Los Angeles

12 Essential Places to Eat in Burbank

Most Angelenos know Burbank best for being home to a good chunk of the city's entertainment industry -- and perhaps more importantly, one of the county's only IKEA stores.

Castaway Burbank
Castaway Burbank
Castaway Burbank

Most Angelenos know Burbank best for being home to a good chunk of the city’s entertainment industry — and perhaps more importantly, one of the county’s only IKEA stores. One thing Burbank doesn’t get a lot of attention for, though, is its restaurant scene… but if you do find yourself looking for tasty eats in this city sitting in the shadows of Hollywood, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised with the dining options. Go ahead and get those tickets to an Ellen taping or studio tour — prosciutto pizza, customizable s’mores, and vegan sausage await you in Burbank.

Courtesy of Guisados
Courtesy of Guisados
Courtesy of Guisados

Guisados

Handmade tortillas and traditional guisados
All five locations of this homestyle Mexican joint get their braises and masas delivered from the original Boyle Heights restaurant several times daily. It’s all used to create the handmade tortillas and traditional guisados (slow-cooked, spice-heavy stews) that serve as a base for the tacos, like pork chicharron simmered in chile verde and shredded chicken in a poblano-style mole. Bonus for vegetarians: There are legit meatless options here (not just we-took-out-the-meat BS) including mushrooms with serrano chiles and squash and bell peppers with corn and chipotle cream.

Gourmet Romano
Gourmet Romano
Gourmet Romano

Gourmet Romano

Pizza place with authentic Roman roots
It’s all about the crust at this pizza spot opened by a couple of Romans just last summer. The dough is derived from a traditional recipe from their hometown, made with multigrain flour and fermented 72 hours, yielding that coveted crunchy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside outcome. They only sell individual pies (no slices), including a traditional Margherita, a creamy Cacio e Pepe, and the top-selling San Daniele (topped with 24-month-aged prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella flown in weekly from Italy). The menu also features some salads, stuffed-and-fried rice balls, and panini made with bread from that same real-deal dough.

Granville Burbank
Granville Burbank
Granville Burbank

Granville

Cool and casual spot for an after-work bite
The Burbank outpost of this quartet of comfortable-and-casual restaurants is the perfect venue to chill at the end of the day. The menu skews toward upscale comfort food with shareable starters (think smoked salmon spread, grilled cheese dippers with tomato soup, and a smattering of flatbreads) along with bigger plates of burgers, sandwiches, and entrees like ahi over soba noodles and a bone-in pork chop. The cocktail, wine, and beer selections are massive (in case your workday was a doozy) ,and there’s also a happy hour from 4pm to 7pm on weekdays.

Castaway Burbank
Castaway Burbank
Castaway Burbank

Castaway

Remodeled hilltop giant with killer views
This massive hill-perched restaurant once best known for banquets and brunch buffets reopened in 2018 after a massive $10 million facelift. The nautical kitsch has given way to a modern look and the multi-level seating (including an expansive patio) means most everyone gets a view of the valley. While the name still makes us think of seafood, new executive chef Perry Pollaci (formerly with The Royce at The Langham) is going with a steak focus, and Castaway even has its own in-house aging room with a Himalayan salt wall these days.

Courtesy of Plush Puffs
Courtesy of Plush Puffs
Courtesy of Plush Puffs

Plush Puffs

Make-your-own s’mores bar
After more than a decade selling her all-natural scratch-made marshmallows online, Plush Puffs founder (and former USC health educator) Ann Hickey-Williams opened this shop/marshmallow bar attached to her commercial kitchen earlier this fall. Customers can toast up one of the multiple flavors — from birthday cake to caramel swirl — then pair them with the shop’s signature graham crackers, sauces, and toppings for serious s’more-ing. You can also expect coffee, hot cocoa, and teas (that can all be topped with the marshmallows), in addition to take-away treats.

Tony's Darts Away
Tony’s Darts Away
Tony’s Darts Away

Tony’s Darts Away

Vegan bar fare and craft beer
After Tony Yanow and his Artisanal Brewers Collective took over this long-standing divey dart bar in 2010 (the same-name-thing is just a coincidence), the group spruced up the place, (un)beefed-up the vegan menu options — as they’ve done at several spots around the city in recent years — added a killer craft brew selection, and set out on a zero-waste crusade. In addition to lots of plant-based options from Impossible Burgers to veggie chili, the bar’s renowned real-meat sausage selection remains (though a vegan offering can be swapped in for any of them). If you’re looking for remnants of the original 1978 venue, you can find it via a vintage Dart’s Away sign on the wall and a single original employee named Sandra.

Olive & Thyme
Olive & Thyme
Olive & Thyme

Olive & Thyme

Fresh breakfast fare and espresso bar
Expect innovative dishes with plenty of locally sourced, seasonal stuff and a menu with something for everyone: avocado toast for the hipster crowd; eggs and bacon for the basic breakfast lover; and ciabatta breakfast sandwiches along with fresh baguettes, butter, and in-house jams for carbo-loaders. Look for a serious selection of Intelligentsia-derived drinks at the espresso bar, and an impressive marketplace to grab stuff for later. There are also lunch and dinner menus with salads, sandwiches, and small plates.

Commonwealth Restaurant
Commonwealth Restaurant
Commonwealth Restaurant

Commonwealth Restaurant

Solid date-night spot with small plates
The place bills itself as a haven for global small plates, which basically means you can expect everything from snapper ceviche to bacon bruschetta to a rainbow beet salad. It’s intimate-yet-lively, and has plenty of reasonably priced wines by the glass, plus cocktails. In other words, if you’re dating in Burbank, this is probably going to be your go-to reservation.

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken Burbank
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken Burbank
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken Burbank

Gus’s Fried Chicken

Renowned fried chicken plus Southern sides
By now, you know all about this the Memphis-originated chicken chain that first impressed Angelenos at its Crenshaw location. The no-frills space (complete with checkered vinyl tablecloths and paper plates) serves its hot-and-spicy specialty with Southern-style sides like baked beans, mac and cheese, and potato salad. For a double-dose of deep-fried flavor, start with the okra, pickles, or green tomatoes.

Courtesy of Summer Buffalo
Courtesy of Summer Buffalo
Courtesy of Summer Buffalo

Summer Buffalo

Thai food and buffalo wings
If you’ve grown used to the mediocre spot down the block that can have your order ready in a frightening three-and-a-half minutes, up your Thai game at this restaurant focused on a compact-but-mighty menu of classics (along with three styles of buffalo wings thrown in for namesake purposes, we assume). There’s a small offering of lunch specials, and the beef Panang curry tastes even better than it looks.

Porto's Bakery
Porto’s Bakery
Porto’s Bakery

Porto’s Bakery & Cafe

Fabled Cuban bakery
This classic Cuban bakery with locations throughout the SoCal cranks out a ton of baked goods, pastries, and cakes at bargain prices. You should expect a line and, while you’re in it, make up your mind before it’s your turn to order. With a selection this scrumptious, that’s no easy feat — consider going for the guava cheese strudels, and both the sweet and savory empanadas. While they’re not exactly “baked,” don’t even bother trying to leave without a box of the signature potato balls. It’s impossible.

Courtesy of Kings Deli
Courtesy of Kings Deli
Courtesy of Kings Deli

Kings Deli

NY-style deli near Warner Brothers
A stone’s throw from the Warner Brothers lot, this tiny deli is the place to go for NY-style sandwiches piled with housemade pastrami, brisket, corned beef, and tuna salad, in addition to a few veggie options, and everything comes with a side of potato salad or coleslaw and a smattering of pickle chips. Basic breakfast sandwiches on bagels or toast are offered all day along with espresso drinks in case you need to pep up on your way to the studio.Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.

Lizbeth Scordo is a contributor to Thrillist.

Los Angeles

How to Spend a Weekend in Topanga Canyon

Nature and the arts collide in this beloved canyon community.

Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint caf√© with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

Friday

Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.

Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.

Saturday

Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and caf√©, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.

Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock

Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.

Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the caf√©’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.

Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.

Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.

Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery

Sunday

Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.

Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.

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Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.

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