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Best Mac n Cheese In LA?

Cafe Des Artistes makes a mean one with a killer crust and a delicious blend of cheeses... but my nomination for best has got to be the jalapeno mac at Citizen Smith. Can anywhere else compete??

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  1. It's one of the few things at Lola's edible BEFORE you consume a half-dozen martini-shaped fruity freshman girl drinks, and one of the stars of the menu at Kate Mantílíní.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      What are the ingredients at Lola's and Kate Mantilini? Are these the fancy or the simpler recipes?

      Also, how does Mac n Cheese at Clementine or Joan's on 3rd compare to the best restaurant versions? MnC is more of a take out kind of food after all..

      1. re: karamazov

        One other place you might enjoy for the Mac 'n Cheese is Surfas in CC.


        Mac And Cheese $6.95
        With Your Choice Of Topping:
        Cajun Style Corn, Nueske Applewood Smoked
        Bacon Bits, Fresh Herb And Garlic Bread Crumb

        1. re: karamazov

          It's pretty standard fare... mac, cheese sauce, breadcrumbs.

          1. re: karamazov

            the mac at Joan's on 3rd is actually really good. Still creamy when reheated with a nice crispy crust. But also check out Paddy Mac online. They deliver it to you hot, cool, or frozen (heats up perfectly well) and they have some awesome flavors.

          2. re: Das Ubergeek

            Was at Lola's two weeks ago and I think the mac 'n cheese went downhill from what I remembered. The crust was too sharp cheddar and salty and the cheese sauce too thin. But yes, one of the few edible things at Lola's to accompany the "martinis".


          3. Any discussion of mac and cheese needs to define what, exactly, you define as m&c. Those who grew up on Kraft or Stouffer's are probably more used to a mornay-sauce base, typically made in a saucepan, and often but not always (imho) lacking in cheese flavor -- more like pasta with yellow cream sauce. Others, like myself, grew up with casserole-style m&c, pasta mixed with shredded cheese, topped with breadcrumbs and baked.

            I'm partial to the jalapeño-laden "mac daddy and cheese" at Fred 62; I also like the creamier, cheesier version at Musso & Frank. But my favorite may be the sinfully-rich appetizer-sized serving at The Kitchen.

            Fred 62
            1854 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            The Kitchen
            4348 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

            Musso & Frank Grill
            6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

            4 Replies
            1. re: maxzook

              Pasta mixed with shredded cheese, butter, and MILK (or .5 & .5); otherwise, if you bake it long enough to get a great brown crust on top, the whole thing will be a lump of concrete and steel splinters. The trick is to be absolutely fearless: undercook the pasta and wash in cold water; add enough milk and, especially, cheese to frighten a small village; and overcook the composed casserole, because those brown tidbits are so tasty. The milk will keep your inner pasta creamy and tender to the tooth.

              That's the way I like my mac n' cheese, especially when I throw in a little chopped chili, onion, and cilantro and top with more parmesan than breadcrumbs. Are there any LA restaurants that follow this general approach?

              1. re: sbritchky

                Start a restaurant with that recipe and I'm there!

              2. re: maxzook

                Too funny, I read the OP and thought "Well, I would say Fred 62, Musso's and the Kitchen". You have excellent taste! :)

              3. I haven't been impressed with much else on their menu but I swear to God, the Mac & Cheese at Rush Street (Culver City) is the best I've ever had. It falls into the "more cheesy than creamy" category.

                1 Reply
                1. re: recovering_vegetarian

                  Yeah, I had it last night and it wasn't creamy... nor was it nuanced enough for me. For similar vibe, I perfer the one at Luna Park.

                  My absolute FAVORITE though came from Porkys... Super Creamy and flavorful...



                2. i never hear anything about it here but the lobster mac and cheese at formosa cafe on santa monica near the bev-mo is awesome. the ribs and wasabi mashed are great too.

                  1. I've enjoyed the mac n' cheese at Nook, Violet, and Dakota.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Juji

                      I had the mac n cheese at Nook the other night (first time there). It's delightful. Very creamy with large soft noodles and a bread crumb crust. It's yellow cheese, so if you grew up with Kraft like I did, you'll probably like it.

                      And you get a LOT of it. More than we could eat.

                      The MnC at Cafe des Artistes is served in a similar size, and similar topping, but with white cheese, which is also delicious, but it's richer tasting.

                      In both cases, you really need to order it as a side that two people can share. The portion is quite large.

                      1. re: lil mikey

                        Funny, but I tried Nook's mac and cheese the other day for the first time was decidedly unimpressed. I love Kraft and yellow mac and cheese (for comparison, I absolutely love the mac and cheese they sell in the Gelson's deli counter). I found Nook's to be very bland and the bread crumb crust didn't really add much. Very disappointing.

                        1. re: lil mikey

                          I had the mac & cheese at the Nook for lunch the other day. It was good and creamy, but I thought it needed a little salt. And it wasn't super cheese-flavored.

                          Still, it was good.

                          Another very rich mac & cheese is at the Brentwood Restaurant.

                          1. re: lil mikey

                            I adore the mac and cheese at Nook! You're right, it's a relatively large portion and I think, meant for sharing as a side dish.

                            It's creamy and has the right amount of cheese flavor (without being overwhelmingly cheesy). The bread crumb crust provides the right amount of texture.

                        2. For the Citizen Smith mac n cheese, I prefer their regular over the jalapeno. I like jalapenos, but there was too much of it and it gets in the way of the mac n cheese. But then I'm never going back to that god forsaken restaurant.

                          1. I like the one at Comme Ca.

                            In fact, though there are places on this list I haven't tried, that was the only one I've had in LA that I've truly enjoyed.

                            1. The Mac-n-Cheese at the Pantry... large elbow macaroni with a creamy and cheesy texture. Definitely comfort food that I always go back to. Served Wednesdays and Fridays only and sells out so it's best to arrive early for dinner.

                              The Mac-n-Cheese at Zeke's BBQ is delicious as well.

                              1. The Arroyo Chop House in Pasadena has an amazing mac n cheese with ham. It is amazing.

                                1. I'm not going to attempt any claims at "best", just here are a couple I like. (I, too, have discovered that there are quite divergent concepts of how mac-and-cheese should taste.)

                                  1. Fried mac-and-cheese triangles (appetizer) at Red White + Bluezz, Pasadena
                                  2. Mac-and-cheese side at Joey's Smokin' BBQ, Manhattan Village mall
                                  3. Mac-and-cheese side at Lawry's Carvery, Century City Shopping Center food court (greasy, though...)

                                  1. Roscoe's. I don't go for the waffles, nor particularly the too-sweet greens, but that mac'n'cheese is what they'll serve you in heaven if you've been very, very good.

                                    Other than that, my own, which is actually offtopic here...

                                    1. The gorgonzola m&c at Mastro's is very good. I've done takeout of just that item (and it's like $12 or something) when I had a craving for it.

                                      Mastro's Steakhouse
                                      246 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                      Mastro's Steak House
                                      633 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                                      Mastro's Steak House
                                      2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: Professor Salt

                                          I also second the vote for Mastro's - its as good or better than the steak.

                                        2. Haven't been in years but Blair's in Silverlake had really good mac n' cheese. They are at 2903 Rowena Ave,

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: wehojoel

                                            Wow, i didn't think Blair's would get a mention, but I 2nd this. Great mac and cheese.

                                          2. It's been awhile, but our family was fond of Larkin's take. Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock.

                                            1. We would be remiss not to mention the best emergency m&c here...Trader's Joe's frozen Mac 'N' Cheese. Dee-lish.

                                              1. It's interesting you mention Cafe Des Artistes, because we've been to Mimosa on 8009 Beverly Boulevard, owned by the same proprietor as CDA. I had an unforgetable macaroni and cheese gratin with prosciutto there - a meal in itself. www.mimosarestaurant.com

                                                Mimosa Restaurant
                                                8009 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: OCKevin

                                                  That's the mac n cheese I feel I must try. I love Mimosa, and have heard their m&c is great, but have yet to try it.

                                                2. Thanks everyone this is awesome. I feel a pot belly coming on soon...

                                                  1. I've found that the more you bake it the more the cheese flavor dissipates. In other words, a baked-brown mac and cheese probably has twice as much cheese, fat and calories, because it needs twice as much cheese to get that flavor.

                                                    1. Taste, on Melrose... I took friends there for brunch one day and they didn't serve it until dinner. I almost cried but since there was six of us, they decided to go for it and make it for us. I will always remember that.

                                                      1. Hands down, Violet's mac n cheese with serrano is delish!

                                                        1. Just went to a Kerry Simon dinner, and his mac and cheese was on the menu--super creamy, with truffle oil and a panko crust. YUM!!! Not sure if Simon LA at the Sofitel has the same one on the menu, but if they do, I'm there!!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: schrutefarms

                                                            Yes, they do and it's excellent; Simon doesn't over-pour the truffle oil like most restaurants

                                                          2. Paddy Mac is a MUST - better than going to a restaurant, you can have it in your own home! They specialize in Mac and cheese so the focus is on doing one thing really well and they use high end ingredients - what could be better.
                                                            you can order for delivery, pick up in Culver CIty, or buy from them at the Farmer's market in Studio City.

                                                            1. I had an interesting dish that was better then most recent experiences with Mac and Cheese. We went to Il Chianti, a Japanese-ish Italian Place in Lomita. One of the rotating specials is a Gratin which this month featured farfalle [bow-tie] pasta with Herbed Meatballs and Fried Eggplant and the sauce was a very Cheesy cream sauce which held the dish together.

                                                              I could have eaten five plates of it and this was after sharing a 20 in sausage appetizer which was great. unfortunately it was too dark and no pictures survived.

                                                              Take Care

                                                              - P.

                                                              Il Chianti
                                                              24503 Narbonne Ave, Lomita, CA 90717

                                                              1. For lunchtime mac n cheese, try Lemonade on Beverly Blvd. -- both creamy and cheesy, just delish. Also, I'm curious about Cafe Was on Vine. I was there opening night, and the mac n cheese was subpar (although everything else we ordered was wonderful). I sent an email to the restaurant to let them know you can't get away with that in Hollywood, and they wrote back to say the chef has already improved the recipe and it's popular now. Has anyone tried?

                                                                1. Had a great M&C at Cube on La Brea the other day. Menu said "4-cheese" but the waiter said it was six. I'm under the impression they change the cheeses from time to time.

                                                                  1. ah I've been questing for the best Mac 'n Cheese in LA for more than a year now. I have to say I've had more bad than good...

                                                                    Off the top of my head I'd have to say the bar "Backstage" in Culver City has some pretty memorable Mac n' Cheese, a bit oily but very flavorful!

                                                                    Backstage Bar & Grill
                                                                    10400 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: carly_mizzou

                                                                      I've had the Mac 'n Cheese at Backstage Bar & Grill and it was pretty good from what I remember.

                                                                    2. I hate to recommend a chain, but Koo Koo Roo's is really good for a quick fix. Also, the french restaraunt at The Grove does a really good one as well, as I recall its gorgonzola based.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: HastaLaPasta

                                                                        yeah KKR's is def good for the price.

                                                                        1. re: Emme

                                                                          i meant also to add
                                                                          baby blues bbq
                                                                          boneyard bistro
                                                                          porky's bbq

                                                                      2. I went to Kate Mantilini's the other night, specifically for the mac n cheese.

                                                                        It was.... effing amazing. Really, really good. Special. Wow.

                                                                        1. I live in Woodland Hills, so most of my experience is in the Valley...friends and I have found a place called The Rack in Woodland Hills. (located in the Westwood shopping Mall off Topanga Canyon Blvd and Oxnard St. next to AMC theatres) Their Mac & Cheese is incredible, served both as an appetizer, or main course. It is rich, creamy, cheesy (without being greasy), and has lots of crunchy cheese and bread crumbs on the top...Yumm! They have a great Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays until 1:00PM. The place is not a chain, Family Business and the Owner is Great, very friendly and service-oriented! They also have good Burgers, and Great drink Specials.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: stephiezee

                                                                            Clementine's, the Joans-on-3rd like gourmet takeout joint in Century City, has The. Most awesome. Mac 'n' cheese. I. Have. Ever. Eaten. (Creamy variety with crisp breadcrumb crust.) They only sell it to go and heat up later, at home. Also, their defrost and bake apple pie is better than any you could make.

                                                                            1. re: susybranch

                                                                              Belmont on La Cienaga has a great mac and cheese - crab, bacon, crusty top...MMMM!

                                                                              1. re: susybranch

                                                                                I have to second the Clementine's mac n cheese. It is perfect, creamy cheesy and crunchy and always fresh bc you make it yourself.

                                                                                1. re: allyh626

                                                                                  Clementine's mac-n-cheese is really fabulous...everything about it is as you've described.
                                                                                  However I had their meatloaf sandwich last night and ended up throwing it out...yuck.

                                                                            2. Has anyone had IKEA's mac'n'cheese? It's budget chic and super delicious! They serve it in the food court area. I know everyone goes for the meatballs but try their mac'n'cheese next time. You can't go wrong!

                                                                              1. For upscale, nothing beats the truffle laced mac and cheese at the Beverly Hills Peninsula Hotel. You can even get it in the bar. Also, has anyone mentioned Aunt Kizzy's in the Marina?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: swojahn

                                                                                  Whoa... a party I attended recently was catered by the Peninsula....they had large bowl fulls of the truffle mac and cheese....
                                                                                  Everyone devoured it....truly, truly sublime.