Classic Los Angeles Restaurants

Your Standby List

You’ve never had an avocado — or sushi for that matter — until you’ve had it in LA. This is the city where they’ve mastered the art of effortlessly good food because the ingredients are just so darned fresh. In fact, farm to table in California is the standard. It would actually be more effort to source ingredients that weren’t just harvested from the local farmer.  It’s impossible to include all the new, trendy places for LA, as it changes daily.  Given COVID times though, it doesn’t seem so important. So we’re going old school, for the most part with our list of classic Los Angeles restaurants.  If you’re at any of these restaurants for the food and service, you’ll likely get a side of scene.  Like dinner next to the Beckham clan at Giorgio Baldi.  After all, you are in LA.


Why we like it:

Pre-COVID times, you could sit here all day and work on your computer at a table, totally undisturbed.  Except for the refill of coffee or tea, as they always welcome you with open arms. You start your breakfast of green eggs and avocado.  Then a few hours later, you order a lunch of zucchini fritti and a big butter lettuce salad with salmon.  Then for good measure a black truffle pizza with zucchini blossoms for a late afternoon snack.  The vibe is beautiful no matter when you are there.   The terrace is also currently open for outdoor dining.  Even for a coffee, this is always on the circuit.

Nobu Malibu

Why we like it:

From the day Nobu opened its doors, it landed on the classic Los Angeles restaurants list. Nobu is a restaurant that consistently draws in the beautiful people.  For over two decades, whether it’s London, New York, Chicago or Malibu, their food and scene is the draw.  Malibu may be though, their most stunning location with views over the ocean.  It’s always a good time for the King Crab Tempura and the Yellowtail Jalapeno.  Also not to miss are the classic Tuna Tartare, Lobster Tacos, and of course, the Rock Shrimp Tempura.  And don’t forget the sushi, of course.


Giorgio Baldi

Why we like it: 

You know, movie stars are not regulars at the newest restaurants in town. But they are all regulars here, which is like the Icon Award for the classic Los Angeles restaurants list. The atmosphere is just darned sexy, where everyone looks good under the lighting of Giorgio Baldi.  You may get a celeb sighting, but you’re here for the food and service.  It’s is some of the best in LA.  It’s why the restaurant continues to pack them in at this family-run restaurant.  Don’t miss their signature Lobster di Gio and as much pasta as you can eat, that’s of course made in house.  We dream of the Agnolotti with corn and truffle.  We purposely invite more friends so we can do a pasta tasting of the 10+  they usually have on the menu.

Blue Plate Taco

Why we like it:  

The beauty of LA is how casual it is. When you’re on a bike ride along the beachfront in Santa Monica, Blue Plate Taco is your go-to spot.  Besides having great tacos, where our favorites are the lobster, shrimp and fish, they also have a solid ceviche and guacamole. This is the kind of classic Los Angeles restaurant where you fill the table with food and chill with friends. There’s nothing like an afternoon under the warm California sunshine.

The Ivy Los Angeles

The Ivy

Why we like it:

It’s a classic since 1917, all the way from the English garden theme where anywhere else it would be too much, but here, it’s 100% The Ivy.  This is the see and be seen spot for a long brunch over fried chicken, the crab benedict and a big side of people watching.  Yes, it’s touristy but sometimes it just has to be done. It’s always a fun time, and you’ll usually get a sighting or two for your Hollywood fix.

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