True: it’s a holiday invented in the 20th century to commemorate a fictional 17th century feast, evolved into a celebration of overeating, the American blood sport of football, and awkward conversations with relatives you see one to two times per year. But if fortune favors you, you’ll be having Thanksgiving in L.A. this year, where loads of talented people will cook that turkey for you. The following are some of our favorite places to eat on any other day of the year, that also happen to serve up traditional or better-than-traditional Thanksgiving dinners.
The first on the list is always Akasha. Chef Akasha Richmond represents the best of our creative city. Yoga student cum vegetarian cook cum celebrity personal chef cum badass restauranteur, her Culver City restaurant has been providing Angelenos a sustainably and locally focused T-Day dinner for years. The industrial/reclaimed design of the dining room plus craft cocktails and third-wave coffee roasts make you that much happier to be here, not receiving a political lecture from a volume-challenged uncle.
9543 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
In Brentwood, Chef Suzanne Goin’s meal at Tavern will fulfill the need to eat Thanksgiving dinner prepared by a James Beard Award winner. A prix fixe traditional (but better) dinner is available with limited eat-in reservations, and there’s also a vegan option, which is rightly referred to as an “extravaganza” and features sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, fingerling potatoes, Italian broccoli, “Suzanne’s Stuffing,” and wild mushrooms persillade.
11648 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Caulfield’s Bar & Dining Room
Whether you’re at SIXTY Beverly Hills this holiday or simply want to stop by, you’ll be grateful (get it?) that Caulfield’s Bar & Dining Room is serving up deliciousness this Thanksgiving. It’s an a la carte menu, which means, unlike if you were at your aunt’s house, if you don’t like green beans, you can skip the green beans. Choose from starters like honey-glazed Brussels sprouts and truffle mac ‘n’ cheese before moving on to the main event, which doesn’t just mean turkey. In addition to the more traditional bird, you can dine on butternut squash ravioli and braised short rib.
9360 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
For those looking for a side of elegance with their turkey dinner, look no further than Gwen, a butcher shop and restaurant with a velvety Art Deco vibe that’s hard to beat. This Thanksgiving, they’ll be serving dishes like parsnip soup with walnuts and pancetta, buttermilk cornbread stuffing, and duck fat-fried potatoes. Oh, and cranberry sauce. Naturally.
6600 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Aquarium of the Pacific
If you feel like sharing your holiday experience with 12,000 sea creatures, one very fun, off-the-beaten-path option is the Thanksgiving lunch at the Aquarium of the Pacific. True, there will be children. But if you are a child, or a parent to one or two of them, or are otherwise willing to share in their company in order to visit penguins and sharks afterward, it’s a win.
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
Lastly, no matter what holiday it is, it should be noted that Greenblatt’s Deli is open 365 days a year. The roast turkey will be as good as any home-basted version, and the wine selection will undoubtedly be better.
8017 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Photo courtesy of The Joy of Film