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 2019. Here now, the top restaurant standbys in LA (with some non-LA contributions as well).
Gary Baum, features writer and restaurant critic for The Hollywood Reporter
Kristie Hang, Eater LA contributor
Since I cover San Gabriel Valley a lot, I have to say Tang Gong for dimsum. They’ve been such an underrated, yet great place for innovative dimsum. Mala Town has done surprisingly well in my book. Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra has been a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Andy Wang, writer, Food & Wine
Northern Thai Food Club (thanks, Garrett, for showing us the way), HiHo Cheeseburger, Uovo, Smorgasburg (especially Moo’s Craft Barbecue), RiceBox, Sonoratown, Pablito’s Tacos. And it might be weird to call a restaurant as extravagant as Angler a standby, but I was fortunate enough to eat there many times and it was always great.
Hadley Tomicki, LA Times contributor
Darya, Uovo, Kato, Coni’Seafood, Tumbi, Mora Italiano, Tel Aviv Fish Grill, Pacific Coast Food, Baroo, Northern Café, Baltaire, Sichuan Impression, Umi by Hamasaku, Malbec, Mariscos Jalisco, Guerrilla Tacos, A-Frame.
Andrea Chang, LA Times food section deputy editor
Always Shunji, no matter what year. I went to Kato regularly and Gjusta all the time. Ate a lot of Tacos 1986, Republique and Burgers Never Say Die. Around lunchtime you could find me at Tartine Sycamore; in the evening at Dear John’s or Ototo; and, very late at night, at Ruen Pair.
Joshua Lurie, FoodGPS founder
Kebabs and chicken provide regular fuel in-between my rotating diet of global meals.
This year, I kept returning to Tehran Market‘s Santa Monica parking lot for charcoal-grilled Persian-style kebabs on Sundays, particularly beef koobideh, chicken thigh, and salmon.
I’ll also bring home a rotisserie chicken whenever possible, preferably wood-fired Peruvian-style chicken from places like Pollo a la Brasa or Takatis, but also the eight-piece dark meats special (including bonus backbone) from California Chicken Café.
Oren Peleg, LA food writer
I should have a dedicated phone line at the Terroni downtown, I’m there so often. Also, I know I can slip into Oriel any night of the week and have a great meal, or go to Mh Zh for something fun that won’t break the bank.
Euno Lee, Eater LA contributor
Bill Esparza, Eater LA contributor
Taqueria Tuétano in National City and Barrio Logan’s Chicano Row have given me reason to stop and grab a bite before crossing the border. Fauna in the Valle de Guadalupe, SUD 777 in Mexico City, and here in LA it has been Antojitos Los Cuates, Northern Thai Food Club (neighborhood favorite), Bavel, and the Guatemalan Night Market. And, I can’t stop going to Mocotó (São Paulo), and Oteque (Rio de Janeiro)—I’m addicted.
Esther Tseng, LA food writer
Stephanie Breijo, Time Out LA editor
This year I feel like I practically ran on Sonoratown and HomeState. I can also say with certainty that my most-ordered soup was the BBQ pork wonton noodle soup from Chinatown’s Hop Woo. That’s my comfort soup.
Mona Holmes, Eater LA reporter
Roberta’s in Culver City became a central stop for me. Owner/chef Carlo Mirarchi knows how to make truly delicious food in a welcoming space as The Ramones happily blast through the PA.
It’s always a joy to swoop into Leimert Park’s Swift Cafe. Chef Kyndra McCrary managed to put together a gorgeous menu that happens to be healthy, especially her coconut chickpea curry, and jerk chicken bowl.
Dining at coffee houses is essential in my line of work, and my go-tos are Go Get Em Tiger for the coffee and absolutely delicious breakfast food. Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen is perfect for this too, plus their droptop sandwiches give me life. But if it’s straight caffeine for a busy day, Highland Park’s intimate Collage Coffee produces the best cup in the city.
Cathy Chaplin, Eater LA associate editor
I returned again and again to the restaurants that consistently delivered on value and comfort, like Monterey Park’s Delicious Food Corner and Highland Park’s Joy.
Farley Elliott, Eater LA Senior Editor
There are few better restaurants for the random weeknight stop-in than Ototo in Echo Park, which packs such a delicious punch in such a small space it’s almost too much to comprehend. I feel similarly about Joy in Highland Park, where the endless bounty of Taiwanese snacks keeps me coming back, and damned if I don’t keep ending up at El Ruso in Boyle Heights for those truly delicious flour tortillas.
Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor
Love & Salt is my new neighborhood Italian restaurant. My favorite lunch was Ichimiann for its amazing soba. Similar to last year, I frequented Majordomo whenever I could and still make it my go-to destination restaurant. I also tried to get to Kura in West Hollywood as many times as I could until it sadly closed last month. It was my favorite sushi spot in town. Tacos 1986 was my most frequented new restaurant, as well as the remarkable Spoon by H. My sneak visit last week to Eater LA’s restaurant of the year Nightshade was an incredible experience. And of course Joy was the place I craved pretty much every Sunday for lunch. In terms of Korean restaurants, I bounced around between Kobawoo, Seongbukdong, The Corner Place, Sun Nong Dan, and Park’s BBQ.