Sure, California is home to world-renowned chefs and upscale restaurants, but sometimes the down-home comfort of a mom and pop restaurant is what you’re seeking. In every neighborhood, you’ll find this classic spot churning out delicious food and the comfort of your grandma’s dining room. Here are the 10 best mom and pop restaurants in the state.
Sasoon is a no-frills Armenian and Middle Eastern restaurant that inhabits an unassuming corner of a strip mall. The walls are filled with wordplay and wisdom and the couple that runs the joint greet everyone like family before serving up delicious home cooked goodness like roasted chicken with garlic sauce and tahini.
For decades, Hunan Restaurant has been the only decent Chinese restaurant in the Conejo Valley and it’s still going strong. Start with shrimp toast and a cocktail and then go for the Orange Flavored Beef accompanied by house-made pickled veggies.
Armon’s in Eagle Rock is amongst the last surviving diners in an area that is heavily gentrified and filled with hipsters. The friendly-family spot serves some of the spiciest salsa to go with the basic egg breakfasts. Check out the Tom Yum for breakfast or lunch after a late night.
Papa Cristo’s is a family restaurant that has passed through generations and continues to grow in popularity and influence as one of the best Greek places in LA. Everyone knows it and everyone either shops at the market or orders takeout for everything from weeknight dinners to parties.
Les Sisters has a unique story and a unique place in the heart of people from all over the San Fernando Valley. Despite a variety of hardships and personal and professional traumas, Les Sisters remains one of the best places to enjoy Southern comfort food. Chow down on a variety of homey dishes like fried chicken and mac n cheese and don’t forget the Sweet Tea.
San Carlo Italian Deli is a hidden gem owned by a gregarious Italian family. Mom or Pop or one of their sons is usually behind the counter, giving customers a friendly hard time. The small market shelves are outshined by some of the best Italian American food anywhere. Sandwiches piled high with cold cuts, generous portions of eggplant parm and more goodies. And don’t forget to try a panzerotti.
Pete’s Blue Chip is another long-standing Eagle Rock classic, popular with local high school kids and their families. The double decker stacked burgers are delicious paired with an Orange Bang drink and the pickled carrots.
Thousand Oaks has become known as a wealthy suburb and P&L has definitely seen a renovation in recent years, but the family-run burger joint is still as basic as ever. Plastic plates, some of the best shakes around and cheap breakfasts are just a few of the highlights on the menu.
Sushi Tanaka is a rare gem in Ventura County, run by a husband and wife team. Rather than creative rolls and hodgepodge Japanese items, Sushi Tanaka serves traditional sushi. The husband can be found behind the sushi bar creating luxurious omakase menus or items to order while the wife takes orders and keeps things running smoothly.
Elena’s Greek Armenian Cuisine has become a favorite with Los Angeles critics and diners in the 30 plus years it has been in business. Family owned and operated by Elena and her husband, the prices are low and the flavors are big.