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Classic Old Restaurants and Diners of Los Angeles

LA Eateries With Local History


It may at times seem like new LA restaurants are popping up all the time. That's probably because they are. But what about those 'old faithfuls,' the tried and true classic, old LA restaurants that Angelinos--young and not so young--continue to flock to, to this day? Here is a short list of famous old Los Angeles restaurants and diners with history to get you started (if you're new to this town) or nostalgic (if you're a native).

Nate 'n Al

Nate Reimer and Al Mendelson opened this Beverly Hills mainstay in 1945 and it's been hopping ever since. It's known as the long time haunt of former CNN anchor Larry King and so many other locals. Who could resist the delicious and authentic whitefish salad, roast beef sandwiches and potato knishes?

414 N. Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Randy’s Donuts

You can't miss this famous LA dessert haunt as it's just about the least subtle thing in this show town. The giant donut is a familiar sight to those on the way to or from Los Angeles International Airport. It's made cameos in movies and been around since 1952. Strawberry jelly filled and chocolate raised donuts are on the 'menu' and make a delightful accompaniment to a cup of coffee. Or you can just stand there in awe of the giant donut (you wouldn't be the first).

805 W. Manchester Ave.

Inglewood, CA 90301


The Dresden Restaurant

Perhaps not as well known for its dining options as it is for its lounge scene, The Dresden has provided entertainment (and some grub) to generations of Angelinos. It was first opened in 1954. The 'cool cat' pad has appeared in movies like Swingers and The Two Jakes. Jazzy duo Marty and Elayne can still be seen there drawing a crowd. The lovebird lounge lizards--who started playing there in 1982--are practically synonymous with The Dresden.

1760 No. Vermont Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90027

Chaya Brasserie

Chaya has come a long way from its humble roots as a great local hang (especially its famous Venice location). These days, it's fully updated its menus to reflect a decidedly fashionable fusion sensibility. It boasts locations in Downtown, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, and of course Venice Beach. Although the eatery's history technically goes back hundreds of years (via the Japanese family that founded it), the incarnation of it that's known to Angelinos dates back to the early '80s when its Los Feliz and Beverly Hills restaurants opened.

110 Navy St # 1
Venice, CA 90291-2553

Musso and Frank Grill

Any local LA kid who wants a delicious sirloin steak has to think of Musso and Frank. At least this LA kid does. The oldest restaurant in Hollywood first opened in 1919 (even prior to the film industry's golden age!). Through the years, its clientele has consisted of the likes of Raymond Chandler, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks. Oh, and they make the best Tom Collins in LA.

6667 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Marty's Hamburger Stand

This fine burger stand (with seating at the back) is unobtrusively located between the fire station and the gas station on Pico Blvd. near Prosser. I went to grade school in the vicinity and the promise of one of their famous Combos when that three o'clock bell rang was magical. The Orange Juliuses, the burger grill with its patina of decades-old grease, the friendly firemen from next door--all are part of Marty's classic old LA vibe. They've been frying them up for the best of them since 1959, and will (I suspect and hope) be doing so until 2059.

10558 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

The Ivy

The Ivy's Robertson Blvd. flagship (not to be confused with the Ivy at the Shore) was featured in the movie Get Shorty. The restaurant had quite the reputation--especially in the height of the glitzy '80s--for being impossible to get into. After all, stars like Kiefer Sutherland and Anjelica Huston dined there, and warm owner Lynn von Kersting was always there to greet her friends. Mostly known for its charming rose-adorned patio (and the show of valets and high-end cars in the front), it still retains caché although it's not so hot anymore that the waiters can chase after low-tipping diners like they did in the good ol' days.

113 N Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Bob’s Big Boy

Like many LA folks, Bob seems to have aged quite well. The young lad is a famous fixture in the San Fernando Valley as is this fast food relic. Built in 1949, it is exemplary of the California coffee shop style of its time. Today, it continues to attract gear-heads and hot rod betties who come for more than just "The Big Boy" (their famous double-decker burger). It's quite the scene on Friday nights. And it's been designated a State Point of Historical Interest.

4211 W Riverside Dr.
Burbank, CA 91505

La Dolce Vita Beverly Hills

Since 1966, this styling restaurant has been putting the ring-a-ding-ding in LA. That's right, La Dolce Vita was one of the Rat Pack's hangouts. Imagine Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin and pals scarfing down Italian dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo and Lasagne Verdi Bolognese. More likely, imagine them downing cocktails like Manhattans and Stingers. You get the message. Bada bing, bada boom.

9785 Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Greenblatt's Delicatessen

This ancient (in LA terms) West Hollywood delicatessen has been going strong since 1926. Unfortunately, so have the prices. But--some might argue--their enormous, chunky pastrami sandwiches are well worth it. The funny thing is, their wines are often a steal. So, all in all it balances out. Besides, some of the chompers that have made their way through those massive sandwiches belonged to none other than Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Groucho Marx.

8017 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood CA 90046

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