Everyone knows spring is supposed to be a season of "new beginnings," so it'd be completely cliche for us to say that's why there were so many great new bars and restaurants that opened in LA this spring. So we won't. (Even though we're totally thinking it.)
Either way, here they are: 18 new spots worth penciling into your bar and restaurant bucket list.
Thankfully not a spot where everyone hangs out in IZODs and calls each other "Chad," instead the SMYC is a new restaurant from the Tar & Roses guy, with a seafood-centric menu that includes an uni toast and charred octopus in smoked paprika.
This under-the-radar pizza joint in the space previously known as Cube has 1) some of the best new pizza in LA, and 2) Cube's old, incredible fried chicken recipe. Yasssssss.
This glammed-up, vegan-friendly (but thankfully not all-vegan!) Mexican spot has tequila flights and cilantro- & jalapeno-marinated carne asada. Like all glammed-up, vegan-friendly (but thankfully not all-vegan!) Mexican spots should.
This South Bay brewery is finally doing growler fills and straight-up tastings, with revolving taps including its Pineapple IPA and Coconut Abel Brown.
The first of two new just-opened Mexican spots from lauded chef Ray Garcia, this ultra-casual, taco-centric resto is now doing tortilla-bombs including a killer carnitas guy and the definitely-not-traditional "Masa Ball Soup."
The SECOND of two new just-opened Mexican spots from lauded chef Ray Garcia, this hip, date-friendly resto is now throwing down with a killer cocktail list and forward-thinking dishes like lamb neck tamales and oxtail quesadillas.
The Animal dudes' newest Fairfax spot is an all-day Italian banger, with an olive-oil fried egg sandwich for breakfast, a homemade chorizo pizza for lunch, and... uh, another one of those for dinner, probably?
More proof that the Valley is getting muy caliente: this new Mexican spot sporting a mezcal-heavy bar and homestyle classics like queso fundido and massive carnitas burritos.
This place is taking artisanal ice cream -- like brown butter cookie sorbet -- and stuffing it between two crispy, circular churros. Go ahead and reread that, but this time slower.
This tiny little bar (get it??) is attached to The 101 and is killing it cocktail game-wise, with iced-up classics like Harvey Wallbangers and new-school concoctions like the herbal Alpine Hippie Juice.
Remember that awesome upscale Vietnamese place Spice Table that was super revered until it was forced to close when the Metro came in? Well, the same chef-owner behind that just opened Cassia in SaMo, where he's killing Chinese bacon fried rice and whole Singaporean white pepper crab.
This bar's hidden in the back of ANOTHER bar (The Normandie Club), where it sits as a quieter, cocktail-ier oasis from the craziness of K-town, with an omakase boozing option that aims to "transport you to another place." Beam us up, Walker Inn. Beam. Us. Up.
Marina Del Rey
This "ocean-to-table" restaurant in the Paiche space unsurprisingly makes you feel like you're in an old sailor's really well-decorated shack. Get the bacon-abetted cod chowder and roasted scallops w/ charred spring onions.
This is a two-for-one: E.P., an Asian restaurant helmed by an award-winning Australian chef doling out wood-grilled Fijean tuna, and L.P., a killer outdoor patio bar with bellini boba pearl cocktails and soft-shell crab buns. Oh, and it's actually a THREE-for-one: there's also Frankie's, a semi-private bar attached to the space. Because you needed even more reason to go.
The latest from Eric Greenspan is a hidden restaurant (!!!) behind Greenspan's Grilled Cheese: hop back there to a giant patio, where you can order potted shellfish or a whole branzino in fig & pomegranate sauce.
Some club dudes have rebranded the Pig 'n Whistle as this church-themed VIP lounge, with an actual confession booth (which, unsurprisingly, is also... surprise!... a photo booth).
Ice cream, donuts, and coffee. From the BLD people. Yessir.
The namesake chef of Akasha opened this Indian restaurant in the old Ford's Filling Station space in downtown Culver City, where you'll now find tandoori lamb chops and coconut milk- and cinnamon-braised chicken xacuti.
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1. Santa Monica Yacht Club620 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica
2. Pizza Romana615 N LA Brea Ave, Los Angeles
3. Toca Madera8450 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
4. King Harbor Brewing Company2907 182nd St, Redondo Beach
5. B.S. Taqueria514 W 7th St, Los Angeles
6. Broken Spanish1050 S Flower St, Los Angeles
7. Jon & Vinny's412 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles
8. Cocina Condesa11616 Ventura Blvd, Studio City
9. Churro Borough1726 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
10. MiniBar6145 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles
11. Cassia1314 7th St, Santa Monica
12. Walker Inn3612 W 6th St, Los Angeles
13. Catch & Release13488 Maxella Ave, Marina Del Rey
14. E.P. & L.P.603 N LA Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood
15. Mare7465 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
16. Confession1666 N McCadden Pl, Los Angeles
17. ICDC7450 1/2 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles
18. Sāmbār9531 Culver Blvd, Culver City
This seafood-centric Westside spot (from the Tar & Roses crew) dishes out amazingness like an albacore banh mi and charred octopus (with potatoes and smoked paprika) in a spot that looks like it could be the inside of a high-end yacht's galley.
This Mid-Wilshire pizza place serves up authentic Roman-style pies, which means the dough is fermented for 24 hours then baked in an Italian-imported wood-fire oven. The signature pizzas are near perfect (and since this is LA, they're available with gluten-free crust) and seriously affordable -- most hover around $10. Pizza Romana's menu also includes panini sandwiches and spicy fried chicken. Add affordable bottles of Italian wine and this under-the-radar restaurant is the perfect date spot.
This West Third Mexican spot has swanky taste -- the interior is dimly lit and wood-laden, and boasts plush banquettes and a long bar made of crystal and quartz. Once you settle in to the lounge-style space, you'll want to start off with some fresh guac or sweet corn tamales for the table, and then work your way up to the carne asada or sashimi agua chile. No matter what you order, be sure to indulge in one of the many tequila and mezcal options back-lit behind the bar.
This South Bay brewery does growler fill and straight-up tastings, with revolving taps including its Pineapple IPA and Coconut Abel Brown. King Harbor's onsite taproom allows for views of the production equipment and offers, in addition to its core beers, specialities and pilot batches. The other taproom (132 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach) is just two miles away and boasts views of King Harbor Marina and the Pacific.
No BS, this place is super-killer: it's the chef from Fig making amazing Mexican food, including lemon-pepper chicken chicharrones and amazing carnitas tacos. It'll probably have you calling BS on all the other Downtown Mexican spots.
One of two Mexican spots headed by lauded chef Ray Garcia, this hip spot is date friendly complete with a killer cocktail list.
From Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Son of a Gun), this Fairfax restaurant specializes in all-day Italian, by which we mean all-day pizza. Aside from the signature breakfast pizza, Jon & Vinny's breakfast offerings include pastries (nutella toast!) and hot plates like burrata scrambled eggs and buttermilk pancakes. The lunch and dinner menu emphasizes house-made pastas and pizzas, and your meal should definitely start with bruschetta served on Gjusta bread. The airy and casual neighborhood spot houses a wine shop helmed by Helen Johannesen, the wine director for all of Shook and Dotolo's restaurants.
This Mexican spot has a full on mezcal menu as well as homestyle classics like queso fundito and massive carnitas burritos. At this East Valley taco shop, you can order two extremely high-quality tacos for $5. Also on Monday, head over to the classic cantina with colorful flair to indulge in $5 margaritas.
Churro Borough sandwiches rotating ice cream flavors like bright matcha green tea or brown butter cookie between two housemade churro discs. We recommend getting the vanilla custard, but let’s be honest, you really can’t go wrong with any option. Make sure to get there early since -- to no one's surprise -- it usually sells out. Fast.
This tiny little bar is attached to The 101 and it's cocktails are killing the game.
From the team behind the now-shuttered Spice Table, in collaboration with the team behind Rustic Canyon, Cassia is a Vietnamese-French bistro in Santa Monica. Cassia is housed in an open and lofty space, with sleek wooden tables and communal dining areas, an open hearth, and an outdoor patio. French tradition is expressed through the chilled seafood bar, and fused dishes include the pot au feu — a hybrid French stew and Vietnamese pho — with a chile-laden bone marrow broth, charcuterie fried rice, or any of the numerous cocktails crafted with a tropical bent, bearing in mind the heat of Vietnamese cuisine.
Avoid the crowd at The Normandie Club, hit the buzzer at the back of the bar, and enter The Walker Inn, a speakeasy-style lounge serving unexpected cocktails in a dark, exclusive den. The monthly-rotating menu is based around an elaborate theme -- such as regional climates, with cocktails called Cloud, Rain, and Earth. Accompany your cocktail with the unusual omakase-style pairings at the bar.
This restaurant is "ocean-to-table" and makes you feel like you're in a particularly chic sailor shack. Try the bacon-abetted cod chowder and roasted scallops w/ charred spring onions.
It's a bit hard to discern which is which at this two-for-one West Hollywood spot. Downstairs is E.P., an Asian restaurant that combines Thai cooking with Chinese, Fijian, and Vietnamese elements. Meanwhile, L.P. is the upstairs patio bar serving up street food small bites and killer cocktails surrounded by stunning views of the Hollywood Hills.
Eric Greenspan’s Melrose restaurant isn’t just coastal, it’s European coastal. Home to one of the best g-damn patios in LA, the seafood spot is cleverly tucked behind Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese and is decked out with twinkling lights, candles, and SoCal flora. Maré's focused menu appeals to surf-and-turf lovers, featuring dishes like branzino with fig-pomegranate glaze and skirt steak with oregano and sea urchin butter.
Only open Mondays and Fridays, Confession is the re-banded Pig And Whistle bar now with a church theme. And yes, the confession booth is actually a photobooth.
The geniuses behind BLD bring you another acronym-y favorite, this time standing for Ice Cream Donuts Coffee, which kind of tells you everything you need to know about what this small-but-amazing spot from a lauded pastry chef is serving.