Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Fondue Fries Are Like an Edible Sports Bar
Downtown’s modern-Indian favorite moves west
Five years ago, when Baadmash opened in Downtown LA, it seemed like a gamble: modern takes on classic Indian food, from two Millennial stoner-types and their Punjab-expat dad. The gamble paid off: it’s now a beloved mainstay, and the second location promises to be just as popular as the first, with new-school favorites like paprika-masala dusted fried chicken as well as extra-delicious classics like ghost pepper lamb vindaloo.
A slew of LA veterans open a new lunch go-to in a 100-year-old-building
This new Westwood spot’s in a nearly-century-old-building and comes from an all-star crew, whose members have done time at Stout, The Churchill, and Cliff’s Edge. They’ll eventually have dinner on the menu, but for now it’s lunch-only, with options for the students and businesspeople who populate the area including Chinese cold noodles with adobo-rubbed chicken, and a rock shrimp po boy with old bay.
Notorious restaurateur Bill Chait returns with this Hollywood ode to meat
Bill Chait was once the most well known restaurateur in LA, with a hand in now-legendary spots like Republique and Bestia, and a seemingly golden touch -- until he was forced out of his restaurant group, reportedly due to internal financial issues. He’s back in the game, though, with this meat-heavy restaurant on the Sunset strip serving charcuterie, crispy veal shortbreads, and a 34-oz dry-aged ribeye, all in a beautiful space that has wood-slatted ceilings and a tiled common table.
A multi-faceted new Westside Mexican spot
Originally a tiny strip-mall taqueria, this new spot’s divided into three distinct sections: the original taco shop (with seafood tacos and aguas fresca), the main restaurant (with fresh oysters and ceviche), and a tiny chef’s table with a rotating menu. They’ve also got a full bar with craft beers from Baja and crazy cocktails like the Aromatherapy, which is a take on an Old Fashioned that includes mezcal vapor-infused with lamb.
The guy behind Rice Bar goes larger at his new Filipino spot
Charles Olalia got widespread food-media love for his tiny DTLA spot Rice Bar, but now he’s finally got more real estate to dive into his native Filipino cuisine at this new Silver Lake spot. Expect beef peanut curry “Kare Kare” with oxtail and tripe ragu, twice-fried lemongrass-adobo chicken wings, and more-traditional stuff like homemade lumpia and crispy lechon.
An indulgent meat-centric nirvana from Adam Perry Lang
BBQ genius/Jimmy Kimmel’s best friend Adam Perry Lang has finally opened his first LA restaurant, and to say it’s a barnburner would be an understatement. He legitimately may have the best steak in town with his rib-eye, the French onion soup will knock you out, and -- oh yeah -- there’s a giant dinosaur-sized short rib that’s as perfectly smoked-and-dry-rubbed as anything you’ve ever eaten in your life. Will your wallet feel hurt after you leave? It will, but this is definitely a good kind of hurt.
The Valley finally gets a taste of chef Ludo Lefebvre
Ludo Lefebvre’s Petit Trois has been a long-standing favorite in Hollywood thanks to absolutely perfect French omelets and a burger that many people rave about, but the second location in the Valley is larger and more ornate -- a testament to the new excitement around food in a part of LA long considered a culinary wasteland. The menu here is expanded from the original, so expect breakfast tartines and crabcakes at dinner, as well as the old favorites.
Middle Eastern follow-up from the team behind Bestia
Bestia has been on our best-of Eat Seeker list since its inception, so it’s no surprise that the opening of the Middle Eastern sequel to that iconic Italian spot has also garnered a spot on the list. The menu’s full of cross-regional specialties like lamb flatbreads and confit turmeric chicken legs, as well as duck hummus (aka the one thing you never want to hear at a food fight).
Mozza and ERB’s chefs join forces for a new Eastside pizza spot
It says, “the place where they weigh the pizza” on the outside of this new small Highland Park Roman-style pizzeria, and that’s the basic concept: you tell ‘em how much you want, and you pay by the pound. You’re going to want a lot, though, because the pizza here comes from a truly legit pedigree: the chefs behind it are Nancy Silverton (Mozza) and Matt Molina (ERB), which has quickly propelled it to destination status. Get there quick.
The first LA spot from Momofuku's David Chang
Celebrated Momofuku restaurateur/Ugly Delicious star David Chang’s first-ever LA concept is a tough reservation, which is no surprise: the dude’s food, which draws from Asian cuisine as well as US traditions, is practically made for LA. Early favorites include Benton's sausage-stuffed, fried Korean peppers, and a short rib made a la BBQ master Adam Perry Lang, with kitchen duties from exec chef Jude Parra-Sickels (who was Roy Choi’s No. 2 man for years).
When Evan Funke was at the now-defunct Bucato in Culver City, his handmade pasta was considered some of the best in LA -- and since closing that restaurant, he’s spent time in Italy and made it even better. It’s not hyperbole to say that the pastas at Felix are among the best we’ve ever eaten, anywhere, and they’re made even more delicious somehow by the open-kitchen vibe in the restaurant: The best seats are by the pasta-making window, where Funke and his staff hypnotically knead and roll dough. Come hungry.
This mysterious, much-hyped project from former Red Medicine/current Destroyer chef Jordan Kahn’s not for the weak-walleted: a set menu for dinner costs $250. But, when it’s been described by the team behind it as “a dimension of cuisine that is neither rooted in tradition nor culture -- it is from a time that is yet to be, and a place that does not exist,” it’s impossible to not be intrigued. Essentially, it’s like the OK Computer of restaurants: moody, unique, and boldly futuristic.
Sure, these guys' newer Italian restaurant Jon & Vinny's is hot right now, too, and their seafood restaurant Son of a Gun is also a stone-cold classic at this point. But the OG from these dudes still stands out for its delicious creativity; years in, they haven't let the menu get stale at all, which means you're gonna be ordering the classics -- and then whatever insanity they've put on the menu today, since it may not be there again tomorrow.
This tiny James Beard-nominated restaurant, hidden in a strip mall in a no-man’s-land section of East Hollywood, would be voted least likely to succeed on looks alone. Once you glance at the tiny, challenging-to-understand menu, you may be even more tempted to bounce. Don’t. The food is from guys who did time at Noma and Daniel -- two of the world’s best restaurants -- and the $15-or-less grain bowls and pastas they’re serving burst with the flavor and love of those 10-times-as-expensive world-class restaurants. Just check the website/give them a call and make sure they’re open before you head there -- they leave for months at a time for “inspiration trips,” but when they come back, the food’s somehow even better than before.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Since its opening in 2012, Bestia's sort of become the definitive LA restaurant, offering a menu that appeals to both eat-anything foodies (pan-roasted chicken gizzards!) and eat-carefully dieters (tomato & plum salad!) in a setting that feels both industrial and homey, with prices that won't make you feel wallet regret when you wake up in the morning. It's no surprise it's still one of the few tough reservations in the city; despite its size, everyone who leaves immediately wants to go back.
Before she was on the wildly popular Netflix show Chef's Table, Niki Nakayama's hole-in-the-wall Culver City spot -- where she makes impossibly meticulous Japanese food that seems to hit all your taste buds at once -- was already one of the most buzzy restaurants among foodie-type people in LA. But now that the cat's out of the bag, it's become nationally famous as well, which means getting in is a struggle -- a totally worth-it struggle.
Seriously, are they ever going to run out of stall space at GCM -- which, at this point, should just be considered a treasure of the city? Let's hope not: Not only are all the old spots great (and set up for killer mash-ups), but newer openings (like Union chef Bruce Kalman's pasta spot Knead & Co, the vegan ramen joint Ramen Hood, a Golden Road Brewing stall, and the bivalve-y Oyster Gourmet) make it a must-visit. Like, all the time.
Despite lots of competition from upstarts, Providence is still LA's best special-occasion restaurant: The service is impeccable, as is Michael Cimarusti’s seafood. Is it cheap? It is not. Is it worth it? Most definitely.
This fried chicken spot’s had lines from day one, but that’s no surprise: The now-defunct truck of the same name, which specialized in the same Nashville hot chicken as the brick & mortar, was absolutely exceptional. Add to that the fact that neighbors in the Chinatown mini-mall include Roy Choi’s Chego! and the revolving test-kitchen Unit 120, and you may want to hit them all with a large group for a sharing-friendly feast.
This long-standing, high-priced, gorgeous sushi bar Downtown finds its way back to Eat Seeker thanks to an insane premium omakase, just added to the menu. Give the chef a few days' notice and he’ll source rare, seasonal fish from Japan and elsewhere around the world, with a 15+-course tasting of flavors you literally can’t get anywhere else in LA (and that al dente vinegar rice is outstanding, too).
The team behind Grand Central Market’s insanely great Madcapra falafel has knocked it out of the park again with this Mediterranean sit-down spot (a collab with Jon and Vinny from Animal), which packs amazing flavor into lamb belly with turnips, carob, Meyer lemon and crispy quinoa, and kuka, a sort of Middle Eastern frittata.
This teeny-tiny strip mall restaurant is a prix-fixe-only, no-booze gem, serving ultra-modern Japanese-inspired fare that changes at the chef’s whim. One recent dinner’s blow-away dish was a chawanmushi-style custard with salmon eggs and creamy crab, but each bite (and each course) was revelatory, and at $55 for a five-course menu, not too wallet-busting either.
LA Weekly’s Besha Rodell unexpectedly crowed about this unpronounceable Israeli spot, and now food fans in LA are racing to get there for dishes like Lamb Ragooooo (yes, the extra os are on purpose) and Instagram-ready presentation, with piles of meat and veggies atop heaps of labneh.
If we told you that one of the best pizza spots in the city was in Brentwood, would you believe us? You should: Chef Daniele Uditi is from Naples and insists his pizza taste like home, with Italian-imported ingredients making up the bulk of the toppings. Don’t miss his on-special margherita (which is topped with a crunchy basil mixture that gives it far more texture than a traditional pie) and the fried artichoke salad, which hits you with flavor and bite.