Let the books and websites tell you about the tourist attractions and trendy new restaurants. Our guide to the City of Angels points you to our sure things for quintessential LA experiences, complete with grit and glamour, fun and sun, and outstanding people-watching—sometimes all at once. And of course, there are lots of only in Los Angeles gluten free restaurants and dining experiences along the way.
Photography Barry J Holmes
The outdoor mall is a cornerstone of LA culture, and this one has all the trappings to keep you there all day, from upscale shopping to movies to restaurants to frequent celeb sightings. thegrovela.com
The Hollywood Reservoir
A jog or walk around the surprisingly tranquil reservoir tucked into a quiet neighborhood just beneath the Hollywood sign is a spectacular way to start a day.
“The Strand” Bike Trail
While the oceanfront bike path is 22 miles long, the stretch between Santa Monica and Venice is especially action-packed with roller-bladers, joggers, bike riders, and plenty of reasons to rubberneck.
This trendy stretch of Venice is the Westside’s “It” shopping street, which makes it equally satisfying for splurging and people-watching. abbotkinneyblvd.com
The Hollywood Bowl
The home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra is one of our favorite alfresco music venues ever. It’s also where you’ll witness picnicking taken to seriously posh heights. hollywoodbowl.com
Where better to see a movie than at the epicenter of the film industry? You’ll find every film genre and theater type here, from cineplexes showing blockbusters to art houses curating lesser-known films (such as Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema, thenewbev.com, which features films shown in 35mm). You can even watch movies al fresco at a celebrity cemetery (cinespia.org).
Ace Hotel Los Angeles
Housed inside downtown LA’s architecturally stunning, newly restored 1927 United Artists theatre building, the Ace’s jaw-dropping public areas give way to an ornate 1920s movie theater, rooftop lounge and wading pool, and industrial-chic rooms. acehotel.com/losangeles
More like apartments than hotel suites, the five rooms in this boutique Los Feliz hotel have a way-cool 1920s feel and are so smartly adorned, you’ll want to sneak everything out in your suitcase. hotelcovell.com
Hollywood Cheeky retro-motel style and reasonable prices make this a go-to crash pad on the Sunset Strip. Bonuses include a 24/7 restaurant and rooftop pool. standardhotels.com
The Line Hotel
Home to Pot, the “It” restaurant of the moment, this sleek Koreatown hotel is impossibly cool, not unlike the people who book rooms here and linger in the bar and restaurants. thelinehotel.com
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
Proximity to the beachfront (across the street) and upscale hotel perks (pool, farm-to-table restaurant, and uber-popular bar and lounge) are part of the package at this pricy high-rise Santa Monica home away from home. fairmont.com/santa-monica
DRINK IT IN
This downtown LA rooftop lounge, where many locals take out-of-town guests, delivers with selfie-worthy skyline views. perchla.com
Musso & Frank Grill
All the flavor of Hollywood’s golden years is yours at this nearly 100-year-old steakhouse that’s as famous for its martinis as it is for its historic surroundings and age-old waiters. mussoandfrank.com
Alfred Coffee & Kitchen
This level of character with your coffee is an only-in-LA experience, complete with Stumptown roasts, baristas with serious foam-art skills, and a Melrose Place address. alfredcoffee.com
The vintage Hollywood charm of this fabled, historic Sunset Strip hotel is at least part of the reason it draws fascinating—and often famous— people to its Restaurant’s bar, which, incidentally, requires reservations. chateaumarmont.com
On a sunny day at the Barefoot Bar, the oceanfront cocktails and the eternal weekday Aloha Hour (with gluten-free menu upon request) overlooking the Malibu waves make for quintessential California dreaming. dukesmalibu.com
While none of the following is 100 percent gluten-free, LA restaurants are well versed in catering to GF and other special diets.
Note: Restaurants change their menus and recipes all the time, so be sure to confirm with your server that all the dishes you order are in fact, gluten-free.
Grand Central Market
Downtown’s haven for hipsters and foodies, this historic marketplace is booming with business, thanks to artisanal coffee, meat and spice markets, and other can’t-get-it-anywhere-else foodie favorites. Must-tries: breakfast at Eggslut (it’s bread-heavy but happily offers substitutions) and cold-pressed juice at Press Brothers Juicery. grandcentralmarket.com
Connie & Ted’s
This modern maze of dining areas in West Hollywood is filled to the gills with an eclectic mix of diners who come to get New England clam shack–style seafood done right. To stay GF you’ll have to forgo the fried stuff, but there are plenty of raw, steamed, and grilled selections that satisfy. Must-try: New England Boiled Dinner. connieandteds.com
One of our first food loves in LA, this West Hollywood destination dining room has stood the test of time due to unbelievably satisfying cooking by James Beard Award–winning chef Suzanne Goin. Farm-to-table California- Mediterranean fare means much of the menu is gluten-free. Must-tries: Lucques Olives & Almonds (classic) or Diver Scallops with Coconut Black Rice, Asian Greens, and Cashew-Kumquat Sambal. lucques.com
The Grill on the Alley
In LA, business is often done over cocktails and a handshake, and there’s no dining room better known for providing the platform than this Beverly Hills steakhouse. Come on a weekday for lunch to watch Hollywood industry power players in action. Must-tries: steak or pan-seared salmon. thegrill.com
Jeremy Fox proved he has a way with veggies with nationally lauded Ubuntu vegetarian restaurant in Napa. At this wine bar with a cool Santa Monica neighborhood vibe, meat and seafood also make his seasonal, farm-fresh menu. Must-try: “Beets and Berries” salad with avocado, Rancho Gordo quinoa, and pistachio “soil.” rusticcanyonwinebar.com
A menu and décor revamp of Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant in Beverly Hills put it back on top of the must-dine lists. Snag a patio table, if you can, for a taste of classic alfresco LA-glamour dining with international flavor. Must-tries: (specify GF to your waiter) Bincho Grilled Black Cod or Aioli Dungeness Crab Risotto. wolfgangpuck.com
Who cares if you can’t have the highly coveted (non-GF) pizza? This super-relaxed Venice hot spot’s Italian- and farmers’ market–inspired menu is loaded with fabulous farm-fresh veggie and meat dishes. If you can raise your gaze from your plate, the crowd is ogle-worthy too. Must-tries: roasted carrots with cilantro, sesame, and spiced yogurt; wood-roasted cauliflower with garlic, chili, and vinegar. gjelina.com
True Food Kitchen
There are a lot of junky restaurants near Santa Monica’s touristy shopping haven, the Third Street Promenade, but this large, airy restaurant-chain’s Santa Monica location is a bastion of quality-food tranquility. Wait for a in- or outdoor table or snag an empty seat at the counter for ultrafresh kale cobb, tortilla soup, or Korean noodle bowl. The menu labels GF items to keep it simple. Must-try: asparagus with baby arugula and pickled strawberries (!) over ricotta cheese. truefoodkitchen.com
GLUTEN-FREE SAFE HAVENS
Stuff’d Dumpling Shop
This sweet, unassuming shop on Melrose offers counter service and a concise collection of gluten-free Eastern European dumplings along with a couple of salads, including potato salad. The dumplings are slippery, tender, and perfect and come stuffed with a variety of fillings, including vegetarian and vegan options. Must-try: Hot Chick (organic chiken and vegetable dumplins in Thai coconut curry) and wild vegan mushroom dumplings. stuffdco.com
This casual California mini-chain features gluten-free Asian street food made with fresh, quality ingredients and packed into to-go boxes. With four SoCal locations, you’re never too far from a heaping helping of lemongrass pork with chilled noodles, veggies, egg, and a savory sauce or grilled chicken with house sauce, jasmine rice, crispy shallots, and peanuts. asianbox.com
Erin McKenna’s Bakery LA
Located on hip Larchmont Avenue near Hollywood, this West Coast outpost NYC’s GF, vegan bakery is exactly that–GF and vegan. It’s not much to look at; it feels a little dark and “well loved.” But no matter. It’s a grab-and-go spot where you’ll find cupcakes, bagels, donuts (more like donut-shaped cake), cookies, and coffee. They’re not the best we’ve tried, but they’re safe and do the trick. erinmckennasbakery.com/los-angeles/
Powerplant Superfood Kitchen
This organic, mostly-plant-based, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly counter-service restaurant is very small, homey, and welcoming with a fantastic selection of generously portioned smoothies, breakfast items, sandwiches, burgers, bowls, and desserts. Must-try: vegan banana pancakes; vegan biscuit and gravy.powerplantsuperfoodcafe.com