Until recently, dining after 10 PM in Los Angeles was a dodgy prospect at best. Norm’s… Jerry’s… Canter’s Delicatessen (no extra charge for “atmosphere”), or of course your local taco truck. But not anymore. Many places serve until midnight, and for those going even later, a variety of ethnic options are certainly available. But for something elegant, comfortable, and classy? It’s a bit more select. Here are my choices for a quality “wee hours” repast that won’t leave you regretful after sunrise:
How many nationally-famous restaurants in LA serve until 2 AM (on weekends)? One: Animal. This already-legendary king of the gastros has an ever-changing menu based on what the market brings, and the chef-owner’s fancies, but frequent offerings include oxtail poutine, pork sliders, rabbit, foie gras loco moco…you get the idea: classic meets creative. One downside for late-nighters: it’s hot, and reservations are usually needed. And not the best spot for vegetarians—that name isn’t ironic, believe me.
Animal is located at 435 North Fairfax Avenue, 323.782.9225
The landing spot of Top Cheftestant Chris ‘CJ’ Jacobson, The Yard is one of Santa Monica’s most serious (but approachable) gastropubs, with a small but ingredient-driven late night menu from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The Yard is located at 119 Broadway, Santa Monica, 310.395.6037
Half cozy lounge, half intimate dining room—serving until 3 a. m–Magnolia (above and at top) is that rare animal, a Hollywood spot that doesn’t seem Hollywood at all! Cozy and classic, with food and drinks to match. I had a wonderful interview with Maggie Grace in the lounge a while back, and have enjoyed other dates here as well. Gisele, La Lohan, Pete Wentz and Christina Aguilera have given it their stamp as well.
Magnolia is located at 6266 1/2 Sunset Boulevard, 323.467.0660 and 825 West Ninth Street, 213.362.0880
With fantastic ambiance in the bar, Library-like lounge and “outdoor” dining areas (and even the bathroom too), Firefly has long been known as one of the ideal date spots in the Valley. But alongside their creative cocktails, they also serve a multi-lingual menu until 2 AM every day except Sundays (when they have the nerve to close at 1). Low-key celeb sightings are common; Selena Gomez for one.
Firefly is located at 1720 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, 818.762.1833
Pacific Dining Car
Probably one of the only spots in the world where you can get 5-star service at 3 AM, this elegant family-owned downtown legend belies its 24/7 status with great dry-aged steaks and a respectable wine list. Breakfast is one of their undeniable strengths. You may even spot a celeb: author James Ellroy is a habitué, and Audrina Patridge visited recently.
Pacific Dining Car is located at 1310 West 6th Street, 213.483.6000