“Best” is an ambiguous word to use when making a list about late-night fare. One night you might have a hankering for hash, the next prime rib. One of the most memorable early morning meals I’ve ever had was room service at the Beverly Wilshire. It came at the end of the longest workday of my life. At 3:30 a.m. an attentive waiter rolled a cart into my room, set a table with white linens and polished silver, and poured me a glass of merlot from a glass carafe. Then, with an understated elegance, he pulled the shiny dome off the warming tray to reveal a bloody rare rib eye and side of fries on a china plate. Swaddled in my soft cotton bathrobe and those fancy slippers supplied by the hotel, I looked out at the Hollywood Hills veiled in darkness and thought, "This is living." It cost me an arm and at least three legs, but it was worth it.
On the other end of the spectrum, years ago, I used to compete in college track meets on the eastern edge of L.A.’s city limit. The distance races began at 10 or 11 p.m., so I’d finish fatigued and famished and every restaurant seemed to be closed in this sleepy suburb — except for In-N-Out. There, at midnight, the fittest, thinnest runners in the nation would be gorging on double-doubles, the grease running down our chins. Did it get any better? No way.
Here is a sampling of 10 other worthy late-night/early morning haunts. Some offer fine dining, others grease and sugar. Some are best for beginning an evening, others for closing it down. None will leave you disappointed.
Think we missed your favorite pig-out spot? Leave a comment below.