Located in the shadow of all the major movie studios, North Hollywood is a suburban neighborhood in the Valley littered with actors seeking low rent and more black box theater spaces than you ever realized existed in all of LA. And to a large extent, that’s what you’ll find there. But it’s also home to a diverse and exciting crop of restaurants. So there’s no excuse to be eating chain burgers when you probably live a few blocks from a Venezuelan breakfast cafe or a tamale shop. Concentrate on these 14 spots and you’ll realize what you’ve been missing.
Sri Siam is a seemingly random family-run Thai restaurant right off the 170 freeway. We say “seemingly random” because it’s actually not random at all. Open since 1984, Sri Siam has been serving dishes like papaya salad, boat noodles, and khao soi long before you could easily find them outside of Thai Town. But aside from its historical standing, the food tastes incredible. We suggest the crispy rice salad, the panang curry, and the off-menu radish cakes. Then sit with your feast and watch Wheel of Fortune play on loop on the TV in the corner.
When you hit the stretch of North Hollywood that’s basically just semi-trucks and loading docks, it means you’re close to Mi Ranchito Veracruz. This tiny order-at-the-counter Mexican restaurant has an excellent menu stacked with burritos and chilaquiles, but everybody’s really here for the tamales. They’re served Veracruz-style (wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks), are perfectly cooked, and slightly sweet. Sprinkling the spicy red table salsa on top is also a must. If you’re throwing a big house party, they also do catering.
Tatang focuses on a mix of traditional and not-so-traditional Filipino flavors. Inspired by chef JR Martin’s grandfather’s cooking, the menu includes soy-marinated pork shoulder, golden lumpia that are made with organic chicken, ube french fries, and one of our favorite spaghettis around. Topped with longanisa and banana BBQ sauce, this dish is sweet, garlicky, and exactly the kind of food you want after eating your “meal-prepped” white bread and sliced cheese combo for the fourth day in a row.
Despite a name that sounds like an overpriced drip coffee shop on Abbot Kinney, Coffee For Breakfast is a tiny cafe that serves traditional Venezuelan breakfast and lunch from 8am-2:30pm. Our favorite section of the menu is easily the cachapas, which come with gooey, cheese-filled corn cakes, a protein of your choice on the side, and eggs. Round out your meal with a cinnamon cafe con leche. The place is pretty small, so if you’re with a bigger group, head out back where you’ll find a leafy, shaded patio with all the room you need.
Your refrigerator broke, your muffler is doing that thing again, and all your new headshots look like they were taken in the dark. It’s been a rough week and you need comfort. Go to Mofongos. Our recommendation at this family-run Puerto Rican restaurant is to start with the appetizer platter that comes with beef-filled potato balls and yucca fritters, and then end with the carne guisada mofongo. It’s a mountain of deep-fried green plantains topped with a savory beef stew that’ll make all your problems seem like a distant memory.
Walking into Chiba, the massive sushi restaurant in North Hollywood, is like walking into a sushi social club. No matter what time of day you come, this multi-roomed restaurant will be filled with birthday parties housing specialty rolls, solo lunchers making their way through the omakase, and booths of little old ladies sipping tea and complaining about their husbands. But Chiba is more than just a scene - they serve some of the freshest fish north of Ventura Blvd. If you’re coming in solo or with another person, sit at the bar, where the chefs will gladly inform you which nigiri is especially good that day.
This excellent birria specialist has a few locations around The Valley, but parks its truck in Noho every Tuesday and Thursday-Sunday. For those mornings when you need something hearty, warm, and spicy to clear your brain fog, their birria en caldo is a guaranteed cure. This spicy broth is filled with plenty of onion, cilantro, and slow-cooked beef for a somewhat balanced breakfast. If you’re looking to throw something else into the mix, get their birria ramen, which is classic Maruchan noodles swimming in the house consommé. When it comes to feasting on birria, we throw the metaphorical rule book out the window, so don’t be surprised if you order a bit of everything and end up dunking your tacos in your ramen too.
For all the regions of American barbecue that you can find in LA, Memphis-style is still a bit underrepresented. And that’s why when we first saw chef Manu Aka appear on KTLA in the summer of 2020 talking about his new Memphis Grill on Lankershim, we were excited. And then when we tried his food, we were really excited. Memphis-style barbecue leans heavily on pork that’s been smoked in a signature dry rub and served with a tomato-based sauce on the side, so when you’re at Memphis Grill, every meal needs to start with the pulled pork and baby back ribs. The meat here is sweet and zesty with a pronounced tanginess you can’t often find in LA barbecue. At $21, the 2 meat + 2 sides meal is a fantastic value for how much food you get.
It’s not that you’re antisocial, it’s just that you sometimes need an hour by yourself at lunch or you probably won’t make it through the end of the day. When it’s time for a solo meal in North Hollywood, head to Hayat’s Kitchen. This family-run Lebanese restaurant has excellent food (we particularly love the kebab platters and any of the hot maza), prices that hover around $15, and a quiet front patio that kind of feels like you’re in a forest. If sitting out here with big plates of meat and sides of hummus can’t clear your mind, nothing will.
Yes, Pitfire is a bonafide chain with seven locations across Southern California, but this wood-fired pizza spot is a North Hollywood original and a place where everyone in the neighborhood seems to gather on a nightly basis. The massive location at Magnolia and Lankershim was also recently overhauled and now includes a sprawling open-air beer garden with its own bar and a standalone Superba that’s open during the day. The pizza itself has a crispy, mid-sized crust, tons of fresh ingredients, and is ideal for big groups of friends and family that all have varying tastes.
Walking into Cahuenga General Store is like walking into another world, or at the very least, walking into WestWorld. This former prop shop turned sandwich cafe looks like a real 19th-century general store with creaky wooden floors, chairs hanging from the ceiling, and homemade soap on the shelves. There’s also a fantastic side patio now where open mic nights happen weekly. But the real reason you’re here is for the sandwiches. With over 30 different kinds, the menu is a little overwhelming, but our strategy is to stick with anything that has pesto on it. They make it in-house, and it’s incredible.
The journey to find a healthy lunch spot that won’t make you sad inside is a long and winding one - even in this town. If you work or live around North Hollywood, HealthyCA is about as good as it gets. The tiny salad shop on Lankershim isn’t anything more than a counter and a few tables out on the sidewalk, so don’t come here for your weekly lunch outing with friends. Come here for a really fresh salad (get the namesake HealthyCA) on your lunch hour or in between auditions, and to eat it all in blissful solitude in your car.
Salsa & Beer
With locations in both Noho and Lake Balboa, Salsa & Beer is one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in The Valley. It’s easy to see why - the large menu is filled with dishes ranging from sizzling fajitas to carnitas tortas, there’s a long list of Mexican beer and margaritas, and those unlimited chips, salsa, and bean dip are always free. But most importantly, Salsa & Beer has managed to keep that rowdy, neighborhood restaurant energy that makes it so hard to leave at the end of the night.
The Juice Parlor might sound and look like every other overpriced health trap, but their food is good enough to prove every cliche wrong. Their excellent acai bowls are the reason to come here, and at $11, they won’t break the bank either. This is the place you stop into after goat yoga or on a solo lunch run when you just want something healthy and delicious.