“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.”
No doubt the L.A. restaurant scene now rivals every major city in the world. We are in no shortage of fancy dining experiences begging you to drop $300 for two on any given night. Don’t get me wrong, I love a tasting menu, an impossible-to-get reservation, a celebrity chef, an $18 craft cocktail. Who doesn’t? But I also like a date night spot that doesn’t make me break out into a sweat when the bill arrives. A place that isn’t a dive, has great food and allows two people to get out the door for under $100*. If that sounds absurd, it is! Let me tell you, L.A. is severely lacking in cool, affordable restaurants we want to return to over and over (R.I.P Canele) Sadly during the pandemic we lost so many of my favorites that were on this list. For that reason, I have updated my list of the best affordable restaurants in Los Angeles that are good enough for a date night.
And please, I beg of you, share your favorite places with me in the comments! It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially in your own neighborhood. What are your favorite affordable L.A. date night restaurants? You get extra points if it’s not Italian!
Top 10 Best Affordable Restaurants in Los Angeles—Even for a Date Night
- Osteria La Buca (Korea Town/Hancock Park + Sherman Oaks (new!)): This has been our saving grace during the pandemic because it’s oozing with cozy ambience and actually survived! The pork chop will blow your mind and so will the Carbonara and pizza.
- Osteria Mamma (South East Hollywood/Hancock Park): From the bufala mozzarella pizza to the grilled chicken to the linguine al vongole, you’ll be hard pressed to find better Italian, especially at this price. They expanded their outdoor seating with a tent in the back.
- Mercado (multiple locations, but we love 3rd street): While maybe not the most romantic place, the food is great and so are the margaritas. We are regulars at the 3rd street location. They have one of the best happy hours in town—don’t miss the beef or potato tacos!
- Black Cat (Silver Lake): I love that there is no small plate concept, and it’s great for a date or even with a group. This is a hot spot on the weekends, so reservations are needed.
- Zinqué (Weho): I love having wine and charcuterie on the outdoor patio any time of day. The Le Bowl is a must-try, but there is definitely something for everyone.
- The Henry (Hollywood): We have been frequenting this West Hollywood spot that’s great for brunch, cocktails and dinner. Quite possibly the best tortilla soup I’ve had in LA and my husband is obsessed with their Harvest Bowl. They closed in 2020, but are finally back.
- Barbrix (Silver Lake): This is owned by the same group as our old favorite Market Provisions, which sadly closed in 2020. While the indoor ambience won’t blow your mind, they have ample outdoor seating. For the price to food quality, it’s a really great option especially since the menu has something for everyone.
- Pura Vita (Weho): This is the restaurant that has most surprised me in 2019. It is a vegetarian Italian restaurant, and I was shocked that I didn’t miss having meat at all. They have a wonderful wine list and cozy ambience. Highly recommend!
- La Pizza at Eataly (Century City): We love going to Eataly to shop for ingredients to make pizzas at home, but we discovered the bar over the pandemic and it’s such a fun date night or date lunch. You can order food too, so we always get a pizza—no clean up involved! They are currently having a Negroni bar pop up—Saluti!
- Everson Royce (DTLA): Technically this is an upscale cocktail bar with food, but the food is really good! They have a large outdoor area perfect for larger parties or cozy up to the bar with your hot date. Get the burger!
*The under $100 price is based on getting one drink each and not going crazy with how many dishes you order.