New restaurants in LA to put on your radar

New restaurants seem to be sprouting in LA at a shocking pace. We are all so ready to dine out and feel some semblance of culture because that is why most of us live in LA, right? This list includes new openings, new menu offerings at some familiar places, and old spots we think you should consider that may be new to you. Plan your time in LA wisely as no matter where you end up, exciting cuisine waits, surely to remind you why you live here anyway. Long Live the City of Angels, a foodie mecca.

IMARI in Brentwood

A new exciting Japanese menu can now be found in Brentwood on San Vicente next to the Brentwood Country Mart. Sushi bento boxes can be ordered to-go but the real experience is inside as Japanese cuisine experts Chef Derek Wilcox (formerly of Shoji, the celebrated sushi and kaiseki restaurant in NYC) and Chef/Consultant Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador David Schlosser (also of Michelin-starred Shibumi in Downtown LA) are taking guests through dining courses such as organic tofu with various toppings, potato with aribiki sausage (placed in lettuce hearts), grilled fish and chicken gyoza, sashimi, and shrimp and halibut hand rolls. Pretend you catapulted yourself to Tokyo as you sip incredible Ishimoto sake while polishing off your meal with red shiso sorbet and milk ice cream with fresh mocha and sweet green pea.

The Victorian in Santa Monica

This historic beauty on Main Street has a new fresh updated look as the home is now white and doused in hip mid-century modern decor and furniture. Dine outside on the terrace a few blocks from the beach with an updated Beach Club menu thanks to the new chef coming from Mastro’s Malibu and the owners of Calamigos Beach Club. 

Set up shop with a bottle of French rose or an incredibly crafted cocktail like Mezcal Militia or Pina Peno with tequila, pineapple, lime, and jalapeno. To start, we recommend sharing the Yellowtail Sashimi and Oysters Rockefeller. For light fare, go with the Santorini “Greek” salad, or the 1 lb Lobster Roll ($26), or go big with the Beach Club Burger with truffle fries. Stretch out your dining affair with an after-dinner Auntie Del’s New York Style Cheesecake. Come for Happy Hour weekdays from 5-7 for $6 cocktails and $9 appetizers. Weekend Brunch and Late Night Bites are also available. 

Nomad Eatery in El Segundo

This new venue soaked in natural light is offering the menu of my dreams – a traveling selection based on a 4 month backpacking venture 30 years ago, taking you to many cuisines – the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Begin with the Nomad Hummus and Coconut Jumbo Shrimp. Transport yourself to Vietnam (perhaps) with the Deep fried Crispy Branzino as the whole fish is ready to be plucked. We had not seen branzino prepared this way in a long time. Deeelicious! You may love the Sweet and Sour Pineapple Pork but make room for a sweet finish with the Coconut Jasmine Rice Pudding with coconut milk and dates. 

Stand out cocktails include the Amor Malo with tequila and Raised by Wolves with Mezcal. Next door to an Arclight, we hope cinema will resume. For a romantic eve, ask to be seated next to the glass box fireplace. 

Uovo Pasta Bar in Marina del Rey, Mid Wilshire, and Santa Monica 

Will you try pasta from Bologna, Roma, or the Classico? The Uovo Pasta Bar empire has expanded from Santa Monica and Mid-Wilshire to Marina views. The same Italian-style pasta with those deep yellow eggs is delighting visitors with handmade noodles with some of our favs – Crema di Parmigiano (handmade meat tortellini in a cream sauce), Ragu (original bolognese recipe with beef and pork and no cheese), and Vongole (white wine clam sauce).

Unlike other kinds of pasta in America, you are able to eat more dishes without that sick feeling here due to the way it is made. An extraordinary tasting menu offers 4 kinds of pasta with antipasti like yellowtail crudo or beef tartar plus a tiramasu cup for a satisfying grand finale. 

Sage Vegan Bistro in Agoura Hills, Culver City, Echo Park, and Pasadena

Vegans can rejoice with an extensive plant-based menu. Try the Seven Layer Dip with ‘follow your heart’ mozzarella and cashew nacho cheese plus bean paste. Slide into your next course with some rich Baked Eggplant Farmesan with flatbread and an assortment of vegan tacos like spicy eggplant barbacoa, ban mi made with fried tofu, Baja avocado, and street tacos with seasoned jackfruit carnitas. New menu items include Spicy Mexican Pizza, Seasonal Green Lemongrass Pasta, and Tomato Bisque.

For dessert, order the Vacation ice cream made with banana, coconut, and chocolate swirl on a gluten-free brownie. Dine outside in Agoura Hills in a plant/tree-filled atrium filled with shops and other restaurants. Inside the restaurant is also a small shop with neat culinary products and an impressive bar with a stellar selection of Mezcals. Come for Mezcal Monday flights for $20 and check out their summer of fun daily drink specials. Also, coffees, smoothies, juices, and desserts galore to-go are available from their pastry wing.

SOCALO in Santa Monica

LA chef legends Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken opened this California Mexican restaurant pouring out a sizeable taco menu with stand-outs like slow roasted Lamb Birria and Socal Dobladita concocted with roasted corn, kale, veggies, and chipotle aioli. Don’t miss the Baja Ceviche Tostadito and guava empanada for dessert. For larger portions, you may adore the Tomahawk Pork Carnitas and Santa Monica Street Bowl. 

Come for all-day Taco Tuesdays to sample as many as your belly can hold like Chorizo, Baja fish, and Steak and Shrimp with griddled cheese on blue corn tortillas. 

Coin and Candor in Westlake Village

This fairly new restaurant at The Four Seasons Westlake Village makes it worth the drive just to dine on their outside terrace overlooking faux waterfalls. The beautiful classy brasserie serves local ingredients with wood-fired cooking techniques. The menu is most certainly influenced (in a good way) by Mexican chef Jesus Medina’s roots as well as his time in Brazil, Spain, and Oaxaca. He hails from other Four Seasons in Scottsdale and Punta Mita.

For lunch, we were delighted with thickly cut pieces of Yellowtail Sashimi with fresh citrus accents and orange-habanero aqua chile and Grilled Avocado with peanut salsa macha and honeycomb oil paired with grilled Naan bread. A bowl of Lobster Fettucine with corn and burrata felt like summer while my husband opted for Spanish Octopus. An impressive refreshing Seedlip menu is the best alternative to alcoholic cocktails. Dessert was beyond decadent as the Ten Layer Chocolate Cake with a high percentage of cacao came out with gold leaf and a dollop of salted caramel ice cream. This is the ultimate date spot in Westlake Village with 4 hours of free self-parking. 

Miyabi Uni in Torrance

Since living in southern California, I have become obsessed with uni. The ocean flavor has been my ultimate indulgence since the sea urchin primarily comes from nearby Santa Barbara as well as Japan. This restaurant offers top-quality sushi but specializes in uni. Most people rave about the uni pasta but I opted for a lighter lunch starting with the Miyabi Oysters with uni, salmon roe, fish caviar, and gold leaf.

Uni Miso Soup followed with heaping pieces of uni and I delighted in a sashimi bowl (Uni Hokkaido Donburi) heaping with uni and salmon. Everything tasted so fresh and for the same items, you would pay 3 times the price or more in most Los Angeles sushi establishments. Since I was there for all-day Happy Hour, a small sake was $4 and Sapporo beers were $4 too. I would come to this uni heaven every week if I lived closer. 

Enoteca 5 Wine Bar in Pacific Palisades

A new intimate wine bar popped up next to their Italian restaurant Cinque Terre West offering a carefully curated selection of Italian and Californian wines served with authentic Italian salumi, appetizers and light bites. This place is perfect for a date night or a pre-dinner wine exploration although you could easily stay for a meal.

The Sommelier Antonino Scaglione has selected popular favorites alongside rare varietals such as Sciacchetra, a dessert wine made only in the Cinque Terre region with an extremely limited run each year and Cinque Terre, a mineral white blend from Liguria; as well as unexpected gems from small regional wineries such as Brandini, a women-run winery in Piedmont, and Dal Forno Romano, which is known for its superior, limited-availability wines.

Located next door to Cinque Terre WEST, known for its made-from-scratch pasta and authentic Ligurian dishes from Chef Gianba, Enoteca 5 seats 8 at the wine bar along with indoor and outdoor tables. Set back from the street and surrounded by lush foliage, this secret hideaway is cozy with a hand painted mural of the Ligurian coast by Italian artist Rosie Tos. A chalkboard on the wall lists special wines and flight pairings along with daily specials. Wine will be offered by the bottle and in 2-ounce servings for flights or 5 ounce pours by the glass. 

The menu features traditional favorites including pizzette, olive ascolane (deep fried stuffed olives) and fritto misto reminiscent of that served in Bonassola along the Italian Riviera where Chef Gianba grew up. The bar’s classic Italian meat slicer will be churning out paper thin slices of prosciutto, Lardo di Colonnata, Finocchiona, Salame Rustico and Jamón Ibérico, which are displayed on gorgeous charcuterie boards with Italian, French and Spanish cheeses such as Tomme de Savoie Fermier, Fontina Valdostana, Cana de Cabra, Sottocenere al Tartufo, Idiazabal andMalvarosa. 

Enoteca 5 will offer wine club memberships that include wine-related events throughout the year and a secret wine list available to members only.

HiHo Cheeseburger in Marina del Rey, Mid Wilshire, and Santa Monica

Now you can amp your 100 % grass-fed wagyu cheeseburger patty from First Light Farms with pastrami! Yes, this juicy mustard-grilled burger ordered as a Double or Triple with all the fixings like onion jam, lettuce, house-made pickles can now include more meat. Add hand cut fries and wash it down with an all-natural milkshake. Save room or take home the unforgettable cheesecake with a touch of guava. 

King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant in Torrance

Did you know the sweet King’s Hawaiian bread you buy at the grocery store also has a restaurant and bakery? Since 1950 they have been baking delicious bread (once sold in round-shaped tins) and King’s Hawaiian headquarters moved to Torrance in 1977 from Hilo, Hawaii. Order unique local Hawaiian food here along with a huge selection of fresh baked goods.

Don’t miss their famous bread in the King’s Hawaiian French Toast with fried spam or Portuguese sausage and Oh.M Gee, add the Macadamia Nut Crusted Onion Rings. The dreamy menu will bring you back to the Aloha islands with options like Loco Moco, Kahlua Pork, Lava Bulgogi, Miso Salmon, Chicken Katsu, and Kale Ribs. Mahalo!

Bagel and Slice coming soon to Highland Park 

Chef Brad Kent’s new concept arrives this fall. As the owner of Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria and cofounder of Blaze Pizza, the chef is on a quest to make the perfect bagel. He uses old school techniques like rolling the dough by hand, boiling baking on burlap lined bagel boards, and baking in a hearth oven. Homemade cream cheeses come in varieties such as horseradish and scallion with herbs and expect lightly smoked salmons. Pizza slices will also be available made with fresh milled seasonal organic wheat with options like Fennel Sausage, Pepperoni, or Classic Cheese. 

Howdy’s Café in Malibu 

Longstanding Howdy’s (1995 – 2014) vanished from Malibu and we are happy they have returned to the fancy Malibu Whole Foods Civic Center Shopping Plaza across from Blue Bottle and Real Coconut where Teslas and cool cars abound. This is the best and easiest pick-up lunch in Malibu serving the ultimate breakfast burritos and bowls and the freshest fish. Our absolute favorite item is the huge Lobster Burrito concocted with sushi rice and wrapped in gold foil which has twice as much lobster as most lobster roll places and comes with two sauces. We love the spicy mayo. It is even trademarked as The World’s Best Lobster Burrito. You can opt for the Sushi Burritos made with Yellowtail, spicy salmon, shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, or veggie. The super fresh Sushi/Sashimi Bowl is better than most sushi places and half the price of Nobu. 

Please let us know in the comments below if you try one of these spots. Tell us your favorite dish.  

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