Animal–A restaurant insider's pick

(taken with my late night iPhone cam)

In the world of restaurants the late night, post-shift meal with co-workers is a ritual that is relished and celebrated in various and unruly incarnations. Some find sustenance in a handful of bar snacks and a gullet full of cocktails. Others speed across town to the 24-hour drive-thru and late night taco stand to silently devour a well-deserved meal in mere seconds. While some—exhausted individuals craving to commiserate–speed across town to a late-night restaurant en masse to eat and drink away the shift’s miseries, swap stories and revel in debauchery.

In Los Angeles there are many all-night spots popular with restaurant folk. Taco stands, 24-hour hamburger joints and Korean noodle houses aside, there are few places in the city of Angels that offer food and a service staff that cater to the rich and exotic tastes of restaurant folk. Animal Restaurant, a meat obsessed late-night spot in the Fairfax district, is a rare example of a celebrated late night eatery that has found a dedicated following of night owls and restaurant insiders.

Founded by the handsomely tussled chef-duo Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal’s menu is dedicated to all things meat. The dishes are small but pack a lot of flavor (and fat filled calories) like the six hour Bolognese on Parmesan polenta ($8), pork belly with kimchi, chili soy and scallion ($11), or melted petit basque on a bed of chorizo with garlic bread ($11). Favorites with my fellow-late night diners are the house smoked pork belly, lentil & butterbean salad ($14), fall off the bone pork ribs with a rocket, fennel and citrus salad ($15), blow-your-diet foie gras with a salty biscuit and maple sausage gravy ($22).

(late night iPhone cam)

The one dish that keeps the folks at Mozza coming back for more is the French Canadian comfort food poutine: made here with a rich oxtail gravy, melted cheddar cheese on a bed of French fries ($14). Though a perfect finale for a long night of drinking, this is a dish that requires an iron stomach. Poutine on an empty stomach at 2 AM is a really, really bad idea.

For those with a late night sweet tooth, recommended dishes include the decadent tres leches cake ($7), jar of chocolate pudding (topped with bacon!) ($7) and Animal’s signature bacon meets chocolate dessert, a Kit-Kat inspired bacon and chocolate crunch bar ($8).

With words like “changes and modifications politely declined” printed on the menu, Animal restaurant is a restaurant insider’s pick.

Animal Restaurant
435 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782-9225

Open Seven Days A Week
Sunday – Thursday 6pm-11pm
Friday – Saturday 6pm-2am

Animal on Urbanspoon


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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.


  1. 5 Star Foodie
    February 11

    This restaurant must be very popular in LA! I read another review just last night. It sounds great!

  2. jesse
    February 11

    Wow, how come I’ve never come across this restaurant? Darn, how I’ve missed out!! And I love how delicious the food looks even when taken with a camera phone… mmm!

  3. The Greasy Spoon
    February 12

    Crikey! This is a new one on me- the French Canadian chips and oxtail gravy thing, that is. I’m very fond of this sort of classic (?) working comfort food. Think the French did something similar with fried eggs, black butter sauce and capers. Thanks for your recent post on The Spoon.

  4. Elizabeth
    February 12

    I loved the “late night iPhone cam”. Thanks for this wonderful detail: a subtle spice to your wonderful dish.

  5. white on rice couple
    February 16

    I’m dying to eat here and I’m all over the oxtail gravy and anything oxtail! I think $14 is a great deal, especially if it comes with a bed a fries. For real?
    How you liking your iPhone?

  6. Lutter
    April 28

    It’s a “meat obsessed late night spot”. I love it. I can see that in the Zagat review. Great writing. You really capture it. I can smell the poutine right now.

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