The days when Silver Lake was a low-key neighborhood full of affordable local hangout spots are long gone. Sunset Blvd. is now lined with high-end restaurants, Italian eyeware stores, and a bunch of places trying to sell you $16 hibiscus tea with restorative properties. And while plenty of those places are worth going to, some nights you just aren’t in the mood to drop half of your paycheck on artisanal charcoal pizza.
Good news - finding a legitimate dinner for $30 in Silver Lake is possible, you just need to know where to look. Here we’ve defined “dinner” as an entree with either an appetizer or a drink, because is it really considered a dinner without either of those? Whether it’s modern Burmese food, a walk-up taco window, or one of our favorite all-around restaurants in the city, this guide will help you know where to eat affordably in Silver Lake.
When Mh Zh opened in 2017, it seemed like another overpriced sidewalk cafe in Sunset Junction that nobody needed. We were all very wrong. Mh Zh serves some of the most flavorful Mediterranean food in the city at prices that hover around $10 a plate. The mostly-outdoor spot certainly brings in the crowds, but there’s still nothing better than sitting on wooden crates along Sunset with your friends, ordering literally everything on the menu, and getting an $85 check at the end. Also, if the wait’s really bad, you can always put your name down and walk next door to Cliff’s Edge for drinks.
Pine & Crane is one of those order-at-the-counter spots that you always forget is order-at-the-counter. And that’s because this modern Taiwanese place has such a welcoming and bright space that all you really want to do is hang out there all night. This place is good for anything from a quiet night with a sick roommate and some mapo tofu to a reunion with five friends and loud conversation around the communal table. The most expensive thing on the menu is $13.
You and your ex-coworker finally found a night you both can do dinner, but you woke up this morning with a scratchy throat and you can’t tell if you’re getting sick or not. Don’t cancel - go to Fat Dragon instead. The modern Chinese comfort food here is great, and our favorite dishes like spicy wontons, dragon fried rice, and spicy eggplant hover around the $15 mark. The quiet space is exactly where you want to be when you’re not up for yelling over the people next to you all night.
If you roll into this French/Mexican fusion spot with a friend and order every shared plate on the menu, things will get expensive. But Trois Familia recently started serving a new dinner menu (it used to be brunch only) full of bigger plates that don’t get more expensive than a $17 steak frites, and you can easily share a few dishes and walk out for under $30 a person. The dinner menu tends to skew more on the French side of things, but whether you go for the mussels, charcuterie, or foie gras burger, know that it’s all going to be very good.
You got yelled at three times today at work. Twice by your boss for messing up an assignment and once by your hall security guard for reheating brussel sprouts in the microwave at lunch. You need some comfort food. Go to We Have Noodles. As the name suggests, this place serves noodles in all sorts of forms (khao soi, ramen, dan dan, and pho), and everything is pretty good. The order-at-the-counter operation has a bright space that’s easy to hang out in with friends, and a well-oiled take-out situation for those nights when you just want to hide in your couch cushions.
When this Moby-owned vegan restaurant - where 100% of profits go to animal rights organizations - opened in 2015, it quickly became the most Silver Lake restaurant in all of Silver Lake. And after a few years of operation, it still owns that title. But it also owns the title of being a very solid and unpretentious vegan restaurant. The all-white space feels like your roommate’s Etsy page, but in a way that’s tolerable and actually nice to look at. Everything on the menu falls under $17.
Including a place that closes at 7pm on this guide might seem like a stretch, but this is LA - you leave work every day at 5:30pm, and your crystal doctor told you to eat dinner before 6:30pm for a fulfilled lifestyle. So Scout works. This tiny order-at-the-counter spot right at Sunset Junction has a menu full of salads, grain bowls, and sandwiches, and everything is very good. The most expensive dish is $14 and their efficient to-go situation will get you home with plenty of time before 6:45pm rainbow reiki.
At its core, Same Same is a wine bar. It also happens to be a wine bar that serves our favorite Thai food in Silver Lake that’s not named Night + Market. This casual spot inside a strip mall is the ideal place for when you want to drink some wine with a friend, but not get stuck eating a pre-packaged salami and cheddar cheese tray all night. Their menu is stacked with every Thai staple in the book, and everything falls in the $10-$15 range. Get the khao soi.
Daw Yee Myanmar is a modern Burmese restaurant right next door to Same Same. The tea leaf salad, the platha (flaky bread), and the ohnoh noodles (Burmese coconut soup) are all things that need to hit the table, and its casual atmosphere is a perfect spot to grab a last-minute dinner with your roommate. Everything on the menu is under $14. No alcohol.
One glance at the line curling around the parking lot of Silver Lake Ramen and you’ll ask yourself if you really want to spend your entire night waiting to get in here. The answer should always be yes. This is far and away the best ramen on the Eastside, and on those bitter cold LA nights when the temperature dips below 60 degrees, nothing beats a bowl of their spicy tonkotsu ramen and a fried gyoza plate.
Blossom has four locations (Silver Lake, Chinatown, Santa Monica, and downtown), and while you can get good pho at any of them, their Sunset junction spot is our favorite space to eat hot Vietnamese soup. Skip the bare bones upstairs and head to the basement instead to eat your pho in a giant wine cellar. This is a warm, welcoming place for a date night when you don’t want to drop a bunch of money on someone who has a lizard in four of their profile pictures.
The casual Neapolitan pizza joint right on Sunset is one of the most underrated restaurants in all of Silver Lake. Wood is technically an order-at-the-counter operation, but don’t let that fool you. It’s the kind of place you can roll in with a big group of friends, order a bunch of pizza (the rapini and sausage is our favorite), and post up all night on their excellent outdoor patio. Their 12-inch personal pizzas run $13-$18.
Tacos Delta is a flat-out Silver Lake classic. While we respect and endorse waking up on a weekend morning and stumbling down to the tiny taco stand for a breakfast burrito, hitting up this walk-up window for dinner is equally enjoyable. Order a few fish tacos or a chile relleno burrito, set up shop on the quiet side patio, and enjoy a rare night when you aren’t cooking yourself dried-out chicken and vegetables. Everything on the menu is under $10.
Tonight was supposed to be just you and your old roommates, but then your new roommates asked what you were doing, you panicked, and now everybody is invited. Scrap your original plan and head to Diablo Taco. The big order-at-the-counter spot has a solid taco menu that everybody will be happy with. Each taco runs about $4-$5, but they’re a good size, so you only need two or three to fill you up. There are also plenty of board games lying around for when conversation dies down between the roommates.