Iconic restaurants are an integral part of the cultural fabric of Los Angeles, but there are a lot to choose from. So where do you get the quintessential American fare? Here's a list of our favorite spots to leave your tastebuds eternally grateful and your hips a little fuller. 

Two women sit outside an overly decorated diner enjoying hotdogs
Pink's Hotdogs is a Hollywood institution featured in plenty of movies and shows and serving the best hotdogs in the city © Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images

Hollywood Boulevard

Every tourist makes the Hollywood Boulevard their first stop, hoping the Chinese theatre has a premiere on, or a favorite actor is finally getting their star on the walk of fame, and while dreams like these rarely come true the following restaurants in the vicinity are sure to get your spirits up and your tastebuds dancing.

Head to Pink’s Hotdogs, the celebrity of this unassuming restaurant magnified by its multiple features in Hollywood productions and food shows. Scores of people come to Pink’s everyday, so much so that the waiting time to place your order on an average day can be 30 mins. The hotdog loaded with caramelized onions, crispy fried bacon, & chopped tomatoes, that spill out invitingly from its soft, golden buns justifies all the fanfare around it.

To experience the goodness of a juicy burger, it is imperative that you visit a place that takes its meat seriously. Named after the precise temperature between a medium rare and a well done piece of meat, 25 Degrees at the Roosevelt serves up patties that are a juicy medium, topped with oozy, melted cheese, & finished off with the yin & yang of sweet onions & salty crispy fried bacon. 

Beverly Hills

One should make a point to visit Beverly Hills on any trip to Los Angeles. Stroll Rodeo Drive and (window) shop before peeking in through the gates of celebrity homes then stop by the infamous Beverly Hills Hotel to relive moments from your favorite movies. When you’ve worked up an appetite head to the Fountain Coffee Room to increase your chances of celebrity spotting. Sip the heavenly milkshakes and savor a bite of the fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

People browse the aisles at an indoor food hall
The Grand Central Market in DTLA has been serving quintessential and multicultural LA cuisine since 1917 © Mary Ann Isaac / Lonely Planet

Downtown LA

DTLA as its called, boasts of heritage & modern architecture and a true slice of local life. In any city, if a restaurant has the locals’ seal of approval, you know it’s going to be good. The Grand Central Market has been integral to the Los Angeles epicurean since 1917. This wonderland of curated global cuisines is an ideal initiation into the diverse flavors & pulsating vibe that is unique to LA. Step in through its shuttered doors & follow the most alluring aromas or find the stall with the longest lines to the best food on offer. 

A good breakfast ensures a great start to a traveller’s day, and the Fairfax sandwich at the EggSlut is the perfect combination of warm brioche bread topped with custard-like scrambled eggs & sweet caramelized onions, balanced with a slice of salty cheddar cheese & crispy fried bacon.

And for a sweet treat in DTLA try Mcconnell’s Ice Cream. The long line of excited children and adults alike, justify the reputation this ice cream shop has of serving the finest scoops in the country. The indulgent array of unique flavors are created with natural ingredients, and results in the creamiest, most luscious ice cream. 

S'more pie at the Pie Hole
The S'more Pie at the Pie Hole is a gooey delight © Mary Ann Isaac / Lonely Planet

LA Arts District 

The Arts District in LA is teeming with art galleries in industrial buildings that showcase local talent and murals that are insta-famous! When in need of a filling snack after hours of gallery hopping, and mural hunting, say hello to the pies that now have a cult following. 

Bite into one of America’s favorite comfort foods at The Pie Hole. For the best Pie Hole experience try both a savory and sweet pie. There is nothing more fulfilling than perfectly cooked pasta loaded with cheese, and the Mac’ n Cheese pot pie is nearly heaven. Then order the show stopper, S’mores Pie with a crumbly graham cracker crust, perfectly toasted marshmallows, and a smooth milk chocolate center.

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