You just got ghosted by your significant other of two years, your fridge broke on an 80-degree day, and your boss just told you that she needs an attitude adjustment from you immediately. Some weeks can be great, but other weeks dissolve into complete dumpster fires. And when sh*t hits the fan, you need those comfort food spots that are always there for you, even if that’s just because they’re restaurants with set hours. Whether you’re looking for a greasy burger, a big plate of spaghetti, or a dessert to cry in, these are the LA spots where you need to be after a bad week.
You stayed up until 2am finishing a presentation, only to realize during the meeting that you misspelled the client’s name on every slide. Time to make up a doctor’s appointment, then head downtown and let Cento make you feel better with giant bowls of pasta. This place is lunch-only (they take over a wine bar during the day), consists of a single guy cooking on hot plates behind the bar, and is perfect for a solo meal - probably with a glass of wine. The menu changes constantly, but always involves a bright pink beet pasta we are physically incapable of not ordering.
You had the best first date of your life last night, and this morning he texts you to let you know he had a great time, but he’s actually moving to Fiji next month. Grab the friend who’s seen you cry the most times, head to Santa Monica, and eat very large burritos. Gilbert’s El Indio is the classic Mexican restaurant that specializes in giant burritos, and is always full of people who won’t care that you’re wearing sweats. It’s the perfect place to sit in a booth and spend a couple of hours justifying why you think a girls’ trip to Fiji would be totally fun and have nothing to do with this guy.
You tried to make a stressful work week better with Happy Hour drinks last night, except now you have a ton of things to do and a hangover that makes you feel like you’re staring out at the world through 10 sheets of Saran wrap. Call Rice Bar at lunch and order their Pork Longganisa to go - this Filipino rice bowl is filled with sweet and sour pork sausage, pickled vegetables, and a perfect sunny side up egg if you ask for one. Basically, it’s everything good in a bowl, it’s only $10, and it will be the best part of your day.
You went on a date with a very attractive “guy in finance,” and three drinks in got convinced to put your life savings into Bitcoin. Only to see them disappear a few days later. Now’s probably a good time to go cry into a glass of wine and a plate of meat at Oriel, a French bistro/wine bar in Chinatown. The low-lit space is perfect for solo dining at the bar, where no one will see your tears. Plus, the excellent French onion soup is $10, which is a thing you need right now, at a price you can actually afford.
Two people at your company got laid off this week: you, and Brad from accounting who once got his hand stuck in the vending machine. You have some newfound free time on your hands, so you might as well use it to get yourself a Godmother sandwich from Bay Cities, eaten while staring pensively at the Pacific Ocean from your car. The legendary Italian deli/grocery in Santa Monica does all kinds of subs, but your order is always the one filled with five types of cured meat, cheese, and pretty much every other delicious sandwich topping. Brad probably doesn’t even know this place exists - you’re already doing better than him.
Your expensive new tapered sweatpants finally came last week, and two of your friends have since offered to let you use their washing machine. You know what might make you feel better? Throwing down on a meal for one. Petit Trois is an expensive French restaurant that’s also pretty casual, so you can pretend that spending a large amount of money on dinner for one is totally normal for you. The tiny spot next to Trois Mec serves stuff like a fried chicken leg and cocktails in a space that only fits 21. And no one will question those sweatpants.
There hasn’t been hot water coming out of your shower since Tuesday and your landlord won’t respond to any of your distress signals. Make moves to Masa, one of our favorite Eastside spots that’s home to some of the best deep dish pizza we’ve had outside Chicago. The food is great, and the atmosphere inside this family-run operation feels like you’re back visiting your hometown for the holidays. Critical move: call and place your pizza order right as you leave your house - deep dish takes awhile.
Cafe Birdie might be relatively new, but this Highland Park comfort food spot is where we want to be most after sh*t hits the fan. The place feels like your rich aunt’s house in the country, with a menu full of everything from pork cheek ragu to Moroccan fried chicken. Need a few stiff drinks? There’s a hidden bar in the back called Good Housekeeping that will dull the pain of your week.
Your girlfriend of three years told you on Tuesday she needs some space for a while. Head right to Roscoe’s - the legendary chicken and waffles joint and LA’s ground zero for not giving a f*ck. The original Hollywood location has been around for over 40 years, and its diner-y interior is the kind of place you’re just as likely to spot an A-list celebrity as you are all your other single friends.
Polka Polish is one of those places you don’t tell many friends about, because you’ve been going for years by yourself and want to continue eating in your pajamas in solitude. The family-run joint in Glassell Park has excellent Polish classics across the board, but your boss asked you twice this week “where’s your happy version at?,” so you’re here for one reason: pierogies. One of god’s great gifts to man, these little dumplings come stuffed with everything from sauerkraut to bacon to jalapeños, and you’re going to want all of them.
There aren’t many comforting aspects of walking around Beverly Hills after four days straight of working overtime, but as long as the destination is Nate ’n Al, everything will be OK. The 70-year-old Jewish deli is an LA landmark and nothing beats a Saturday morning scarfing down some stuffed cabbage and bagel and lox.
A part of your car you never knew even existed broke on Wednesday, and $850 later you’re suddenly not as financially comfortable as you were two days ago. While there are plenty of places to grab a good burger in this town, our choice for when life is at its most dire is Pie ’n Burger. The Pasadena classic has one of the best meat sandwiches in Los Angeles, and its throwback Americana feel is just the kind of escapism you need.
That cute guy from Tinder you were totally into just dropped the not-looking-for-a-relationship bomb, and you’re officially 100% done with men. Go directly to Magnolia and stick your face right into that famous banana pudding. Is this the best dessert in the universe? We say yes. And at $5.50 a pop, you’re definitely grabbing a few for when you’re hiding in your bed later.
We don’t need to tell you that Mexican food cures all, but when the workweek has continued to just club you over the head repeatedly, our suggestion is Casa Vega. The 60-year-old Valley institution is the kind of place where you crawl into a big large booth, get blitzed on margaritas, eat some lobster quesadillas, and watch everyone from the Kardashians to your tax guy do the exact same thing.
When it comes to Thai Town, you pretty much have your pick of comfort food spots that will do you right. But our choice is Pailin. The warm, tiny space doesn’t have anywhere near the foot traffic (and chaotic energy) of some of the more well-known spots in the neighborhood, and that’s ideal when you want to sit in silence by yourself and stare at a wall. Their khao soi is the curry noodle soup of your dreams.
Sawtelle Blvd. is pretty much the epicenter of comfort food, but for our money, nothing beats a voyage to Mizu 212 for some shabu shabu. If you’re looking for comfort food that won’t make you feel terrible, this little spot is where you go. Order the special sauce on everything.
When in doubt, a plate of meat will always make life a little better. Maple Block hasn’t been open all that long, but this Culver City spot has quickly risen the ranks to become some of our favorite BBQ in the city. The brisket is the move, but also consider the pimiento cheese sandwiches. And save room for the cobbler.
Saturday night at Jones is admittedly a bit of a scene, but if you come during an off time, you’ll find the setting extremely conducive to eating your feelings over a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. But you’re really here for that apple pie at the end - it’s served in a skillet and has no business being as good as it is.