These L.A. Restaurants Deliver on Delicious Take Out During Quarantine

Bright spots in a terrible year.

Covid-19 may have turned the dining scene upside down, but it did not prevent some new and established eateries from shifting their service and feeding hungry and anxious Angelenos. LA Magazine put together a list of their top 10 restaurants that stepped up and served this last year. Here are a few highlights:

Found Oyster

“When it opened in November 2019, Found Oyster became something of an instant hit: turned out East Hollywood really needed a Cape Cod-esque seafood joint, especially one serving simple but creative riffs on oceanic classics from chef Ari Kolender, 36, and hospitality vets Holly Fox, 30, and Adam Weisblatt, 36. That includes a scallop tostada ($14) that’s one of the city’s most exciting new dishes. Composed of just a handful of ingredients—a crispy tortilla topped with Maine Day Boat scallops, sliced Pink Lady apples, zingy dabs of yuzu kosho, and opal basil—it’s a tasty marvel, every element sounding clearly, vibrating delightfully off of its shipmates. It was once best consumed at the cozy clam shack’s bar, where, in the first few months of the restaurant’s life, Kolender, a Providence alum, would make it right in front of you and casually slide it across the counter. But it can also be enjoyed at home—Kolender adapted it for takeout by breaking the tostada into chips and chopping up the toppings (right). His lobster roll ($25) also thrills—even if you’re not one of those people who grew up on the East Coast and is way too excited by a hot dog bun heaped with shellfish—thanks to the addition of a genius lobster bisque sauce. A Shrimp Louie roll ($17), which turns the anachronistic salad preparation into a sandwich, is another smart twist, while the Ode to Swan crudo ($17)—perfectly fresh raw fish sliced skillfully and topped with nothing more than olive oil, flaky salt, and capers, is another simple beauty. I look forward to the day when I can again belly up to the bar, but, until then, Found’s takeout is my go-to on nights when I’m looking for a mix of familiar comforts (don’t lie to yourself, order the pimento cheese) and unique indulgence.”

Found Oyster  |  4880 Fountain Ave., East Hollywood

Little Coyote

“That most amazing slice of pizza you had that one very drunken, late night in your early twenties in New York lives on . . . in Long Beach. Last spring, it quickly became apparent to Jonathan Strader, co-owner of Culver City Southern gem Hatchet Hall, and Jack Leahy, the former L&E Oyster Bar chef, that the pandemic was going to drag on. Amid the uncertainty, the buddies, both 36, decided that pizza was a sure bet. In June, they found a good deal on rent and opened a simple operation—at this point, it’s never had indoor seating—making really great pies. Their crust, made with dough cold-fermented for 48 to 72 hours, is carby perfection: tangy, crispy, thin but with a healthy puff. There’s an ample layer of cheese that winks at boozy nights, but the whole-milk Grande mozzarella is of a higher grade than your average slice joint. The bright, simple sauce—raw, crushed tomatoes; olive oil; salt—nods at Naples, but things don’t get any more pretentious than that. The concise menu doesn’t offer any revelations about what should be atop pizza, but rather perfects the usual suspects: pepperoni comes in generous quantities, tiny porky cups glistening with grease; a veggie supreme transcends the usual half-cooked-produce mediocrity of the form. The pies ($16-$19) are so good, Angelenos are trekking to Long Beach for them, but someday soon they might not have to: Leahy and Strader say they plan to open other locations.”

Little Coyote  |  2118 E. 4th St., Long Beach

Pearl River Deli

“Johnny Lee doesn’t want to be just the chicken guy, but he can’t quite shake his reputation. At his tiny, new Chinatown place in the old Pok Pok Phat Thai space, the 33-year-old former Side Chick chef is offering up an ever-changing menu of great, thoughtfully prepared Chinese dishes, most of them Cantonese. But it’s the Hainan chicken, offered only as a weekend special, that threatens to steal the show. Lee typically sells out of the 200 or so chicken dinners he prepares on a given weekend, and credits their popularity to the special care he takes. He personally cooks and breaks down every bird, and all the chicken is cooked the day it’s sold, never in advance. In an untraditional move, he adds the chicken fat to rice after cooking it, making for a more even, unctuous coating of the grains. Lee puts just as much thought into regular dishes on the menu, and Pearl River Deli is worth a visit during the week. The mapo tofu ($11) is a bit subtler and more nuanced than many versions of the ubiquitous dish, made with silky, delicate Meiji tofu and a slightly more restrained, layered use of heat. A plate of char sui and noodles ($12) hits all the right notes. His chicken is amazing, but Lee is no one-hit wonder.”

Pearl River Deli  |  727 N. Broadway, Chinatown  |  626-688-9507

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