Plaza Blog

Famous Los Angeles Eateries with Historic Charm: Time-Travel with Your Taste Buds

Ah, Los Angeles! The City of Angels is known for its glitz and glamour, but did you know it also boasts a rich culinary history? Discover new restaurants nearby and step back in time as you dine in eateries with historic charm. From old-school Hollywood hangouts to Mexican-American gems, let's take a journey to some of LA's most iconic dining destinations.

  1. Cole's, Originators of the French Dip
    In the heart of downtown LA, you'll find Cole's, the city's oldest operating restaurant that first opened its doors in 1908. With vintage interiors and a nostalgic ambiance, Cole's is famous for its delectable French Dip sandwiches. Pair your sandwich with a classic cocktail, such as an Old Fashioned or Martini, and soak in the historic atmosphere.
  2. Formosa Cafe
    West Hollywood's Formosa Cafe has seen the likes of Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, and Elvis Presley since its establishment in 1938. The cafe's iconic 1904 red trolley car has been lovingly restored, allowing you to dine in a unique and cozy setting. Embrace the vintage interiors and moody lighting while enjoying Chinese-American style dishes like sweet and tangy orange chicken, paired with delicious cocktails. Formosa Cafe makes for a fun date night or a laid-back evening sipping Mai Tais solo.
  3. Musso & Frank Grill
    Musso & Frank Grill is a one-of-a-kind experience that predates even the iconic Hollywood sign. Located in Hollywood, this legendary restaurant has been a favorite of screen legends like Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, and Marilyn Monroe. The impeccable service, red tuxedo-clad waiters, and white tablecloth dining room create an air of timeless elegance. Try the daily featured entree or indulge in Chaplin's favorite Musso meal of Roast Lamb Kidneys. Reservations can be made via their website.
  4. The Dresden
    Featured in classic Hollywood films like "Swingers" and "Anchorman," The Dresden in Los Feliz has been an LA staple since 1954. Choose your own adventure: step into the gorgeous, old-school Hollywood glam dining room for a white-tablecloth dinner experience, or opt for the alluring cocktail lounge with a casual and lively feel. On the menu, you'll find classic dishes like prime rib and rack of lamb, but the lounge is where you'll be treated to live music on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Whether you're going for the food or the entertainment, The Dresden promises a memorable night.
  5. Casa Vega
    Nestled in Sherman Oaks, Casa Vega is a gem in LA's old-school Mexican-American restaurant collection. Since opening in the late 1950s, the interiors have remained largely unchanged, exuding a romantic atmosphere with burgundy tablecloths, tufted leather booths, and dimly lit chandeliers. The restaurant's classic decor even served as a backdrop for a scene in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Honored with the James Beard Foundation's America's Classics Award in 2022.
  6. Dan Tana's Restaurant
    For a taste of old-school Hollywood, look no further than the iconic Dan Tana's in West Hollywood. Welcoming celebrities and civilians alike since the 1960s, Dan Tana's offers a maximalist dining experience with cheesy, saucy, carby Italian-American fare. The interiors are adorned with red vinyl booths, checkered tablecloths, and Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling. Picture menus of local restaurants can't capture the vibrant ambiance you'll experience here. Embrace the mid-century dining experience by ordering a tableside Caesar Salad and the Chicken Parmesan, and don't forget to pair it with a bottle of Chianti for the table. Dan Tana's is the epitome of classic Hollywood dining.

As you can see, Los Angeles is home to a treasure trove of eateries that offer not only delicious food but also a chance to step back in time and bask in the city's rich history. Whether you're a long-time Angeleno or a curious traveler looking to discover new restaurants nearby, these classic dining destinations are sure to charm you with their timeless appeal and unforgettable atmospheres.

So, the next time you're in the mood for a culinary adventure with a touch of nostalgia, consider making a reservation at one of these historic LA eateries. You'll be transported to a bygone era, indulging in mouthwatering dishes, sipping classic cocktails, and making memories that will last a lifetime. Until then, bon appétit and happy time-traveling!