In the land of French dip, there's no question that declaring anything "the best" can lead to a lot of beef. Fortunately, local editor Jeff Miller wasn't afraid to tab the top options in LA's eating scene, and now he's sharing them with you.
Favorite Restaurant: I keep thinking the answer to this question is going to change, but then I go back to Animal, and I have the re-realization that every dish on the menu is just, well, perfect. The BBQ pork sliders? Yes. Manischewitz ribs? Uh-huh. Whatever other part of a pig they want to feed me? OK, I'll take that too
Best Late-Night Eats: My perennial staple is Canter's. Some complain that their matzo ball soup lacks anything other than matzo and broth, but I think that's exactly what makes it so great. There're also a ton of amazing late-night Asian restaurants, including Hodori at Olympic and Vermont, who'll hit you with BBQ Korean beef and spicy rice cakes 24/7
Best Cheap Eats: I grew up in the Valley, so I've been eating at Pita Kitchen on Van Nuys since I was a kid. The chicken kafta plate is the way to go -- order it without rice, load up on hummus/baba ghanouj/eggplant "salad" (marinated to the point of being unrecognizable as a vegetable), and you'll have two to three meals' worth of amazingness for $11.
Best Sandwich: Everyone goes nuts for Bay Cities' Godmother, but I gotta give it up for mid-city sub-shop All About The Bread, who clearly wanted to be the rest of the city's answer to that venerable institution -- and succeeded. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery; in this case, it also eliminates a half-hour drive to the Westside
Best Dish: I've only been to West LA's Plan Check once, but if you were to enter their buttermilk fried chicken in a blind taste test, I bet I'd be able to pick it out. Perfectly moist on the inside and crispy on the outside, its like nothing I've ever had
Best Italian:We're not gonna talk about checkered tablecloth, "EhMammaMia" Italian here (OK, let's, just for a second: if you've got a big group, get some garlic knots and massive portions of pasta at C&O Trattoria in Venice). Instead, let's talk ridiculously great food: the burrata bar at Osteria Mozza, the charcuterie and pizza at Bestia downtown, and, well, everything at Gusto. Everything
Best Chinese: You gotta trust Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Gold on this one and head to the San Gabriel Valley. Din Tai Fung has amazing soup dumplings, the dim sum at Ocean Star is insanely cheap and crazy delicious, and the beef roll at Mama's Kitchen will have you begging for more hoisin. And frankly, these may not even be the best. You really can't go wrong just poking your head in around that part of town. Best Mexican: Since "best tacos" is such a hot-button issue, I'm pulling that out of the equation and going with West LA's Mariscos Chente, which is hidden away on a corner you'd never notice otherwise. The best things on the menu are raw shrimp (seriously) and whole snook (even more seriously). Smother the latter with caramelized onions, put it on their homemade chips, and you'll transported to a seaside Mexican town... minus the drug smugglers and little kids trying to sell you Chiclets
Best Food Truck: Quality-wise, no one has held a candle to Kogi/Chego!. But location is everything, and damn if those Mexican trucks outside La Descarga, or Main St in Santa Monica, don't taste perfect after a few rounds at 2a
Best Burger: I'll be honest: when I crave a burger, it usually means I crave In-N-Out, and I'm not ashamed of that. But if I'm going restaurant-style, I love Stout, 26 Beach, and the under-appreciated San Francisco Saloon
Most Gut-Busting Meal/Dish: It's impossible to go to Bludso's Bar-&-Que and not want to order literally everything -- and you basically have to, because where else are you going to get Texas-style smoked meat in LA? But then you get hit with massive servings of brisket, heaped-up ribs, and platters of links, and you start wondering if eating all that side mac & cheese was a good idea
Best Fine Dining: It's gonna hurt your wallet... a lot... but there's a reason that Providence is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in town. No one cooks seafood like Michael Cimarusti
Most Romantic: If you can't make it happen after dinner on the dim, foliage-laden patio at Silverlake's Cliff's Edge, then, dude, it just isn't happening
Best for Partying: Depends on what kind of party you want to have. Champagne, roast chicken, and -- for some reason -- a DJ? Bagatelle's for you. But a killer beer list, a massive menu, and everything from karaoke to pool? Barney's Beanery is where it's at
Best for Work: Your boss probably wants to see celebs, and -- since he's paying -- the closest thing to a sure thing is Wolfgang Puck's Beverly Hills steakhouse Cut
Best Lunch: I'm all about deals at lunch, so my go-to is Robata Jinya on 3rd. $11 gets you a bento with soup, salad, three meat skewers, rice, and tempura. Add $5 for a half-ramen, and you're still spending less than $20 while eating for three
Best Brunch: The best thing about Square One? You can eat outside under the menacing gaze of the Scientology super-center. The second-best thing about Square One? Literally everything on their menu, from super-fluffy omelets, to an actually-worth-ordering fruit plate that's got no-grapes-allowed local freshness from mango to starfruit
Weirdest Food: Ever eat blood soup? At Sapp in Thai Town, the boat noodle soup's made with blood broth and stuffed with all manner of pig -- liver, tripe, you name it. Also, it's delicious
Most Local Food: As if it were ripped out of an episode of Los Angelesia, there's a tiny little Silverlake cafe called Forage that actually uses produce from local amateur growers in dishes named after the foragers themselves, e.g., "Lewis and Tara's Pork Chop with Persimmon Butter with Santa Monica Mountain Hachiya Persimmons"
Best Donuts: It's a hike from LA proper, but Glendora's Donut Man is a serious treasure. An unassuming take-out storefront that does incredible sweets, they're best known for glazed jobs stuffed with fresh strawberries or peaches, but their bear claws and cinnamon rolls are equally, perfectly fluffy.