Original feature published on October 18, 2020 and updated on January 29, 2021
Los Angeles restaurants, like with so many cities around the world, have been incredibly resilient these past few months. They have had to show an enormous amount of hustle, and their entrepreneurial spirit really came through in the form of outdoor dining. Let’s face it, LA has it easier than most in this regard, especially going into the winter months.
Whenever possible to do so safely, I feel it’s important to support small businesses, so I recently took a little tour of Los Angeles’ outdoor dining scene. I hit these up myself over a period of a couple of months to suss out the socially-spaced-out outdoor dining scene. Here is a round-up of my favorites.
MARCO POLO TRATTORIA & BAR
I happened upon this place recently whilst driving by; the inviting, sunny-yellow parasols peeking over the white walls lured me in. The restaurant opened just last year as part of the Silverlake Pool & Inn boutique hotel (from Avi Brosh and the Palisociety team). Coastal Italian cuisine, full cocktail bar (can you say afternoon spritz?), and perfectly secluded-but-airy vibes equal new favorite lunch spot. They also have a daily Aperitivo Hour from 4-6 pm.
4141 Santa Monica Blvd / Sunset Junction, Silverlake / 323.486.7176
One of LA’s hardest-to-get tables. I had to book a month in advance. Love being able to walk around the arts district afterward, made me feel like I was in Europe. Was definitely missing the post-dinner Downtown bar hopping though.
2121 E 7th Pl / Downtown / 213.514.5724
The LA staple did a great job making the rooftop feel as cool and intimate as its legendary interiors. I washed down delicious gourmet Chinese with a Singapore Sling. Don’t let them give you a sidewalk seat; it’s not the same experience.
7156 Santa Monica Blvd / West Hollywood / 323.850.1009
Best ratatouille in town. Love the sidewalk vibes. Very New York.
8114 Beverly Blvd / West Hollywood / 323.655.5553
Ask for patio seating, it will help you forget the times far better than the parking lot seating in the back. The small dishes are perfect for sharing.
5916 1/2 N Figueroa St / Highland Park / 323.545.3536
Mouthwatering brunch or lunch. Pizza the way you need your pizza to be. Great for checking out the shops afterward as The Platform has a ton of great men’s boutiques.
8810 Washington Blvd / Culver City / 718.417.1118
THE TRAILS CAFE
Take in one of LA’s prettiest hiking spots, then stop for an outdoor picnic at Trails. Comfort food, sandwiches, and a most perfect slice of pie.
2333 Fern Dell Dr / Griffith Park / 323.871.2102
The only heartbreak here is that it’s truly one of the most stunning indoor spots in LA. Just drown those memories in a little fine dining and good wine. It’s gonna be OK.
624 S La Brea Ave / Miracle Mile / 310.362.6115
Some of the best views in LA. Popular for brunch, stunning at night.
448 S Hill St / Downtown / 213.802.1770
Intimate and romantic. Hard to beat the food. Great neighborhood to walk off dinner.
8700 W 3rd St / West Hollywood / 310.859.9859
Momed is short for Modern Mediterranean and that describes both its Middle Eastern cuisine, made from locally-sourced organic ingredients, as well as its aesthetic which manages to feel both clean and eclectic. Order the duck shawarma because why not, and enjoy the cocktails and airy patio.
3245 Casitas Ave / Atwater Village / 323.522.3488
PETTY CASH TAQUERIA
Had a delicious pineapple habanero margarita while taking in the cool crowd on the sidewalk. Just felt like a fun night out, which we could all use. Chips & delicious guac always important.
7360 Beverly Blvd / West Hollywood / 323.933.5300
Forever a local favorite. This is the closest you’ll feel these days to being out at a fun bar.
5907 Franklin Ave / Hollywood / 323.465.0807
Every single meal at this spot is drool worthy. The cast-iron cornbread and the hummus with wood fired pita will leave you dreaming for days, the pizza is the real deal, and you can’t go wrong with the wagyu. While the indoor space is cavernous, their outdoor patio is dimly-lit and intimate.
8279 Santa Monica Blvd / West Hollywood / 310.643.5853
THE ORIGINAL FARMERS MARKET
Perfect for a daytime stroll with the kids, an afternoon date, or just getting fresh organic groceries from local farmers at great prices. The options are endless. Favorites include chicken skewers from Singapore’s Banana Leaf, Nutella crepes from The French Crepe Company, Trejo’s Tacos, ice cream from Bennett’s and donuts from Bob’s. Pies from Du-Par’s get lines around the block.
6333 W. 3rd St. / Fairfax / 323.933.9211
Erewhon is an LA health nut & hipster institution. Their newest Silverlake location is open, spacious, and feels like more like a Dean & Deluca than a grocery store. The best part might be the street-side tables where you can people watch with your energizing smoothies and gluten free deli entrees—and just feel damn good about yourself and life.
4121 Santa Monica Blvd / Silverlake / 213.758.7854
JOHN’S GARDEN AT THE MALIBU COUNTRY MART
Get a healthy sandwich or snack, then take a seat at one of the picnic tables or claim your spot on the grass. Great with kids. The mart has great shops and ice cream spots.
3835 Cross Creek Rd / Malibu / 310.456.5377
MALIBU FARM RESTAURANT & MALIBU FARM PIER CAFE
This place was born for this moment. The cafe is pretty much California heaven for a casual lunch, while the gorgeous restaurant is great for a more formal affair at lunch or dinner.
23000 Pacific Coast Hwy, End Of The Pier / Malibu / 310.456.1112
Burgers, fresh fish, surfers, and motorcyclists. A California locals staple.
42505 CA-1 / Malibu / 310.457.3095
FAVE CURBSIDE PICKUP
JON & VINNY’S
Far and away one of LA’s favorite spots for pizza and pasta.
412 N Fairfax Ave / Los Angeles + Multiple locations / 323.334.3369
TACOS TU MADRE
The gourmet tacos are obviously delicious and the little ordering window makes for an easy, quick pick-up. Love that I can run my other Larchmont errands while I’m at it. Great street for strolling the kids or taking the older ones out for ice cream.
203 N Larchmont Blvd / Hancock Park + Multiple Locations / 323.499.1143
FAVES TO POSTMATES
OTUS THAI KITCHEN
I order from here at least three times a week. A modern but classic take on Thai dishes done exquisitely. Healthy too—no MSG here. Sometimes I just sit around drooling, thinking about their sticky rice with mango dish. Highly recommend the breakfast as well.
1253 N La Brea Ave / West Hollywood / 323.969.8611
800 DEGREES WOODFIRED PIZZA
My go-to pizza delivery.
1521 N Vine St / Hollywood + Multiple locations / 323.329.9656
I dream of their Original Spicy Tuna Krispy Rice on a daily basis. Get a go-to combo box.
No address, no number / Delivery Only / Krispyricebysbe.com