These word-of-mouth wonders will remind you why we love LA. They represent what it means to dare, dream, and do. Whether it’s innovation, creativity, guts, or passion, you can’t miss these rising stars that invite you to eat, drink, and play in this city we call home. Here are some of the newest hot spots that show no sign of fizzling out.
Faith & Flower
705 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
This South Park siren graced the Downtown LA stage with its presence this past April, and it hasn’t ceased to incite oohs and aahs from its guests ever since. It represents a living, breathing icon of the renaissance eras that shaped the city into what it is today. Many of the design elements found in the space were sourced directly from the community they serve, such as the ridiculously gorgeous leather bound books-turned-menus. Visitors can expect a contemporary spin on classic, global dishes made with seasonal ingredients. When it comes to libations, they showcase classics that pay homage to many of LA’s cast of historical characters. It’s an impressive cocktail program that is strong enough to stand on its own, rendering this destination restaurant into a double threat of delicious.
Favorites from Executive Chef Michael Hung’s ever-evolving menu include the Uni Toast, Thai Snapper, and Oxtail Agnolotti. Just be sure to save room for the Coffee Crème dessert; it’s worth every calorie. Lunch and brunch service was added early May, offering a refined and relaxed place to power lunch with items like the Rock Shrimp Po’ Boy and Hamachi Ceviche. Brunch standouts include Bone Marrow Waffles with Chipped Beef Gravy and fresh selections of oysters and other fresh seafood from the raw bar. As for the obligatory day drinking we all know and love about this in-between meal? Lead Mixologist Michael Lay has you covered. Try a refreshing signature drink like the Garden Cup (Pimms, basil, citrus, picked carrot) to get things started. Faith & Flower is open for dinner Sunday-Thursday 5:30-11pm, and Friday-Saturday 5:30pm-midnight. Lunch is available Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm Brunch hours are Saturdays-Sundays from 10am to 3pm.
EscaLA (at Chapman Plaza)
3451 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
The EscaLA restaurant and bar concept is collaboration between Chef Chris Oh (Seoul Sausage) and artist OG Chino, resulting in an environment that is equal parts restaurant, bar, raw art, and good hip-hop music. What some might interpret as ADD, others perceive as a fun and lively place with the bravado that easily beats out 37 pieces of flair. The co-owners Korean and Latin American roots influence the unconventional Columbian menu. Their dishes serve as a prime example of the ethnic diversity and culture found in the City of Angels. Following suit with its K-Town locale, a full bar, including cocktails with a side of wit are available for your glass clinking pleasure. Sunday brunch is coined “Beats & Eats” (Beats as in top DJ’s and eats such as Chicken and Waffles). EscaLA is open Monday – Saturday 5pm to 2am and Sunday 12pm to 2pm
7321 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
From the bar group that birthed local favorites such as Sassafras and Bigfoot comes the latest addition to an ever-growing collection of places to get palates whet. The vibe is vintage French, complete with oil-paint portraits adorning the walls. While the décor may feel fussy to some, the service at the bar is far from it. A 360-degree service area is equipped with house-bottled cocktails and cocktails on tap, ensuring quick service from every angle, even those dancing circles around it as the night lingers on. A menu of nibbles that include éclairs means you can keep your late night eating habits civilized. You can guarantee yourself a dirty dog free night anytime you pay a visit to this classy little number.
Fishing With Dynamite
1148 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
This charming young lad turned one this month, and the crowds love coming to play with this 35-seat dynamo. The premium seafood is what lures you in, but it’s the warm service, passionate food, and the delightful details found throughout the space that makes you stay. Whimsical art, inspirational messages, and skateboard trucks refashioned as purse hooks are just a few elements offering a fun feast for your eyes.
Chef David LeFevre’s handcrafted menu offerings consist of a mix of old and new school seafood and handwritten specials, that recently featured a dreamy Thai shrimp sandwich cheekily called the “Pretty Thai For a White Guy.” In addition to a selection of beer and wine, cocktails are up for grabs as well. The Regalo de Dios (sour w/ hacienda de Chihuahua, strawberry, rhubarb and Serrano) is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. FwD is open daily for lunch and dinner Sunday-Wednesday 11:30am – 10pm, Thursday – Sunday 11:30am – 10:30pm (bar later). Reservations recommended.
7274 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
This welcome addition to Melrose opened late April. It’s a Spanish restaurant and wine bar from Adam Fleischman, Stephen Gelber, Jason Berkowitz and Chef Perfecto Rocher (Lazy Ox). Think authentic Catalan and Valencian cuisine paired with the relaxed energy of a local vinoteca. Its size is cozy, so conviviality is sure to be shared amongst tables, as the smell of wood-fired cooking wafts through the air.
Iberico hams, Spanish cheese, over 120 wines, and a menu of delectable items that explode with flavor are just some of the reasons you need to bring your watering mouth here. The Flam d’erico (sea urchin flan) is an exquisite execution of a dish to put on your to-do list. Other notables include the Pluma Iberica (wood-fire grilled butcher’s filet Iberico pork) with an unforgettable Xato sauce and the Bravas Trencades (fried potatoes, serrano ham, chorizo, topped with a fried egg). Smoke.oil.salt is open Tuesday – Sunday 5:30pm – 1am Dinner until midnight, bar menu until 2 a.m.
501 N Pacific Coast Hwy
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
What natives and visitors to Hawaii know all too well is that undeniable craving for authentic Hawaiian poke (“POH-keh”). It’s a nostalgic comfort food capable of transporting you back to the islands, an appetizer that mixes well with alcohol and Hawaiian sunsets. For mainlanders, there aren’t many places, if any, that truly capture this dish in all its ono (delicious) glory. That is, until early March. Jus’ Poke is an ohana (family) owned, authentic, Hawaiian poke restaurant located on PCH, minutes from the Redondo Beach Pier. They take pride in offering the best cuts of fish and co-owner Stefanie Honda’s family recipes. Her lineage consists of fishermen and surfers deeply rooted in Hawaii, and you can taste the aloha that goes into every bite. Stephanie and co-owner Jeff Snow are local surfers to the community and have committed to donating a portion of their sales to the Surfrider Foundation South Bay Chapter.
They have an impressive line up of poke available (even tofu) to order as bowls with tasty sides, or on its own. Side options include traditional items like seaweed salad as well as non-traditional items like brown rice. The Spicy Poke bowl is worth the drive to satisfy your craving. They also have other island treats, like Spam musubi, Hawaiian Sun drinks, and pineapple with Li hing mui powder (salty dried plum). Jus’ Poke is open Wednesday – Monday 11:30am – 8pm and Sunday until 7pm. (Closed Tuesdays).
14633 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91402
A few short weeks ago, Downtown Sherman Oaks scored a few points on the cool scale when this cocktail lounge shined its bright blue beacon behind Tipple & Brine (it’s sister restaurant). Like its rock inspired roots, the mere existence of this bar is a form of rebellion, and who doesn’t love a bad ass? A hideaway like this is a much-needed concept in this part of the valley, where nothing like it exists for miles. It’s got a slightly gritty vibe, with a brick tunnel showcasing the bar and 70’s rock legends like Iggy Pop and Johnny Ramone gracing the walls. The punches are stronger than most, and thus, impressive. Enjoy a cocktail list of classics with a twist, meant for fun, revelry, and a hint of nostalgia. Tunnel Bar is open Thursday – Sunday from 8pm – 2am Smart casual dress is required.
Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Check out her other articles on CBS L.A. She also covers fitness on Examiner. Follow her on Twitter.