Off the Beaten Path: Check Out These Unique and Charming Restaurants in West Adams

Updated on Mar 3, 2024

West Adams might not be an area of town that springs to mind when you’re trying to think of a great restaurant to bring a date to. In fact, you might not have heard of this area at all.

“West Adams” refers to the area of central Los Angeles around West Adams Boulevard south of the 10 Freeway. It runs from Fairfax in the west all the way to Hoover in the east, but I’m going to talk about the area only up to a little past Crenshaw in the east.

This area hasn’t been the best part of town and is not yet that walkable, but it’s undergoing a renaissance with some unique new restaurants popping up, many of which have charming outdoor patio dining areas.

While I probably wouldn’t bring someone to one of these mostly casual restaurants on a first date, they could be a lot of fun if you and your date would like to try something new, in a part of the city you probably never had a reason to go to before.

Most of these restaurants have no parking but usually, you can find street parking within a block or two.

So, if you’re up for a little adventure, check out some of these restaurants on West Adams Boulevard, going from west to east:

Bee Taqueria (Mexican)

It’s appropriate to start this list with a Mexican restaurant since this area has a high percentage of Latino businesses. Bee Taqueria is located on the west end of West Adams, a few blocks east of Fairfax.

Chef Alex Carrasco hails from Mexico City and cooks up some innovative Mexican dishes at Bee Taqueria, earning 4.5 stars on Yelp! I also love the outdoor ambiance, with the overhead bistro lights. It’s definitely not high-end, but it has charm. You can easily pretend you’re south of the border here.

Open Face Food Shop (Scandanavian)

Next up on West Adams is an outdoor-only Scandinavian food stand simply called Open Face Food Shop. They are known for their Danish Open Face sandwiches.

This food stand is small and casual. But, if you’re adventurous and willing to try something new, this unique restaurant gets rave reviews (five stars) on Yelp! Plus, it has a charming outdoor seating area, like so many places on West Adams.

Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine

Across the street is Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine, featuring some of the best Thai food in Los Angeles (in my opinion), in a very Instagrammable environment, complete with a flower wall and a very charming outdoor patio.

We had the Crab Fried Rice, Green Curry with Organic Chicken, Pan Asian Broccoli, and Pad Kee Mow with Prawns. All were excellent and we had one meal’s worth of food to take home as leftovers. Cost was about $150 for two.

Note, dining here is limited to 90 minutes. But, the food comes out so unbelievably fast that it’s we didn’t feel rushed when we were eating. I went to the restroom after we ordered and the food was on the table when I came back.

So, not a great place for long conversations. But, it’s a great date restaurant if you’re OK with the time limit and you love Thai food. Valet parking is available.

Vees Cafe (American)

For breakfast, lunch, or brunch, or just coffee, check out Vees Cafe. The decor of the interior and patio are nothing to write home about, but if you want a good hearty breakfast, this is the place to be!

Mizlala West Adams (Mediterranean)

In my opinion, Mizlala West Adams has some of the best Mediterranean food in Los Angeles (falafel, hummus, shwarma, etc.) The West Adams location has a super fun, casual, and very colorful outdoor patio that is fully covered.

Everything here is good – even the fries! We got takeout during the pandemic and couldn’t resist eating all of our fries while driving home.

There’s no parking lot, so you might have to drive around a bit to find street parking in the neighborhood.

Alta (Soul)

Certainly off the beaten path, as far as the cuisine is concerned, Alta features soul food by chefs Keith Corbin and Daniel Patterson, who met at Roy Choi’s Locol restaurant. Menu items include gumbo, shrimp and grits, blackened salmon, fried chicken, and BBQ brisket.

And of course, like almost all restaurants on this list, it has a charming outdoor patio!

Valet parking is available.

Tartine West Adams (Breakfast, Bakery)

Originally from the Bay Area, the beloved Tartine bakery has arrived in Southern California. We had their egg souffle sandwich (which wasn’t available in their Santa Monica location) and their ham and cheese. Both were unbelievable.

If you’re looking for a more gourmet take on breakfast sandwiches and pastries, check out Tartine. Just note, the items are expensive (but worth it!)

Mian West Adams (Chinese)

Mian specializes in authentic Sichuan-style noodles and cuisine, so we’re talking about the spicy kind of Chinese food here.

Mian West Adams
Mian West Adams

If you’re craving Chinese food in a casual environment, skip the drive to the San Gabriel Valley and check out Mian. The dishes are solid. The interior is clean, minimalistic, and slightly industrial. Street parking only.

Cento Pasta Bar (Italian) – My Pick For Best Date Restaurant on West Adams!!

I would venture to say that Cento Pasta Bar might be the best “date” restaurant on West Adams, if you want a place with a romantic atmosphere and great food.

We went there for my wife’s birthday and loved the outdoor ambiance and all of the pasta dishes we tried, as well as the salad and desserts. Their banana pudding tiramisu is a “must”! (Click on the gallery for the names of everything we ordered.)

There’s a reason why this place gets 4.5 stars on Yelp! Reservations can be tough to get. Valet parking is available. Highly recommended!!!

Johnny’s Pastrami and The Bar at Johnny’s (American)

Rounding out my list, just past Crenshaw on West Adams is Johnny’s and The Bar at Johnny’s.

Serving American bar food, ala burgers, chicken sandwiches, BBQ brisket, hot dogs, and pastrami sandwiches, Johnny’s has a retro feel that I love. Order at the window and sit in the charming outdoor courtyard. Or, take your food next door and grab some beers at The Bar.

Johnny’s might be more appropriate for an after-work get-together with your buddies than a date. But, I do love the vintage ambiance of this place. It could be the perfect place for a long evening of conversation over burgers and drinks under the stars.

Highly Likely (on Jefferson)

This is the one destination on this list that is located on Jefferson, not West Adams Blvd.

We enjoyed the ambiance and food at the West Adams location of Highly Likely (the other being in Highland Park).

With the front garage door rolled up and indoor and outdoor seating with a bustling hip young crowd, Highly Likely serves a variety of cuisines including American, Mexican, and Mediterranean. We enjoyed our breakfast burrito, fried fish sandwich, and “Fattoushy” salad (Middle Eastern).

I’d say this place is good for a casual date where you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard, but you want good food (lunch cost us about $70) and an informal modern atmosphere. There’s nothing within walking distance though, so plan to drive if you want to extend your date.

They are open for dinner but they close at 8 PM, so make it an early one.

More Date Ideas

As you have seen, you’ll find a unique variety of charming restaurants in West Adams. Many have romantic outdoor patios.

So, after you’ve tired of the glitzy Hollywood hotspots, check out one of these sublime date ideas.

Questions? Did I miss your favorite restaurant? Please comment below! – Brian

Check out these other great date ideas in the surrounding areas:

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