(credit: Wonho Frank Lee)
In LA you can enjoy food that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. So how do we narrow down the hottest restaurants in town? It’s not an easy process. Just as the seasons cyclically change, so do fads when it comes to where to dine in LA. You might be looking for gluten-free cuisine, or a vegetarian-friendly restaurant with vegan options. Thankfully, there’s something for everyone in Los Angeles.
We’ve assembled our list of the hottest, must-visit restaurants in LA. They include Michelin-star restaurants and cozy cafes. Browse the following eateries and you’ll find one that hits the spot for you.
5722 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Kali is the passion project of long-time friends and professional colleagues Chef Kevin Meehan and Drew Langley, formerly the Wine Director at the Michelin-starred restaurant Providence. Evolving from Kevin’s roving private dinner party pop-up, Kali Dining, Kali features produce that comes directly from Kevin’s own home garden, and the gardens of his neighbors who also contribute their seasonal bounty whenever possible. Their signatures dishes include a beet tartar, charred avocado, black cod, and a black barley risotto, while Kevin’s signature meringue gelato made using egg yolks that have been cured in salt and sugar for fourteen days, are a must-have to finish your meal.
184 N Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, Citizen is a social dining experience featuring an eclectic American menu from Chef Scott Howard including: Spanish octopus, the citizen burger with Pimento cheese/chili and roasted baby carrots and other favorites. Josh Goldman’s Soigné Group bar program draws inspiration from iconic 1960’s Americana and features tiki cocktails and straightforward drinks like the Jack Taylor and their Mai Tai as well. The sleek new restaurant features a brick relief on one wall, rustic tables and orange velvet chairs, while outside there is a large open-air patio lounge and fire pit.
6600 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
With a full dining room and patio, Gwen in West Hollywood has risen to the top of L.A.’s hottest restaurants in 2016. The interior is stunning, and is thanks to a dream realized by Chef Curtis Stone (of Maude) and Luke Stone. Gwen is named after their grandmother, who lived outside of a farm outside of Melbourne. This is where they were first exposed to livestock and food which led Curtis to become one of the best chef’s in the world. At Gwen, dinner is more than just dinner. It’s an experience. Surrounded by raw meat hanging in rooms, Gwen is a toast to the past. But, the restaurant offers more than just meat. Salads, and great sides go along with the delicious food.
Here’s Looking At You
3901 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Here’s Looking At You is undoubtedly one of the best and hottest restaurants in the city. And, for good reason. Alums from Animal are behind this Koreatown outpost and have partnered on this restaurant in an area that is becoming more and more popular. Craft plates with strong flavors, and Asian herbs define the menu while the cocktails menu helps define this elegantly designed restaurant.
3578 Hayden Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
Culver City is hot right now! So, it’s no surprise that Jordan Kahn of the now shuttered Red Medicine set up shop at the Hayden Tract in Culver City. Though its mostly a commercial and industrial part of town, Destroyer offers food that is perfectly plated and offers great breakfast and lunch options.
3705 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Located in Silver Lake, this rustic Italian outpost is the kind of spot you want to hang out at all day. Inside, a high bar awaits inside a huge open space setting, but outside there’s a place for you to enjoy the day while you admire the succulent plants on the wall and eat dinner items that include pastas, pizzas, gelato and much more.
727 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Get some great chicken and waffles at downtown LA’s Howlin’ Ray’s. Nashville has officially arrived in Los Angeles with this restaurant that offers spicy fried chicken in a variety of ways. Chinatown’s hottest (literally) restaurant is small, but packs a powerful punch with their food. The sandwich with fried chicken is a big hit!
The Cannibal LA
8850 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Located at the new and beautiful PLATFORM building in Culver City, The Cannibal LA is the new West Coast outpost of the popular NYC-based beer and butcher-focused restaurant. Executive Chef Francis Derby helms the meat-forward, vegetable-heavy menu with a focus on house-made sausages, charcuterie and nose-to-tail large format dining. Unique to this location, there is a full retail and butcher shop, offering a daily sandwich menu, too. The extensive beverage program features a selection of 450+ international beers, a carefully curated wine list with a heavy American influence, as well as craft cocktails for guests to sip on. The 120-seat restaurant features an open kitchen design and a Grillworks wood burning grill while the beer, butchery, and biking elements are evident in the design throughout.
8279 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Norah, the latest from restaurateur Rohan Talwar of the acclaimed Ellipsis in Bombay, focuses on seasonal, local products and offers an eclectic American menu ranging from freshly shucked oysters and house-made charcuterie to wood-burning grilled meats, and fish. Alongside cocktails, beer and wine, this West Hollywood eatery has become a favorite among young 30 somethings looking to be seen. The thoughtfully-sourced menu from Chef Mike Williams supports the local food community by showcasing produce and whole animals from nearby farms. The finely selected menu is divided into three sections: first, second, and third. After enjoying a delicious meal, save room for the decadent, and surprisingly vegan and gluten-free sweet corn ice cream with coconut caramel, almond crunch, lime zest and sea salt.
888 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Newly opened in DTLA’s Financial District, Miro features a trinity of pasta, charcuterie, and whiskey in a minimalist/mid-century inspired two-level space including a main dining room, wine room, and a lower level Basement Bar as well as a special whiskey room. Chef Gavin Mills’ menu has a strong emphasis around his penchant for charcuterie as well as his intense dedication and unrivaled pasta program coupled with a tasting of some of the most coveted and rare whiskeys in the world. After guests choose an item from the daily changing menu, from the Heritage Breed Pigs that are at the core of the charcuterie program to the hyper-seasonal produce sourced weekly, the thoughtfully curated Whiskey Bible serves as the menu offering for guests in The Whiskey Room.
8715 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
With a rooftop space that makes pretty much every other location in Los Angeles jealous, this slick restaurant is known for its celebrity sightings, delicious and creative seafood-focused food, and tasty cocktails. As one of the popular hotspots in the city, it may be tough to get in though. So, if you score a reservation, make sure not to miss it. The menu focuses on seafood items like sushi, ceviche, crispy shrimp, crunchy rice cakes, lobster mac & cheese, and entrees like a crispy whole snapper, lobsters, Alaskan King crab, crispy chicken a filet mignon and much more.
502 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Maré, with locations on Melrose Avenue and in Santa Monica, offers a menu inspired by a European city by the coast. With dishes meant to be shared, from shellfish and a choice of broths, to branzino and skirt steak, Maré is the hot spot of the moment. As the brain-child of Midcourse Hospitality Group’s Chef Eric Greenspan, Jim Hustead, and James Moon, Maré’s Melrose location would most likely be found off the coast of Italy, while their Santa Monica outpost would fit right in Croatia. For their signature dish, guests love their shellfish and broth, with choices such as clams, shrimp and mussels with options to pair like spicy sausage romesco and basil pistou.
514-516 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Erven, a plant-based new-American cuisine restaurant located in Santa Monica, comes to Angelenos from Chef Nick Erven and Midcourse Hospitality Group. Open for lunch as a sit down casual chef driven experience, and for dinner with a more sophisticated dining experience, diners will find superb dishes such as their Sunchoke Bread Pudding with braised maitake mushrooms, crispy rice and pho gravy, summer squash with buckwheat hoisin, smoked eggplant, and a beer battered tofu sandwich with celery slaw, thick pickle and manchamantel. There is also be an attached marketplace with takeout deli cases and a small section of seating, where guests can find easy grab and go service.
616 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Wexler’s Deli is the new cool kid on the block in Santa Monica as chef Micah Wexler is redefining Jewish Deli culture with his modern take on deli classics. But, this establishment is not entirely new. This is Wexler’s second deli under the same name. With rave reviews coming from literally everywhere on his original Wexler’s Deli in downtown L.A., the famed chef decided to expand westward. And, boy has it turned out well. All of the smoked fish and meats here are brined, cured, smoked and crafted in-house, and served on rye-bread and bagels baked to Chef Wexler’s specifications. His paper thin lox and house smoked pastrami have drawn crowds to his first location in Downtown Los Angeles, so with the new Santa Monica location, fans can still enjoy favorites like The O.G., Reuben, and Ruskie, along with a few new additions to the smoked fish offerings that will only be available in Santa Monica, including Pastrami Lox, Smoked Trout, as well as Dana’s Matzo Ball Soup, and chocolate babka.
Original Farmers Market
6333 W. Third St.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Moruno, at The Original Farmers Market, and Bar Moruno, at Grand Central Market, brings a unique style of upscale casual dining to two of Los Angeles’ historic sites. At the Original Farmers Market, Moruno features a ground-floor dining room and counter which surround the wood-fueled grill and kitchen, while there is also an upstairs patio and vermouth bar. The southern Spanish inspired menu is supported by a wine list focusing on Spain and the South of France. And, if you are wondering what a Moruno is, it is a kebab cooked over live coals and marinated in spices which highlight both Moorish and North African culinary influences. Sherry features prominently on both menus, as well as the proprietary Vermouth ‘Vermina’ which is served on tap.
633 W 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA
Located at the top of the U.S. Bank Tower, the views here are unparalleled. With sweeping views of the Los Angeles sprawl, diners can enjoy an elegant meal overlooking the city thanks to chef Vartan Abgaryan of Cliff’s Edge. Not in the mood to eat? It’s one of L.A.’s hottest bars right now, too. Open for lunch and dinner, items are inventive and for an exciting experience, make sure to sit at the chef’s table. Fun fact: 71Above is the highest restaurant west of the Mississippi.
2490 Fletcher Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Salazar, which opened May 2016, brings elevated Mexican mesquite grilled dishes in a space that oozes cool. Brought to Angelenos from co-owner and Chef Esdras Ochoa coupled with a bar program from Brandi Boles, the restaurant focuses on classic Mexican flavors with a modern twist. Set on the L.A. river, the concept expands on the former Salazar Mazda garage featuring an open kitchen with great indoor and outdoor seating. At the restaurant, Chef Ochoa makes hand-made tortillas, while cooking up specialties like their grilled pork chops, carne asada tacos and the frijoles charro. With a great mix of decor and food, it’s a must visit.
225 N Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Taking over the popular Scarpetta restaurant within the Montage Hotel is no easy feat. So, Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, The Food Network star and New York City chef, had a serious undertaking to make a hit out of this new restaurant. Zakarian brought the new Georgie Restaurant to overtake the space, and the renowned chef and restaurateur has hit it out of the park. Featuring Modern American cuisine, the menus showcase locally-sourced ingredients perfectly melded with seasonal influences. The lush space of the restaurant, which is centrally situated in Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle, creates a playful setting both indoors and out while serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whether Angelenos want to stop by for a casual lunch, a power business lunch, or for a fashionable dinner, it’s the perfect place to enjoy delicious eats from a tasty menu. Zakarian leaves no doubt that Georgie is the new place to be in Beverly Hills.
7661 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Chef Marcel Vigneron, best known as the runner-up of the second season of Top Chef, opened up Wolf in the Spring of 2016. Focusing on providing guests a special experience using locally sourced and organic ingredients, the farm fresh approach to cooking at Wolf has proved to be a hit. The restaurant, which practices zero waste cooking by utilizing every possible edible part of the product, from seed to stalk, offers a soulful menu which embodies the multicultural food landscape that defines L.A., This can easily be seen by their Thai inspired Tom Kha, the miso black cod and other must-try dishes.
714 Foothill Blvd.
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Honeybird is a southern-inspired restaurant that serves up its signature fried chicken with all the fixins’ as well as homemade pies and fresh and seasonal sides which round out the menu. The restaurant’s focus is on southern comfort food, so come prepared to bite into some delicious fried chicken, and other food meant to satisfy your inner desires. The slightly elevated chicken shack experience appeals to both families and foodies alike as they munch on the restaurants specialties which include items like honeybird spiced fried chicken, bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits and the homemade salted honey pie.