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 new restaurant openings in LA.
Gary Baum, features writer and restaurant critic for The Hollywood Reporter
Pasjoli, Auburn, Alta, Birdie G’s and the revival of Dear John’s
Kristie Hang, Eater LA contributor
Yang’s Kitchen has been getting a lot of acclaim and rightfully so. It’s great to see a place like that set up shop in the SGV .
Andy Wang, writer, Food & Wine
It was another crazy year for openings, so here’s 19 for 2019: The Brothers Sushi, Angler, Nightshade, Birdie G’s, Dear John’s, Bon Temps, Pasjoli, M.Georgina, Yours Truly, All Day Baby, Tacos 1986, Yang’s Kitchen, Woon, Spoon & Pork, L.A. Birria, Sunrise Cafe, Ototo, Mala Town, Cassia Rice & Noodle Kitchen (delivery-only but so good)
Hadley Tomicki, LA Times contributor
Auburn, Barrio Neighborhood Tacos, Nightshade, Mr. Menudo, Yasu Sushi, L.A. Birria, Ricebox, III Mas BBQ, Colapasta, Ama.Cita, Ceviche Project, Metztli, Quiadaiyn, Baroo and Mala Town
Andrea Chang, LA Times food section deputy editor
Pasjoli was hands-down my favorite new restaurant this year: Dave Beran is killing it again, this time with a luxurious French bistro that is thoughtful, fun, technique-driven — and so delicious right out of the gate. I’m going to sneak Baroo in because the Canteen opened this year. Bon Temps is excellent from start to finish: The progression of uni caviar tartelette to Dungeness crab to whole roasted chicken to St. Honore is basically a perfect meal. And Northern Thai Food Club, Amacita, Nightshade, Knife Pleat and Auburn — love a mix-and-match tasting menu, and that outdoor patio is a stunner (also: avocado butter).
Oren Peleg, LA food writer
Auburn and Bon Temps were absolute home runs.
Joshua Lurie, FoodGPS founder
I recently wrote a rundown of all my favorite new places from the past year for Thrillist, but if I really need to narrow it down, I can see returning to three places most often.
I hope to spend more nights at Antico’s counter overlooking the wood-burning hearth and enjoying the smoky benefits in everything from sweet potato to chicken and their incredible burnt focaccia ice cream.
I appreciate Auburn, particularly for brunch, which is more casual, but no less creative or flavorful. Sure, wood-roasted prawns with bone marrow and their herbaceous beef rib are great, but have you tried their burnt cinnamon croissant?! Apparently I like burnt food.
I was thrilled to see Baroo return as Baroo Canteen with naturally fermented chef Kwang Uh and his now-wife Mina Park, another talented chef. I know version 2.0 is fleeting, since Union Swap Meet is destined for redevelopment, but I’d like to keep visiting their counter for unique takes on chicken and rice bowls and shrimp toast, plus that amazing pastrami fried rice and mochi muffins.
Euno Lee, Eater LA contributor
Angler, Nightshade, Tacos 1986, Konbi, Needle, All Day Baby
Bill Esparza, Eater LA contributor
Amacita is an amazing Tex-Mex concept filtered through a California cuisine lens, the culinary remodel at Dear John’s, the opening of the Northern Thai Food Club in my neighborhood, Found Oyster, Antojitos Los Cuates, Nightshade, Onda, and how Tacos 1986 has captured the imagination of the city.
Esther Tseng, LA food writer
I loved Yours Truly. It’s great to see Vartan Abgaryan’s playful side as he executes familiar flavors in unusual applications, such as cacio e pepe potatoes and Nashville hot shrimp. Creative and delicious.
And I’m excited to return to YAPA, where Richie Lopez’s take on Peruvian Japanese is vibrant and thoughtful. Josh Goldman’s impressive, science-driven cocktails are continuing to push the city’s drinks scene forward.
Birdie G’s was one of those rare restaurants that I was willing to cross town in order to cover more of their massive menu. Jeremy Fox takes California ingredients and creates his these original, refined takes on dishes that Midwesterners and Jewish deli patrons alike barely recognize yet can appreciate. Zoe Nathan’s desserts, as usual, are to die for.
Stephanie Breijo, Time Out LA editor
2019 saw some great additions both on the high/pricey end of the spectrum and on the casual/affordable end, which is an ideal mix, especially considering how most of us dine (or prefer to dine) on a regular basis. Bon Temps and Nightshade consistently blew me away, while Broad Street Oyster Co.’s first brick and mortar is exactly the kind of spot I could spend every lazy afternoon of my life eating lobster rolls and drinking Bud heavies and staring out the open windows.
Mona Holmes, Eater LA reporter
Yang’s Kitchen is lovely, comforting, reasonably priced, and exactly what I need all the time.
Border X Brewing’s unique Mexican-inspired beers and spacious room is an essential addition to Southern California. Their pepino sour is unlike any beer I’ve ever tasted, and you should try it before the year ends.
Antico is the restaurant I always wanted, before I actually knew I needed it. The massive hearth at the rear is absolutely stunning, the fire felt so good on a chilly night, and watching Chad Colby’s team produce incredible food is a pleasure.
Court Cafe. No one is doing what the Foodminati — creators of All Flavor No Grease, Bleu Kitchen, Taco Mell — are doing in South LA. This Inglewood-adjacent daytime spot is where I go for comfort items with gargantuan portions like creamy grits with shrimp, chicken and waffles that puts every other restaurant’s to shame.
Cathy Chaplin, Eater LA associate editor
Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra and Bon Temps in the Arts District. I adore Yang’s Kitchen for its commitment to sustainable and traceable sourcing. And of course, the cold sesame noodles. Lincoln Carson is making the most magnificently delicious and beautiful food in town.
Farley Elliott, Eater LA Senior Editor
Ototo for sure. I’ve also loved Auburn for the way it is trying to redefine the tasting menu in LA, and Pasjoli for its unabashed French decadence. I’m glad to have seen Spoon by H get its due in 2019, and the skyrocketing rise of Tacos 1986 has been a joy to watch.
Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor
Nightshade, Angler, Pasjoli, Auburn, Bon Temps, American Beauty, Yours Truly, Antico, Yang’s Kitchen, Mala Town, Alta Adams, Amacita, Spoon & Pork. 2019 was one of the strongest years of new LA restaurants in recent memory and it speaks to the consistent quality across town.