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

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine–19 S. Garfield Ave. (Indonesian) Open Daily.  Reviewers say food is delicious and reasonably priced. Some people seem to think it doesn’t really matter what you order–it will be good. Laska mee is particularly recommended, though (coconut curry). (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Chengdu Taste–828 W. Valley Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Tue (closed from 2:30 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). (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Arcadia

Din Tai Fung–1108 S. Baldwin Ave. (Taiwanese) Open Daily. Popular place for dumplings and xiao long bao (has good reviews). Note: there are several locations throughout the LA area. (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

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. (Takeout only 8-2-21)

East Los Angeles

Tacos Baja Ensenada–5385 Whittier Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open until 9 pm).  Baja style fish tacos. Has 99 cent tacos on Wednesday (a really good deal). (Takeout only 8-24-21)

Hacienda Heights

Four Sea–2020 S. Hacienda Blvd. (Taiwanese) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only). Said to be 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. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Inglewood

ConiSeafood–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. Note: the zarandeado is a whole fish and will feed several people. (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Long Beach

Hak Heang–2041 E. Anaheim St. (Cambodian) Open daily (including breakfast).  Long running and well known Cambodian restaurant in the Little Phnom Penh neighborhood.  Most people recommend plea sait ko (raw beef salad) or other beef dishes. (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Long Beach Fish Grill–1201 Redondo Ave. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Seems to be a good place for a casual seafood meal (fish and chips, fish tacos, fried shrimp, grilled fish, fish sandwich, etc.). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Los Compadres–3229 E. Anaheim St. (Mexican) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm.  Good reviews–very popular. Looks like it is California style (I see lots of avocado in the photos), and this would be one of the best places to try it. (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Los Angeles

Al & Bea’s–2025 E. 1st St. (Mexican) Closed Mon (open until 7 weekdays).  Most famous place in LA for Cal. style burritos. Cheap prices, large portions, casual atmosphere. (Outdoor seating available 6-24-21)

Buna–1034 S. Fairfax Ave. (Ethiopian) Closed Wed.  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). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Casa Vega–13301 Ventura Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open late night).  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. (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Chichen Itza–3655 S. Grand Ave. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  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. Located in Mercado La Paloma (east of I-110, south of 34th St). “Dining room” consists of a few tables inside the market. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Corner Place–2819 James M. Wood Blvd. (Korean) Open to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Recommended as the best & most authentic Korean in L.A. Korean BBQ. Dong chi mi gook soo (cold noodle in soup) is the signature dish. Korean BBQ is also popular. (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Guelaguetza–3014 W. Olympic Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  Very well regarded and popular Oaxacan style restaurant (some say it is the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country). Black mole is probably the most popular dish, but has a wide variety of items, all of which give you the authentic Oaxacan version of the dish. Some complain about the prices (about $20 to $30 per dish) but you get the very best (according to most reviewers). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Guisados–2100 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  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. Note: there are 6 other locations of Guisados in the LA area. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Harissa–8914 W. Pico Blvd. (Tunisian) Dinner only (closed Fri & Sat).  Very good reviews. One recommended item is the Tunisian tajine, which offers a different take on this dish than the more well known Moroccan style. The only drawback I can see is the $$$ price range on Yelp. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

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). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

LA Rose–4749 Fountain Ave. (Filipino) Closed Sun. evening.  Excellent sit down Filipino rest. Certainly one of the best Filipino rests. in the U.S. (N. of US 101, south of Hollywood Blvd.). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Las 7 Regiones de Oaxaca–2648 W. Pico Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Tue.  Oaxacan style. Mole coloradito, tlayuda. Reviewers say this is better and more authentic than other Oaxacan rests. in LA. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Lasita–727 N. Broadway (Filipino) Dinner Thu-Sat; lunch 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. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Mayflower Seafood–679 N. Spring St. (Chinese) Open daily (open until 9 pm).  Good, cheap, authentic Cantonese food in Chinatown (near downtown L.A.). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Monte Alban–11929 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). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Red O–1541 Ocean 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. I am not sure everything here is the same as you would get in the Bayless restaurants in Chicago. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

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). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Sanamluang Cafe–5176 Hollywood Blvd. (Thai) Open daily (open until midnight).  Authentic and well known restaurant in Thai town. Many people like the pad thai because it is one of the best you will find (but many other dishes are recommended as well). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Simpang Asia–10433 National Blvd. (Indonesian) Open daily (open until 10 pm). Reported 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. (2 other locations in LA). Note: Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine in Alhambra seems to be equivalent in quality and less expensive, if you want to try a more downscale place. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Sri Siam–12843 Vanowen St. (Thai) Closed Wed.  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. (Takeout and delivery only 8-2-21)

Tashkent Produce–5340 Laurel Canyon Blvd. (Uzbek) Open daily except Sun evening.  Grocery store with Uzbek takeout dishes available. Recommended for Plov, a beef stew that is the the Uzbek national dish. Meat pie orders can be called in for pickup after 11 am. I am not sure if there is indoor dining–reviewers say it is a deli (so I think they have some tables). Also they say the parking is so bad you will probably want to find a short term space and run inside to pick up your order. (Deli is open 8-2-21)

Monrovia

Luscious Dumplings–919 W. Duarte Rd. (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm). I had information that it is Beijing style dumplings, but it moved to Monrovia and I am not sure if this is the same restaurant (it seems to be very good, though, and dumplings include XLB). (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Monterey Park

ABC Cafe–100 N. Garfield Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 7 am to 11 pm.  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.” (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Beijing Pie House–846 E. Garvey Ave. (Chinese) Open daily (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). (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Hunan–423 N. Atlantic Blvd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  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. (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Mama Lu’s Dumpling House–153 E. Garvey Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily. Shanghai style food. Xiao long bao, beef wrap. (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

NBC Seafood–404 S. Atlantic Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily 8 am to 9 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. (Dining room is open 8-24-221)

Premier Dessert–501 W. Garvey Ave. (Chinese) Open 2:30 pm to 9:30 pm (open to 10 pm Fri & Sat).  Has a variety of Chinese style desserts. From the photos it looks very difficult to make a choice (they all look good). (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Xiang Cuisine–141 N. Atlantic Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Hunan style restaurant that some people like better than others because it is less oily. I think it looks like a good choice because they seem to focus on the dishes that have the best flavor rather than what people in Hunan most commonly eat (Hunan Restaurant is about three blocks to the north and is supposed to be the most authentic Hunan restaurant in the U.S.). (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Yoma Myanmar–713 E. Garvey Ave. (Burmese) Open11 am until 9:30 pm (closed Sun). 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. Some say the tea leaf salad is more authentic here than at other places. (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Yunnan–301 N. Garfield Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  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 (I think this is a noodle soup). (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Pasadena

El Cholo–300 E. Colorado Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Sun.  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). The original restaurant in LA now only does catering but the one in Pasadena is open for customers. (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

El Portal–695 E. Green St. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  Yucatan style (best rated Mex. in Pasadena). “Yucatan trio” gives you three of the best Yucatan style dishes. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Rowland Heights

Long Chao Shou–18438 Colima Rd. (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Authentic Sichuan food where the photos of the dishes look exactly like the ones shown on the Yan Can Cook Spice Kingdom series. Mapo tofu is recommended, and is spicy enough that you can really appreciate it (although probably not as spicy as in Sichuan). Dan dan noodles are also said to be excellent. However, it does not have its namesake long chao shou (dragon dumpling) so some reviewers say there are other restaurants that are more authentic (although this one looks good for the dishes they have, including hot pot). (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

San Gabriel

Babita–1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd. (Mexican) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  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.). (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Ho Kee Cafe–533 S. Del Mar Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 9 am to 8:30 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. Some say this is their favorite restaurant in San Gabriel. (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Lu’s Garden–534 E. Valley Blvd. (Taiwanese) Open daily 11:30 am to 11 pm.  Home style Taiwanese food (this is not “banquet style”). It has a gimmick in that you get free congee (porridge) with your meal–people like it and go partly because of this (but they like the other food also). Some say go only at lunch (dinner is too expensive). Also in City of Industry. (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Mian–301 W. Valley Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily (closed 3 to 5 pm weekdays).  Serves Chengdu style noodle dishes (quite a few reviewers say this is the best Chinese noodle house in the L.A. area). Tip: some say if you order mung bean tea for a drink this helps in being able to eat the spicy food here. Also in Rowland Hts. (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Omar’s Xinjiang–1718 S. New Ave. (Chinese) Closed Tue & Wed (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Uyghur food from northwest China–Halal style Chinese food. Hand pulled noodles and meat pie are recommended. (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Venice

Agra Indian Kitchen–2553 Lincoln Blvd. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Authentic–spiced the way it would be in India (but you can get it mild if you want). (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

 

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)

Google Maps

KCET (Have You Eaten?)

LA Weekly

Serious Eats (Los Angeles)

TripAdvisor (Thai Town)

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

Yelp (Los Angeles)

Zomato (Los Angeles)

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