, Al & Bea’s is a family-owned East LA institution that serves the best version in town. Each one is made with a stretchy flour tortilla filled with refried pintos that are gloriously flavored with lard and a handful of shredded yellow cheese that liquefies against the molten hot beans. The cute, shaded front patio is the perfect place to sit and scheme a besties trip to Portugal.

This family-run Spanish spot in Beverly Grove feels like you’ve walked into an old tavern in Madrid with dark wooden chairs, tiled floors, and old knick-knacks hanging on the walls. In other words, it’s the perfect place to settle in with a friend, a pitcher of sangria, and let your emotions flow freely. When your tears finally give way to hunger, don’t overthink it—order the paella. Try the valenciana mixta for soft saffron-tinted rice, fresh clams, mussels, shrimp, and some tender chicken and pork. Or go for the marinera that nixes the chicken and pork for calamari and king prawns. 

Officially priced out of every major concert you wanted to see this year? Head to Blessed Tropical. This family-run restaurant in Inglewood serves the best Jamaican food in the neighborhood with massive portions and prices that fall around $12 for dinner plates. The most famous dish is the jerk chicken—and rightfully so, it’s fantastic—but opt for the spicy goat curry and marinated oxtail, too. Blessed Tropical is located directly across the street from Sofi, meaning you can eat your meal in your car while staring cantankerously at the stadium you definitely don’t want to be in right now. 

Eating the Filipino food from this Panorama City restaurant is the equivalent of finding $20 in a jacket you haven’t worn since last winter: super comforting, and something that will always change the trajectory of your day. From extra crispy pork pata to a rich and thick kare-kare that goes heavy on the peanuts, the menu is inspired by potlucks in Filipino home cooking—dishes that could be found laid out at a birthday party. If you don’t live in the Valley, the trip out here can be a little far, but we’d commit to that drive any day, just for a cup of their bulalo soup with beef shank, potatoes, and cabbage.


The Best Filipino Restaurants In Los Angeles image

LA Guide

The Best Filipino Restaurants In Los Angeles


Mercury’s not even in retrograde and your computer has successfully shut itself off every day this week. Make an appointment at the Genius Bar and then head immediately to Biriyani Kabob House. The family-run Indian/Pakistani restaurant in Little Bangladesh makes incredible plates of lamb biriyani, saag paneer, and fragrant curries that’ll have you forgetting all about your technological setbacks. Plus, the space itself is quiet and low-key, assuring minimal social interaction.


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LA Guide

The Best Restaurants In Santa Monica

Jewish delis have long been a destination for people struggling through a tough week, but if you need some help choosing one, pick Brent’s. The Northridge institution has been around since the 1960s and is the kind of place that heals your soul the second you step through the door. You'll see families, neighbors, and regulars who’ve sat at the same table for three decades. When coupled with comfort food staples like stuffed cabbage and our favorite pastrami Reuben in town, you’ll struggle to find a reason to ever leave.


photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight Dinner
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Against your best judgment, you agreed to feed your boss’s three clownfish while she was away on vacation, and you just found them all floating at the top of the tank. Take a deep breath and go to Mantee immediately. This family-run Armenian restaurant in Studio City makes incredible food across its menu, but the namesake mantee topped with garlic yogurt sauce, dolma, and sizzling hot feta should all be priorities. There’s also a hidden back patio that’s great for calming your nerves and Googling the nearest fish store.


The Best French Restaurants In LA image

LA Guide

The Best French Restaurants In LA

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine, an Indonesian/Singaporean restaurant right in downtown Alhambra, is where you’ll find us any time we need to put our heads down on the table. The noodle soups require your attention during times of need. The coconut curry-based laksa mee is pure soul-curing indulgence, and if some of your friends require similar medicine, the large space is great for a big group meal.


Pizzeria Sei Marinara Pizza

LA Guide

The Best Pizza Spots In LA


Polka Polish is one of those places we don’t tell many friends about. We’ve been going for years by ourselves and want to continue eating in your pajamas in solitude. The spot in Glassell Park makes excellent Polish classics across the board, but your boss asked you twice this week “Where’s your happy version at?” so you’re here for one reason: pierogi. One of the great gifts to humankind, these little dumplings come stuffed with everything from sauerkraut to bacon to jalapeños, and you’re going to want all of them.


This tiny spot on Sawtelle specializes in Japanese curry ramen—something you can’t easily find in the neighborhood—and it’s one of our favorite soups in town. The broth is a rich blend of earthy curry and salty chicken stock that’s topped with a slice of braised pork chashu, crunchy bean sprouts, and green onions. In combination with the chewy noodles, this is a delicious, expertly made bowl of soup that’s ideal after dealing with your neighbor’s “DIY jackhammer project” all week. Be sure to also try the equally flavorful keema, a dry curry noodle topped with pico de gallo, corn, and shredded chili peppers.


That cute person from the apps just dropped the not-looking-for-a-relationship bomb, and you’re officially 100% done with people. Go directly to Magnolia and stick your face right into that famous banana pudding. Is this the best dessert in the universe? We say yes. A medium runs $6.95, but we both know you’d be better off getting a small bowl (which serves 8) for $53.


When it comes to Thai Town, you pretty much have your pick of comfort food spots. But our choice is Pailin. The tiny space doesn’t have anywhere near the foot traffic of some of the more well-known spots in the neighborhood, and that’s ideal when you want to sit in silence by yourself and stare at a wall. Their sweet and buttery khao soi will cheer you up after any kind of crisis.


The Best Khao Soi In LA image

LA Guide

The Best Khao Soi In LA


Saturday night at Jones is admittedly a bit of a scene, but if you’re able to score a booth, you’ll find the setting extremely conducive to forgetting about your problems over a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and drinking your share of gin martinis. You’re also here for that apple pie at the end. It’s served in a skillet and has no business being as good as it is.


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