Los Angeles has thousands of outstanding restaurants that cater to every taste imaginable. Like most large cities a lot of restaurants come and go. They open with great fan fare with big name chefs and celebrity followings only to close doors a year later. Restaurants are not the strong suit of Journey Continent (guiding you on sights, activities and hotels is), however listed below are some key places in Los Angeles that are popular with locals, have been around for years and will serve up a good meal. Not to mention every restaurant in the JC LA guide is in some way an LA institution and a good way to experience the "LA culture" up close and personal.


First, a quick history on Venice Beach-to set up the scene of C&O Trattoria. It was developed early in the last century to be an exact replica to the original version, Venice, Italy . Those plans never panned out (although Venice, CA is still a sight to been.) That said its only fitting that at the entrance to Venice Beach there is an Italian Restaurant that celebrates all things Venice and Italian culture. C&O Trattoria has been a dining experience that locals from the west side of Los Angeles have treasured for years.

Duke's Malibu

If you should make your way out of Los Angeles and towards Malibu, stopping at Dukes is a must. Located on the ocean just over the Malibu border, the restaurant is positioned in such a way that with its enormous windows diners at every table enjoy breath taking views of the ocean. Avid visitors to Hawaii have compared the views and feel of the restaurant to that one would encounter in a place such as Maui (the restaurant is named and dedicated to Duke Kahanamoku the “father of International surfing”. The food is delicious and is primarily seafood and American menu.

The Ivy

Once a total scene and where everybody (who thought that they were somebody) wanted a reservation, The Ivy’s reputation and the crowds have calmed down a bit in recent years. However it is still a good place for lunch where spruced up locals hang out and an occasional celebrity passes through. The Ivy is a big expensive and while the food is decent, most have been of the opinion for what you pay and what you get there is some disparity.

Saddle Ranch Chop House

If you are looking for a loud, boisterous LA experience in the heart of the Sunset Strip, check out The Saddle Ranch. Not known to satisfy the snobbiest of pallets, the food (BBQ) is decent and if nothing else the dining experience is more about the LA experience. The crowds lean more on LA locals who live either in the Hollywood Hills above the Sunset Strip or in the apt/condos below Sunset with a decent contingent of tourists.

In N Out

Any Los Angeles local reading this will probably chuckle and ask why a travel guide would recommend In and Out. Anyone would agree they have the best $4 burgers of anyone but the locals here also forget that In and Out is a California experience with few locations outside the west. So with that said, and, on the knowledge that visitors to Los Angeles come from all over-it is safe to insist at least one meal be at In And Out. The hamburger meat is 100% pure beef with no additives.

Dan Tana's

Dan Tana’s is an old school Italian restaurant located in West Hollywood that is smaller in size but who’s food, service and reputation is well received by local Angelenos. The restaurant serves up gigantic hearty portions in two small dining rooms (that are divided by a bar) with plush red leather booths and old style red checkered table clothes. On any given night the restaurant is full to capacity and you are guaranteed a celebrity sighting.


With its first location (and still the one to go to) in the heart of Beverly Hills, Sprinkles Cupcakes first opened its doors in 2005. A risky venture-they took a simple idea-cupcakes-added their own touch to make them delicious (and they are large) and marketed them to the health/appearance conscious citizens of Beverly Hills and surrounding Los Angeles. Overnight the new bakery was overwhelmingly received and exploded in popularity. Oddly dozens of copy cats sprung up all over town with their own delicious cupcake and baked good items.