Along Los Feliz Boulevard in the Glendale area of Los Angeles sits a tavern well known for its customer loyalty, gracious service, and flavorsome Scottish favorites. If you’re having a hankering for a bit of European fare (and maybe an ale or two), Tam O’ Shanter is where you need to be. Celebrating 91 years of successful business this year, Tam O’ Shanter is not just the oldest restaurant in Los Angeles, but it is now owned by the Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc. And if those facts aren’t enough to convince you of the reputation of this eatery, then take a look and see why we recommend it to our readers below. Serving up palatable plates, divine sandwiches, and even a tempting Happy Hour weekdays from 4 PM to 7 PM in their tavern, you will find some of the tastiest and best prepared classic European fare around.
The restaurant’s tutor-style exterior transports patrons to the classic era of British taverns, while inside, an impressive Scottish tartan collection lines the walls. Eclectic European décor from old world flags to a period-appropriate uniformed staff to the tavernesque bar when you enter this humble establishment will make you think you’re really somewhere else. Old friends gather at the bar for their daily brew, and cordial servers are helpful and efficiently take care to make sure you feel at home. The old-style quaint ambiance is an attraction all to itself. Dimly lit inside, your eyes will have to adjust for a moment. But as they do, you’ll be pleased that you decided to stop by.
As our readers know, we are not beer connoisseurs. Therefore, we opted for a rum cocktail, a Cape Cod, and a Greyhound upon our arrival. (Something different for me, as I usually only drink Greyhounds when I’m indulging in oysters on the half shell!). The semi-private booth-like area we chose to occupy while at the restaurant was composed of wood-paneled walls, European memorabilia hanging from a wall over our table, and two large extremely comfortable leather wingback chairs, which was unique and unlike anything we’d ever seen before. The change of scenery and pace was nice. And we were prepared to settle in and take some time to peruse the menu as well as enjoy some time together after a long day of meetings.
Tam O Shanter is filled with interesting and intriguing articles of Scottish heritage, old world flags hanging proudly overhead, dark-beamed ceilings, and eclectic light fixtures everywhere you look. Tables and chairs are well worn with centuries of filled dining rooms, but exude a charm and are full of character. There is a sense of friendship and family and a genuine love for one another here. That much we definitely felt while there. Not many establishments possess that sense. But this one certainly does.
There are several dining rooms inside Tam O’ Shanter. The perception is that of being on a huge Scottish home of years gone by. Huge brick fireplaces become conversation pieces during dinners among friends and family, while a glassed-in area allows for natural light to flow inside during the day. Then there’s the tavern. Upon entering the restaurant, you will come upon the bar and lounge, where an enjoyable Ale & Sandwich Bar menu provides items you wouldn’t normally expect.
Fish & Chips
Above, we started with the FIsh & Chips selection from the Ale & Sandwich Bar menu. Though not huge fried food lovers, my husband couldn’t resist getting it. And rightfully so, as it turned out. The tender flaky local Cod inside a perfectly battered light crisp exterior was extremely gratifying. A touch of tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon with each bite was just perfect. The hand-cut fries paired nicely with this presentation.
Beef Brisket Sandwich With Potato Salad & Peanut Slaw
It had been a long time since my husband and I have enjoyed a wonderful beef brisket dinner. We were reminded of that when we took our first bite of Tam O’ Shanter’s Beef Brisket Sandwich. Succulent, fall-off-the-sandwich incredible!
Hand-Carved Corned Beef Sandwich
The corned beef sandwich from the Ale & Sandwich Bar is a flavor-filled satisfaction in between two soft slices of rye bread. Other breads are available, but for us, rye bread just GOES with corned beef. We added a touch of Thousand Island dressing for an added zing.
Mac & Cheese
We also tried the Mac & Cheese side, which was amply portioned for two people. The flavors of smoked Gouda and farmhouse Cheddar with herbed bread crumbs baked on top created a creamy, crisp, and filling experience that didn’t remain for long after we took our first few bites. Definitely one of our top five Mac & Cheese dishes anywhere that we’ve relished in for some time.
Along with a sensational list of hand-carved sandwiches prepared fresh in front of your eyes at the Ale & Sandwich Bar, and discounted Happy Hour prices on well drinks and select ales, Tam O’ Shanter also inspires with live music on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 8 PM. Great British fare, lots of options on an extensive menu, hand-carved savory sandwiches prepared fresh and made to order, plus live entertainment to keep your toe tapping and a smile on your face.
- ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Consisting of dimly-lit rooms, a popular tavern and sandwich bar with wood-paneled walls and eclectic homage to European style and Scottish and Irish heritage hanging on the walls of the eatery, a charm and enchanting character is pronounced here.
- FOOD / DRINK: Some of the most amazing Fish & Chips we’ve ever experienced, a beef brisket sandwich to rival any of the brisket dishes we’ve enjoyed in the past, flavorsome cocktails from the tavern, and a menu that stands out amongst the crowd in terms of traditional Scottish, Irish, and European fare.
- LOCATION: Tam O’ Shanter is located in the Glendale area of Los Angeles at 2980 Los Feliz Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90039.
- HOURS: Tam O’ Shanter’s Ale & Sandwich Bar is available daily from 11 AM to 12 AM, with Happy Hour on select libation and edibles weekdays from 4 PM until 7 PM, and Late-Night Happy Hours on Sundays through Thursdays from 9 PM to 11 PM. Dinner is available in the main restaurant Monday through Thursday from 5 PM to 9 PM, Fridays from 5 PM until 10 PM, Saturdays from 4 PM to 10 PM, and Sundays from 4 PM to 9 PM. Sunday brunch is served 10:30 AM until 2:30 PM.
- SERVICE / STAFF: Efficient and friendly servers will excel in delighting your requests and ensuring that guests are comfortable and happy.
- PRICE / VALUE: Fairly priced for the quality of the cuisine and enjoyable unique ambiance.
- CORKAGE FEE: The corkage fee at Tam O’ Shanter is $15 per 750mL bottle. That charge is waived if you purchase a bottle off the restaurant’s wine list.
- CONTACT INFO: Phone: (323) 664-0228, Website: www.lawrysonline.com
- PARKING: Starting at 5 PM, the valet service begins. Before then, however, there is ample complimentary parking in the spacious parking lot.
- PRICING: Weekdays from 4 PM to 7 PM, Tam O’Shanter offers discounted well drinks and selected ales in the bar and Ale & Sandwich Bar areas. We sipped on a Cape Cod, a Greyhound, and a Rum & Coke all for just $5 apiece during Happy Hour at the bar. The side of Mac & Cheese was priced at $5 on the Ale & Sandwich Bar lunch menu (normally $7 after 5 PM), while the hand-carved Corned Beef Sandwich was offered at $12. The Beef Brisket Sandwich was just a dollar more at $13. Sandwiches from the Ale & Sandwich Bar also come with a selection of daily sides. We enjoyed the peanut coleslaw and Tam O’ Shanter’s popular potato salad. The Fish & Chips offering is available on the restaurant’s dinner menu for $21.
* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.