While it may seem some businesses come and go, there are a great number of Los Angeles-area restaurants that have “stood the test of time.” Many of these Classic LA Restaurants have been in their families for generations. Many have become an important part of the lives of the customers they serve.
How many of these restaurants have you already tried? How many are on your “one-day we’ll go there” list?
Now, more than ever, these iconic eateries need our help. While on-site dining remains prohibited, many of these restaurants are offering special take-out menus.
We hope you get a chance to enjoy a meal from one of these restaurants soon.
Classic Los Angeles Restaurants in Hollywood
The Musso & Frank Grill
6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
For over 100 years, since 1919, The Musso & Frank Grill has been the definition of fine dining in Hollywood. This famous restaurant prides itself not just on its food, but its “unparalleled service and a welcoming ambience.” Throughout the years, Musso’s has “been a favorite among Hollywood’s A-list.” Much of the menu remains unchanged.
Pig ‘n Whistle
6714 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
The Pig ‘n Whistle is the place to go for a taste of “Old Hollywood.” Since opening in 1927, the restaurant is a cultural landmark located next door to the famous Egyptian Theatre. Their extensive menu includes sandwiches and hamburgers, pasta, entrees, salads, and more.
The Original Farmers Market
6333 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Since 1917, Magee’s Kitchen has been serving up delicious plates, and it has been located at the Original Farmers market since 1934. They offer hand-carved sandwiches, their famous corned beef, hot dogs, homemade side salads, and more (including their well-known horseradish).
Andre’s Italian Restaurant
6332 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90036
There’s nothing fancy at Andre’s Italian Restaurant. But since 1963, they’ve been serving up classic Italian dishes at affordable prices. Many meals (such as the spaghetti and ravioli dishes) come in two sizes (small and large. Note – there’s nothing small about the small!). Other offerings include lasagna, pizza (available by the slice if desired), Italian sandwiches, and more. Pick up a tray, make your way down the line (cafeteria-style), and try to save room for some gelato for dessert.
El Coyote Mexican Food
7312 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
El Coyote first opened in 1931, just a short distance from its current location. The restaurant has an impressive seating capacity of 375. Take a look around at the colorful interior, walls of autographed celebrity photos, and eclectic art. The large menu offers traditional Mexican dishes. Save room for the chips and one of their popular margaritas.
Pink’s Hot Dogs
709 N. LaBrea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Pink’s is described as a “Hollywood legend since 1939.” Many people have a hard time resisting the famous hot dog stand (they also serve hamburgers). This family owned spot has now transformed into a “family-owned nationwide enterprise,” with locations in other states as well as an active catering business. Take a look around at the celebrity wall of fame. But be forewarned, you may have a hard time deciding what to order.
419 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Even if you haven’t yet eaten at Canter’s, you may have seen the restaurant featured in a movie or television show. “Since 1931, Canter’s has been serving up LA’s finest deli cuisine.” Today, the restaurant is managed by the third and fourth generations of the Canter family. Their pastrami has been rated #1 by the Los Angeles Times; however, even the pickiest of eaters in your family will find something they enjoy on Canter’s large menu.
1646 N. Las Palmas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90028 and
(323) 466-3438 and
3655 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90068
Miceli’s is the “home of the singing waiters and waitresses” where they will “serenade you with Italian arias, musical show tunes, classical standards all while you dine.” Miceli’s has been delighting patrons since 1949. Their large menu offers salads, pizza, pasta dishes, chicken dishes, seafood, lasagna, and more. Take a look around as you sit and wait for your meal, and you’ll find yourself charmed.
Lawry’s The Prime Rib
100 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Lawry’s The Prime Rib is “a place of grand style, classic elegance, luxurious comfort and home of the world famous Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.” Lawry’s has been delighting patrons since 1938. Their menu features Prime Rib, “served tableside from gleaming silver carts,” their Spinning Bowl Salad, and more. Keep in mind that a “business causal dress code” is required, and certain items are not permitted (including flip flops, athletic wear, and beachwear).
Classic Los Angeles Restaurants in Downtown LA
The Original Pantry Cafe
877 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90017
Before the pandemic, The Pantry was known for being open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This famous diner-style eatery is known for their large portions, large menu, and friendly service. The menu includes a bit of everything including breakfast dishes, sandwiches, steaks, and more.
Philippe the Original
1001 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Philippe the Original always makes the list of best sandwich spots in L.A. It was established in 1908 by Philippe Mathieu, “who claimed the distinction of having created the ‘French Dipped Sandwich.’” It has been in its current location since 1951. Along with the French Dipped Sandwich, the menu also includes an assortment of sandwiches, homemade potato and macaroni salads, as well as breakfast items (usually from 6:00 am to 10:30am daily).
Phoenix Bakery Inc.
969 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phoenix Bakery was founded in 1938 as a way to “create a gathering place for the community producing traditional Chinese pastries and cookies not found locally.” Phoenix Bakery has been a part of many family celebrations and festivities over the years. All products are made by hand. They are perhaps best known for their strawberry whipped cream cake, though their Almond Cookies and Wintermelon Pastries are also popular treats.
Olvera Street Restaurants
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
Olvera Street itself is a piece of living Los Angeles history. Among the merchants to check out are Cielito Lindo which has been “serving freshly stuffed, rolled and fried taquitos since 1934, enough to earn its street cred title of ‘world famous.’” You’ll also find El Paseo Inn on Olvera Street, which was also established in the 1930s. Today, El Paseo Inn houses “one of the oldest bars, designated a historical landmark, in the City of Los Angeles.” And, be sure to try La Golondrina Restaurant, established back in 1924, is described as being the first Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles.
Multiple Locations including
The Original at 1121 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90006
El Cholo was established in 1923 and spans 6 generations. It is described as being one of LA’s first Mexican restaurants. El Cholo has been in its current location since the early 1930s. Today there are six locations including the Original located on Western Avenue. Their large menu includes enchiladas, burritos, combination plates, tacos, fajitas, and more. A special kids menu is also available. (Even their margaritas are available to order to-go!)
Langer’s Delicatessen Restaurant
704 South Alvarado Street, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Opened in 1947 and still family-owned, Langer’s is famous for their pastrami sandwiches, and the #19 is the one to get. They claim to have served over 8 million pounds of pastrami in their 70+ years in business. Winner of an American Classic James Beard Award both in 2001 and 2020, and lauded by many, including the late Nora Ephron, Langer’s is a bona fide classic and worth the drive (or get delivery).
Classic LA Restaurants in South LA
Hawkins House of Burgers
11603 Slater St., Los Angeles, CA 90059
Not far from the Watts Towers, you’ll find a restaurant that often attracts long lines of customers. They wait for what many describe as the “best burger in L.A.” Hawkins House of Burgers has been a Watts institution for decades. You’ll find classic burgers here as well as specialities including the “Leaning Tower of Watts” (made with 3 half-pound patties). Chicken wings, breakfast dishes, catfish and more round out the menu.
Classic LA Restaurants in Santa Clarita and Lancaster
The Original Saugus Cafe
25861 Railroad Ave., Santa Clarita, CA 91350
The Saugus Cafe was built in 1886 as a train depot eatery. It has the distinction of being the longest-running restaurant in L.A. County. However, the pandemic has really made it difficult for the owners. A GoFundMe page has been started to try and save this landmark eatery. The diner-style restaurant has a loyal customer base. Customers speak of the friendly staff, reasonable prices, expansive menu, and good food.
The Rock Inn
17539 W. Elizabeth Lake Rd., Lake Hughes, CA 93532
Take the family for a drive and dine at The Rock Inn in Lake Hughes. This historic restaurant was constructed back in 1929! Marvel at the architecture including the arched windows and doorways and the large stone fireplace. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And don’t forget about picking up a jar of “Rosie’s pickles.” The Rock Inn generally also hosts local musical talent and visiting artists making for a fun dining experience.
Classic LA Restaurants on the Westside
2442 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90405
The Galley, established in 1934, is the oldest restaurant and bar in Santa Monica. You’ll find a charming restaurant with a “warm, candle-lit seafaring ambiance, including small portholes for windows, and a captain’s wheel.” The large menu offers steaks, chicken, seafood, pasta, and more.
The Apple Pan
10801 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064
The Apple Pan, in business for more than 70 years, is described as a “quintessential 40s diner.” Once diners are permitted inside, you’ll have a great view as you sit at the u-shaped counter. Menu items include hamburgers, sandwiches, and French fries. Be sure to save room for dessert – The Apple Pan is known for their pies as much as they are for their burgers.
Classic LA Restaurants in Los Feliz and Silver Lake
Taix French Country Cuisine
1911 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Taix French Country Cuisine was established almost one hundred years ago in 1927. Its current location was opened in 1962 and “remains faithful to the famed tureen of soup, fresh French bread, and abundant portions of French country cuisine at affordable prices.”
The Tam O’Shanter
2980 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039
The Tam O’Shanter is recognized as the “oldest restaurant owned and operated by the same family in the same location” within Los Angeles. It opened for business almost 100 years ago, in 1922. And if you don’t know, The Tam O’Shanter is a part of the Lawry’s family of restaurants. On the menu you’ll find prime rib, fish, sandwiches and hamburgers, corned beef, and much more. Fun fact – The Tam O’Shanter is said to have been Walt Disney’s favorite restaurant.
Classic Orange County Restaurants
Sariñana’s Tamale Factory
2218 W. 5th St., Santa Ana, CA 92703
This popular, family-owned and operated eatery in Santa Ana has been serving up tamales and other traditional Mexican dishes for over 75 years. Their large menu includes homemade tamales, chunky beef burritos, crunchy hard-shell tacos, and much more.
Classic LA Restaurants in Glendale and Pasadena
Damon’s Steak House
317 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91203
Damon’s Steak House has been in business since 1937. They are known for their Polynesian decor and tropical drinks as much as they are for their food. Many of their servers have been with the restaurant for decades. Loyal customers advise patrons to begin with the restaurant’s “Famous Garlic Toast.” The menu offers something for everyone including “backyard bbq” dishes, sandwiches and salads, seafood, chicken, and beef dishes.
Casa Bianca Pizza Pie
1650 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90041
Head over to Eagle Rock and stop by Casa Bianca Pizza Pie – the place many consider to be “the place” for pizza in Eagle Rock. Casa Bianca was established in 1955 , and all food is “made from scratch on the premises.” While the outside may not be anything fancy, inside you’ll find red-checkered tablecloths covering tables and delicious smells throughout the air. In addition to pizza (served with the restaurant’s “signature Thin Crust,”) the menu includes salads, pasta, and sandwiches.
Pie ’n Burger
913 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106
Families have been visiting Pie ’n Burger in its current location since it opened back in 1963. You may feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to the 60s when you see the formica counters and traditional soda fountain. In addition to hamburgers, you’ll find a large breakfast menu, sandwiches, salads, and more including a special kid’s menu. And be sure to save room for a slice of pie.
Classic LA Restaurants in the South Bay
Harbor House Café
16341 Pacific Coast Hwy, Sunset Beach, CA 90742
(562) 592-5404 and
34157 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, CA 92629
Harbor House Café never closes. They are open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and have been in business since 1939. You’ll find a diner-style atmosphere complete with “old movie posters and vintage pictures along with other antique items decorating the wood paneled walls.” Their expansive menu offers something for everyone.
The Bull Pen
314 Avenue I, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
The Bull Pen was established in 1948 and has been in its current location since 1978. Though this family-owned restaurant may be well-known for its Famous Bull Pen Burger, patrons also enjoy the prime rib, steaks, and seafood found on the large menu.
Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at her website WendyKennar.com where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).