These Mac & Cheese Nachos Just Won the Comfort Food Game
Kuniko Yagi’s crispy take on Japanese fried chicken
Top Chef alum Kuniko Yagi is best known in LA for opening the still-beloved Century City hotspot Hinoki and The Bird; her decidedly more casual karaage restaurant at The Row downtown is the latest entry in LA’s ongoing fried chicken wars. Her boneless poultry bites are delicious, but don’t miss the excellent pickled vegetables and slaws.
The next generation of LA’s most famous deli
Langer’s may be the most famous deli in LA -- the #19 with corned beef, coleslaw, swiss, and Russian dressing is certainly one of LA’s best-known sandwiches -- so it’s no surprise that Trisha Langer, the proprietor of Daughters Deli, has continued on in WeHo the legacy her parents began in MacArthur Park. Her take’s a little more refined: the pared-down menu focuses on breakfast sandwiches, a few salads, and classics (like the Papa, with corned beef, coleslaw, swiss, and, you guessed it, Russian dressing). Welcome to the neighborhood.
Finally, the horror-themed pizza-and-beer spot you’ve dreamed of
Are you a fan of melty cheese, craft brew, pinball, and SATAN? If so, 4th Horseman may be the spot for you: this totally themed-up spot’s serving up a ton of curated beer and pizzas with fun names (The Angel Of Death has blue cheese crumbles, shredded mozzarella, bacon, and caramelized onions, while Death To Piggy is loaded with all sorts of pork products), with a mini-arcade stacked with old-school pinball and video game machines. Sorta sounds like heaven...OR HELLLLLLLLL!!!!!
The Katsu-ya empire expands with affordable omakase in the Valley
This gets confusing, quickly: Katsu-Ya (the original strip mall location) and its restaurant group operates separate from Katsuya, the newer schmancy sushi chain you’ll find at the Americana and in Hollywood. Got it? Cool, because the old-school operators’ newest endeavor is this tiny traditional sushi spot not far from Katsu-Ya’s original location, serving lots of the classic sushi dishes as well as the all-star joint: a $28 multi-course omakase limited to six orders per day. Get there early.
East-meets-West in this Italian-Japanese hybrid
A huge, beautiful outdoor patio and a fascinating Italian-meets-Japanese fusion menu should make this WeHo spot your next date-night destination. Keiichi Kurobe -- another Hinoki & The Bird alum -- is putting together crazy-sounding dishes like hamachi bolognese and carbonara ramen with chashu.
The Hollywood Peruvian staple goes over the hill
Ricardo Zarate’s come-on as a consultant for this new Valley expansion of Hollywood’s long-standing Peruvian favorite, now open in the former location of Girasol on Moorpark. He and former Girasol chef Polit Castillo have put together a menu with hot takes on classic dishes, including Chuleta Adobo porketta with smoked tomato pepian corn and pickle escabeche, and Locro Pappardelle with roasted pumpkin ragu, goat cheese, zapallo hummus, and pepitas.
A new sandwich challenger to the Godmother
Speaking of LA’s best-known sandwiches, #1 on that list may be The Godmother at Bay Cities -- and Heroic Deli, a new spot from Umami honcho Adam Fleischman and his partner Jeffrey Merrihue about a mile away from that landmark, is trying to prove its similarly-Italian OMG sub is actually better. That boils down to personal opinion, but it’s definitely worth a try, as is their braised short rib Scala.
BBQ hero Burt Bakman finally goes legit
Look, not to brag (OK, definitely to brag), but Thrillist was the first publication to tell anyone about the now-legendary popup Trudy’s Underground BBQ: a Texas-style smoker operation run out of a nondescript Studio City driveway, serving the best brisket and beef ribs in town. The dude behind that opp, Burt Bakman, is now the pitmaster at Slab, the most exciting new BBQ opening in LA since Maple Block; expect staples like smoked chicken and spare ribs, as well as “The Trudy Special,” a brie and brisket sandwich that’s become a fast favorite.
A soul food spot from renowned restaurateur Daniel Patterson
When LA last heard from Daniel Patterson, he was partnering with Roy Choi on Locol, the burger spot in Watts that was as renowned for its politics as its food. Now, he’s taken Keith Corbin -- one of the rising-star chefs out of the Locol kitchen -- and helped him open Alta Adams, a soul food spot that bridges the gap between West African and California cuisines, with offerings like skillet fried chicken, oxtails & rice, and pig foot and vegetable salad.
A James Beard Rising Star touches down in DTLA
Located right in the heart of the Arts District, Simone’s a beautiful, brick-laden, fresh-ingredient-forward spot from James Beard Rising Star Jessica Largey, who -- thanks to some industry mover-and-shaker partners -- has already been serving up Hollywood royalty (we were at the opening party… and so was ScarJo. No big whoop). The menu’s got all the Cali-friendly goodness you’d expect: pork collar with baby bok choy and charred peanuts, ricotta gnudi with grated tomato, and a ton of veggie dishes for the non-meat eaters of the world.
The new west coast flagship of NYC’s dessert institution
Rumors of Milk Bar -- Christina Tosi’s Momofuku-associated wonderland for dessert lovers -- dropping in LA have been rampant for years, and the rumors are finally true. Not only is the new location massive, including a commissary kitchen and classroom, but it’s also serving up only-in-LA goodness (Pistachio-Lemon Brioche! Inspired-by-Disneyland Pineapple Fo-Sho Whip!) as well as the sweets that made it a full on NY classic (Crack Pie!!).
One of the country’s most renowned pizza spots lands in Culver
It’s been called one of the best pizza spots in the country by… well, just about everyone (including us), and after years of underground pop-ups Roberta’s has finally dropped in the Platform development in Culver City. Toppings include speck and gorgonzola as well as more traditional options, and they’ve also got pastas, veggies, and more; thankfully what they don’t have (yet) is NYC’s notorious waits.
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).
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.
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).
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.