Few will argue that Los Angeles is not home to the best year-round weather of any city in the continental United States (we see you, San Diego). Sun is culture here and our year-round Mediterranean climate gives our city its identity. Now, LA will never fake being a four-season city, but winter is in fact a thing here. Jackets get unearthed and rain falls from the sky (FINALLY!). It’s a chance to get cozy with significant others, sip on hot chocolate cause you’re actually cold and a time to look back with nostalgia at the snow-laden landscape you probably left behind years ago. While almost every restaurant here knows how to dine under the sun, a few gems take advantage of the opposite. Here are a few of our favorite restaurants to make you feel like it’s winter outside:
1006 Seward St, Hollywood
Probably most famous for being “the hardest reservation in America”, this East Harlem stronghold made the leap westward last year arriving on a quiet, mostly residential street in Hollywood. The jury is still out on whether this NYC food titan has successfully made the jump to Los Angeles, but no one can deny the nostalgic ambiance that rushes over you upon entering through its doors. Wave goodbye to California because you are transported immediately to the Italian New York that you only see on HBO. It’s warm and welcoming but quietly intimidating, as if everyone sitting at the tables just wrapped up a blockbuster mob deal. And that’s the fun of it. Festive wreaths decorate the rich red interior and as you fork through their world-famous meatballs; your imagination can’t help but wonder if you’ll ever be able to hail a cab in that snowstorm outside.
624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles
Many cities around the globe conjure up winter romanticism at its finest. New York, London, Rome, Munich… But few rival the fairytale glow of Paris during the cold months. At Republique, Walter Manzke combines world-class dining with one of the most awe-inspiring restaurant spaces in the city. Sitting in Republique’s main dining room is like eating dinner in an old church on the banks of the Seine. The three separate, but entirely visible kitchens evoke the feeling of a bustling food market. It’s cozy, vibrant, and intoxicatingly romantic. What else could you ever want on a chilly night in December?
2518 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
The newest restaurant on our list, Cadet has only been open a few months and is already making waves across the city for its exceptional food and warm, welcoming interior. Let’s just say there aren’t very many restaurants in this city that dedicate a portion of their space to a floor-to-ceiling wood-burning oven. It’ll be fun to watch this exciting restaurant mature and grow around Santa Monica’s youthful beach vibe, especially when Cadet already seems to be changing the game. And just in time to give our rain-soaked hearts a place to cozy up and stay warm.
2128 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Feliz
Frankly, what doesn’t Little Dom’s do well? This Eastside institution somehow still brilliantly flies under the radar, giving it’s charming neighborhood a place they can call their own. Reservations can be tough to get, but once you’re inside you understand what makes this place so special. It’s reminds you of a restaurant that should reside in another city, all the while having Los Angeles running through its veins. Hipsters, businessmen, celebrities, and families. Everyone comes to Little Dom’s for something not found often in our city – a cozy, romantic, and downright delicious neighborhood Italian joint.When there’s that tiny bite in the December air, nothing serves the soul better than that.