The West Adams neighborhood is nestled just south of downtown Los Angeles. It’s a hidden gem filled with history, stunning architecture, and a thriving arts and culinary scene. This neighborhood boasts a unique blend of late 19th and early 20th-century architecture, from grandiose mansions to more modest Craftsman and Tudor homes. At the turn of the 20th century, West Adams was the wealthiest area in Los Angeles first to wealthy white businessmen, then later to wealthy Black Angelinos. It even garnered the nickname “Sugar Hill” in the 1930s. Walking down the tree-lined streets, one can’t help but feel transported back in time.
However, West Adams is more than just a neighborhood frozen in the past. It’s also becoming a hub for young affluent residents and creatives. This has put West Adams both at the center of Los Angeles’ gentrification discussion and has also led to a burgeoning art gallery scene and an array of innovative restaurants and cafes breathing new life into this historic neighborhood.
We’ve spent a considerable amount of time in West Adams over the past several years, specifically in the part of the neighborhood west of Crenshaw Boulevard. Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite places if you’re considering making West Adams a stop on your next visit to Los Angeles or simply looking to explore a new neighborhood one weekend. Make sure you study up on the past as you enjoy modern-day West Adams!
5359 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Alta has had plenty of press in recent years for its approach of putting a new twist on soul food. It’s also largely considered the pioneer of a new wave of restaurants opening its doors in West Adams. We’ll leave our opinions to ourselves about the menu, but whether you like it or not might be based on your tolerance for elevated soul food for a price versus sticking to a Los Angeles soul food staple like Dulan’s.
5754 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Bees Taqueria has Michelin Star Guide’s Bib Gourmand designation, which signifies good quality and good value cooking. Located in a retail parking lot in a shipping container, Bees serves up tacos, ceviche, and tostadas inspired by Chef Alex Carrasco’s upbringing in Mexico City. If you’re up for it, shell out $50 for the taco omakase – a taco-tasting adventure.
Cento Pasta Bar
4921 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
If you’re a fan of Bestia, one of the busiest and most notable Italian restaurants in Los Angeles, you’ll very likely be a fan of Cento. That’s because the owner and chef Avner Levi cooked pasta for Bestia before he moved on to host his well-known pasta pop-ups at Minon Wine Bar in downtown LA. Cento is one the newest hot spots in West Adams’ growing restaurant scene. We recommend trying the spicy pomodoro.
Collins Fish Market
4873 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Whereas you’ll find plenty of press about restaurants like Alta and Cento in Eater and The Infatuation, you won’t find much about Collins Fish Market. However, if you appreciate a good variety of fried fish with a side of fries, Collins is your spot. Whether you want red snapper, whiting, sole, salmon, or swai, Collins has it all. Or, simply go for the shrimp and fried fish combo!
5419 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Delicious Pizza was founded by Delicious Vinyl, one of the most iconic indie music labels in Los Angeles that birthed some well-known rappers like Tone Loc and Masta Ace. Simply put, Delicious Pizza serves some of the best pizza in the city, along with an incredible soundtrack to match.
5560 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
One of the newer kids on the block, Farmhouse Kitchen is a thai restaurant. The ambiance is unlike any we’ve seen in a thai restaurant, and the back patio is one of the best in the neighborhood. The dishes are mostly served family style and are plated with flair. Try the volcano cup noodle or lobster pad thai!
Honey Bees House of Breakfast
4715 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
A restaurant mostly known to locals, Honey Bees whips up classic breakfast options at an affordable price.
4327 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Those in the know recognize that Johnny’s Pastrami was a neighborhood staple recently brought back to life under new ownership. Old-timers will tell you that the pastrami isn’t like it used to be, but most new-timers who aren’t familiar with the old Johnny’s will tell you that the pastrami is really, really good. Also, don’t miss out on the burger and dessert options. For what it’s worth, the green goddess salad is also a hit.
Mels Fish Shack
4524 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
There’s a friendly debate in the neighborhood about who has better fish, Collins or Mels. Well, there’s only one way to find out. Try both! Mels has been around for years, and if you read through the Google reviews, you’ll see some polarizing opinions, both good and bad, about the fish. Some say it’s the best in LA, and others say they’ve changed their recipe over the years. You’ll have to decide for yourself
5263 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
MIAN is the Chinese word for “noodle.” Founder and Chef, Tony Xu, is a James Beard award winner whose first restaurant, Chengdu Taste, is largely responsible for expanding the view of what Sichuan cooking is to southern Californians. MIAN is a more casual offshoot of Chengdu Taste, with its first location in the San Gabriel Valley, and now, West Adams. The pork ramen and various dumpling options are some of the best in the city. They also offer a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, including large bottles of Tsingtao, if you’d like to try a well-known Chinese beer.
5400 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
At this point, there likely aren’t too many Los Angeleno foodies who haven’t at least heard of Mizlala. The fast-casual Middle Eastern restaurant started in Sherman Oaks, but now has three restaurants around the city. The West Adams location is the best-reviewed and also has the best vibe with a very well-manicured corner patio space. We recommend trying the chick pargyiot with a side of brussels sprouts. The fries are also excellent!
Open Face Sandwich Shop
5577 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
By the name, you’d think Open Face Sandwich Shop serves up basic American-style sandwiches on some form of fancy bread, not a restaurant with Danish roots. The reality is that they serve up some of the freshest, most inspired lunchtime food in the neighborhood, usually straight from the local farmer’s market. Give it a go, and be sure to try the Fancy Burger or the Branzino Sandwich. They also pour a very good black coffee!
Taqueria Los Anaya
4651 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
This Mexican restaurant is the best in the neighborhood. The family-run restaurant opened in 2012 and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The love and care they put into their food are apparent, and their attention to customer service never goes unnoticed. Whatever you order, make sure you try their freshly made tortillas. They also pour really good margaritas and micheladas.
5418 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Open from 7am-9pm every day of the week, Vees Cafe is a no-frills restaurant that we recommend for a simple, classic breakfast. They also have a relatively hidden patio just past the kitchen that usually has open seats.
Vicky’s All day
5410 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Vicky’s is perhaps the coolest designed restaurant in the city, kind of like stepping into a classic American diner mashed up with a French cafe. They describe themselves as a California Brasserie serving up Mediterranean comfort food. This means more than just hummus and mezze plates. Vicky’s has pasta, burgers, shakshuka, pizzas, and more. It’s as if they’ve picked dishes from every country that touches the Mediterranean. Not only that, but they also have a robust set of wines along with bottles that can be bought to go.
Bars, Breweries & Craft Beer
Party Beer Co
4203 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
The best and only brewery in the neighborhood is Party Beer Co. They brew a wide variety of beers almost all inspired by cats, like the Bitch Pawlease West Coast IPA, or the Pizza Cat Italian pilsner. Party Peer Co is also the official craft beer of LAFC, Los Angeles’ Major League Soccer team. If you want to go to Party Beer Co and get a real sense for the local community, head there on a Friday for their Vegan Playground party where many of the best vegan food vendors serve up their best dishes.
Bar at Johnnys
4327 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018
Adjacent to Johnny’s Pastrami, you’ll find Bar at Johnny’s. This is the only real bar in West Adams currently. You’ll love the vintage feel and sprawling outdoor patio. On the weekends you might catch a DJ or a live band. Be sure to order food next door and bring it over to the bar!
3022 S Cochran Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Perhaps the most hidden of gems in West Adams is Normandie Bakery. Tucked away just off of Jefferson Blvd on South Couchran Ave, you’ll find this cafe and bakery whipping up baguettes, pastries, french dishes, and pates. They also wholesale over 2,000 baguettes daily to restaurants all over the city.
5335 W Adams Blvd Unit 104, Los Angeles, CA 90016
With five locations in Los Angeles, and another eight spread across the Bay Area and Seoul, Tartine has quite the following. Come here to enjoy various pastries, sandwiches, and coffees. The morning bun and pain au chocolat are personal favorites.
City Bean Roasters
5051 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
City Bean is a notable wholesale coffee roaster that opened a retail storefront at the height of COVID. Although you can’t enjoy a cup of coffee at City Bean, you can purchase some of the freshest beans in Los Angeles from their retail store to take home to enjoy.
4310 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
At this point, Highly Likely basically has a coffee shop monopoly in West Adams because, well, it’s basically the only coffee shop around. They also have a robust food menu with both breakfast and lunch options. To top things off, they’re open into the evening, so you can enjoy a glass of wine or beer as you cozy up and read a book or work away on your laptop.
4217 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Next to Party Beer Co, you’ll find ThinkSpace. They are part of what they describe as the “New Contemporary Art Movement.” Open 12-6, Mon-Sat, drop in and check out they’re current exhibitions. Then, drop by Party Beer Co afterward.
Band of Vices
5351 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Rather than tell you about Band of Vices, we’re just going to drop the below here straight from their website. We think this says it all,
There was a time when it was bad to be black;
a time when brown was illegal;
a time when being gay or queer was immoral;
a time when those less abled were abominable.
There were times when being different was a vice.
We reject those labels.
For those historically undervalued, overlooked or cast aside we say now is your time, now is our time.
We are creating a Band of Vices.
We reject colonialism, we reject tribalism, we reject exclusivity, we embrace uniqueness, diversity, and inclusion.
We embrace love.
We are a Band of Vices…
Our mission is to harness the power of all our differences to create a greater whole. We support strong voices and community.
5118 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
The Landing is a 2,800 sq. ft. fine art gallery on Jefferson Blvd. They specialize in historically significant 20th-century postwar works, emphasizing those created in California. They’re open Tuesday-Saturday 11-6pm.
Adams Wine Shop
5357 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Located right next door to Alta, Adams Wine Shop specializes in wines produced by women and BIPOC around the world. The shop was founded by Sommelier Ruben Morancy. Follow them on Instagram and pick a day to drop in for one of their many monthly tastings!
All Power Books
4874 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Located in the heart of West Adams, All Power Books is a volunteer-run community space and bookstore. In addition to books, they also maintain a community pantry for those who might benefit from it. Its become a critical space and support community for those in the area, but also well worth dropping in to check out their offering of critical reading and radical literature.
High Fidelity Records
4765 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
The only music store in West Adams, drop-in High Fidelity Records Thursday to Sunday 11-6pm. This is an awesome place to buy and sell vinyl records, and even CDs, if you still have a CD player!
5601 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Owned by the founders of Open Face Sandwich shop, HYA describes itself as a general store. That could be misleading because there are no general items in this store. The store features a variety of high design kids toys and curated home goods products. There are also other fun finds from around the world and from local artists.