LAGuide

The Best Restaurants & Bars In Atwater Village

The best restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and ice cream in Atwater Village.
Rémy Martin

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Despite its sleepy atmosphere, Atwater Village also manages to pack an impressive number of restaurants into its two-square-mile radius. There’s a huge Scottish pub where wrought-iron chandeliers hang from the ceiling, no-frills takeout windows serving some of the best breakfast burritos in town, and a sushi restaurant run by a prolific Japanese chef. Oh, and fantastic baked goods, pizzas, dive bars, and ice cream. There’s a lot to get through, so you’re going to need this guide.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Jeff Forney

Italian

Atwater Village

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightCasual Weeknight Dinner

Whether it's dinner with a friend or a hot stranger you met on the Internet, Spina is a great option that doesn’t require much pre-planning. (It’s walk-in only). This small Italian restaurant serves the best pasta in the neighborhood, including ricotta-stuffed ravioli in a brown butter sauce and a deliciously potent spaghetti puttanesca special. The casualness of the room, the garlicky pasta, and the wine list make Spina the spot that every local wants to be a regular at (even if the non-pasta parts of the menu are fine at best). A night at the bar, splitting a bottle of nebbiolo and watching the kitchen toss pasta in the air, is the most romantic date spot in this part of town. 

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From six-piece sets to a personalized omakase at the bar, there’s a sushi experience for every budget at this cozy Atwater restaurant. We prefer something more in the middle, either the ten-piece nigiri set or chirashi, which comes topped with super-fresh cuts of ahi, hamachi, uni, and ebi shrimp then served with a side of fresh strawberries. It’s a luxurious, but not too expensive experience, considering the quality (the ten-piece set is $100, the chirashi is $65), ideal for a low-key date night or impressing your parents with how sophisticated you are - while simultaneously not reaching for your wallet when the bill comes.


The Tam O’Shanter is one of those vaguely European spots in Southern California (see also: Solvang, this random donut shop in Van Nuys, etc.)—that’s so strange, so out-of-place, and yet so… effortlessly perfect, that it shouldn’t exist. Between the wrought-iron chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, fireplaces in every room, and about five miles of carpet lining the floors, this Scottish pub feels like it’s been frozen in time since its opening in 1922. The food’s great too: there’s a funky Scotch rarebit (think rich, creamy cheddar sauce) and a dish called The Toad In The Hole that’s a semi-stew of sautéed filet mignon, mushrooms, onions, and gravy. This is where we imagine Maisie Williams returning to when she’s not on the awards circuit and where you’ll find us whenever we have the chance.


The crust at Hail Mary’s is chewy and crunchy, yet remarkably soft. Its shape reminds us of Tony Shalhoub’s many heads in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams—a little deformed, sure, but in an endearing way. Our favorites here are the Pep Pep (with super spicy chorizo and pepperoncini) and the Peabody (topped with the right number of salty anchovies, olives, and cherry tomatoes). Yes, “correct” amounts of anchovies is a quantifiable number.


This old-school Mexican takeout window isn’t trying to reinvent the proverbial breakfast burrito wheel—theirs are simply swaddled in a thick tortilla and filled with potatoes, eggs, and some cheese. The regular papas are good, especially the ones that come with bacon and taste like a peaceful Sunday morning, regardless of the day. But our favorite is the nopales breakfast burrito: prickly pear cactus is combined with spinach, eggs, and beans (plus a little hint of salsa) to create a texture roller coaster ride - crunchy, gooey, and exactly what you want to start the day with.


Dune might appear at first to be just another neighborhood falafel joint, but this small shop has achieved legendary status around these parts, and for good reason. The falafel is fluffy and moist—and we love their fried chicken shawarma and lamb plates too. The interior of this place is basically just the counter where you order, but their front patio is exactly where you want to be eating your Mediterranean feast.


On the weekends, lines at this super cute bakery can get long (like, limited-edition sneaker drop on Fairfax long), but with a little patience, you’ll be treated to the best baked goods in the area. There’s a small menu of rotating sandwiches, served on crusty baguettes and filled with everything from ham and gruyere to a slightly greener option, with arugula and chives. You’ll definitely want a few pastries (we like the brioche buns, which are airy and light, like a butter-spun pillow), which are especially nice on a long drive or packed in a basket, ready for a picnic.


The Vietnamese food at this bare-bones spot is across the board pretty good. The chicken, beef, and vegan pho options all soothe the soul, and the banh mi come on freshly baked baguettes loaded with succulent protein fillings. But there’s one standout on the menu, and it’s really what you should order every time you come—the turmeric fish noodle. Springy vermicelli noodles are tossed with cilantro, green onions, fish sauce, crunchy shallots, and perfectly cooked flaky fish that sends turmeric coursing through your sinuses. You’ll notice this dish on almost every table, and that’s because it’s delicious.


If we could be on a first-name basis with the staff at any of the places on this guide, it would be at Giamela’s. This is an old-school Italian deli that specializes in subs and pizza, though you can absolutely get a plate of spaghetti and meatballs here, too. We like it best for a midweek pick-me-up sub, when the leftovers in our fridge just won’t cut it. We go back and forth between the hot pepper steak sub and the Mr. G’s with soppressata, salami, and capocollo. but anything you order here will be hard to eat with any manners, because it’s just too salty, spicy, and stacked. No wonder they’ve been in business since 1964.


There are a lot of dive bars in Atwater Village, and as you can imagine, not all of them are winners. Club Tee Gee is the antidote to all that. After a major renovation in 2018, the 70-something-year-old drinking spot returned with a banging roster of live music, monthly dance parties, and karaoke nights. Musical acts range from all-night disco parties to record-spinning cowboy DJs, black leather booths line the walls, and there’s a nice, spacious patio in the back. It’s the perfect under-the-radar neighborhood hang, the kind of place we wish we didn’t have to tell you about.


Another great option if you’re in the area and in desperate need of a dirt-cheap vodka. Do you need to cancel your plans or drive long distances to drink here? Not really. The Roost is a dive bar in its purest form—no-frills, cash-only, and pitch-black, save for the year-round Christmas lights that illuminate the bar with red, green, and purple. It’s one of those places where you could take your dad and know he’ll have a good time, or possibly find a time portal to the 1980s in the bathroom.


For anyone not living in a 2014 Tumblr world, Wanderlust’s schtick—ice cream inspired by countries around the world—might seem a bit eyeroll-y. But what’s in the cones themselves, the actual ice cream, is truly some of the best in the city. There’s an equal amount of signature flavors, like sticky rice swirled with bright-orange mango (Thailand) and ube malted crunch (Philippines), mixed in with seasonal favorites.

Some people say Bigfoot Lodge’s woodsy theme is cheesy, and to them we say not cheesy enough. We live in the land of January pool days, so we’ll take all the lumberjack vibes we can get. Big Foot is always a good time thanks to its great cocktail list, unpretentious crowd, and room to get a little rowdy. Plus, if you’re competitive, brilliant, or have a lovely voice, you should know they host karaoke on Mondays and trivia on Wednesdays.

Atwater’s local sports bar, Link n Hops, feels like a national chain restaurant—think slick logo and an interior that’s just a smidge too shiny—but as everyone in the area knows, this the best place to grab a pint and watch the game. (It’s also their only location, after a recent closing in Sunland.) In typical sports bar fashion, there are TV screens on nearly every surface as well as a full row of craft beer on tap. The titular links are quite good as well—thick, juicy sausages that are nestled in a bun and topped with onions, garlic, and spices.


The Morrison is a solid bar/restaurant on Los Feliz Blvd., the kind of place you walk into once and leave as a regular. There’s a huge dining room and outdoor patio, so feel free to bring the biggest group you can scrounge together here, plus an excellent craft beer list, decent cocktails, and a happy hour every day from 3-7pm. If you’re hungry, they’ve also got a Kobe beef burger that’s approximately the size of the world’s heaviest paper weight and topped with port salut cheese, grilled mushrooms, and a smear of truffle oil.


Every self-respecting Eastside neighborhood needs one, breezy Mediterranean restaurant with a carefully curated design plan that makes you feel like you’re an extra in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! This place used to be in Beverly Hills but is now in a huge space on Casitas Ave., complete with cabana seating, a full bar, and long communal tables. The food is Mediterranean, with dishes like avocado hummus, grilled lamb chops, and a whole-roasted orate that’s bathed in a lemon, herby sauce we wish we could bathe in. But what you’re here for are the casual, laidback vibes and channeling your best Meryl Streep with a tan.

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