Culver City Restaurants
11208 Culver Blvd., Culver City
A steakhouse with a storied past, Dear John’s originally opened in the ’60s, becoming a haunt for old Hollywood actors (Frank Sinatra was a fan) and entertainment executives from the nearby studios. A few decades in the place fell on hard times and was turned into a bar called Lucky’s—until 2019, when Hans Röckenwagner (a longtime LA chef) and Josiah Citrin (the chef-restaurateur behind Mélisse) decided to bring it back to life. They signed a lease for only two years—the building is being razed for a new development in April 2021—and unfortunately, the pandemic has cut into most of it. But you can still get your fix of fillet via takeout: They offer a classic steak dinner complete with broccolini, buttery mashed potatoes, and tiramisu, or you can order à la carte.
8810 Washington Blvd., Culver City
In NYC, Roberta’s pizza is the OG. In LA, it’s the new kid who became the prom queen. Roberta’s, and its roster of signature pastas and pizzas, originally came west as a pop-up at Platform. But like so many East Coast transplants dipping their toes in the Pacific, Roberta’s decided to stay. A good thing, considering locals have developed a mean Bee Sting habit. (A Bee Sting is when you make soppressata and mozzarella into a pizza and top it with chili and honey.) The cacio e pepe here nails the cacio to pepe ratio, and the kid’s pastas are so good, adults know to order a second for themselves.
3599 Hayden Ave., Culver City
COVID-19 Update: Open for an incredibly elevated takeout experience with a companion "atmospheric box" of flatware, incense, and linens to amplify the meal. An eighteen-course meal spanning several hours inside of an architectural marvel to a score composed by This Will Destroy You may not be for everyone. While one person says it was the best meal of her life, the next might say they could hardly sit through the experience. Coming here is just as much about showmanship as it is about food. But one thing’s for sure: You’ve never had dinner like this before. Chef Jordan Kahn (formerly of Red Medicine, currently of Destroyer) took over architect Eric Owen Moss’s “Waffle” building in 2017 with the intention of opening a fine-dining restaurant that has a function for every floor. Enter on the ground floor; get on the elevator to the kitchen and look around; get back on to the twenty-two-seat dining room. (If you notice a particular scent, it’s likely the custom fragrance Kahn developed to round out the dining experience.) Once there, sit back in the greyscale banquettes and wait for the show to begin—each course…
8830 Washington Blvd., Culver City
Loqui—which started as a pop up in San Francisco’s Tartine—has their first brick-and-mortar location in Platform, Culver City.
Maple Block Meat Co.
3973 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City
Historically, Los Angeles hasn’t been a great town for barbecue, but that seems to be changing with Culver City's Maple Block Meat Co. Launched by Daniel Weinstock (Spago), Adam Cole (The Bazaar), and restauranteur Mike Garrett, the menu combines their intimate knowledge of food and presentation with barbecue chops gleaned from Cole’s Texas upbringing. At Maple Block, the entire butchering process is executed on site, where there just happens to be an enormous smoker (which, appropriately, is fueled by locally-sourced peachwood). The result is what many are calling the best barbecue in the city, served alongside a pared-down menu that showcases southern-inspired veggie, fluffy biscuits, and fruit cobbler that’s more than worth the sugar bomb. Brisket is definitely one of the things to order, along with the absurdly good turkey and pulled pork.
11275 National Blvd., Culver City
The "No Cell Phone" sign at the door sets the tone for a meal focused on melt-in-your-mouth sushi made by one serious chef. While he presents seasonal highlights and rare cuts (among other delights, we sampled a buttery escolar with a light garlic glaze, and kinka-saba, a thinly sliced, sweet Mackerel from northern Japan) his warm and welcoming wife Miyo gives the low-down on each dish. She's happy to add that she doesn't actually like sushi unless it's made by her husband—apparently his is the only technique to trust. The unusual cuts of fresh fish and the subtle twists to the traditional format, like using warm rice to contrast with the cold fish and adding sesame seeds to the typical tuna sashimi starter's ponzu sauce for crunch, make all the difference.
12517 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City
Chef Brian Dunsmoor's Hatchet Hall joined the strip of West Washington near A Frame in 2015, taking over the large space formerly occupied by Waterloo & City. The space has largely been transformed—there's an outdoor patio in the front that leads into the restaurant, which begins as airy and light, and becomes darker (in a handsome, cozy way) as you continue deeper into its rooms. The back of the restaurant houses a second, separate bar deemed Old Man's Bar—it looks as brooding as you'd expect, but it's also beautiful, and it serves up noteworthy serious cocktails from 8pm to 2am. In addition to the restaurant's cool ambience and the charm of the speak-easy-like Old Man's Bar, there's Chef Dunsmoor's modern and fresh Southern-inspired food, which is equally pleasing. The menu rotates but you can expect dishes like yellowtail tartare with lemon aioli, grilled flat breads, roasted game hen, brilliant grilled veggie sides, and of course oysters—there's an oyster happy hour daily, 5:30 to 6:30pm. Also worth noting: Hatchet Hall serves Sunday brunch.
3455 S. Overland Ave., Culver City
It's hard to score a ticket to reservation-only n/naka, which books up to three months in advance. But it's popularity (and price tag) is justified by the truly first-rate food experience you get there—this is a special occasion kind of place. Run by renowned chef Niki Nakayama, who was profiled in Netflix's docu-series Chef's Table, n/naka offers two different thirteen-course omakase dinners—one of which is vegetarian friendly. (You choose between the two tastings a couple weeks before your reservation.) The restaurant focuses on using local, organic, and seasonal ingredients—they actually have their own organic farm with urban farming venture, Farmscape Gardens. You won't be able to predict your exact tasting, but don't expect traditional sashimi. Each course is a modern take on Japanese dishes, with plenty of unexpected ingredients (like pasta) that Nakayama makes work (really well).
3229 Helms Ave., Culver City
This popular burger joint—which fronts Helms Bakery’s giant furniture shop, H.D. Buttercup—is just a stone’s throw from Culver City’s gallery scene. Order the Office Burger, complete with bacon, caramelized onions, gruyere, and blue cheese (no substitutions allowed), with a side of sweet potato fries, and one of an encyclopedia’s worth of craft beers. There's another location in Santa Monica.
9418 Venice Blvd., Culver City
One of the first things you'll likely notice is that the stools here aren't particularly comfortable—we're guessing this was an intentional decision, otherwise everyone would stick around for even longer. Despite the packed scene (you'll get intimate with your neighbor), this is one of our favorites in Culver City, thanks to the California-Mexican menu and the frequent happy hours.