Located on the west side of Los Angeles, Westwood is a diverse community with many attractions, including the Hammer Museum and Geffen Playhouse. The area also features a multicultural culinary scene – here are the top 10 spots to try.
Pizzeria, Italian, American, $$$
Courtesy of 800 Degrees Pizza
Founded in 2011, 800 Degrees is an eatery serving up Neapolitan-style pizzas, which have a thin crust and are cooked in a wood-burning oven in about one minute. The culinary team procures the freshest ingredients, which include locally sourced vegetables, and mozzarella and flour from Naples to ensure a top quality pizza. Diners have the option of ordering a specialty pizza or creating their own, and with all the protein, cheese and vegetable toppings available, there are thousands of possible combinations. Mouth-watering highlights to note are the tartufo topped with truffle cheese, mushrooms, roasted garlic and arugula, and the piccante with soppressata, garlic and Calabrian chiles. With gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, this pizza parlour happily welcomes all types of diners.
Established in 2000 by John Sungkamee, Emporium Thai Cuisine is a family-owned and operated restaurant specialising in authentic Southern Thai fare. Voted as one of the ‘Top 100 Best Thai Restaurants in the USA’, this intimate and welcoming establishment features only the highest quality ingredients, most of which come from the area’s farmers markets, in their flavourful and exotic dishes. Offering guests an impressive menu ensures that everyone will find something to tanatalise their taste buds, and vegetarians will be happy to know that their choices are equally vast. Notable dishes include the southern Thai specialty kua kling, which is a dry curry where meat is infused with curry, chillies, garlic and lemongrass, and crispy pork in a southern curry sauce.
A recipient of the Ospitalità Italiana and part of Los Angeles’ culinary scene since 1984, La Bruschetta is a classic favourite for Italian-lovers. Having generated a welcoming neighbourhood venue where everyone is treated like family, owner Angelo Peloni offers a warm and comfortable space where diners can feast upon a host of home-style dishes. Highlights sure to tickle guests’ taste buds include risotto with porcini mushrooms and peas, lasagna with Bolognese sauce, and large prawns in a spicy tomato sauce atop a bed of linguini. Between the culinary offerings, friendly service, and extensive wine collection — handpicked by the owner himself — it’s easy to see why people return again and again to this Los Angeles treasure.
Starting out as a small soda shop counter in the 1950s, Mary and Robbs’ Westwood Cafe has grown into a full-service restaurant featuring tasty American cuisine. At its current location since 1977, this comfortable and family-friendly neighbourhood coffee shop serves breakfast all day plus lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Procuring the highest quality ingredients, diners take delight in meals such as the chilli omelet supreme with all-meat chilli; the spinach melt with mushrooms, fire roasted red peppers, basil, tomatoes and provolone; and the Cajun filet mignon. This café also offers a selection of wine and beer and tantalising desserts, including a three-layer chocolate cake, sure to please anyone’s sweet tooth.
Serving local residents mouth-watering Persian cuisine since 1982, Shamshiri Grill is a flavourful eatery located in the heart of the Westwood. With a large menu that will appeal to both meat-lovers and vegans, this eatery is a casual lunch venue during the day, yet transforms to a romantic hot spot during the evening hours. Notable dishes to mention are zereshk polo or sour barberries and saffron in basmati or brown rice served with a choice of chicken or lamb shank; vegan baghali polo, which is lima beans and dill, baked with basmati rice and accompanied by a vegetable kabob; and the shirin polo or basmati rice with a delightful combination of saffron, orange peels, pistachios and almond.
Sunnin Lebanese Cafe is a lively restaurant specialising in, as the name suggests, authentic Lebanese cuisine. A popular place for the entire family, this welcoming café has been providing mouth-watering dishes to carnivores and vegetarians alike for over 20 years. Offering guests a large menu with everything from appetisers to entrées to decadent desserts, Sunnin is sure to appeal to a wide range of tastes. Diners can begin their meal with shanklish or spicy Lebanese cheese topped with onions, tomatoes, and olive oil followed by beef schwarma, which is marinated beef cooked on a vertical broiler accompanied by salad, rice, tahini sauce and pita, or falafel for those seeking something meat-free. For a full Sunnin experience, desert is a must, especially the house-made white pudding infused with orange blossom water.