The Best Restaurants in Los Feliz & Atwater Village

Roast chicken at Canelé | Photo by Annie Yoshi Kikuchi, courtesy of Canelé

For years, Los Feliz and Atwater Village - which flank the Golden State Freeway near Griffith Park - remained in the shadow of the their hip neighbor, Silverlake. No longer. While retaining their small town charm, these historic, diverse neighborhoods have arrived, featuring good bakeries and bars, some of the city’s most beloved Mexican joints, a boutique butcher, and even the requisite juice spot. Here are 9 delicious spots to try in Los Feliz and Atwater Village.

Fish and shrimp tacos at Best Fish Taco in Ensenada | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Best Fish Taco In Ensenada



Whether you agree or disagree with the accuracy of this popular spot’s name, there's no question that Best Fish Taco in Ensenada is inexpensive and satisfying. There are just three items on the menu: fish tacos, shrimp tacos and drinks. Potato tacos are usually available as well. But that’s it. The fish and shrimp tacos are fried to order and served "naked" in corn tortillas. Now comes the fun part: doctoring them to your liking. The salsa bar features half a dozen varieties, including a gorgeous fuchsia-colored, pickled radish concoction. There is also cool crema and finely shredded cabbage, both required. The space, with a mixed surfing/fishing theme and sizable patio, is decidedly casual. But with meals coming in around five bucks, no one is complaining.

Corn and Oil at Big Bar | Photo by Eugene Lee, courtesy of Big Bar

Big Bar



There are few spots where you can have your cake and your cocktail too. But Big Bar, which shares digs with Alcove Café and their dream dessert case, is just such a place. The bar itself is small, just a dozen or so seats at an L-shaped marble top. But you can also enjoy a pint and sliders outside on the picturesque patio, made festive with twinkling lights. The list of seasonal cocktails includes drinks like the Boo Radler - a modern take on the Negroni - as well as the lovely Pomme Pomme, a delicious (and potent) blend of Calvados, cherry brandy and Cointreau, served in a champagne flute with a sugar rim and a lemon spiral. Big Bar regulars often ask for the Corn and Oil, an off-menu classic made with Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, Velvet Falernum and Angostura Bitters.

Roast chicken at Canelé | Photo by Annie Yoshi Kikuchi, courtesy of Canelé

Canelé



Picture two big planks of toasty baguette spread thick with chicken liver pate, sprinkled with sea salt, and served on an oversized wood board with tart, crunchy cornichon, a dollop of good mustard and a salad of perfectly dressed flat leaf parsley. It’s the sort of soulful, lovingly made dish that chef-owner Corina Weibel and her young, talented staff is known for. There are also wonderful salads, whole salt-roasted branzino, and a bistro steak served with creamed spinach and a wedge of crispy pommes anna (thinly sliced potatoes cooked with butter and more butter). The space is cool but cozy, buzzy but still conducive to conversation. Bonus: upon departure, guests are offered a single, golden canele, an itty-bitty cake rich with egg and butter.

Rice balls at Little Dom's | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Little Dom's



Little Dom’s is the equivalent of this neighborhood's Cheers. Sure, it's more restaurant than bar. But it is infinitely comfortable and unpretentious. The food is comfortable, too. Yes, you can get a good kale salad. But it's hard to pass up the Italian mama-type dishes like the meatball sandwich on focaccia or the rice balls. The latter is a must order: dark golden, baseball size balls with ultra crispy shells that give way to toothsome, mushroom-infused rice and hearts of oozy mozzarella. There are cracker crust pizzas too. And while Little Dom’s is unlikely to make any top celeb spotting lists, a few have been spotted there, like Michael Cera, who was recently lunching in the little deli annex.

Display case at McCall's Meat & Fish Co. | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

McCall's Meat & Fish Company



If Prada were in the meat business, their stores might look something like McCall's Meat & Fish Co., a boutique butcher with everything arranged and labeled just so. Cases filled with gorgeous grass-fed beef, Kurobuta pork loin, Chesapeake Bay soft shell crab, and housemade sausages are a cook’s dream. The house burger blend is also worth trying. It’s refreshing to see multiple women behind the counter, working in an industry typically dominated by men. You can score the rest of your dinner fixings here, including cheesy bacon gruyere fougasse (an oversized flat bread) and pâtes de fruits in unusual flavors like fruit punch. It’s not cheap, but the quality is tip top.

Soppressata pizza at Mother Dough | Photo by Leslee Komaiko



Mother Dough is a date-worthy pizzeria. The long, narrow room is dimly-lit and features weathered brick walls decorated with framed railroad ties. In the rear, an enormous wood-fired oven turns out excellent pizzas with a chewy, satisfying crust. Though the ingredients for the soppressata pizza may sound incongruous - rounds of soppressata salami, coarsely chopped shisito peppers and crushed pistachios - it’s a delicious combination. Pair this with the popular burrata salad: a generous helping of the seductive cheese, glistening with olive oil and sprinkled with pepper, served atop bright arugula and wedges of naturally sweet tomato.

Croissant and iced latte at Proof Bakery

Proof Bakery



Seating is at a premium at this little minimalist bakery with the all-black façade. This is especially the case on weekend mornings, when the queue goes nearly out the door. The draw: what might be the city’s best croissants. You can get them with almond or chocolate, but try them straight up with nothing to distract from the pure buttery goodness, the flaky magic on top, the slightly denser bottom, with just the barest chew. Proof also serves excellent cappuccinos and lattes from a rotating series of choice roasters such as Pure Barrel and Heart, with milk from Strauss Dairy. Breakfast doesn’t get much better than a Proof croissant and a creamy iced latte.

Tacos Villa Corona | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Tacos Villa Corona



It’s not unusual to see a dozen or more hungry people loitering on the sidewalk outside this tiny taco stand, waiting for their name to be called and a brown paper bag to be handed over. Though the name on the awning reads “Tacos,” it’s the “Papa's Burrito” that's made the spot a local legend - Anthony Bourdain gave the famed breakfast burrito his stamp of approval on The Layover. The ingredients are simple: scrambled eggs, seasoned potatoes, cilantro and jack cheese. You can add spinach for a buck, and opt for beans or chorizo as well. The combination is wholly satisfying, especially when you add a hit of the homemade, mid-strength hot sauce.

Cochinita pibil taco at Yuca's | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Yuca's



Before there was Frida and Loteria, there was this wisp of a stand. Fitting five people into the tiny space is a small miracle. Yuca’s is the recipient of numerous accolades, including a James Beard Award in 2005, a remarkable achievement for a taco stand. You can get a decent burger here, but most people come for the tacos and burritos. Yuca’s carnitas are delicious, but the standout taco is the cochinita pibil, a tender, mild pork stew that stains the tortilla with its orange, greasy goodness. When the woman behind the register asks, “Jalapeños?” say “yes” if you want more heat - the fat wedges of crunchy pickled peppers are surprisingly fiery. The beverage options are limited, so visit the neighboring liquor store or Coffee Bean across the way for a cool drink before you settle in at one of the outdoor tables.