Strip malls are a ubiquitous architectural feature of the greater Los Angeles landscape, asserting their presence on just about every major intersection in town. For the uninitiated, a strip mall is a nondescript L-shape building, in which dentists and laundromats sit cheek-to-cheek with restaurants. But when we talk about the phenomenon that is L.A. strip-mall dining, we’re not just discussing delicious hole-in-the-wall Peruvian joints inside strip malls; we’re also talking seven-course tasting-menus, the city’s best sushi spots, and unexpected craft-beer havens. 

To be all-encompassing with this topic would require a list of at least 100 dining establishments. For now, we’ll offer up a few gems that we find ourselves returning to to time and time again. From toro sprinkled with gold flakes to hangover-curing lomo saltado, here are our 5 favorite strip-mall eating and drinking experiences in Los Angeles. Trust us: there’s something charming about going into a worn-out strip mall to have dinner, not to mention the convenience of having a parking lot right outside the restaurant.