It might seem obvious what makes Clifton’s Brookdale unique, said Mary MacVean in the Los Angeles Times. There’s the indoor waterfall, the moose head overlooking a dining room, and “the bear holding a fishing pole.” There’s also the tiny “tree trunk chapel with its neon cross.” But what makes this downtown institution truly irreplaceable is its history.

Founded by Clifford Clinton in 1931, the restaurant “must be one of the most diverse spots in the city,” both ethnically and economically. Back in the 1940s, as many as 10,000 customers would pass through its doors on a single day. Currently Clifton’s serves “only” up to 2,000 people a day, with Sundays the busiest. They’ll find a huge selection of entrées—beef or chicken liver with onions, stuffed green peppers, pot roast, baked halibut, pork spare ribs, and enchiladas. “The goal is affordable standards, homemade, not haute.” Sides include coleslaw, corn bread, scalloped potatoes, and lemon rice. For dessert, choose from a bewildering variety of cakes, tapioca and rice pudding, or red or green cubes of Jell-O.
648 S. Broadway, (213) 627-1673