Jonathan Gold's City of Gold was released in March, which serves as further proof that LA's status as a top-level food city is totally deserved. More proof? March's openings, which include a mall stand from one of the city's most beloved chefs, a seafood market from a Michelin star-recipient, and something involving Jessica Biel (?!), were some of the best so far this year. Start investing in more pants with elastic waistbands immediately.
Listen: the dude from Machete opened up a taco shop, which means you're definitely going to try it at least once. Thankfully, the ten tacos, which include everything from a fried chicken taco to a fried avocado and refried bean number, are more than reason enough to come back for a second (and third and fourth) trip. On top of that, there's house-made kombucha and horchata, and the team donates each day's leftovers to homeless shelters, so nothing goes to waste. But also, you're probably going to see the dude from Machete there.
When revered chef Ludovic Lefebvre retired his Ludo Bird truck (RIP), it seemed that his lauded buttermilk fried-chicken sandwiches -- perfectly crispy, topped with coleslaw -- were only gonna be available if you were willing to risk an event at Staples Center to eat one. No longer: now you only need to risk CityWalk to eat one, which is totally worth it, especially with the impending opening of the Harry Potter insanity at Universal Studios. Bingo.
Why are we telling you about a new fresh seafood market? Because it's a new fresh seafood market helmed by Michael Cimarusti -- the Michelin-star-winning chef behind Providence and Connie and Ted's, which means not only is it the best new fresh seafood market in LA, but there's an argument it may be the best one on the West Coast. Yeah, we said it. Also: they're selling gumbo, and lobster rolls, and small-batch hot sauce, and you want all of those things.
The latest Top Cheftestant to open a restaurant is also one who's had it the longest-time coming: Marcel Vigneron, the molecular-gastronomy-obsessed runner up from Season 2 who may be the most love-to-hate-him character in the show's long run. Thankfully, he's much less villainous in person, and his food is much less precious than what he put out on the show. The kitchen tries to utilize every single part of each animal, which means internationally inflected dishes like Thai-inspired shrimp dumplings with pork belly and vadouvan lamb rack with Romanesco and labneh.
From the Bay Area's Pepples Donuts, Donut Farm first opened back in February, but took a brief hiatus after being totally slammed for its all-vegan, all-organic donuts. (Otherwise, it absolutely would've landed on our list of the best vegan restaurants in LA.) The Silverlake shop is turning its no-animal-product inventiveness into breakfast treats, like Mexican hot chocolate and whiskey tangerine fig, as well as a vegan-coffee bar.
You may think that the concept's the epitome of upper-class parental privilege, or -- if you're a parent yourself -- you may think it's the savior you've been looking for, but in either case you gotta admit it's a pretty brilliant idea: Jessica Biel (and a ton of other investors) opened up this French-themed spot as a place for parents to bring their kids -- and then leave 'em in a $15-an-hour onsite babysitter-abetted "creative space" while the grown-ups eat Prime NY steak frites and drink cocktails from Adults Only-guy Billy Ray.
Beloved downtown bar Honeycut has completely reinvented its cocktail-bar room into this space-age Tiki-ish bar with extraterrestrial blacklight accentuations and a totally new menu from one of the best drink teams in LA, including a crazy cocktail washed with ghee (essentially clarified butter). Don't worry, though: the next-door dance-room portion hasn't changed at all, which means it's still there for your sort-of-ironic-but-not-really-indie-pop-makeout-needs.
Let's be honest: you may be excited about some of the restaurants above, but you're DEFINITELY excited that Shake Shack -- the beloved East Coast burger chain -- is finally in town. Sure, the line may be two hours long, but that's good, 'cause you're gonna need all that time to digest our expert guide to everything they serve.
1. Trejo's Tacos1048 S LA Brea Ave, Los Angeles
2. LudoBird100 Universal City Plz, Universal City
3. Cape Seafood and Provisions, Los Angeles
4. Wolf7661 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
5. Donut Farm2609 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
6. Au Fudge9010 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
7. The Deep End819 S Flower St, Los Angeles
8. Shake Shack8520 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles
Since this Mid-Wilshire taco shop is from Danny Trejo (yes, the dude from Machete), it's obvious you have to go at least once, if only to try to catch a glimpse of the man himself. Thankfully, the ten tacos, which include everything from a fried chicken taco to a fried avocado and refried bean number, are more than reason enough to come back for a second (and third and fourth) trip. Even better than the food? The team donates each day's leftovers to homeless shelters, so nothing goes to waste.
Chef Ludovic Lefebvre first gained a following for his lauded buttermilk fried-chicken sandwiches out of his Ludobird food truck (RIP). While you can also brave Staples Center for a bite of the perfectly crispy, coleslaw-topped bird, this City Walk location is a much simpler way to grab a sandwich. Pro-tip: we think it pairs pretty well with a day spent at Universal Studio's Harry Potter World.
Michelin-starred Michael Cimarusti brings to his fresh seafood market the same focus on fresh, wild, sustainable fish that diners associate with Providence. Choose from an array of whole fish, as well as oysters, clams, and other seafood. There's also a small grocery section for one-stop shoppers, like grilling planks, small-batch hot sauce, and miso. Not in the mood to cook or looking to ditch seafood? Grab pre-made items, like gumbo or crab cakes, or take a look at the small sampling of butcher items from West Coast Prime Meats.
Marcel Vigneron, the molecular-gastronomy-obsessed runner-up from season two of Top Chef, may be the most love-to-hate-him character in the show's long run. Thankfully, he's much less villainous in person, and his food is much less precious than what he put out on the show. The kitchen tries to utilize every single part of each animal, which means internationally-inflected dishes like Thai-inspired shrimp dumplings with pork belly and vadouvan lamb rack with Romanesco and lebneh.
A branch of the Bay Area's Pepples Donuts, Donut Farm churns out breakfast treats daily starting at 7am and, with delicious flavors like Roasted Red Chili and chocolate-glazed, you'll never guess the cake and raised donuts are all-vegan and organic. Need caffeine? That vegan approach extends to the full coffee bar, too.
From Jessica Biel (and a ton of other investors), this French-themed spot is half daycare, half casual cafe with fantastic cocktails. The "Creative Space" side of Au Fudge offers $15-an-hour babysitter services and a huge range of activities, like crafts and music, all in the type of whimsical space that looks like it was pulled from a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue. While the kids get, well, creative, diners can eat Prime NY steak frites and sip cocktails concocted by Billy Ray, the mixologist mind behind Adults Only.
Beloved downtown bar Honeycut completely reinvented its cocktail-bar room in 2016, transforming it into this space-age Tiki-ish bar with extraterrestrial blacklight accentuations and a totally new menu from one of the best drink teams in LA, including a crazy cocktail washed with ghee (essentially clarified butter), which means you have even better drinks to bring to Honeycut's next-door dance-room portion that didn't change at all.
The beloved East Coast burger chain's first California location opened up shop in March of 2016 in West Hollywood. All the standbys, like the SmokeShack (cheeseburger with bacon and chopped cherry peppers) and Roadside Double (Swiss cheeseburger, bacon, and caramelized onions), are available, plus the site-specific Concrete, which you should absolutely sample; the Shack Attack, LA Edition is loaded with chocolate custard, fudge sauce, Larder Baking Company salted caramel chocolate brownie, dark chocolate chunks, and, in case you needed more chocolate, chocolate sprinkles.