It’s a common perception that no one is really “from LA.” The city is full of transplants, whether from neighboring states, or countries from around the globe. It’s that diversity makes Los Angeles so dynamic — and its food options so delicious.

Explore any neighborhood and you’ll find comfort food options as varied as Korean short ribs, Texas BBQ, and Neapolitan pizza. Whether you’re looking to try something new or craving a taste of home, you’ll never stay hungry for very long in the City of Angels. Here’s our guide to the best comfort food in Los Angeles.

If you’re obsessed with the perfect mole: Guelaguetza

 

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When it comes to south-of-the-border comfort food, Los Angeles has no shortage of excellent Mexican restaurants. If you’re into Oaxacan food, though, Guelaguetza should be your first stop. This family-run restaurant makes traditional dishes like tlayudas and barbacoa, all with a focus on freshness and flavor. But the real showstopper is the mole — six different types, all carefully made from scratch.

Critic Jonathan Gold memorably said that Guelaguetza’s mole was “so much better than other moles locally available, that it is almost like seeing a Diego Rivera mural up close for the first time after years of seeing nothing but reproductions.”

No wonder the restaurant won a James Beard Award in 2015.

If you love the burn of Nashville hot chicken: Howlin’ Ray’s

 

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Nashville-style hot chicken — meaning chicken that’s been marinated and doused in fiery spices — has become something of an obsession for diners across the United States.

Los Angeles has its own obsessable hot chicken enclave in the form of Howlin’ Ray’s, a low-key storefront in Chinatown. Lines here often stretch around the block, though the friendly staff keeps everything moving at a decent clip.

Once you’ve made it to the front of the line, you have your pick of preparations ranging from tenders to half birds, all spiced to your preferred level of heat. Just be warned that this hot chicken is really hot — though, as LA Weekly notes, it’s also “genuinely fantastic fried chicken.”

If you’re craving cozy Japanese fare: Silverlake Ramen

 

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Yes, it does rain in Los Angeles, and when it does, few dishes are more comforting than a giant bowl of steaming ramen. Silverlake Ramen aims to provide the best traditional ramen in the city, complete with made-from-scratch broth and tender noodles.

Meat eaters will love the tonkatsu spicy ramen with pork belly — try adding the black garlic paste for some extra zip. Ramen isn’t always vegetarian-friendly, but Silverlake Ramen offers a completely meat-free — and delicious — veggie option as well. Just don’t forget the soft boiled egg!

If you want to dig into Texas-style BBQ: Bludso’s Bar & Que

 

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The debate rages on as to which type of barbecue is best, but Bludso’s makes a good case for Texas.

Run by Kevin Bludso, who hails from a long line of BBQ masters, Bludso’s plates heaping portions of brisket, ribs, chicken, and more, all cooked low, slow, and amped up with custom rubs. Assuming you have room, you can round out your meal with hearty sides like mac and cheese and cornbread. Southern transplants will also be delighted to see Cheerwine on the menu.

From the smoky aroma to the tender ribs, Bludso’s is as authentic as barbecue gets. The late, great Jonathan Gold even said its original Compton location served “the best barbecue in the Los Angeles area.”

If you adore regional Chinese food: Sichuan Impression

 

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It’s hard to describe the tingling punch of expertly prepared Sichuan food. It makes your mouth numb, but in a good way, thanks to the peppercorn of the same name.

If you’re looking to take your taste buds on a ride, it’s hard to go wrong at Sichuan Impression, which Eater picked as one of the 28 essential restaurants of California.

Want a tasty, showstopping shareable plate? Go for the toothpick mutton. Craving some spice? Order the mapo tofu. Super hungry? Try the tea-smoked pork ribs. Whichever way you go, you’ll leave happy — and very, very full.

If you want authentic cheesesteaks: Boo’s Philly Cheesesteaks

 

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The meat. The onions. The bun. And most importantly, the wiz. There’s a real art to making a Philly cheesesteak, and the minds behind Boo’s Philly Cheesesteaks are absolute maestros.

They even have rolls shipped directly from Amoroso’s and offer Tastykakes as dessert. The portions here aren’t exactly dainty, but that’s half the fun of a cheesesteak.

If Armenian food is your favorite: Mini Kabob

 

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Mini Kabob is as tiny and lovable as its name suggests. Tucked away on a side street in Glendale, this tight space seats about eight — barely.

Takeout is a good option if you don’t feel like getting cozy with your fellow diners, though the Martirosyan family, the restaurant’s owners and cooks, make everyone feel like an old friend.

If there’s one word to describe the food here, it’s fresh — everything on the modest menu is made to order. Chicken and beef come out juicy and piping hot, and the falafel is so tender and tasty, you’ll be jealous of your vegetarian friends.

If you’re looking for some southern hospitality: Dulan’s On Crenshaw

 

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There are a ton of beloved soul food restaurants in the Los Angeles area, but locals have a real soft spot for Dulan’s On Crenshaw. It’s been an institution for decades, offering classics like oxtails, smothered chicken, and cornbread dressing.

Expect to line up cafeteria style to get your tray, and come hungry — the portions here are generous.

If you want tender Korean short ribs: Sun Nong Dan

 

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Sun Nong Dan is pretty much always busy, but the food makes it worth the wait. This restaurant slings warming Korean favorites from its mall storefront, including mouth-watering beef short ribs (galbijjim).

It’s a favorite with the off-the-clock foodie set, including chef David Chang.

And if there’s a line around the block, don’t sweat it — Sun Nong Dan is open 24 hours.

If you’re searching for South Indian cooking: Mayura Indian Restaurant

 

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You might notice a trend: there are a lot of awesome Los Angeles restaurants in strip malls. Mayura Indian Restaurant is just such a hotspot, serving up South Indian cuisine in a casual setting.

The food here mostly hails from the Kerala region of southern India — expect to find specialties like tangy fish curry and porridge-like upma on the menu. Vegetarian dishes — prepared in a separate kitchen — include favorites like spiced eggplant masala and hearty malai kofta, but the pyramids of dosa alone are worth a trip.

If you’re serious about pizza: Pizzana

 

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As any dedicated pizza enthusiast will tell you, it’s all about the dough. And according to food critics and satisfied diners alike, some of the best pizza dough in Los Angeles can be found at Pizzana.

Chef Daniele Uditi, who grew up in Naples, draws on family recipes and imported Italian flours to create what he calls “slow dough”: a light, chewy foundation for countless tasty toppings.

Go classic with pepperoni, or shake up your pizza routine with options like charred shallots, squash blossoms, and bacon jam. Even goop is a fan of these uniquely delicious pies.

If you want Thai food with LA flair: Night + Market

 

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Los Angeles boasts scores of great Thai restaurants specializing in re-creating authentic dishes.

The vibe at Night + Market can’t be beat — it’s all colorful tablecloths and bead curtains. The food here — adapted from family recipes by Kris Yenbamroong – is definitely authentic, but the ingredients are distinctly Californian. Pad kee mao is made with pastrami from the Jewish deli Langer’s, while fried chicken sandwiches are served topped with papaya slaw.

The best part? It’s just blocks from our beautiful new community in Marina Del Rey.