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Where To Eat When It Rains In LA: An El Niño Survival Guide

PHOTO: Rick George / Flickr

As citizens of Los Angeles, we endure several daily fears. Bracing for “The Big One,” natural gas leaks, turning 26, and Glendale, just to name a few. And yet, all that pales in comparison to LA’s true public threat #1 - rain.

Those tortuous drops of water don’t fall often, but when they do, this city loses its goddmn mind. Suddenly every person takes it upon themselves to disregard any previous driving training, traffic lanes become mere suggestions, and in a matter of minutes our streets transform into garbage bin water parks. It’s stunning. And also a sh*tshow of mass proportion.

But not all is lost. With the rain, comes a whole new way to experience our city. And that certainly includes our restaurants. So, go dig out that long-sleeved shirt you completely forgot about, google where to buy an umbrella, and go track down these amazing places to experience the rain in LA.

The Spots

1

Tatsu Ramen

Fairfax
7111 Melrose Ave.
7.9
MAP

Is there really anything better than a hot bowl of ramen on a rainy day? We think not. Tatsu is the reigning king of ramen in LA right now, and though lines are increasingly out-of-control, there’s no doubt this place is magic when that weird wetness starts to fall from the sky. Added bonus: grab a seat facing Melrose and watch real life Mario Kart unfold before your eyes.

2

Nate 'n Al Delicatessen

414 N Beverly Dr
MAP

Your hopes of getting from Century City to Hollywood on a rainy day are dead. Santa Monica Blvd is a parking lot and that decade-old P!nk song playing on KISS right now is giving you a lump in your throat. Pull over. You’re in Beverly Hills and mere blocks from an LA institution - Nate N’ Al. This 70-year-old deli has a menu filled with everything your heart yearns for, but your move is obvious - the stuffed cabbage. Two giant cabbage leaves wrapped around the best beef-filled stuffing we don't need to know anything else about. Eat this classic in solitude and figure yourself out.

Photo: Nate N' Al Deli / Facebook
3

Button Mash

Echo Park
1391 W Sunset Blvd
8.3
MAP

Remember when it used to rain as a kid and that meant you were allowed to play video games all day inside and not get yelled at for it? That’s basically what’s happening at Button Mash, except now we’re all kids pretending to be adults because that’s what the calendar says. Oh, and Starry Kitchen manning the food situation doesn’t hurt either. And what that means for you is the best Asian-fusion drunk food you’re going to find pretty much anywhere. Be ours, fried tofu balls.

4

iPic Theaters

10840 Wilshire Blvd
MAP

LA’s favorite way to dodge the rain? Staying indoors forever. And that means 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 Arclight look low-rent, and getting served filet mignon sliders and dry martinis in a first class airplane seat is our rainy day version of nirvana.

Photo: iPic Theaters / Facebook
5
7.4
MAP

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 50’s. It’s warm, welcoming, and those biscuits are all you need on a cold, rainy day. Now go tell that guy to move his car.

6

Why go to one place when you can go to all the places, all at once? GCM wins the award for best collection of food you remember seeing on Instagram, and though the crowds can get downright tenacious, a rainy day will quickly cut the fat. And we can’t think of a better plan to beat the endless downpours outside than stall-hopping all day from Egg Slut to Belcampo to Sticky Rice to Horse Thief to Madcapra to Wexler’s to - alright, you get it.

7

Aussie Pie Kitchen

2510 Main St
MAP

Generally speaking, we don’t send even our worst enemies to Santa Monica on a rainy day. But there’s one giant exception - Aussie Pie Kitchen. This hole-in-the-wall pie shop is the best thing you definitely didn’t know existed on Main St. and yes, we’ve been to Basement Tavern bro. Just don’t come to APK looking for dessert. This is Aussie pie territory and that means breakfast, lunch, and dinner meat pie paradise. Get a Classic Aussie or the spicy Surfer’s Paradise with a Tiger Stack (2 sides and gravy) as the deluge hits and instantly feel better.

Photo: Aussie Pie Kitchen / Facebook
8
8.7
MAP

Omg, Snapchat just told you 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 carcass.

9

The Pikey

7617 W Sunset Blvd
MAP

You just spent two hours getting up Barham and the only thing that matters is drinking beer until nothing hurts. Head immediately to The Pikey on Sunset Blvd., the classic British Pub that’s always exactly what you want it to be. And on a day where half the city’s population is introduced to hydroplaning into a fire hydrant, The Pikey’s top-notch beer list and comfort-laden British pub menu takes on a whole new meaning.

10

Churros Calientes

11521 Santa Monica Blvd
MAP

One would think finding a first-rate churro in this city wouldn’t be too hard a task, but that would be the wrong assumption. For however intertwined Mexican cuisine and LA are, the churro has been cruelly left behind. Hello Churros Calientes. This tiny shop on Santa Monica is quietly cranking some of the finest churros around. Come in on a rainy day, order a fresh batch and a cup of their Spanish hot chocolate (for dipping it in obviously), and die happy.

Photo: Churros Calientes / Facebook
11

BierBeisl Imbiss

DTLA
541 S Spring St
8.3
MAP

Because one never just passes up housemade bread on a rainy day. The Austrian bakery is located inside the Spring Arcade downtown and that means a fully-enclosed indoor walkway sheltering your fragile body from the death water outside. Bierbeisl is not only cranking out fresh bread every morning but also some of the best sausage and European pastries in Los Angeles. You can even just come in and have a beer if you feel like it. Remember: it’s raining outside, nothing matters.

12

Doughboys Cafe & Bakery

8136 W 3rd St
MAP

One of our favorite spots on 3rd St., Doughboy’s is a tiny cafe probably best known for their red velvet cupcakes. And while we certainly wouldn’t knock that move on a sh*tty day, that’s not why you’re here. Doughboy’s has an item on their menu that’s literally called GRANDMA ROSE’S RAINY DAY SPECIAL. And it’s perfect. A gigantic bowl of delicious homemade chicken noodle soup and a tuna melt we could eat once a week. We love this dish rain or shine, but come rain, there’s nothing better.

13

Polka

4112 Verdugo Rd
MAP

It started raining overnight and now your bones are hurting. The good news is one of the world’s most well-known superfoods, the pierogie, is ready for you. And while there’s actually a decent number of spots around town dishing out these glory babies, our move is always Polka Polish. This family-run restaurant in Glassell Park has been a neighborhood staple for years and despite a recent fire, is back and better than ever. And thank god, because those cheese and potato pierogies are everything we want on a stormy day.

Photo: Polka / Facebook
14

Your Own Bed

5101 Venice Blvd.
MAP

Let’s be honest. If there’s even talk of rain coming to Los Angeles, you’re canceling all plans, turning on Jessica Jones, and hiding under your covers until further notice. And at this restaurant, reservations are for one, clothing is optional, and the food is driving to you. Thai food? Chinese food? Pizza Hut Triple Treat Bundle? Choose your own ending and never stop dreaming in the warmth of your own bed.

Photo: Allie Verbovetskaya / Flickr
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