This French import is known for its macarons, which explains why its bakery case has already drawn a long line whipping all the way towards the Grove's parking lot. There's also a separate cafe both inside and out that's serving classic French lunch and dinner options, including omelets and frisée salads. Since you can also snag dessert at the table, just skip the bakery line entirely and head for the full meal.
Since the '80s, the Drago siblings have individually opened a slew of great Italian restaurants in LA, including Il Pastaio, Drago Centro, and Osteria Drago, making them LA's first family of Italian food. For their latest restaurant, the brothers have teamed up for a modern-looking trattoria with hard lines and pastel colors. The focus is on classic pastas, like cavatelli al ragù di capriolo with house-made shells, venison ragù, and porcini mushrooms, and pizzas, including a cacio e pepe with cheese, ground black pepper, frisée, and shaved pecorino cheese, all served inside the recently remodeled Petersen Automotive Museum -- home to a totally visit-worthy collection of classic cars. Salute!
Just opened quietly in a new mixed-use complex on La Brea near Wilshire, Commerson is the kind of delicious, unpretentious restaurant that could anchor a neighborhood that's home to many new apartments but not a lot of date-friendly dinner options. The chef used to work for Michel Richard and Daniel Boulud, but here he's using those formidable chops for approachable dishes like a white shrimp & chorizo burger and a roasted free-range mushroom chicken with a perfectly crispy, salty skin and juicy interior that may be among the best roasted chicken dishes in the city. Be sure to also sample from the table-service rare cheese cart with selections picked by the chef.
Here's an interesting one: The Panda Group -- yes, the group responsible for your orange chicken obsession -- has opened the first US location of this new upscale Japanese BBQ spot (which has over a dozen locations in Taiwan). It has cushy banquettes, a wood-paneled ceiling, and an $88, 10-course omakase-only menu that includes many variations of prime beef, as well as uni with egg custard and bone marrow rice. If it's a success, it stands to reason that many, many more locations will follow.
LA's more of a sushi town than NY, but any time a big-name sushi chef from there lands in town begging to be taken seriously, it makes sense to give them a chance. That is why if you have some serious extra coin, it's worth checking out Sushi Ginza Onodera. This Michelin-starred, 16-seat sushi import is not going to be anyone's idea of a cheap meal (the omakase is $300 per person), but if you're down to splurge, it's instantly become one of the hot-ticket meals in the city, with wild fish flown in daily from Japan and the menu changing every day.
California Pizza Kitchen started as a local favorite before blowing up into an international phenomenon, which is why this new Brentwood Gardens opening is important: The two founders of CPK are also the primary owners here. They’re not doing another take on BBQ chicken pizza, though; Bottlefish is a seafood-centric restaurant, which means classics like lobster rolls with tarragon butter and whitefish Milanese with arugula. It will be interesting to see if their takes on these dishes become favorites here and beyond, or whether the CPK empire is pizza-only.
When it opened in 2013, Fork in the Road rapidly became a neighborhood favorite thanks to delicious food, killer cocktails, and a beach-city vibe. But in 2015, the restaurant closed down after a massive kitchen fire. Thankfully, it's literally risen from the ashes to return with a brand-new chef serving a California-meets-Mediterranean menu including a lavender-tomato tarte Tatin and duck leg confit with Brussels sprouts.
1. Ladurée189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles
2. Drago Ristorante at Petersen Automotive Museum6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
3. Commerson788 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles
4. YakiYan17188 Colima Rd Ste C, Hacienda Heights
5. Sushi Ginza Onodera609 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood
6. Bottlefish11677 San Vicente Blvd #200, Los Angeles
7. Fork In The Road2424 Main St, Santa Monica
Founded by miller Louis-Ernest Ladurée in 1862 and transformed into its modern-day iteration on the Champs-Elysées in 1997, Ladurée is the Rue Royale-born tea room and patisserie known for its famed macaron. The signature almond-meringue cakes bookend a creamy, ganache center, and are offered in dozens of flavors -- and thus colors. With double-digit locations in France alone and over 50 across six continents (sorry, Antarctica), Ladurée sells over 15,000 of the tiny, colorful cookies a day. The Beverly Grove outpost is the patisserie's first Los Angeles location, but the same rule applies no matter which store you're at: order no less than half a dozen, and eat them immediately.
Housed inside of the Petersen Automotive Museum on Mid-Wilshire’s Museum Row, Drago Ristorante is a part of the Drago restaurant empire, alongside sister restaurants Drago Centro, Il Pastaio, and Celestino. The menu is in line with the group’s various other concepts: upscale, modernized Italian fare that’s rooted in Old World Italian culture, and hit with California flair. Pastas are handmade, pizzas are brick oven-fired, and entrees are traditional -- what would an Italian restaurant be without Veal Milanese? You don’t even have to be interested in cars for the trip to the Petersen to be worthwhile.
From classically trained Chef Sascha Lyon, Commerson is a Mid-Wilshire neighborhood bistro that serves contemporary, unpretentious twists on traditional French cuisine. Lyon's culinary inspiration doesn't stop in France though, and his innovative menu goes beyond bivalves and escargot with Yellowtail poke, charred Spanish octopus, and grass-fed burgers. Dinner at Commerson isn't complete without the wine list, which highlights old world wines from lesser-known growing regions.
From the team behind Panda Express is Taiwan-born Japanese barbecue chain YakiYan. Don’t get hung up on its Panda Express backing or the fact that it’s a chain, though. The Hacienda Heights outpost is serving upscale yakiniku-style Japanese barbecue (translation: a method of Japanese barbecue wherein meat is cooked over live coals). The beef is exclusively prime, some imported from Japan, and cooked on the tabletop grills at each table. Enjoy upscale omakase in a sleek, brass, wood, and leather-decorated dining room with craft cocktails, and plenty of sake, of course.
This famed omakase mini-chain in West Hollywood (it also has locations in New York, Tokyo, Honolulu, London, Paris, and Shanghai) serves some of the city's finest raw fish, almost all of which is imported from Japan. Dinner at the 16-seat sushi counter isn't cheap -- we're looking at $300-400 per person -- but it's worth the splurge to experience the work of the masterful team, led by sushi chef Masaki Saito, whose New York outpost earned a Michelin star in 2016.
Housed in the old Daily Grill space on San Vincente Blvd., Bottlefish is a 4,000sqft seafood restaurant from the team behind California Pizza Kitchen. The Brentwood Gardens restaurant is a step above CPK-style dining, one step below fine-dining, and best described as “polished-casual.” The menu is, obviously, seafood-centric, with raw bar options -- order a la carte or cure your indecision with the assorted seafood platter -- innovative small bites like black cod meatballs and smoked trout dip, and season-dependent, simple fish preparations like grilled Swordfish with lemon butter sauce. With a 16-seat bar (and plenty of cocktails and wine to choose from), a temperature-controlled outdoor patio, and nearly 100 seats inside, Bottlefish is a comfortable, bustling stop for contemporary dining with elevated cuisine.
A kitchen fire in 2015 forced Santa Monica’s Fork in the Road to shutter. Over a year later, 2016 brought the restaurant back to life, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, with a refreshing new look for its 62-seat dining room. The New American menu is accented by Mediterranean influence, with dishes like roasted Spanish octopus, a duck prosciutto flatbread with artichoke, arugula, and smoked mozzarella, and a compressed pork belly with mango-tomato chutney. Craft cocktails (virgin cocktails are also on offer) are creative twists on classics like the Autumn Old Fashioned with bourbon, bitters, and apple spice elixir.