Beat The Heat With L.A.'s Nine Best Milkshakes
The sweltering midsummer season of heat waves is officially upon us, and there's only one cure for it: milkshakes. Sure, frosé is more Instagrammable, and chilled green juice is arguably "better for you" or whatever. But a nice, cold milkshake always conjures nostalgic memories of being a blissfully chubby child sitting quietly by the pool in summertime, reading Betty and Veronica comics and sipping an Oreo Blizzard through a straw. (Or was that not a universal experience?)
To celebrate the heat-busting dessert of summer, we've put together a list of the best milkshakes to be had in L.A.—because nobody on this mortal coil should be forced to drink the Lucky Charms milkshake from Burger King.
The "Special Orange Freeze" from Mel's Drive-In.
Made famous by "American Graffiti," Mel's Drive-In has been serving nostalgic diner fare since 1947—and what captures midcentury nostalgia more than a milkshake? The coyly named "Special Orange Freeze", made up of sherbet, sprite, whipped cream and a cherry on top, has a particularly nice citrus-adjacent tang. For the calorie-conscious, Mel's also makes a "low-fat yogurt shake," but come on, who are you kidding?
Mel's Drive-In is located at 8585 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. There are also locations in Hollywood and Sherman Oaks.
The "Toasted Marshmallow, Coconut Milk & Strawberry" Milkshake from Hot Hot Food.
We've written before about Hot Hot Food, a newly opened fusion fried-rice joint tucked away in Virgil Village, but their marshmallow-strawberry milkshake deserves some acclaim all on its own. The coconut milk makes this drink taste deceptively light and healthy, but don't worry, there's plenty of toasted marshmallow on top to plunge you deep into the seductively sweet embrace of an eventual sugar crash.
Hot Hot Food is located at 654 North Hoover Street in Virgil Village. (323) 522-6927
The G&B Shake at Go Get Em Tiger.
If you count on your dairy-based dessert to put some pep in your step, the espresso-based G&B Shake at Go Get Em Tiger is your best bet. If you find yourself craving a fix in Downtown L.A., you can also snag the blend of vanilla bean ice cream, espresso and whole milk at the G&B coffee shop inside Grand Central Market. Word to the wise—the caffeine and sugar-loaded G&B shake is basically the dessert equivalent of Ritalin, so don't be surprised if you find yourself suddenly buzzing with energy after finishing your last sip.
Go Get Em Tiger has locations at 230 North Larchmont Boulevard in Larchmont Village and 4630 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Feliz. G&B is located at Grand Central Market at 317 South Broadway in downtown.
The strawberry shake at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Are you a wealthy child or young-at-heart adult? If so, don't miss the strawberry milkshake at the Fountain Coffee Room inside the Beverly Hills Hotel. The shake costs $10, which is sadly on a par with many options in L.A.'s inflated dessert market, and it's worth every penny (or at least a few of them) to suck it down against the retro banana-leaf wallpaper of the historic Fountain Coffee Room, which was built in 1949. For as long as you can make your milkshake last, you'll feel like a West Coast version of Eloise.
The Fountain Coffee Room is located in the Beverly Hills Hotel at 9641 Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills. (310) 276-2251
The "Banana Split" boozy milkshake at Westbound.
Just this week, the Arts District cocktail bar and eatery Westbound began collaborating with Coolhaus to bring L.A. the holy grail of summer treats—the boozy milkshake. There's not much alcohol in the shakes, so you'd have to knock back quite a few to get a decent buzz on, but have faith in yourself—you can do it. "The Banana Split", which mixes vodka, orange juice and Spanish liqueur with Coolhaus's Bananas Foster ice cream, is a sweet, spiked innovation worthy of the Museum of Ice Cream (and we don't say that lightly.)
Westbound is located at 300 South Santa Fe Avenue in the Arts District. (213) 262-9291
The vanilla milkshake at Fred 62.
There's nothing reinterpreted or edgy or particularly exciting about this classic, and that's precisely what makes it so great. Fred 62, a 24-hour Los Feliz mainstay, seems to know that sometimes, when it's 4a.m., all you want is a really good, plain vanilla milkshake (and maybe a Juicy Lucy burger.) Plus, Fred 62 follows the charming old-school convention of serving you your shake excess in a tall silver cup, from which you can swig when your milkshake glass runs dry. Because sometimes one milkshake just doesn't cut it.
Fred 62 is located at 1850 North Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz. (323) 667-0062
The matcha shake at Honeymee.
Honeymee is a curious little frozen-treat shop that dishes out honeycomb-centric desserts, and, yes, we arguably reached the point of peak L.A. matcha saturation long ago, but if you're going to persist in your matcha consumption, at least do it with a milkshake. (Honorable mention goes to Honeymee's "misugaru"—multigrain—milkshake, which might even be slightly healthy?)
Honeymee has multiple locations around Los Angeles and Southern California.
The Neapolitan shake from In-N-Out.
What kind of L.A.-centric milkshake list would this be without the inclusion of In-N-Out? Okay, fine, the Irvine-based In-N-Out chain isn't exactly our own little hometown secret anymore. Still, by ordering this mixture of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate off In-N-Out's not-so-secret secret menu, you can feel like you're taking part in a hush-hush tradition, one that only fellow locals (and anyone else with access to Google) can take part in.
In-N-Out has multiple locations around Los Angeles and Southern California
The "Decadent" Almond Butter Cup Shake from Café Gratitude.
Let's just call a spade a spade for a moment—vegan ice cream, like the coconut cashew flavor in Cafe Gratitude's "Decadent" shake, is simply not as good as normal ice cream. That said, the plant-based, cult-adjacent eatery's "Decadent" shake, which mixes the aforementioned coconut-cashew ice cream, almond milk, cacao nibs, almond butter, vanilla bean and "coconut bacon", is as satisfying as a real milkshake. (Well, almost. Let's not get carried away.)
Café Gratitude has multiple locations around Los Angeles and Southern California.