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Iconic Neighborhood Restaurants: Century City & West Los Angeles

 

Silver-screen cowboy Tom Mix bought 176 acres of rolling grasslands in West Los Angeles between two country roads, which later became Pico and Santa Monica Boulevard. Motion picture executive William Fox swooped up Mix's estate in 1925 and turned it into the 20th Century Fox backlot, and the rest is Century City history.

Today, the area serves as a second downtown catering to Westside entertainment firms -- and because all those film execs get mighty hungry, Century City and neighboring West L.A. are home to some of the Los Angeles' best burgers, breakfast spots, and throwback lunch counters.

 

The Apple Pan | Photo: Liz Barcla
The Apple Pan | Photo: Liz Barcla

The Apple Pan: The burgers, pies, and cone-shaped paper cups at this tiny West L.A. lunch counter have remained unchanged since it opened in 1947. The Hickory Burger -- enjoyed by Apple Pan regulars including Warren Beaty and Leonardo DiCaprio -- features a slightly charred patty, a wad of fresh iceberg, mayo, pickles, and a smoky ketchup-like "Hickory" sauce. Pros order the patty draped with Tillamook Cheddar (for 50 cents extra), and a towering slice of banana cream pie for dessert.
10801 Pico Blvd, 310-475-3585

 

Marty's Hamburger Stand: The combo burger is the thing to get at this throwback hamburger stand serving Westsiders since the 1950s. The artery-clogging creation features a hamburger patty topped with a butterflied Vienna beef hot dog, sandwiched between a squishy white bun. Order your combo burger with cheese and a slathering of Marty's signature chili, take a seat in between the FOX studio execs and neighborhood firefighters, and get at it. Did we mention they have Orange Bang?
10558 Pico Blvd, 310-836-6944

 

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Hinoki and the Bird  | Photo: Erin Mosbaugh
Hinoki and the Bird | Photo: Erin Mosbaugh

Hinoki and the Bird: Chef David Myers (formerly of Sona and Comme Ca) founded this temple of Japanese-inflected Cali cooking back in 2013. Myers flew the coop to pursue a new project in Singapore, but the seasonally driven menu at Hinoki has not faltered while staying on point with what diners want to eat. Executive chef Brandon Kida, who comes from the Peninsula in New York City, turns out imaginative plates like tomato ramen with Korabuta pork and corn porridge with Santa Barbara uni. Try to snag a seat outside in the enchanting enclosed patio.
10 W Century Dr, 310-552-1200

 

John O'Groats: Westsiders line up on weekends for this breakfast spot's famed pumpkin pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, and ultra-rich and thick Irish oatmeal. All three of the restaurant's dining rooms have a homey feel, but the room to the far right is especially charming given its U-shaped counter and old-school tiled floor. You'd be hard pressed to find a better place in West L.A. to read the Times over a stack of flapjacks and a mug of hot coffee.
10516 Pico Boulevard, 310-204-0692

 

FOOD: This cheerful neighborhood hangout is one part bakery, one part café, and one part marketplace. Swing by the bakery counter to load up on cookies (gluten-free and regular) packed with peanuts, chocolate chips, and oats, as well as exceptional tarts and brownies. Look to the deli case for kale salad, vegetable sides, and comfort foods like old-fashioned turkey meatloaf and bread pudding. The light and airy interior -- as well as the breakfast sandwich and tofu scramble -- makes FOOD our go-to Westside brunch spot.
10571 Pico Blvd, 310-441-7770

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