Classic Tables: John O'Groats

The city's best biscuit turns 30

Ask anyone about John O'Groats, the Rancho Park mainstay, and they'll probably mention the biscuits.

The tangy, mammoth pucks, unchanged since the restaurant opened 30 years ago, are an anchor of simplicity.

"It's the most basic recipe you can imagine," owner Paul Tyler told us. "Dad found it in an old cookbook from the 19th century, and we've never strayed."

The biscuit philosophy doubles as the restaurant's ethos. There have been a few changes over the years, including an expanded dining room and gluten-free and low-carb menu items. But those tweaks have been built on the incredibly simple and successful formula of a basic breakfast and a good cup of coffee.

The Irish oatmeal is almost too thick and rich to exist in Los Angeles: It's the type of cereal that steels against the most extreme elements. And pancakes here are a utilitarian ideal, porous enough to hold the maximum capacity of melted butter and syrup without disintegrating.

For those who view breakfast as early lunch, the tuna melt, made on thick-cut slices of Etxea Bakery's excellent sourdough, with a crusty crown of melted cheese, is among the city's best.

Here, the most important meal of the day is also the best.