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The Top Los Angeles Restaurant Standbys of 2018

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Friends of Eater, and Eater editors, discuss their regular spots around town

Spicy sauced wontons at Mian restaurant in a dark bowl.
Chili wontons at Mian
Matthew Kang
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Welcome to Year in Eater, an annual review of some of the best and notable openings and restaurant news that took place in Los Angeles over the past year. Eater LA asks writers, editors, and food luminaries to pitch in to help summary the incredible year in dining that was 2018. Here now, the top restaurant standbys in LA (with some non-LA contributions as well).

Andrea Chang, Food Writer, LA Times

Sonoratown, Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo, Petit Trois, Tsujita, Angelini Osteria, Rosaline, Langer’s, Marugame Monzo, Grand Central Market, Bay Cities, La Azteca Tortilleria

Joshua Lurie, Food GPS Founder

I basically have two tiers of standbys: more casual places I can swing by midweek in a pinch, and higher end places where I bring out-of-towners. Spots in my regular rotation include Gjusta, Lodge Bread Co. and Taste of Tehran. I’ve added newcomers like Mee and Greet to the mix.The restaurants I still take out-of-towners on a regular basis consist of Broken Spanish, Cassia, Hatchet Hall, Here’s Looking At You, and Odys + Penelope

Danny Chau, Writer/Editor, The Ringer

Xi An Tasty, Jinsol Gukbap, Hail Mary Pizza, Mariscos El Faro, Hip Hot

Andy Wang, writer, Food & Wine

I probably ate the excellent bolognese at Joan’s on Third in Studio City more than anything else this year. The glorious lunch plates with bistek and picadillo at Nanay Gloria Kitchenette in Valley Glen gave me comfort on many days. HiHo now has cheeseburgers with spicy onion jam, which gives me even more of a reason to eat there all the time. Beyond that, there were a lot of new restaurants that I couldn’t stop visiting: Viale dei Romani for stunning crudos and perfect pastas; Majordomo because out-of-town visitors always wanted to go there and also because the menu is so consistently surprising and satisfying; Mister O’s because Oscar Torres is cooking exuberant modern Angeleno food; LBK because I’m so happy that Studio City has Brooklyn-worthy pizza.

Katherine Spiers, host of Smart Mouth and co-author of Rogue 99

Various Thai restaurants, Prime Pizza, L&E Oyster Bar

Euno Lee, Eater LA Contributor

Mian has held up nicely over the years! Aburiya Raku, Szechuan Impression, Park’s BBQ always wonderful, Jun Won, Fishing With Dynamite, Osawa in Old Pasadena, Chilpo Haemultang in Artesia, Mo Ran Gak in Garden Grove, Michael’s Pizzeria in Long Beach, Katella Deli in Los Alamitos.

Hadley Tomicki, Food Writer

Coni’Seafood, FuRaiBo, Little Kingston, Guelaguetza, Malbec, Sichuan Impression, Jae Bu Do, The Prince, El Coraloense, Hip Hot, Quiadaiyn, Raku, Asakuma Sushi, Soban, Juquila, Salazar, Kato, Elite, Mariscos Jalisco, Leo’s Tacos, Uovo, HiHi Cheeseburger, Northern Café, Matsuhisa, 99 Ranch and Babushka Deli

Garrett Snyder, Food Editor at LA Magazine

Mh Zh, Freedman’s, Pa Ord Noodle, Tacos Tamix, Aburiya Raku, Guerrilla Tacos, Huge Tree Pastry

Esther Tseng, Food Writer

HomeState, Pine & Crane

Bill Esparza, Eater LA Contributor

Mariscos Jalisco, Guerrilla Tacos, Tacos El Paloma’s, Burritos La Palma, Coni’Seafood, Night & Market, Centenoplex, Broken Spanish, Q Sushi, Carnitas El Momo, Taco Maria, Felix Trattoria, Bavel, Gish Bac, Poncho’s Tlayudas and abroad, Pujol in CDMX and São Paulo’s Mocotó

Kristie Hang, Food Writer

Bavel, Mh Zh

Gary Baum, Senior Writer at The Hollywood Reporter

Sonoratown, Uncle Paulie’s, Pizzeria Mozza, Wexler’s, Sapp Coffee Shop, Zankou

Stephanie Breijo, Food & Drink Editor at Time Out

I could spend all night in Hail Mary; between the surf punk, the natural wines and that Mario & Rose(mary) pizza draped in house-smoked mozz and fennel sausage, it’s become my new comfort zone. And never skip the grilled Basque cake. And I love Fiona so much. That’s a spot where I weekly wish I lived closer to it.

Rockbird’s cornish game hens
Joshua Lurie

Hillary Dixler, Eater Restaurant Editor

Kismet, Jinsol Gukbap, Night + Market Song

Cathy Chaplin, Eater LA Associate Editor

Harlam’s Kitchen in Rosemead and Lu’s Garden in San Gabriel

Mona Holmes, Eater LA Reporter

Rockbird’s juicy cornish hens are addictive. But I can’t deny that Kazu Nori and one-half of Grand Central Market makes up my diet.

Farley Elliott, Eater LA Senior Editor

The new Superba Coffee + Bread in Pasadena has become a staple for quick coffee and those days when all that you can manage is a $10 lunch salad and fast, kind service. I’ve also been known to duck into Ma’am Sir for, well, anything really: Brunch, a drink at the bar, dinner and wine while sitting near the front window. And for a vibe-y spot that just nails the details when you want a drink and some outdoor space, it’s really, really hard to beat Dama.

Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor

I probably went to Joy in Highland Park over 20 times, it’s just pure comfort food to me even though I’m not Taiwanese. I went to Majordomo nearly 20 times and might make it to that number before the year ends. I went to Smorgasburg over a dozen times and tried to eat at as many stalls there as possible, and truly nothing beats Poncho’s Tlayudas there...though Ugly Drum and Burritos La Palma are also amazing. Smorgasburg is still the single best way to soak in LA’s incredible dining scene in one location. Kura Sushi (West Hollywood) remains the best bang for the buck omakase in town, and I had to prevent myself from going there every month. Tacos Tamix was my go-to for their incredible tacos al pastor.