Rena and Erica get to share their favorite spots in Philadelphia every week, but as the only Californian on the team I’ve been feeling a little left out. With this post I’m changing all that! This is Ascentive around the other city: Los Angeles.
Visiting Los Angeles? Sure, you might visit the Zoo, Griffith Park Observatory, Dodger Stadium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, or the Santa Monica Pier. But what if you’re after some good eats, and maybe even some history? To make the most out of your Los Angeles adventure, check out these classic destinations for great food and great atmosphere.
Casa Bianca Pizza
1650 Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(323) 256 – 9617
Casa Bianca is sometimes difficult to plan for– it’s closed on Sundays and Mondays, and only opens at 4pm on the other days. But boy, do they have great pizza, along with the usual Italian pasta and dessert offerings. As any L.A. transplant can tell you, California doesn’t really know how to do pizza—and don’t even mention California Pizza Kitchen, please! Casa Bianca does Los Angeles proud, though.
419 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles
(323) 651 – 2030
Located in West Hollywood, Canter’s Deli has definitely achieved landmark status, and for good reason. This is an old-school Jewish deli par excellence. It has a full delicatessen and bakery, and it has one of those “they have everything” menus, including deli standards like the Canter’s Fairfax: pastrami and corned beef sandwich, piled insanely high, with coleslaw. The deli is also open 24 hours—unfortunately, a rarity in Los Angeles—which has made it a popular hangout for celebs and artistic types.
8447 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood
(323) 654 – 2287
There are a few Barney’s around, but go to the original and best on Santa Monica. Like Canter’s, Barney’s has a neverending menu, including a huge breakfast menu. They’re famous for chili, foot-long hot dogs, and a rather generous selection of draft beers. And the atmosphere is priceless—they were plastering stuff on their walls way before Applebee’s was. The crowd of bikers and bohemians might get a little rough for some, particularly on the weekends, but hey, that’s Hollywood, baby!
4420 West Lakeside Drive, Burbank
(818) 845 – 3731
Given its proximity to the Warner Brothers soundstages, the Smoke House has long been a hangout for movie executives and Hollywood luminaries. Its moody, dark interior sets the perfect stage: walking into Smoke House is like walking into a time machine. They still have a “camera girl” snapping pictures at tables, a practice that would seem to have disappeared decades ago. Definitely worth checking out. Try their famous garlic cheese bread!
Musso & Frank Grill
6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
(323) 467 – 7788
This is the old school of the old school. Surrounded by the blight of tattoo parlors and cheesy knickknack shops following Hollywood’s decline and tourist trap transformation, Musso & Frank Grill literally has not changed. The waiters have been doing their thing for 25 years, and the booths are probably the same ones that Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, and Greta Garbo used. Musso & Frank has no interest in frou-frou modern cuisine: here it’s best to order steak, potatoes, and very dry martinis.
Did I miss any of your favorite L.A. eats? Or disagree with my CA taste? Let me know in the comments! I’m always up for taking a bite out of new spots in the L.A. food scene so feel free to leave your recommendations as well!