As the weather starts to heat up, so does the Los Angeles dining scene with the debut of long-anticipated newcomers while late-2015 and early 2016 favorites are hitting their stride.
222 S. Hope St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
This downtown stunner provides the perfect complement to the neighboring Broad Museum. Former French Laundry chef de cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth offers an exciting global menu highlighting influences from Asia, the Middle East, and, via the instantly legendary foie gras and strawberry funnel cake, the county fair.
523 W. 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
The second branch of the Manhattan Beach standout, downtown’s Little Sister lives up to the hype of its South Bay big sis. Prepare yourself for some delicious Vietnamese comfort food such as crispy grilled pork spring rolls and melt-in-your-mouth shaky shaky beef served in a stylish setting.
1155 Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
During its five year stint on Santa Monica Blvd. this neighborhood favorite earned raves for its locally-sourced farm (and ocean) to table cuisine. Now bigger and better than ever thanks to a smooth transition into the former Ammo space, Salt’s Cure continues to pack the house as chefs Chris Phelps and Zak Walters dish up hearty fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
3829 Main St.
Culver City, CA 90232
If you thought Los Angeles had reached its saturation point for Korean dining, think again. Hanjip brings K-Town favorites with a twist to Culver City, serving up uni and roe topped steamed egg and bone marrow corn cheese to go along with an expansive roster of high quality bbq options.
425 Washington Blvd.
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Michelin-starred chef Josiah Citrin has another winner on his hands with his casual counterpart to the popular Melisse. As the name suggests, the focus here is on a grilled specialties highlighted by a 21-day aged duck and lobster simply prepared with lime olive oil. While meat and seafood may reign supreme don’t overlook the vegetable portion of the menu, especially the ultra-rich Yukon gold potatoes, baked in the coals and topped with crème fraiche, gouda, and chives.
301 W. Valley Blvd. #114
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Chengdu Taste’s Tony Xu goes full-noodle with his latest San Gabriel outpost. Chongqing and Chaoshou noodle specialties come in soup, dry, and dumpling varieties while traditional Chinese snacks including Chengdu pickles and spicy black fungus provide a non-gluten change of pace. Like its siblings, prices are low and quality is high so arrive early or during off-hours.
3510 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
The Trois amigos, Ludo Lefebvre, Vinny Dotolo, and Jon Shook, have expanded their empire east with inspiration from south of the border. The breakfast and lunch- only spot offers filling Mexican-fusion options several cuts above the quesalupa. No reservations and limited hours mean there’s always a wait, but as long as you get your name on “the list” by 3pm, you’re guaranteed a spot inside.
1391 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
What it lacks in creepy animatronics, Button Mash more than makes up for with vintage arcade games, craft beer, and quality eats. While there’s usually a wait to try ex-Starry Kitchen chef Nguyen Tran’s famous balls (of the tofu variety) and double fried wings, a few rounds of NBA Jam and Waterworld pinball will make the time fly by.
1331 E. 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
A welcome addition to downtown’s Italian restaurant renaissance, Officine Brera focuses on specialties from the Po Valley. Not surprisingly, pastas, including heavenly pillows of handmade potato gnocchi, are a must-have. When it’s available, be sure to opt for the black truffle add-on for an added layer of decadence.
8279 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Norah, a stylish newcomer, is the epitome of West Hollywood dining. Offering an accessible, yet innovative modern American menu, along with expertly crafted cocktails to go along with the prime people watching, you’ll definitely want to be a part of this scene after stepping foot inside.
6333 W. 3rd St., Stall 110
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Skewers are the main attraction at the latest entry into the Original Farmers’ Market dining fold. After a successful take-out only run, Moruno’s Spanish specialties are now being served in the sit-down space previously occupied by Short Order which has been given swanky refurbish. The aforementioned skewers come in turmeric marinated lamb leg and garlic and cilantro-rubbed chicken thigh varieties, while large format dishes like the rotisserie pork shoulder whole fish a la plancha also make excellent use of Moruno’s wood burning grill.
7505 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Filling a much needed void of modern Italian cuisine in Mid-City, it’s no wonder Spartina has been an instant success. Anything from the wood grill is a worthy option, but the burrata raviolo with sea urchin is definitely a must-have. Be sure to take advantage of the impressive patio and go al fresco.
9777 S. Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
You’ve probably had tempura before but never quite like this. Tempura Endo in Beverly Hills specializes in Kyoto style dining by serving up an omakase menu of perfectly fried delights with a 90210 price tag to match. For a more budget-friendly option, eat after 9pm, when an a la carte menu is offered.
Arts District Brewing
828 Traction Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
The dream team of former Pizza Port brewer Devon Randall, chef Neal Fraser, Blue Palms Brewhouse owner Brian Lenzo, and the 213 Hospitality group ( Normandie Club, Walker Inn) have assembled to create the ultimate Los Angeles beer destination. Aside from housing the brewery, the massive warehouse space features ping pong, darts, vintage skeeball machines, not to mention a takeout window for Fraser’s adjoining Fritzi. Taps are constantly rotating, but hopheads should keep an eye out for the Traction IPA, which already has beer geeks singing its praises.
521 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Chef Mitsuo Endo has brought his wildly acclaimed robata skills from Las Vegas to Los Angeles by offering a lengthy assortment of meats and vegetables expertly grilled over binchotan, the pricey imported Japanese charcoal. The daily specials, dominated by fresh caught seafood of both the cooked and raw varieties, are always a must, as well as Raku’s famed homemade tofu which comes in three varieties. You’ll want to make several reservations to enjoy it all.
8520 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
New York burger and custard king Danny Meyer finally makes his mark on Los Angeles with his globally beloved elevated food franchise. Aside from the usual Shake Shack offerings, the West Hollywood branch offers an exclusive roadhouse double with swiss, dijon, and onions simmered in bacon and beer, as well as concretes featuring sweet treats from local favorites Cofax, Sqirl, and Larder Baking Company. Shake Shack vs. In N’ Out is shaping to be the debate of 2016, at least when it comes to burgers. Come prepared to wait a while as lines have been known to form hundreds deep just to get into the place.
152 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
It seems fitting that Craig Thornton, whose known for bringing art to the plate at Wolvesmouth and Sharksteeth, is taking his talent directly to a museum. Throughout April, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA will play host to Thornton and his crew who will be preparing a multi-sensory dining experience that’s not to be missed. The price of admission is high but the experience is sure to be unforgettable.
1950 E. 103rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90002
Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson have changed the fast food game with this uber-popular entry into the Watts dining scene. While the burgers, noodle bowls, and bargain $1 menu put those name-brand fast food chains to shame, it’s LocoL’s commitment to the community which truly separates it from the pact.
1048 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Yes, that’s Danny Trejo Machete, whose the namesake of this long-awaited La Brea taco spot. Keeping with Machete theme, everything here is a cut above the rest. From the slow roasted pork shoulder tacos and made-to-order guacamole to housemade horchata and agua frescas, you’ll have your choice of many delicious items. Or, if you’re looking for a caffeine fix, try Trejo’s signature coffee.
7661 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Top Chef star Marcel Vigneron finally has a restaurant to call his own. Showcasing his trademark culinary flamboyance, Vignernon has taken on “flower to root, nose to tail” menu reflective of local L.A. food culture. Don’t sleep on Wolf’s weekend brunch which might just be the best on Melrose.