Los Angeles

10 Essential Armenian Restaurants to Try in Los Angeles

Armenian cuisine is influenced by Russia, the Mediterranean, Middle East, and more.

Photo courtesy of Lusy's Mediterranean Cafe
Photo courtesy of Lusy’s Mediterranean Cafe
Photo courtesy of Lusy’s Mediterranean Cafe

What makes LA such a unique city is the melting pot of cultures which is seen throughout the city’s ethnic neighborhoods. From Koreatown to Chinatown to Persian Square, LA is one of the most diverse cities in the country. In particular, LA’s Armenian community represents one of the most significant ethnic enclaves in the city and the largest Armenian population in the entire United States. The Armenian diaspora in California is made up of over 200,000 people, mostly clustered in tight-knit communities across Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, North Hollywood, and Little Armenia in East Hollywood.

Ancient Armenian culture is rich in history and goes beyond what most people know based on one mega-famous family’s antics (read: The Kardashians). Perhaps the most widely known and tragic moment in Armenian history is the Armenian Genocide. The brutal massacre started on April 24, 1915, by the Ottoman government killing an estimated one million Armenians over the course of eight years. Similar to other genocides in history, a day of remembrance not only honours the lives lost but also recognizes the atrocity that occured against humankind in hopes that it will never be repeated again.

Today, an estimated seven million Armenians live in over 100 countries around the world. Since the country shares borders with Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, Armenians fled to neighbouring countries or even further abroad. The cuisine reflects the diversity of the regions it is influenced by, including Russia, the Mediterranean and Middle East, amongst others. Therefore, traditional Armenian dishes like lula kebab, dolma, and mantee may look similar to other cuisines and are generally a fusion of many regions.

In honour of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24, we’re sharing a list of the best Armenian restaurants around LA as well as our favourite dishes that we know and love.

Mantee Cafe

Studio City 
This family-owned restaurant serves authentic Lebanese Armenian cuisine in a cozy restaurant setting that looks like someone’s home kitchen. Mantee Cafe is aptly named after the signature dish, mantee, a meat-filled ravioli served with yogurt sauce and topped with spices. Other popular dishes include the hot feta and hummus topped with filet mignon, but portion sizes are on the small side so make sure to order a few dishes.
How to order: Order curbside pickup here.

Mini Kabob
Mini Kabob
Mini Kabob

Mini Kabob

Glendale
This hole-in-the-wall eatery is a Glendale favourite and a meat lovers paradise. The family-run restaurant serves some of the best kabobs out of it’s tiny 300-square-foot space. Choose from succulent beef or juicy chicken served on a bed of rice with a side of house-made hummus and if you can’t decide, order the combination plate so you can try both.
How to order: Call (818) 244-1343 for takeout.

Photo by Kristina Grrigoryan, courtesy of Khinkali House
Photo by Kristina Grrigoryan, courtesy of Khinkali House
Photo by Kristina Grrigoryan, courtesy of Khinkali House

Khinkali House

Glendale
When you think of dumplings, Armenian food may not come to mind but after trying Khinkali House you might think twice. Khinkali is a meat-filled dumpling with broth that originated in Georgia (the country, not the state) but the owners of this restaurant are Armenian so the menu is a fusion of Georgian-Armenian cuisine. Khinkali House is best known for its dumplings made with a mixture of ground beef and pork or you can choose vegetarian options like mushrooms or cheese. Pro-tip: Suck the broth out first before eating the dumpling.
How to order: Call (818) 649-1015 for takeout.

Photo courtesy of Lusy's Mediterranean Cafe
Photo courtesy of Lusy’s Mediterranean Cafe
Photo courtesy of Lusy’s Mediterranean Cafe

Lusy’s Mediterranean Cafe & Grill

Van Nuys and Encino
The husband and wife duo Lusy Gradzhyan and Avedis Koshkaryan opened this restaurant to showcase chef Lusy’s family recipes that have been passed down for generations. Flame-grilled kabob plates, pita wraps, and hearty Mediterranean-inspired salads are all made from scratch daily here.
How to order: Order delivery or takeout online here.

Falafel Arax

East Hollywood
It’s no secret that some of the best food in LA is hidden in strip malls and Falafel Arax in Little Armenia is proof of that. It’s a no frills sandwich shop featuring some of the best Middle Eastern street food like falafels, shawarma, and kabobs. Dishes can be served on a plate or in a sandwich (but we think falafel and shawarma belong in between bread). The food here is best suited for takeout so you can make a delicious mess on the comfort of your couch.
How to order: Call (323) 663-9687 for takeout.

Carousel Restaurant
Carousel Restaurant
Carousel Restaurant

Carousel Restaurant

Glendale and Hollywood
Carousel Restaurant is Armenian-owned but the food served here has a Middle Eastern flair. An expansive menu features an assortment of kebabs and seafood plates, but the real stars of the show here are the appetizers. You could easily order a full feast just from the laundry list of hot and cold mezze starter dishes. The falafel, sarma, and hammos are fantastic dishes to start with and the khash-khash kebab with beef lula is one of their specialty dishes. Make sure to save room for dessert: the ossmanlieh is a roasted vermicelli dough filled with cream.
How to order: Order delivery or takeout online here.

Tonir Cafe

Burbank
Foodies flock to Tonir Cafe for the marinated kabobs cooked on an open charcoal grill. The unassuming cafe has casual indoor seating but you’re not here for ambience. The top notch meat skewers are generously portioned and if you’re with a group consider ordering the family specials for a variety of meats.
How to order: Call 818-563-6666 to order takeout or order delivery online here

Sahags Basturma Sandwich Shop

East Hollywood
Basturma is the Armenian equivalent to bresaola in Italy. It’s an air-dried cured beef with tons of flavour and tastes good on its own or between thick, folded pita bread. The sandwiches here might look plain but they’re anything but. Thinly pressed paninis served with pickled vegetables pack a punch and they’re perfect for picnics or a quick afternoon bite.
How to order: Call (323) 661-5311 for takeout.

Old Gyumri Restaurant
Old Gyumri Restaurant
Old Gyumri Restaurant

Old Gyumri

Glendale
Old Gyumri serves traditional Armenian cuisine in a space reminiscent of ancient medieval times. The restaurant pays homage to Gyumri, one of Armenia’s largest cities, specializing in freshly made salads, kabobs, and an extensive list of tasty Middle Eastern appetizers such as hummus, yogurt cucumber dip, basturma, and a housemade version of ghaurma, a stuffed pumpkin dish with beef.
How to order: Order delivery or takeout online here

Taron Bakery

Glendale
Need a reason to indulge? How about a delicious Armenian bakery offering a limited menu of savory treats with nothing over $4? Order one of everything and definitely try their best sellers, the spinach or cheese beoreks. The lahmajun is a traditional Armenian dish that’s also popular which looks like a pizza topped with minced meat instead of cheese.
How to order: Call (323) 663-4809 for takeout

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Leila Nasjafi is a freelance travel writer based in LA and wants to give a shout out to fellow foodie @LAFoodJunkie for helping her create this list. Follow her adventures around LA on Instagram @LeilasList.

Los Angeles

8 LA Fundraisers that Support Abortion Rights and Reproductive Justice

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, LA businesses and organizations are stepping up to raise money and support reproductive justice for all.

Matt Gush/Shutterstock
Matt Gush/Shutterstock
Matt Gush/Shutterstock

As Beyonc√©’s talented sister Solange once sang, “I got a lot to be mad about.” At the top of that growing list is the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, clearing the way for states to regulate abortion. Since the ruling, abortion is now illegal in states like Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Kentucky, while others like Utah, Idaho, and Missouri, have signaled plans to ban or create significant barriers to accessing abortion services.

Many are outraged by this decision, which is certain to disproportionately impact low-income and BIPOC communities. Protests have erupted in cities across the country and legal battles are already underway in attempts to counteract the ruling. Many are calling for the Supreme Court to be reformed, calling into question other recent decisions, including a ruling that limited the federal government’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants.

Those in California are lucky to be protected by a state constitution where abortion is recognized as an individual right, with Governor Newsom recently vowing to continue to safeguard these rights, as well as women who travel west for reproductive care. But just because we don’t currently have to worry about our reproductive rights being stripped doesn’t mean that we can’t step up and provide support for those who are in the thick of these struggles. From donating to on-the-ground activism, there are plenty of ways to get involved in the national fight to protect abortion care and access for all.

LA’s hospitality industry is doing just that, providing plenty of delicious and fun opportunities to stand up for reproductive rights and abortion care, including food pop-ups, bake sales, wine and mezcal tastings, shopping deals, and more.

Satisfy your munchies at a stoner food pop-up

Ongoing
Genever, Historic Filipinotown
One of our favourite bars in LA right now, women-owned Genever is hosting a weekly Friday pop-up with food from Bodega that they describe as Asian Stoner Food. Every pop-up donates 50% of proceeds to a rotating reproductive rights organization.
Cost: Varies

Photo courtesy of Local Angeles
Photo courtesy of Local Angeles
Photo courtesy of Local Angeles

Order a Westside Cocktail

Ongoing throughout July
Winston House, Venice Beach
Each month, the team at Winston House, a lively supper club off the Venice Boardwalk, donates $1 from every sale of their Westside Cocktail to a different charity. In June, they donated proceeds to The Trevor Project and for July, they’re donating to the National Network of Abortions Funds. The cocktail is made with butterfly pea- and cucumber-infused Future Gin, lime juice, and mint syrup.
Cost: $15

Photo courtesy of Madre
Photo courtesy of Madre
Photo courtesy of Madre

Sip on women-made mezcals at Madre Restaurant

Ongoing from July 11 for four weeks
West Hollywood, Torrance, and Palms
Get an education in mezcal while supporting women with a special mezcal flight curated by owner Ivan Vasquez, featuring women-owned or produced brands. Dubbed Her Mezcal, the flight includes a one-ounce pour of Real Minero, Agua Del Sol, and Rezpiral, available for $45 beginning Monday, July 11, with 10% of the net sales from each flight going to the National Network of Abortion Funds. And if you buy a bottle of one of the three featured brands, Madre will donate 10% of those sales, too.
Cost: $45

@vanillabeansanddaydreams
@vanillabeansanddaydreams
@vanillabeansanddaydreams

Bakers Against Racism: Bake Sale For Reproductive Justice

Saturday, July 17
These Hands Makers Collective, Culver City
Launched during April 2020 as a pop-up, Bakers Against Racism is a social community “connecting bakers and creatives all across the globe to fight against racism in all of its forms.” On Saturday, July 17 from 11 am to 3 pm, they’re firing up their ovens to raise money and awareness for reproductive justice, with all sorts of treats and desserts available for sale, including cookies, pies, cakes, pastries, traditional Southern desserts, gluten-free and vegan options, and more. All proceeds will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds. Bakers who are interested in joining the sale can reach out to LA lead @winterfatebakes on Instagram.
Cost: Free to participate, baked goods vary.

Photo by Jenny Caloca, courtesy of Vinovere
Photo by Jenny Caloca, courtesy of Vinovere
Photo by Jenny Caloca, courtesy of Vinovere

Taste natural, women-made wines with Vinovore

Saturday, July 23
Virtual tasting
Woman- and LGBTQ-owned Vinovore stocks predominantly small-batch, natural, and woman-produced labels in its Virgil Village and Eagle Rock wine shops. On Saturday, July 23 at 5 pm, they’ll host a WINEsplaining event over Zoom, which includes two bottles of natural, women-made wine that attendees can enjoy as they discuss tasting notes with owner Coly Den Haan. All proceeds will be donated to The National Network of Abortion Funds. Register online and wines will be ready for pick-up, shipping, or delivery the week before the tasting, with the Zoom link sent the day before.
Cost: $75

Join a community bake sale for reproductive rights

Saturday, July 23
The Oinkster, Eagle Rock
Over in East LA, chef Andre Guerrero is opening up the patio to local bakers for a massive community bake sale, with proceeds benefiting Planned Parenthood, Plan C Pills, and Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project. And since you’re there, you might as well grab a stacked Frito Pie burger, a house-cured Pastrami Sandwich, or some Chili Fries. For more info and to participate, reach out to chef Kristi Descher on Instagram.
Cost: Free to participate, baked goods vary.

Photo courtesy of Botanica
Photo courtesy of Botanica
Photo courtesy of Botanica

Snag a cute tee from Botanica

Ongoing
Purchase online
Women-owned restaurant and market Botanica is selling their five-year anniversary tee that’s made in collaboration by LA’s Lamero Studio. The shirt features a “vegetables in space” design created by bar manager and artist, Ryan Halie Gossett. All profits from the shirts benefit the National Network of Abortion Funds.
Cost: $45

Photo courtesy of Helen's Wines x The Goods Mart
Photo courtesy of Helen’s Wines x The Goods Mart
Photo courtesy of Helen’s Wines x The Goods Mart

Order a summer snack box filled with women-owned treats

Ongoing
Purchase online
Another one of our favourite women-owned natural wine shops in LA, Helen’s Wines teamed up with NYC’s The Goods Mart for a summer snack box featuring female-founded brands, including Azziah’s Herbal Green Popcorn, Magic Dates Salted Walnut Brownie, Moonshot Sourdough Crackers, and a bottle of natural ros√© from women producers, chosen by founder Helen Johannesen and her team, and rotating with each box. Even better, 50% of proceeds from the box will be donated to the Women’s Reproductive Right’s Assistance Project, the largest national, independent, nonprofit abortion fund providing urgently-needed financial assistance to individuals seeking abortion services or emergency contraception nationwide.
Cost: $75

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Danielle Dorsey is the West Coast Editor at Thrillist.

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