Hollywood Restaurants

Restaurant neighborhood
Baroo (Closed)
5706 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood
Next time you drive past one of Los Angeles’s many, often tumbledown, strip malls, look closely. Nestled between the laundromat and the questionable massage parlor might be one of the city’s best restaurants. Petit Trois, Sushi Gen, Jitlada...all in strip malls. Baroo is no different, and for chef Kwang Uh—a Noma alum—the choice of location is deliberate. Affordable rent means more research trips abroad for fresh ideas and new ingredients. The dishes at Baroo are hard to describe: experimental, deeply savory, and Asian-inflected. Pickles take center stage to the point that the only decoration in the otherwise sparse space is jar upon jar of Uh’s fermentation projects. Surrender and roll with the chef’s recommendations, although we’re partial to the Amira basmati rice, coated in a ton of herbs, coconut, dried shrimp, and pickled things. Most of the menu is vegan, it’s all under fifteen dollars, and the house-made kombucha is essential.
Beachwood Café
2695 N. Beachwood Dr., Hollywood
The cornerstone of the one-street commercial area in adorable, historic Beachwood Canyon, Beachwood Café is still one of LA’s best-kept secrets. The eclectic décor has a distinctively ‘60s vibe that makes you nostalgic for the city’s early years, when development in the canyon really started to explode. The restaurant serves classic American/Californian food that’s heavy on vegetables and vegetarian options—that said, the meatball sub and pulled pork sandwiches are flat out great.
Mud Hen Tavern (Closed)
724 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood
Susan Feniger opened Mud Hen Tavern in the space previously occupied by her popular restaurant, Street. The menu reads over-the-top and all-over-the-place, but it's actually exciting, innovative, and comes together as a great meal. The chicken & waffle croquettes with bacon and spicy maple syrup is a great example: The spice kicks up the maple syrup, which, glazed on crispy chicken meatballs, makes for an insanely delicious small plate. Everything else we tried was equally good, from the tuna ceviche with toasted corn to the vegetarian tostada (the walnut 'chorizo' on this is delicious, deceiving, and brilliant). It's mobbed here on weekend nights, with loud, upbeat music (Eye of the Tiger was blasting during dessert), and the vibe is definitely more pre-game than date.
Nong La
145 N. La Brea Blvd., Hollywood
Considering Nong La’s immense popularity, it’s easy to forget that it’s actually a small, family-run operation. It started with brother-and-sister duo, Elaine and Victor Phuong, and their mom Khanh Phan, who sourced family recipes and adapted them into a perfect menu of Vietnamese banh mi, egg-topped fried rice, and a light, flavorful pho that you can customize to your liking. The new La Brea location is just a smidge fancier than the Sawtelle original but the menu is for the most part identical. Tip: Treat yourself to a glass of the homemade passion fruit iced tea—it’s delicious and just sweet enough to constitute as dessert. The original location is on the West Side.
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