The Byrds sang about it (though Pete Seeger wrote it, and whoever wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes before him): for everything there is a season. A time to be born, a time to die, a time to eat your weight in nachos and mac and cheese, and a time to shovel an entire Whole Foods’ worth of produce directly into your pie hole. For the latter, there is the Big Salad, what started as a joke on Seinfeld but which is today an essential staple of the L.A. lunch. So, when the day calls for what’s basically a punchbowl full of produce (and hopefully some bacon and cheese and other stuff with actual flavor), crunch your way through one of these leaf-packed beauties. Your liver will thank you for these delicious salads.
1. The Original Chopped Salad from La Scala
434 N Canon Dr.,Beverly Hills.
They invented the thing, so you know it’s good. And any time a salad has as much meat and cheese as lettuce, it’s a winner.
2. Chinese Chicken Salad from Joan’s on Third
12059 Ventura Pl., Studio City.
Crunchy wontons! That is all.
3. Classic Cobb Salad from Aroma Coffee and Tea
4360 Tujunga Ave, Studio City.
Half an avocado, a fistful of blue cheese, and so, so much bacon. Let’s get it straight, this is not a health food. But it’s crunchy, so we’ll lie to ourselves and say it is.
4. Southwestern Salad from Fresh Corn Grill
8714 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood.
In case you have any doubt about the grill at Fresh Corn Grill, peep those char marks! There’s loads of veggies crammed into this one, too.
5. California Chicken Salad from California Chicken Cafe
22333 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills.
What kind of chicken salad has avocado, feta, and pasta in it? This one does. We aren’t complaining.
6. Tabbouleh Salad from Sunnin Lebanese Cafe
1776 Westwood Blvd, Westwood.
If you never thought you’d enjoy eating what’s essentially a giant bowl of parsley, think again. Sunnin has the lockdown on seriously flavorful tabbouleh.
7. Sante Garden from A Vôtre Santé
13016 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwoood.
When your restaurant’s name translates to “To Your Health,” you better have a top notch salad. This bowl full of colors is a nutritionist’s dream.
8. Little Gems Salad at Tavern
11648 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood.
Suzanne Goin can do no wrong when it comes to produce. Little gem lettuces are the star of this famous plate o’ greens.
9. OMG Omega from Sweetgreen
8055 W 3rd St, Beverly Grove.
Just about every salad at Sweetgreen deserves a spot on this list, but we’ll pick this one because frankly, we just like saying furikake. Also, Steelhead.
10. The M Chopped from M Café
7617, 7119 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood.
Pickled radishes, roasted beets, crumbled tempeh, and Tamari-roasted almonds make this an umami-riffic bowl of stuff you can feel good about eating.
11. Mediterranean Gem from Sycamore Kitchen
143 South La Brea Ave, La Brea.
It’s got a little bit of everything in just the right amounts. Dates add sweetness, blue cheese give it some funk, chicken makes it, well, chickeny, and hazelnuts provide the crunch.
12.Nancy’s Chopped Salad at Mozza 2 Go
6610 Melrose Ave, Hollywood.
A hard hit of oregano gives Nancy Silverton’s signature lettuce-meat-cheese mix a dose of legit Italian flavor.
13. Seasonal Green Salad from Four Café
2122 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock.
Four Cafe changes its seasonal salads on the reg, which is exactly what makes them good. That, plus some really interesting salad dressings (there was some cumin-spiked version recently that we wish were bottled) make this place a giant in the salad game.
14. Chicken Chopped Salad from Emilios Trattoria
16234 Ventura Blvd, Encino.
This Valley spot gets serious points for degree of choppage. Because in a salad, texture is everything.
15. Fattoush Salad with Salami from Olive & Thyme
3821 W Riverside Dr, Burbank.
Why yes, I will take a pile of smoky spiced pita chips on my romaine. Thank you very much.
16. Salmon Salad from Alcove Cafe
2711, 1929 Hillhurst Ave, Los Feliz.
Alcove has the big salads thing on lock, with enormous white bowls filled with all sorts of goodness. The grilled salmon salad with capers and cucumbers might also be actually healthy for you, so we’ll steer you that way. But don’t forget the spinach version—with extra bacon.