Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when we entered the Formosa Café for the first time just this past month. We knew it was a great spot for Hollywood tourists and locals, alike, but we didn’t know why. As we sat down in Elvis’s booth and spoke with our server, Alex, we were blown away by the history and ties this establishment has to Old Hollywood. From the atmosphere to the Old Hollywood charm to the delicious and flavorful menu, I can’t recommend Formosa Café enough! Here’s why visiting this classic spot completely blew my mind.
Formosa Café started out as a small little restaurant within a streetcar. You heard right, a streetcar! This car ran on sunset from 1904-1939 and is one of the only streetcars to run on Sunset that still exists today. Now, you can have your dinner at a booth inside it. After opening with just that small portion in 1939, Formosa Café has gone through several expansions outwards toward sunset, down into the back along the side of the streetcar, and up on the patio, as well. Now, you can enjoy the nice vibe outside on the patio near the bar or downstairs indoors at the restaurant. We were lucky enough to sit at Elvis’s booth that he would sit at when he was a regular at Formosa, and it is properly adorned with Elvis knickknacks in celebration. The booth next to ours was Marilyn Monroe’s booth, and the other booth to the other side was John Wayne’s. Be sure to ask your servers some stories about the history of the place, as they almost all have little gems to share with you.
And the history and ties to old Hollywood continue into today as many stars frequent Formosa Café. And, it was even featured recently in the hit show Euphoria. It was actually supposed to be torn down in 2019, but it was officially saved and turned into a historical landmark!
I really can’t recommend it to locals and tourists enough, as it has something for everyone. And it provides a great tourist experience in Los Angeles without feeling too gimmicky, as well. It’s authentic, and you can really feel that when you step in. Aside from all the Old and Modern Hollywood ambiance, the food is beyond delicious. We stopped in with VIVA GLAM Magazine, so we were on the hunt for Vegan food, and it offers delicious vegan alternatives to classic Chinese plates that were unbelievable delicious. Trust me, as a meat-eater, I still loved the vegan dishes.
Perhaps, however, my favorite dish was the Steak and Broccolini. It was deliciously rich and flavorful. As someone who doesn’t appreciate meat much, I am now craving this dish after eating it. It was incredible. So definitely try this one if you’re a meat eater stopping into Formosa Café. It pairs nicely with the Spicy Wok Fried Rice. And the Marinated Cucumbers and Wonton Soup were exceptional, as well.
Please note that all of these meals are meant to be shared. They come out on large plates with more than enough for 2-3 people, so ordering multiples and sharing is not only encouraged but the thing to do here. Even the soup comes sharable, so keep that in mind.
All in all, if you’re looking for a delicious meal that comes with the ambiance and authentic history of old and modern Hollywood, Formosa Café is the place for you. I had no idea of its history, and now that I know, Formosa has a new regular in town!