From renowned restaurants helmed by famous chefs to Michelin-starred destinations to food trucks and hole-in-the-wall treasures serving authentic global cuisines, Los Angeles is home to one of the nation’s most exciting and varied dining scenes.
L.A. is a magnet for all things celebrity, and that includes celebrity chefs. Culinary superstars including Rick Bayless (Red O), Nancy Silverton (Osteria Mozza), Curtis Stone (Gwen), and Wolfgang Puck of the storied Spago in Beverly Hills—and, more recently, the celebrated Cut steakhouse—offer delicious and creative dishes, often in equally splashy settings.
Michelin-starred restaurants are increasingly turning heads in the City of Angels. As of 2021, two-star entries include Japanese standout Hayato in the Downtown district; elegant, French-inspired Mélisse in Santa Monica; and starkly dramatic Vespertine in Culver City. L.A.’s one-star destinations include Santa Monica’s Pasjoli, offering elevated French bistro fare in a golden-hued dining room; contemporary Asian spot Phenakite in Hollywood, and stylish-casual Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, which celebrates local farms throughout its menu.
As California’s largest metropolis, comprised of a rich array of distinctive neighborhoods and ethnicities, Los Angeles is a diverse city with a vibrant international food culture to match. Sample authentic Indonesian comfort food at bright and casual Simpang Asia in the Palms district, or slurp ramen at tiny Tsujita L.A. Artisan Noodle in Little Tokyo.
In Glendale, home to a large Armenian population, feast on succulent grilled meats at Mini Kabob. Craving Mexican? Taste the duck carnitas that kicked off L.A.’s gourmet taco revolution at cantina-style CaCao Mexicatessen in the Eagle Rock neighborhood. Options also abound in Koreatown, including dimly lit Da Sung Sa, where diners hunker down in wooden booths for satisfying street food.
Los Angeles introduced the U.S. to sushi bars in the 1960s, so it’s no surprise that the city has become one of the nation’s top sushi destinations, featuring everything from casual counter joints to high-end omakase palaces. Michelin-starred stunners include Nowaza Bar in Beverly Hills, tucked in the back of sleek Sugarfish; jewel-like Morihiro in Atwater Village; and laid-back Shin Sushi in Encino. Sushi Park serves exquisite, real-deal sushi in a nothing-fancy strip mall on the Sunset Strip, while casual Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo, a favorite since 1980, draws crowds with its sashimi lunch specials and extensive nigiri selection.
Food trucks are everywhere these days, but the movement started in L.A. with Kogi BBQ, launched in 2008 by chef-entrepreneur Roy Choi. The truck is justifiably famous for its Korean-Mexican fusion fare—especially the short rib tacos. The Lobos Truck specializes in “wachos”—waffle-cut fries topped with goodies like brisket and nacho fixings. Mariscos Jalisco has earned a devoted following for its seafood tostadas and shrimp tacos. Coolhaus attracts crowds with handmade ice cream sandwiches in far-out flavors like avocado sea salt, and balsamic fig and mascarpone.