Remember that one moment this month where you thought "El Nino's here, time to stop going out for a while," and then the rain actually stopped and you were more like, "Oh, I actually should try to remember where all those new restaurants I was trying to hit were because I can actually leave the house"? Well, here they are: the best new openings of January, including an ultra-lauded chef's new pasta stall, burgers from Roy Choi, and omakase... tempura?? Get to these spots now, before El Nino rain makes you a hermit again.
Hit January's Best LA Restaurant Openings Before the Rain Returns
Bruce Kalman and Marie Petulla -- aka the ultra-lauded chef from Union in Pasadena and his partner -- have opened up this new stall at Grand Central Market, with a "pasta lab" churning out fresh noodle dishes (the simple Sunday spaghetti is fantastic), as well as made-to-order panini and Italian omelettes.
Rejoice! Your favorite kitschy Eastside Mexican spot didn't go away for good; it was simply bought and spruced up, with the Ceviche Project guys taking over the menu for an undisclosed amount of time, serving up food like yellowtail in young coconut and octopus tostadas.
Like most of Beverly Hills, this is another old-fave-with-a-facelift: Belvedere's brightened up with a new multi-million-dollar art collection and new food items, like salt cod croquettes with roasted piquillos and grass-fed lamb tagine, as well as a mixology-based cocktail program using aromatics grown on site.
San Gabriel Valley
Super-serious food fans have been glowing about Chengdu Taste, the mini-empire of SGV Schezwan restaurants, for years; now, the owners have expanded with this new noodle-centric concept, with hot & sour noodles and pork dumplings among the menu standouts.
Perhaps one of the most decadent restaurants in LA, this Japanese export serves omakase tempura (yes, you read that right) made of ingredients you'd normally not want to get deep fried: Wagyu beef, scallops stuffed with truffle, and more. It's not cheap -- the least-expensive option will set you back almost two Bens -- but it's certainly among the most unique restaurants you'll ever eat at.
The dudes behind lauded wine haunt Bar Covell and oyster bar L&E sort of don't half-ass anything, which is why their new music bar in Highland Park is so exciting -- not to mention that the 'hood has been in desperate need of a venue since its gentrifying began, if only so the whole population doesn't need to migrate to Echo Park nightly. Of course, they've got a curated beer list, as well as bar bites from the L&E guy; bands announced so far have included local indie rock faves like LA Font and the Soft White Sixties.
This NY import's all-veggie, but don't let that turn you off: they're serving up filling wholesome meals like woodfire-burned vegan pizza and homemade pastas, as well as pastries from a chef who's done time at Bottega Louie.
This big-deal new ramen-and-more player is backed by serious kitchen talent: the chef did time at Saint Martha and Trois Mec. It's no surprise, then, that his bowls are carefully prepared, like a kimchi udon shrimp number with spam and watercress and a chicken ramen flavored with black garlic oil.
The craziest secret-entrance-to-a-bar in LA may now belong to this Hollywood spot, which is hidden in the back of a strip mall, in what looks like a porn store. Go through the curtain, and you'll find a huge cocktail bar, with drinks prepared by guys from Melrose Umbrella Co.
Probably the most important new opening in Los Angeles this year, Roy Choi's experimental smart-fast-food spot aims to bring healthier options to underserved neighborhoods, and is looking to expand -- fast. The chicken sandwich is $4 and is as moist as the one at Son of A Gun, the cheeseburger's bursting with umami flavors, and the $1 iced coffee's nearly worth the drive itself if you're not local. Er... locol.
This long-awaited collab from a Patina chef and the former wine director at Providence is finally open and -- no surprise -- is getting raves for carefully composed dishes like this squab with carrots, honey, and lavender and dishes that play with local flavors like cavatelli with local peppercorns.
This casual spot from Top Chef Master Neal Fraser delivers the ultimate “why didn’t I think of that” dish: waffle fries that are actually waffles made of potatoes. Those fries are almost as fantastic as the burger they accompany, a 4oz patty that’s sort of in between a big burger and a slider. Also, don’t miss the roasted chicken.
The beloved chef behind Ortega 120 and Amor Y Tacos gets a bit fancier than the latter spots Doritos Chilaquiles (!) at his new modern spot. The star dish here is Pescado Zarandeado, a butterflied, whole striped bass served with clarified butter, rice, beans, and fresh flour tortillas.
1. Knead and Co Pasta Bar and Market317 S Broadway, Los Angeles
2. El Chavo4441 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
3. The Peninsula Beverly Hills9882 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills
4. Mian by Chengdu Taste301 W Valley Blvd #115, San Gabriel
5. Tempura Endo9777 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills
6. The Hi Hat5043 York Blvd, Los Angeles
7. The Butcher's Daughter1205 Abbot Kinney, Los Angeles
8. Ozu East Kitchen3224 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles
9. Adults Only7065 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
10. LocoL1950 E 103rd St, Los Angeles
11. KALI Restaurant5722 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
12. Fritzi814 Traction Ave., Los Angeles
13. Playa Amor6527 Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach
Chef Bruce Kalman of Union in Pasadena has brought us the ultimate Grand Central Market pasta bar. Their "pasta lab" churns out fresh noodle dishes (the simple Sunday spaghetti is fantastic), as well as made-to-order panini and Italian omelettes.
El Chavo is back and better than ever with the Ceviche Project guys taking over the menu for an undisclosed amount of time and serving up food like yellowtail in young coconut and octopus tostadas.
The Peninsula is a five-star Beverly Hills hotel featuring three restaurants (The Belvedere, The Living Room, The Roof Garden) as well as an upscale bar -- The Club Bar.
LA super foodies are very excited about the fifth Chengu Taste restaurant, Mian. Chef Tony Xu and the owners have expanded with this new noodle-centric concept, with hot & sour noodles and pork dumplings among the menu standouts.
This Japanese export serves omakase tempura made of ingredients you might normally avoid when deep fried, like wagyu beef, scallops stuffed with truffle, and more. It's not cheap and probably one of the most decadent restaurants in LA, but it will definitely provide for a unique dining experience.
Highland Park has had a gentrified ascension as one of LA's best 'hoods for up-and-coming artists and musicians, and now has a legit music venue to prove it. The small room is run by one of the dudes from Bar Covell and is already booking local faves like indie-rockers LA Font.
This Abbot Kinney vegetarian hotspot is serving up filling and wholesome meals like stone-oven vegan pizza and homemade pastas, including a scrumptious summer squash lasagna, as well as pastries from a chef who's done time at Bottega Louie. You'll want to check out the cabbage and cole slaw, too, or the Grateful Veg Sandwich (cashew-cheddar cheese, avocado, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, and harissa). Be sure to wash it all down with a cold-pressed cocktail at a seat on the outdoor patio.
This sleek ramen-and-more restaurant is backed by serious kitchen talent from Chef Joshuan Han, who did time at Saint Martha and Trois Mec. It's no surprise, then, that his bowls are carefully and artfully prepared, like a kimchi udon shrimp number with spam and watercress and a chicken ramen flavored with black garlic oil.
If you haven't heard of Adults Only, it's no accident: with the craziest secret-entrance-to-a-bar, hidden in the back of a strip mall, in what looks like a porn store, this cocktail bar dispenses quality handcrafted drinks and a length beer and wine list to All Who Dare. So, do you?
This fast food concept spot by Chego!/Pot/Kogi superstar chef Ray Choi promises delicious, high quality foodie fare at an affordable price. Opened in collaboration Michelin-starred chef Daniel Patterson, Locol serves a healthy-leaning menu that includes burgers, noodle and rice bowls, and egg-in-a-hole breakfasts.
From former Patina chef Kevin Meehan and the ex-wine director at Providence, Drew Langley, Kali routinely racks up rave reviews from critics and foodies alike. The à la carte and chef's tasting menu are both subject to change daily, but each features carefully composed dishes sourced from organic California farms. The Larchmont District space is an intimate but spacious spot perfect for a romantic dinner or one-of-a-kind meal out.
This casual spot from Top Chef Master Neal Fraser still serves up his beloved hot dogs, but also delivers dishes that you're definitely going to want to try like the waffle fries that are actually waffles made of potatoes. Those fries are almost as fantastic as the burger they accompany, a 4oz patty that’s sort of in between a big burger and a slider. Also, don’t miss the roasted chicken.
Thomas Ortega, the beloved chef behind Ortega 120 and Amor Y Tacos, gets a bit fancier at his new modern spot Playa Amor. The star dish here is Pescado Zarandeado, a butterflied, whole striped bass served with clarified butter, rice, beans and fresh flour tortillas.