For every shiny new thing that arrives on the culinary scene, there’s a classic restaurant that you might not have tried yet. And while we’re all for novelty foams and the latest farm-to-table craze, there’s something sweet about the old and the unfussy. Herewith, let us guide you around town to some of this city’s most legendary standbys. Just think: these throwbacks have stuck around for good reason.
The Apple Pan
The whole world seems to have sprouted up around The Apple Pan, an old school burger spot on West Pico. There’s the mall across the street and giant buildings casting shadows on its quaint wood-sided frame. It stands in stubborn resistance to time and change. If you’re looking for grabbing a burger in what essentially feels like a backlot version of old Los Angeles, this is the place. And, yeah, go ahead and order the banana cream pie.
10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Greenblatt’s Deli & Fine Wines
To many a Hollywood partier, Greenblatt’s has long been that place you pass on your way to some Sunset club. But for those hankering solid Jewish deli fare this side of the Mississippi, it’s much more than that. Their pastrami sandwich with Russian dressing is one of the best in town. If you’re going in for a bottle of wine, there’s no more entertaining place to do it.
8017 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Fans of ‘90s cult film Swingers will likely recognize The Dresden. The Los Feliz bar, lounge, and restaurant hasn’t changed much since then–or ever. Eat dinner in the massive white vinyl banquettes in the dining room or grab a drink in a bar that feels more like your grandpa’s basement. You won’t go wrong.
1760 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Call it a dive. Call it a steakhouse. Call it whatever you want. Chez Jay, that tiny blue-and-white box of a building on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, is a surf-and-turf kind of joint where it always feels like California Christmas. There’s always lights strung overhead, and there’s often someone famous (and very unpretentious) saddled up at the bar.
1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dan Tana’s feels, in some ways, like Beverly Hills’ answer to Chez Jay, albeit with better food and more elegant decor. Hollywood has hobnobbed here for ages, discussing deals in red vinyl banquettes over untouched piles of pasta.
9071 California Route 2, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Musso & Frank Grill
Walking into Musso & Frank is like stepping back in time, when every table came with a white tablecloth and the martinis put hair on your chest. Waiters don candy-apple red blazers with black lapels, or white dinner jackets with black bow ties. The restaurant has been on Hollywood Boulevard since 1919, making it the oldest one in the neighborhood.
6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Pacific Dining Car
Established just after Musso & Frank, in 1921, Pacific Dining Car–which, as you might imagine, is built around a dining car feel–has similar throwback appeal. The steakhouse is open 24 hours. It’s dark, moody, covered in velvet, and makes for the perfect place to grab a nightcap, in our humble opinion.
1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Header photo courtesy of Tuce