Bill Esparza, Food Writer
Tacos El Palomas, Howlin' Ray’s, Sonoratown, Salazar, P.Y.T.
Oren Peleg, Eater LA Contributor
Kato really wowed me with one of the best new tasting menus in the city. Inventive dishes and an understated ethos are key features here. But check them out soon, because they won't stay unnoticed for long. Also, Here's Looking At You is a knock-out newbie. All-around best newcomer? I'd say yes.
Brigham Yen, DTLA Rising
Miro, Lao Tao in Chinatown
Lesley Balla, Zagat, Angeleno
So many — it was a great year! Erven for sure. I never thought everyone would go ga-ga over a vegan joint, but Nick Erven isn't really a "vegan chef." I liked Manuela a lot. Gwen and Kali are two I think about often. 71Above is just stunning, and my new favorite place to meet for drinks. Salazar!
Jeff Miller, Senior City Editor, Thrillist
Erven blew me away and was Thrillist's best-new-restaurant of the year in LA. It totally deserves it.
Katherine Spiers, LA Weekly Food Editor
Salazar, for the setting, and because it warms my Seattle heart to see flour tortillas get some respect around here.
Eddie Lin, Food Writer
I'm going to mention places that my fellow food writers may have missed. Lao Tao in Chinatown's Far East Plaza is the place for lovingly made and flavorful Taiwanese food, and where thousand-year old egg is a star. SpireWorks: finally, someplace that serves really great doner kebabs in various formats. Tuck Room Tavern with Sherry Yard is a sleeper that serves up an eclectic selection done well in a whimsical setting — Shrimp and Grits and Red Velvet Pavlova are standouts. Tempura Endo is an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, high end meal of mostly tempura, all exquisitely presented (but way expensive) — the truffle embedded in tempura scallop topped with caviar is a highlight.
Caroline Pardilla, Eater LA Contributor
Here's Looking at You, 71Above, Gwen, Trois Familia
Sarah Gim, The Delicious Life
Nong La, Pollo a la Brasa, Gjelina, Sotto
Josh Scherer, Food Writer
Baran's 2239, Erven, Howlin' Ray's (they really need to start selling Disneyland-style fast passes for that line though), Spring, Wolf, and Sonoratown. Everything coming out of Unit 120 was awesome too.
Jim Thurman, Eater LA Contributor
In a disappointingly stale year in the SGV, MIAN
Katrina Yentch, Eater LA Contributor
Destroyer in Culver City, Winsome in Echo Park
Nicole Iizuka, POPSUGAR Senior Producer
So happy Destroyer's in my life — AND within a stone's throw of work, but there have been a few other greats this year like Lost at Sea, Here's Looking at You, Erven & Norah! But I've also enjoyed some of the less-traditional offerings this year like Mr. Holmes Bakehouse (that muffaletta croissant anyone?!), Pearl's Finest Tea, and Tinfoil Liquor & Grocery.
Hadley Tomicki, UrbanDaddy
Kato, Raku, Alma, Erven, Here's Looking at You, Commerson, Baroo, Belvedere, Spartina, Salazar, Barrique
Esther Tseng, Eater LA Contributor
Here's Looking at You, Shibumi, Baroo, PYT, Erven, Gwen, Kali, Lost at Sea, Salazar, Gus's Fried Chicken
Crystal Coser, Eater LA Associate Editor
Kali, Shibumi, Here's Looking at You, Howlin' Ray's
Farley Elliott, Eater LA Senior Editor
71Above, Salazar, Here's Looking at You, Sonoratown, Kato, Howlin Rays
Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor
Gwen, Here’s Looking at You, Kato, Norah, Lost at Sea, Kali, 71Above, Destroyer, Howlin’ Ray’s.
Even though it opened last year, I think Simbal’s work in 2016 was incredible, and it’s the restaurant I think about perhaps the most other than Baroo. Gwen is like a first round draft pick that performed well for its rookie season, but has the most upside. I had two great meals at Here’s Looking at You, and it still has upside. Kato was a dark horse that came from nowhere but serves some of the most compelling food the Westside has seen in years, especially at that price point. Lost at Sea is the best new Pasadena restaurant to open since Union. Kali is like your awesome journeyman player finally found a groove and won the Sixth Man award this year.
Destoyer is just strange and difficult to understand until you start eating the food, almost like a Terrence Mallick film. Howlin’ Ray’s was the tour de force in LA’s restaurant world, perhaps the one that garnered the most attention from top to bottom — it’s like a good Jerry Bruckheimer flick. And Norah was my strongest, easiest place to recommend that always delivered. A complete package of a restaurant in West Hollywood, a more or less overrated dining area in my opinion. I confess that I never went to Erven but I will definitely check it out in 2017.