When planning a trip, one of the first things we obsess about is what we’re going to eat when we get there. (And yes, sometimes that involves food.) Even though Angelenos have a reputation for being among the skinniest folks in the U.S. (although we prefer adjectives like “fittest” or “hottest”), we do eat. Because whether one is in the mood for an elaborate meal, a quick bite, or a snack & history combo, there is much to savor here.
Scroll down for some Los Angeles eateries where you can get great food and even visit some iconic landmarks…
A true Hollywood legend since 1939, Pink’s is a must for visitors. Sure it’s a hot dog, but there’s so much history here that it should be a no-brainer. And the dogs, some of which are named after celebrities such as Martha Stewart, Rosie O’Donnell, Ozzy Hosbourne, and Huell Howser, are as hearty as they are delicious. Don’t be daunted by the never ending line. It’s moves quickly enough, while still allowing you plenty of time to watch the cute boys driving past on La Brea.
Mastro’s is consistently rated one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles (OK, so it’s actually in Beverly Hills, whatever) and it’s also a great place for celebrity sightings. The steaks are second to none and the lobster mashed potatoes are to die for. It ain’t cheap, but it is Beverly Hills, and the service and food are both worth it. Dress up a little and enjoy a meal you won’t forget.
If it’s comfort food you’re in the mood for (or if you’re jonesing for a nosh after the bars close), swing on into Swingers. The large breakfast/lunch/dinner menu features provides a great number of solid food options (the mac and cheese is a favorite) and they’re open super late. Plus, you might end up in the same booth where Romy and Michele flipped through their high school yearbook, wondering whether they were in the A group or the B group.
In the mood for something hot? (Stop that, we’re still talking about food.) Considered by many to serve the best Thai in town, Jitlada has developed a cult following among local lovers of intensely spicy dishes. Don’t be fooled by the restaurant’s mini-mall vibe; this food is anything but plain. If you’re feeling brave, go ahead and order the sweet but fiercely fiery turmeric-laced shredded-beef curry dish they call khua kling Phat Lung; we’re told it can strip the bark off a log.
One of the busiest gay bars/eateries in all of L.A., this West Hollywood landmark is also one of the best. Meet your future husband or your next one night stand here any night of the week. The drinks are strong, the bartenders are hot, and the music is fresh. Share a green chili turkey burger or some braised short ribs and then dance off the calories with some of Weho’s yummiest guys.
While every major city has its claim-to-fame food, we’re not always blessed with the opportunity to sample the original. For example, the Cobb salad was invented by a chef at L.A.’s Brown Derby in the 1930s, but unfortunately the last Derby closed its doors in 1987. But if you fancy a French Dip sandwich, you’re in luck: The original is still being served at Philippe’s in downtown L.A. Even though historians debate when and how the sandwich was created, this is good old-fashioned homespun deliciousness. Regardless of whether you like your beef, pork, lamb, or turkey single-dipped, double-dipped, or wet, you’re taking a bite of history. If you go at lunch or dinner time, you’re likely to wait in line, but you’ve probably waited in line for Lady Gaga tickets, so you know that good things come to those with patience. Make sure your bring cash because that’s all they take. And who knows? You might even see Rob Lowe there.
What’s a trip to Los Angeles without Mexican food? We’d call it a huge fail. Marix is in the gayborhood and has strong margaritas and good food. Since you’ll most likely end up in this part of town for your night of debauchery, this is a great place to start. The food is priced right and the clientele is savory. (And did we mention the strong margaritas?)
If your trip to L.A. involves eating as much Mexican food as you can, you should also check out Red O. Opened in 2010 by Rick Bayless, a Top Chef Masters winner who’s considered the best Mexican cuisine chef in the U.S., Red O features a bar of fab cocktails — including an unbelievably extensive selection of tequila and an award-winning wine list — and a unique menu that takes gourmet Mexican food to new levels. I know, we had you at “tequila”.