From Route 66 classics to some of the most historic diners in the country, it doesn’t get more nostalgic than California. The best diners offer not only a taste of classic American cuisine but their own unique twist. From some of the oldest and most beloved diners in the state to some newcomers that have become favorites, check out the best diners throughout California.
The Fremont Diner is a newer-comer to the diner scene but it has earned national praise from magazines for its farm-focused Southern favorites. Using locally-sourced dairy, produce, and wines and beer, the Fremont Diner is a dog-friendly spot to enjoy everything from salad to fried chicken and waffles.
Don’t overlook Armon’s in the ever-growing Eagle Rock neighborhood. That would be a mistake. The tiny spot often has a line of people waiting to enjoy some of the freshest, hottest salsa in the city that improves any egg dish. Or try some of the limited Thai dishes on the menu.
Since 1924, the Original Pantry Café hasn’t changed much. It still serves generations of Angelenos looking for a delicious breakfast of fluffy oversized pancakes, sourdough French toast and chili. Open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, it’s a perfect place enjoy a taste of history.
Once upon a time Bob’s Big Boys dotted Southern California. Now there only a few locations left, with one of the best in Burbank. The classic diner architecture set off by the Big Boy statue himself is worth checking out but stay for the Big Boy combo and a vanilla Coke.
The Original Saugus Café in Santa Clarita has been through a lot of changes since first opening as a stagecoach stop back in 1186. Since then, the café has served presidents and Hollywood stars—and is even featured in various films. Check out the chalkboard for specials in the renovated spot.
Dottie’s True Blue Café is an updated take on a diner. Classic diner foods are updated using San Francisco’s gourmet California twist. Order anything that would benefit from the chipotle jam—like corn bread. And finish off with something sweet like scones or pecan rolls.
Café 222 is the first official restaurant venture of Seattle native Terryl Gavre. Gavre expanded her hospitality business to include Café 222, which offers breakfast and lunch along with cooking classes. Check out the selection of waffles for breakfast or head in for lunch a crisp salad and sandwich.
Harbor House Café is a historic café that never closes. Since 1939, the café has been serving breakfast, lunch and dinner for 24 hours a day. The extensive menu includes a variety of classic dishes from pancakes and waffles to omelets and steak chili, soups, salads and sandwiches are on deck for a filling dinner.
Mrs. Olsen’s Coffee Hut has gargantuan portions that feed the local military base as well as families looking for a full meal. Mrs. Olsen’s outgrew its original hut and now fills a large space overlooking the harbor so that the sea air can help you work up an appetite for plate-sized pancakes, chili filled omelets and huge burgers.
Since 1951, Hi-Lo Café has been a family owned business serving travelers and locals alike. Although the property has been updated over the years, some things remain the same. Like the family’s love of hospitality and offering quality food. You can find platters of food as well as smaller portions if you’re not a big eater.