Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in LA Right Now

Updated On 05/31/2019 at 06:17PM EST Updated On 05/31/2019 at 06:17PM EST
Duello
Courtesy of Duello

NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Wyatt Conlon

OTOTO

Echo Park

Tsubaki’s sake-drenched sibling
The tiny izakaya Tsubaki has become a local favorite in Echo Park, and the owners have recently expanded their (very small, but charming!) empire with OTOTO, conveniently located right next door. It's a sake bar that’s also got great snacks, like Taru Taru steak tartare with ume shiso aioli and the “Ode to Mos” burger with Japanese chili, so-named in tribute to the chef’s favorite burger in Japan.

Courtesy of Duello

Duello

Downtown

An Arts-District spot for big flavors (and big dishes)
Now open in the same spot where Simone blazed bright for just a few short months, Duello’s a total overhaul of the ownership and kitchen (with a guy whose credits include working the stoves at Gramercy Tavern). The new menu focuses on globally influenced large-format dishes, including savory clams with sesame sourdough, broccolini, and a peanut-chili crisp and pork belly braised with crispy skin and served with salsa verde.

Tim Ho Wan

Irvine

Your OC dumpling-craving capital
It’s rare that we cover a restaurant opening in OC, but here’s the thing: if you live in some more southern parts of LA county (like, say, Manhattan Beach), and you’re craving legit dim sum, and you don’t want to drive all the way to the SGV, you’re now in luck... so, it’s important to know. Tim Ho Wan started in Hong Kong, but has become renowned the world over for their dumplings (especially the BBQ Pork Buns); this Irvine location’s not just their first in Cali, but the first with a take-out window, meaning you barely even need to leave the car to scarf ‘em down.

Gran Blanco | Brecht Vanthoff

Gran Blanco

Venice

A sit-down (and late-night!) spot from The Great White owners
The beloved neighborhood cafe Great White’s got a new sibling called Gran Blanco: a sit-down restaurant with large-format Mediterranean dishes like chicken schnitzel with parmesan and a tomahawk with seasoned butter. The joint’s got a full bar and is open till 2am, so expect some late-night beach shenanigans here for sure.

Mizlala

West Adams

A Valley-favorite Israeli spot hits West Adams
Sherman Oaks’ Mizlala has been a well-kept-ish Valley secret for the past couple years, serving up Israeli goodness like creamy hummus and green falafel in Sherman Oaks; the secret’s finally out, courtesy of a new location in West Adams. Expect those dishes as well as more creative options like a pappardelle lamb Bolognese and lemon and saffron chicken tagine.

L'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele Los Angeles

L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele

Hollywood

LA’s newest hot pizzeria, direct from Naples
The original Italian location of this pizzeria was made famous in Eat, Pray, Love, and as such has been beloved (even by people who never saw Eat, Pray, Love!) for decades. The LA offshoot continues its dedication to Neapolitan-style pizzas, made in one minute flat; of course, the traditional crust is chewy and thin, but your options also include a deep-fried pizza (!) alongside pastas like pappardelle alla Genovese.

ALL-TIME BEST

Baroo Los Angeles

Baroo Canteen

East Hollywood

The foodie favorite returns -- in an even more unlikely spot
When Baroo -- the hard-to-describe, critically acclaimed, fermented-veggie-and-grain-bowl spot in a tiny, signless stripmall location -- closed last year, it was a sad day for LA’s experimental eaters. Well, cry no more, J Gold acolytes: Baroo is reopened as Baroo Canteen in an even more unlikely location than before, the Union Swapmeet in East Hollywood, where they’ve reinvented their menu with takeout-friendly items like the Brother of Karma sandwich with smoked gojuchang-marinated chicken salad, and the special International Affairs Di Pastrami bowl: a fried rice dish with pastrami, Sichuan peppercorns, and fermented shrimp.

Yours Truly

Venice

Abbot Kinney’s newest destination spot calls in some heavy hitters
Vartan Abgaryan (71 Above, Cliff’s Edge) is behind the stoves at this new Modern Californian restaurant on Abbot Kinney, where he’s bringing in Middle Eastern and Asian influences for dishes like crispy octopus with coconut harissa and a heritage pork rib chop with gojuchang and fluer de sel. But he’s not the only star there: Dave Reiss of Salt Air’s also a partner, and drinks are from Brian Butler, formerly of A-Frame and Sunny Spot. Salut!

Wonho Frank Lee

Nightshade

Downtown

Top Chef winner Mei Lin singlehandedly changes the game
If Nightshade had opened a month earlier, it would have easily been one of LA's best new restaurants of 2018. Since it actually opened right at the top of the year, consider this a message to any other chefs getting into it this year: The bar has been set. Top Chef winner Mei Lin is behind the stoves here (working alongside owner team Francis Miranda and Cyrus Batchan of Lock & Key), turning out insanely inventive dishes like a Mapo Tofu lasagna (yes, those three words go together somehow) and an incredibly delicious shrimp toast that sits on a bed of perhaps the best curry sauce in the city. The hidden gems are the vegetables (although the giveaway should be in the restaurant name): The carrots sing with sweetness and depth, and the sunchokes are rich and crunchy and soft all at once. Get a reservation now, before you can’t.

The Manufactory L.A.

The Manufactory LA & Alameda Supper Club

Downtown

A new carb-focused paradise by the Tartine and Pizzeria Bianco team
The long-awaited collaboration between Tartine’s Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson and Pizzeria Bianco’s Chris Bianco opens in full-force at The Row in DTLA. The team’s basically created a multi-faceted one-stop-shop for all your bready cravings, with an in-house bakery, two restaurants with farm-to-table-style dishes, like braised pork shoulder and chicken-liver toasts, and a walk-up ice cream window if you’re just planning a stop-by.

Hayato

Hayato

Downtown

An intimate, beautiful Japanese experience
You may have first heard of Hayato -- a tiny, seven-seat restaurant in The Row downtown -- when you heard about their lunch bento box, a beautiful, limited-edition collection of tiny bites that quickly became an Instagram darling. But dinner here is magic, too: over the course of a dozen or so courses, you’ll eat scallops and mackerel and uni gorgeously plated, expertly prepared, and incredibly selected. Eating at Hayato is a special event, for sure, but one that’s completely worth it. [Reservations - by Open Table]

Slab

Mid-Wilshire

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.

Alta West Adams

Alta Adams

West Adams

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. [Reservations - by Open Table]

Petit Trois

Petit Trois

Sherman Oaks

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. [Reservations - by Open Table]

Bavel DTLA

Bavel

Downtown

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). [Reservations - by Open Table]

Andrew Bezek

MajorDomo

Chinatown

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). [Reservations - by Open Table]

Wonho Lee / Thrillist

Felix Trattoria

Venice

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. [Reservations - by Open Table]

Anne Fishbein

Vespertine

Culver City

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. [Reservations - by Open Table]

Cathy Chaplin

Animal

Mid-Wilshire

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. [Reservations - by Open Table]

Bestia DTLA

Bestia

Downtown

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. [Reservations - by Open Table]

Zen Sekizawa

n/naka

Culver City

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. [Reservations - by Open Table]

Courtesy of Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

Downtown

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.

Providence

Providence

Hollywood

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. [Reservations - by Open Table]

Flickr/T.Tseng

Howlin' Ray's

Downtown

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.

Jeff Miller/Thrillist

Q Sushi

Downtown

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). [Reservations - by Open Table]

Courtesy of PIzzana

Pizzana

Brentwood

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. [Reservations - by Open Table]