Restaurant Guide–Los Angeles

Restaurant Guide Main Index


California

Orange County | San Bernardino/Riverside | San Diego | San Francisco


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Alhambra

Tasty Garden–288 W. Valley Blvd. (Chinese) Open Daily (incl. breakfast & late night).  Cantonese “Hometown Cooking” style food. There is a caution here, though–reviewers say it changed owners recently and now it is dependable but not mind blowing. Also in Monterey Park. (3-30-17)

Arcadia

SinBala–651 W. Duarte Rd. (Taiwanese) Closed Tue.  Authentic Taiwanese (reviews are very emphatic about this). Serves everyday style Taiwanese food (Taipei Garden is a good alternative if you want more upscale banquet style food). Taiwanese style sausage and beef noodle soup are best sellers. Brown sugar shaved ice is very good. (3-30-17)

East Los Angeles

Tacos Baja Ensenada–5385 Whittier Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open until 8 pm).  Baja style fish tacos. Has 99 cent tacos on Wednesday (a really good deal). (3-30-17)

El Monte

Premier Dessert Kitchen–10514 Lower Azusa Rd. (Chinese) Open daily except Tue lunch.  Has hot pot dishes, but it is most popular for its Cantonese and Hong Kong style desserts (There are several locations but reviewers say this is the best). (5-14-17)

Hacienda Heights

Four Sea–2020 S. Hacienda Blvd. (Taiwanese) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only.  LA’s best place for Taiwanese breakfast. Authentic daikon cake, salty tofu (typical Taiwanese breakfast).  Also at 708 E. Las Tunas Dr. in San Gabriel (but some reviewers say the one in Hacienda Hts. is better. (3-30-17)

Inglewood

Coni’Seafood–3544 W. Imperial Hwy. (Mexican) Open Daily (closes at 8 pm).  Nayarit style seafood.  Recommended by Serious Eats.  Pescado zarandeado, shrimp aguachiles, ceviche, marlin tacos. (11-26-15)

La Crescenta

Cafe Lanka–3436 Foothill Blvd. (Sri Lankan) Lunch Thu-Sun; dinner Tue-Sat.  Authentic Sri Lankan food. Has a large variety of curries, and reviewers say this is the thing to try. (5-14-17)

Long Beach

Check El Rey del Sarandeado (Mexican) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Tue).  Known for its fish tacos, the marlin tacos are especially recommended. (5-14-17)

Hak Heang–2041 E. Anaheim St. (Cambodian).  Highest rated Cambodian in the Little Phnom Penh neighborhood.  Plea sait ko (raw beef salad) is good.

Los Compadres–3229 E. Anaheim St. (Mexican).  Good reviews–very popular.  Looks like it is California style, and this would be one of the best places to try it.

Siem Reap–1810 E. Anaheim St. (Cambodian) Open Daily.  More popular than Hak Heang–may have a larger menu.

Los Angeles

Al & Bea’s–2025 E. 1st St. (Mexican) Open daily (open until 8 pm).  Most famous place in LA for Cal. style burritos.  Cheap prices, large portions, casual atmosphere. (11-18-15)

Baroo–5706 Santa Monica Blvd. (Korean) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Innovative Korean food that is combined with other food styles and uses local and sustainable ingredients (in the hands of the chefs here it gives an experience that people enjoy). (5-14-17)

Buna–1034 S. Fairfax Ave. (Ethiopian) Open daily 9:30 am to 10 pm.  Grocery store with a small Ethiopian restaurant. It is not the most well known Ethiopian restaurant, but quite a few people say it is the best. This is a very good place to get vegetarian food. Note: located in “Little Ethiopia” (if it’s too busy there are several other restaurants on the same street). (5-14-17)

Casa Vega–13301 Ventura Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open until 2 am).  Old school California style food.  Recommended by Guillermo on the Jimmy Kimmel show–this may not be the best Mexican food in LA, but it sounds interesting and fun (and I think you will get Cal. style Mexican food exactly as advertised).  A bonus, though, is that they are also supposed to have a menu of authentic Mexico City style dishes. (11-18-15)

Chichen Itza–3655 S. Grand Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Yucatan style.  Conchita pibil, papadzules, sopa de lima.  Looks excellent, and reviews are good.  Small restaurant–inexpensive food.  Some reviews say this is better than the Oaxaca style restaurants in terms of flavor and food quality.  East of I-110, south of 34th St. (11-18-15)

Corner Place–2819 James M. Wood Blvd. (Korean) Open Daily.  Recommended as the best & most authentic Korean in L.A. Korean BBQ, dong chi mi gook soo (cold noodles), banchan. (11-18-15)

El Cholo–1121 S. Western Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  In business since 1923. Probably the ultimate example of California style Mex. food (but I am not sure about this). Tostada compuesta is recommended (lettuce with vinegar–this is a Cal. style dish). (11-12-15)

Guidados–2100 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening.  There are many good taco restaurants in town, but this is one of the most popular.  Has a great variety of choices.  Some of the favorites are mole poblano, conchinita pibil, tinga de pollo, or get the taco sampler plate. (11-26-15)

Kagaya–418 E. 2nd St. (Japanese) Dinner only (closed Mon).  In Little Tokyo. Supposedly the best shabu shabu restaurant, but is expensive (I think too expensive for me, but others say the food is really good). (11-18-15)

LA Rose–4749 Fountain Ave. (Filipino) Closed Sun. night.  Excellent sit down Filipino rest. Certainly one of the best Filipino rests. in the U.S. (N. of US 101, south of Hollywood Blvd.). (11-18-15)

Las 7 Regiones–2648 W. Pico Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open until 10 pm).  Oaxacan style.  Mole coloradito, tlayuda.  Reviewers say this is better and more authentic than other Oaxacan rests. in LA. (11-18-15)

LASA–727 N. Broadway (Filipino) Lunch Tue-Sun; dinner Wed-Sun.  Seems to be part of the modern Filipino food movement (authentic food but served on small plates with less rice). Reviewers are very impressed with the food. (5-14-17)

Mayflower–679 N. Spring St. (Chinese) Open daily (open until 2 am).  Good, cheap, authentic Cantonese food in Chinatown (near downtown L.A.). (11-18-15)

Monte Alban–11927 Santa Monica Blvd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Oaxacan style.  Specializes in mole.  Many say it is better than Guelaguentza (a similar restaurant).  Get molcajete, moles, taco de barbacoa, nieves (agua fresca).  Reviews are as good as Chichen Itza, and it looks as if it has more on the menu.  Out of the two Monte Alban seems to be bigger and probably more expensive (but the backers of Chichen Itza say it is more authentic–I am not sure about this). (11-18-15)

Red O–8155 Melrose Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Owner is in a partnership with Rick Bayless to bring Rick Bayless’ recipes to L.A.  Restaurant is locally sourced with sustainable ingredients.  Expensive–I suspect it is mainly for special occasions.  There are also locations in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. (10-26-15)

Robert’s Russian Cuisine–1603 N. La Brea Ave. (Russian) Closed Mon.  Has Russian and Armenian food, but most reviewers say the Russian food is particularly worthwhile compared to the other restaurants in town (they say Traktir is more expensive and the food is not any better). (5-14-17)

Simon’s Cafe–4515 Sepulveda Blvd. (Moroccan) Lunch Tue-Fri; Dinner Tue-Sun (closed Mon).  Specializes in tagines. Not much variety but some reviewers say the food here tastes the same as in Morocco. (11-18-15)

Simpang Asia–10433 National Blvd. (Indonesian) Open daily (open until 10 pm).  Seems to be the best Indonesian in town.  Nasi mantep is recommended.  I think this would be a good place to try Indonesian food to see what it is all about.  Located in Culver City. (11-18-15)

Sri Siam–12843 Vanowen St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Northern Thai style.  Probably the best Thai in L.A. (possibly equal to Thai Nakorn in Stanton).  Price range listed as $, but lunch specials are particularly low priced.  Located in Van Nuys near I-405 and Sherman Way. (11-12-15)

Monterey Park

ABC Cafe–100 N. Garfield Ave. (Chinese) Open 24 hrs.  Was recommended to me by Oriental Cafe in El Paso (Kenny worked there before opening his own restaurant). Serves American style breakfast (eggs, steak, etc.) and Chinese breakfast (congee, chow fun, chow mein). Serves dinner any time. Some say, though, that it was better “back in the day.” (3-30-17)

Beijing Pie House–846 E. Garvey Ave. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Specialties are meat pies and green onion pancakes. They have other things on the menu (such as xiao long bao), but people say the pies and pancakes are the best items (there is such a variety of fillings it is hard to get tired of them). (3-30-17)

Hunan–423 N. Atlantic Blvd. (Chinese).  Hunan style–supposed to be better than in the Bay Area (some say it’s the most authentic Hunanese rest. in the US). Food is very spicy, but they will adjust it according to your taste. (3-30-17)

Huolala–206 S. Garfield Ave. (Chinese) Closed Wed.  Authentic Sichuan style food. (3-30-17)

Mama Lu’s Dumpling House–153 E. Garvey Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Shanghai style food.  Xiao lung bao, beef wrap. (3-30-17)

NBC Seafood–404 S. Atlantic Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily 8 am to 10 pm.  Well known for dim sum. Some say it’s the best in L.A., and others say they would rather go somewhere else (but I don’t see suggestions about where that would be). The majority of reviews indicate that it is very good, and you will probably get one or two items that are less spectacular than the others. (3-30-17)

PappaRich–500 N. Atlantic Blvd. (Malaysian) Open daily (closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Part of a mini-chain, with another restaurant in New York (this speaks to the fact that they know Malaysian food and serve it in some tough markets). Roti canai is popular, and most of the dishes except the curry get very good reviews. (5-14-17)

Tashkent Produce–5340 Laurel Canyon Blvd. (Uzbek).  Grocery store with Uzbek takeout dishes available. Recommended for Plov, a beef stew that is the the Uzbek national dish. (5-14-17)

Yoma Myanmar–713 E. Garvey Ave. (Burmese) Open daily 10 am until 9 pm.  This seems to be the top Burmese rest. in LA, but it is northern Burmese cuisine. Specialty is shan noodles (reviewers say get it dry). Tea leaf salad, tofu salad, curry noodles are all popular. (3-30-17)

Yunnan–301 N. Garfield Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Menu is not limited to Yunnan dishes, but this is a good place to come if you are curious about what they are like (reviewers say they are good). Many (probably most) people like their cold dishes. I would look at the Yelp reviews to get an idea of what to order (there is a large choice). Food is spicy here. “Crossing the Bridge Yunnan Noodles” are supposed to be a specialty, but I couldn’t find out what these were. (3-30-17)

Pasadena

Azeen’s Afghani–110 E. Union St. (Afghan) Lunch Mon-Fri; Dinner daily (closed 2:00 to 5:30 pm).  Family run Afghani rest. Good reviews. (11-18-15)

El Portal–695 E. Green St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Yucatan style (best rated Mex. in Pasadena).  “Yucatan trio” gives you three of the best Yucatan style dishes. (11-18-15)

Sushi Kimagure–220 S. Raymond Ave. (Japanese) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Regarded as one of the top three sushi rests. in L.A., but this one is less expensive than the others. (11-18-15)

Rosemead

Chengdu Taste–8526 W. Valley Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Serious Eats says this is the best Sichuan Restaurant in America. Sichuan peppercorns provide the appropriate aroma and flavor, and not just spiciness. Mung bean jelly with noodle appetizer, couple’s beef, spring onion chicken, boiled beef in hot sauce, mapo tofu, toothpick lamb, boiled fresh fish with green pepper sauce. Some reviewers say it is just too spicy, and some are not ready for this type of food. Because it’s reputed to be the best Sichuan place in America, it almost always has a long wait for a table (they don’t take reservations). Also has a location in Alhambra. (3-30-17)

San Gabriel

Babita–1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Sun & Mon, & closed Sat lunch.  Alta cocina, small rest. Not terribly expensive, but not somewhere you would want to go for a casual meal. On national lists of best Mex. rests. in the U.S. This is home cooking, and small (with about 25 tables). I believe it’s Yucatan style. Some of the main dishes are $20 to $30 (plus more for appetizers, etc.). (3-30-17)

Ho Kee Cafe–533 S. Del Mar Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 9 am to 9:30 pm.  Traditional Cantonese style restaurant, but with better quality than most, made in small batches unlike the large restaurants, and reviewers say they don’t think it has MSG. (3-30-17)

Luscious Dumplings–704 W. Las Tunas Dr. (Chinese) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Beijing style dumplings. (3-30-17)

Mian–301 W. Valley Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily (closed 3 to 5 pm).  Serves Chengdu style noodle dishes (quite a few reviewers say this is the best Chinese noodle house in the L.A. area). (3-30-17)

Omar’s Xinjiang–1718 S. New Ave. (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Uyghur food from northwest China–Halal style Chinese food. Hand pulled noodles and meat pie are recommended. (3-30-17)

Shen Yang–137 S. San Gabriel Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily (open until 11 pm).  Food from Liaoning province in northeast China. Shenyang style pan fried dumplings are recommended (shenyand hue tao)–may be special request only or on the Chinese menu. Reviewers say they think it has a high amount of MSG, though. (3-30-17)

Venice

Agra Indian Kitchen–2553 Lincoln Blvd. (Indian) Open Daily.  Authentic–spiced the way it would be in India. (11-12-15)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Los Angeles)

KCET (Have You Eaten?)

LA Weekly

Serious Eats (Los Angeles)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Los Angeles)

Zomato (Los Angeles)

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