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A maximal, colorful dining room at Horses in Los Angeles with gold gilding and lots of blue and painted horses.
Horses
Wonho Frank Lee

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The Most Exciting LA Restaurant Openings of 2021

LA’s newcomers brought compelling dishes and spaces into the realm. Here’s the favorites from LA food writers

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.

Pisca fresca cocktail from Bicyclette Bistro in West LA, California.
Bicyclette Bistro’s pisca fresca cocktail
Wonho Frank Lee

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

Los Dorados.

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.

Lobster noodles from Needle in a large ceramic bowl in Silver Lake, California.
Needle
Matthew Kang

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.

Grandmaster Recorders restaurant interior in Hollywood, California.
Grandmaster Recorders
Wonho Frank Lee

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.

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