Roaches in LA restaurants

How do you feel about roaches? Is it one roach and you’ll never go back again? I can think of several LA-area restaurants I won’t return to due to roach experiences. One of those restaurants is fairly well-established and just got posted about. But part of me thinks there is no way to prevent a roach from coming in from outside if it wants to.

I thought it was common wisdom that in almost ANY dense urban environment, roaches are a given. Seeing a roach is probably not grounds for panic, though it should certainly be brought to management’s attention.

Seeing several roaches in a single sitting might lead me to believe there’s a larger problem, and I’d certainly be on the lookout if I returned (because maybe the food really was that good.)

Seeing several roaches in a meal on more than one occasion would probably be grounds to strike it from the list until I saw a ‘under new management’ sign.


Thank you for your perspective! What you say makes sense. At the same time, I’ve never seen a roach at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Of course, I’ve eaten in way more regular restaurants than Michelin-starred restaurants, so it may just be a sample set issue.

I did see a roach at the outdoor patio of a nice restaurant recently, but I don’t see how that can possibly be helped, and it didn’t bother me. The roach respectfully stayed on the boundary of the patio.

Thinking back, I can say that, over 50+ years of goign to restaurants, I can probably count the number of times I’ve seen actual roaches indoors at a restaurant on one hand. Even working in a couple of low-rent hot dog joints in my teen years, at places where you would not be surprised by an occasional creepy-crawly, I only recall seeing an occasional one here or there when you moved a large cabinet or table to clean the baseboards.

I assume I’m more or less surrounded at all times by jillions of little critters all making meals of my crumbs, dead skin flakes, etc. We have an understanding. They go about their business quietly, out of sight, and I pay them no mind.


There are water bugs (like the big ones) which mostly come up from the sewer and then roaches (Little ones that scurry quickly). You worry about the latter more. But as @lectroid said, it’s hard in restaurants with big kitchens and shared walls to avoid them completely.

I will say this was MANY years ago… but I had a client meeting set at Matsuhisa all set up for the week that it got slapped with a C. That was fun…


We found a cockroach in our food at a restaurant in SF years ago. They comped our and gave us a pass for another free meal the next time. The owner said the pest control company picked up the tab for that, as a sort of guarantee on their work. It was on the ground floor of an apartment building so they had limited control.


So sorry that happened to you. That’s traumatizing. There’s a restaurant in Chinatown I like, but someone on Yelp posted a pic of a roach in their food. I still eat there, but I always think about it. If I found a roach in my own food I’d probably never eat again at any restaurant that didn’t look immaculately clean.

I know it’s crazy, but I would freak out and never go back.

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East coasters giggle at what people call pest problems in LA


My wife never returned to a restaurant where she found a cockroach on her fork as she was about to put it in her mouth.

One time I was at a reasonably nice restaurant in Cambridge, MA (think Clark Street Bread), and a group of rats ran through. The waitress, unfazed, said: “It’s that time of the year again!” She made it sound so normal. So I kept going back! Better rats than roaches.

All other things equal (assuming food is good), bad service will make me less likely to eat again somewhere than roaches.

You really cannot avoid them.

I have been in tons of vacant restaurant spaces, and the day you hire the exterminator to do his groundwork, you’ll find them dead everywhere next day.

These restaurants, all they can do is get regular spraying and traps and do regular maintenance. Keeping a clean swept kitchen and water leak free helps!

If they do that you rarely if ever should see one in the open.

@dommy is right. Waterbugs aka American cockroach aka palmetto bugs (Florida) are less a nuisance than those little roaches.

Btw, they LOVE nesting behind water heaters and coffee makers.


Service? That’s some yelp type ish right here :stuck_out_tongue:


I’m afraid I’m going to jinx myself, but I want to give credit to LA restaurants where credit is due. I’ve been on the lookout for roaches over the several months, and I haven’t spotted any. Has anyone seen a roach recently?

You mean beside on this board ?


My favorite Oaxacan spot serves grasshoppers … but alas, no roaches.

The mescal margaritas are good, too.

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not in a restaurant, but I see them on the sidewalks all the time… lots of roaches in older buildings especially in downtown. When I had my business (4th & Alameda in a warehouse), we had HUGE roaches (not a ton of them, but very large ones that were scary looking).

If you eat mostly at restaurants in modern or heavily remodeled buildings, you’re much less likely to see them. Most likely place is in old buildings with a restaurant on the ground floor and apartments above.