LA restaurants serving up some history
Los Angeles gets a bad rap for being a town with no memory, but the city’s history resides in many of its longest lasting bars & restaurants. If you want a taste of old school LA flavor, drop in on these Southland traditions:
Cole’s (118 E. 6th St., Downtown)
One of two on this list that can celebrate over a century feeding hungry Los Angelenos, Cole’s legendarily disputes credit for inventing the french dip sandwich with Philippe’s. Now it’s better (and busier) than ever with the introduction of The Varnish, a late night cocktail lounge and scenester hang. Past and future collide in one epic public house.
El Cholo (1121 S. Western Ave., near Wilshire Center)
The only name you need to know for fiesta-style Mexican drinking & dining, there are a couple locations around the city but this one has been around since 1931. Great food, epic margaritas, and you can feel the history coming off the walls and from the bar top. USC kids keep the place lively, especially for Happy Hour. And holy cow, their flan. Best. Flan. Ever.
Formosa Café (7156 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood)
Your home for old school, LA-noire charm since 1925. Weekend late nights it’s also great for observing hipsters in their native habitat. Headshots on the walls, big cocktails, and… wait for it… LOBSTER TRUFFLE MAC ‘N’ CHEESE!!! (Website? They don’t need no stinkin’ website!)
Philippe the Original (1001 N. Alameda St., Downtown)
Did Philippe’s invent the french dip sandwich? They say yes, nearby Cole’s says “Oh no you dint!” but it hardly matters. Phillippe’s has been in business for over a century and the place is still a madhouse, especially during the lunch rush – they’re #1 on the list of historic Los Angeles eateries.
The Polo Lounge (9641 W. Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills)
It’s had a name change along the way, but basically The Polo Lounge has been the best place in town to stargaze since 1912. This is where Hollywood comes to eat; dress to impress and bring your credit card.