A diner is a special kind of restaurant. Usually, it’s not all that big, and its food isn’t expensive. You won’t get exotic gourmet food here, either. You mainly get classic American fare to go with that relaxed, casual vibe.
Often, the vibe is decidedly retro, as if you traveled back in time to the 1950s. That is, if you find a truly authentic diner. If you’re in LA, you can always find a good diner to visit at just about any time. While you can always enjoy a visit to Denny’s you might want to try some of these diners if you’re in Los Angeles:
Clark Street Diner
The owner of Clark Street Bread took over the former 101 Coffee Shop across from Hollywood Tower, ad now you have the Clark Street Diner. The food here is great, and it will probably be extremely difficult to find another place that matches their blueberry pancakes.
Get some omelets, and you can have them as brown or as pale as you want them to be. You’ve got eggs Florentine with the yolks bursting on the English muffin, along with some spinach and the optional but highly recommended kerchiefs of smoked salmon. The corned beef hash is also terrific, with just the right ratio of meat and potatoes.
The vibe here is unmistakably retro, and it’s as if you’re back before America went to WWII. You have studded-leather booths, worn wooden chairs, linoleum flooring, and really old wooden speakers.
The food options are still what you’d find in a real diner, but they’ve been somewhat updated for more modern tastebuds. They (Nickel’s Diner) offer herbaceous blue cheese dressing into which you can dunk your hand-breaded onion rings, and it also works as dressing for the salads. You can also try the thick and meaty patty melty oozing Dijon and fontina.
On the weekends, you can try the duck sausage, and some of the terrific pastries. And you really have to get the seasonal pop tart too.
The Hermosa Beach sunshine reflects nicely from the bright lemon walls of this place, which has been around for more than 35 years now. The menu has at least 100 dishes to choose from, so you may want to take some time before you make your order.
But that only means they probably have anything you might expect from a real diner. You have waffles and French toast with rather interesting toppings, large salads, various burgers and melts, different versions of grilled cheese, and even specials like grilled salmon and pork chops.
You also need to try the Hot Mess skillet, with a large mound of biscuits and gravy along with bacon, scrambled eggs, jalapeños, green onions, and the oozing Jack and cheddar cheeses.
No, it’s not what you’re thinking, so get your mind out of the gutter. It was a diner that became famous due to the Swingers movie back in the 1990s, but it closed down due to Covid. Now it has new owners, and that same Gen X vibe is still there. For many regulars, it’s actually more about that particular atmosphere rather than the food itself.
Not that the food is bad here, as you do have great options. But you can’t beat getting a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with guacamole, or the plate of French fries smothered in turkey chili along with melted cheddar and Jack.
LA is famous for its nightlife, and the place is rocking right now after the Covid mess. So if you find yourself hungry at any time of the day or night, find one of these diners, get some comfort food to fill you up, and enjoy!