HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Tell us about it

Mac & Cheese

Catini May 16, 2008 08:07 AM

Looking for great mac & cheese. Low-end or high-end, doesn't matter. I know the Belmont had a great mac & cheese dish, but other than that... I'm open to suggestions.


  1. Servorg May 16, 2008 08:22 AM

    We like the M&C at Luna Park on La Brea just a bit north of Wilshire Blvd. on the east side of the street. There were some recent reports that the M&C at the Elf Cafe in Echo Park was outstanding, but I don't have first hand knowledge to share.


    Elf Cafe
    2135 W Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90026

    3 Replies
    1. re: Servorg
      Diana May 16, 2008 09:41 AM

      Boy, just looked at the website! Is Luna park as amazing as the menu promises? What's the best there for brekkers lunch or dinner?

      1. re: Diana
        Servorg May 16, 2008 09:48 AM

        We have had brunch a few times and dinner a couple of times over the years and everything has been pretty darn good. I really don't recall any out and out misses. It's sort of high end comfort food. I do clearly recall a really good flat iron steak once that really hit the spot. It's pretty high energy most of the time (read "noisy") so be prepared.

        Add: I just refreshed my memory by looking at their menu and it was the Hanger steak with the salsa verde I was thinking of. Perfect medium rare and that addictive sauce and fine fries.

        1. re: Servorg
          mollyomormon May 16, 2008 10:47 AM

          Fair warning that Luna Park seems to have slipped in the past couple of years. My last meal there in September was really disappointing and included easily the worst mussels dish I've ever had. Still good drinks, though!

    2. mollyomormon May 16, 2008 08:36 AM

      I really like the versions at Nook and Violet. On the lower end, I like the one at KooKooRoo.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mollyomormon
        nick_r May 16, 2008 01:07 PM

        Seconded Nook! Among the very best I've ever had.

        1. re: nick_r
          nosh May 16, 2008 01:41 PM

          I love Nook, and their mac'n'cheese plays a major part of that. It is on the simple side -- big elbow mac in a bechamel with cheddar cheese, with a panko top that crisps nicely. Not gussied up with proscuitto or truffles or other hoity-toity extraneous stuff. A nice side or starter to be shared at dinner, or combined with a ceasar salad at lunch. Was only about $6, could be slightly more by now.

        2. re: mollyomormon
          Emme May 16, 2008 04:05 PM

          i was gonna suggest on the low end koo koo roo! that's good there and their chocolate chip brownies.

          also low end, trader joe's is great for frozen; fresh is great at ralph's market (i know, but they get a nice brown crust on top!) and just below that gelson's.

          don't know if it's *higher end*, but certainly more expensive, Kate Mantilini.

          also try Mimosa, Lucky Devil's and 3rd Stop.

        3. v
          vinosnob May 16, 2008 09:11 AM

          Simon LA.

          Also, try searching previous posts; this has been discussed before...

          1. perk May 16, 2008 09:50 AM

            I liked the mac & cheese at Goat on LaBrea.

            1 Reply
            1. re: perk
              frank828 May 21, 2008 01:28 PM

              i just had this last sunday(they now open for dinner on sundays). i dont usually like mac and cheese much but this goat cheese mac and cheese was really good.

            2. j
              jtartar May 16, 2008 06:57 PM

              I too had that Paddy Mac macaroni and cheese on a set i was on last week. It was amazing. I liked the leeks and mushrooms the best. Thanks so much for the website hook up!

              1. ipsedixit May 16, 2008 12:21 PM

                Low end: Clifton's Cafeteria

                High end: Violet

                1. k
                  kotatsu May 16, 2008 01:13 PM

                  no one has mentioned the mac & cheese at Baby Blues, which is quite outstanding

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kotatsu
                    waxfondler May 17, 2008 11:44 PM

                    Baby Blues MacNCheese is probably the best in LA if you like the Casserole style. I go to Baby Blues just for the M&C.

                    1. re: kotatsu
                      vinosnob May 28, 2008 09:03 AM

                      I love BB BBQ, but have never ordered the mac n cheese. So, I ordered it (to go) along with some ribs.

                      Perhaps it was because I did not eat it at the restaurant, but I didn't like it that much at all. Way too dense with mushy overcooked macaroni...

                    2. j
                      josamania May 16, 2008 01:49 PM

                      What about Violet in Santa Monica in Santa Monica? I heard they even do a take-out party platter version.

                      1. maxzook May 16, 2008 04:19 PM

                        I think people base their expectations of m&c on what they grew up on. My mom made it from scratch with grated cheddar baked in a casserole dish. Others grew up on Kraft stovetop out of a box, or Stouffer's which is baked but closer to a Kraft-style texture.

                        So I'm not big on the stovetop-style; I find that versions made with a bechamel base often sacrifice cheesiness for richness, ending with a high-cholesterol yellow cream soup with no cheese flavor whatsoever.

                        I'm partial to the m&c at Fred 62, the closest to the texture of my mom's version but with just enough chipotle to give it a real kick. I've also had it good at Campanile and (of all places) Yard House.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: maxzook
                          choucroutegarni May 21, 2008 11:39 AM

                          BTW, technically it's a mornay sauce (mornay = béchanel plus cheese). Stovetop works just fine--you just need to add enough cheese to the mornnay.

                          1. re: maxzook
                            Velvet Elvis May 27, 2008 03:15 PM

                            I agree about the one at Yard House. It is the best thing I have tried there.

                            1. re: maxzook
                              maxzook May 31, 2008 12:20 PM

                              I'd forgotten just how good the (baked) m&c is at Nat's Early Bite, a wonderful old-school diner at Burbank & Hazeltine in Van Nuys.

                              It's an off-the-menu daily special on Thursdays, can't say if it's available other days so you should call first.

                              Nat's Early Bite
                              14115 Burbank Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91401

                            2. rednyellow May 16, 2008 04:34 PM

                              The Arroyo Chop House has a great mac and cheese with ham.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: rednyellow
                                Saddleoflamb May 16, 2008 07:00 PM


                                1. re: Saddleoflamb
                                  brandygirl May 17, 2008 09:34 AM

                                  I didn't want to be the one to day it. You're right, Stouffer's has a very good mac and cheese.

                                  One of the best I've had was at Scooter Kanfer's old restaurant, The House. I'm not sure if they have it at her new restaurant, The Waffle.

                                  1. re: Saddleoflamb
                                    WORX4FUDE May 20, 2008 09:57 PM

                                    HA HA HA! I love it. Soooo true. Especially with a little extra brown crustiness around the edges. Mmmmm. =)

                                  2. re: rednyellow
                                    Mr. Gohan May 21, 2008 01:09 PM

                                    i agree Arroyo Chop House is very good

                                  3. a
                                    aventinus May 16, 2008 08:40 PM

                                    not my thing but enjoyed much at Pete's downtown

                                    1. g
                                      grubtrotters May 17, 2008 09:24 AM

                                      I posed this question on my blog and got votes for Clementine in Culver City and Ketchup on Sunset. I can't vouch for either. I rarely order M&C, but I did recently enjoy it at Blue Plate in Santa Monica.


                                      1. c
                                        culinarycandy May 17, 2008 06:54 PM

                                        My biggest surprise was Boston Market--their mac n cheese was, IMHO, the best thing on their menu, I liked it better than the chicken!! incredibly rich and decadent, al dente mac--it was sublime.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: culinarycandy
                                          aventinus May 17, 2008 11:19 PM

                                          I had Pitfire's baked mac & cheese today. It was a pleasant surprise, perhaps the best thing I've ordered from Pitfire. The pasta was close to al dente (to me the most crucial part of any pasta dish) and the cheese was complex with good baked flavor and texture. I would recommend.

                                        2. a
                                          Al Gore mand May 19, 2008 04:48 PM

                                          Best I've had is at Granville in Burbank. Uptown Mac & Cheese. Description from their menu: Aged Cheddar and Gruyere Cheeses with Herbed All-Natural Chicken, Roasted Asparagus, Sweet Peas and topped with Buttered Herb Crumbs.- $12.95

                                          I don't know how, but it all works! I haven't tried their traditional mac& cheese but the uptown is great.

                                          Granville Cafe
                                          121 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502

                                          1. a
                                            AquaW May 19, 2008 04:56 PM

                                            Violet, Luna Park & Lola's have some good mac 'n cheese.

                                            I am also intrigued by the versions offered at Larkin's and South, haven't been to either yet though.


                                            1. BasilKitty May 19, 2008 05:22 PM

                                              Has anyone had the MC at Lou's?

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: BasilKitty
                                                hrhboo May 20, 2008 01:08 PM

                                                I have, it was only okay. The pasta was cooked well but the cheeses used were on the bland side.

                                                1. re: hrhboo
                                                  BasilKitty May 21, 2008 12:07 PM

                                                  Thanks for the head's up! I have been wanting to go there and, of course, now I can go elsewhere for my M/C cravings and hog out on other things.

                                              2. t
                                                TeamCHB May 19, 2008 10:15 PM

                                                Nik n' Stef's in downtown LA

                                                1. d
                                                  Diana May 20, 2008 01:21 PM

                                                  The fried mac n cheese at Boneyard Bistro is loved by some of the hounds. Best right out of the kitchen. I like it dipped in the BBQ sauce.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Diana
                                                    maxzook May 20, 2008 01:25 PM

                                                    Fred 62, which I mentioned upthread, also has fried m&c balls.

                                                  2. a
                                                    alliebear May 20, 2008 08:54 PM

                                                    I just had the mac and cheese at the Stone Rose lounge attached to Sofitel at Beverly Blvd. and La Cienega. I thought it was really good and have been wanting to go back since I tried it two nights ago. It was $10 on the appetizer menu.

                                                    1. s
                                                      Silver Surfer May 20, 2008 09:07 PM

                                                      The farms have a truffle mac & cheese that is insane.

                                                      1. w
                                                        WORX4FUDE May 20, 2008 09:55 PM

                                                        I may get absolutely brutalized for suggesting this, but I have found my guilty pleasure a la Mac-n-Cheese.... The Cheesecake Factory's FRIED MACARONI & CHEESE BALLS. Amazing.

                                                        1. j
                                                          jmin May 21, 2008 05:03 AM

                                                          City Bakery in Brentwood has great mac&cheese.

                                                          1. b
                                                            Bthomer May 21, 2008 09:10 AM

                                                            Paddy Mac is awesome, we order some and keep it in the fridge or freezer and have it a couple nights at home. Better than anything I've gotten out in the restaurant and easier on the wallet.

                                                            1. e
                                                              ExtraCheesePlease May 21, 2008 12:10 PM

                                                              The Mac and Cheese at the Dakota at the Roosevelt is to die for. I usually don't go there as there are better steakhouses in the area (BLT, STK, Boa) but the mac and cheese are head and shoulders above the rest.

                                                              1. suicidemartini May 21, 2008 12:45 PM

                                                                Love the Mac'n'Cheese at the Bowery for a late nite snack with a beer. Nothing special about it(who needs truffels), just really solid.

                                                                1. w
                                                                  wooster May 27, 2008 10:48 AM

                                                                  Bora Bora on Highland/34th in Manhattan Beach. Great atmosphere, awesome staff, amazing sides, entrees just OK, but the mac/cheese is the best I've ever had.

                                                                  1. j
                                                                    jesstifer May 27, 2008 12:25 PM

                                                                    I prefer the bread-crumb varieties like that at Fred 62 and Luna Park. Along those lines, one excellent m&c that hasn't been mentioned here is to be found at the Whisper Lounge at the Grove.

                                                                    1. w
                                                                      WLA_gal May 27, 2008 01:04 PM

                                                                      I'm partial to the "baked macaroni" from Violet. Very smooth & creamy. The chef shared the recipe (I think it was in a magazine or newspaper, so he already had it electronically) - it includes parmesan cheese, gruyere, cream, serrano ham, leeks and is topped with breadcrumbs. I agree with the previous posters that much of what people like is what they are used to... if you aren't used to a creamy, adulterated (with leeks and ham) mac & cheese you may not find this to be bliss. I do. And I can make it at home!

                                                                      1. SecretHeadquarters May 27, 2008 02:54 PM

                                                                        'Taste' on melrose has some pretty good mac n' cheese. I dont know if you can order it separately, mine came with the cumin rubbed pork chop, which was actually pretty incredible itself. But the mac n' cheese was highly addictive as well - i enjoyed it.

                                                                        1. t
                                                                          TwoGuys90068 May 27, 2008 03:22 PM

                                                                          I second the M&C at Lucky Devil's. It's great!

                                                                          1. s
                                                                            soccerandlost May 30, 2008 08:14 PM

                                                                            Luna Park's M&C with broccoli and ham is the best I've ever had. The M&C at 3rd Stop is delicious as well. I've also really enjoyed the M&C (and everything else) at Lucky Devil.

                                                                            1. b
                                                                              BeckyLee May 30, 2008 09:00 PM

                                                                              Although there has already been plenty of great suggestions, I wanted to put in my vote for both Luna Park and Taste on Melrose. I had M&C at Taste as a side dish and it was truly wonderful.

                                                                              1. schmamo May 31, 2008 05:57 PM

                                                                                I am surprised how little mention there has been of Lola's M&C. I have ordered it as my meal on more than a few occasions. It is just that good. Cheddary goodness and a parmesan crust that just takes it one notch past heavenly. NOTHING I have had anywhere else in the city even comes close.

                                                                                1. sunnyand72 Jun 3, 2008 03:27 PM

                                                                                  Palm Terrace (in the Island Hotel, Newport Beach).

                                                                                  Best $13 you can spend. (Also available in tasting potion for $6).

                                                                                  Show Hidden Posts