legendary LA restaurants
Credit: The Beverly Hills Hotel

10 of the Most Historic Restaurants in All of Los Angeles

These Tried-and-True Restaurants Are Some of LA’s Most Iconic Eateries

Like many major cities, the LA culinary scene is known for having a pretty high turnover rate. From economic downturns to the infamous pandemic, owning a restaurant in LA is not for the faint of heart. There are several establishments, however, that have stood the test of time and remain true culinary icons. From Old Hollywood hotspots to casual sandwich shops that never go out of style, the City of Angels is lucky to have so many iconic eateries that are still standing. Whether you’re a local or visiting the city for a few days, don’t forget to add these historic Los Angeles restaurants to your must-dine list.

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Lawry’s The Prime Rib (Est. 1938)

legendary LA restaurants
Credit: Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc.

Nestled in the star-studded neighborhood of Beverly Hills, Lawry’s has been a beacon of elegance since it opened its doors in 1938. Step into a world where prime rib reigns supreme, and tradition is woven into every aspect. The dining experience here is nothing short of a grand affair, and the Old World charm is palpable—from the vintage decor to the shiny silver serving carts that roll through the dining room. Lawry’s offers a taste of classic glamor that has enticed generations to return again and again. Lawry’s is celebrating its 85-year anniversary by offering diners several special menu items inspired by the original 1938 menu, including a Lobster & Shrimp Louie Cocktail, Prime Ribeye with Maitre d’Hotel butter and julienned french fried potatoes and Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake (think the classics with a twist!). Diners can also order a $85 specialty cocktail, aptly named The Jubilee. This elevated libation is crafted with WhistlePig Estate Oak Rye Whiskey Aged 15 Years, black cherry and morel mushroom-infused Carpano Antica vermouth, Bianco vermouth, Fino sherry, housemade white raisin and saffron bitters, allspice dram, smoked with pecan shells and allspice berries. It also comes in an engraved 85th anniversary keepsake glass and is served with sugar roasted pecans, dried cherries and baked meringues drizzled with Luxardo cherry dark chocolate!

Location: Beverly Hills

10/22

 

Tam O’Shanter (Est. 1922)

Venture into the enchanting neighborhood of Atwater Village, and you’ll stumble upon Tam O’Shanter, a restaurant that feels like stepping into a storybook. This Scottish inn-inspired eatery was established in 1922 as a roadside stand with hot dogs, hamburgers and potato chips, but it has since evolved into a warm and charming restaurant. Its cozy nooks, wooden beams and crackling fireplaces transport diners to a bygone era. The menu showcases a blend of Scottish and American flavors, offering everything from toad in the hole to their legendary prime rib. Tam O’Shanter also features one of the most extensive and unique whisky collections with over 700 bottles to choose from! Every corner whispers secrets of Hollywood’s golden age, making Tam O’Shanter a haven for history buffs and food lovers alike.

Local Insight: This iconic restaurant was one of Walt Disney’s favorite restaurants, serving as a local watering hole for him and Imagineers!

Location: Atwater Village

 

El Cholo – The Original (Est. 1923)

For over nine decades, El Cholo has been the heart of Los Angeles’ Mexican culinary scene. Founded in 1923, this family-owned gem has been serving up authentic flavors that have captured the city’s taste buds. From their legendary green corn tamales to their mouthwatering enchiladas, every dish is a tribute to generations of family recipes. The vibrant atmosphere and welcoming staff create an ambiance that’s as comforting as the food itself. El Cholo – The Original is more than a restaurant; it’s a testament to the enduring power of tradition and community.

Location: DTLA

 

Genghis Cohen (Est. 1983)

legendary LA restaurants
Credit: Wonho Frank Lee

If you’re craving some classic Chinese takeout, Genghis Cohen should be at the top of your list. This West Hollywood gem first opened in 1983. The bright red, hanging Chinese lanterns contrast nicely against the dim lighting, creating a cool and cozy vibe for a fun dinner or celebratory date night. Best of all, Genghis Cohen offers a killer happy hour, serving up savory bites and cocktails—all for under $8. The spicy bloody mary has a fiery kick thanks to the inclusion of chile vodka, and the butterfly shrimp are perfectly crispy every time. 

Location: West Hollywood

 

Dan Tana’s  (Est. 1964)

Since 1964, Dan Tana’s has been a favorite for the who’s who of Hollywood. This classic Italian joint is located right on Santa Monica Blvd in the heart of West Hollywood. The menu at Dan Tana’s is huge, featuring everything from homemade lasagna to various versions of veal scaloppine. From chicken piccata to shrimp scampi, Dan Tana’s serves up old-school favorites in a vintage setting, whether you choose to dwell in the dining area with an intimate bar or on the charming patio out back. Just be sure to pair your meal with a glass of red or white wine, depending on your dish, for the ultimate Italian experience. 

Location: West Hollywood

 

Polo Lounge (Est. 1941)

It doesn’t get more classic than the Polo Lounge. This Beverly Hills staple is an iconic spot to grab a cocktail and some apps before hitting the town. The green walls are complemented by elegant booths that look out onto the string light-covered patio. Since 1941, the Polo Lounge has welcomed the likes of Hollywood icons like Charlie Chaplin. In addition to being a popular spot for caviar and a Pretty in Pink cocktail, the Polo Lounge is a great place for breakfast. From the eggs Benedict to the Belgian waffle, it’s never a bad idea to start your day at this refined and glamorous Beverly Hills restaurant.

Location: Beverly Hills

 

Canter’s Deli (Est. 1931)

Canter’s Deli is one of the oldest and most beloved delis in the entire Golden State. Best known for its pastrami Reuben, Canter’s Deli has been wowing tasting buds in LA since 1931. This culinary landmark is known for keeping things traditional and authentic, ensuring that the bread is always freshly baked and the pickles are always made in-house. The 1950s decor is both nostalgic and welcoming, and you’re sure to see a handful of regulars every time you visit. In addition to the pastrami sandwich, Canter’s Deli also makes a mean tuna melt that pairs perfectly with their potato salad.

Location: Fairfax

 

El Coyote Cafe (Est. 1931)

When it comes to margaritas, El Coyote Cafe is legendary. Having opened in 1931, El Coyote is Hollywood’s oldest Mexican Restaurant. There is perhaps no sight that is as comforting for LA locals as the neon red El Coyote sign. The decked-out interior features murals, paintings, hanging sombreros and twinkle lights, making the atmosphere just as enticing as the menu. The food is pretty simple and standard, showcasing tasty and casual bites like nachos and addicting chips and salsa. Like stated before, however, the margaritas are an absolute must. Beware—you won’t be able to have just one.

Location: Beverly Blvd

 

The Musso & Frank Grill (Est. 1919)

legendary LA restaurants - Musso & Frank
Credit by JonPaul Douglass

The Musso & Frank Grill was perhaps the biggest Hollywood hotspot of the Golden Age. Since 1919, this timeless restaurant has been providing LA residents and visitors with premium service and cuisine. From the mirrored bar to the classic red booths, Musso & Frank transports guests back in time to the glamorous days of Old Hollywood. One of the coolest things about dining here is meeting several members of the waitstaff who have been working at Musso & Frank since as far back as the ‘60s. Immerse yourself in the ambiance with a dirty martini and a 12-ounce filet mignon with a side of Bearnaise sauce. 

Location: Hollywood

 

Cole’s French Dip (Est. 1908)

Credit: Alejandro De La Cruz

In 1908, Cole’s French Dip created the beloved French dip sandwich. The iconic neon sign catches the eye and even has an arrow pointed straight to the door, making it pretty much impossible to miss. The vintage vibe is enhanced by plush leather booths, taxidermy along the wall and black-and-white photos that tell the history of Cole’s. Whether you’re looking to grab a martini and a French dip or simply want to play some pool while sipping on a beer, Cole’s caters to a variety of cravings.

Location: DTLA

 

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Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.

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