The dining scene in Los Angeles continues to evolve, with flashy new restaurants and old standbys staying busy year after year. But with more competition on the market now than ever before, it’s easy to find yourself chasing new flavors and exciting restaurants, leaving behind the best of what LA has been offering for decades.

Consider this list a recalibration, a way to get diners across the greater Southland back into the mode of enjoying their favorite old standby dishes, wherever they’re served (and however long they’ve been there). This is a rundown of the truly iconic offerings of Los Angeles, from thick steaks made famous in the movies to what may well be the nation’s best pastrami. Along they way you’ll find new classics like Animal’s oxtail poutine, endless dumplings from Taiwanese export Din Tai Fung, and plenty of burgers and sandwiches to go around. Presented in no particular order, these are the most iconic dishes in Los Angeles.

12. Xiao Long Bao at Din Tai Fung

This gorgeous soup-stuffed dumplings are the signature item at Din Tai Fung, a global chain of Chinese restaurants with three locations in the greater LA area. Glendale’s sparkling space inside the Americana at Brand is the easiest to get to for most Angelenos, and the waits more than worth it. Choose between pork, shrimp, and crab varieties, though the truffle dumplings are worth a splurge every once in a while.


By Eater Staff