10 Best Take-Out Restaurants in Los Angeles

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Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 8:00 AM
click to enlarge G. SNYDER
  • G. Snyder

For as great as this city's restaurant scene is, sometimes all you want to do is lay around at home and shovel food into your mouth from a styrofoam container. Forget the industrial lighting, and to hell with communal seating. Give us a threadbare sofa, a box of fried chicken and something good to binge watch on Netflix. To help you achieve that special level of apartment nirvana, we've compiled a list of the ten best take-out only restaurants in Los Angeles.

These aren't regular dining establishments with tables, chairs and waiters. There's no water service at any restaurant on this list, and your only recommended wine pairing is whatever you've still got half-corked in your pantry. Sure, there may be an errant stool or two in some of these take-out spots, but their core business -- and the only reason you'd want to show up at all -- is take-out food. This is great food that travels well, so you don't have to get off your couch to enjoy what L.A. has to offer.

click to enlarge Johnnie's Pastrami - FARLEY ELLIOTT
  • Farley Elliott
  • Johnnie's Pastrami

10. Johnny's Pastrami

Not to be confused with Culver City's more recognizable Johnnie's Pastrami, the Crenshaw-based Johnny's Pastrami -- that's with a 'y' at the end -- offers none of the kitsch and cleverness of it's crosstown rival. Instead, Johnny's on Adams Boulevard gives the neighborhood a 24 hour destination for burgers, hot dogs and seriously sloppy pastrami sandwiches. Sliced thin and best when dipped, the pastrami here won't win an argument against Langer's by any stretch, but it'll start a conversation against The Hat, Tops and plenty of other regional pastrami specialists. Serve it on rye with a slice of swiss, then order the over-clocked chili cheese fries as a side. Good luck keeping your car clean on the drive home. 4331 W. Adams Blvd., Mid-City; 323-734-6003.

click to enlarge Mel's Fish Shack - FARLEY ELLIOTT
  • Farley Elliott
  • Mel's Fish Shack

9. Mel's Fish Shack

Despite Mel's unenviable position between an auto body shop and a string of half-empty warehouses on Jefferson Boulevard, their business is always booming. Maybe it's thanks in recent years to the opening of the Expo Line nearby. Or maybe the neighborhood knows what lots of other folks don't: this is some seriously great fried fish. Choose from orange roughy, red snapper, catfish, tilapia and more, usually for under $7 as a lunch combo, and that price includes a side. No matter what you're asking the guy on the other side of the formica to put down for you, be sure to add on a couple of hushpuppies. You may not find a better version anywhere else in L.A. 4026 W. Jefferson Blvd., Mid-City; 323-735-2200.

click to enlarge Los Cinco Puntos - PAUL BARTUNEK
  • Paul Bartunek
  • Los Cinco Puntos

8. Los Cinco Puntos

Los Cinco Puntos is the stuff of East L.A. legend, with swirling cauldrons of boiling pork and a griddle the size of a Geo Metro. Around the hulking swath of warm, black metal you'll find a phalanx of abuelas, hand-patting thick corn tortillas for all of the tacos you're about to order. Up front are the finished goods, warming away in front of you and just waiting to be taken home by the pound. Everything from the snout to the stomach is for sale, with carne asada, suadero and other cuts off to one side. Buy in bulk to take home to the family, or have them make a few tacos for you on site, then slink out to our car and eat them on the hood. It tastes better that way anyway. 3300 E. Cesar Chavez Blvd., East L.A.; 323-261-4084.

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