The 13 Oldest Los Angeles Restaurants Still Operating After 100 Years

Navigating the vibrant culinary landscape of Los Angeles presents a unique challenge in today’s ever-changing market. Rising operational costs and the fluctuating economy make maintaining a restaurant’s presence a feat.

Remarkably, a select group of establishments has not only weathered these storms but thrived, marking over a century of service. These venerable institutions are more than mere eateries; they are living history, embodying the spirit of the community and showcasing the evolution of Los Angeles’ diverse culture.

The significance of these century-old restaurants extends beyond their longevity. They serve as communal anchors, places where generations of Angelenos have congregated, where culinary traditions are preserved, and where the city’s dynamic narrative continues to unfold. Their walls have witnessed countless stories, from everyday gatherings to pivotal moments in history, making them integral to the cultural fabric of the region.

In tribute to their enduring legacy and impact, we embark on a culinary journey through Los Angeles County, celebrating thirteen of its oldest restaurants. From the historical streets of San Pedro to the vibrant heart of Santa Clarita, these establishments offer a taste of history, each with a unique story to tell.

Saugus Cafe: A Santa Clarita Landmark Since 1886

Embark on a nostalgic dining experience at Saugus Cafe, the oldest restaurant in Los Angeles County. Originally established as a railway stop, this iconic diner has welcomed travelers and locals alike, including U.S. presidents. Known for its inviting atmosphere and classic diner fare, the Saugus Cafe shines at breakfast with specialties like the beloved chicken fried steak, accompanied by diner-style coffee, making for an unforgettable start to the day.

Galco’s Old World Grocery: Highland Park’s Time Capsule Since 1897

Step into Galco’s Old World Grocery and travel back in time to an era when Highland Park was the heart of Los Angeles’ Italian community. This unique store has transformed from a traditional Italian grocer to a haven for soda enthusiasts, offering an extensive array of unique and nostalgic beverages. Don’t miss the hidden gem at the back – a sandwich counter crafting the classic Blockbuster sandwich, a perfect complement to your chosen soda.

Fugetsu-Do: Little Tokyo’s Sweet Tradition Since 1903

Fugetsu-Do, a cherished confectionery in Little Tokyo, has been delighting Angelenos with its exquisite mochi and wagashi since 1903. As one of the few Japanese-owned businesses to survive the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, it stands as a testament to resilience and tradition. Join the locals in celebrating Japanese holidays with their beautifully crafted sweets, exploring flavors from classic red bean paste to innovative peanut butter and lime.

Cole’s French Dip: A Historic Core Staple Since 1908

Immerse yourself in the historic charm of Cole’s, situated in the iconic Pacific Electric Building. While often compared to its rival Philippe’s, Cole’s carves out its unique niche with its saloon-like atmosphere and commitment to quality. Savor their version of the French dip sandwich, accompanied by an old-fashioned cocktail, and experience a piece of Los Angeles history.

Philippe The Original: Chinatown’s Beloved Deli Since 1908

Philippe The Original, a staple in Chinatown, is famed for its French dip sandwiches and rich culinary history. Enjoy the ambiance of this classic establishment, with its original wooden booths and train memorabilia, while indulging in their legendary sandwich, particularly the succulent thick-cut lamb dip, a hidden gem among their extensive menu.

Fair Oaks Pharmacy: South Pasadena’s Nostalgic Charm Since 1915

Fair Oaks Pharmacy offers a unique blend of a working pharmacy and an old-fashioned soda fountain. Experience the authentic taste of phosphate sodas or customize your own, all while surrounded by retro novelty items and candy bars reminiscent of the early 1900s. It’s a step back in time with every sip and bite.

Hideaway Bar & Grill: Sylmar’s Rustic Retreat Since 1917

Nestled in the equine community of Sylmar, Hideaway Bar & Grill offers a cozy respite for locals and travelers alike. Adorned with John Wayne murals and a welcoming atmosphere, this former stagecoach stop is the perfect spot to enjoy a cold beer and live country music in a setting straight out of a Western.

Mijares Mexican Restaurant: Pasadena’s Culinary Heritage Since 1920

Mijares, Pasadena’s oldest Mexican restaurant, continues to charm guests with its traditional recipes and inviting ambiance. Dive into their menu featuring classics like chile relleno and pork tamales, complemented by their renowned margaritas. It’s a taste of history, seasoned with the flavors of Mexico.

Tam O’Shanter: Los Feliz’s Scottish Haven Since 1922

Step into the enchanting world of Tam O’Shanter, Los Angeles’ iconic Scottish tavern. With its cozy fireside seating and extensive selection of scotch, it offers a regal dining experience reminiscent of a bygone era. Enjoy their famous prime rib and delve into the tavern’s magical atmosphere, a favorite among Disney animators and locals alike.

Slavko’s Harbor Poultry: San Pedro’s Croatian Legacy Since 1922

Discover the flavors of Croatia at Slavko’s Harbor Poultry, a testament to San Pedro’s rich immigrant history. Famous for its “broasted” chicken and traditional dishes like cevapi, Slavko’s offers a unique culinary experience, showcasing the community’s vibrant heritage.

El Cholo Restaurants: Celebrating Mexican Traditions Since 1923

El Cholo, a Los Angeles institution, invites diners to journey through the evolution of Mexican cuisine in the United States. From timeless dishes like tamales and chili con carne to modern favorites like fish tacos, El Cholo’s menu is a living history of Mexican culinary traditions, savored in a vibrant, colorful setting.

The Original Pantry Cafe: A Downtown Icon Since 1924

The Original Pantry Cafe stands as a beacon of Los Angeles’ diner culture. With its historic ambiance and commitment to traditional diner fare, it offers a culinary experience steeped in nostalgia. Enjoy a hearty breakfast or lunch at this beloved institution, where the past meets the present.

Joe Jost’s: Long Beach’s Enduring Pub Since 1924

Joe Jost’s epitomizes the timeless charm of Long Beach’s pub scene. Known for its pickled eggs, “Joe Special” sandwiches, and ice-cold schooners, this establishment offers a warm, welcoming atmosphere where history and community converge.

In conclusion, these thirteen historic restaurants provide more than just meals; they offer a journey through Los Angeles’ rich cultural tapestry, serving as reminders of the city’s resilience, diversity, and culinary innovation. Their enduring presence stands as a testament to their quality, charm, and ability to bring people together, making them cherished landmarks in Los Angeles’ gastronomic landscape.

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