LA’s Best Rooftops Offer Five-Star Food and Spectacular Views
Our picks include Evan Funke’s impossibly in-demand rooftop, one of the best restaurants in town
A superlative LA rooftop restaurant is not simply fries and chicken tenders by a pool — although that type of establishment certainly has its place. Ideally, it will have all the charm and character of an actual kitchen and dining room, simply transported several floors closer to the sky. California’s weather makes it easy to take outdoor spaces for granted, but LA’s best rooftops are a category unto themselves. The top options are spread across the city, so keep this list handy for the next time you’re out and about this summer and want to make the most of the season’s 9:30 p.m. sunsets.
This list begins with an opening from one of the best chefs in LA: Evan Funke. With the recent debut of his eponymous, 10,000-square-foot, three-story restaurant in the heart of Beverly Hills — complete with a pasta-making lab — Funke has quite literally put his name on the map. Getting a table here is going to be even harder than nailing down a reservation at his restaurant Mother Wolf, but Bar Funke offers casual seating and classics from his past menus, like the lightly fried, impeccably stuffed squash blossoms, sfincione (focaccia) and pasta newcomers like agnolotti. This isn’t just any rooftop — it’s one of the best restaurants in LA, so don’t expect you’ll always get a spot.
Another newcomer, this one is a 34th-floor stunner in the new Moxy/AC hotel compound Downtown. Local artists and subcultures are incorporated into the property’s programming, so don’t be surprised if a queer mariachi band serenades the crowd as you arrive for a golden hour snack. Spanish tapas and strong drinks are the way to go here, alongside the shimmering views of the downtown skyline and the rest of Los Angeles.
This one is a stretch as far as the formal, seated-restaurant guidelines I established in the intro, but the street food-style Mexican you can order out back here — after grabbing a delicious libation at the bar — is so delicious that it trumps my rules. The casual, house party feel of Bar Flores has made it one of the most beloved venues in Echo Park, so make sure to get here on the early side so you’re not turned away while the grill is still sizzling.
A personal favorite, the rooftop restaurant at Eataly is always buzzing — and yet, it (miraculously) always has space for walk-ins. With both indoor and outdoor bar seating, tables of all sizes and an open hearth near the entrance, Terra showcases exactly what Eataly does best: Italian hospitality. It’s a great place to come if you’re already at the mall and feeling hungry post-spending spree, but the space is beautiful and separate enough from the shopping hordes to make it a destination unto itself.
There’s arguably no better view of Beverly Hills than the one from the Rooftop by JG at the top of the Waldorf Astoria, on the corner of Santa Monica and Wilshire. Though JG — aka Jean Georges — recently replaced his eponymous ground floor concept with Espelette, his influence on the rooftop is ever-present in dishes like French fries and caviar, the lobster burger and a truffle cheeseburger. The rooftop serves food all day, so it’s the perfect lunch-y/brunch-y spot to play hooky from work. They serve an all-day menu until 10 p.m. with brunch on the weekends.
If you rolled your eyes, you’re not alone. Look, Elephante has become something of a scene in downtown Santa Monica, and we can all agree the faux club-style “call up to see if there’s room” is an extremely tired trope. But there’s still no better roof situation if you want that ocean sunset view. Plus, the food is incredibly fresh — a deeper Californian take on Italian — and the drinks are even better.
Newcomers try to capture the same feel as this Mexico City icon, but a two-year build out ensures Cha Cha Cha retains its crown in the rooftop game. Mexican classics like seafood tostadas and a hefty selection of tacos mingle with LA staples (ensalada Caesar, por favor), and boozy stunners like a clarified apricot colada showcase a bar program that’s doing so much more than Margaritas — although those are excellent, too. Come for the elevated food and drink, stay for the mid-century, beach-city vibes in the heart of the Arts District.
Playa del Rey
If you’re taking the Playa del Rey route to LAX, a big sign for Caravan Swim Club at Hotel June might just lure you in. It’s mere minutes from your gate and offers some of the best drinks in the area — certainly better than what’s on offer at an airport bar, and more affordable, too. But don’t sleep on the food menu at the casual, open-air restaurant that overlooks the pool. Coastal Mexican with spikes of Asian influence — think shrimp cocktails and poke tostadas — go down easy, but mains like a whole grilled branzino ensure you won’t be hungry for junk food once you hit your terminal. And getting those last views of LA before heading out are priceless.
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