Fairfax Avenue has a reputation for being one of our city’s most diverse streets, a melting pot within a melting pot where old-world Judaica, skate culture and urban society harmonize to create a neighborhood unlike any other.
In recent times the Fairfax District’s food scene has garnered special attention with numerous openings from top chef superstars and restauranteurs. Even Providence chef Michael Cimarusti is riding the Fairfax wave with his upcoming fish shop called Cape Seafood and Provisions, set to hit the area in the spring of 2016.
With so many amazing options available, the question begs… where do you start? Well, we’re here to help!
Check out our top picks for the best places to eat in the Fairfax District below, presented in no particular order.
NOTE: For purposes of this post we’re going to limit our discussion to restaurants with the borders of Romaine Street on the north, La Brea Avenue on the east, West Third Street on the south, and Fairfax Avenue on the west.
1. Odys and Penelope
The winning combo of Quinn and Karen Hatfield continues with Odys + Penelope. The eatery uses elements of wood fire in the kitchen serving up churrasco, oak grilled branzino and warm cheese puffs with smoked tomato romesco that are out of this world. The night won’t be complete without Karen Hatfield’s desserts like the olive oil upside-down cake with banana, toffee, candied hazelnuts and a scoop of vanilla malt ice cream. Did I just drool? Guilty.
If you have a curious palate that craves delicious eats like veal brains, crispy pig head and rabbit legs than Animal might just be your jam. Try their poutine fries with shredded ox tail, chicken liver toast and foie gras biscuit and gravy. Once you take a bite you’ll know why Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are the culinary rockstars of this town.
3. Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill located at The Grove by way of SOHO New York is the Bromberg Brothers’ and Toshi Ueki’s dedication to high quality fish and family style Japanese fare. Staples include a togarashi spiced fried chicken served with wasabi honey and a savory fried rice made with oxtail and bone marrow. For starters the tiger shrimp tempura is a great dish, that comes out piping hot with a side of wasabi mayo for dipping. As for sushi you can bet on being served pristine fish from the Pacific and Atlantic as well as a myriad of maki sushi options.
4. Canter’s Deli
Opened since 1931 the Fairfax deli serves up matzo ball soup, along with pastrami and corned beef sandwiches from an epic menu, all 24 hours a day. As one of the oldest delis in L.A. Canter’s bakery located in front of the restaurant is a one stop shop where you can pick up some cookies, rolls and even cake to-go or for the table.
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5. Jon & Vinny’s
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s Italian restaurant is popular for it’s pizzas, pastas and meatballs. Comfort foods like the six hour bolognese will have you licking the sauce off the plate while the L.A. Woman pizza topped with local burrata cheese, tomato, basil, olive oil and sea salt is no slouch either.
6. The Sycamore Kitchen
Breakfast, brunch or lunch…. it’s all good at Karen and Quinn Hatfield’s La Brea hotspot. Delicious salads, open faced toast and a treasured pastry display of cookies, cakes, muffins and a salted caramel pecan babka roll are all to die for.
7. Plan Check
Four words: Plan Check ketchup leather. You’ll have to see it in real life but it totally works, slid right into the heart of the PCB (Plan Check Burger) with americanized dashi cheese, schmaltz onions, mixed pickles and a crunchy bun. The PCB is definitely one of the best burgers in town. But if burgers are not your thing, try the smokey fried chicken, cold smoked in hickory wood and brined in buttermilk and spices for six hours (it’s the most ordered dish on the menu).
[RELATED: 10 Spots For The Best Burgers in Los Angeles]
8. Bludso’s Bar & Que
The spin-off location of Kevin Bludso’s revered bbq joint in Compton happens to be located in the Fairfax District. Set up as a restaurant and bar, pit master Noah Galuten slow smokes his meats for up to 14 hours using whole logs of real hardwood in a charcoal fire. Their best sellers are the juicy brisket, pork ribs and rib tips. Unlike the Compton original Bludso’s Bar & Que serves their meat unadorned with sauce. The rub alone might be enough flavor but grab both bbq (spicy and regular) sauces and mix them together for an extra kick.
9. Blu Jam Café
The line at Blu Jam Cafe has not gotten any shorter since they first opened their doors back in 2006. Located on Melrose Avenue, this hotspot reaches peak crowdedness on the weekends during the brunch hours. Signature dishes like the crunchy French toast drizzled in vanilla bean sauce can be seen at every table. If you can’t make it to Blu Jam in the morning don’t worry they serve breakfast all day so you can grab lunch with a side of pancakes whenever you want.
Order up some of the best charcuterie in town at Chef Kris Moringstar’s Terrine. Not for people on diets or vegetarians, this animal focused eatery can be enjoyed during brunch, lunch and dinner. The beautiful patio makes for a great L.A. backdrop where you’ll spot foie gras, steak frites and truffle butter burgers at every table.
[RELATED: 16 Spots for the Best Brunch in Los Angeles]
11. Prime Pizza
Looking for a quick bite? This pizza joint brings New York-style slices to Fairfax avenue at an affordable $2.75-$3.75. Splurge on the garlic knots ($4.50) for some extraordinary carb on carb madness.
12. Joan’s on 3rd
This 3rd street spot is a marketplace, bakery and cafe serving up gourmet sandwiches, salads and seasonal dishes. The Chinese chicken salad is a great choice, for those in the mood for something on the lighter seide. If you’re looking for something more substantial the short rib sandwich with melted jack cheese and sweet red onions is packed with tender meat and tons of flavor. If you really can’t decide then have a little of everything. The deli cold case is stocked with a variety of fresh salads, roasted vegetables, savory grains and more.
13. Cofax Coffee Shop
Breakfast burritos and donuts are a must at this casual coffee shop located on the north side of Fairfax. They only serve two types of burritos, a chorizo and a veggie option, but the burritos become next level when they add smoked potatoes to the mix. Most importantly, the burritos have a perfect ratio of egg, cheese and filling in every bite. After you’ve devoured your burrito bypass the food coma and grab a cup of coffee and a fancy house-made donut, like the crunchy cornflake donut or the “no-oreo”.
14. SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa
Mr. Nozawa’s talent in preparing some of the best sushi and most revered hand rolls in town come from decades of experience. We highly suggest getting one of the pre fixe meals. A tasting menu encourages guests to eat each piece of sushi right away before the warm vinegary rice cooks the fish. Pro tip: Whatever you do decide to order, make sure to include a blue crab hand roll, it’s kind of a big deal.
[RELATED: 13 Spots for The Best Sushi in L.A.]
15. Vegan Glory
Vegan Glory is located inside an unassuming strip mall on Beverly Boulevard and offers a full menu of Thai staples like papaya salad, spicy eggplant and more. They also do a very good job at creating savory sizable wraps and burgers. Standouts include the cowboy wrap with seitan, chopped romaine lettuce, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, salsa and vegenaise wrapped up in a lavash wrap. Definitely order a side of crispy fries with organic ketchup, as it really hits the spot after eating (slightly) healthy at this vegan gem.
16. Tomato Pie Pizza Joint
Tomato Pie offers pizza by the slice, whole pies and even gluten-free crust. Toppings range from simple to unconventional for example they have a hot wing pizza with grilled chicken called the Syracuse. The biggest star in the joint hands down is a hand tossed pizza named the Grandma made with marinated tomatoes, garlic and mozzarella, topped with fresh basil and Romano.
17. Angelini Osteria
One of the best Italian eats you will find in all of Los Angeles resides in the Fairfax District at Angelini Osteria. Celebrated with honors from around the globe, Angelini’s achievements include a Artusi Award, the Gavanina Trophy for Best Chef of the Year, and the 2011 Sigismondo Malatesta d’Oro, Rimini’s highest civilian award. We suggest the uni pasta for seafood lovers, the veal osso buco for meat lovers and the local favorite, a lasagna verde made with spinach pasta, besciamella, beef and veal ragu.
Did we miss one of your favorite spots int the Fairfax District? Let us know where you like toe at in the comments below!