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LA’s Best New Restaurants Have One Important Thing in Common

Plus dumplings expand to the Valley, and more

PYT, Downtown
Wonho Frank Lee
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

LA’s restaurant year

But just about any measure, it’s been a great year for dining in Los Angeles. Fantastic new places have opened up to much acclaim (Here’s Looking at You being a perfect example), while many of the best places from 2015 continue to gain strength down the stretch. Add to that that bright horizon line of incoming possibilities, and you realize how colorful our creative dining landscape continues to be.

As if to echo the point, LA Magazine just released its annual list of the best new restaurants in greater Los Angeles. It’s a powerful cross-section of some of the busiest restaurants in town, including the hours-long-wait winner Howlin’ Rays in the number ten slot.

Other notable arrivals to the list include 71Above and the surprising Baran’s 2239 in the South Bay. But perhaps the most illuminating part of the compilation is the extensive love given to the once lowly vegetable. A bunch of names on this year-end list speak to the power of meatless (or at least not animal-protein-rich) dining, including at least two from big-name chefs looking to expand into new dinner arenas altogether. We won’t ruin the whole list here, but just know the vegetables at every level on this top ten round-up continue to showcase themselves as stars instead of side dishes. That speaks to the likely future of dining not only in Los Angeles, but America as a whole.

Golden Pouch already expanding

Have you checked out Golden Pouch yet? The corner stand off 6th in Koreatown is quickly growing as a late night favorite for the post-drinking set, particularly because it’s so darn walkable from so many great drinking spots. It helps too that the dim sum is pretty tasty as well. And now, according to Ventura Blvd. Magazine, the Valley will also be able to get in on the action with a second location landing at the Westfield Topanga in March of next year. Still not convinced? Maybe this intro video from some local K-town bloggers will help.

Some big, beautiful dinners

What could be better this time of year than a nice, hearty dinner outside in one of the more scenic stretches of Los Angeles? With that in mind, check out these Semler Ranch dinners running for the next couple of months out in Malibu. Featuring live fire outdoor cooking from chef David Wilcox, each wine-inclusive evening features a variety of family-style dishes and comes in at $120 a head.

A Star Wars happy hour

Want to get into the pre-Rogue One spirit by drinking some, well, spirits? Get to The Gallery in Westlake Village, where running December 14 - 16 guests can drink in Star Wars-themed cocktails like a Darth & Stormy, or the awesomely-named Obi-Won Cosmobi. There will even be small bites from (sigh) Admiral Ackbar’s Snack Bar.

The Valley’s big breakfast

There are endless options for dining in the Valley, including some serious under-the-radar options for quality breakfast eats. LA Magazine outlines ten underrated places to dine in the A.M., from Harvest Moon to the quietly awesome Eat’n Park in Burbank.

More kosher Mexican food, please

Looks like there’s another option for eating kosher, and it’s roaming around Downtown right now. The brand new Holy Frijoles truck brings kosher-certified Mexican food — including pastrami tacos — to the streets with a new rig posting up in Downtown often, but with stops around Pico/Robertson and at private catering events to boot. Oh, and they definitely have churros.

#CHURROS! #awesome #parve #dessert #getsome

A photo posted by Holy Frijoles (@holyfrijolesla) on