Among the top restaurant trends of 2015, the return of the so-called “old-school steakhouses” is perhaps the most celebrated. Huge, shimmering, caveman-worthy cuts of beef and table side-tossed caesar salads are being served in new swanky interiors. And of course everything is washed down with a martini.
To be fair the old-school steak houses never really left. There are a handful of tried and true establishments that have been here for the carnivores whether it was trendy or not. That said, we are now in the heyday of great Los Angeles steakhouses with the mainstays still going strong and the new kids on the block providing style along with a bit old-fashioned charm.
So where to find the best of the best? Here’s a list of where Angelenos can have their steak and eat it too.
(List below numbered for reference, presented in no particular order)
BOA on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood is on the ground level of the building that perches Soho House on its top floor. So it comes as no surprise the steakhouse is a real scene. But comforting touches like warm rolls with sea salt and slabs of butter charm first time diners and well-executed classics like creamed spinach, beef filets with peppercorn sauce and NY Strip with bleu cheese crust keep regulars coming back. Luxurious round booths and a gorgeous patio seems to inspire everyone to dress-up, adding to the vibe. It’s certainly a Hollywood experience. The Santa Monica location delivers the same flavors with a slightly different vibe.
2. The Dal Rae
Where is Pico Rivera? That is a good question. If you drive about 30 minutes south east of downtown LA, you’ll end up there. And if you’re lucky you’ll have time to dine at The Dal Rae. This old-school haunt is possibly the most bustling steak houses in the greater Los Angeles area. Order the pepper steak and you’ll be glad you made the drive.
Mastros, the famous Beverly Hills chophouse (and national chain) is no “foodie” destination. But if you’re in the mood for a predictable iceberg wedge salad and a $20 dirty martini that comes with bleu cheese stuffed olives and a generous side car, Mastro’s might be your jam. Also, their “signature” warm butter cake with whipped cream and berries is a real crowd-pleaser.
4. The Arthur J
An ideal restaurant experience requires a perfect storm of welcoming hosts, balanced cocktails, a beautiful space, delicious food, an impressive wine list and dessert that holds up to all that has come before it. Few places truly have it all. But the Arthur J is one of them. The dry aged tomahawk ribeye is a fan favorite and so are the creamy mashed potatoes. If you live in L.A., don’t let its Manhattan Beach locale dissuade you. It’s worth the trip.
5. Steak and Whisky
If you’ve never been to Hermosa Beach, you now have a reason to go. This year, Chef Tin Vuong of Manhattan Beach’s Little Sister gave the beach town something new to brag about: a fancy new steak house with lots of, wait for it… whiskey.
Step foot inside Suzanne Tracht’s JAR, and suddenly you’re living out that fantasy of being a cast member on Mad Men. Sip elegant cocktails like the Jar Manhattan (bulleit rye whiskey, carpano antica sweet vermouth, angostura bitters) and dine in comfy plush chairs surrounded by vintage wood-paneling. In this case, though, the food is 21st-century great and the lovely chef Tracht greets customers at the end of the night. She hugs the regulars and you aspire to be one someday. She’s famous for her pot roast. But the steaks are a must, so good luck with that decision.
Mozzaplex’s ode to meat, Chispacca, is the most intimate of the Mozza family’s establishments. But don’t let its size fool you. This small space delivers big meat, literally. A 50 oz dry-aged black angus porter house, The Bistecca Fiorentina is available for $220. Not quite that hungry? Opt for the Costata alla Fiorentina a 36 oz dry-aged bone-in New York steak. Other choice options include the giant tomahawk pork chop or their famous decadent beef and bone marrow pie filled with beef cheek, cippolini and fungi. Whatever you go with the lesson here is that sometimes size does matter.
Pistola was born inside the space that once housed LA’s beloved A.O.C. (which moved about a mile down the street): a tough act to follow, no doubt. But Pistola is holding its own and making a name for itself with beautiful handmade pasta and giant hunks of meat.
9. Lawry’s Prime Rib
In a town obsessed with trends, how does a restaurant stay in business for over 70 years? By doing one thing, and doing it well. Since 1938, Lawry’s has been roasting and carving juicy slabs of prime rib. The restaurant is more of a Los Angeles institution than it is an innovative culinary destination, but like any legendary haunt, it’s worth checking out for the experience and the nostalgia. And quite frankly, prime rib is damn good.
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10. The Royce
The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse is located inside the lavish old-fashioned Langham Pasadena, but there is nothing old or tired about it. The posh white interior is abutted by a glass wall giving diners a peaceful view of the hotel’s well-gardened grounds. Aside from the sophisticated, world-class menu you’d expect to see only in a metropolitan culinary hub, you feel more like you’re in a palace in the British countryside than in Los Angeles. The food matches the surroundings; luxurious, decadent and expensive. The “Beef Rossini,” for example is an 8 0z filet topped with seared foie gras and delicate shavings of black truffle. The Colorado rack of lamb is unbelievably plump.
11. CUT by Wolfgang Puck
After so many decades in Los Angeles, Chef Wolfgang Puck is still at the top of his game. Take CUT at The Beverly Wilshire, for example. The modern steakhouse is popular with locals, tourists and critics alike, remaining on the top of all the best of LA lists year after year. CUT is one of the few restaurants to offer 100% Wagyu beef from Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan, the world’s most expensive meat.
If for some reason you find yourself in Brentwood, it’s worth stepping foot in Baltaire for the gorgeous interior alone. The excellent service and grandiose steaks available with “upgrades” like foie gras and king crab oscar are worthy of a special occasion.
Go back in time at this old-world steakhouse in downtown LA. Since 1958, the Texas-born Taylor family has been serving aged, corn-fed prime and Angus beef at more affordable prices than you’d find in Beverly Hills.
For the Pasadena crowd there’s the southern California outpost of Michelin-starred San Francisco steakhouse Alexander’s. At this super-fancy chophouse you can choose from an extensive selection of non-steak options as well as steaks, roasts, dry-aged greater Omaha prime and Wagyu. In addition to its lavish Japanese-influenced menu, the restaurant boasts its very own dry-aging rooms where steaks are kept for weeks before serving.
15. The Grill on The Alley
Perfect martinis, whiskey sours, Caesar salad, steak tartare and cowboy rib-eye steaks are all reasons to head to any steakhouse. But the Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills has been a Los Angeles institution for over 30 years. Making it an iconic dining destination for any meat loving Angeleno.
16. Carlitos Gardel Restaurant
It’s just not a steak house round-up without including some Argentinian deliciousness. In this case, Carlitos Gardel on Melrose Avenue. The popular restaurant serves Argentinian favorites like grilled steak with chimichurri.
Did we miss your favorite steak spot on the list? Know of somewhere in Los Angeles you think deserves mention? Let us know in the comments below!