Welcome to the Year in Eater 2021 — an annual tradition that looks back at the highs, lows, and in-betweens of Los Angeles’s restaurant scene. Today, LA’s finest food writers, editors, and reporters share their thoughts on the region’s most exciting restaurants openings this year.
Caroline Pardilla, Freelance Writer and Eater LA Contributor
Bicyclette! I’m already a fan of everything that Chef Manzke and his bar director Shawn Lickliter do. So the fact that they took over the Sotto and Picca spaces was most exciting. And Bicyclette’s cocktail book of drinks makes my heart flutter.
Cathy Chaplin, Eater LA Associate Editor
Broadway Cuisine in Chinatown. In a neighborhood experiencing rapid gentrification, it was refreshing and hopeful even to see a restaurant truly dedicated to serving its neighbors.
Danielle Dorsey, LA Thrillist Editor
Honestly, I think I was most impressed and excited by newcomers to the restaurant scene, whether it was the couple behind Saucy Chick Rotisserie who left their careers to pursue a culinary dream, the woman behind Sandita’s who infused whimsy and art into her dumpling creations, or the couple behind Agnes in Pasadena, who opened their first restaurant after years of honing their talents.
Esther Tseng, Freelance Food Writer
Bacetti. After its opening was postponed due to the pandemic and while its adjacent wine shop, Tilda, sold wine to its Echo Park neighborhood in the interim, it’s been a long time coming — but Bacetti doesn’t disappoint. The vegetable preparations are vibrant and cooked to perfection, the pizzas are unexpected but well-executed and its pastas are as good as any other in the city. The mains, like the crispy branzino and perfectly encrusted lamb chops, are hearty and flavorful, making me curious enough to want to try the others—and more selections on its great wine list—on a return visit. Also: Bicyclette. Loved this reimagined French bistro by Walter & Margarita Manzke, with cocktails incorporating Armagnac. Give me escargot en croute any day. Was also happy to see Kwang Uh and Mina Park back on the scene at Grand Central Market with Shiku. I hope to visit more often when COVID lets up so I’m less averse to crowds!
Evan Kleiman, Good Food host
Farley Elliott, Eater LA Senior Editor
Horses. I haven’t felt that kind of energy inside of a dining room in more than two years — and it helps, of course, that the service is great and the food is impeccably cool, too.
Josh Lurie, FoodGPS.com Founder
Needle wasn’t new in 2021, but Ryan Wong and wife Karen found their most impressive form after multiple pivots. Their patio tasting menu, which synthesizes Cantonese flavors in binchotan grilled skewers, is very special. I’m also happy to have Agnes within striking distance for a creative dinner, a quick sandwich or brownie, and their stupendous sourdough Pullman loaf.
Lesley Suter, Eater Travel Editor
Horses. I love seeing a landmark space finally get a restaurant to match.
Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor
It sort of slept under the radar among food media but Ardor is fantastic in West Hollywood. Impressive space, delicious food. I feel like Mírame kept getting overlooked because it opened in the middle of last year, but it’s really great. I’m a big fan of Caboco and everything it represents with bringing new-school Brazilian cuisine to LA.
Mona Holmes, Eater LA Reporter
I wasn’t particularly excited about Hollywood, a neighborhood that poses significant challenges surrounding tourists, parking, and traffic. But two newcomers changed my mind with Grandmaster Recorders and Horses. They’re exciting, the food is incredible, and I love the idea of getting dressed up to go somewhere and eat well.
Nicole Adlman, Eater Cities Manager
Fangirled over Bar Le Cote’s pre-opening summer pop-up tour in Los Angeles (especially its Found Oyster takeover) and finally got to dine at its Los Olivos location in early December. I haven’t been able to try Lasita (the phoenix rising from beloved Filipino restaurant Lasa’s closure) in Chinatown yet, but it’s been circling in my dream realm for months.
Patricia Kelly Yeo, Food & Drink Editor, TimeOut L.A.
I’m most excited to see where Cobi’s, Cobi Marsh and Lance Mueller’s new Southeast Asian restaurant in Santa Monica, goes menu-wise in the new year. Their food is excellent, and their “less judgy, more chuggy” natural wine list feels fun and stood out amid all the funkier lists around town. I still can’t stop thinking about their Thai tea boba pudding.