The golden hills of the trendy people are a very special place. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers owns a Music Conservatory here, almost everything smells like Aesop soap, and there’s the shadow of a foot clinic that had a swiveling picture sign of a happy foot/sad foot that holds immense local superstition (RIP). In other words, Silver Lake is weird.
Luckily, this tiny, very hill-y neighborhood also is overflowing with fantastic restaurants. Here’s our complete list of them.
Meet Silver Lake’s king of the castle. Since L&E opened in 2012, like a hardworking backpacker climbing Mt. Fuji, this cozy neighborhood spot has slowly but surely made its way to the top of our list of restaurants in the area. Of course, the oysters are spectacular (creamy and briny, like someone hand-delivered them from the ocean), but they’ve also got a banging burger, cobb salad heavy with bacon bits, and a smoked fish dip that comes with crackers they made themselves. They’ve also taken over the sidewalk out front, there’s an upstairs space with a limited menu and Happy Hour specials, and everyone just generally seems happy to be here. We don’t know if there’s been a cosmic shift, a spell cast by a witch, or just our own ignorance, but if you’re not eating here, you’re not really dining out in Silver Lake.
We like pretty things here at The Infatuation (color-coded day planners, photos of young Robert De Niro, etc.). So naturally, we’re drawn to Kinkan’s dazzling sushi boxes. Operating out of a residential apartment complex, this Silver Lake pop-up is in pursuit of perfection, serving beautiful chirashi bowls and sashimi platters filled with bluefin tuna, sea bream, uni, and unagi.
From romantic dates to platonic hangouts, Bar Restaurant manages to work for every occasion. Which isn’t what you’d expect from an experimental French restaurant hawking the least SEO-friendly name on the planet, but their menu is ready to charm its way into your heart. Make sure to order their super soft jamón Ibérico. The slices of ham are cut so delicately, you’d think the chef was studying to be a surgeon, and you should absolutely add on some glasses of rosé and mussels drowned in a creamy dijon mustard sauce.
The Cubano at El Cochinito isn’t just the best in Silver Lake, or even the city - according to the International Cuban Sandwich Festival, it’s the best in the entire world. The family run joint took first place in the Miami-based competition back in 2018 and hasn’t skipped a beat since then, consistently serving some of our favorite Cuban dishes in the city. You’ll want the pollo empanizado - breaded chicken breasts that have been pan-fried and hit with a hefty lime squeeze. You’ll also want the ropa vieja, that aforementioned sandwich, and definitely a tropical guanabana smoothie. What we’re trying to say is: bring a friend?
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this American comfort food restaurant lives up to its name. You’ll find them in a bright-red building on Sunset Blvd., slinging hot catfish sandwiches and breakfast burritos the size of new-born babies in the morning then oyster pot pies and NY strip steaks at night. They also offer special dessert orders, like whole chocolate pudding pies, cinnamon rolls slathered with labneh frosting, and banana bread loaves - like we said, they really do it all.
The team behind Los Angeles taquero legend, Guisados, recently opened a new mariscos restaurant on Sunset Blvd. Although the menu here is pretty compact, you still have a good number of options - flour or corn tortillas, shrimp or fish tacos, whether to rip into the bag as soon as it’s ready or wait until you get to the table like a civilized person, etc. Both shrimp and fish tacos are beer-battered to perfection, made with a proper crunch, and their seafood-packed campechana is the ideal snack to have while strolling around the neighborhood.
Right across the street from All Day Baby is El Ruso’s Silver Lake truck. Known for their excellent Sonora-style tacos and fluffy, handmade tortillas, not much has changed with the expansion, so get ready for cheese-encrusted vampiro tacos, red-hot birria that’s been stewed for hours, and their signature sobaqueras. The sobaqueras are approximately the size of a parachute and come stuffed with your choice of beans, tender chile colorado, or just your nose deeply inhaling the delicious scent.
We’ve seen this neighborhood Italian restaurant go through more ups and downs than the plot of a rom-com. Currently, they’ve moved past the honeymoon phase (best restaurant in the area, reinventing pasta, etc.), and have settled into a more comfortable position - over the past year or two, they’ve scaled back their menu a lot, removing things like scallop crudo, Calabrian pork ribs, and tortellini relaxing in bone broth, leaving us with a compact list of their greatest hits. Which, of course, are still pretty good - that braised sugo radiatori should win some sort of award - but overall, they’ve relaxed into the Nice Neighborhood Restaurant territory.
Eating at Ceviche Project feels like dropping into a Miami club in the ’80s - it’s tropical, there’s flair, and you’re definitely going to have fun. They’re currently only open for outdoor dining (so no grabbing a seat at the bar made of marble) but you’ll still get to enjoy vibrant scallops off the half shell, tai snapper ceviche, and their kanpachi tostada - a stunning dish topped with so much trout roe, yellowfish, and avocado cream, it almost reaches all the way to heaven.
Over in the old Ma’am Sir space, Sunset Sushi is churning out seafood boxes that look like they belong at MOCA. Run by the same team behind Ichijiku in Highland Park, the relatively new sushi restaurant has already turned into a neighborhood staple, serving high-quality sashimi and chirashi bowls that shine like jewelry boxes. Our favorite is the Hokkaido don, where rows of succulent blue crab, salmon, hotate scallops, and enough ikura to populate a pet store are delicately laid over a bed of white rice.
Needle, a tiny Cantonese restaurant at the corner of Hyperion Ave. and Sunset Blvd., has changed a lot during the pandemic. (Same.) They’ve expanded their menu, upgraded their char siu, and even added a fine dining option: a family-style set menu that feeds five-to-six people, runs for three hours, and is inspired by traditional Chinese banquets. Of course, if you can’t scrounge up five other people on a random Thursday, ordering a la carte (which is currently to-go-only) is still a great choice: get the glistening ong choy - a dark, leafy green covered in garlic sauce - or the aforementioned char siu that comes glazed in honey and served with hot mustard.
Half-Austrian restaurant, half-natural wine bar, Eszett is for people who look at a traditional date night and ask, “but why isn’t it more stylish?” All the counter space is covered in terrazzo, booths are swathed in pale, green leather, and you’ll probably see that one cool acquaintance you’ve always been slightly jealous of. Get whatever toast they’re serving that night (last time we checked it was Italian anchovies over Bub & Grandma’s bread, yum) plus a few glasses of pet-nat chardonnay or a non-alcoholic botanical tonic.
Between chorizo burgers, pork belly bánh mì, slow-roasted pork shank, and an immensely crunchy lechon kawali, this Filipino restaurant goes the whole hog on, well, hog. Each dish shines in its own way, like adobe belly nigiri showered in furikake and chives, or Spoon & Pork’s signature dish, the deep-fried patita. Doused in garlic vinegar then served over fragrant jasmine rice, this massive pork shank is big enough for two - even if that’s just you and yourself the morning after.
Since its inception back in the 1960s, Casita Del Campo has remained one of the most reliable places in Silver Lake to have a good time. The classic Mexican restaurant - and historic queer nightlife institution - serves a wide-ranging menu of enchiladas, burritos, sizzling fajitas plates, and margaritas so strong, they should come with an FDA warning. They’ve also transformed their parking lot into a beautiful, expansive patio, complete with brightly colored potted plants, string lights overhead, and more than enough space for birthday parties.
We’re as tired as you of this whole “NYC vs. The Rest of the World” debate when it comes to bagel-making, so we’ll skip straight to the point: Maury’s bakes a damn good bagel. Operating out of a red-brick building in a more residential part of Silver Lake, this takeout-only spot serves bagels that are pliable and chewy, plus a whole bunch of cured fish options for every breakfast aficionado in your friend group. The buttery black cod goes perfectly with cream cheese, there’s a $22 version piled high with lox and wasabi tobiko, as well as a traditional smoked salmon bagel sandwich that’s satisfyingly simple.
Come any night of the week, and you’ll be greeted by a lengthy line in front of Magpies. Every type of person on earth is here - awkward teenagers on awkward dates, dads trying to connect with their children, Twitter comedians we’ve had to google to place, etc. Have we stood in that long ass line? Absolutely. Will we stand in it again? No doubt. That’s because Magpies is arguably the best soft serve shop in town. All their flavors (which range from key lime to malted milk chocolate, with plenty of vegan options in between) come out smooth and creamy, like they were swirled in the Milky Way itself. If it’s your first time, get something simple, like sweet cream or corn almond, then go to town with one or two toppings. We’re partial to the butterscotch krispies.
The second location of the massively popular Thai joint might not have the partytime setting and beer towers like its original Sunset Strip locale, but its kitschy feel is the perfect match for Silver Lake. This is some of the finest Thai food in the city, in a casual setting suited for almost anything. Crowds can get wild.
Whenever we’re feeling nutrient-deprived and haven’t closed a ring on our fitness tracker in, like, forever, we head to Botanica. Located in a big, bright space on Silver Lake Blvd., a meal here feels like dining in a highly-curated Instagram feed in the best way possible. It’s life but as we wish we lived it all the time, where light streams in from the windows, gorgeous melons are sprinkled with feta and just-picked mint leaves, and crudite platters look as if constructed by Michelangelo.
People tend to forget about the Edendale, a friendly neighborhood restaurant and bar located right off the 5 Freeway. Which is a mistake, seeing that it’s secretly one of the prettiest places to grab a drink right now in Silver Lake. It’s housed in this massive brick building that, until 2002, used to be a fire station, complete with a sprawling courtyard, full-service bar, secluded dining rooms, and a giant patio out front. The Edendale sort of gives off a “house in Clue where something mysterious will inevitably happen” energy and honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
A very not-boring wine bar, Same Same also serves really excellent Thai food. Located in a no-name stripmall along Sunset, Same Same has a solid wine list (that goes great with spicy food), a lively space full of people who aren’t whispering in corners, and a khao soi you’ll dream about for days afterward.
Bowery Bungalow is still one of the best restaurants in Silver Lake that nobody knows about, and serves excellent North African/Mediterranean fusion food in a refurbished bungalow space. Its casual setting is the perfect place to come in with friends and have some fun on the back patio, and intimate enough for some date-night action.
Freedman’s, the popular Jewish comfort food spot in Silver Lake, recently announced they’d finally be reopening - but with a twist. Instead of reubens and latkes, the summer menu is all Greek food and there’s a new white and blue-painted front patio adorned with wood floors and a lot of fake leaves. Say hello to Greekman’s, one of this summer’s most exciting restaurant pivots. The menu is filled with solid dishes like crispy zucchini chips, smoked cauliflower and labne, and correctly advertised “very lemony” potatoes.
Between the gourmet groceries, $45 candles, manuka honey elixirs, and baristas who genuinely don’t seem to care whether you live or die, Broome Street General Store is absolutely peak Silver Lake. The coffee is strong, their house-baked scones (which come in flavors like buttermilk cream cheese, Meyer lemon blueberry, and chive feta) are truly delicious, and so what? Maybe we like a little manuka honey every now and then.
Whether you’re headed to a picnic at Silver Lake Meadow or just want to bathe yourself in vintage goudas, Say Cheese has all the dairy, charcuterie, and freshly baked bread your heart could ever desire. The cheese menu here is tremendous, filled with over 60 different choices, including harder-to-find options like bright-orange Shropshire Blues or smoky, French cheeses that have been aged for nearly two years. There are also pickles stuffed with anchovies, baked sandwiches made to order, and custom gift baskets that have been curated by the shop owner himself.
A lot of newer Izakayas cropping up around town are doing a more American-influenced take on Japanese cuisine. Not Osen. This tavern keeps things super traditional, with wood panels, servers in kimonos, and grill smoke that will not leave your clothes for a few hours. Food-wise, they’re doing great, affordable yakitori skewers and sushi. If you want to eat a dinner that doesn’t look like your last eight restaurant outings, come to Osen.
Sure, the lines at this massively popular ramen spot border on ridiculous, but stay strong. The ramen inside is some of the best in the city and you can do takeout. Seriously, do takeout. It tastes just as good on your couch and you get an extra couple hours tacked on to your Netflix binge.
Despite a cringe-worthy name that even we want to roll our eyes at, What The Fish is a remarkably solid sushi restaurant. Besides Yakuza on Silver Lake Blvd., there aren’t many others in the area (you’ll have to venture to Atwater Village or Downtown LA for that). Nothing here will blow your mind, but the fish quality is high, there’s something on the menu for everyone (crispy rice! Traditional nigiri! Baked unagi rolls!), and the prices hover around $20-$30 per person.