The 26 Most Exciting Restaurants in Los Angeles Right Now

From African-inspired vegan to Puerto Rican and modern Brazilian cuisine.

caldo verde
Photo by DYLAN + JENI, courtesy of Caldo Verde

After more than a year and a half of closures, pivots, and reopenings, LA’s restaurant scene has returned at almost full force, with a slate of new dining destinations that opened this summer and fall. New trends have emerged, including the rise of chef-driven dining options within just-launched luxury hotels, a focus on regional Italian and Mediterranean cuisines translated with fresh California ingredients, and simple yet stunning wood-fired techniques. Oh, and did we mention that 11 LA restaurants were awarded stars from the Michelin Guide? Suffice to say there’s plenty to explore across our city’s ever-changing dining scene.

Vaccines are also widely available—which have not only helped keep our numbers down, but gave peace of mind to tentative diners as they emerged from their COVID cocoons. Now, proof of vaccination is required to dine at any restaurant in LA County, a move that gives us just a little bit of reassurance that we won’t be subjected to any more shutdowns.

While talking about the “best” restaurants in LA still feels a little unsavory, we’re eager to celebrate the tenacity and creativity that our local restaurant scene has demonstrated over the past almost-two years, and we can’t think of a better way to show our support than by reserving a table or three.

As of press time, LA County is fully open, though masks are still required indoors, including when you’re not eating or drinking or if you leave your table. Many restaurants are still dealing with supply chain challenges and labor shortages, so be understanding, patient, and respectful when you dine out. From Culver City to Koreatown to Downtown LA and beyond, here’s a look at some of the most exciting restaurants in LA that have opened this year:

Berbere Restaurant
Photo by Danielle G. Adams, courtesy of Berbere

Berbere Restaurant

Santa Monica

The gist: Smorgasburg darling Tezeta “Tete” Alemayehuwho is behind this African-inspired vegan spot in Santa Monica with two levels of sleek, wood interiors, plus a small astroturfed parklet and sidewalk seating.
The food: Chef Tete was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and you’ll find plenty of Ethiopian ingredients and spices on the menu, but the first restaurant concept from the chef ventures far outside of traditional Ethiopian cuisine, with a modern menu that includes popular Smorgasburg items like ET Twist Tacos with potato, lentil, mushroom, cilantro, awaze, tangfaye sauce, and microgreens, plus a bevy of new additions like Eat the Rainbow, with red lentils, turmeric garbanzo, and purple cabbage with potato and sautéed greens, served with teff injera bread. Stop by between 11 am and noon to sample the breakfast menu, which includes blueberry teff pancakes and a garbanzo scramble served with housemade rosemary flatbread. Those who prefer to skip the drive to the Westside can still find Berbere popping up at the Sunday market with a menu of ET Twist Tacos and ET Twist Sliders.
The cost: Breakfast items are $16-20, salads are $16–17, small plates are $11–16, house specialties are $16–20, desserts are $11–14. Beverages range from $5 for shai (hot tea) and hot cacao to $12–13 for juices and smoothies.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome for dine in. Order takeout and delivery via UberEats and other apps.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Caboco
Photo by DYLAN + JENI, courtesy of Caboco

Caboco

Arts District

The gist: Brazilian chefs and business partners Rodrigo Oliveira (Mocotó and Balaio IMS in São Paulo) and Victor Vasconcellos traversed continents to debut their first stateside restaurant in Downtown LA’s thriving Arts District. Landing in the former Church & State space, Caboco features a lively mural along its back wall, with pops of primary colors throughout, and long, communal dining tables that add to a vibrant, social atmosphere.
The food: Caboco is a term used to describe the multicultural heritage of Brazilians, and is an apt name for this creative spot that explores different approaches to Brazil’s manioc (yuca) plant, as well as Amazonian fruits and wild vegetables from southeastern Brazil, like ora-pro-nobis. Popular menu items from Oliveira’s Sao Paulo outposts are also on offer, like dadinhos de tapioca, or fried, crispy-on-the-outside tapioca fries that burst with melted cheese and are served with a sweet chili sauce (that you should definitely keep for dipping your yuca fries), but you’ll also find notable additions like moqueca de caju, a vegetarian take on the popular Brazilian stew with creamy cashew nuts, hearts of palm, plantains and vegetables in tucupi and coconut broth, with rice and farofa (a toasted cassava flour mixture) on the side. The restaurant also offers an artisanal caipirinha bar where you can sample several versions of Brazil’s signature cocktail, as well as other cachaça-spiked creations, including the Karina Bonita with passion fruit, strawberry, orange, lemon, cachaça. A selection of beer and hard kombuchas, as well as mate and the Brazilian soda brand Guarana are also on offer.
The cost: Starters are $9–15, small bites are $12–18, shareable plates $29–45, cocktails are $12–16, beers and hard kombucha $7–12, and non-alcoholic drinks are $4–9.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome. Reservations can be booked online.

Available for Reservations

Rumba Kitchen

Little Tokyo

The gist: The popular Triple Threat food truck made the leap to brick-and-mortar in late August, bringing Puerto Rican cuisine to a strip mall in Little Tokyo, with live bands and salsa dancing that animate the evenings.
The food: Chef and owner Omayra Dakis built up a loyal following for sizable tripleta sandwiches stuffed with chicken, pork, and steak in house-made pan sobao, but with Rumba Kitchen she solidifies the island vibes. A Puerto Rican flag graces the entrance, a mural of Old San Juan dominates a back wall that live salsa bands set up in front of, and a hanging plant wall with a neon blue Rumba Kitchen sign acts as the restaurant centerpiece, with greenery throughout. The menu spans classic Puerto Rican fare, including a selection of mofongos (lobster, fried pork, stewed chicken, and vegetarian), fried Caribbean red snapper served with tostones and a signature beurre blanc sauce, and marinated churrasco steak that sits on a sofrito carrot puree and is topped with a house-made chimichurri sauce, with Puerto Rican rice with pigeon peas served on the side. You’ll also find a Puerto Rican take on chicken and waffles, with chicharrones de pollo balanced atop fluffy waffles and bathed in a spice-infused maple syrup, on the weekend brunch menu. For the bar program, a variety of mojitos and sangrias, as well as micheladas spiked with Puerto Rican lager, are on offer.
Cost: Appetizers $8–13; sandwiches $12–16; specialties are $12–16; market salads $10–12; $3 for coffee, fountain drinks, and fresh juices; and $5–8 desserts.
How to book: online.

Available for Reservations
Etta
Photo courtesy of Etta

Etta

Culver City

The gist: Following in the example of Girl & the Goat, another beloved Chicago eatery makes the trip out west, courtesy of the team behind the Maple & Ash steakhouse. Arriving in a new corner location inside the just-opened Shay Hotel within Culver City’s Ivy Station development, the spacious restaurant offers 240 seats across its bar, interior, and exterior sections, with 50 different types of plants, trees, and succulents featured on its outdoor patio.
The food: Centered around a custom wood-fire pizza oven with black and white Anne Sacks tiles and a copper hood, Etta’s menu features Italian and Mediterranean staples, including starters like bubbling shrimp and rack-roasted oysters, veggie dishes such as charred eggplant and market haricot verts, and a variety of pizzas and pastas for entrees. The sweet-and-spicy pineapple and soppressata pizza will convert those who remain on the wrong side of the “Do pineapples belong on pizza?” argument, and the wild mushroom pie with goat cheese, truffle, and raclette, acts as one of the most decadent and savory dishes on the menu—though the dry-aged whole branzino with brown butter, capers, parsley, and lemon, is a close second. The cocktail program from bar manager Amanda Fewster and national beverage director Eric Simmons, features creations like the Etta’rita with Dobel Tequila, Cointreau, lime, Tajin salt rim, and a Oaxacan Mezcal Negroni with 400 Conejones Mezcal, Dos Hombres Mezcal, Bianco Vermouth, and Amaro Angeleno. Etta also sets itself apart with a Porrón and Polaroid experience, where guests are invited to drink from a communal Spanish wine pitcher and can capture the moment with a Polaroid picture. A weekend brunch menu with pastries, shakshuka, a breakfast sandwich, fried chicken picnic, and more, plus mimosa carafes for the table and other morning cocktails, is also on offer.
Cost: Starters are $17–24, salad and veggies $15–24, pastas are $26–48, pizzas are $24–28, mains $37–66, cocktails $16–19, porron and a polaroid is $65, wines by the glass are $15–28, beers are $7–10.
How to book: via Sevenrooms.

Caldo Verde
Photo by DYLAN + JENI, courtesy of Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde

Downtown LA

The gist: Gracing the lobby floor of the newly opened Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel, Caldo Verde offers a reprieve from the bustle of Broadway, with a colorful, avian-inspired mural and stained glass installation that welcomes diners before they’re met with a chic yet comfortable dining room featuring warm, neutral tones and checkered tiles on the walls.
The food: James Beard award winners chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne joined forces on a vibrant menu that fuses Portuguese and Spanish flavors with a California approach, including boutique wines and an extensive craft cocktail program. In typical Mediterranean fashion, plates are meant to be shared, with standouts that include a sampling of “salty things” (well-sourced charcuterie meats, cheeses, and anchovies); tender beef cheeks perched on a bed of creamy avocado and topped with green chile, crema, and radish; and the eponymous caldo verde, a hearty seafood stew with local rock crab, grilled linguiça sausage, kale, mussels, and potato. Small producers from Spain, Portugal, and California dominate the wine list—save room for a glass of port or madeira alongside dessert—and the cocktail program manages to add creativity and flair without compromising the spirit of the drinks. The passion fruit caipirinha with mezcal, cachaca, passion fruit, and citrus offers a complex sip that hits smoky, sweet, and sour notes.
Cost: Starters are $16–24, salads are $14–18, vegetable sides are $14–20, small plates are $26–34, large plates are $42 for piri piri chicken up to $110 for a 32-ounce bone-in ribeye. Desserts are $13–24, sweet wines and ports are $12–21 by the glass, cocktails are $14–19, non-alcoholic drinks are $10–12, and a three-ounce pour of sherry runs $13–36.
How to book: Call 1-800-806-1947, email caldoverde@properhotel.com, or book online.

Available for Reservations
Sparrow
Photo courtesy of Sparrow

Sparrow

Downtown LA

The gist: The century-old Hotel Figueroa has been rolling out new culinary concepts since the summer (see: Cafe Fig, Casita, and Bar Magnolia), and Sparrow, which takes over the lobby level dining room and partially covered patio that overlooks the coffin-shaped pool, is a welcome addition. Courtesy of Noble 33 Hospitality, the new downtown dining destination offers modern coastal cuisine against a whimsical backdrop of European and Mediterranean-inspired design elements, including arched, cathedral-like entryways, vintage chandeliers, and hanging light fixtures.
The food: Culinary director AJ McCloud and executive chef Jan Claudio spent time in Italy in preparation for this opening, studying local ingredients and food preparation techniques. This attention-to-detail is on display on a menu that features classic, comforting Italian and Mediterranean dishes, with creative twists throughout and plenty of options for all diets. Worthwhile starters include crispy arancini with wild mushroom risotto and truffle aioli and bluefin tuna tartare with a truffle ponzu sauce. All of the pastas and pizzas shine, but start with the rich and herbaceous pistachio pesto with radiatore, grana padano, mascarpone crema, and arugula, and Wagyu alla vodka pizza with Wagyu beef sausage and Calabrian peppers. The eggplant parmigiana, grilled branzino, and lamb shank osso buco are notable main courses—or go all out with a market-priced lobster al forno with fennel sofrito, herb breadcrumbs, and bisque. Don’t sleep on desserts like tiramisu with chocolate espresso sauce and ladyfingers, or a craft cocktail list that features drinks named after Mediterranean destinations, with dramatic tableside presentations.
Cost: Starters $18–42, sides $12–25, salads $18–22, pastas $18–32, pizzas $16–32, main courses are $36–140 for the Wagyu ribeye, desserts $12-16. The lobster al forno and truffle reggiano pasta are market price. Cocktails are $18–20, draft beer $10–12, wine by the glass $15–23.
How to book: via Sevenrooms.

Todo Bien

Hollywood

The gist: With a name that translates to “All good” in Spanish, this pop-up turned restaurant joins the city’s booming birria scene at the busy corner of La Brea and Sunset.
The food: Owner and chef Alex Arutyunyan fell in love with birria while working under the direction of Jon & Vinny’s sous chef, Raymundo. After adopting Raymundo’s family recipe which puts a Pueblo spin on the dish that hails from Jalisco, Arutyunyan began serving it at festivals and then at pop-ups to stellar reviews, leading him to the opportunity to open his first brick-and-mortar in the heart of Hollywood. The heritage-driven street food menu is simple and straightforward, offering juicy, well-stewed beef birria in tacos, tostadas, burritos, quesadillas, and quesa tacos—or keep it simple with a 16-ounce cup of consome with beef. Seafood is offered exclusively on Sundays in the form of a 32-ounce ceviche kit, and Taco Tuesdays are celebrated with $2 tacos all day long.
Cost: Tacos and tostadas are $3 each, quesa tacos are $4, quesadillas are $14, burritos are $10, guacamole is $5 for eight ounces, a 16-ounce consome with beef is $5, and chips are $5. The ceviche kit is $45. Beverages like Jarritos and Mexican Coke are $3.
How to book: Walk in or order takeout online.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Horses
Photo by Lucky Tennyson, courtesy of Horses

Horses

West Hollywood

The gist: Acclaimed chef Liz Johnson who opened Echo Park’s Freedman’s is the mastermind behind this European-inspired bistro (along with chef Will Aghajanian) in the duo’s first-ever solo project. Located in the former home of Ye Coach & Horses, the once low-key dive and celeb hangout was transformed into a warm and cozy restaurant space while maintaining original design features like red leather booths and original 1930s-era moldings.
The food: The menu features a variety of influences from French to Italian to American classics—everything from a top-notch burger to an exceptional Caesar salad. Starters like veal sweetbreads with frisée and capers and pork rillettes skew classic French while pasta dishes like tagliarini with clams show off the restaurant’s versatility. Drinkswise, look for riffs on classic cocktails like the Boulevardier, Jungle Bird, and Vesper alongside a small menu of spirits, draft beers and a lengthy range of wines by the class (many of which are natural wines).
Cost: Starters range from $7-23 while pastas and mains range from $23-36.
How to book: Via Horses.

Bacetti
Photo by Dylan + Jeni, courtesy of Bacetti

Bacetti

Echo Park

The gist: This love letter to Rome is the culinary sibling to next-door Tilda natural wine bar, located on a quiet stretch of Echo Park Ave that badly needed some restaurant options. The 1920s-era building was transformed by Stayner Architects with inspiration from Rome during the same time period. Inside, you’ll find exposed wooden beams, globe light fixtures, terrazzo floors, teal-colored wooden banquettes, and cozy leather booths to settle into as you peruse the menu of pizza, pasta and other carb-laden comforts.
The food: Chef Joel Stovall (formerly of Orsa & Winston) helms the kitchen which specializes in Roman-inspired Italian plates. Antipasti include delicate suppli (fried rice balls), Ebraica-inspired focaccia and a small selection of bruschetta. Primi piatti includes salads and other small plates like a Caesar salad; roasted kabocha squash with crème fraîche, hazelnuts, and saba; and grilled octopus with romano beans, romanesco, and tomato confit. The stars of the menu however are the pastas that riff on Roman classics like all’Amatriciana and Carbonara but also offerings like campanelle with cremini, chanterelle, maitake mushrooms, and ricotta salata. You’ll also find a small menu of pizzas, ranging from a simple Margherita to potato-topped variation, and mains like whole grilled branzino with gremolata; or a breaded half-rack of lamb. Drinkswise, expect a lengthy selection of natural wines both by the glass and bottle from sibling wine shop, Tilda.
Cost: Antipasti range from $7-18, first course from $8-21, pizzas $16-21, pastas $18-26 and mains $35-85.
How to book: Online.

Available for Reservations

Girl & The Goat

Arts District

The gist: James Beard-award winning executive chef Stephanie Izard brought her celebrated Chicago flagship out west this summer, hoping to capitalize on warm weather and longer produce seasons. The luminous, 200-seat restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows, plus lush greenery throughout the interior and garden patio. In a nod to her flagship restaurant, Izard commissioned two new pieces by artist Quang Hong—who has two custom works on display at the Chicago outpost—to hang in the dining room.
The food: The new, Arts District location features some of Girl & the Goat Chicago’s most popular dishes, like goat empanadas and chickpea fritters, but the family-style menu also includes new items inspired by California produce and cuisine, like a bright shrimp and crispy greens salad with avocado, strawberry, pickled veggies, pepita crunch, and lime-herb dressing, and pan-roasted scallops served with chili relish and a peanut-pepita crumble. The dessert menu features inventive ice cream scoops like oyster sauce stracciatella, plus riffs on classics like mango sticky rice with mango tamarind ice cream, pickled green mango, and powdered coconut cloud creamer. Mike Zell, from Chicago-based sister restaurant, The Little Goat, helms the bar program, which features craft cocktails and a rotating list of craft beers. Except updates and additions to the menu as Izard settles into her new restaurant home.
Cost: Bread and snacks $10–17, salads $16–18, vegetable dishes $14–16, fish dishes range from $16 for Pacifico oysters to $34 grilled whole branzino, meat dishes range from $22 for lamb sirloin skewer o $32 for goat curry.

Available for Reservations
Imari
Photo courtesy of Imari

Imari

Brentwood

The gist: The latest concept from acclaimed restaurateur Philip Camino (Fellow, Hudson) brings washoku, or traditional Japanese cuisine to the Westside, in a sleek, intimate space with white oak, gold, and navy accents, a small sushi bar, romantic partitioned booths, and a quaint patio overlooking San Vicente boulevard. A whimsical, floor-to-ceiling hand-painted mural by artist Sheila Darcey and Philip Camino depicts cascading ocean waves and spotlights the ocean as a bridge that connects the restaurant’s Japanese and California inspiration.
The food: Committed to serving only the finest and freshest ingredients imported directly from Japan, Imari is one of the only LA restaurants serving washoku. The restaurant’s culinary program is stacked with talent, including chef Derek Wilcox (Shoji) and chef consultant and Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador David Schlosser (Shibumi). The summer menu includes bright and refreshing items like striped jack sashimi with ponzu jelly and shaved red onion, Wagyu steak with fresh wasabi and sea salt, plus hand rolls and sushi. Save room for desserts that include a vibrant red shiso sorbet with raspberries or velvety milk ice cream with fresh mochi and sweet green pea. Shlosser also spearheads the restaurant’s sake program, which highlights sakes from various regions of Japan, available by the glass or carafe. Sommelier Scott Lester curated an approachable yet imaginative wine list with something for everyone and the drink menu also features a selection of premium Japanese beers.
Cost: Starters $8–12, $18–22 for meat and seafood dishes, hand rolls and sushi $20–24, dessert $10. Sake ranges from $8–11 for three ounces, $16–23 for six ounces, $28–40 for 12 ounces, and is available by the bottle for $68–120. Wine is available by the glass for $15–25 and by the bottle for $60–90.
How to book: via Tock.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
Photo by Dylan + Jeni, courtesy of Wise Sons

The gist: After creating something of a cult following in the Bay Area, Wise Sons founder and LA native Evan Bloom returns home to open his first SoCal restaurant. Paying homage to LA’s iconic Jewish delis like Langer’s and now-shuttered Greenblatt’s, the restaurant design features a collection of framed family photos, a wall of vintage-style pennants by Scott Richards, and a captivating mural by Berkeley-based illustrator Alexandra Bowman that captures a spirited deli scene, invoking a sense of nostalgia and comfort as soon as you walk through the door.
The food: Wise Sons’ menu features deli classics with well-sourced ingredients, like an OG Reuben sandwich with hardwood-smoked pastrami that’s griddled with Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on rye bread (option to sub pastrami with corned beef or smoked turkey), plus bagels, bialys, and Guittard chocolate-filled babkas that are all baked in-house. Unique to the LA menu is a Diner Tuna Melt that’s packed with wild albacore, lettuce, tomato, horseradish aioli, and griddled with American and Swiss cheeses on rye bread. Other dishes include matzo ball soup made with organic chicken broth, potato latkes, and a classic smoked salmon bagel. Bottomless coffee is available courtesy of Bay Area-based roaster, Proyecto Diaz.
The cost: Signature sandwiches $10–14; potato latkes are $4 for one, $8 for two, $11 for 3, or $13 for a latke supreme; soups, salads, and plates $9–16; toasted bagels are $2 each or $3.50–4.50 with shmear, $11 for a half-dozen, $20 for a dozen; classic smoked salmon bagel is $11 closed or $13.75 open-faced, and the veggie deluxe bagel is $8; breakfast sandwiches are $7.25–8 a la carte or $11.25–12 with hash potatoes or greens; breakfast burrito $13; challah French toast $9 for half or $13.50 for full; coffee and beverages range from $2.50–4.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome. Order pickup and delivery via Caviar.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
El Granjero Cantina
Photo courtesy of El Granjero

The gist: You wouldn’t know it from the vibrantly decorated interior, but this laidback Mexican cantina in the Original Farmer’s Market has a handful of noteworthy names attached, including general manager Grace Whaley (Redbird, Mozza), executive chef Jenni Sklar (Lucques, Son of a Gun), owner John Moshay (Fritzi Coop), and Neal and Amy Knoll Fraser, who are partners in the venture, with Amy even designing the vivid dining room. The restaurant also features a spacious and colorful patio for outdoor dining.
The food: LA is flush with taco trucks, but what sets the city’s best Mexican restaurants apart is a standout selection of sides in addition to the taco, burrito, and nacho dishes you’d expect to see on the menu. El Granjero more than delivers in this regard, especially with Esquites, a bowl of charred corn that’s tossed in a tangy-sweet mix of chipotle aioli, cilantro, scallions, and cotija cheese, though you’ll also want to eat their herbed cilantro-lime rice with everything you order. When it comes to mains, their Oaxaca-inspired quesadillas offer unique fillings like sauteed hibiscus flowers with onions and cheese, or opt for a vegan version with melted vegan cheese, black bean purée, salsa negra, and escabeche relish. The true stars of the show however, are the dorados tacos that are folded and fried till golden with fillings like chili-braised beef and cheese, and potato, cilantro, and sour cream. Stop by for the new weekday happy hour from 3–6 pm and enjoy a discount on what might be the best frozen mojito in town, plus other cocktails and menu items for just $9 each.
Cost: Appetizers $6–16, salads $14.95, quesadillas $15.95–17.95, tacos dorados $14.95–15.95, protein bowls $16–18, burritos $17.95, desserts $9, frozen cocktails $12.50, cocktails on tap $12, specialty cocktails $12-15, wine by the glass $11–12, beer $6.50–7
How to order: Walk-ins welcome if space is available. Pickup via Toast.

Available for Reservations

Vegan AF

Mobile

The gist: LA’s soul food chefs are embracing plant-based lifestyles, evidenced by popular eateries like VTree and Souley Vegan. They’re joined by the new, bubblegum pink Vegan AF food truck that’s steered by Chanel Goodson, who brings innovation to a menu of reinterpreted street food favorites.
The food: New to the restaurant industry, Goodson has been practicing veganism for seven years and sought out to fix some of the issues that plagued her as a diner, namely boring and repetitive menus. The two items that drive her munchie menu are crispy, fried egg rolls stuffed with Philly cheesesteak, cheeseburger, and pizza fillings, and loaded french fries seasoned with a housemade mix and garnished with toppings like fried mushrooms and shrimp that are doused in a Nashville hot buffalo sauce. Finish it off with her signature vegan banana pudding.
Cost: Egg rolls $15.49–17.49, loaded fries $12.49, basic AF fries $3, and banana pudding is $10.
How to order: Follow Vegan AF on Instagram for updates on schedules and locations.

Crudo e Nudo
Photo by Ashley Randall, courtesy of Crudo e Nudo

Crudo e Nudo

Santa Monica

The gist: Chef Brian Bornemann (Michael's Santa Monica, The Tasting Kitchen) and interdisciplinary artist Leena Culhane turned their pandemic pop-up into a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Main Street, with a focus on sustainable and local purveyors. The dynamic space includes an adjoining market where you can purchase wine and bespoke pantry items to take home, plus a raised outdoor deck for street side dining.
The food: The Italian-inspired seafood restaurant features some of the pair’s most popular pop-up dishes, like seared, head-on prawns a la plancha with sesame, Thai basil, and diavolo sauce—or go with the Daily Crudo, Neptune and Venus’ rotating picks served with housemade sauces, herbs, and citrus. Stop by early for a cup of small-batch fair trade coffee from Lenny’s, Culhane’s vision for a neighborhood breakfast cafe, with treats from Venice’s Gjusta bakery. The dessert menu features Culhane’s Creme Fatale side project of organic, five-ingredient ice creams with herbs and flowers from her garden. And not that you needed another reason to book it to their Main St location ASAP, but Crudo e Nudo also stocks a compelling list of biodynamic wines that pair perfectly with their seafood-driven menu.
Cost: Half-dozen or dozen oysters on the half shell $24–42, prawns a la plancha $28, steamed clams $31, caviar nachos $23, Hook & Line tuna toast $26, vegan items and salads $17–19, Santa Monica Market mezze $22, creme fatale chocolate almond butter cups $4, and daily crudo is at market price.

Available for Reservations

The gist: Guerilla Tacos founder Wes Avila left his beloved Arts District taco spot to start this fast-casual joint in Mandarin Plaza, serving his take on hefty, comfort-laden sandwiches, tortas, and burritos.
The food: First off, make sure you arrive with an appetite, as each colossal creation on Avila’s menu could easily comprise two meals. Here, Avila takes classic specialty sandwiches, tortas, and burritos across different cuisines and supplies his own take. For example, the McTorta, which reinterprets your favorite fast food breakfast sandwich on fluffy Mexican bread with tender gyro beef, fried eggs, and gooey American cheese; or the Baja shrimp po’boy that places crispy fried shrimp betwixt spicy pico de gallo and salsa negra, cabbage, cucumber, and avocado. They’ve also got the Saguaro, with tempura-fried zucchini, sun gold tomato, market greens, ricotta cheese, and salsa macha, along with an Atwater breakfast burrito and veggie machaca flautas for the meat-free crowd. Also: don’t sleep on the waffles!
Cost: Menu items range from $7 for a kid’s breakfast sandwich to $16 for the asada torta and wild-caught fish tacos. A side of housemade chips and salsa is $6 and french fries are $7. Beverages range from $3 bottled sodas to $10 for fresh-squeezed cara cara juice, and coffee drinks range from $3-6.
How to order:Order online for pickup.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
U Street Pizza
Photo by Sydney Yorkshire

U Street Pizza

Old Town Pasadena

The gist:Next door to sibling restaurant Union, U Street Pizza opened in April courtesy of Union co-owner Maria Petulla and executive chef Chris Keyser. The nostalgia-inducing pizzeria shares an outdoor deck with Union, with an interior that boasts exposed brick walls, hanging copper light fixtures, and a long white terrazzo bar, plus a colorful hand-painted mural by local artist Eric Junker at the back of the restaurant.
The food: The pizzas pay tribute to the pies chef Keyser grew up with in upstate New York, with dough that’s fermented over two days and made from a blend of artisanal wheat from Washington and Vermont, produce that’s sourced from local farms like Girl & Dug and Wieser Farms, and finished with 18-month aged Fiscalini cheddar in lieu of Parmesan. Cooked in an electric deck oven, the pizzas come out with perfectly puckered crispy, chewy crusts. Seasonal salads and vegetable sides like Japanese eggplant with Calabrian chili agrodolce, Spanish onion, and basil, help round out the menu, along with housemade zeppole, risotto rice pudding, and fresh soft-serve (flavors change daily).
Cost: Pizzas cost $19-26 and custom pizzas start at $17 with toppings $3.50 each; salads are $15-17; vegetable sides are $14 and $16; desserts start at $5 for soft-serve up to $11 for zeppole.
How to order: Reservations for in-person dining via Resy and pickup via Toast.

Available for Reservations
Oste
Photo by Casey Golin, courtesy of Oste

Oste

Beverly Grove

The gist: Co-owners Jocelyn Bulow of France, and Alessandro Iacobelli of Rome left their footprint on the San Francisco restaurant scene (including Chez Maman for Bulow, and Pantarei for Iacobelli) before trekking down the coast to bring pinsa and other authentic Italian staples to Angelenos. 
The food: Oste is one of only a few restaurants in the entire state that’s serving pinsa, or Roman-style pizza that utilizes dough with a high water concentration and allows it to rise in a long, cold fermentation process that results in a light and crunchy crust that’s more digestible, with almost 50% less sugar, 85% less fat, and 100% less cholesterol than your typical pie. Other menu highlights include three varieties of mussels (recommended to order with their truffle fries), a burrata bar, and a Casarecce Al Finferli e Sugo D’Arrosto pasta with chanterelle mushrooms, demi-glace, bone marrow, and truffle. 
Cost: Antipasti ranges from $8-17, mussels are $17-18, pastas are $16-22, and main meat dishes range from $21 for pollo alla Milanese to $37 for a prime NY steak.
How to order: No reservations required for dine-in; takeout and delivery via Seamless, Chownow, and Grubhub.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Brothers Meatballs
Photo by Anne Fishbein, courtesy of Brothers Meatballs

The gist:Restaurant industry vets and Sardinia-born brothers Sergio and Mauro (founder of celeb hotspot Mauro’s Cafe inside Fred Segal) Corbia teamed up with second-generation Italian chef Mark Mittleman for this plant-based take on Italian comfort dishes. 
The food: As the restaurant’s name suggests, the meatballs—whether ordered in a sandwich on homemade ciabatta bread or on their own with tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and homemade garlic bread—are the stars of the show here. Made in-house, these I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-meat balls will easily fool any dedicated carnivore with their perfectly tender texture and juicy interior. The Melanzana lasagna that layers crispy eggplant on top of tomato sauce, fresh basil, and mozzarella, and the Eggplant Parm sandwich (which features the same crispy gluten-free eggplant) are in a close tie for Best Supporting Actor. 
Cost: Sandwiches run $12-15, plates are $9-14, salads $10-11, and $6 desserts. 
How to order: No reservations required for dine-in, call 323-672-8011 for takeout orders, and order delivery via DoorDash.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Playita Mariscos

Silver Lake

The gist:The family behind the popular LA-based Guisados chain takes over this classic neighborhood Mexican seafood spot and specializes in fish tacos and ceviches.
The food: The De La Torre’s have proven that simplicity can still reign supreme, first with Guisados, which specializes in Mexican homestyle braised-meat tacos, and now with Playita—formerly El Siete Mares—where they honor the stand’s history as a neighborhood favorite for ceviches and Mexican seafood staples. You’ll also find aguachiles, tomato-based campechana seafood cocktails, fried and folded dorado tacos, quesadillas, and standard tacos filled with shrimp or beer battered fish.
Cost: $6 aguachiles, $3.50 for tacos, $2.50–6 for dorados, $5–10 for ceviches, $7-10 for campechanas, $3.50–6 for quesadillas, and all drinks (ranging from traditional soda options to Mexican coke and various Jarritos flavors) are $2.75.
How to order: Walk-ins accepted for takeout or dining on their outdoor patio.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

The gist: Drawing diners to Downtown LA’s newest food destination, Santee Passage, is this unassuming takeout window featuring Bangkok street food and Central Thai dishes, owned and operated by partners and chefs Wedchayan “Deau” Arpapornnopparat and Tongkamal “Joy” Yuon.
The food: “Elevated” doesn’t adequately convey just how far Holy Basil ascends above expectations, but in a city teeming with Thai options, their pad thai and tom yuk soup stand out as the best and brightest. The Gra Pow tosses wok-fried eggplant with kalabasa squash, Thai basil, scallions, bird's eye chili, and garlic, served over rice and topped with a farmer market fried egg, to deliver a flavorful, texture-rich dish that hits notes of spicy, savory, and succulent. Joy’s Thai tea is the perfect option for washing it all down, though the pair also started a handcrafted line of beverage starters called The Base, with flavors like thyme orange chrysanthemum tea, plus season specials like a lychee jasmine green tea.
Cost: $6-14 for small bites, $13-14 for soups, $11-15 for rice bowls and fried rice, $13-15 for noodle dishes, and $4 craft beverages.
How to order: Takeout via Toast and delivery via Doordash.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

The gist:This upstart sandwich shop made the successful leap to a brick-and-mortar storefront at the busy corner of Melrose Blvd and Western Ave, hoping to become a neighborhood fixture for community gathering and authentic Italian-style deli sandwiches. 
The food: Ggiata owners Noah Holton-Raphael, Max Bahramipour, Jack Biebel, and Jack Welles hail from Montclair, New Jersey, where Italian delicatessens aren’t just favored for their food (although yes, that too), but represent anchors within the community. They brought in LA native and executive chef Olivia Bin, who has already expanded their formidable sandwich list into a menu that also features pastas, sides, and desserts—including what they claim are the best rainbow cookies in the city. You can’t go wrong with any of their sandwiches, though the Spicy P with a breaded chicken cutlet, spicy vodka sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, and grated Romano on a charred seeded baguette, and the Classic Italian with ham, salami, hot capicola, smoked Muenster, Calabrian chilies, shredded escarole, heirloom tomato, shredded onion, red wine vinaigrette, and Calabrian aioli, also on charred seeded baguette, represent the most popular choices.
Cost: Sandwiches are $14-16, sides are $6-14, salads are $8-14, desserts are $3.50 for rainbow cookies up to $10 for their limoncello olive oil cake. 
How to order: Pickup and delivery via their website.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Bull & Butterfly
Photo courtesy of Bull & Butterfly

Bull & Butterfly

Playa Vista

The gist:Powerhouse culinary duo and founders of the Lemonade restaurant chain Alan and Heidi Jackson bring a reimagined steakhouse inspired by West Coast ranching to the shores of Playa Vista.
The food: Bull & Butterfly is a distinctly California steakhouse—evidenced by the muted tones, simple wood accents, abundant windows, and plant-filled patio—with plenty of seafood dishes sourced from Baja and Central California coasts, plus seasonal veggie-forward appetizers that appear next to more traditional USDA prime wood-fired steaks, with much of the food cooked with classic ranch techniques. You can’t go wrong with any of the steak selections, the wood-grilled pastrami steak on marble rye bread with Caraway sauerkraut and pickled mustard seeds is particularly noteworthy. Round it out with fire-baked rice cakes and coal-roasted carrots that are bathed in preserved lemon butter and topped with black sesame almond brittle. The restaurant also has a full wine list and selection of craft cocktails, and just recently launched a daily happy hour and weekend brunch service. 
Cost: Seafood appetizers range from $15 to $29 for a dozen half-shell oysters, meat and veggie starters from $11-19, $15-17 salads, sides are $10-12, dinners range from $19 for a hickory cheeseburger to $34 for local Baja-striped bass, steaks are $29-59, desserts are $12 each, cocktails are $13-14, and wine by the glass is $9-17. 
How to book: via Tock.

LA Cha Cha Cha
Photo by Wonho Frank Lee, courtesy of LA Cha Cha Cha

LA Cha Cha Cha

DTLA Arts District

The gist: A neon green sign in the shape of a lime beckons diners to an expansive, 11,600-square foot rooftop oasis that acts as a sister restaurant to the popular Mexico City terrazza by the same name. Mexico City-born and longtime LA transplant executive chef Alejandro Guzman (Sqirl, Eggslut) helms a menu of staple Mexican dishes and well-guarded family recipes, with added influence from the California coast. 
The food: LA is abundant with authentic Mexican food options, meaning that menus with $5 tacos better pack in loads of flavor and quality ingredients to back up that price. Cha Cha Cha manages to do that and more, with tostadas that boast ingredients like Baja California-sourced bluefin tuna, crispy cilantro, and chile morita aioli, and a colorful shrimp ceviche with beets that offer a refreshing sweetness amidst fresh radish and cucumber. Notable mains include the Pescado Cha Cha Cha, with grilled Huanchinango, a Northern red snapper native to the Gulf of Mexico, and charred lettuce; plus a vegetarian Pipian Rojo con Col with a pureed pumpkin seed sauce, red cabbage, and epazote rice. Cha Cha Cha also has a full bar menu led by Bryan Tetorakis of the Varnish and Coles. 
Cost: Tacos are $5-6, tostadas are $9-15, mains range from $31 for Pipian Rojo con Col to $44 for a NY Strip steak, $5-8 beers, wine is $13-25 by the glass, and cocktails range from $14-16. 
How to book: via Opentable.

Available for Reservations

Jerusalem Chicken

View Park-Windsor Hills

The gist: Humbly billing itself as a “Palestinian Chicken Eatery,” this new fast-casual restaurant off Slauson Ave has quickly become a neighborhood favorite. 
The food: Jerusalem Chicken is the sort of place that makes each menu item with the same level of devout care and attention, easily convincing customers to keep returning until they’ve tried everything—and the reasonable price point makes it tempting to complete that task in a matter of weeks. The lemon garlic chicken plate, complete with crispy-skinned, bone-in chicken thighs and wings sopping with sauce that leaks into perfectly fluffy Jerusalem rice, hits all the right notes of zesty, tangy, and juicy. But don’t disregard falafels that are fried to perfection without being greasy, while still giving way to a moist and herbaceous center. Also of note is the tender ribeye that you can order as a plate, folded between fresh pita bread, or on a bed of fries(!); as well as the cauliflower fritters that can be optionally decked out with turnips, tabouleh, and tahini sauce. And for those die-hard Curb Your Enthusiasm fans, this Palestinian chicken is sure to be a hit at any dinner party. 
Cost: Salads are $7.99, chicken plates are $14.99–17.99, specialty sandwiches and bowls are $10.99–$15.99, falafel is $7.99 on its own and $12.99 over fries, cauliflower fritters are $6.49, baklava is $7.99, beverages range from $2.50 for a bottle of water to $3.50 for an Ayran yogurt drink to $5.49 for mint lemonade.
How to book: Walk-ins are served on a first-come basis. There are a few tables inside and outside for dine-in service. Takeout and delivery available via Grubhub and Seamless.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Daybird
Mei Lin / Daybird

Daybird

Silverlake

The gist:  Nightshade chef/owner Mei Lin was forced to temporarily close her DTLA hotspot due to COVID-19, but her pandemic-era pivot is equally as exciting. After months of delay, she opened Daybird in a strip mall in Silver Lake in March—a fast-casual and to-go only spot for Szechuan-influenced fried chicken. 
The food: Jidori chicken thighs are breaded and fried to crispy perfection, then dusted in a mix of seasonings including Szechuan peppercorns. You can order them unadorned as chicken tenders or sandwiched between a potato bun and topped with crunchy slaw in the Szechuan hot chicken sando. Available in five heat levels (none, mild, medium, hot, extreme), there’s an option for every heat seeker in your pod. Choose from three different dipping sauces to dunk your tenders — hot honey, habanero ranch and Daybird sauce. And wash it all down with a side of fries, pickles and a Hong Kong milk tea.   
The cost: $4-13 for a set of tenders (1, 2 or 4) and $13.50 for the fried chicken sando. Sides and drinks are all under $5.
How to order: Via website.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Danielle Dorsey is the Los Angeles Editor at Thrillist.