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LA’s Dining Authorities Describe Their Best Meals of 2017

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Fancy dinners, casual weeknights, and great food from around the world

Small tasting dishes on a black stone tray as part of the kaiseki meal at N/Naka in Los Angeles.
Amuse bouche plate at n/naka, Palms, Los Angeles
Wonho Frank Lee

Caroline Pardilla, Eater LA contributor, Caroline on Crack

Little Fatty’s walnut shrimp, XO fatty noodles, braised cod, duck pizza, plus those cocktails!

Jeff Miller, Founding editor, Thrillist LA

I was lucky enough to spend time in Tuscany taking cooking classes this summer; I think every meal I ate there takes both the literal and proverbial cake.

Pat Saperstein, Variety and Eating LA

I love L.A. dining but I tend to explore more when I'm traveling, so possibly uber-fresh seafood like sea anemone at La Sardine in Marseille.

Zach Brooks, Midtown Lunch LA

Finca Altozano in Ensenada. (Also Felix and Here's Looking at You, because picking a meal you ate on a trip to another country is so douchey.)

Andy Wang, Contributor, Food & Wine

Made a last-minute 9:15 p.m. Wednesday-night reservation at Republique. Ate mafaldine with uni and lobster followed by a dry-aged rib eye in a room that was buzzing. A perfect L.A. restaurant experience.

Esther Tseng, Estar LA

Felix. That pasta is an ascendant study in texture and flavor. And while I know the bread in this city has gotten better and better over the years, that focaccia is absolutely fantastic.

Garrett Snyder, Food Editor, Los Angeles Magazine

Tasting menu at Dialogue. And this isn't even Dave Beran's final form!

Katherine Spiers, Host of Smart Mouth podcast

By price category: Badminton Cross Court Cafe, Hama Sushi, Rossoblu.

Hadley Tomicki, UrbanDaddy

Ainoko is an awesome experience, with John-Carlos Kumamoto pinpointing clever intersections between Japanese and Mexican cooking in an omakase. Maude’s strawberry menu also blew me away.

Joshua Lurie, FoodGPS, Eater LA contributor

My favorite meal of the year was at Rossoblu. Sitting at the kitchen counter, watching the wood grill spark, was a real treat. So was eating the food that came off the grill, including oysters, Santa Barbara spot prawns (bursting with roe), suckling pig ribs ,and house-made pork sausage. Steve Samson's Bologna-style pastas, including tagliatelle with ragù Bolognese and tortellini in brodo — inspired by his mother's Italian hometown in Italy — were also special.

Nicole Iizuka, Writer, Brit + Co.; Filmmaker, Tastemade

This year two dreams of mine came true. #1 — I FINALLY got to step foot over the Club 33 threshold at Disneyland and experience the wonder, awe, and delight that is dining at the exclusive Disney destination. It was everything I expected and more! The food was actually delicious, the history overwhelming, and the cocktails just made everything all that much better.

But this was also the year that I got to go behind the scenes at Alinea with Grant Achatz & Simon Davies to learn how they made their crystal clear pumpkin pie. (Hint — they use a rotary evaporator.) It was a whirlwind of a year but one I'll never forget!

Gary Baum, Senior writer, The Hollywood Reporter

The Tower Bar, which doesn’t get enough respect among self-styled foodies. It’s offering reliably on-point mid-century-style American cuisine, impeccable service and the most glamorous room in town. Beyond Los Angeles, it would be Shaya in New Orleans.

Euno Lee, Eater LA contributor

Suckling pig, steaks and all the fancy drinks at Bazaar Meat in Las Vegas

Farley Elliott, Senior Editor, Eater LA

N/Naka. A highlight meal anywhere includes service, style, food, and function, and n/naka absolutely blew me out of the water at every turn. A truly one-of-a-kind, must-eat sort of Los Angeles experience.

Crystal Coser, Associate Editor, Eater LA

Dining at Republique always feels like such a celebratory experience, thanks to the menu dotted with luxury (the uni bucatini and dover sole are go-tos) and knowledgeable sommeliers that truly embrace the notion of hospitality. I find myself falling deeper in love with the place each time.

Matthew Kang, Editor, Eater LA

N/Naka reminded me why it’s the best overall restaurant in Los Angeles: service, wine, ambiance, pacing, and of course, the incredible kaiseki fare. I also had a stellar experience at The Arthur J, where everything from the steaks to the fish to the sides convinced me that it’s the real deal. Outside LA, Eleven Madison Park and Peter Luger in NYC were incredible, but I was gobsmacked by the dry-aged beef omakase Korean barbecue at Cote: it’s truly the finest KBBQ I’ve had in America. And outside America, Paste in Bangkok and Manten Sushi in Roppongi, Tokyo. Paste is the best restaurant I’ve had in Thailand and Manten was the best Tokyo omakase that we could get into with a last minute reservation.

All Year in Eater Coverage [ELA]

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