HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Looking for the best chili in LA

I'm having a party next weekend and would love to serve chili. With Chasen's out of the game, we're looking for suggestions on the best place to go to for take-out or catered chili. Any ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Chili My Soul

    Chili My Soul
    4928 Balboa Blvd, Encino, CA 91316

    2 Replies
      1. re: wutzizname

        Gotta say I was less than impressed by Chili My Soul.

        I think that in their effort to have so many varieties, they lose focus on the basic idea. They should have one signature chili and rotate the other varieties.

        We must have tried 9 of the versions available at the time and none of them were spectacular.

      2. Whole Foods does a good chili

        1. Chili John's in Burbank is the best chili in L.A.

          Chili My Soul is a close contender, and they do have a greater variety (30+ flavors, with at least a dozen available every day). But CJ's is the real deal.

          Chili John's
          2018 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506

          2 Replies
          1. re: maxzook

            Definitely second Chili John's for the best chili in LA!

            1. re: SoCal Foodie

              Finally tried this place last night. Bought the chicken chili (with spaghetti) for my wife and I had the beef (sans beans). Delicious flavors, but man, the beef chili is real-deal, stick-to-your-ribs stuff that sits like a gut bomb. The amount of oily grease was insane, but dang that's good chili.

          2. Please ... Chili My Soul hands down - the best chili i have ever had

            1. Try Engine Co. No. 28 in downtown LA. Really good meaty, clean taste.


              5 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                ipse, #28 is one of our favorites also.

                1. re: russkar

                  #28 missed the mark for me. It is a bit too "refined" or gentrified. They make it with filet mignon, which may be a very tender cut, but I think good chili should be from a more robust, heartier cut of meat, if you will, made from chuck or another flavorful cut that benifits from long low heat cooking.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  I've been plotting to try their meatloaf...any opinions on that?

                  1. re: broncosaurus


                    I would pass on the meatloaf. While it's been a while since I've had it, the one time I did try it the meatloaf was tasteless and rubbery.

                    In fact, most of the stuff at Engine Co. is pretty subpar. I usually just run in to get an order of chili and garlic fries take-out. That's about as useful as Engine Co. gets for me.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      It used to be one of their best comfort food items. I admit it's been too long since I have tried it and maybe they changed the recipe. For awhile it was my favorite meatloaf second only to the one that was found at 72 Market St. in Venice.

                3. I do have the recipe for Chasen's Chili, my grandparents were regulars but I never went with them and I have not made it yet. It's in an old OP cookbook. I could post it on Home Cooking if you want.

                  6 Replies
                    1. re: sel

                      Yes, PLEASE post the Chasen's chili recipe.

                      1. re: Moose

                        You'll find Skunk2Racer's post of the Chasen's Chili recipe on our Home Cooking board, here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/459336 .

                        1. re: Moose

                          I'm sorry, I looked in all 5 of my OP cookbooks that have either Los Angeles or California restaurant recipes and could not find the Chasen's Chili Recipe, only their Hobo Steak recipe. I Googled for it and come up with a ton of recipes, some similar to each other and some very different. Will the REAL Chasen's Chili Recipe please stand up!

                        2. re: sel

                          I would like to get your recipe for Chasen's Chili but, what is "Home Cooking". Is it a website?

                          Thanks, Bill

                        3. Has Saddle Peak Lodge stopped doing chili night? Although I suppose that doesn't qualify as take-out.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mrhooks

                            Wednesday night used to be Chili night at Saddle Peak Lodge and I must say was one of the finest bowls of chili ever. The look, the smell, the fixins, the quality, the ingredients, the price and the TASTE were second to none. Made with buffalo, elk and venison it was amazing, albeit non-traditional. Not very spicy though. Unfortunately, I think the chef has changed and with it so has the menu, and not for the better. I regretfully inform all that there is no more chili night or chili at all. The mac n' cheese which was amazing is now mediocre AT BEST, and the menu all around has suffered in my opinion. Especially the appetizers.

                          2. A little late for you, Montgomery, but sometime try Jinkys. Yes, it is known for its breakfast, but the Himalayan Beef chili is awesome! They have 21 varieties, 5 available at any one time from mild to hot.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: lilbuddha

                              I thought Jinky's served Chili My Soul Chili.

                              1. re: Diana

                                They do, as does the Griddle Cafe.

                                1. re: maxzook

                                  I had a conversation a while ago with the owner of CMS and I think he said Jinky's no longer serves CMS chili.

                                  Also, on the West Side, Brennan's Pub on Lincoln S. of Washington serves really fine chili. As does the Outdoor Grill, the BBQ place at the carwash where Washington Place meets Washington Blvd.

                                  1. re: Jeryy

                                    We stand corrected, as per the CMS website: "NOTE: CHILI MY SOUL is NOT affiliated with Jinky's". Does Jinky's still serve chili, and has anyone had it lately?

                                    Linking ...

                                    4089 Lincoln Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

                                    Outdoor Grill
                                    12630 1/2 Washington Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                            2. I'm pretty good with spices, but the 10 @Chili My Soul kicked my ass. I didn't want to eat more than the sample.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ns1

                                after a #10 chili at Chili My Soul, your ass kicks back!

                                1. re: ns1

                                  For me at CMS, 6 has zero heat but I can still detect spice. At 7, there's heat but it's still comfortable and I can still taste everything. At 8, my nose starts to run a little and is about the highest spice level I'll go and still enjoy the meal. 9 and 10 are just too painful to eat, to the point where it's just heat for heat's sake.

                                2. smitty's in pasadena has one of the best chilis in town. no beans, just beef. everybody i know that has tried it agrees.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cdub

                                    Yeah, I had it tonight. Just a cup but it was excellent. Deep rich flavor and great beef. I liked the way it was presented as well -- a little cup of shredded cheese and chopped onions. I think it was like $5.

                                    What cut of beef do they use?

                                  2. Believe it or not, Gus's in South Pasadena has pretty good chili. Jay from Jay's J Burger once told me that they had the second best chili in town — behind his, of course.

                                    1. Smitty's in Pasadena ain't bad either.