West Hollywood may be small for a city, but what it lacks in size, it more than compensates for in appetite. Foodies in Los Angeles have never struggled to locate good eats, and within WeHo’s two square miles, the search is even easier. All you have to do is turn a corner and you’ll find yourself in front of the latest sushi joint, a neighborhood Mexican mainstay, or a hole-in-the-wall ramen spot. Every block is filled with a variety of flavors, spices, and styles, from vegan tacos to grease-spattered burgers (though, unfortunately, the iconic Irv’s just closed its doors). What we’re getting at is that we couldn’t possibly cover it all in a single guide (or in a single lifetime), so instead, we picked a few of our favorites to get you started. And whatever you do, don’t stress out — foodies in WeHo rarely leave disappointed.
Rise and Shine
Don’t think of these as brunch spots, per se (we’ve compiled an entirely separate guide for that). Rather, these are the establishments to hit up when you need that extra jolt to kickstart your day.
Whether you just got back from your morning run or just rolled out of bed, you’ll find the caffeine and nourishment you’re craving at these locales.
Scrumptious Café and Bakery
In a city famous for its high-profile breakfast spots — those places where lines wrap around the block, celebrities hide behind sunglasses, and mimosas flow from a spigot — Scrumptious feels rather unassuming. It’s hidden, almost, tucked away just north of Santa Monica on Hayworth Avenue, but its lack of crowds and shaded back patio give it a sense of coziness that’s hard to find elsewhere in the city late in the morning. As for the food, just look to its name — everything here is truly scrumptious, from the hearty vegan scramble to the pull-apart monkey bread to the huevos rancheros designed to knock your socks off. Even the house latté is made with an extra dose of sweetness to give it that Scrumptious kick. And with friendly servers and the option to take pastries to go, a morning at Scrumptious will propel you into the rest of your day with a smile on your face.
Melrose Place — the quiet, tree-lined couple of blocks just above where Melrose meets La Cienega — straddles WeHo’s Design District and the rest of Hollywood, attracting movie stars and fashion icons alike. Thus, it makes sense that Alfred Coffee, the extremely popular LA-based chain, got its start here. And after its immediate success, it opened up another Melrose location, Alfred in the Alley.
Known for its antlered logo, its “But first, coffee” tagline, and its ceramic-tile décor, the shop is as much a brand as it is a café, and its fashionable aesthetic makes it an Instagram-worthy hotspot. If that’s not your thing, don’t be scared off — the drinks (including espresso, matcha, cold brew, kombucha, and iced tea), flaky pastries, and hefty breakfast burritos will remind you that the shop’s not all flash. Just don’t be surprised if you see one of the Kardashians pulling up outside.
If the buzz surrounding Alfred’s Melrose Place location is a bit much, head to the back of the building for something a little quainter. Croft Alley is a rustic and homey hole-in-the-wall, whose short but artful menu will have you choosing between dishes such as the French scramble with tomato fontina toast and the house-made chlorophyll yoghurt. What makes it truly special is its intimate, cushioned seating and its open kitchen — the food here might be gourmet, but you’ll still feel like you’re waiting for a home-cooked meal. And if you enjoy your time here, be sure to try out Croft Alley’s second location at the Standard Hotel Hollywood on Sunset.
Starting to feel that midday lull? Need a quick pick-me-up to power you through? Think of these recommendations as pit stops, places to refuel with a bite or two and maybe a couple of drinks — a quick intermission before starting Act II, if you will.
You’ll find Urth Caffés all over Los Angeles, but the one on Melrose is certainly one of the prettiest. With its multi-level brick terrace and shaded seating, the location brings to mind a Spanish villa, and its Design District location makes it yet another hotspot for celeb sightings — it was even a favorite hangout for Vincent Chase and his posse on HBO’s “Entourage.”
Urth’s claim to fame is its exclusively organic coffee, but keep in mind that the entire menu is sourced locally and sustainably, and the owners maintain relationships with a host of local farmers. In short, you shouldn’t feel guilty about indulging in one of the delicious sandwiches (the prosciutto panini is especially good) or salads (go with the “Paradise”), or even one of the unbelievably tasty and surprisingly well-priced pastries featured on the menu.
This is what a trip to West Hollywood is all about: rooftop dining, views of the city, and happy hour apps and drinks before hitting the town. When you stop in at Pearl’s Rooftop on Sunset, you know you’re in for a lively night. Situated next door to the famous Whiskey a Go Go nightclub, Pearl’s Rooftop has an air of old Hollywood about it and the décor to match.
Its open-air, second-floor dining area is well-shaded, wrapped in white-brick facades and colorful floral arrangements that breathe life into the otherwise narrow space looking out over the famous Sunset Strip. For happy hour, you can snack on oysters or other appetizers such as avocado toast or salt-and-vinegar parmesan fries, while choosing from a crafty cocktail menu that includes industry-inspired names like “Tarragon with the Wind” and “Mules of the Game.” You can even pop some bubbly if that’s what you’re in the mood for — and hey, when you’re at a spot like Pearl’s Rooftop, why not live it up a bit?
Sweet Lady Jane
Quite possibly the best bakery in all of Los Angeles, Sweet Lady Jane on Melrose (half a block north of the WeHo border) offers up an exciting menu of cakes, pies, cookies, tarts, pastries, croissants, and everything in between. You can also grab a sandwich, salad, or egg scramble from the food menu, but if you ask us, this is a classic “when in Rome” situation — in other words, go for the sweets! A Hollywood mainstay since 1988, Sweet Lady Jane’s grew out of its owner’s desire to use simple, fresh ingredients to craft desserts that were rich, tasty, and not overly sweet. Today, it has grown to be one of the most popular spots in town, whether for catering or just stopping in for a quick treat, and has worked its way onto just about every single “Best-of” list in the LA area. After just a single bite, you’ll understand why.
A Night Out
Now that the sun has fallen and the lights of the city have ignited, it’s time to really go out and hit the town. This is eating as an event, the kind of meals you get a bit gussied up for. (But don’t overthink it; these are still fairly casual.) Welcome to the ultimate dinner destinations for WeHo foodies.
Night + Market
Thai food is ubiquitous is LA (and really in any major city), so who’s to say that this restaurant on the Strip is anything special? Jonathan Gold, that’s who. The late beloved LA food critic reserved a spot on his famous list of the city’s 101 best restaurants for Night + Market, which is owned by head chef Kris Yenbamroong. Yenbamroong graduated from NYU with a degree in film and no formal culinary training, but his family owned a restaurant while he was growing up, so he learned how to not only operate a food establishment but also how to get playful in the kitchen (fried chicken sandwich with papaya slaw, anyone?). Night + Market’s pastel décor, Chang beer towers, and tropical cocktails facilitate a fun and laid-back atmosphere, and the menu’s descriptions of Yenbamroong’s childhood experiences with these dishes add to the personal intimacy of it all.
And if you don’t trust us — or even the good word of Mr. Gold — just look at the spot’s clientele. Celebs like Chrissy Teigen, Questlove, David Chang, and Lena Dunham have all enjoyed a meal here.
Designing a Mexican menu that’s 100 percent vegan and organic is no easy task.
And we’re not necessarily here to say that Gracias Madre, the popular Melrose haunt located a block west of Robertson, hits it out of the park every time. But the combination of its creative offerings (e.g. jackfruit tacos, nopales made with stewed cactus and cashew crema, black bean burger with pineapple coleslaw, and gorditas composed of potato-masa cakes) and its massive, yet cozy outdoor patio makes it a place you’re going to find yourself thinking about long after your visit has ended.
All told, the restaurant covers almost 5,000 square feet, the majority of which is taken up by the patio. Hidden from the street, this open-air space is decorated with cushioned furniture and winding trees and is bathed in the warm glow of its fireplaces and hanging lanterns. For drinks, you’ll be able to choose from a full tequila menu and a crafty cocktail list (might we suggest the “Mezcal Mule” made with in-house ginger beer), or if the buzz from the atmosphere is already enough, you can peruse a selection of housemade sodas, mocktails, kombucha, and horchata. Whatever you decide, don’t forget to take a moment to soak it all in — few restaurants do “warm and inviting” like Gracias Madre.
This might be the coolest restaurant in all of West Hollywood, if for no other reason than that you might wander inside in search of a hammer or a hacksaw if you didn’t know it served food. Housed inside of an old hardware store on Santa Monica Boulevard, Laurel Hardware elected to never change its name or exterior — the sign out front still advertises “Plumbing & Electrical Supplies, Keys, Paint & Glass.” But the moment you walk through the front door, you enter an upscale restaurant that exists at the intersection of classy and comfy. You can choose to sit in the dimly lit front room or move to the back patio which, with its string lights hung across vines and bonsai-esque trees, achieves an exquisite garden-party feel. Cordoned off from the bustle of Santa Monica, the dining area feels like a private WeHo oasis — a secret, intimate space hidden behind the false facade of a hardware store.
As for the menu, your best plan of attack is to chip away at a variety of shared plates, such as the jerk shrimp, the fig and burrata salad, the duck fried rice, the hand-cut truffle fries with béarnaise, and the multi-grain flatbread. Any of the pizzas are worth sharing as well, though you can’t go wrong with the classic Margherita. And for drinks, be sure to try the Frozé (frozen rosé), the “What’s Your Wifi” (gin infused with dragon fruit-and-pomegranate white tea and garnished with cucumber and mint — though isn’t the name enough?), and the “Gangster” (cucumber vodka with watermelon and lime juices). But if you’re feeling it by the third, you can always order the latter without booze and avoid leaving this hardware store feeling hammered.
Spent all of your money on food? Don’t worry! Head on over to our WeHo Budget Guide to find out how to experience the city without stretching your wallet any further.