10 Best Salads in Los Angeles

Rachael Narins

Los Angeles is a salad-loving town — we practically invented the genre. You can find salads everywhere, in convenience stores and white tablecloth restaurants. But finding one that's worth eschewing the rest of the menu for? That was a tricky proposition.

And because a salad has a pretty broad definition, we added some criteria for picking the ten best. These are full-portion, green-leaf salads that can stand alone as meals, and that can be vegetarian options — although many of the restaurants we visited offered protein as an addition. (That's also why the stellar Tricolore at Mozza is not on here; the integral dressing is not vegetarian.) Since so many of our options don't have meat, a lot do include nuts and cheese. All of our choices are available year round, meaning seasonal salads at places like Gjelina and Bäco Mercat don't appear. We didn't include build-a-salad restaurants, and there are no Chinese chicken or Caesar salads included, because those probably need their own list.  

What were we looking for? Mostly, something that just plain tastes good with no one component overwhelming the others. It couldn't be one-note and the dressing had to have some piquancy. There needed to be a certain level of originality, even if the salad has been around for years. The price couldn't be outrageous (hello, The Ivy) and it had to be fresh and made to order. Because in a town where you can find a farmers market open every day, you want seriously fresh greens on your plate.

La Scala Original Chopped SaladEXPAND
La Scala Original Chopped Salad
Rachael Narins

10. La Scala
For decades now, La Scala has been dicing up iceberg lettuce and feeding it to the svelte masses in Beverly Hills and Brentwood. Which begs the question, is this a great salad or is it merely a nostalgic entree at a beloved institution? Well, it's both actually. For one thing, it's a fact that their crave-worthy chop is part of L.A. history. It's a perfectly round dome of iceberg, cheese, garbanzo beans, salami and their lemony Leon dressing. Once you have that foundation, you can add a list of ingredients (at a cost) to make your salad a custom meal. For our version and our purposes, we left off the salami and didn't miss it at all. It's a remarkably light salad served in a place that has gracious service and old world charm.  434 N. Canon Drive., Beverly Hills; (310) 275-0579.

Rachael Narins

9. Caioti
It's impossibly to mention the heavy duty THE© salad (yes, they copyrighted it) without pointing out that it's long been rumored to help soon-to-be mothers jump start labor. Since we don't go in for that kind of folklore and don't want to deter other diners, we'll just say it is a hefty meal that's worth trying. Smack in the middle of family friendly Tujunga Village, Caioti — which is primarily a pizzeria — has been capitalizing on this beloved dish for years. Comprised of romaine, bitter watercress, rich walnuts and some gorgonzola, the combination is topped with a thick and tangy balsamic-basil vinaigrette. 4346 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; (818) 761-3588.

Farmhouse Chop at Sycamore KitchenEXPAND
Farmhouse Chop at Sycamore Kitchen
Rachael Narins

8. The Sycamore Kitchen
The Farmhouse Chop at Karen and Quinn Hatfield's singular La Brea restaurant is a verdant mix of  lettuce, cucumber, avocado,  sliced potatoes, diced celery and bracing grapefruit served with a light herb-yogurt dressing. At a restaurant with so many decadent pastries calling, we commend anyone who gives this California dream a try. It's vibrant, wholesome and lives up to the agrarian reference in the name. 143 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 939-0151.

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