Credit: Krescent Carasso

Shhh! 10 Hidden Restaurants You Never Knew Existed in California and Arizona

Discover Some of the Best-Kept Culinary Secrets

We won’t lie—we love a trendy restaurant. But we’re not here to tell you more about what you already know. So we did the honors of rounding up 10 tucked-away restaurants that are anything but basic. From pawn shop-masked speakeasies to eateries inside art galleries and cafés crash-landed on runways, these hidden haunts are so camouflaged you wouldn’t even know they’re there. Maybe your thing is meat and motorcycles, or perhaps it’s Victorian cocktails. Whatever your cravings may be, these hidden restaurants in California and Arizona promise to surprise and satisfy.

 

Flat Track Café

What goes better together than burgers and bikes? Whether you’re in the market for a new cruiser or you’re bringing your roadster to get wrenched on, IRV Seaver Motorcycles is a perfectly unexpected spot to fill your own body’s fuel tank. Flat Track Café’s menu options include rotating specials such as smash burgers, burritos and beef birria—all to be enjoyed while taking in the eye candy of this Heritage Showroom. Each bite is served on black-and-white checkered sandwich paper, and the hot honey buffalo chicken sando is simply to die for. Stop in anytime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.—and keep an eye out for off-hours events such as best bike competitions and more.

Location: Orange, CA

 

Union

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Credit: Andrea D’Agosto

Offering a montage of Filipino cuisine, Union is a space that was created to cultivate community around the art of eating. Located inside Compound, a contemporary art gallery that houses exhibitions and immersive experiences, this modern Long Beach restaurant marries the work of local artists with the quality ingredients of local farmers. Served on artisanal ceramic plateware, menu offerings delight piquant palates with roasted kale sprouts and pork kare-kare. Find yourself in flavor heaven when you sip on their creative cocktails, like The Superbloom, a rum-forward concoction that balances out with orgeat. Don’t forget to stop in for happy hour on Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-6 p.m.!

Location: Long Beach, CA

 

Cosette Wine Bar

Best Hidden Restaurants
Credit: Jamie Arthur

Born from the lifelong culinary expertise of founder Sasha Hagenlock, Cosette Wine Bar provides coveted wine selections and elevated cuisine—tucked away within the lush confines of a high-end plant boutique. Enjoy beautiful views from indoors or outdoors, where you can peek at the curated foliage of Rolling Greens’ Studio City retail space. Mark your calendar for one of their upcoming happenings, which often include brunches for special occasions, jazz nights and more. Tantalize your taste buds with some sips of Chardonnay from the Central Coast or Barbaresco from Piemonte while noshing on bites like whipped sheep’s milk feta, yellowtail tuna crudo, caviar and steak tartare.

Location: Studio City, CA

 

Aanuko 

Credit: Joseph Andrews

Barber shops are undoubtedly some of the hippest spots to find cool people who care about community and aesthetics. Aanuko is taking things to the next level by servicing a full coffee and matcha bar within their space. Keep things simple with the classic latte, or kick it up a notch with the coffee cream latte, which is topped with espresso-infused sweet cream. Whether you’re in need of a trim or you simply need a mid-morning pick-me-up, stop in and see what’s brewin’!

Location: Culver City, CA

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Momoku No Usagi 

Best Hidden Restaurants
Credit: Jeromy Chan

With a name meaning “the blind rabbit,” Momoku No Usagi is a Japanese whisky speakeasy located above The Lost Inferno tiki bar in San Clemente. The space is sultry and intimate, and the menu features craft cocktails made with housemade tinctures, bitters and syrups. They even have a carbonation system that makes each drink more effervescent, allowing them to extract unique flavors and textures. This hidden gem prefers to be kept under the veil of darkness, so you can expect an environment free of flash photography and curated for relaxing and sipping on spirits, sake and more.

Location: San Clemente, CA

 

Realm of the 52 Remedies

Credit: James Tran

Inspired by an ancient Chinese medical text called “Recipes for Fifty-Two Ailments,” this apothecary-esque establishment in San Diego is an ode to the practices of traditional healing methods. Not your average speakeasy, this hidden haunt is stocked with herbs and tonics. The entrance, located inside Common Theory, is designed to lure passersby into the adjoining space, where you’ll find seasonal menus with unique and nourishing themes. Cure what ails you by ordering the Buko Pandan made with Archipelago Barrel Reserve Gin, Bordiga Chiot Herbal Liqueur, pineapple, lime, clarified coconut cream, pandan and a coconut sherbet air. At Realm of the 52 Remedies, you can even shop for treasures, including whiskey, shrubs and more.

Location: San Diego, CA

 

Restaurant 917

An in-demand dining destination found on the second level of the Porsche Experience Center in Los Angeles, Restaurant 917 is the perfect way to top off a test drive. Get behind the wheel of the latest Porsche models and navigate simulations that emulate real-life situations, all under the guidance of industry professionals. After the spin, wind down from the adrenaline rush at Restaurant 917, where you can taste an array of flavors found in dishes like sea scallops, roasted eggplant, savory steak and more. 

Location: Carson, CA 

 

The Pawn Shop

Credit: Krescent Carasso

It’s time to rummage through your parents’ attic and find a funky trinket because that will be your ticket into one of San Francisco’s best-kept secrets! The Pawn Shop is a funky tapas bar on Mission Street with an entrance fee. In order to enter, you’ll need to trade something “fun or unique” with the pawn master. Once inside, you’ll get to taste a variety of dishes, such as Pinchos de Pollo (chicken skewers) and Coliflor con Romesco (cauliflower with hazelnut romesco). Be sure to order their Uno cocktail, which is made with elderflower liquor, cava, grapefruit, bitters, and lime.

Location: San Francisco, CA

 

Rough Rider

Credit: Juntos Media

Transport yourself to another century when you enter the portal of Rough Rider’s time continuum in Phoenix. Offering an array of Victorian-era cocktails, this retro restaurant reflects an appreciation for the past, and it’s even located on a street that bears the name of the late President Roosevelt. Every detail—down to the menu font, marble tables and brassy accents—is a nod to 19th-century sophistication. Sip on cocktails such as The Foxtrot and Roses by the Elevator—two playfully named libations that pay homage to musical history. To gain entrance, you’ll need to take the middle elevator in the Ten-O-One Building down to the bar.

Location: Phoenix, AZ

 

Waypoint Café

Credit: Visit Camarillo

Prepare for takeoff! With a front-row seat to the Camarillo Airport runway, Waypoint Café sits practically on the tarmac. This restaurant is most known for its tried-and-true tri-tip, which can be equally enjoyed on a sandwich or a salad. Sip on their popular handmade milkshake as you skip out to a small, mock runway where you and your kiddos can play “airplane” (or just you—no one’s judging). Once the eagle has landed, sit back and relax as you watch the real deal take off from the comfort of your seat or picnic blanket.

Location: Camarillo, CA

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