It's the holiday season! Which means it's also the season of consumerism. It's likely that you'll find yourself at a mall sometime this month.
But with all the crowds and the potential for fights over Xboxes, you can't let yourself get hangry. So, here are the best restaurants in Los Angeles malls — make a beeline for them if you start to feel peckish while shopping. These spots also all have full bars, so if you need to take the edge off, here's where to do it. (But take Lyft if you do get sloshed!)
Americana at Brand
Mall food is slowly starting to get better, and the Americana is leading that charge, putting in some legitimately good restaurants. The best one? Din Tai Fung, the world-famous xiao long bao specialist that offers a number of other Shanghai-style treats. And blessedly, this location has a full bar. The little soupy dumplings are perfect for filling up after an afternoon at H&M, but there's also Katsuya if you want to see and be seen, Glendale-style.
Westfield Santa Anita
Hai Di Lao is an upscale Chinese chain that's just opened its first U.S. location, in the Santa Anita annex. The hot pot specialist offers an impressive variety of soup ingredients to be cooked at the table in the built-in pots. The restaurant serves wine, as well as luzhou laojiao, a Chinese whiskey that does not necessarily go down easy, but you'll sure feel relaxed after a snifter.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill specializes in two somewhat incongruous items: sushi and fried chicken. It happens to do both of them really well! Since L.A. is in the middle of a fried chicken mania, that side of the menu here gets more attention, but the fish offerings really aren't shabby, either. And both go well with an icy cocktail, as it happens. Of course, there's also Wood Ranch, if you're in more of a red meat and beer mood.
Westfield Century City
This mall has some wildly expensive options, but Obica, a regular-expensive Italian restaurant, has good food and a full bar, too. There are a good number of small plates to choose from, should you just want a snack; the entrees range from salads to huge hunks of meat. But be sure not to skip the mozzarella, which is Obica's raison d'etre — order it à la carte or on a pizza.
Del Amo Fashion Center
Great Maple has a huge grab bag of a menu. Which isn't a sign of foodie legitimacy, but it is perfect for a multigenerational shopping trip. There's fish and chips and French dip and goat cheese spring rolls, among many other items. The restaurant aims for something slightly elevated (the burger has regular burgers, but lamb burgers too), but the important thing is it serves comfort food. And a wide variety of cocktails.
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Sherman Oaks Galleria
The Galleria has a P.F. Chang's. Don't act like you're too good for some lettuce cups. And really, if you're going to be in the most iconic mall in the Valley, the spiritual home of mall culture, you might as well lean all the way in and dine at this most mall-friendly of full-service chain restaurants. The food and drinks are quite sweet — so it's like getting a bonus sugar buzz, too!
A restaurant that has a kind of liquor in its name is telling you you're welcome to party there. XOC Tequila Grill has an Americanized pan-Mexican menu, which means it's not the most interesting Mexican food in L.A.. But a platter of nachos and a blended margarita sounds pretty good after a day of shopping.