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True Chinese Fine Dining Lands in Los Angeles, and More A.M. Intel

Plus Ria Dolly Barbosa moves on, and a beer upgrade in Frogtown

Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung
Shant Kiraz
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.

Chinese food, upscaled

Los Angeles is finally starting to get into the fine(r) dining Chinese food movement, says LA Weekly. While some places like WP24 and Mr. Chow offer an elevated experience, it’s not often matched on the cuisine side, but with the rise in Chinese cuisine influence at all levels of LA dining, that’s beginning to change.

The Weekly’s argument is that, while there have been some places that offer pricey experiences (like Temple City’s Grand Harbor), a dedicated fine dining restaurant has been elusive. They point to Bistro Na, which serves “Chinese Imperial Court Cuisine,” as one prime new example, where service, white tablecloths, a more expensive menu, and reservations all point to a changing trend. There’s still a way to go, but with more options like Rowland Heights’s Bian Yi Fang serving $88 Beijing duck, the tide is starting to turn.

Keep it quiet

Yesterday’s LA Times had a fun first-person piece by Eric Alperin and Deborah Stoll about The Varnish, the highly regarded cocktail bar behind Cole’s in Downtown. Mostly the focus was on their rules for bar etiquette and noise, and why some public places (like bars) may need them. Not that other, rowdier spots can’t be fun, just that, as Alperin says, “the Varnish just isn’t that kind of saloon.”

No more Ria Dolly

Looks like Ria Dolly Barbosa is moving on from the Go Get Em Tiger group, per the below Instagram post. She demurs on where she’s headed next, but with tons of positive press under her wings (including a gushing February LA Weekly review), it’s easy to see her flying high somewhere else soon — probably as part of LA’s electric Filipino food movement.

Zebulon’s new food

Frogtown live music and bar spot Zebulon has officially added food, per their website. Guests can get a variety of veggies and dips and bread, or snacky little bites of roasted pork shoulder, salads, bowls, and cheese plates. Heads up though, they’ll still be doing food trucks on Mondays.

Mar Vista diversity

Canela Cocina Latina is a relative newcomer to the burgeoning Mar Vista food scene, but it’s no less important. As KCET says, the place has become something of a cultural hub for the latinx community, a safe space for people often caught straddling the Central American/Mexican and LGBTQ lines.

Keep slicin’

Purgatory Pizza is a staple of the true Eastside, and as the Boyle Heights Beat notes in a new post about the place, they are more than just a slice joint. In a part of town that continues to rapidly change, Purgatory offers something of a way forward for new businesses. Serve good food, play to the community, and be welcoming. What’s not to love about that?

River beer returns

Frogtown Brewery is back in action after touching up their tap room along the LA River. Now they’ve got fresh paint to go along with their full lineup of beers, and continue to host nightly food trucks too.