L.A.'s Best Homestyle Joints Are a Mix of New and Old Favorites

When it comes to comfort food, Los Angeles takes the cake – and the tamale, fried chicken, pancake and pizza, too. All those homestyle delights are easy to find all across Southern California, for the city is packed with places designed to make diners feel at home, without the bother of actually doing all the cooking themselves. Choosing the top ten isn't an easy task, but with old favorites like El Cholo, which opened in 1923; The Original Pantry Cafe, opened in 1924; Dinah's Family Restaurant, opened in 1959; and Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, 1975, some choices are easy. There's a reason these landmark places are still open after all those years: their food keeps people coming back for more! But the city's classic places do have some competition, especially from relative newcomers like Baby Blues BBQ and Masa of Echo Park (both in business since 2004), M Grill (since 2003) and JR's Barbecue (since 1998), as well as from Carvery Kitchen, the newest kid on the block, which opened in August 2014. The one thing all these top choices have in common is their dedication to making the kind of food you wish your mother had made, with an attention to detail and a focus on taste and quality that sets them apart from all the rest.

Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken Restaurant and Bakery
Photo courtesy of Jeff Peters


Honey's Kettle in Culver City is Mecca for fried chicken lovers, so much so that people come from miles away to get a taste. Their secret is twofold. First, Honey's uses only humanely raised, hormone-and-antibiotic-free chickens, and second,...  Read More

El Cholo
Photo courtesy of Jeff Peters


The family-run Mexican restaurants known as El Cholo began in 1923, with a small place near the Memorial Coliseum (which opened that same year). Now there are six of them scattered across Southern California, all offering up the classics that...  Read More

Culver City
JR's Barbeque
Photo courtesy of Jeff Peters


JR's Barbecue is a little place on South La Cienega, right where Fairfax dead ends. But don't be fooled by its size, for JR's (which stands for Jeanie Jackson and her son Robert Johnson, who together are the chef-owners) may be small, but it is...  Read More

Masa of Echo Park Bakery & Cafe
Photo courtesy of Jeff Peters


Masa of Echo Park Bakery & Cafe doesn't exactly sound like a pizza place, but it is their Chicago Deep Dish that has made them famous throughout Los Angeles. This family-run restaurant bakes the pizza dough fresh every day, uses locally...  Read More



Ever since 1959, Dinah's Family Restaurant has made the corner of Sepulveda and Centinela in Westchester a culinary landmark. Still family owned after all those years, the diner-style eatery is often so packed (especially on Sundays) that...  Read More

M Grill
Photo courtesy of M Grill


At M Grill on Wilshire near Western Avenue in Koreatown, climb up the stairs to the second floor and you'll discover one of the best Brazilian Churrascarias in town. Enter the cavernous room with a warm golden glow and be ready to do some...  Read More

Carvery Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Carvery Kitchen


This new kid on the block in Santa Monica (near the Santa Monica Airport on Ocean Park Boulevard) opened in August 2014 and is already a force to be reckoned with in the neighborhood. Outside tables and a few booths inside are all that make up...  Read More

Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles Inglewood
Photo courtesy of Jeff Peters


From the original Roscoe's in Hollywood to any of the six other locations (Inglewood, Long Beach, Pasadena, Anaheim, West L.A. and South L.A.), you'll find the same rib-sticking soul food made famous by Herb Hudson. Naturally, the main menu item...  Read More

The Original Pantry Cafe
Photo courtesy of Jeff Peters


The Original Pantry Cafe has been open 24 hours a day in the same downtown Los Angeles spot since 1924, which proves that if you make delicious homestyle chow, people will keep coming back for more. Breakfast is always on the menu, but burgers,...  Read More


Meet Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good...  More About Jenny