Top 10 Weird L.A. Food Spots


Clifton's Cafeteria
Established in 1931 by Clifford Clinton, this cafeteria-style eaterie helped feed Angelinos struggling during the height of the Depression. Even today, Clifton's refuses to turn anyone away, offering a pay what you can option. The kitschy woodland decor features a forest landscape painted by renowned muralist, Einar C. Petersen, a cascading waterfall, and a fishing bear. And if you'd like to say a quick prayer before you head out, there's a small chapel among the faux-redwood forest. Check out this SoCal Connected web original that profiles Clifton's.

648 South Broadway
Los Angeles 90014

Opaque, Dining in the Dark
Most of us eat with the lights on. It helps prevent any utensil mishaps. But Opaque's Dining in the Dark believes a lot of good can come from eating without seeing. With heightened senses, Opaque promises us an explosion of flavor that just doesn't manifest when we have both eyes on our plate. Once you order in the lounge, you're escorted into a pitch-dark dining room to (blindly) enjoy your meal. And who knows? After a night at Dining in the Dark, you might make a habit of turning off the lights once dinner is served.

2020 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica 90403


Housed in the landmark Theme Building just outside the main terminal of LAX, Encounter serves the soon-to-be flying as well as those just in the mood for some cartoonish space-age ambience. (No need to buy a plane ticket to eat since it's outside security checkpoints.) The elevator ride up to restaurant includes alien sound effects. The menu is nothing special but this restaurant is guaranteed to make you feel like you're in an episode of The Jetsons. Now if only we could replace airplanes with flying cars that fold compactly into briefcases.

209 World Way at LAX

Not all of us can afford the maid and butler lifestyle enjoyed by many of the Hollywood elite. Luckily, when we need our pamper fix, there's Royal/T — the first Japanese-style cosplay café. Women donned in french maid outfits bustle around the space, keeping the clientele happy with an inventive French-Japanese fusion menu. After the meal check out the art gallery showcasing giant squid stuffed animals lounging on day beds and animé-style Star Wars figurines.

8910 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, 90232

Mixt Greens
Stressing organic, sustainable and local, Mixt Greens promises to be some of the greenest weird eating in Southern California. Of course, environmentally conscious food is not particularly weird, especially in Los Angeles. But an edible wall? Now that's weird. Each location (there are now two) features a wall of seasonally rotating herbs and vegetables. Reimagining the urban garden, Mixt Greens shows us that greens are not only good for the body, they make great wallpaper.

350 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles 90071

5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036

This Pad Thai is missing something. Wait, don't tell me. Oh, I know. It's missing some hip-shaking, lip-curling entertainment. When the standard Thai restaurant just won't cut it, Palms offers something above and beyond. Thai Elvis. Eat classic Asian fare while an Elvis impersonator, complete in sequined jumpsuit and giant coif, performs classics like Viva Las Vegas and Hound Dog. Huell had a run in with the "King" in an episode of Visiting with Huell Howser.

5900 Hollywood Boulevard Ste B
Los Angeles 90028


Dan Sung Sa
The weirdness starts with the Kim Jong Il mural painting above the sign. Inside the walls are covered in Korean pop posters and graffiti, Don't be surprised when the waitress hands out menus written (in Korean) on wooden blocks. For those of us who don't know Korean, English menus can be requested. If you're looking for the culinary strange and unusual, try the silk worm larvae and pig's feet. Like many restaurants in Koreatown, this place allows smoking inside. Sensitive lungs be warned!

3317 West 6th Street
Los Angeles 90020

El Carmen
El Carmen has been described as the kind of place director David Lynch might come up with. It isn't hard to see why. It's a mashup of vintage and darkly surreal. Highlights include black-velvet paintings of Mexican wrestlers and stuffed bull heads. Tequila is really the thing to get here — they have over 400 varieties — but they do have a nice menu that compliments the cocktails nicely.

8138 W Third Street
Los Angeles 90048

From the outside, nothing about Forage seems out of the ordinary. A café specializing in local food? It's a perfect fit for Sunset Junction and the hipsters who inhabit it. What sets this place apart is their Harvest Call program. It goes something like this. People bring in their home-grown produce, and if Forage likes the looks of it, they'll take it off your hands and create something amazing with it. What do you get out of the deal? How about a dish that's named after you, dining credit, and the thrill of knowing the tomatoes in that bruschetta are from your garden.

3823 W Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles 90026

Caioti Pizza Café
Forget the pizza. The star on this menu is "The Salad". A hit among women in their third trimester, these greens have a reputation for inducing labor. How you may ask? It's all in the top-secret dressing. Good luck figuring out that mysterious, contraction-making ingredient. The owners keep a tight lid on the recipe. (They even require confidentiality agreements from the kitchen staff.) While the salad hasn't been proven to work every time, it's always tasty.

4346 Tujunga Ave
Studio City 91604


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