A guide to eating out in LA

Travel writer and LA expert

Photography by Tessa Neustadt 

Skip to Navigation

January 2018

Los Angeles might be known for salads, smoothies and In-N-Out burgers, but it also has a wealth of alternative cuisines every visitor should try. Travel writer Lucy Sherriff highlights the city's tastiest offerings.

Best for breakfast

The classic: Blu Jam

The lowdown: An unpretentious cafe, Blu Jam on Melrose focuses on using fresh, sustainable ingredients - you won’t find a freezer in sight. Order the signature French toast: brioche dipped in batter, rolled in cornflakes, and topped with vanilla bean sauce. Even better, they serve breakfast all day.

In the know… Put your name and number down at the door, and window shop while you wait – there’s normally a queue.

The curious: Gjelina

The lowdown: Because who doesn’t want oysters, duck confit and mimosas for breakfast? Gjelina has become one of the hottest dining rooms around, and its Middle Eastern offerings are delicious too. The Moroccan baked eggs with Merguez sausage, and onion bialy with pork belly are the standouts of the menu.

In the know… If you’re pushed for time and you haven’t reserved a table, order to take out, and tuck in on the bench outside.

Find our cheapest flights to Los Angeles

Grab a ‘godmother’ – three kinds of salami and packed full of vegetables – and an ice cold ginger beer and head to the pier for lunch with a view.

  • Take an appetite to LA foodie hotspot, Gjelina © Ashley Randall.

    Best of the brunch

    With a prime location on Abbot Kinney, Gjelina offers up one of the boulevard’s most extensive brunch menus, starring their delectable lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote.

    Explore things to do in LA
  • Sample gourmet Italian delicacies at Bay City Deli.

    Breaking bread

    An LA institution, the Bay City Deli is home to the city’s best-loved cured meat sandwich, The Godmother, which you can order online to avoid the queue. 

    Plan your LA Holiday
  • Order the Moroccan spiced fried chicken at Cafe Birdie © Eric Shin.

    Fried and tested

    Café Birdie is one of Highland Park’s most thriving hangouts, with foodies travelling from as far as Santa Monica for their mouth-watering Moroccan fried chicken. 

    Explore LA hotels

Best for lunch

The classic: Bay City Deli

The lowdown: Bay City Deli in Santa Monica is a locals’ favourite. Known for its mind-bogglingly huge selection of sandwiches, it’s the go-to place for lunch. Stand in line to get a ticket and build your own, or sneak past the queues to the fridge, where the deli’s best subs are already made. Grab a ‘godmother’ – three kinds of salami and packed full of vegetables – and an ice cold ginger beer and head to the pier for lunch with a view.

In the know… The deli’s closed on Mondays, but it opens 09.00 until 18.00 the rest of the week.

The curious: Pollo a la Brasa

The lowdown: This hole in the wall joint on 8th and Western does the best rotisserie chicken you’ll find in LA. Don’t be fooled by the fast-food exterior, this is Peruvian cuisine at its best. The chicken is wood-smoked and tenderly marinated in spices with perfectly charred crispy skin.

In the know… Wrap in a tortilla and slick on some green aji sauce – be careful, it packs a punch.

  • Indulge your sweet tooth at Blu Jam Café, LA.

    Feeling toasty

    With six locations throughout LA, Blu Jam Café have become famed for their signature Crunchy French Toast, dipped in ‘secret batter’ and served with a vanilla bean sauce.

    Book Los Angeles car hire

Best for dinner

The classic: Cafe Birdie

The lowdown: Visit the trendy Highland Park restaurant for Mediterranean-fused Californian cuisine in a charming 1920s Parisian setting. Serving up beautiful plates such as pork cheek ragu, black pepper cavatelli, and hamachi crudo, the cafe provides a cool, relaxed vibe and delightful respite from the hubbub of LA.

In the know… Head to the secret Good Housekeeping speakeasy out the back of the restaurant for post-dinner cocktails.

The curious: Carousel

The lowdown: Carousel is a favourite of the Kardashians, and for good reason. Serving up Armenian and Lebanese cuisine, it’s a refreshing alternative to Californian fare and the best Middle Eastern in town. If there’s three or more of you, order the Carousel Feast so you can sample one of everything.

In the know… It’s bring your own booze, and there’s not even a corkage fee.

Best for when the sun goes down

The classic: Swingers

The lowdown: Still hungry? Head to Swingers on Beverly Boulevard, a typical American diner – except it’s open until 04.00 in the morning, and serves vegan food. It’s the perfect place for people watching, and for that post-party greasy food fix.

In the know… Try the All American for a true taste of the USA – think sausage, bacon, eggs, pancakes and French toast.

The curious: Clifton

The lowdown: You could come here for the food, but instead, bypass the restaurant and head straight to the Gothic Bar to be serenaded by the wonderful Big Mike. Marvel at the 113-kilogramme meteorite perched on the bar top (which itself is made from an old church altar), be soothed by the waterfall on the second floor and press your nose up against the glass case which is home to a 90-year-old taxidermy bison.

In the know… Work your way through the impressive cocktail list from Angels Flight (gin, mint, and soda) to Something Wicked (whiskey, mezcal, and bitters).

footer navigation links
British Airways logo.