Los Angeles may not be quite as exuberant as, say, New York City in the late-night department−even the hardest partying crowds of actors and musicians here need their beauty sleep. But that's not to say that Los Angeles is a ghost town after hours. In the city's most happening nightlife nodes−particularly in Downtown, the Sunset Strip, and Hollywood−the party often continues long after the bars close at late-night restaurants. Pizza joints and ethnic holes-in-the-wall like taco stands and Thai eateries are popular choices, as are diners and delis for their wide menus and cheap eats. Sometimes nothing beats a hot pastrami sandwich with chicken noodle soup. But you don't have to just settle for a "dive" or for greasy versions of your favorite fare when the clock strikes midnight. You can find artisan pizzas from a wood-burning oven, gourmet hamburgers, prime steaks, and high-quality Thai delicacies among these five picks.
Pacific Dining Car
Ensconced in a rail car replica from the 1920s, this Los Angeles institution is known for its flame-grilled steaks and 24-hour service. Dark period furnishings and dim lights make it a romantic wee-hours haunt. The late-night menu, served 11:00pm to 6:00am, ranges from egg dishes to Reubens to aged prime cuts.
Craving matzo ball soup at 3:30am? No problem. This New York-style deli serves up Jewish specialties from pastrami sandwiches to smoked salmon plates 24 hours daily. The Formica tabletops and vinyl booths haven't changed much since 1953. It's a renowned celebrity haunt−everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Prince has noshed here!
With red-and-white checked tablecloths and a rock-'n'-roll jukebox, this lively Italian restaurant keeps things festive until 2:00am nightly. The full menu is served until closing, so you can tuck into a thin-crust pizza from their wood-burning oven, a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, or a cedar plank of roasted branzino.
Ruen Pair Thai
Comforting soups and rice dishes make Thai food one of the most popular late-night cravings, and Ruen Pair does some of the tastiest versions in town. The small dining room with cinnamon-hued walls and bamboo accents buzzes until 3:00am closing time nightly. Try the shrimp cakes and pineapple fried rice.
Stout Burgers & Beer
The Hollywood location of this burgers-and-brews chainlet is open until 4:00am nightly, which makes it an ideal pit stop for the club crowd spilling out of the Cahuenga Corridor. But the gourmet burgers (beef, chicken, or veggie) and craft beers make it quite a cut above the typical late-night greasy spoon.