While Los Angeles is a major hub for food lovers and new restaurants regularly open all over the city, I stand by my long-term favorites. These are the places where I always order the same mouth-watering dishes when I visit. I day dream about them…. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
Tell me in the comment section below what your favorite restaurants and dishes are. I would love to try them and expand my list ♥
Cha Cha Chicken
1906 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica
This colorful, Caribbean beach shack with outdoor garden patio is located just a block from the beach. Their Jerk Chicken Enchiladas are award winning and they don’t disappoint. In my opinion, nothing else on the menu is as good as those. Photos by Cha Cha Chicken and Mustafa Sayed.
10962 Ventura Blvd, Studio City
This charming Mediterranean Cafe has a sweet outdoor patio covered with plants, flowers and twinkle lights; it’s cool even on hot summer days. Free parking in the back, BYOB and no corkage fee. It is family owned and I feel like I’m family when I eat there. I always get the refreshing, lemony Fattoush Salad and the traditional ‘Mantee’ dish. Mantee is baked handmade boat shaped ravioli filled with seasoned Angus ground meat, served with fresh garlic yogurt sauce, topped with sumac spice and red pepper. They also have a veggie version made with spinach. Get both and share! Detailed descriptions of their other deliciousness is here. Photos by Karen Young.
12225 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
This is my go-to breakfast spot. They make a wide variety of french pastries and an excellent cappuccino. I splurge here with one of their 13 excellent omelets and French Toast topped with fresh whipped cream and strawberries…. dreamy. No joke, this french toast is heavenly. They have a covered patio with picnic-style seating in the back.
Cantalini’s Salerno Beach
193 Culver Blvd, Playa Del Rey
Italian food has never been so good. My favorite is the homemade Portobello Mushroom Ravioli with porcini cream sauce; it’s very rich so I save it for special occasions. They’ve mastered the ambience of a special night out: intimate candle lighting, old jazz tunes, murals of Italy and twinkle lights….
13400 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey
Go ahead and laugh at this one, because I don’t eat seafood. Kaya Sushi have a huge selection of vegetarian and non-seafood options such as vegetable rolls, tempuras, salads, Bi Bim Bap, teriyaki and sukiyaki (soups with veggies, tofu, noodles and meat). They have a big variety of traditional sushi, sashimi and low carb rolls with no rice. My favorite is the Diane’s Roll – tempuras of asparagus, sweet potato and zucchini, with mango wrapped in soy paper with sesame seeds. Similarly they serve Soomi’s Spring Roll with mango, avocado, sweet potato, pineapple, red onion tempura with asian pear in rice paper with wasabi vinaigrette. Their intimate lighting, big indoor waterfall and small private booths make it a great date spot.
The Smoke House
4420 Lakeside Drive, Burbank
Located across the street from Warner Bros studios, this restaurant has been frequented by movie industry folk and locals since it opened in 1946. The decor and red leather booths are all original; I like that this place hasn’t changed in so many years. Try going on a Friday or Saturday night when they have live music. The Smokehouse is my choice for any special occasion. Favorites are the Cheesy Garlic Bread (like no other) and the Tournedos of Beef sautéed in Cabernet wine, topped with mushroom caps, tomatoes and béarnaise sauce. The steaks, sides and desserts are all fantastic.
3911 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake
They have four locations in LA, this one is the original (since 1969) and my favorite. I like everything I’ve ever eaten there and they have excellent margaritas. I have a deep love for mexican food and while I enjoy many mexican restaurants in LA, Don Cuco’s welcomes me and makes me feel at home.
8406 Pershing Drive, Playa Del Rey
I never enjoyed Indian food until I tried the Chicken Tikka Masala here. I’m truly addicted to it and would eat it every day if I could. Everyone I know also swears by it. Also try their Daal and Saag Paneer, dishes of lentils and spinach with Indian spices. Last but not least, make sure you order one of their seven kinds of Naan bread; my favorite is a sweet naan called Peshwari made with almonds, pistachios, raisins and coconut. Word on the street is that this is where owners of other Indian restaurants come to eat. Check Groupon.com because they regularly offer 40% off.
Thai East Wind
2928 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey
I only go to their Marina Del Rey location and my regular menu choices are much better than everything else in my opinion. My experience has always been fresh food, fast service, and their decor is great. Such a cute place to bring friends and family (some have said it’s their favorite Thai restaurant now). I can’t get enough of the Thom Kah Kai soup with chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass in coconut milk. I also love their Chicken in Yellow Curry with potatoes and coconut milk.