Los Angeles is a city is exploding with new eateries. Brave chefs and hospitality workers have been knocked down over and over the last few years. Many had to reinvent their menus to survive.
But this is a resilient city where culinary creatives from all over the world continue to flock and test out inventive ideas – often bringing diverse cuisines and melding cultures, all while using California farm-fresh produce. This innovative energy has always been the beauty of sunny LA.
LA is always at the culinary forefront. Now some of the team behind Sugarfish brings a 100% grass-fed-wagyu tasting menu that changes nightly, featuring rich, high-quality boeuf from First Light Farms in New Zealand.
Expect cuts in a variety of preparation methods, such as tartare, bone broth, warm red filet (with Japanese Caesar salad), braised cheek and sliced ribeye, followed by a rich chocolate dessert. This popular, dimly lit Beverly Hills restaurant drips with foliage and offers a set price per person, but additional items can be ordered.
Transport yourself to Southeast Asia at this spot just a block from the beach in Santa Monica, with dishes like curry puffs, flaky roti and dry-aged branzino with yellow curry, mint, cilantro and Thai basil, all arriving on vintage plates. Add a heaping portion of nasi goreng – flavor-bursting Indonesian-style fried rice with shrimp or pork belly – and round out your meal with a soft-serve sundae tower with brownie bites, peanuts and caramel or Thai tea pudding with flavored boba.
It all comes courtesy of Indonesian-raised Australian chef Cobi Marsh of Cobi’s Curries, who was handed the foodie torch from the restaurant’s previous, five-decade-long owners. The dining experience includes intimate garden-patio spaces and a cozy, eclectic room with kitschy floral prints and throwback grandma-style décor.
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There are gimmicks, and then there’s fire fun. A sort of molecular gastronomy, this eight-course pop-up dinner stars “Gastro Mechanics” flaming and searing their ingredients with blowtorches until they transform into deliciously unique dishes –think torched maple-glazed carrots on drill bits with a foam dip, sous-vide salmon scorched before your eyes with foam essence, tender marinated short ribs, deconstructed pizza, Cubanos and brioche doughnuts injected with everything from nitrous foam to peanut butter or double chocolate.
The founder – an actor who once worked at the SLS Hotel in LA – was inspired by the creations of chef Jose Andres that made guests go wild. Check the website for upcoming dates for this pop-up.
Atop the Hoxton hotel in downtown LA, you’ll find Peruvian-inspired cuisine in a beautiful setting. Arrive before sunset for a memorable rooftop dinner with city views and shareable plates, such as goat empanadas, salmon ceviche and a highly craveable wood-fired cauliflower with quinoa crunch, mint and limey huacatay.
The restaurant’s impressive menu dishes wood-fired skirt steak bathed with tots, stir-fried veggies and saltado sauce and crispy branzino in a pineapple sweet-and-sour sauce, with a potato herb salad. Clink the night away with a gin-based coconut-banana tropical fizz.
Lady Byrd Café
For a romantic dinner in the Echo Park neighborhood, book an evening reservation in one of the adorable outdoor greenhouses for two, surrounded by twinkly lights, dripping candles and flowering plants.
Thanks to the pandemic, the café’s parking lot is now a garden patio turned European mini market, where guests can order fresh salads, creamy shrimp pasta or dinner specials like steak with mashed potatoes; vegan options also abound. Brunch is popular, with stuffed French toast, lemon poppy-seed pancakes, eggs Benedict and mimosa carafes, but they don’t take reservations, so arrive before 11:00am or after 2:00pm to avoid long wait times.
This sleek, modern wine bar tucked into a courtyard in Pacific Palisadesis filled with rare and unique Italian and Californian wines, all of which pair nicely with an exquisite selection of European cheeses and charcuterie. Come for a flight paired with traditional favorites, including calamari, fritto misto and olive ascolane (deep-fried stuffed olives), reminiscent of dishes served in the Italian Riviera where chef Gianbattista “Gianba” Vinzoni grew up.
Gnocchi always delights, but so does the popular wood-fired pizzette margherita, spicy salame, or black truffle with goat cheese. Outdoor seating is available, or sidle next door for handmade pasta and Ligurian dishes at Cinque Terre West, where locals also rave about the morning croissants.
Tokyo-Italian? What is that? Two esteemed chefs meshed Japanese and Italian cuisine in a sleek, airy, light, ash-wood 183-seat restaurant. Magari, meaning “if only” in Italian, is the idea that if only this culinary concept could be created to reflect the heart and soul of Italy with the craft and precision of Japan.
Located next to NeueHouse in Hollywood, the menu is organized by crudo, pasta and wood-fired grill. Standouts include yuzu tagliatelle with uni, eggplant parmesan agnolotti and raw tuna with burrata and Japanese eggplant caponata. Pair your meal with coastal Italian wine, or sample a dirty martini with tomato water and umami or a Tokyo iced tea with infused gin on the spacious heated patio.
Girl & the Goat
Bravo’s Top Chef winner and a James Beard–decorated chef, Chicago’s Stephanie Izard not only brings Cabra to downtown LA, but also Girl & the Goat to the Arts District, where unexpected flavor bursts occur throughout your meal. This globally inspired New American menu excites with every course by exploiting sweet and savory medleys, often with a toasted-quinoa-crunch texture, even in dessert. The plant-filled brick warehouse venue is packed daily.
Come hungry, as you won’t want to miss sharing pork and goat liver mousse with warm dough balls, enhanced with tart blueberry mostarda and pickled kumquat; chickpea fritters with toasted quinoa and naan with assorted mind-blowing flavor-contrasting dips rolled into tofu tahini and carrot hummus.
A salted-caramel brown-butter twist is infused in the Goat Fashioned bourbon and the grilled skirt steak, previewing a dessert menu that’s over-the-top fun. Menu surprises include butter cake and popcorn-raspberry ice cream with caramel-popcorn crunch, and sticky toffee plantain cake with espresso-mascarpone mousse and chocolate-quinoa crunch, paired with a scoop of espresso-caramel stracciatella doused in oyster sauce. Vegan and gluten-free menus are also available.
Ella at Sixty Hotel
The former Thompson Hotel has been reinvented as the new Sixty Beverly Hills, complete with an airy, bright, mod-retro Cali bistro on the first floor. Rooftop cocktails may be the reason you start here, but don’t miss the friendly cozy social spot Ella – the coffee bar turns into a whole vibe at night.
Expect live music or vinyl, cozy mid-century-modern couch areas, a natural-wine bottle shop, booths and a bar ready for post-pandemic creatures to reconnect. Indulge in crispy glazed duck wings, mafaldine Bolognese with braised beef cheek or hanger steak with garlic, ginger and Asian pear. LA’s renowned Umbrella Hospitality Group brings the ultimate good times and energy, with a bar program devoted to zesty spins on classic drinks and tequila cocktails set ablaze.
Angelini Ristorante & Bar
Since 2001, Italians have flocked to Angelini Osteria in Beverly Grove, but now chef Gino Angelini – who hails from Rimini, Italy – has expanded and paired with Amici Brentwood to create this brand-new location closer to the ocean, in the swanky Palisades Village.
Savor the ambiance in a custom velvet booth or on the open-air patio and bar, with a delightful antipasti starter of cold lobster salad and warm Mediterranean octopus salad. Diners who adore Angelini’s pasta skills now don’t have to leave the west side for his signature Lasagna Verde made with homemade spinach pasta, beef-and-pork ragu, béchamel, and Parmigiano, or other pasta like tagliolini al Limone, Bolognese and linguine with Santa Barbara sea urchin.