10 Best Restaurants In Westwood, Los Angeles

Westwood in the morning
Westwood in the morning | ©Ryan Dickey/Flickr
James Sawyer

From Persian and Lebanese to Italian and Mexican, Westwood leaves little to be desired in terms of diversity in its restaurant scene. These are the 10 best restaurants in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westwood.

Wilshire Boulevard Postcard (1960s)

1. Palomino

Restaurant, Italian

Palomino, Los Angeles
Image courtesy of Fundamental LA
Located opposite Westwood’s premier art venue, the Hammer Museum, Palomino builds on its cosmopolitan surroundings as an ‘urban Italian’ kitchen. Suggesting both a taste for diverse flavors and a sense of the city’s pulse, Palomino caters to the Los Angeles lifestyle with a fresh and innovate menu. It also has a particularly notable happy hour. Grounded in the basics of soups, salads, pizzas, pastas, the restaurant progresses towards a more developed culinary concept with eclectic ingredients and a medley of flavors. Palomino’s happy hour features sizable food specials spanning Sicilian meatballs, calamari and choice pizzas. Cocktails like the basil gimlet, pomegranate margarita and whiskey sour are a bargain, with the very Los Angeles-like potential to be made ‘skinny.’

2. Fundamental LA

Restaurant, Fast Food, American

Fundamental LA, Los Angeles
Image courtesy of Fundamental LA
Permeated by a chic, contemporary style, Fundamental LA channels its streamlined yet savory cuisine into a similar environment. Like its name suggests, culinary fundamentals take predominance on the menu. Fundamental’s dinner service lends itself effortlessly to a multi-course tasting menu, with each item focused around one flagship, seasonal ingredient. With a menu that changes nearly every week, the restaurant ensures diners will still be stimulated after multiple visits. Meanwhile Fundamental’s lunch offering focuses on mouthwatering sandwiches and sumptuous salads. California cuisine shines through with starters like tempura avocado and melon soup, with mains featuring fresh produce and livestock.

3. Clementine

Bakery, Cafe, Deli, Restaurant, American, Pastries

Falafel
© morbuto/WikiCommons
Part-cafe and part-bakery, Clementine offers a reasonable alternative to some of Westwood’s more glitzy establishments without compromising on delicious ingredients. It offers a fresh array of options, centering on sandwiches both hot and cold, salads and, of course, baked goods, Clementine is as delicious a lunchtime spot as it is uncomplicated. A prominent deli case features the daily selection of salads, from quinoa, kale and beet salad and the special Thai slaw to edamame and wild salmon and tuna macaroni. Salads provide an equally original take on standard deli foods. There are behemoths like the ‘everything salad’ encompassing anything from avocado and garbanzo beans to peppers and jicama. Sweets are always on standby at Clementine with the perfect house-made cookie, brownie or scone with coffee to top off a deli meal.

4. Sunnin Lebanese Café

Cafe, Restaurant, Mediterranean

Adding a different repertoire of Middle Eastern flavours to Westwood’s Persian neighbourhood, Sunnin Lebanese Café is spicy and lively both in terms of food and atmosphere. Equipped with the eastern Mediterranean culinary coat and arms of hummus and shawarma, Sunnin excels in standard Middle Eastern fare. It also offers much more depth than the curb-side kebab shop. The house babaganouj sits alongside other Lebanese mezzeh like moujadarah, a lentil puree cooked with rice and carmelized onions. There are also the eggplant-centric moussaka and the essential Lebanese kefir cheese known as labneh. Main courses feature ample applications of kibbeh and meat skewers, and of course, falafel. Sunnin’s recently moved from a small hole in the wall to a spacious 2,500-square-foot location but still contains a welcoming, family-run atmosphere.

5. La Bruschetta

Restaurant, American

With an unassuming exterior and an intimate interior, La Bruschetta has thrived for more than 30 years as an neighborhood repose. Chef Angelo measures his restaurateur career in logistical milestones: shipping his in-demand Bolognese to New York, having had his gnocchi served on a private jet as well as having served Elizabeth Taylor. To back up these sensational achievements is La Bruschetta’s ‘Ospitalia Italiana – Seal of Authenticity’ award. Everything from the antipasti to secondi meets the standard of Italian quality. Maintaining that ‘wine is food,’ Angelo makes sure that wine is an integral part of any meal at La Bruschetta. Image Courtesy of Emporium Cuisines

6. Emporium Thai Cuisine

Restaurant, Thai

Emporium Thai, Los Angeles
© Frida Restaurant, Westwood
Emporium Thai is one of a number of Thai restaurants across Los Angeles led by the Sungkambee family. This is a clear indicator of a culinary streak in the family who hail from southern Thailand. Drawing on family recipes, Emporium Thai adds another national flag to the vibrant multiethnic foodscape of Westwood. In spite of its rating as one of the top 100 Thai restaurants across the country, Emporium Thai maintains a decidedly intimate and familial environment. Time-honed curry recipes and specialties like the light yet comforting morning glory salad are winners.

7. Shaherzad Restaurant

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian

No trip to this side of Los Angeles – or rather, Tehrangeles – would be complete without a visit to Shaherzad. Warm, fresh bread straight from the restaurant’s oven is a perfect complement to any of the numerous shish kebabs, Persian soups or various starters like eggplant and stuffed grape leaves. House specialties include the tahdig. The rice crust from the bottom of the pan is widely considered the most delicious part of this Persian staple. This dish epitomizes Shaherzad’s down-to-earth and no-frills approach to authentic Persian fare.

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