Los Angeles
1. Mr. T
Hollywood
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Two years after Hollywood insiders first spotted neon pink signage announcing the imminent arrival of buzzy Parisian bistro Mr. T along a trendy stretch of Sycamore Avenue in Hollywood, the globally inspired restaurant has finally opened. Translating beloved street fare through expert French techniques and California-fresh ingredients is chef Alisa Vannah (Chi Spacca, Tsubaki, and République), who trained with head chef Tsuyoshi Miyazaki in Paris prior to the opening and lent her expertise to a few dishes that only appear on the LA menu, including a Thai-inspired take on Tuna Crudo with Nam Jim vinaigrette, red flame grapes, and jalapeno oil. Whether you choose to cozy up in one of the maroon leather circle booths inside or on the string-lit patio where a row of blooming olive trees provide privacy from sidewalk traffic, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable meal where highlights include vegetarian Croquettes Monsieur with a crunchy, falafel-like exterior, and the Mr. T Mac and Cheese with truffle oil and comte cheese that gets a tableside flambé. The beverage program is just as worldly, with mezcal making its way into the eponymous Mr. T cocktail alongside prickly pear, Cointreau, lime juice, agave, and candied hibiscus, and Japanese gin making an appearance in the Tupac Shakur-inspired Dear Mama, with matcha, almond milk Baileys, vanilla cinnamon syrup, and a pistachio crumble.

2. Pizzeria Bianco
Arts District
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There were a couple of false starts for chef Chris Bianco at ROW DTLA, the massive mixed office, retail, and dining complex in the Arts District. But almost three years after the closure of Tartine Bianco, he and his team are back in a different corner of the ROW, doing what they do best—kicking out incredible wood-fired pizzas and winning prestigiousawards. The dinner menu is short and ingredient-focused in an earnest way, with a few appetizers, a couple of salads, and a handful of pizzas topped simply but cleverly with just a few ingredients each. Take the Wiseguy, with wood-roasted onion, smoked mozzarella, and fennel sausage; the celebrated Rosa is equally simple, with a blanket of pistachios, a fistful of slivered red onion, and a scattering of rosemary over a bed of parmigiano-reggiano on that wood-fired crust. Salads and appetizers are market-dependent, from roasted vegetables to the seasonal salad, and the farinata and focaccia are under-the-radar treasures. Reservations are tough to come by, but sometimes you can sneak in if you show up right around opening. And if that doesn’t work, they’re doing New York-style pies at lunch, which is worth a visit in its own right.

3. San Laurel
Downtown
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José Andrés returned to LA in dramatic fashion, helming the food and beverage program at the newly opened, Frank Gehry-designed Conrad LA hotel. While the renowned Bazaar Meat has yet to finalize its launch, San Laurel immediately wowed diners, already earning itself Michelin recognition in the brief time that it’s been open. The menu highlights Iberian cuisine through California-fresh ingredients, showcasing the chemistry between the two coasts in shareable plates like a Grilled Romaine salad with manchego espuma, and Gambas Al Aillo, or head-on shrimp that arrive in a rich bath of garlic and olive oil. With an expansive patio that overlooks the stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall, San Laurel positions itself as a tempting pre-theater destination, even offering a two- or three-course dinner option that highlights favorite dishes like the Fennel Soup with crab and manchego foam, and a Rack of Lamb with cumin-carrot puree, plus the option to add a supplement of acorn-fed Jamón Ibérico, before finishing with a Pistachio Cake. Classic and creative cocktails abound on the drink menu, including the Saints G&T with aloe vera liqueur, a Pisco Sour, and a Foggy Hill with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Yzaguirre 1884 Gran Reserva vermouth, Cynar, Aperol, and topped with an orange-thyme aromatic cloud. A selection of wines by the glass (including some sherry options), beer, and sake are also available.
How to book: Reservations can be made online.

4. Bub & Grandma’s
Glassell Park
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You’d never know it now, but Bub & Grandma’s was always supposed to be a sandwich shop. Owner and baker Andy Kadin fell into the retail bread game and then ended up at the pinnacle of it, selling outstanding sourdough at farmers markets and to some of the best restaurants in town. Bub & Grandma’s has long been the go-to bread at Wax Paper, it is an essential component in Dune’s underrated pickled beet sandwich, and now—some three years after they signed their lease—Kadin and his crew are building their own sandwiches at their stylish deli in Glassell Park. The menu skews classic and options are simply labeled with a familiar word or two: Italian, Tuna, Roast Beef Au Jus. That aesthetic serves them well, minimalism executed at the highest level, such that each piece shines but none obscures the bread itself. It extends, too, to their pastry program, which puts clever twists of flavor into familiar shapes, including some of the best new donuts in town, airy little puffs with bright, contrasting frostings like passionfruit and lime.
How to book: Walk-ins only for now.

5. Willie Mae’s
Venice
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Frequently topping national ‘Best Fried Chicken’ lists is this Black family-owned restaurant that first opened in New Orleans in 1957, and recently launched a cozy brick-and-mortar in Venice, with Willie Mae Seaton’s granddaughter Kerry Seaton-Stewart and husband Mike Stewart at the helm to make sure those treasured Southern recipes meet their long-established standards. There is, of course, the titular fried chicken, with a perfect, crispy crust that yields to juicy and tender meat, plus gumbo (exclusive to this location), creamy mac and cheese, vegan red beans and rice and butter beans, sweet potato fries, and cornbread. Whatever you order, pair it with a bottle of their fresh-squeezed lemonade.

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