Los Angeles

33 Quintessential LA Foods and Dining Experiences

You can't call yourself an Angeleno until you've tried all of these.

Perch
Perch
Perch

While the virus-that-shall-not-be-named has restricted our dining options indefinitely, LA is still flush with food experiences that transcend time and place. Whether it’s a 360-view of DTLA paired with a French-style brunch or a too-spicy elote purchased straight from a vendor’s cart, this list is proof that even in the midst of a pandemic, LA still retains its star power.

Here are 33 of the city’s most essential foods and dining experiences.

Earle's on Crenshaw
Earle’s on Crenshaw
Earle’s on Crenshaw

Get messy with a chili cheese hot dog from Earle’s

Crenshaw 
LA’s danger dogs (the name says it all) can’t compare to a juicy NY hot dog, but Brooklyn natives Cary and Duane Earle sought to recreate this delicacy when they started selling hot dogs on Venice Beach in the mid-80s. In 1992, they sated public demand for their dogs with the opening of their first brick-and-mortar in the Crenshaw District. Their menu has since expanded and now the family-owned storefront cranks out an array of links, including vegan options. 
How to order: Call for takeout or get free delivery on your first order through Grubhub.

Reminisce with the Obama special, #9 at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles

Multiple Locations
Is it our fault that former President Barack Obama had good taste? The Obama Special, or #9 for the OGs, is the perfect introduction to the LA chain that put fried chicken and waffles on the map. The Obama Special comes with three chicken wings and a waffle, potato salad, or french fries (as if it’s even a choice). Add a #22 (mac and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread) or #23 (candied yams, collard greens, and cornbread) to make your order extra Presidential.
How to order: Call for pickup or order delivery through Postmates, UberEats, GrubHub, and Doordash.

Bite into fresh falafel at Joe’s Falafel

Studio City 
With so many Meditteranean options around the city, the title of Best Falafel can be a contentious topic. While we leave the final vote up to your taste buds, we strongly suggest you enter Joe’s Falafel in the running. This small, unassuming restaurant is tucked away in a strip mall off Ventura Blvd, a location that makes it ideal for a comfortable patio dining experience. Try the falafel to see how the restaurant got its name. 
How to order: Call for takeout or order delivery via Grubhub.

Poppy + Rose
Poppy + Rose
Poppy + Rose

Pair brunch from Poppy & Rose with the Original Flower Market

DTLA
Across the street from LA’s Original Flower Market is the aptly named Poppy & Rose, a country-inspired kitchen serving up your favorite comfort foods. It’s the perfect treat after waking up early and braving the surprisingly-still-chaotic Flower Market. The menu is filled with brunch staples; try the lox bagel sandwich topped with well-smoked salmon or the steak breakfast burrito if you’re powering up for a long day. 
How to order: Curbside pickup, takeout, and delivery available through ChowNow.

Oyster Gourmet
Oyster Gourmet
Oyster Gourmet

Slurp oysters at The Oyster Gourmet

DTLA 
Back in the old days of 2019, oysters and mimosas from The Oyster Gourmet were practically included in the ticket price of a stroll through DTLA’s then-burgeoning Museum Row. Housed in the historic Grand Central Market, you’ll have an assortment of food and drink stands available in the event that you get a second (or third) craving. While nearby museums like The Broad and MOCA are still closed for in-person visits, you can take your oysters to Grand Park, which sits adjacent to the market. Afterwards, head to the Lower Station of Angel’s Flight railway for a cheap thrill ($1 each way or 50 cents if you’re using your Tap card) and take in the architecture of DTLA.
How to order: Order online for pickup

Chomp cheeseburgers at Hinano Cafe

Venice Beach 
Renowned for being Jim Morrison’s favorite Venice haunt, Hinano Cafe has been serving up burgers and brews since 1962. The no-frills shoreside hut is cash only and open from 8am to 2am every day of the year excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas. Stroll up and order a world famous Hinano cheeseburger with a beer, cider or wine and enjoy it in their newly converted patio (aka their former parking lot, which means you’ll have to brave street parking). 
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining; pickup and delivery via Doordash; delivery also available through UberEats.

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

Treat the (remote) office to Porto’s Bakery

Multiple locations
If you’ve worked an office job in LA, then you know the giddy joy that one experiences when coming into work in the morning (hopefully on a Monday!) and seeing that one of your coworkers has surprised the office with an assortment of baked goods from Porto’s. The family-run business specializes in Cuban pastries, with the papas rellenas (potato balls), empanadas, and Refugiados (guava and cheese pastries) being must-try items. While the flagship Glendale location is still going strong, the brand has boomed in recent years, with locations springing up all over the LA Metro area. The bakery offers nationwide doorstep delivery if you prefer to skip the notorious wait times and bake the treats yourself. 
How to order: Pickup and bake-at-home delivery through Porto’s.

Tatsu Ramen
Tatsu Ramen
Tatsu Ramen

Pretend it’s sweater weather with Tatsu Ramen

Multiple Locations 
We’re approaching our version of sweater weather so make sure you’ve got LA’s favorite ramen spot on your speed dial (or download the appropriate delivery app, whatever). Tatsu Ramen stands out with their never-rushed preparation that pays homage to the dish’s roots; before the restaurant opened, they flew in ramen experts for Japan to help maximize their menu. Unlike many ramen spots, Tatsu make their dishes easy to customize for those who prefer chicken, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options to the classic pork-based broth. 
How to order: Melrose: pickup and delivery via Postmates; Sawtelle: delivery via Toast Tab; Pasadena: pickup and delivery via DoorDash.

Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine
Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine
Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine

Taste the island life with Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine

Leimert Park
Here’s a little secret that true Jamaican foodies know to be true: minor inconveniences that would act as a red flag at most restaurants are in fact proof of authenticity for Jamaican cuisine. Does the cashier seem impatient or flustered? Is there a 30-minute wait on oxtail? Congratulations, you’ve found the best Jamaican food in the city. Ackee Bamboo has an all-day dinner menu that you can literally close your eyes and point at; there’s no going wrong with this Leimert Park institution.
How to order: Call the restaurant for takeout and delivery.

Gracias Madre
Gracias Madre
Gracias Madre

Impress carnivorous friends with plant-based Mexican fare at Gracias Madre

West Hollywood and Newport Beach
It doesn’t get better than Gracias Madre when it comes to traditional, plant-based Mexican cuisine. Executive chefs Mario Alberto and Alan Sanz make all of their dishes from scratch with local, organic ingredients and all of their spirits are diffuser-free and agave-based, with an emphasis on independent producers and small-batch distillers in Mexico. Order the raspado, sangria, or michelada if you’re looking to take it slow, or the negroni, Oaxaca old fashioned, or mezcal martini if you’re looking for a drink that packs a punch. All of the starters are worth a try, but the macadamia ricotta enchilada is a must for your main dish.
How to order: Reservations can be made on OpenTable; pickup and delivery for both locations via Toast Tab.

Perch
Perch
Perch

Order brunch with an unmatched view of DTLA at Perch 

DTLA
Perhaps it’s because LA’s downtown area is recently revitalized, but there’s something about dining on Perch’s French-inspired rooftop that makes you feel transported not just to another locale, but a completely different era. With a weekend brunch that lasts from 10am–4pm, you’ll have plenty of time to down multiple Sangria pitchers, or why not order a bottle of Veuve Clicquot to share with the table? At just $40 per person, the prix fixe brunch is a steal and comes complete with your choice of hors d’oeuvre, one main dish, and a chef’s selection to be shared by the table. 
How to order: Reservations can be made on OpenTable; pickup and delivery through Postmates.

Try strip mall sushi and live to tell the tale

Various locations
While tourists might scoff, LA sushi lovers know that some of the city’s best and freshest rolls are found in nondescript strip malls, especially if you’re searching for an all-you-can-eat or lunch special. Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo is your best bet for lunch specials, while Echigo in Santa Monica delivers ultra-fresh fish at moderate prices. You have your choice of Sushi Ike, Sushi Q, and LemonFish Sushi in Hollywood alone, or head to hidden Sushi Park in WeHo for your best bet at a celebrity sighting (though beware that the menu also features celebrity pricing).
How to order: Check with specific restaurants for more information on patio dining, takeout, and delivery. 

Go wild with Met Her at a Bar’s Belgian waffle menu 

Miracle Mile
Your favorite meet-in-the-middle brunch spot since 2017, Met Her At A Bar specializes in authentic Belgian waffles and La Colombe coffees, but brags enough vegan and gluten-free options that even your pickiest pal will find themselves puzzling over the array of choices. If you’re looking for something stronger than coffee, the neighborhood cafe has a full wine and beer menu, with mimosas costing just $12 and $9 for each refill. 
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining (pro-tip: join the waitlist via Yelp); delivery and pickup via Postmates and GrubHub

Grab an elote and watch the ducks swim at Echo Park Lake 

Echo Park 
There are a handful of LA meals that are best bought from a street vendor and enjoyed on the spot; elotes-Mexican street corn that’s slathered in mayo and topped with cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime-fit that bill. With modern Mexican cuisine taking over the city, there are plenty of places you can find chef-prepared elotes, but if you want to save some bucks and eat it the traditional way, do a lap around Echo Park Lake until you find an elote vendor. Beware that the spicy-meter is not adjusted to gringo standards-do yourself a favor and order bottled water on the side. 
How to order: Wear a mask, walk up, and order.

Get lost in the sauce at Boyle Heights taco row

Boyle Heights
Given LA’s proximity to the Mexican border and our sizable Latinx community, it’s no surprise that we have a similarly lively street food scene. While several notable chefs have brought authentic Mexican cuisine to your favorite LA kitchens, the best place to grab a traditional street taco remains, well, the street. So why not head down to Boyle Heights taco row and make a feast of it? Whether it’s birria, barbacoa, al pastor, camaron, or tacos arabe you’re craving, you’re sure to find it here. Begin your sojourn at Pepe’s Red Tacos and continue down E. Olympic Blvd until you reach Mariscos Jalisco
How to order: Walk-ins are welcome or call ahead for pickup if you have somewhere specific in mind.

Cole's, Originators of the French Dip
Cole’s, Originators of the French Dip
Cole’s, Originators of the French Dip

Compare the French dips at Philippe’s and Cole’s

DTLA
Classic LA diners Philippe the Original and Cole’s have each claimed themselves as the originator of the French dip sandwich and you’re not a real Angeleno until you’ve tasted both for yourself. Cole’s might have a perceived leg up since they hold the title of LA’s oldest bar-they claim the sandwich was made at their restaurant nine to ten years before it was even a twinkle in Philippe’s eyes-but most of their evidence is hearsay while Philippe’s original owner Philippe Mathieu went on record with his version of events in the LA Times in 1951. With no personal stakes in the rivalry, you’re free to enjoy both sandwiches in peace.
How to order: For Philippe’s, walk-ins welcome for patio dining, nationwide delivery is available through GoldBelly, and local delivery through Chownow and Postmates; For Cole’s, walk-ins welcome for patio dining or call for takeout.

Guelaguetza
Guelaguetza
Guelaguetza

Try the Best Oaxacan Food North of the Border at Guelaguetza

Koreatown
What Jonathan Gold dubbed “the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country,” Guelaguetza is a family-run establishment that’s been churning out rich mole sauces in Koreatown since 1994. During that time they’ve not only popularized traditional Oaxacan cuisine, but co-owner Bricia Lopez is credited with the rise of mezcal across the United States. So storied is their mole sauce that they now make their paste in three flavors and ship it to all 50 states. Go big with the Botana Oaxaquena family-style platter so you don’t have to debate which of their all-star dishes to try first. The restaurant just launched a new patio so you can once again admire their colorful Oaxacan decor in person.
How to order: Reservations for patio dining can be made on Yelp; takeout and delivery via Toast Tab

Time Travel at America’s Original Bob’s Big Boy

Burbank 
Southern California is bursting with burger history and the oldest remaining Big Boy’s in America, built in 1949, and home of the original double-decker hamburger, can be found in the grassy suburb of Burbank, easily spotted by its retro exterior, not to mention the huge neon “Bob’s” sign that sits out front. In 1993, owners began restoring the drive-thru diner to its former glory with an exterior patio, a weekend car hop service, and a Classic Car Show every Friday night. The Original Big Boy combo is their classic dish and comes topped with two never-frozen burger patties, lettuce, cheese, mayo, and the chain’s special red relish, plus fries and a drink. It’s the best 24-hour diner you’ll find in the area, plus the huge Bob out front is totally Insta-worthy. 
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining, drive-thru is open, or call for takeout.

Yamashiro Hollywood
Yamashiro Hollywood
Yamashiro Hollywood

Enjoy sushi with a view of the Hollywood Hills at Yamashiro

Hollywood Hills
Here’s a little equation that every Angeleno knows: the more terrifying and windy the drive (bonus points if it’s a too-narrow two-way street), the greater the payoff when you make it to your destination. Yamashiro is a prime example of this, with verdant gardens, a tranquil koi pond, stunning architecture, and unobstructed views of the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Hills awaiting you at the top, not to mention a Cal-Asian menu that makes it perfect for sushi lovers and those with pickier palates. The restaurant’s new menu features the fresh, made-to-order sushi rolls they’re known for plus premium steak options.
How to order: Reservations can be made on Resy, pickup and delivery through Caviar, or delivery through Postmates and Doordash

Let the good times roll at Harold & Belle’s 

Jefferson Park 
Los Angeles is a melting pot of a city, and one thing that sets our food scene apart is the abundance of authentic cuisine from all over the globe. When you’re in the mood for down-home New Orleans Creole cooking, look no further than Harold & Belle’s, a family-run restaurant that’s served the community for more than 50 years. With dark roux, ground sassafras, shrimp, sausage, ham, blue crab, and chicken, a pot of file gumbo is a must for special occasions, while the po’boy sandwiches are great for wolfing down on the go.
How to order: Pickup and delivery available through ChowNow

La Mascota Bakery
La Mascota Bakery
La Mascota Bakery

Celebrate the holidays with a tamale from La Mascota Bakery 

Boyle Heights
Family-owned La Mascota has been serving the Boyle Heights community for 65 years, dishing out their famous tamales, pan dulces, flans, tarts, and other Mexican desserts alongside a savory menu that includes Mexican breakfast staples and a variety of torta options, plus a hot drink menu that pairs perfectly with their sweets. The obvious choice is to stop by on a Tuesday for tamales that are just $1.75 a piece, and while you’re there, snag whatever delicacies are fresh out of the oven. Tamales are a typical Christmas dish for many Latinx cultures so make sure you order in advance if it’s during the holiday season. 
How to order: Call for pickup; delivery through UberEats.

Chicken tikka poutine at Badmaash 

Downtown LA and West Hollywood 
Badmaash means naughty and mischievous in Hindi, which the father-and-two-son team named their restaurant in honor of their non-traditional take on Indian food inspired by their Toronto upbringing with dishes like chicken tikka poutine; a piping hot heap of masala fries doused in beef gravy with cheese curds and topped with tandoori chicken tikka and cilantro. Badmaash also features traditional Indian dishes like their 24-hour slow-cooked dal that’s made with black lentils and kidney beans, and butter chicken that sits in a 48-hour marinade of yogurt and spices before its charred in the tandoor and finished in a creamy tomato curry flavored with fenugreek. 
How to order: Reservations can be made on their website; pickup and delivery through DoorDash

Openaire Los Angeles
Openaire Los Angeles
Openaire Los Angeles

Soak up the jungle vibes at Openaire 

Koreatown 
Two-Michelin starred chef and native Angeleno Josiah Citrin sought to reflect the bounty of California’s land and sea at his second story terrace restaurant at the Line Hotel, an endeavor we feel confident saying he’s successfully pulled off. Openaire features a greenhouse design with lush plant life throughout and string lights draped across the patios. The seasonal menu reflects the diversity of the city and scoffs at any specific categorization; you’ll find Asian- and Latin-inspired choices rotating alongside traditional main courses, with most dishes intended to be shared. Enjoy discounted food and drink menus when you dine poolside between 2:30-9pm Monday through Friday. 
How to order: Reservations can be made on OpenTable

Take advantage of all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ 

Multiple Locations
A densely populated neighborhood in Central LA, Koreatown is home to one of the largest Korean immigrant communities in the country, meaning there are few places stateside that are better for Korean food, and bar none when it comes to Korean BBQ. Korean BBQ refers to a communal, DIY-style of preparing meat on gas or charcoal grills that are built into dining tables. Locals can never agree on the best KBBQ in the city (and it will depend on factors like quality and types of meat, wait times, and cost) so check out our roundup of the best spots in the city and find one that fits your needs.
How to order: Call your preferred restaurant for dining, pickup, and delivery options.

Saffron & Rose Ice Cream
Saffron & Rose Ice Cream
Saffron & Rose Ice Cream

Taste Persian ice cream at Saffron & Rose 

Westwood
Saffron & Rose owner Ali Kashani- Rafye first began making ice cream in Tehran, Iran over 75 years ago and brought his unique, Persian-style ice cream with him when he relocated to Southern California in the 1970s. Kashani-Rafye’s family still runs the Westside ice cream joint, which is a great option for your vegan and dairy-free friends-their menu includes a long list of fruity, floral, and nutty flavors, with Saffron & Pistachio being their signature choice, alongside standouts like Fig & Cranberry, Poppy Seed Slush, and Lavender.
How to order: Walk-ins are welcome.

Step up to the counter at Eastside Market Italian Deli 

Chinatown
A Chinatown fixture since 1929, family-owned Eastside Market remains one of your best options for an authentic Italian deli experience in LA. The Hot Roast Beef & Pastrami sandwich is their most popular, but the Italian Meatball trails close behind and you can’t beat their Lasagna with Meatballs when you’re in the mood for stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. The rich, ricotta-stuffed cannolis with powdered sugar, cinnamon, chocolate chips, and pistachio on the ends will have you serenading the city with “That’s amore.”
How to order: Order pickup through their website.

Pair fresh food with ocean air and views at Malibu Farm 

Malibu
Outside of the city, but still in LA county, beachside dining in Malibu is a beloved rite of passage that will immediately quell any doubts you might have about silly things like cost of living and bumper-to-bumper traffic-it’s all obviously worth it when you take in the view from Malibu Pier. Malibu Farm has expanded wildly in only a few years of business (the farm has additional locations in Newport Beach, Cabo, Lanai, Miami, Montecito, New York, and Tokyo), and you can choose to dine at the original Malibu Farm Cafe at the end of the pier that overlooks the ocean if you prefer a casual cafe experience, or Malibu Farm Restaurant at the beginning of the pier if you’re coming for weekend brunch or dinner and drinks. Both the cafe and restaurant menus feature simple, seasonal ingredients with fresh-picked produce and sustainably sourced meats; we like the smoked salmon hash with their rainbow mimosa selection (orange, kale apple, and watermelon) for brunch and the lobster mac and cheese for dinner.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome at Malibu Farm Cafe. Reservations for Malibu Farm Restaurant can be made on Yelp; pickup and delivery through Toast Tab

Taste artisanal pies at Hail Mary Pizza

Atwater Village
“Hail Mary, full of taste,” goes the tagline at this Atwater pizza parlor, renowned for their charred yet fluffy, flaky crusts that are handmade daily with organic, California-grown wheat and grains, and cold-fermented. The menu rotates based on seasonal ingredients and their simple marinara pie that’s topped with just tomato sauce, garlic, and oregano will have you reconsidering cheese as a necessary pizza topping. While pies are the clear draw here, their starter and salad menus, which include dishes like Pork Belly and Beef Meatballs and a Beets and Burrata Salad, are also worth your attention. The pizza joint also has a full wine and beer menu that’s available to-go.
How to order: Order pickup via Toast Tab

Have a Sinatra-approved steak dinner at Dear John’s 

Culver City 
When Frank Sinatra urges you to leave your Hollywood career behind and open a piano bar, you don’t think twice, you just do. Or at least that’s what Johnny Harlowe did in 1962 when his pal Frank urged him to open his haunt near Sony Studios. The rest is history-one that you can be a part of since award-winning chefs and restaurateurs Hans Röckenwagner and Josiah Citrin teamed up to reopen Dear John’s in April of 2019, updating the menu to include old-school cocktails and your steakhouse favorites. 
How to order: Reservations for patio dining can be made on Resy; order pickup through Toast Tab

Jon & Vinny's Restaurant
Jon & Vinny’s Restaurant
Jon & Vinny’s Restaurant

Get fancy Italian takeout from Jon & Vinny’s 

Fairfax and Brentwood 
Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo bring their Trois Mec experience to this laid-back American-Italian eatery that’s named in their honor, impressing with bubbly, charred crusts and chewy-on-the-inside pies that are topped with unexpected ingredients, like Salad Days, which is decked out with little gem lettuce, red onion, caciocavallo, sungold tomatoes, and creamy Italian dressing with a thick tomato sauce underneath. Their legendary fusilli alla vodka rivals any OG versions you’ll find at NYC’s best Italian spots. 
How to order: Make reservations or order takeout and delivery through their website.

Zankou Chicken
Zankou Chicken
Zankou Chicken

Scarf down Zankou Chicken in a parking lot because it’s too good to wait 

Multiple Locations
Walk by one of Zankou’s many Southern California locations and you’ll be hard-pressed to understand why Angelenos go crazy over this fast-casual Meditteranean chain. However, all of those doubts will be immediately vanquished as soon as their secret garlic sauce makes contact with your mouth. All of their meats (tri-tip shawarma, chicken tarna, rotisserie chicken, and kabobs) are mouth-wateringly juicy and likely to tempt you into eating your meal fresh out of the box in the Zankou parking lot (don’t worry, you won’t be the only one with this idea). Make sure you order plenty of pickled turnips on the side as well as extra garlic sauce.
How to order: Choose a location in order to find the pickup and delivery options near you.

Grab takeout from Jitlada Thai Restaurant 

East Hollywood
Don’t let the strip mall location fool you, Michelin-starred Jitlada is your go-to option for affordable, fast, and flavorful Thai food with none of the fuss. Be mindful that their “medium spicy” food label requires a glass of water on-hand and that enduring their spicy challenge just might permanently sear your taste buds. The green mussels curry is the standout dish. 
How to order: Call 323-667-9809 for takeout; delivery through UberEats, DoorDash, and Grubhub. 

Head to SGV for the best dumplings

Monterey Park
Mama Lu’s, a Taiwanese food specialist, has two Monterey Park locations just in case the line at your first choice proves too long. Order the juicy pork dumplings and you’ll see why there’s frequently a line out the door. Other popular items include the Green Onion Fried Pancake, the Shanghai-style Chow Mein and the House Stir-Fried Udon. Mama Lu’s now sells their dumplings frozen so you can make them at home. 
How to order: Takeout and delivery via Doordash for the location on E. Garvey Ave; only takeout available via DoorDash for the location on W. Garvey Ave.Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.Danielle Dorsey is the Los Angeles Editor at 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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