Los Angeles has no shortage of long lived, iconic restaurants. Some have endured because they have incredible food, while others have lasted because of a unique setting, convenient location or a storied past. A few are still around because they are all of these things. Here are ten famous places to eat when you are in Los Angeles.
Pig ‘n Whistle was a Hollywood icon since the 1920s, even hosting the very first Oscar Party. The restaurant closed in the 1950s but was restored and reopened in 2001. The Pig ‘n Whistle serves gourmet American diner food like burgers, sandwiches, and shepherd’s pie.
It can be argued that Spago is Wolfgang Puck’s most famous US restaurant. Executive chef Lee Hefter uses seasonal items in his menu. Be sure to save room for pastry chef Sherry Yard’s desserts.
Cole’s is the oldest restaurant in LA in its original location. The establishment has changed owners since it’s 1908 opening, but the diner menu remains true to Cole’s roots. Coles claims to be the originator of the original French Dip sandwich.
Musso & Frank has been a Hollywood staple since 1919. Deals were made at the pay phone, scripts were read in the booths, and stars were made here. The menu has been around forever, too, and has lots of favorite dishes from the early 20th century.
Styled after a Japanese pagoda, Yamashiro has been a favorite of Los Angeles’ elite for nearly a century. The restaurant originally specialized in Japanese food, but today guests can enjoy exquisite Cal-Asian fusion dishes.
Built to resemble an old railway car, Pacific Dining Car opened in 1921. This fine dining steakhouse is always open. If you have a hankering for a fine meal at 3 am, Pacific Dining Car is there for you.
Tam O’Shanter, opened in 1922, is the oldest restaurant in LA that is operated by the same family in the original location. The Scottish themed restaurant was a favorite of Walt Disney. His favorite table is marked with a plaque and has drawings by Disney imagineers scratched into the wood table.
Philippe’s opened in 1908 but was forced to move in 1951 due to construction of the 101 freeway. Philippe’s also lays claim to creating the first french dip sandwich, and in a recent poll Philippe’s French Dip edged out Coles as being the most “iconic” LA dish.
Many Angelenos will tell you to go to Tommy’s if you ask where to go for the best chili burger. Original Tommy’s opened in 1946 and became so popular that it is now a chain with locations all over Southern California. The original is still the favorite of “old timers”, and chili burgers are served all day and all night long.
Langer’s bills itself as the home of the original #19 pastrami sandwich: hand cut hot pastrami, cole slaw, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, and double baked rye bread. Founded in 1947, Langer’s has, in many people’s opinion, the best pastrami sandwich. It also serves some of the best Jewish deli food in the area.
How many of these famous Los Angeles restaurants have you been to? Want to try more? Try my favorite barbecue restaurants in the LA area.