i’ve lived in los angeles for almost 13 years now and get asked for recommendations from out-of-towners and even in-towners a lot. so through the years, i’ve definitely mentally collected a list.
+ BEST FRENCH TOAST square one seriously. get the bourbon pecan french toast. seriously. eat al fresco on a warm day.
blu jam cafe get here before 10am if possible to beat the rush on the weekends. if not, it’s worth the wait. everything is really great.
comme ca a quirky french brasserie that is gorgeous inside. ouefs and a whole menu of bloody marys.
+ BEST SANDWICH larchmont wine and cheese shop tucked inside the small wine shop, two sisters in an assembly line making the best baguette sandwiches ever. order the salami sandwich on baguette and get there before 2pm or the bread isn’t as fresh (and they run out around 3)
+ BEST FRIED CHICKEN kyochon deep in koreatown, it’s like an amazing and more expensive KFC. they have 2 types, soy garlic or hot and sweet. order both! the frying on the chicken is insane. it’s like biting into a glass christmas ornament.
tere’s mexican grill a little mexican hole in the wall in hollywood with really fresh ingredients. order the steak torta.
hugo’s tacos a couple locations around la. great crispy tacos and tamales.
fish grill a kosher spot i love for lunch – really fresh grilled fish filets, tacos, and coleslaw (closed on the saturdays).
lucques the restaurant was once harold lloyd’s carriage house, and is so so charming. the bittersweet chocolate torta with marscapone might be one of my favorite desserts ever.
+ BEST SUSHI kiwami by katsuya it’s in studio city, but totally worth the trip. it’s the restaurant where katsuya himself makes sushi (don’t just go to katsuya). order the specials!
the bazaar this is a meal you’ll never forget. it’s expensive, but if any dish isn’t fantastic, it’s at least interesting. the food here really is art. dry ice cocktails, bagel and lox cones. and you go to a separate willy wonka type dining room for a huge array of desserts. it’s a peak experience.
animal lots and lots and lots of meat. like serious meat. serious delicious meat. the menu changes pretty frequently, but everything is great.
son of a gun the seafood equivalent by the same guys as animal. a unique nautical vintage theme inside. order the chicken sandwich, lobster roll and linguini with clams.
ink a memorable meal to say the least. super artistic dishes. and charred avocado.
+ BEST SEAFOOD the hungry cat great seafood and great cocktails. the crab cake with pork belly is insane. also, order the chocolate bread pudding is a must.
+ BEST DATE SPOT pace tucked away off laurel canyon, perfect for a candlelit drawing on tables date. sometimes with live music.
+ BEST AL FRESCO DINING cliff’s edge totally hidden off sunset and behind large gates, you walk through and are inside the most intimate backyard. the ambience is better than the food, but the vibe here is so one of a kind, i recommend this place to anyone on a warm night (or day, they have brunch on weekends)
+ BEST THAI jitlada authentic southern thai. a hole in the wall with the walls painted in awards. order the plaa pear (deep fried red snapper fish fillets with dried coconut and curry sauce topped with crispy basil). so so good.
+ BEST NEW ENGLAND SEAFOOD l&e oyster bar a really cozy neighborhood spot with a huge array of daily oysters and a perfectly tiny menu of entrees and appetizers. the daily dozen oysters, clam chowder, oyster po boy and the whole branzino are my go-tos.
+ BEST VIEWS runyon canyon i’m not much of a hiker, but on the rare occasions that i will actually venture up, it’s the most incredible views of the city. this is a must for visitors.
+ BEST GETAWAY the parker palm springs if you can are leaving LA, go to palm springs and stay or at least eat at the jonathan adler designed hotel. it’s like staying in an elite 1960′s country club where you drink lemonade cocktails and play croquet. then have a swanky dinner at their restaurant mister parkers. best (expensive) weekend ever.
cinespia during the summer, the hollywood forever cemetery plays classic movies on the grass while you picnic on weekends.
the dresden don’t eat here. just go for drinks in the retro lounge and watch marty and elaine perform.
+ BEST BAR la descarga you walk through an armoire down the spiral stairs into a cuban canteen, full of burlesque dancers, cigars, and live music.
+ BEST CONCERT hollywood bowl even sitting in the nose bleed seats, you get a panoramic view of the entire city and feel so far away.
+ BEST BAKERY bottega louie if you’re like me, you will go INSANE for the flawless bakery display. the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so if you’re in the area and want to pop in to just pick up some sweets, i recommend an assortment box of macaroons and the raspberry beignets.
+ BEST LIVE COMEDY upright citizens brigade theatre this little comedy theatre never charges more than $5-$10 and they have tons of good shows and big names. and byob.
museum of jurassic technology the weirdest exhibits you may ever see. this place is kind of like a spoof of museums.
cirque berzerk not sure when they’re coming back (summer?), but this downtown annual event is like a low-brow old timey sexy circus. after the show, you can walk around the hay area with drinks and live music.