Los Angeles is big, wide, and can be slightly overwhelming! I get it. I live here. I’m always finding new hot spots in Los Angeles and I’m consistently asked my opinion on them. Although we are often traveling to distant destinations, I wanted to also be sure to include our own city of Angeles as well, especially since a record-setting 45.5 million people visited Los Angeles last year! The list below is (in my humble opinion) some of the more interesting hot-spot restaurants that LA has to offer. They made the cut due to personality, concept, overall theme, and loyalty; the loyalty they give as well as receive. Whether your budget be low or high, there is something for everyone on this list. Be it Drag Queen Bingo, history, gorgeous views, tasty food, an organic community, or a ridiculously awesome ambiance, these restaurants are consistent in one thing… they will never disappoint.
10 Unique Restaurants In Los Angeles-
2100 Laurel Canyon Blvd. Los Angeles. CA 90046. Pacé, meaning peace in Italian, is the perfect name for this small slice of Bohemian heaven that sits atop of the Hollywood Hills. Just as the name suggests, their cuisine is all Italian- homemade pasta, pizza, fish, and various meats. They pride themselves on everything being fresh, organic, and farm raised. They are committed to supporting the local farmer’s markets as well as embracing the agricultural community and it definitely shows in the rich flavors behind their cuisine. Food aside, Pacé is also rich with local history. Nestled in the hills of Laurel Canyon, the restaurant lies about a half mile north of the sunset strip. In the 1960’s, the sunset strip was a rock-n-roll heaven. Many musicians got their start and took up residence in the hills. In fact, Jim Morrison’s old home can be found just across the street from Pacé. Because this area was/is such a fantastic escape from the city, many stars have taken up residence there. The Canyon Country store, which shares the building with Pacé,became a Bohemian retreat and outdoor jam space for artists like Jim Morrison, The Mamas and the Papas, and Joni Mitchel and was immortalized by Jim Morrison in a song called “Love Street” when he said it was “the store where creatures meet.” Pacé was established in 1999 but the building itself goes back to 1930 and served as a hunting Lodge before that. In honor of the rich musical history, Pacé has been known to throw their own musical jam sessions within the restaurant from time to time. The Head Chef and Owner of Pacé, Sandy Gendel, said it best when he stated that “Special places draw in special people.” We couldn’t agree more! So while in Los Angeles, we insist that you find your own peace within the canyon. ✌🏻️
811 Wilshire Blvd #2100. Los Angeles. CA 90071. Takami was the very first rooftop restaurant and bar to open its doors in Downtown Los Angeles. Located 21 floors up, this panoramic dining destination is elegantly wrapped within long balconies and tall panes of glass, ensuring that every seat has a view. On a clear day, you can even see down to the Pacific Ocean. Make your reservation for sunset and watch LA slowly set into night. It is the perfect date night. You can start your evening in the lounge, (their freshly prepared signature cocktails are divine and we highly recommend the Lychee Mojito) or go straight into the restaurant. Half of their seating can be found outside, a great option for those warm summer evenings. We recommend you start with a bowl of the Takami edamame and then, just about anything that contains their salmon. The spicy tuna on crispy rice or the lamb robata is also divine. For desert, give their green tea tiramisu a try. They also have a great happy hour from Monday-Friday 4:00-7:00, weekends 5:00-7:00. To this day Takami continues to be our absolute favorite sushi and robata experience in LA.
8. Canter’s Deli–
419 N Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles. CA 90036. Getting its start as a small storefront deli shop in 1931, Canter’s is now one of California’s oldest delis and it continues to provide a traditional Jewish deli experience to this day. You can feel the heart and history from the moment you walk in the door. Sheryll Bellman wrote in her book, Americas Great Delis: “You wouldn’t think that Los Angeles could have a deli rival to New York’s, but for those who know and love the deli culture and appreciate all that it evokes, this place is heaven.” We highly recommend the Bagel and Lox but Canter’s was also voted #1 Best Pastrami by the Los Angeles Times. If you dine in, you’re sure to get some conversation. It’s why we go. Many have been working for Canter’s for years and have so many interesting stories to tell, we love listening to all of them. Like many great spots in LA, Canter’s has been known to attract many celebrities. In the 50s Marilyn Monroe, Jack Benny, and Elizabeth Taylor were often sighted here. Today, the list goes on for miles with Sydney Poitier, Mel Brooks, Brooke Shields, John Travolta, and Prince as just a few. Because Canter’s is open 24 hours (and according to its website) many celebrities can be caught sneaking in around 3:00 am for a late night nosh. It has also been the site for many films, such as Neil Simon’s, “I Ought to be in Pictures.” The Kibitz Room, a small bar directly attached to the deli, established in 1961, has also held its fair share of celebrities and bands would play regularly there. Bands such as, The Doors, Janis Joplin, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joni Mitchell, and Guns N Roses have all jammed within so it’s worth having a beverage next door as well, to check out one of the local bands.
7. Hamburger Mary’s–
8288 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles. CA 90046 “Eat, drink, and be Mary!” Located in West Hollywood, Mary’s is known for their Drag Shows, Taco Tuesdays, and Drag Queen Bingo, which was recently voted the “Best Bingo” by Los Angeles Magazine and L.A. Weekly. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Hamburger Mary’s is a gay-themed, LGBT-friendly burger restaurant. She got her start in San Francisco, in 1972, and has been gaining popularity ever since. There are now 13 Hamburger Mary’s in the U.S. and one newly erected in Germany. Their motto is: “an open-air bar and grill for open-minded people.” Their food…? Burgers. Lot’s of them. For example, there’s the Mac Daddy, Buffy The Hamburger Slayer, or even a Low-Carb Naked Mary. Our personal favorite, The Queen Mary. Brunch is also a stellar option at Mary’s, where bottomless mimosas are often served. We highly recommend Mary’s during Halloween, when the entire street turns into a sea of gore, glitter, and face paint and during the gay pride parade in June. With both of these, be sure that you’re comfortable with crowds.
428 S Hewitt St. Los Angeles. CA 90013. Resident is a laid-back, live music venue that has recently popped up in the Downtown Arts District. It’s a great place to relax, sip on your favorite craft cocktail, and check out the local bands. There is an indoor and outdoor space and bands are there nearly every night. One large old airstream serves as the locations outdoor bar and a small food truck to the side of that serves as it’s kitchen. Their food truck only consists of small bites- breakfast foods, sandwiches, wraps, and a few sides but the outdoor space is cozy and perfect for the warm Los Angeles nights that we’re often gifted with. If you enjoy a small escape from the city that is rustic, hipster, with a dash of live music, then this is the spot for you.
714 Traction Ave. Los Angeles. CA 90013. Located in the heart of the downtown LA Arts District, lies a meek and humble pie shop called, “The Pie Hole.” The LA Arts district has been growing for years now and is known today for its hipster spirit, graffitied art walls, and unique shops. The menu is consistently updated with new pie recipes, such as the “Mini Lonely Pie” (created with chocolate, peanut butter, potato chips and framed with an Oreo cookie crust) Their apple Double Crust happens to be my favorite (thus far) but I have many more to try. The Mexican Chocolate is an all-time favorite as well. The menu varies from sweet to savory for an average of $5.00 per slice. The coffee is always divine and with plenty of tables lining the building, it’s a great way to spend a gorgeous LA afternoon. According to their website, The Pie Hole is a family run organization hatched from the dreams of a mother and son team, Becky Grasley and Matthew Heffner. They dreamed of opening a place where they could share their family secret: pie. Apparently, they hold the largest pie recipe book you have ever laid eyes on, which is locked away in a safety deposit box in Switzerland! Pie has been a part of their genetics for years now and there’s no doubt their legacy will continue for more years to come.
600 W. 7th St. Ste 150 Los Angeles. CA 90007 (Downtown). Sugar fish is a sushi restaurant, specializing in nigiri- thin slices of raw fish that is then served over warm pressed vinegar rice. Guests choose from three core menus called “Trust Me’s.” Their meals are Omasake inspired- a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef and then quickly brought to the table with the intention to be immediately consumed. Each course is served separately for this reason. Chef Nozawa has definitely taken a different approach on sushi in Los Angeles by choosing to place his focus on purity, even with the most basic ingredients. No detail is ever overlooked, he even makes his own soy and ponzu sauces. In Chef Nozawa’s book, he states, “There is no greater offense than serving mayo-laden rolls heavy with bells and whistles,” so at Sugarfish sushi is served at the table, in small courses for one to enjoy the freshness and the flavor of the fish. Please note, they do not take reservations. It is a walk-in dining experience. Guests are seated on a first come, first-served basis. And while Sugarfish owns a handful of branches around the LA area, the downtown branch is our absolute fave due to its historic location- The Robinson’s Building. The Robinson’s Department Store once stood within these seven floors for over 75 years.
2927 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles. CA 90026. This strip mall noodle bar holds some of the most delicious ramen we have ever had the pleasure of tasting. Located off Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, it is (simply put) a small shop, within a small strip mall. If it weren’t for the regularly long lines, you might have missed it but they utilize their space well and in the end, it’s always worth the wait. Their motto, “… creativity, passion, and good faith,” which has paid off for them over the years because Silverlake Ramen has definitely become a neighborhood staple. From the mouths of the owners and chefs themselves, “We began our studies in ramen in 1970 in Kyoto, Japan. After 42 years of experience, we have discovered one of the best methods for cooking the noodles and soup we make for you today.” Ramen aside, you’ll also find a variety of chef specials offered on a regular basis such as pork buns or spicy cold noodles. One tip to keep in mind here, the parking is challenging so you may want to find a street meter and walk or take a cab. They’re also open late so you can schedule your visit after the dinner rush- open till 11:00 pm on the weekdays, 2:00 am on the weekends.
3823 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles. CA 90026. Forage is a small, family-owned eatery that specializes in locally sourced eats. It’s cafeteria style, farm-to-table, dining has been all the rage since its opening in 2010. The concept behind Forage is to incorporate local urban farmers and their crops into its seasonally changing menu. This concept has been an immediate hit and has also been successful in bringing the community together. The food is fresh, organic, and according to nearly every review of the restaurant, extremely delicious. One of my favorites that they offer on a regular basis (for dinner) is their mac n cheese. It’s to die for. This place is in high demand and often comes with lines so go during slightly off hours, maybe try going between 2:00-3:00 for a weekday lunch, 5:30-6:30 for dinner. They are closed Sundays and Mondays. While in the area, maybe go round the corner and take a selfie at the graffiti wall… cause why not?
648 S Broadway. LA. 90014. “Cliftons,” was created by Clifford Clinton in 1931. It was one of many at the time but stands today as its only sole survivor. It has remained open for 74 years and at its peak, the cafeteria served 15,000 diners a day! The Diner was sold in 2010 by the original owners and was quickly pushed into renovations. Developer Andrew Meieran bought the cafeteria and then spent approximately five years refurbishing it. Five years and $10 million! Their grand opening was in 2015 and Chef Jason Fullilove was hired to oversee the 10,000-square-foot kitchen, which has a cooking staff of 50 people! Yep, everything at Clifton’s is big, as in go big or go home. There’s jello, famous ghosts, animatronic raccoons, meteorites, waterfalls, and trees, (like the giant redwood that fills the center of the restaurant and rises through all five floors), yeah the one with the fireplace in the middle of it. Big. It feels like an amusement park really, something out of Disneyland. I almost half expected The Bear Country Jamboree to come out and start playing. There’s even a 250-pound meteorite perched on the Gothic-style bar on the third floor. The ghost of Ray Bradbury is also rumored to haunt these halls, since he did spend much of his social hour at Clifton’s, in his own booth, on the third floor. That booth has actually been restored and his family has donated various belongings so that Clifton’s could fill the shelves that reside above his old table. The food is still served on the first-floor cafeteria and has continued its traditional menu of all-American Thanksgiving style dinners but they also serve a variety of foods such as pizza, pasta, salads and hamburgers as well. The newest addition to the Clifton floors is the Pacific Seas Tiki bar. Naturally, it’s main entrance is through a secret panel/mirror on 3rd floor, near the ballroom. SO, we have the Gothic Bar, Tiki Bar, Cafeteria, and Ballroom. Four floors in total, with a full kitchen on the fifth floor, plus a basement bar. And it keeps on growing! This is a definite must-see while in LA and stands out as one of the most original and quirkiest concepts ever to be carried out through 74 years of history.