In an ideal world, you’d be celebrating your birthday with your friends. A big dinner, maybe some bar hopping, and, if the mood strikes, an ill-advised tattoo. Unfortunately, we are not in an ideal world at the moment. But just because your birthday falls in the middle of a quarantine doesn’t mean your special day has to be a complete wash. With relaxed laws on to-go cocktails, and fantastic restaurants across the city offering both takeout and delivery, you still have plenty of options to celebrate yourself to the fullest this year. Here are some suggestions. Oh, and happy birthday!
Let’s state the facts - LA is a margarita town and you can go to a lot of places and find good versions. That said, none are more legendary than the flaming ones served at El Compadre. We don’t care how high your alcohol tolerance is, two of these babies will put you under the table every time, and now, they’re available for curbside pick-up, so you can pass out under your very own coffee table. Sure, they don’t come on fire because that would be a safety hazard/impossible, but assuming you own a lighter, flame it up when you get home. See you under the table.
Many of LA’s high-end sushi spots have altered their menus during quarantine to concentrate solely on sushi combo platters and bento boxes, but Matsumoto is one place that is still offering omakase for takeaway. They have three set menus that range from $85-150, or you can spring for the “Sushi Omakase,” which is based solely on the chef’s selections and priced based on what’s available that day. Sure, it isn’t quite the same as sitting at the bar and getting handed individual pieces of fish, but if you miss great sushi as much as we do, this is a birthday splurge worth taking. Call (323) 653-0470 to order.
You’re spending this year’s birthday alone - don’t panic. You have three Zoom Happy Hours set up with friends, plus you’re ordering takeout from Lao Xi Noodle House. Handmade in-house and served in a fragrant broth, this family-run Chinese restaurant in Arcadia serves up some of our favorite noodles in the entire SGV. And that’s the type of comfort you need right now. In addition to their regular menu, they’re also selling frozen packages of dumplings for takeout - call (626) 348-2290 to order.
After five nights in a row of homemade vodka sodas and expired wine, it’s clear your bartending skills aren’t improving during quarantine. Order from Employee’s Only instead. The famous NYC-transplant is serving specialty cocktails to-go, and though $12 might seem steep for takeaway drinks, these aren’t cocktails you can make at home (obvs). They involve ingredients like chai vermouth, absinthe bitters, and even house-made grenadine. And if that wasn’t enough, Elio’s is now serving their tremendous wood-fired pizza from the parking lot as well. Talk about a birthday one-two punch.
If you’re the kind of person who believes it’s not a birthday unless there’s a cake involved, call Zettie Belle Bakes right now. The custom cake shop will design, create, and deliver the birthday cake of your dreams to wherever you’re currently isolating.
You wanted to keep your birthday simple this year and just do some In-N-Out drive-thru, but after seeing the line wrapped around the block, you’re going in another direction. In particular, towards Love Hour. The Koreatown pop-up has been cranking out some of our favorite smashburgers for over a year now, and the quarantine hasn’t slowed them down one bit. They’re currently offering drive-thru pre-orders on Wednesdays from 5-9pm, but on Saturday afternoons, you can pick up kits that allow you to cook (and build) your own burgers at home. Ordering available for both days via their website.
This tremendous seafood restaurant and wine bar in Venice has transitioned into a full-time marketplace, selling whatever they caught fresh on their own boat that day. Exact menus change all the time, but expect things like whole rockfish and red snapper, meal kits with prep instructions, oysters on the shell, and even pizza. Their extensive wine stock also comes at 30-50% off. Takeout and delivery available seven days a week from 2-8pm. Call (310) 392-0825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After a brief hiatus, the popular Downtown taco shop is back and that means one thing for you - Taco Night Birthday Party. Sonoratown is offering their full regular menu, but we say skip that in lieu of their special family-style meals. Ranging from $18-48, these different-sized packages are essentially build-your-own taco stations, complete with marinated meats by the pound (plus a veggie option), their famous house-made tortillas, and all the fixings you could want. Available for takeout and delivery.
If all you wanted this year for your birthday was some peace and quiet and lamb neck shawarma, you’re in luck. Every Wednesday-Saturday from 3-8pm, Bavel in the Arts District is offering six-course take-out menus for $49 per person. The specific menu changes weekly, so be sure to check their Instagram to see what they’re cooking up. Then be sure to throw in a few bottles of discounted wine as well - it is your birthday after all.
With locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, West Covina, and Buena Park, this legendary Cuban bakery has expanded its footprint pretty aggressively in recent years, but all that means for you on your birthday is that you aren’t too far of a drive from one. They’re currently offering pre-ordered in-car pick-up at each location and though the menu is slightly consolidated right now, you’ll still find all the best highlights like guava pastry, Cubanos, and their life-changing potato balls.
Casita del Campo is a Silver Lake institution and one of LA’s most enduring queer establishments. Though your chances of ripping a shot with a drag queen go down exponentially when you’re quarantined at home, just do what we do and order some of their famous margaritas to-go, throw in a big enchilada platter, and watch old episodes of Drag Race until you pass out on the couch. Before you do, check their Instagram for more information.
With everything from noodle kugel and matzo ball soup to whole chicken and cavatelli, Birdie G’s menu is the definition of celebratory food. And even though you have zero plans to put on real pants today, your birthday is absolutely still a celebration. Delivery and takeout are available daily from 12-7pm with batched cocktails to-go as well. Keep an eye on their Instagram for specials.
Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, a birthday meal that involves several plates of soup dumplings is a meal we fully endorse. Keep Din Tai Fung in mind. The legendary dim sum chain is offering delivery and takeout from all their SoCal locations (Arcadia, Century City, Glendale, Torrance, and Costa Mesa), which means now matter where you live, you’re probably not too far from piping hot dumplings at your doorstep. Delivery is available on most major platforms.
Birthdays are about feeling like royalty, and there are few bigger power grabs than ordering prime rib takeout from Lawry’s and watching NatGeo documentaries in your underwear all night. Almost the entire menu is available for curbside pick-up (at 20% off), and that includes sides of Yorkshire pudding, creamed spinach, and the famous spinning salad, which you absolutely will be attempting to recreate at home. They’re also offering 50% off all bottles of wine.
If you can’t decide what you want to eat and your quarantine-mates are picky, order from The Rose. The Venice restaurant is offering family-style dinners for $35 per person where you can mix and match different entrees until you get the menu you want. Or, if you just want to do pizza instead, they have that as well - at $10 a pie on the weekends. Everything is available through pre-paid pickup.
Few things will get you more nostalgic for the simpler days of childhood than a citywide lockdown - and that’s exactly why this year, you’re ordering from The Cheesecake Factory. Their entire encyclopedic menu is currently available for free delivery, but if you’re able to order online for curbside pickup, you’ll get a free slice of cheesecake thrown in. Use code FREESLICE at checkout.
You don’t care about big meals or fancy orders for your birthday, all you want is dessert. Make Milk Bar your choice. The hyper-popular dessert shop on Melrose has their entire menu available for delivery, so whether you’re in the mood for cake, cookies, pie, or soft serve, your sweet tooth shall be satisfied tonight. For the latest information, check out their Instagram.
Since Osteria La Buca’s “Pasta Room” private dining experience is off the table this year, you might as well go all-in on their excellent delivery and takeout menu instead. It features all the highlights of the regular menu (pork meatballs, crispy Brussels sprouts, cacio e pepe), plus half-off bottles of wine, bottled cocktails to-go, and, in their online grocery, prosciutto by the quarter pound. Who needs a pasta room when you have a living room?
Yasu Beverly Hills
It’s been a tough quarantine and you’re ready to treat yourself - so arrange to have a chef from Yasu in Beverly Hills come to your house to create your very own omakase experience. Prices and menu vary, but you can generally expect around 20 courses, a lot of personal euphoria, and some very happy roommates. Email email@example.com for all the details.
Spending your birthday alone on Zoom with your friends is weird, but one quick way to feel better about it all is to surround yourself with an exorbitant amount of comfort food. We’re talking about ordering from Bludso’s. The classic BBQ spot on La Brea has their entire menu available for both takeout or delivery, so whether you’re in the mood for brisket, pork ribs, or six sides of mac and cheese, you’ll be the talk of the Zoom party in no time. For more information, check out their Instagram.
With everything from a salumi board to house-made pasta to wagyu short ribs, Bestia’s $49 prix-fixe menu is the perfect way to celebrate yourself during a worldwide quarantine. The specific menu changes weekly, so keep an eye on their Instagram for the latest updates, but rest assured, whatever’s on it is going to be excellent.
During a quarantine, Malibu can feel like some far-off dreamland, but Broad Street Oyster has made the city-on-the-sea exponentially closer by opening a delivery-only kitchen that serves Downtown and the entire Eastside. Now, you can be eating fresh lobster rolls, fish and chips, and clam chowder for your birthday and never have to leave your couch. If you are able to make it to Malibu, they’re open daily from 11:30am-8pm for takeout via their “Tiki bar drive-thru.”
Your annual birthday brunch is the stuff of legends, so recreate it this year with the help of Jon & Vinny’s. The massively popular Italian spot on Fairfax is doing all-day delivery and takeout, offering pastries, pizzas, soft scrambled eggs, and more. If you’re looking to make it boozy (of course you are), grab a few bottles from Helen’s in the back. Remember - there’s no two-hour limit when you’re drinking bottomless mimosas at home.