We all have our favorite restaurants in Southern California that we know and love. But we can also admit it’s pretty easy to get into a rut and go to the same place each and every time.
If you have a case of restaurant boredom and you’re looking for some new spots to add to your list, you’re going to love these hidden gems that are off the beaten path AND serve amazing food. Try something new for a change and go ahead and shake things up. You just might find your new favorite restaurant in the process.
1. Backstreet Restaurant -- Riverside
This beautiful hidden garden restaurant in Riverside that has been around for nearly 50 years is a true SoCal gem, but first you have to find it! Located in an old house with a magical garden setting out back, you'll be treated to a charming escape. Simple lunch fare is what you'll find on the menu with lots of tasty sandwiches. Open weekdays only, so plan your lunch date accordingly.
2. Palm Grove Ethiopian Restaurant -- Los Angeles
You'd never guess the most amazing food was hiding inside this unassuming hole-in-the-wall in the Harvard Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. Step inside to a packed restaurant and you'll see this spot isn't exactly hidden as clearly people know about it; but it sure is a great insider's secret. The charming chef/owner pictured here creates the most flavorful and beautiful Ethiopian cuisine that will delight your palate.
3. 26th Kitchen and Carry -- San Diego/Golden Hill
Of all the spots on this list, this one may be the most unexpected of all. Tucked inside a grungy looking market in the Golden Hill neighborhood of San Diego, you'll find the most delicious artisan sandwich shop you can imagine. You could pass by this place a thousand times and never know what an amazing find was hiding inside. The menu changes daily as they whip up seasonal specialties and serve house smoked meats cooked onsite. It's a splendid spot that will not disappoint.
4. The Little Door -- West Hollywood
Finding this place is part of the magic of this enchanting restaurant. You won't find any signage to direct you to The Little Door, but you will find two tall wooden doors upon arrival which will be your clue that you have arrived. Once you head inside you will be treated to a candlelit outdoor oasis that is pure heaven. The ambiance isn't the only thing to delight you here; the elegant menu filled with creative Mediterranean cuisine is equally delicious.
5. Tacos Delta -- Los Angeles
If you blink you might miss this tasty taco shop in Silver Lake in Los Angeles. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but don't let that fool you. The food is unbelievably flavorful and the portions are huge. If you're in the market for a killer breakfast burrito, rumor has it that this spot offers the best in the city.
6. Tony's Jacal -- Solana Beach
Since 1946 this lovely Solana Beach restaurant has been adding a touch of charm to the area. Run by the Gonzales family for several generations, this is a true family-owned restaurant with recipes that have been in the family for years. This is an easy spot to miss if you don't know about it, so make sure to look for Tony's Jacal the next time you're in Solana Beach.
7. Los Balcones -- Los Angeles
Along a deserted stretch of Vine Street in Hollywood, Los Balcones is an unexpected surprise. A Peruvian restaurant bursting with personality and flavor is what you'll find inside. Mouthwatering dishes with fresh and seasonal ingredients and an explosion of spices will make this meal unforgettable. The interior is vibrant and inviting and equally as memorable as the food.
8. Patty Macs -- Newport Beach
Gourmet Mac 'n Cheese and fresh pressed homemade lemonade are two of the specialties you must order at Patty Mac. Although this spot isn't exactly hidden, it's a half block from the ferry in Newport Beach and it can be easy for locals to miss unless they're out playing tourist for a day.
So what do you think? These spots look pretty delicious, huh? I can’t wait for you to try all of them and report back as I know you will love each and every one of them. Any other tasty but hard to find restaurants you think should be added to the list?