There’s nothing like a local neighborhood restaurant to make you feel right at home when you walk through the door. If you’re local to Southern California, you most likely know exactly where to find these tasty gems that have become so familiar in each of these SoCal neighborhoods that they’re almost like a second home.
In celebration of these wonderful neighborhood restaurants, here are eight of my personal favorites that have stood the test of time and always make me feel like I’m part of the family. Are any of these spots your favorites, too?
1. Filippi's Pizza Grotto -- San Diego
Since 1950, this neighborhood restaurant has been a familiar favorite in Little Italy in San Diego. It's the perfect spot to dine on Italian comfort food and feel right at home in its cozy atmosphere. Two of my favorite dishes here are spaghetti with meatballs and any one of their pizzas that are all made with a delicious homemade crust.
2. Bistro de La Gare -- South Pasadena
This quaint little bistro in South Pasadena is an elegant departure from the casual neighborhood eateries that can be found on the rest of this list. Warm and charming in every way, Bistro de La Gare has a sophisticated menu without feeling stuffy or uninviting. It's a classic spot that should be a destination for every local.
3. The Crab Cooker -- Newport Beach
Always packed. Always popular. Always delicious! This is one of those restaurants that has been a staple in the neighborhood for so long that it's hard to imagine Newport Beach without this little red restaurant on the corner.
4. Jongewaard's Bake N Broil -- Long Beach
To locals, this tasty eatery is simply called the Bake 'n Broil. Known for its hearty comfort food, this is the kind of place where you go to splurge on calories. Items like a savory chicken pot pie and decadent desserts baked to perfection will make you want to order everything on the menu at least once.
5. The Apple Pan -- Los Angeles
This old school diner with a charming local vibe has been a neighborhood favorite for generations. Serving classic burgers and fries and typical diner eats, this spot will warm your belly with comfort food. Make sure to try a slice of their homemade pie while you're there. Or buy a whole pie and take it home.
6. Clayton's Coffee Shop -- Coronado
A day in Coronado just isn't the same without stopping by Clayton's Coffee Shop for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Capturing the look and feel of a retro 1950s diner, Clayton's will make you feel like you've stepped back in time to the good old days.
7. Folliero's Italian Food -- HIghland Park
Since 1968, Folliero's Italian Food and Pizza has been the go-to restaurant in Highland Park for mouthwatering NY style pizza pies. You'll find pizzas piled high with gooey cheese and fresh toppings. If pizza isn't your go-to dish, you'll be delighted to find a menu filled with other Italian favorites like lasagne and classic pasta dishes.
8. Bun N Burger -- Alhambra
If you're craving a hearty plate of pancakes for breakfast or a juicy burger with all the trimmings for lunch, you can't go wrong with the Bun N Burger in Alhambra. With its classic diner vibe and its welcoming family atmosphere, this is a place where you will feel welcome any time.
So there you have it — eight neighborhood restaurants that will make you feel like a local. Please share in the comments your favorite neighborhood restaurant so we can try a new place or two. For more dining suggestions, take a look at my tour through
nine restaurants in Southern California that serve delicious home-cooked meals.