The 25 Best Classic Los Angeles Restaurants
“Comfort” is an overused word when discussing the role of restaurants in our lives. But what better description exists to express the feeling of sinking into a cubicle or jumping on a swiveling counter stool in one of LA’s evergreen restaurants?
The sturdy white cups, always full. The fast staff, both cheerful and pragmatic. The smoke haze from the griddle in the air. The classic menu: eggs in all directions, pancakes and waffles, salads full of ingredients, club sandwiches, burgers and fondants. And probably meatloaf for dinner. We frequent restaurants – or cafes, if you will, not those that serve single-origin dishes – for their beautiful predictability.
In Southern California, restaurants come in all shapes and sizes, although the design of LA’s most legendary restaurants was codified in the mid-20th century with Googie architecture. Angled bursts of neon signage led the way inside to dining areas outfitted in chrome, Naugahyde and Formica. These period buildings have been missing for decades. It’s a reminder to cherish the space-age sanctuaries that remain – including Foxy’s in Glendale, Bob’s Big Boy Broiler in Downey, Norms in West Hollywood and Pann’s in Westchester.
Because this is Los Angeles, some of our beloved institutions serve chilaquiles alongside eggs Benedict, and the option of char siu or machaca in addition to sausage and bacon. We scoured the LA metro area, enjoying chili relleno omelets, country fried steak and puffy banana cream pie — and more — in timeless, crowded venues. These made the cut as our 25 favorite diners.