Unique Restaurants in Los Angeles: 12 Memorable LA Eateries

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Los Angeles
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Are you looking for the most unique restaurants in Los Angeles, California? Here are 12 of the coolest places to eat in Los Angeles that you should know about.

Welcome to Los Angeles, where every corner holds a delightful surprise for your taste buds. Between the iconic Hollywood sign and the shimmering Pacific coastline, LA’s dining scene shines as brightly as its famous landmarks.

Ever thought of dining high above the city streets, with the LA skyline as your backdrop? Or how about a place where the ambiance is as intriguing as the menu? From hidden gems in bustling neighborhoods to iconic spots with views that’ll steal your breath away, Los Angeles serves up a platter of unforgettable dining adventures.

This guide is your insider’s look into the most unique restaurants in Los Angeles. We’ve got the lowdown on upscale venues for those special occasions, laid-back spots for casual nights out, and everything in between. If you’re looking to discover the city’s culinary heartbeat, you’re in the right place. Get ready to embark on a gastronomic journey through LA’s best places to eat, each offering a unique flavor and story. Here’s all you need to know about the most unique restaurants in Los Angeles, CA.

The top restaurants to visit in Los Angeles right now
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Unique Restaurants in Los Angeles, California: 12 Coolest Places to Eat in LA

Are you eager to explore the most unique restaurants in Los Angeles? As mentioned previously, there’s an extensive array of places to eat in LA that cater to all tastes and budgets. Keep reading to find out where to eat in Los Angeles, California.

Are you looking for a rooftop dining experience with panoramic city views? Or would you prefer a cozy, hidden bistro tucked away in a historic alley? Whatever your palate desires, Los Angeles can accommodate your needs. Here’s your in-depth guide to the most unique restaurants in Los Angeles.

1. Yamashiro Hollywood

Perched atop the vibrant heart of Hollywood, Yamashiro beckons food enthusiasts with its rich history and some of the best views in Los Angeles. With its name translating to “Mountain Palace” in Japanese, this dining haven has been a Los Angeles gem since 1914. As you step through its doors, you’re immediately enveloped in a serene ambiance, complete with lush botanical gardens and calming koi ponds. The East-Asian architectural charm is a visual treat, setting the mood for the culinary journey ahead.

The menu boasts a delightful array of Asian flavors. Fresh sushi rolls that seem to dance on the palate, and the A5 wagyu steak, a must-try for meat lovers. Pair these with a glass of wine from their extensive list, and you’re in for a treat. But the experience doesn’t stop at the food. Opt for outdoor seating, and the city sprawls out beneath you, its lights twinkling like stars.

For those conscious about the budget, Yamashiro sits at a mid-to-high price point, but the unique blend of history, ambiance, and gastronomy makes every penny worth it. It’s a unique LA restaurant that promises memories as lasting as its flavors.

Yamashiro is one of the unique restaurants in Los Angeles.
Yamashiro offers history, views, and a serene ambiance—an East-Asian gem with lush gardens.

2. Redbird

Downtown LA is home to many dining spots, but Redbird holds a special place on the list of unique restaurants in Los Angeles. Why? It’s where history and modern dining intertwine. Housed in the historic rectory building of Vibiana, Redbird offers an ambiance that’s a fusion of LA’s architectural past and today’s vibrant dining scene.

Chef Neal Fraser’s menu is a delightful array of American-inspired dishes. Dive into the crab spaghetti, a dish that’s both familiar and filled with unexpected twists, or the wagyu beef burger, a modern take on a classic favorite. And for those who love a crafted drink, the cocktails here are a must-try.

The real highlight, though? The outdoor dining options. Choose from the Vibiana Courtyard with its cityscape views, the serene Redbird Garden, or the intimate Redbird Courtyard. Each space has its own vibe, offering diners a fresh experience with every visit.

Redbird stands out in LA’s dining scene for its unique blend of history, ambiance, and innovative dishes. It’s a spot that promises a dive into LA’s best flavors and dishes, which makes it a top pick among the unique places to eat in Los Angeles.

Redbird is a unique restaurant where history meets modern dining, blending the architectural past with a vibrant culinary scene.
Redbird is a unique restaurant where history meets modern dining, blending the architectural past with a vibrant culinary scene.

3. Opaque

Ever thought dining could be a sensory adventure? Welcome to Opaque, where your taste buds take center stage. Located in the heart of Santa Monica, this one-of-a-kind restaurant in LA challenges the conventional dining experience by plunging you into complete darkness. Yep, you read that right. Here, you dine in the dark!

The concept is simple yet intriguing. By eliminating sight, your other senses are heightened, making every bite an explosion of flavors. The dishes, crafted to perfection, become mysterious and exciting, as you guess and savor each ingredient. The staff, trained and visually impaired, guide you through this unique experience, ensuring comfort and safety.

Opaque isn’t just a restaurant – it’s a journey into the unknown. This makes it unquestionably one of the most unique places in Los Angeles to eat. It’s a conversation starter, an adventure, and a dining experience rolled into one. The price point leans towards the higher end, but for an evening that’s as unforgettable as this, it’s worth every dime.

So, if you’re looking to spice up your dining routine or surprise someone with an extraordinary evening out, Opaque is the place to be. Just remember to trust your senses and enjoy the ride!

Opaque, a unique restaurant, dares to redefine dining by immersing you in complete darkness. | Source: https://www.opentable.com/
Opaque, a unique restaurant, dares to redefine dining by immersing you in complete darkness. | Source: https://www.opentable.com/

4. The Magic Castle

Step into a world of enchantment at The Magic Castle, where dining intertwines with illusion in the most delightful way. Located in a charming Victorian mansion, this exclusive private club remains one of LA’s best-kept secrets.

From the moment you arrive, surprises await. Secret doors, optical illusions, and unexpected performances set the stage for an unforgettable evening. The food, as spellbinding as the magic, offers a range of dishes from succulent steaks to fresh seafood, all crafted with flair and finesse.

What truly sets The Magic Castle apart as one of the hidden gem restaurants in Los Angeles is the immersive experience. Dine while world-class magicians perform tricks right at your table, leaving you in awe. And if fortune favors, an invite to a secret show might be in store!

With a higher-end price point, the fusion of gourmet dining and mesmerizing magic ensures an experience that’s worth every penny. It’s an evening of wonder, whimsy, and culinary delights.

Enter a world of enchantment at The Magic Castle, where dining intertwines with illusion in a charming Victorian mansion.
Enter a world of enchantment at The Magic Castle, where dining intertwines with illusion in a charming Victorian mansion.

5. Guelaguetza

Embark on a flavorful journey to Oaxaca without leaving LA at Guelaguetza. This lively eatery, adorned with vibrant murals and lively tunes, is a love letter to Southern Mexico’s rich culinary heritage. Founded in 1994 by the Lopez family, Guelaguetza has become an LA institution, drawing both locals and tourists eager for a genuine Oaxacan experience.

The star of the show is undoubtedly their mole. With its deep, complex flavors, it’s a dish that encapsulates the essence of Oaxaca. Pair it with their hand-made tortillas, and you’re in for a treat. And for those looking to quench their thirst, the mezcal menu is a journey in itself, showcasing the diverse flavors of the region.

Beyond the food, Guelaguetza is a hub of cultural festivities. Regular live performances, from traditional dances to folk music, add an extra layer of authenticity, making every visit a fiesta!

With its warm ambiance, delicious food, and spirited performances, Guelaguetza is a restaurant that earns its place among the best food in Los Angeles, offering a taste of adventure that’s both authentic and unforgettable.

Discover the flavors of Oaxaca at Guelaguetza—an energetic eatery, a tribute to Southern Mexico's culinary heritage.
Discover the flavors of Oaxaca at Guelaguetza—an energetic eatery, a tribute to Southern Mexico’s culinary heritage.

6. Clifton’s Republic

Venture back in time at Clifton’s Republic, a multi-level wonderland that’s part restaurant, part museum, and entirely magical. Located in the heart of downtown LA, Clifton’s is a whimsical escape from the modern world, transporting diners to an era of glamour and nostalgia.

As you enter, you’re greeted by a grand forest-themed dining area, complete with towering redwood trees, taxidermy animals, and even a babbling brook. Each floor offers a different theme, from the tropical Tiki-inspired Pacific Seas to the Gothic Bar, reminiscent of an old-world cathedral.

The menu is as eclectic as the decor, offering a mix of classic American fare and contemporary dishes. From hearty meatloaf to fresh seafood platters, there’s something to satisfy every palate. And for those with a sweet tooth, the dessert selection is a dream come true.

What truly sets Clifton’s apart as one of the most unique restaurants in Los Angeles is its commitment to preserving history. The venue regularly hosts vintage-themed events, swing dance nights, and live jazz performances. Truly. every visit is a trip down memory lane.

Offering an unparalleled ambiance, diverse menu, and rich history, Clifton’s Republic is more than a dining spot – it’s an experience. A place where stories come to life, and every meal feels like an adventure.

Clifton's Republic is one of the unique restaurants in Los Angeles.
Clifton’s Republic: A whimsical multi-level wonderland, blending restaurant and museum to transport diners to a glamorous bygone era.

7. Salvage Bar & Lounge

Downtown LA brims with surprises, and Salvage Bar & Lounge shines as one of its hidden gems. This venue goes beyond the ordinary bar scene, showcasing creativity and sustainability. Nestled in a historic 1926 Beaux-Arts building, Salvage masterfully transforms architectural remnants into captivating decor.

Every nook of the bar narrates a tale. Vintage sewing tables serve as communal seating, while old elevator cages find new life as private booths. The ambiance weaves rustic charm with modern elegance, drawing both locals and tourists.

Moreover, Salvage offers a drink menu to thrill cocktail enthusiasts. With fresh herbs, house-made syrups, and innovative concoctions, each drink promises a sensory delight. For those with an appetite, the gourmet snacks and small plates are sure to satisfy.

In a city bursting with dining options, Salvage distinguishes itself with its eco-friendly ethos and chic atmosphere. It’s a spot where history, sustainability, and style come together, providing a memorable nightlife experience in LA’s vibrant core. Without question, it’s one of the coolest restaurants in Los Angeles, California.

Discover Salvage Bar & Lounge, where creativity and sustainability shine. | Source: https://www.yelp.com/
Discover Salvage Bar & Lounge, where creativity and sustainability shine. | Source: https://www.yelp.com/

8. The Last Bookstore

Is this one of LA’s most unique dining experiences? The Last Bookstore might just make you think so. Beyond being an iconic literary hub, it offers a delightful fusion of literature and gastronomy. Set within an early-20th-century bank building, the space exudes an aura of grandeur with its majestic marble pillars and soaring ceilings.

The in-house cafe is a haven for both book lovers and foodies. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee, paired with the scent of time-worn pages, creates an inviting atmosphere. Choose from a curated selection of pastries, sandwiches, and beverages, each crafted to enhance your reading pleasure.

What sets The Last Bookstore apart as one of the coolest places to eat in Los Angeles is its immersive ambiance. Live music, art installations, and author interactions infuse the space with creativity and inspiration. Here, every visit is a journey through stories and flavors.

Blending culture, literature, and culinary delights, The Last Bookstore invites you to step into a world where imagination and taste come together. Don’t miss out on your next trip to LA!

The Last Bookstore intertwines literature and gastronomy, exuding grandeur through marble pillars and soaring ceilings.
The Last Bookstore intertwines literature and gastronomy, exuding grandeur through marble pillars and soaring ceilings.

9. Cafe Gratitude

Ever thought food could reflect positive affirmations? At Cafe Gratitude, it’s all about serving dishes that not only tantalize the taste buds but also uplift the spirit. This plant-based eatery in the artsy Larchmont Village is a haven for vegans and anyone looking to indulge in wholesome, organic fare.

The menu is a delightful surprise. Each dish is named after a positive affirmation. So, when you order “I Am Radiant” or “I Am Gracious,” you’re not just selecting a meal – you’re embracing a mood. From hearty bowls to refreshing smoothies, every offering is a celebration of nature’s bounty.

The ambiance complements the menu’s ethos. With its earthy tones, wooden decor, and greenery, the restaurant feels like a serene oasis amid the city’s hustle. Regular workshops and wellness events add to the holistic experience, making Cafe Gratitude one of the most unique places in Los Angeles to eat.

For those seeking nourishment for both body and soul, Cafe Gratitude is the place to be. It’s a dining experience that goes beyond flavors, offering a moment of mindfulness and gratitude with every bite.

Cafe Gratitude uplifts spirits with dishes that tantalize and nourish at their plant-based eatery—a haven for vegans and organic food enthusiasts.
Cafe Gratitude uplifts spirits with dishes that tantalize and nourish at their plant-based eatery—a haven for vegans and organic food enthusiasts.

10. OUE Skyspace LA

High above the city streets, OUE Skyspace LA offers an elevated dining experience like no other. Situated on the 70th floor of the iconic US Bank Tower, this venue pairs breathtaking panoramic views with gourmet cuisine, securing its spot among Los Angeles’s best restaurants.

The floor-to-ceiling windows provide a 360-degree view of the city, showcasing everything from the Hollywood Hills to the shimmering Pacific Ocean. As daylight fades and the city lights begin to twinkle, the ambiance becomes even more enchanting.

The menu showcases the diversity of LA’s food scene. With an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, diners can savor everything from succulent seafood to perfectly grilled steaks. Each dish is crafted to delight and surprise.

Adding to the allure of OUE Skyspace LA is the Skyslide, a 45-foot, fully transparent slide that offers thrill-seekers a heart-pounding perspective of the city. This feature, combined with the dining experience, makes it a destination worth visiting.

If you’re seeking a blend of exceptional food and unparalleled views, OUE Skyspace LA promises an unforgettable evening. Whilst the prices are on the higher side, it’s a restaurant in Los Angeles that promises long-lasting memories.

OUE Skyspace LA elevates dining with panoramic views and gourmet cuisine on the 70th floor of the iconic US Bank Tower, securing its place among LA's unique restaurants.
OUE Skyspace LA elevates dining with panoramic views and gourmet cuisine on the 70th floor of the iconic US Bank Tower, securing its place among LA’s unique restaurants.

11. Bestia

Tucked away in LA’s Arts District, Bestia is a culinary masterpiece that Italian food lovers can’t resist. Under the expert guidance of Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis, this eatery has earned its stripes as one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles.

The interior of Bestia blends industrial chic with rustic elegance. Exposed brick walls, wooden beams, and open kitchens craft an ambiance that’s both contemporary and inviting. It’s a place where the city’s trendsetters gather, drawn by the allure of authentic Italian flavors.

Diving into the menu, you’re treated to a tapestry of Italy’s rich culinary heritage. Handmade pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and house-cured meats are a testament to the chefs’ passion for authenticity. Standout dishes like the bone marrow-spinach gnocchi and the roasted bone-in ribeye are not just meals, but experiences. And what makes Bestia truly unique is its commitment to handcrafted excellence, from the first appetizer to the last dessert.

Speaking of desserts, Pastry Chef Gergis presents creations that are both art and indulgence. The chocolate budino tart, crowned with salted caramel and a cacao crust, is pure bliss.

While Bestia sits at a higher price point, the exceptional quality and unique dining experience justify every penny. As one of the most unique restaurants in Los Angeles, it’s a journey through the heart of Italy without leaving the city.

Bestia is an irresistible Italian culinary masterpiece guided by Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis.
Bestia is an irresistible Italian culinary masterpiece guided by Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis.

12. Guisados

In the vibrant neighborhoods of Los Angeles, Guisados stands out as a testament to the power of simplicity and authenticity. This family-run taqueria, with several locations across the city, has become a go-to spot for those craving homestyle Mexican tacos without the hefty price tag.

The ambiance is unpretentious and welcoming. Colorful tiled tables, mural-adorned walls, and the aroma of freshly made tortillas set the scene for a genuine LA dining experience. It’s a place where locals and tourists alike gather, drawn by the promise of flavorful, no-frills fare.

The menu is straightforward, focusing on tacos filled with slow-cooked, braised fillings. From the tender steak picado to the rich mole poblano, each taco is a burst of flavor, served on hand-pressed corn tortillas. The cochinita pibil, a Yucatecan-style pulled pork, and the chuleta en chile verde, pork chops in green sauce, are crowd favorites.

Adding to its charm, Guisados proudly claims a spot among the cheap eats in Los Angeles, CA, offering quality meals that won’t break the bank. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the most honest food comes from the heart, without the need for extravagance.

For those seeking delicious, affordable, and honest Mexican food in LA, Guisados is a top pick. It’s where tradition meets taste, and every bite feels like home.

Guisados is one of the unique restaurants in Los Angeles.
Guisados is a family-run taqueria serving homestyle Mexican tacos at an affordable price across several city locations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Most Unique Restaurants in Los Angeles, CA

Are you looking for more information about where to eat in LA? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Los Angeles’s most unique restaurants.

What food is unique to Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is renowned for its street tacos, which are a testament to the city’s rich Latin heritage. These tacos, often filled with grilled meats, fresh salsas, and creamy guacamole, are a staple in the LA food scene. Additionally, the city’s fresh seafood, especially the Pacific salmon, is a dish that truly captures the essence of LA’s culinary prowess.

What is the food scene like in Los Angeles?

Absolutely! Los Angeles boasts a vibrant and diverse food scene that caters to a range of palates. From its world-class restaurants and trendy cafes to its bustling food markets and street food stalls, LA offers a culinary experience that is both rich and varied. The city’s commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients and its innovative culinary techniques make it a food lover’s paradise.

Los Angeles is home to a plethora of renowned restaurants. Some of the city’s favorites include the upscale dining at Canlis, the unique Italian-American flavors at The Pink Door, and the authentic Caribbean delights at Un Bien. For seafood aficionados, The Crab Pot and The Walrus and the Carpenter are must-visit spots.

Where do celebrities dine in Los Angeles?

Celebrities in Los Angeles often dine at exclusive and upscale restaurants where privacy is as much a part of the menu as the food. Some of the popular celebrity hangouts include:

  1. Nobu Malibu – A hotspot for sushi and ocean views, frequented by stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kim Kardashian.
  2. Craig’s – Located in West Hollywood, this American eatery is a favorite of George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston.
  3. Spago – Owned by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, this Beverly Hills institution attracts A-listers like Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey.
  4. The Ivy – Known for its floral décor and British-inspired menu, it’s a popular spot for celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Victoria Beckham.
  5. Chateau Marmont – This iconic Hollywood hotel has a restaurant that’s a magnet for celebrities; everyone from John Belushi to Lindsay Lohan has been spotted here.
  6. Giorgio Baldi – An Italian restaurant in Santa Monica that’s a favorite of Rihanna and Taylor Swift.
  7. Catch LA – A seafood-focused restaurant in West Hollywood where you might spot celebrities like Kylie Jenner or Mariah Carey.
  8. Gjelina – Located in Venice, this trendy spot is popular with stars like Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman.
  9. Delilah – A modern-day supper club that attracts a young, hip crowd including Drake and the Hadid sisters.
  10. BOA Steakhouse – A high-end steakhouse in West Hollywood where you might see celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sofia Vergara.

Are there any vegetarian or vegan specialties in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is a haven for vegetarians and vegans. The city offers a variety of plant-based dishes that are both delicious and innovative. From vegan sushi rolls to plant-based burgers and dairy-free ice creams, LA is at the forefront of the vegetarian and vegan culinary movement. One must-try is the vegan ramen, which has gained immense popularity among locals and tourists alike.

Tatsu Ramen offers a vegan twist on traditional ramen, delighting taste buds with plant-based flavors.
Tatsu Ramen offers a vegan twist on traditional ramen, delighting taste buds with plant-based flavors.

What is the most famous food in LA?

The most famous food in Los Angeles has to be the street taco, a culinary staple that captures the city’s rich cultural diversity and love for casual dining. Tacos in LA come in many forms, from traditional Mexican styles to innovative fusion variations. Food trucks and taco stands throughout the city serve up these handheld delights, often late into the night.

However, LA’s food scene is incredibly diverse, so tacos are just the tip of the iceberg. The city is also known for its sushi, thanks in part to a large Japanese community. Additionally, LA is famous for its health-conscious cuisine like avocado toast, acai bowls, and various vegan options.

From food trucks to fine dining, Los Angeles offers a culinary experience as diverse and dynamic as the city itself. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic In-N-Out Burger or a gourmet meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, LA has something to satisfy every palate.

How does Los Angeles’s food scene compare to other major cities?

Los Angeles’s food scene stands out due to its diverse cultural influences and commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients. While cities like New York and Chicago have their own culinary identities, LA’s food landscape is a melting pot of flavors, from Asian to Latin and Mediterranean. This diversity, combined with the city’s innovative culinary techniques, positions LA as a significant gastronomic hub on the global stage.

Can I find international cuisines in Los Angeles?

Definitely! Los Angeles is a global city, and its food scene reflects that. You can find authentic dishes from almost every corner of the world. Craving some spicy Korean BBQ, aromatic Indian curries, or savory Mediterranean kebabs? LA has got you covered. The city’s multicultural population ensures that there’s a wide variety of international cuisines available, each offering a taste of home for the city’s diverse residents.

Concluding Thoughts on LA’s Unique Restaurants

Los Angeles, often recognized for its iconic landmarks and star-studded streets, holds another gem within its vast expanse: a dynamic and ever-evolving dining scene. From the bustling streets of Downtown to the serene beaches of Malibu, each restaurant, café, and food stall offers a distinct experience that resonates with the city’s eclectic vibe. The unique places to eat in Los Angeles capture the essence of the city, blending tradition with innovation.

With influences spanning from Asia to Latin America and beyond, LA’s dining scene is a vibrant mix of flavors and cultures. It’s a place where you can savor a bowl of authentic ramen in Little Tokyo by day and indulge in fresh ceviche by the Santa Monica Pier by night. This diversity is what makes the city’s food scene stand out on the global stage.

For travelers and food enthusiasts, LA presents an opportunity to embark on a culinary journey like no other. The Los Angeles restaurant guide would be incomplete without mentioning the myriad of eateries that dot its landscape, each telling its own tale of flavors and traditions.

In sum, Los Angeles offers a gastronomic landscape that’s as diverse and captivating as its skyline, beckoning food lovers to explore and savor its many delights.

The top restaurants in Los Angeles for all types of travelers
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