Iconic Neighborhood Restaurants: Mid-City & Pico-Robertson | KCET
Iconic Neighborhood Restaurants: Mid-City & Pico-Robertson
If you drive through Mid-City, you'll notice a plethora of auto-repair shops, small multifamily dwellings, and hole-in-the-wall eateries sprinkled throughout. While not particularly known for its restaurants, the neighborhood boasts long-standing holdouts conveniently located between the two sides of the city. The adjacent neighborhoods of Mid-Wilshire and Culver City tend to outshine humble Mid-City, but look closer, and you'll find that this place is home to everything from an old-school coffee shop to one of the few Scandinavian delis in Los Angeles.
Nick's Coffee Shop: Outfitted with a wall lined with a hodgepodge of picture frames, this diner, founded in 1946, is old-school L.A. at its best. The Googie-style sign out front -- it's original -- greets patrons as they approach the diner; the sign confidently tells eaters that they're about to enter into another era. Once in, the laminate wood counters, leather booths, and many of the grease-lined finishes are visual appetizers to the offerings on the menu: burgers, chili, and root beer floats, among other American standards. Nick's is the kind of place where you can still get a caramel-colored cup of coffee served in a heavy ceramic mug. 8536 W. Pico Blvd., (310) 652-3567
Twin Dragon: It's hard to imagine what Chinese food was like in L.A. before Monterey Park became the mecca for that cuisine, but Twin Dragon, founded in 1962, gives us a rough picture of what that world looked like. An endangered animal in most restaurants east of the 110, chop suey is served in abundance here, as is chow fun, wonton soup, and other standards that were tailored to American tastes in the 1960s. 8597 W Pico Blvd., (310) 657-7355
Versailles: Okay, so this restaurant isn't really that historic. But we're talking about L.A. here, not Rome, right? The first iteration of this mainstay Cuban restaurant was in downtown L.A. in 1977, and this location opened in the early 1980s. The chicken with a side of plantains and rice will keep you full for the entire day. 1415 S. La Cienega, (310) 289-0392
Pico Kosher Deli: One of the first kosher delis in L.A., Pico Kosher Deli has been serving hot brisket sandwiches, chopped liver, and salads since 1968. Situated in Pico-Robertson, in the heart of one of L.A.'s most bustling Jewish communities, the deli has a hint of New York when you walk in, and it's no coincidence: they've been called the "best kosher deli outside of New York." 8826 W. Pico Blvd., (310) 273-9381
Olson's: Mid-City is surprising: it's home to both a large contingency of Jewish delis, but it also specializes in Scandinavian specialties. Established in 1948, Olson's is the go-to place for everything from the familiar Swedish meatballs to pickled herring in bulk. For those who miss Stockholm, this deli also sells the cardamom-spiced kanelbullar and Swedish milk chocolate candies. 5660 W. Pico Blvd., (323) 938-0742