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Los Angeles Lands Four Spots on Eater’s National Essential 38 Restaurants List

From brunch to tacos, here’s what made the cut

Sorrel pesto rice bowl at Sqirl
Crystal Coser
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.

Los Angeles is still in the throes of a restaurant renaissance, and all signs point to another great year of eating, drinking, and expecting more. That’s especially true for Bill Addison, Eater’s anonymous roving national critic who traveled to 36 cities and ate over 500 meals just to land on the nation’s most essential 38 restaurants for 2017. He loved Los Angeles (again) this year, offering up four slots for some of the city’s best eats — spread across ultra-fine dining, street food, and brunch. Here’s who made the cut (spoiler alert: No Vespertine this year).


Returning favorite Sqirl lands again on Addison’s national list, even as chef/owner Jessica Koslow prepares to ramp into a 2018 opening for her new pan-Jewish restaurant Tel. Addison says that the small Virgil Village space “distills California sunshine into modern-age icons” like the restaurant’s signature sorrel pesto rice bowl.


Back in 2016 Addison came away from a meal at Republique — or rather, a whirlwind day-through-night eating affair at the round-the-clock La Brea restaurant — mightily impressed with what Margarita and Walter Manzke have been able to pull together, and 2017 has proven no different. It is, as Addison says, an “ambitious collaboration” that works flawlessly.

Republique’s Walter and Margarita Manzke pose in denim aprons in front of their soaring atrium dining room.
Margarita and Walter Manzke and Republique
Elizabeth Daniels

Mariscos Jalisco

It’s a wonderful sight to see one of Los Angeles’s most beloved street food operators get the kind of national attention it deserves. Addison says that Raul Ortega’s truck serves the one single taco he would eat for the rest of his life (that would be the famed shrimp taco dorado), and that the singular dish alone is worth “immortality” for the always-smiling owner.


Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida have something special on their hands with Westside kaiseki restaurant n/naka, but that’s already clear by the Chef’s Table episode and legions of fans. But it is exactly that “wondrous, wordless sort of emotional resonance” that left Addison stunned on a recent trip through Los Angeles — even if “securing a reservation is brutal.”

N/naka chefs Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida.
Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida of n/naka
Wonho Frank Lee

Bonus: Felix

Lest anyone forget about Felix, Addison previously considered Evan Funke’s pasta emporium to be one of the nation’s best new restaurants for 2017. It’s easy to “disappear into a tempest of gluten” when Funke is at the helm of the ship, and excessively hard to steer wrong.