If you’re not a person who spends 18+ hours a day on Twitter, this might come as a bit of a shock to you: We’re living in a difficult world. And that makes living in LA, a city where it’s always sunny and temperatures reach 85 degrees in February, even more difficult.
Because there’s nothing worse than a clear, blue sky when all you want to do is curl up in something soft, fleece, and preferably fireside, and have a good cry. But once in a blue moon, it actually rains here, which is basically Mother Nature giving you permission to get upset about the fact your crush really did ghost you. So, dig out that umbrella you completely forgot you owned, get in touch with your feelings, and head to one of these excellent places to eat when it’s rainy and you’re sad.
We still don’t understand the exact science behind it, but French food seems like it was tailor-made to be consumed whilst sad. Maybe that’s because of their heavy-handed butter policy, or the fact that we’re always smoking a cigarette in black and white while eating it (at least in our heads), but either way, whenever life seems to be full of “constant anguish,” there’s no better place to go full Sartre than Petit Trois. This tiny hallway in Hollywood has everything you need for an existential spiral, from cheesy croque monsieurs to a mega-traditional French onion soup filled with caramelized onions and gruyère.
Usually, we could never recommend eating in a bowling alley in good faith, but Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop is the exception to the rule. Like any good diner, they have a version of every American breakfast staple in the book, but what you’re here for is their incredible Hawaiian food. Rainy day 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 Portugese sausage, is an all-out-brawl of flavor in your mouth. 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 M. Night Shyamalan, and the ball is your fists right after you watched Avatar: The Last Airbender.
You saw a 12-year-old and got genuinely jealous of how smooth and poreless their skin was, and now feel really, really embarrassed about it. First off - you should probably book an appointment with your dermatologist. Then head to Pho 79. This Vietnamese restaurant in Garden Grove is one of the most well-known restaurants in Orange County, and although they’ve got the hour-long lines to prove it, we’d happily wait twice that long for pho this good. Their broth is simmered in oxtail for 12 hours, then infused with star anise to create a rich, cinnamon-y blend of flavors that you won’t find in any other bowl in California. Cash only.
Brent’s is an iconic Jewish deli that’s been around since the ’60s, and, like a bed with a heated blanket and two mattress toppers, it’s one of the best ways to combat bad weather and sadness. You’re obviously going to want a giant bowl of matzo ball soup to start, but after that, diving into the 650-item menu can feel a little overwhelming. So we’ll make it simple - get the black pastrami Reuben (sub in curly fries), stuffed cabbage, and split-pea soup. In that order.
Unlike trying to navigate the labyrinthian architectural abomination that is the Downtown Target parking structure, ordering at Hyesung Noodle House is quite simple. Just get the kalguksu. There are two versions of the soup, an “original” that comes in an anchovy broth, as well as one served with shredded pieces of chicken, a.k.a. the perfect complement to Hyesung’s dense, chewy, noodles. Is it basically an elevated version of chicken noodle soup? Totally. But is it delicious and will we be coming here the next time it rains or we get dumped by a person we didn’t even technically date? Absolutely.
In a city with so many options for ramen and sushi, trying to find a place that makes simple, homestyle Japanese food can sometimes feel like an arduous task, on par with reading an article before retweeting it, or spelling the word arduous. Which is why Azay is such a revelation - from the sweet-and-savory Nagoya hitsumabushi (barbecued eel) to the Japanese breakfast set, which comes with perfectly portioned servings of rice, miso soup, sweet egg, and a flaky, oily broiled fish, a meal at this cozy restaurant in Little Tokyo is one of the best ways seek solace from the rain.
Don’t be misled by the name - Sapp is no ordinary coffee shop. This bare-bones, cash-only spot in Hollywood is one of the best Thai restaurants in LA, and the first place we head to whenever we get the overwhelming desire to lie down in a bathtub for hours, William Howard Taft-style. They do serve coffee, along with a variety of iconic dishes like a coconut-heavy tom ka kai and dry jade noodles covered in pork and crab, but whenever it’s raining, you need to order the boat noodle soup. The deeply aromatic and cinnamon-y broth is filled with beef filet, tripe, tendon, and pork skin, and if you still feel some type of way after eating it, just order a second bowl.
This Historic Filipinotown spot makes us think that Goldilocks might have been onto something. No, not the whole breaking-and-entering thing, but rather, that you can solve your problems with a big bowl of porridge. The selection rotates seasonally, but our favorite, the poultry and mushroom, is available year-round. Creamy, savory, and topped with soy-sauce braised chicken and crispy shallots, this bowl is incredibly well-balanced and nourishing, and might just be enough get the wheels turning in the serotonin factory you call a brain.
Whenever it’s cold and miserable outside, the last thing you want is to do something that requires effort. And yet, despite a wall full of very specific eating instructions, there’s no better place to console yourself after getting shamed by the Duolingo owl for missing your Spanish lessons than Mogu Mogu. This noodle shop in West LA specializes in mazemen, or brothless ramen, and to maximize your experience, you need to make sure you’re following their very exact steps - mix well, eat, add some house-made Umami Vinegar, eat more, stir in rice, repeat. Which may seem like a lot of work, but the end result is a complex bowl of chewy noodles bursting with flavors like briny fish powder, chives, and a savory sauce. So, in short, well worth it.
If the thought of eating chicken pot pie on a rainy day isn’t appealing to you, there’s a decent chance you’re an A.I. and you don’t even know it. For all non-robots who do find creamy baked chicken tucked inside of pie crust appealing, head right to Jongewaard’s. This diner/bakery has been in operation since 1965. The menu at this Long Beach institution is quite large, but stick to the tremendous chicken pot pie, and snag a piece of red velvet cake for when you’re home in bed later.
54 degrees might seem like a heat wave to your Midwest friends, but it’s pouring rain outside and you’re currently huddled under three layers of blankets. You need Sichuan Impression. The SGV classic recently opened up a third location in West LA with food that’s just as good (and spicy) as the original in Alhambra. Our favorites are the tea-smoked ribs, the mapo tofu, and the lamb on toothpicks, and since the space is huge and ideal for all of your friends to join, we advise you to order all of those dishes.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Mi Ranchito Veracruz
When you hit the stretch of North Hollywood that’s basically just semi-trucks and loading docks, it means you’re close to Mi Ranchito Veracruz. This tiny order-at-the-counter Mexican restaurant has an excellent menu stacked with burritos and chilaquiles, but when it’s raining, you want the tamales. They’re served Veracruz-style (wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks), are perfectly cooked, and slightly sweet. Sprinkling the spicy red table salsa on top is also a must.
It’s been raining since 8am and you’re wondering if this is what seasonal depression is. Don’t wait to find out, and drive right to Daichan instead. This Japanese comfort food spot in a strip mall in Studio City is most well-known for having brought the concept of the poke bowl to LA in the 1990s, but for today, you’re focusing on the curry noodles, Japanese-style fried chicken, and giant tempura rice bowls.
There is no shortage of great dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley, but Lunasia is our absolute favorite place to get it. This Alhambra institution has fantastic food across-the-board, but it’s best to concentrate on their jumbo pork siu-mai, spinach shrimp dumplings, and green beans with pork. Lunasia is also great because it’s one of the few dim sum spots that’s open all day and night. That way you can sleep in (because it’s pouring rain and you’re not a monster) and head over without worrying about a mid-afternoon closing time.
We’d drive through pretty much anything for the garlic naan at Al-Noor, and that includes torrential rainstorms and the 30-mile-an-hour speeds on the 405 it causes. Once you make it down to Lawndale, you’ll be eating the best Indian food in all of Los Angeles and nothing else will matter. Not even rain.
Phnom Penh is a Cambodian breakfast spot in Long Beach that happens to be one of our favorite restaurants in the city. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 7am-3pm, this tiny place specializes in noodle soup made with pork bone broth, rice porridge, meat pies, and other delicious noodles. Wait times do get long on the weekends, but it beats sitting at home watching your apartment’s gutters clog after two minutes of persistent rainfall.
This is exciting. Someone literally just got out and abandoned their own car in front of you on Pico and it’s unclear if they’re coming back. Follow them. Because they’re definitely going to John O’Groats. The West LA breakfast staple is like walking into that one restaurant in your hometown you always go to because the owners used to babysit your parents in the ’50s. It’s warm, welcoming, and those biscuits are all you need on a rainy day.
Why go to one place when you can go to all the places at once? GCM wins the award for best collection of food you remember seeing on Instagram, and though the crowds can get downright aggressive, a rainy day will thin out the lines. And we can’t think of a better plan to beat the endless downpour outside than stall-hopping all day from Egg Slut to Belcampo to Sticky Rice to Horse Thief to Wexler’s to - alright, you get it.
This is one of our favorite noodle spots in all of the SGV. Lao Xi is very low-key - the menu is pretty small and the decor is mostly huge posters of their signature dishes. It’s very welcoming though, which is important when you haven’t seen the sun in 48 hours. The staff will talk you through the menu, explain that all the noodles are made by hand in-house, and strongly discourage you from ordering too much food. Which you’ll do anyway because it’s storming outside. Don’t skip the Lamb Soup Noodles - small, round rolled noodles in a fragrant, herb-filled soup.
LA’s favorite way to dodge the rain? Canceling all plans, weddings, and funerals, and heading to the movies. It’s no secret LA has the best collection of movie theaters in the entire world and iPic is our favorite. This deluxe cinema frankly makes the Landmark look like a backyard projector screen, and getting served filet mignon sliders and dry martinis in a first-class airplane seat is our rainy day version of nirvana.
It’s 49 degrees outside and you’re sensing death is near. The only move at this point is to order take-out from the best Thai food in the city - Jitlada. You likely won’t be the only dying genius who thought of this plan, so expect a frenzied crowd. But the line moves fast and before you know it, the most authentic (and spicy) Thai in LA will be ready for your withering body.
It started raining overnight and now your bones are hurting. The good news is one of the world’s most well-known superfoods, the pierogi, is ready for you. And while there’s actually a decent number of spots around town serving these glorious babies, our move is always Polka Polish. This family-run restaurant in Glassell Park has been a neighborhood staple for years and we’re thankful for that, because those cheese and potato pierogies are everything we want on a stormy day.
Let’s be honest. If there’s even talk of rain coming to Los Angeles, you’re canceling all plans, turning on Love Is Blind, and hiding under your covers until further notice. And at this restaurant, reservations are for one, clothing is optional, and the meal is coming to you. Thai food? Chinese food? Pizza Hut? Choose your own adventure and never stop dreaming in the warmth of your own bed.