When Madonna said Los Angeles was the city for “people who sleep,” no doubt some of us wrinkled our brows with indignation before slowly shaking our heads in sheepish, yet pleasant agreement. The City of Angels may not cater to any and all of your needs past 2 a.m., but we have enough stops along the road to fill your belly no matter the time. You just have to know where to drive. Well-known, tried-and-true spots like Mel’s, Canter’s, Original Pantry Cafe, DuPar’s and Pacific Dining Car often make the list, so here are a few more to add to your favorites.
Fred 62 – Open 24 Hours
1850 North Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
When the bars close in Los Feliz, you’ll often find a crowd filing out of the Fred 62 doors. The outdoor patio tables are always full, and the energy remains high especially as the night turns into morning. The diner’s vibe takes on a 50’s edge with modern eats that will satisfy anyone from omnivores to vegans. The prices are also reasonable, and that is always a plus. Fred 62 is one of those places that pulls in the full gamut of Angelenos, making it an eatery for stiletto-wearing glam girls and nighttime sunglass-wearing beaus to tatted-up rockers and hipsters alike.
Kitchen24 – Open 24 Hours
1608 North Cahuenga Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028
8575 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Kitchen24 may take the cake as being one of the trendiest late night restaurants in town. The flagship restaurant in Hollywood stays busy with the people who frequent all of the Cahuenga Corridor hotspots. West Hollywood’s location is on the eastern end of Santa Monica’s strip, but it is not too far from the raucous bars and lounges. Both restaurants are poptastically highlighted in pink and white, a sharp contrast to the traditional diner vibe in its color scheme, but harkening to the ideal in its overall design. Most of the home-style, classic dishes have a California edge like the Garden Benedict, Chipotle Tuna Melt and the Grilled Chicken Club. Although cocktails are not served between 2 and 6 a.m., you still have 20 hours in the rest of the day to try one of the house or specialty concoctions.
The Kettle – Open 24 Hours
1138 Highland Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
The Kettle’s menu has, for years, satisfied beachcombers in the area. As a proper diner should, they offer a low-priced menu for kids and the young at heart — those over the age of 90, as the menu says. There are also nightly specials that start at 5 p.m. until the chef says no more. Because of the restaurant’s proximity to the water, it just makes sense that there is a fair number of enticing seafood dishes on the menu. Summer’s new offerings will launch this month, so save room for Ceviche-Style Mahi Mahi Tostadas, Cowboy Tri Tip with Chimichurri and BBQ Half Chicken with Grilled Watermelon, to name a few.
Original Tommy’s Hamburgers
Various Locations and Hours
The first Tommy’s opened its doors in 1946 at the corner of Beverly Boulevard and Rampart Boulevard in an area named Rampart Village, although you’ll be hard pressed to find an Angeleno who uses that label. All you need to remember is the slogan, “If you don’t see the shack, take it back.” Although there are many, many Tommy’s locations up and down California, as well as Nevada, the Beverly Boulevard location remains the one most people reference when they recommend a late night chili-covered burger and fries meal. Although there are a few unexpected items such as tamales and breakfast burritos on the menu, most people will tell you that the burger is the way to go no matter which Tommy’s you visit.
24/7 At The Standard, Downtown LA – Open 24 Hours
550 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Let’s be honest. The Standard remains an iconic image of this city’s hotel and lounge scene. Although the Sunset location receives the most attention, the downtown locale is a steadfast member of that neighborhood’s scene. 24/7 Restaurant specializes in New American food and dressed-up versions of our favorites. Some of the dishes edge toward the more expensive end of the spectrum, but what would you expect from The Standard? After pushing ping pongs back and forth in the new SPiN Standard or sipping cocktails on the rooftop, 24/7 awaits you.
BCD Tofu House – Open 24 Hours
3575 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
869 South Western Avenue #2
Los Angeles, CA 90005
The first BCD Tofu House opened in 1996, and now there are 16 locations worldwide. Owner Hee Sook Lee named the restaurant after Buk-Chang-Dong, the same Korean city in which her mother owned a restaurant. BCD Tofu House is known for its authentic fare, and of course, you can find tofu featured in many dishes. The specialty is a variety of Soon Tofu Soups, which are great after a night out in the cold. Bulgogi, galbi and bi bim bap are high on the list of requests as well. Be sure to make use of the ban chan on the side. The array of pickled vegetables and fish are the perfect accompaniment. Just make sure you request your preferred level of spice for just the right kick.
Crave Café – Open 24 Hours Except Sundays
11992 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA
14504 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
The Valley is not particularly known for an array of late night eats, so when Crave Cafe popped up in Studio City with open doors all night long, there was finally a place for bar patrons to visit for a bite. Create your own omelet or try one of the sweet crepes or savory flatbreads. The Breakfast Burrito also receives many mentions from customers. The cafe is a great hangout spot during the day as well for coffee heads and neighborhood dwellers.
Rod’s Grill – Open 24 Hours
41 West Huntington Drive
Arcadia, CA 91007
Rod’s Grill opened in 1957 under the ownership of Rod Wellman. Today, it is a true depiction of what happens when supporters speak up. Threatened to be shut down by the City of Arcadia due to property expansion, long-returning customers fought to keep their beloved diner in its place. Nostalgia is what keeps them coming back, along with the fact that the waitresses will keep your cup full of hot coffee. Rod’s Grill can also boast its appearance in AMC’s “Mad Men” and HBO’s “Luck” due to its original 50’s decor that hasn’t changed since day one. Located right near the Historic Route 66, it’s a great place to relax after a day at the Santa Anita Racetrack or when a hankering for steak and eggs kicks in late at night.
Torung Restaurant – Open Daily 5 p.m. To 3 a.m.
5657 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Torung Restaurant rates high with the Hollywood crowd for some of the best Thai food in the area. It’s authentic, fresh and always served quickly. Unfortunately, the restaurant is only open for dinner. Pad Thai, Tom Yum Soup, Beef Panang, Spring Rolls, Fried Rice and Shrimp Cakes are just a few of the notable dishes from the menu. The catch? Bring cash, or you will be out of luck. The restaurant does not accept credit cards. Although the restaurant is not open 24 hours, the doors are open just late enough for you to get your fix.
Swingers Diner – Open Daily 6:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
8020 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Open Sunday through Wednesday 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., Thursday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
This month marks the 20th anniversary of Swingers. The restaurant has a take-no-prisoners, raucous vibe with all-American flair evident by the menu, with a wide array of breakfast, lunch and dinner options and plenty of vegetarian and vegan selections. The best deal on the menu, by far, is the Early Bird Special for breakfast priced at just $4.50 every week day before 11 a.m. New menu items include the Avocado Toast, Ahi Tuna Salad and Quinoa Bowl. If you’re in for a sweet pick-me-up, try the chocolate and espresso Rocket Shake. That will definitely wake you up after a late night on the town.
Tacos Chabelita – Open 24 Hours
2001 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90018
It is hard to pass up late night Mexican food, and Chabelita is known for hearty, satisfying and inexpensive tacos, burritos, tostadas and quesadillas for all of the night owls. They even sell lengua and cabeza for the bravehearts out there. In true California style, there is actually something for everyone. Burgers, fries, bacon and eggs and onion rings are just a few of the additional items on the multi-board menu. The best part is that this once cash-only joint now accepts cards, which is perfect once you’ve spent all of your bills but still need something to grub on.
Chrystal Baker is a freelance food, events, culture travel contributor for CBS Los Angeles, Basil Magazine, Frugivore Magazine and Politic365. She is the co-editor of the recipe blog, The Duo Dishes, and manages her own lifestyle and travel blog, Any and Everywhere, as well as the Farm 2 Plate Culinary Club site.