Where To Eat With Boring People
The 13 best restaurants in LA for when your company is less than entertaining.
We’d all love to eat meals with only people who entertain us to no end, but the reality is that’s not the reality. People are boring and chances are you’re currently stuck at a table across from your brother-in-law who works in weather data. But the meal doesn’t have to be a total wash just because they can’t stop talking about the marine layer. Find a place where they can be happy and comfortable, and you can at least get a solid meal in the process. Here are the go-to places for getting the job done.
Your aunt by marriage who has worked in legal for 40 years is in town for a conference and wants to check in on you. Sure, she thinks you’re still a senior in high school, but that’s beside the point. Take her to Etta, because she requires good food that won’t surprise her too much. This upscale spot in Culver City has a big, corporate-lush space and an extensive “wood-fired” menu that you can focus on while she zones out for eight minutes because she’s clearly thinking about her work presentation.
In a neighborhood full of places that boring people like, Pizzana remains one of the few Brentwood restaurants everyone can get excited about. Alongside the very solid pizzas, they serve antipasti like meatballs and burrata, salads, and great desserts, all in a slick space that feels out of place on San Vicente. The cheapest pizza on the menu might be $20, but at least Lyle the financial advisor is picking up the tab tonight, so order as many cacio e pepe pies as you want.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
After a day at the beach with your old, admittedly picky roommates, you’re starving and need a casual place where everyone will be happy. On Main Street in Santa Monica, this colorful all-day cafe has a menu filled with everything from build-your-own salads and housemade donuts to one of our favorite breakfast burritos in the city. There’s also a sunny back patio where you can mentally detach while Trisha explains to the server that she doesn’t eat anything that crunches.
LA Cha Cha Chá
You love your coworker, but you also know they’re only truly happy at a restaurant that’ll boost their social engagement. Head to Cha Cha Cha. The indoor/outdoor Mexican spot in the Arts District has a lush, sprawling rooftop patio with secret alcoves, a standalone bar, and unobstructed views of Downtown. It’s the kind of restaurant where everywhere you turn, the scenery is better than the previous angle. So as your coworker roams the grounds filling up their camera roll with 150 pictures of the same sunset, at least take advantage of the excellent menu filled with things like tuna tostadas, steak tacos, and mezcal negronis.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Friends & Family
At first glance, Friends & Family reads like an oversized internet cafe. The space is sparse and most people here are typing furiously on a laptop. But their breakfast-focused menu is actually great and reasonably priced, and you can be in and out in under 40 minutes. And you will be, because the least-talented kid in your improv class just asked if you wanted to grab a late breakfast so he can pick your brain on how you got an agent.
South Beverly Grill
SBG is one of the many restaurants owned by the very corporate but somehow very tolerable, borderline euphoric Hillstone group. The dimly lit spot in Beverly Hills is actually on the more casual side for the neighborhood, but here that still means perfectly made martinis and big slabs of meat and potatoes served whatever way you please. Of course, your financial consultant father-in-law has no qualms letting his preference be known.
The best way to describe your literary agent is “he’s been at it for quite a while.” Gary might be pretty over it at this point, but it’s been a solid year of work for you, and it’s time to treat Gary to a thank-you lunch. Zinque is a mostly outdoor wine bar in West Hollywood, and while the food is hit or miss, the chaotic crowd and their questionable hat choices will at least give you something to stare at. And you’ll need that as Gary grumbles under his breath about “kids these days” the whole time.
Welcome to where the Venice-as-food-destination thing all began. This sceney American spot on Abbot Kinney is loud, crowded, and filled with people who claim this is the best restaurant in LA even though they haven’t crossed the 405 since 2017. But here’s the thing—Gjelina is good and boasts a Cheesecake Factory-sized menu that assures everyone in your group will find something to eat. And that includes your Chicago-based sorority sisters who’re in town and have been dying to come here since, well, 2017.
photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee
Walking into Fia’s multi-level space on Wilshire feels like you’ve left Santa Monica and flown to the Mendocino coastline, where pine trees outnumber palm trees and obligations immediately evaporate. And that’s what you need during your financial department’s annual meet-and-greet. As far as the food goes, expect a standard array of burrata appetizers, pastas, and big plates of meat that anyone will enjoy. It’s not the most groundbreaking food of all time, but it still tastes good enough, and you’re just happy nobody’s brought up expense reports yet.
Cara Cara serves as the rooftop bar and restaurant at The Proper Downtown and has some of the best views and strongest cocktails in the neighborhood. All of that should be music to your ears considering the only way you can get your lab technician cousin to talk is through a strong tequila sunrise. The menu is filled with standard rooftop-y dishes like salads, burgers, and cheese plates, but the piri piri chicken is a standout and its crispy skin will help drown out your cousin’s take on testing regulations.
Little Pine Restaurant is permanently closed
photo credit: Benji Dell
Little Pine Restaurant
While Little Pine is one of the better vegan/vegetarian spots on the Eastside, its quiet Silver Lake location isn’t exactly a party. But your antisocial co-worker mentioned he doesn’t do loud noises, so your forced-team-bonding outing has been solved. The spot steers clear from the it’s-not-meat-it’s-tempeh route and sticks mainly to good vegetables. And unlike most meat-less restaurants, Little Pine has no put-on agenda or tableside affirmations you’re supposed to read out loud.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Your 17-year-old cousin from Buffalo just landed at LAX and she hasn’t seen unfrozen water in five months. You’re going straight to Malibu Farm. She’ll take various TikToks of the ocean for half an hour and mention that California is calling her, and you’ll sit quietly in peace with your fried egg sandwich.
Your older brother who’s married with two kids is in town and his only requirement is a restaurant with chicken fingers. They’re obviously staying in Santa Monica, so just make it easy and head to Barney’s Beanery on the Promenade. Everybody will find something they like on the massive menu, and once conversation moves solely to weather-related topics, Barney’s impressive beer stock will get you through the rest.