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4 Restaurants to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles

Your handy guide on where to eat from the editors at Eater LA

For Japanese curry served by a winner: Champion’s Curry.
For Japanese curry served by a winner: Champion’s Curry.
Farley Elliott

Every Friday our editors compile a trusty list of recommendations to answer the most pressing of questions: “Where should I eat?“ Here now are four places to check out this weekend in Los Angeles. And if you need some ideas on where to drink, check out the 21 Delightful Places to Sip Cocktails Outside in LA map.


December 17, 2021

For Peak Noodle Soup Season: Marugame Udon

For peak noodle soup season: Muragame Udon.
For peak noodle soup season: Muragame Udon.
Meghan McCarron

Sawtelle Boulevard between Olympic and Santa Monica is one of the all-time great noodle soup destinations in Los Angeles. Now is the time to explore it. You could spend this whole chilly, rainy season sampling ramen alone, but sometimes it’s good to branch out. At Marugame Udon, a Japanese chain with locations up and down California, the real pleasure comes in choosing your own noodle soup destiny. The fat, chewy udon noodles can come in a light dashi broth or a thick and savory curry. They could be topped with tofu or meat or eaten plain (to leave room for more noodles). As you pull your tray to the register, you pluck whatever you desire from a tempura buffet (consider the tamago!). After stopping by our favorite woodyard to resupply our fireplace, my partner and I enjoyed a warm bowl of udon each outside in the pleasant chill, and I was reminded again why I love winter in Los Angeles. 2029 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Meghan McCarron

For soul and body warming broth and noodles: Afuri Ramen

Afuri yuzu shio ramen from restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles, California
For soul and body warming broth and noodles: Afuri Ramen.
Afuri Ramen

It’s nice to have the sun back after this rainy and cloudy week, but the air still packs a mean and cold punch. It’s always best to heat oneself from the inside out, which is best handled with hot tea and a bowl of ramen. We are truly lucky to have the famed Afuri Ramen in LA, as there are only three locations on the west coast with others in Portland and the Bay Area. Diners come to Afuri for a lot of things, but especially the house made noodles, and yuzu-shio broth that incorporates both chicken and seafood. This is a hearty and filling ramen, full of your preferred garnishes that can be easily added via a computer touchscreen. Grab a seat, order a cocktail, and feel the warmth return to your body while looking up at the high ceilings and thinking about the new year. 688 Mateo Street, Arts District. —Mona Holmes

For an anytime feast of seven fishes: Bar Le Cote

White ceramic plate on a marble table holding five head-on gulf shrimp dressed in oil, garlic, lemon, and parsley.
Gambas al ajillo at Bar le Cote.
Nicole Adlman

My partner, our puppy, and I took a drive up to the Central Coast two weeks ago, a familiar trail for us in 2021, when the ongoing pandemic encouraged meandering road trips (road crawls?) just within and outside of Los Angeles. Our primary reason was stopping at Los Olivos’s Bar Le Cote, which, after an unexpected kitchen fire in late October, had reopened for service on November 18. Chef Brad Mathews’ menu encourages ordering too much — it’s just seafood, you say, as you order your seventh dish — to go alongside the sharply curated selections of wines, many sourced from surrounding independent wineries. The food, which takes influences from Spain and Portugal and reimagines them through a California lens, is delightful, but we especially loved the gambas al ajillo: fatty head-on gulf shrimp drowned in olive oil and flecked with crispy garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. The brown butter–drenched skate wing and oyster mushrooms dish is a sleeper hit, too. 2375 Alamo Pintado Avenue, Los Olivos. —Nicole Adlman

For Japanese curry served by a winner: Champion’s Curry

For Japanese curry served by a winner: Champion’s Curry.
For Japanese curry served by a winner: Champion’s Curry.
Farley Elliott

It can’t be easy having a name like Champion’s Curry, in a city as rich with winning as it is with Japanese restaurants (curry-focused or otherwise). Yet over in Little Tokyo, relative newcomer Champion’s doesn’t seem afraid of the moniker whatsoever, having leaned into a history of quality curry-making that goes back to 1961. The international brand is even in expansion mode here, opening up in Long Beach as well as Downtown LA, with several other future locations likely as well. That’s the beauty of the name: Champion’s is already winning eyeballs just by having a cartoon genie holding up a “we’re number one” finger as he emerges from a boat of brown curry. It helps, of course, beyond the marketing and the naming rights, that Champion’s is ideal for cold-weather, slightly rainy LA, thanks to its menu of katsu sandwiches, plates, fries, and curry bowls. Add together the food, the location, the name, and the look, and it’s easy to see Champion’s sticking around for a while in LA. As for the cartoon assertion that they’re number one? Let’s hope for a few more weeks of rain and cold weather to help decide. 136 S. Central Avenue, Little Tokyo. —Farley Elliott


December 10, 2021

For bagels that make everything alright: Townie Bagels

Townie Bagels
Townie Bagels in Palm Springs.
Matthew Kang

It’s not uncommon for folks driving to or through Palm Springs to make a stop at Townie, Palm Springs’ beloved bagel maker. They usually leave the premises with arms full of doughy and delicious provisions destined for home freezers, or friends who are fans. Locals head there because these are some of Southern California’s best bagels. These organic water-boiled bagels have an incredible, chewy bite. From the homemade cream cheese to the cute outdoor patio, Townies is one of the reasons why Palm Springs is full of charm tucked away from the main roadways. They’ll perfectly toast your order (unless you prefer otherwise), and the schmear is a generous, messy one. Get there early, the lines can be very long as visitors flock to the desert this time of year. 650 East Sunny Dunes Road, #5, Palm Springs. —Mona Holmes

To feel the charm of the holiday season: El Granjero at the Original Farmers Market

Quesadillas from El Granjero at the Original Farmers Market.
Quesadillas from El Granjero at the Original Farmers Market.
Farley Elliott/Eater LA

Much (though admittedly not all) of the energy and vitality seems to have returned to the Original Farmers Market off Fairfax. The historic warren of stalls, open-air seating, restaurants, and shops has never quite been able to match the boundless holiday glory that is the next-door Grove’s overdone tree and fountain show, but that’s alright. For a certain type of Angeleno, the more subdued market is preferred anyway. Here, it’s possible to bop into small, local shops for quick take-home snacks and stocking stuffers; to lean over the counter while picking out the perfect collection of nuts, cookies, or trinkets to take to the next holiday party; or just to grab some doughnuts and coffee to warm up the insides after pushing on through the green and red boughs and tinsel-covered artwork.

Better still, the Original Farmers Market has continued to grow in the past year-plus, adding a couple of new restaurant additions like Market Tavern and El Granjero, the latter acting as an outward-facing cantina (with patio), perfect for a fortifying bite and drink. Quesadillas arrive impossibly cheesy and crispy, while the salsa turns up the internal fireplace just the slightest bit. There are literally dozens of other possibilities for alternate afternoon snacks while at the Market, just don’t overlook the simple solution to any sudden shopping stressors: a quesadilla and a margarita. 6333 West Third Street, Mid-City West. —Farley Elliott

For a New York Slice on a Busy Block: Heirloom Pizzeria

Heirloom pizza on Melrose Avenue.
Heirloom pizza on Melrose Avenue.
Farley Elliott/Eater LA

In a city overwhelmed with pizza options, it can certainly be hard to stand out. Still, there’s no reason to have slept on the new Heirloom Pizzeria for this long. The recent Melrose addition opened this year as a brick and mortar manifestation of a pandemic pizza dream, one with whispers of New York-style thinness and thoughts of burnished, saucy garlic knots. Pies here are available as a whole or by rotating slice, fired off fast from the domed oven at the front of the open kitchen and offered with a broad collection of toppings including feta, peppadew peppers, kalamata olives, and the usual pepperoni, pesto, and onions. Stop by to lounge over a pie with friends in the cozy front dining area, or scoop up a pizza for at-home dining; the only way to do it wrong at Heirloom is to wait to try the food in the first place. 7368 Melrose Avenue, Melrose. — Farley Elliott

For a fantastic late night hot dog extravaganza: Pink’s Hot Dogs

Chili dog and New York-style dog at Pink’s Hot Dogs.
Chili dog and New York-style dog at Pink’s Hot Dogs.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

It’s hard to fathom just how old Pink’s Hot Dogs is. The stand started as a cart in 1939, and has become a steady cultural institution in a city that’s changed so much over the past 80 years. These days the lines don’t seem to be as long at Pink’s, which is a shame because it’s still one of the most reliable, delicious, and affordable meals in the city. My personal favorite is the spicy polish chili dog (no mustard, which, yes I know is a shame), and an extra topping of sour cream. The hefty sausage has a real spicy kick while the thick, slathered chili tries its best to spill out of the plush white bun. I tried the snappy hot dog with New York-style onions, and while it’s not going to wow any New Yorkers, it does scratch the itch for Papaya King. Pink’s is worth treasuring and frequenting for those cold LA winter evenings when the bars have closed and taco stands have called it a night. 709 N La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang


December 3, 2021

For heat-filled and flavorful Nigerian food: Veronica’s Kitchen

There’s a vibrant corridor in Inglewood that’s full of delicious options. Surrounding Veronica’s Kitchen is the legendary “you buy, we fry” spot E&J Seafood, Dulan’s Soul Food, Sip & Sonder cafe, and slightly down the way is Woody’s Bar-B-Que. It’s entirely possible to eat very well within a short distance, and those who know go to Veronica’s. The Nigerian flavors excel in this cozy spot with plastic table covers that feel like someone’s house rather than a restaurant. The traditional jollof rice is always a safe and outstanding bet, but be open to trying something new like the meat pies, fiery egusi stew, or the fried chicken with tomato stew (both are best consumed with a side of fufu/cassava). Don’t eat these in the car, it can get messy. Veronica’s is not the place for those with a heat/spice sensitivity. But for those of us who welcome it with open arms, get there immediately. 401 East Hillcrest Boulevard, Inglewood. —Mona Holmes

For one of LA’s most incredible new views, plus Wolfgang Puck’s signature Asian fusion: Merois

Merois’s dining room at Pendry West Hollywood.
For one of LA’s most incredible new views, plus Wolfgang Puck’s signature Asian fusion: Merois.
Wonho Frank Lee

Sometimes a view is enough to make up for any other deficiencies in a meal. Not that Merois lacks any of that, per se, but it’s a nice insurance policy. The commanding perch at Wolfgang Puck’s newest LA restaurant is nothing short of spectacular. The food is almost second fiddle to the view. The meal might start with bluefin tuna sushi or salmon crudo. The crab omelette is really tasty, though I could’ve used a bit more of a sweet, savory sauce for full effect. Unfortunately, the duck wasn’t available the night we went, but that would be the thing to order the next time I go. Expect prices to range $100 a person after drinks, which, again, for this view, is a pretty solid deal. 8430 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood. —Matthew Kang

For Tex Mex, cocktails, and a change of scenery: Red Dog Saloon

A working red saloon shows off customers ready to order food and drink.
For Tex Mex, cocktails, and a change of scenery: Red Dog Saloon
Joseph Weaver

There’s much to love about Pioneertown — the one-time Hollywood film set turned dusty tourist destination. The residents are a friendly bunch, the Western vibe is like nothing else, and the Red Dog Saloon is as fun as it gets. Order food and drinks at the bar before heading outside to secure a table. The cocktail menu is chock-full of classics (and a few seasonal drinks, too), while the Tex-Mex food offerings hits all the right cheesy, rich notes. Bask in the high desert’s sunshine while downing drippy pork carnitas, warm queso dip with chips, and cinnamon-kissed bunuelos for dessert. 53539 Mane Street, Pioneertown. —Cathy Chaplin

For a gorgeous heated outdoor dinner at an historic Hollywood patio: Superba Food and Bread

For a gorgeous heated outdoor dinner at an historic Hollywood patio: Superba Food and Bread.
For a gorgeous heated outdoor dinner at an historic Hollywood patio: Superba Food and Bread.
Matthew Kang

Superba Food and Bread’s takeover of the former Hearth and Hound space looks seamless at first glance. The patio still remains one of the best in the city, with even heating and protection from wind thanks to the courtyard-like setup. Despite colder weather during the winter, this was an extremely pleasant place to have a relaxed dinner. The fare is easy and shareable, from the breads that are baked to plush perfection at Superba’s Venice location to the nduja-packed squid salad. The cocktails are also on point, from a foamy Japanese whiskey sour to a piña colada-like sipper. The service on the patio is great for dogs too — they’ll bring out a water bowl and even a custom peanut butter-based treat for your pup. 6530 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang


November 19, 2021

For a perfect pre-Thanksgiving meal: Swift Cafe

In less than a week, families all over Southern California will be sitting down for the annual Thanksgiving meal. Mine includes drawstring cotton pants and comfy clothes, since mac and cheese is an irresistible treat. So for the next few days, I’ll be dining on less hearty meals, but not sacrificing flavor. Enter Swift Cafe, the Leimert Park beauty of a restaurant where chef Kyndra McCrary prepares a soulful Caribbean menu she developed with a nutritionist. Her grilled jerk chicken keeps balanced notes, while McCrary’s brown butter sweet potato pancakes pop so nicely. Her smoothies take a creative turn with flavors like Key lime pie, but her spaghetti squash with roasted tomatoes, daikon radishes, and coconut bacon is easily a win for both vegans and carnivores. She even serves gorgeous mimosas, if craving some bubbles. The menu change regularly, so be sure to ask what’s fresh. 4279 Crenshaw Boulevard, Leimert Park. —Mona Holmes

For Mexican fare that never fails to surprise and delight: Cacao Mexicatessen

It takes something special to stand out among Los Angeles’s abundant taco slingers, but Cacao Mexicatessen manages to carve out a real niche with its traditional and modern interpretations of regional Mexican fare. Order the carnitas de pato taco — succulent morsels of duck confit tucked in a handmade tortilla along with avocado, pickled onions, radishes, and chile oil. Quite possibly even better is the chicarron de pato taco, with fried duck skin, cabbage, radishes, onions, cilantro, and salsa verde. Served alongside every taco are cebollitas, grilled green onion stalks marinated in lime and olive oil. The weekly specials scrawled on the chalkboard next to the cash register are always worth considering. 1576 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For a return to from for one of Koreatown’s most cherished restaurants: Mapo Kkak Doo Gee

A white rectangular plate with a fried fish on it.
For a return to from for one of Koreatown’s most cherished restaurants: Mapo Kkak Doo Gee.
Matthew Kang

Word travels fast in LA’s Korean community. When local restaurant gossip shared that Mapo Kkak Doo Gee, a classic mom-and-pop Korean strip mall spot on the corner of 6th and Normandie, had changed ownership a few years ago, everyone suspected the quality would change, or worse, go down. Thankfully, these rumors are bogus, as the food is very much at the same level despite the change in ownership. A gloriously fried eemyeonsoo gui (mackerel fish), well-made spicy stir-fried pork (jehyukbokkeum), and fish roe stew, all classic homestyle fare, were on point, while the braised black cod (eundaegoo joorim) showed an almost too-tender preparation (I was okay with it while the rest of my family preferred a firmer braise). And the delightfully tangy, almost effervescent radish kimchi that is the restaurant’s namesake (kkakdugee), is as delicious as ever. Get in early as the tiny dining room fills up during prime dinner hours. 3611 West 6th Street, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

For a warming surprise at the edge of Larchmont: Coffee Coffee

Inside Coffee Coffee on Melrose, just around the corner from the famous Jess Rona pet grooming salon and the always-busy Cafe Gratitude, there is something going on. It’s hard to pinpoint at first, because the shop’s woody touches and ever-present espresso machine make the room feel like any other modern cafe in the city. But on the menu and in the kitchen there is a new kind of pace and direction at play, with dishes like wild mushroom and lentil offering a rich wintery bite that’s as surprisingly colorful as it is savory. The classic breakfast sandwich is upturned here as a decadent two-hander complete with sautéed greens atop a thick omelette of egg and served on edge-to-edge griddled Japanese milk bread. There are decadent and beautiful tarts with season fruits and vegetables; ricotta comes topped with stone fruits and preserved lemon; sunchoke soup is touched off with the low, flavorful hum of roasted coffee. It’s a lot to take in, from a place that may not look like much at first glance, so let’s just hope that Larchmont and the surrounding near-Hollywood neighborhoods know what they’ve got on their hands with Coffee Coffee. 5630 Melrose Avenue, Larchmont. — Farley Elliott


November 12, 2021

For a festive rooftop with flare and skyline views: Cha Cha Chá

Fall can be cruel in Los Angeles. Consistent weeks of cooler temps can fool anyone into thinking that it’s actually fall, but the atmosphere will move the mercury back into the upper-80s this weekend. Best to bring a hoodie or light arm cover right into Cha Cha Chá and enjoy the summer feeling. There’s new things to explore, including Cha Cha Chá’s adjoining lounge La Barra, which opened for cocktails and small bites in early-October. This expands options whether for having drinks with friends, or a full meal made by chef Alejandro Guzman. Either way, it’s a win for anyone craving aguachiles, charcoal-grilled fish, generous tostadas, or cocktails. When the sun sets over the east, be sure to secure a seat facing the Downtown skyline to watch the evening colors range from turquoise to orange, magenta, pink, and ultimately into an incredible dark, deep California blue. 812 East 3rd Street, Arts District. —Mona Holmes

For a warming meal that goes big on flavor: Roots Indian Bistro

The newish Roots Indian Bistro is easy to miss when driving past on Melrose, especially for anyone trying to avoid those pesky left-turn drivers clogging up one of two narrow lanes. But forgoing a stop at this pared-down shop would be a mistake, because that would mean missing out on some of the best new Indian food to hit this part of the city for a minute. While greater LA’s Indian food soul is still rightfully centered around the vast culinary possibilities found in Artesia, Roots makes a case for itself with rich Punjabi butter chicken, warming chana masala, and LA-specific takes like paneer masala fries. Next time you’re on Melrose heading west, slow down and peek to the right; Roots will be waiting. 7265 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood. — Farley Elliott

For a Hong Kong-style breather before the holidays hit: Tam’s Noodle

A plate of fried squid with a confetti of green onions and jalapenos.
For comforting Hong Kong-style hits: Tam’s Noodle House.
Cathy Chaplin

Is it just me or do the last two months of the year always seem to fly by? Though it’s hard to find time amid the holiday rush to take a breather, it’s critical to do so for sanity’s sake. Schedule a date with a good friend or plan for a solo outing this weekend and head to Tam’s Noodle House. Opened during the pandemic, Tam’s is my go-to spot for ultra-comforting and truly restorative Hong Kong-style fare. Start with an order of pineapple buns that come tucked with a pat of salted butter then move on to the salt and pepper squid garnished with a confetti of scallions and jalapenos. Finish with a warm bowl of congee brimming with preserved eggs and silken pork. ‘Tis the season to relish in all that’s good. 120 North San Gabriel Boulevard, #J, San Gabriel. —Cathy Chaplin

For barbacoa de chivo after landing at LAX: Quiadaiyn

Mar Vista’s Quiadaiyn is a casual neighborhood gem serving some of the most underrated Oaxacan food in Los Angeles. The restaurant’s moles are deeply layered (including the vegan rendition, a mole negro served over mixed vegetables), and the barbacoa de chivo — served daily, not just on weekends — is some of the best, or at least most accessible, outside of the barbacoyeros that dot the California barbacoa trail. After a flight home from a cold place, I bypassed the In-n-Out signs to go directly to Quiadaiyn from the airport (a 15-minute drive, exactly) and melted over a bowl of the latter, its warmth and throat-coating spice shaking the airport fatigue off me. 12326 Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista. —Nicole Adlman


November 5, 2021

For effortless flavor and relaxed dinner vibes in Venice: Gran Blanco

Charred eggplant at Gran Blanco.
Charred eggplant at Gran Blanco.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

Think of this lounge and dinner spot as a low-key date spot in Venice from the same folks behind Great White, with an eclectic menu that feels modern without necessarily pandering to trends. The service will likely recommend dishes you don’t want, like the buffalo cauliflower (still tasty, just not as congruous with the meal), so stick to your guns when ordering. Charred eggplants exude polished flavor, while the chermoula-rubbed branzino is so flavorful and well-grilled that the table will fight over the last bite. Lamb riblets are an easy share plate while the staunchly recommended crispy potatoes are actually worth the stomach space. The surprise for me was the very tasty rigatoni bolognese. It’s strange how pasta seems to fit into every darn menu in LA, especially the ones without a specific Italian context, but carb-loving Angelenos couldn’t care less. 80 Windward Avenue, Venice. —Matthew Kang

For great cheesesteaks all the way out in Glendora: West Coast Cheesesteaks

West Coast Cheesesteaks held in hand with meat and cheese.
West Coast Cheesesteaks.
Farley Elliott/Eater LA

If Angelenos know one thing about the San Gabriel Valley city of Glendora, situated near the edge of LA County, it’s Donut Man. The famous Route 66 seasonal doughnut specialist has been turning out the city’s most prized culinary possessions for decades, but that doesn’t mean that Glendora only eats fried dough and sugar. Take West Coast Cheesesteaks for example; the Philly-influenced sub shop is turning out what may be the best cheesesteak anywhere in Southern California (though LA-based Boo’s would offer a polite rebuttal), situated squarely in a strip mall in the thick of Glendora. These are big affairs, cheesy and filled with softly sautéed steak (be sure to get onions and peppers too), the kind of filling meal meant to satisfy travelers and locals each. West Coast Cheesesteaks may not be the most famous restaurant in Glendora, but that’s okay; it may, instead, be the best. 1832-B E. Route 66, Glendora. —Farley Elliott

For clam chowder on cold November nights: Playa Provisions

Playa Provisions
Playa Provisions
Playa Provisions

In a city as restaurant-dense as Los Angeles, it can be easy for even a well-loved spot to fall out of a diner’s regular rotation. Take, for example, my recent visit to Playa Provisions, which reminded me how nice it is to eat good seafood with a body of water as a backdrop — the restaurant’s back patio faces the blue stretch of Playa Del Rey Beach. There are many dishes here that stand out in memory: the latke-like “hashbrown” topped with lemony creme fraiche, egg yolk crumbles, and truffle-infused steelhead trout roe, and the bright and punchy ceviche. But the pancetta-studded salt cod clam chowder, which can be ordered with or without a sourdough bread bowl, is a surprising source of warmth and comfort when the sun goes down and the beach winds pick up, especially if you’re eating outdoors. 119 Culver Boulevard, Playa Del Rey. —Nicole Adlman

For Indonesian flavors on the west side of town: Simpang Asia

I grabbed a table on Simpang Asia’s outdoor patio on a recent weekday evening after nearly a decade away from this Indonesian stalwart serving the Westside of Los Angeles. As my dining companion and I made our way through orders of chicken satay slathered in a peanut-soy sauce, warm and flakey paratha dipped in curry, and a comforting bowl of seafood-laden laksa, I was reminded of how solid the cooking is at this beloved Indonesian institution. While it’s always a treat to try the newest restaurant in town, sometimes an old standby hits the spot just right. 10433 National Boulevard, #2, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin


October 29, 2021

For a pan-South Pacific bacchanalia in Venice: Belles Beach House

Sushi and sashimi platter at Belle’s Beach House.
For a pan-South Pacific bacchanalia in Venice: Belles Beach House.
Wonho Frank Lee

Belles Beach House feels like a fever dream come to life: just feet from the more raucous Venice boardwalk, the leafy, wood-paneled interior transplants you to a nebulous, beachy somewhere between Tulum and Maui. There are tiki heads over the bar and tiki drinks to share (any shaken cocktail can be turned into a punch bowl), but I enjoyed a couple rounds of the stellar Breakwater cocktail, which feels almost medicinal with its mix of watermelon, ginger, and elderflower. It’s not all about the vibe either — the food holds its own at Belles, with dishes like crispy chicken “nuggets” battered with mochiko, a sweet rice flour; fatty crab hand rolls (a sushi platter will run you $55); grilled sweet corn made silky with truffle aioli and shio kombu; and main dishes like miso butter sea bass or wagyu brushed with wasabi cream and melted leeks. Belles’ passionfruit mousse stands out for dessert with its “white chocolate rubble,” a sandy crumble that sparks like Pop Rocks in your mouth. 24 Windward Avenue, Venice. —Nicole Adlman

For spicy noodles in a splashy new location: Mian West Adams

A bowl of noodles with chile oil and fried tofu on top from Mian in West Adams.
For spicy noodles in a splashy new location: Mian West Adams.
Farley Elliott

Don’t be fooled by the chile peppers on the menus at the newish Mian in West Adams; even the servers will tell you that this new outpost doesn’t quite carry the same heat as the San Gabriel Valley original. That’s okay, because diners at this glitzy new corner outpost can still fire up the flames and numbing peppercorns just by asking — or by choosing one of the more fiery main noodle dishes from the compact menu. The mapo tofu noodles won’t light anyone’s hair on fire, but it is perfect for a bit of warmth on a cozy fall day, and is best when a plate of for-the-table crispy dumplings are added to the bill for textural contrast. 5263 West Adams Boulevard, West Adams. —Farley Elliott

For New York-ish-style pizza in the LBC: Little Coyote

A stack of white boxes of pizza with olives on the topmost pie.
For New York-ish-style pizza in the LBC: Little Coyote
Matthew Kang

Last month, Long Beach’s pizza options expanded considerably when Jack Leahy and Jonathan Strader opened a second location of their popular shop, Little Coyote. The original Little Coyote on Fourth Street near Cherry gets ample traffic, but the Los Coyotes Diagonal spot sports a larger dining area, along with a soon-to-be expanded menu. Leahy and Strader found a welcoming community within Long Beach, where customers responded well to the thin and delightfully crispy crust with toppings that skew NY traditional with margherita, pepperoni, and a vegan option with mushroom, spinach, artichoke, garlic, and red sauce. Nab one of the subs (especially the meatball), some Calabrian chiles, and appreciate every bite. 3500 North Los Coyotes Diagonal, Long Beach. —Mona Holmes

For inventive, well-executed Southeast Asian fare that appeals to a crowd: Cobi’s at Dhaba

A spread of dishes including curries and fish at Cobi’s at Dhaba.
For inventive, well-executed Southeast Asian fare that appeals to a crowd: Cobi’s at Dhaba.
Matthew Kang

Santa Monica’s Main Street seems to be blossoming at just the right time, what with Pasjoli, Crudo e Nudo, and now Cobi’s at Dhaba creating a sort of triumvirate of new restaurants that will appeal to flavor enthusiasts. Cobi’s brings strong Southeast Asian flavors from chef Lance Mueller into familiar enough dishes, from coconut laced kanpachi crudi and well-fried nasi goreng to a wide dry-aged slice of branzino surrounded by yellow curry. The star of the night was the beef rendang, brought to a tender scoopable stew and served with a creamy gulai sauce and piquant chile sambal. The flakey roti is the ideal vessel for all of the curries, from the rendang to the butter chicken. This past week, the stylish and comfortably laid out dining room and its open backyard patio was already jammed with eager diners, making this one of the hottest tables on the Westside just barely three weeks into its opening. The people, it seems, have spoken. 2104 Main Street, Santa Monica. —Matthew Kang


October 22, 2021

For a boisterous night out in Brentwood: A.O.C. Brentwood

A.O.C. Brentwood dining room.
For a boisterous night out in Brentwood: A.O.C. Brentwood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Join the good people of Brentwood and let loose this weekend at A.O.C., where the wine flows like water, the cocktails are well made, and the dining room is always humming. The vibe at the newish restaurant from chef Suzanne Goin, and restaurateur and master sommelier Caroline Styne might swing too loud for some, but is just about ideal for those who want to get lost in a crowd of refined revelers. In addition to all that booze and wine, order the timeless bacon-wrapped dates, clams with toast, hand-cut pasta, and all the desserts. It’s going to be a good weekend. 1648 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For fantastic flatbreads filled with herby goodness: Zhengyalov Hatz

Vivid green greens and herbs fill Zhengyalov Hatz’s signature flatbread.
Zhengyalov Hatz’s signature flatbread.
Joshua Lurie

To truly understand the Armenian flatbreads from Zhengyalov Hatz, one has to stand and observe the process. In its full form, the long bread has a hint of green poking through, while the football-shaped bread could hail from any Armenian bakery throughout Southern California. But these are filled with 15 types of proprietary greens and herbs the owner asked Southern California farmers to grow the mix to match the flavor from the Armenia-Azerbaijan region of Artsakh. The result is something that’s perfect to eat on its own, or to sit in the middle of a dinner table for all to consume. A pro-tip, ask for a serving with butter and swoon over the bite. 318 E Broadway, Glendale. —Mona Holmes

For the flavors of Brazil, burning bright: Caboco

Dishes from Caboco in LA’s Arts District.
Dishes from Caboco in LA’s Arts District.
Dylan + Jeni

Los Angeles has never quite had Brazilian food like what’s being made at Caboco in the former Church & State space in the Arts District. There is pork, fried as a single-ingredient starter plate known as torresmo that arrives crispy-skinned and succulent inside. There are pastels, extra-airy pastry pockets stuffed with cheese and greens. There are crisp squares of tapioca to start, salads to push through towards the main courses, and seafood and grilled beef (and more pork) and on and on and on until the end of the evening, capped by cashew fruit tarts and cajá manga, a pureed mango ice cream topped with crispy coconut. It’s all a beautiful ride, meant to blend texture and taste, sense and setting, all together over the course of a night. You might think you’ve eaten Brazilian food in LA before, but you haven’t had Caboco. 1850 Industrial Street, Arts District. — Farley Elliott

For a truly bustling wood-fired experience in Culver City: Etta

Peppersoni with tomato crudo and basil at Etta in Culver City.
Peppersoni with tomato crudo and basil at Etta in Culver City.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

Has there been a busier restaurant in Culver City since Etta opened a few months ago? Culver City has long been a sort of incubator of fast-casual restaurants and seemingly ambitious places that never cut through the top tier. I think Etta will change that perception because it understands at a base level that energy and fun are such important parts of a great dining experience. The food has vaguely Italian elements like pizza and pasta, though those things are as American as burgers and hot dogs by now. Where Etta shines is its ability to serve flavor-packed vegetables, seafood, and meat dishes that appeal to a wide demographic.

Grilled pork jowl, salmon crudo, and roasted oysters with smoked tomato butter take from various cuisines while the pastas have an unexpected quality to them. Cacio e pepe agnolotti sounds good on paper, but the casarecce bolognese, which resembles one of my favorite dishes from Sotto (sadly now closed), is the clear winner. Blistered pepperoni pizza is well made, save for a few too many blackened blobs (unless you’re into that), while the dry-aged branzino is one of the tastiest new fish dishes in town. Dinner at Etta is one of those places where a meal for a group of four to six will seem more affordable than a table for two, so try to bring a crew. 8801 Washington Boulevard, Culver City. —Matthew Kang


October 15, 2021

For rustic, earthy soba in bustling Sawtelle Japantown: Kaz the Soba Place

A birds eye view of soba noodles and accoutrements.
For rustic, earthy soba in the busy restaurant scene of Sawtelle Japantown: Kaz the Soba Place.
Matthew Kang

Pound for pound, there isn’t a more robust dining neighborhood in the city than Sawtelle Japantown. The slot at the end of the prime corner of Sawtelle and Mississippi has played host to various restaurants like Lemonade and the oddball Clusi Batusi, but quietly became Kaz the Soba Place, an on-the-nose description. Boasting tempura, rice bowls, and rustic, hand-cut organic buckwheat soba, the restaurant seems to be the least busy on the block. It’s a shame because the soba is pretty good, with an uneven noodle that tastes earthy and rich, reflecting the high buckwheat content. The chew was satisfying, more substantial but somehow less al dente than the soba at Ichimiann or Otafuku. Could the dipping sauce be a little better? Maybe. Could the spicy ground beef soboro rice bowl look a little more appetizing? Perhaps. Either way, it’s refreshing to have something other than ramen on the block. 2047 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

For soulful Salvadoran cooking: Big Grandma’s Kitchen

With its bright yellow paint job and back-lit signage, it’s hard not to feel giddy when the Big Grandma’s Kitchen truck rolls into town. Track down this “pupuseria on wheels” for a taste of soulful Salvadoran cooking that’s always made to order and superbly filling. The truck’s signature pupusas come stuffed with a range from ingredients — from simple cheese to beans or steak — while the composed plates always include rice, stewed black beans, and potato salad. The plate featuring chicharrones is as delicious as it is decadent. Sweet and caramelized plantains make for an ideal finish. Follow on Instagram for the truck’s latest schedule. —Cathy Chaplin

For cocktails in a lively, darkened room: La Cuevita

I’ve missed bars. Especially after inviting a friend to join me as we huddle together with cocktails and dive into a long catch up session. Highland Park’s La Cuevita is one of those spots, but only if you’re okay with the varying tunes. One night, there was nothing but incredible punk, while another evening blasted old-school rock. On a warm summer night, a DJ played 90s hip hop. Whatever the sounds, La Cuevita’s mezcal selection is ideal and vast. Drinks are reasonably priced, the kind of early 2000s reasonable that we wish could last forever in this cozy bar that’s almost always full of locals who are generally friendly, or just having an intimate time with friends in a neighborhood bar. Which is what a neighborhood bar should be. 5922 North Figueroa Street, Highland Park. —Mona Holmes

For a chance to try an Iron Chef’s fancy food in West Hollywood: Sa’Moto

A wavy medal stand holding three seafood tacos.
For a chance to try an Iron Chef’s fancy food in West Hollywood: Sa’Moto.
Matthew Kang

The little-mentioned but always recognized genre of modern Japanese lounge fare is something every Angeleno should try at least once. Originated by Matsuhisa at his namesake restaurant, the East Coast variant was always the indelible Masaharu Morimoto, an Iron Chef in both the Japanese and Food Network editions of the competitive cooking show. Morimoto’s influence casts a long shadow in cities like Philadelphia, New York, and even Vegas, but hadn’t ventured to LA (except for a forgettable kiosk at LAX). Sa’Moto, a play on words with SBE Entertainment founder Sam Nazarian and the Iron Chef, occupies a residency of sorts at Doheny Room, an ever-trendy West Hollywood clubstaurant where Morimoto’s fits so well it almost seems baked in. The fare isn’t as well executed as Nobu or even Catch, but it’s acceptable and still overall pretty tasty (I would skip the weird tuna tartare tray). The difference between Sa’Moto and its competitors is that the dining room is less about see-and-be-seen and more about relaxing with friends in a stylish environment. And the service is really friendly, too. Try the very solid cocktails, hamachi tacos on crisp wonton ‘tortillas,’ and the delicious buribap. 9077 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood. —Matthew Kang


October 8, 2021

For music venue food that’s a clear cut above the average hot dog: Winston House

A music venue with purple lights, a stage, and small tables surrounding the stage.
For music venue food that’s a clear cut above the average hot dog: Winston House.
Matthew Kang

Venice’s Winston House feels like a genuine surprise, a bona fide musical venue with character and charm to go along with a very good food and drink menu. The night we were there, the house jazz band was warming up. The area is a little packed with tables and patrons, but proof of vaccine (with strong protocols on checking their veracity) helps ease any worries of being in tight quarters (at least for me). The food, from chef Jared Dowling, isn’t overly fussy and is often even playful. Chicken nuggets, a smash burger, and roasted duck tacos are a hell of a lot better than the standard-issue burger or hot dog at venues like this in LA. The kimchi noodles were probably the only miss of the night, served in an adorable takeout box but lacking cohesion. Still, Winston House is a pleasant nightlife surprise in Venice, one that should draw quality musical talent as the months progress (I’m still waiting to see Billie Eilish show up). Note: reservations are required. 23 Windward Avenue, Venice. —Matthew Kang

For some of LA’s best chicken parm: Sunday Gravy

Dishes from Sunday Gravy in Ingelwood, California
For some of LA’s best chicken parm: Sunday Gravy
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

The name Sunday Gravy really says it all. This young, buzzy Inglewood restaurant takes its moniker from the East Coast Italian-American tradition of making big family dinners anchored by thickened red tomato sauce and lots of pasta; the sauce is called gravy, and the connection between families and food is timeless. At Inglewood’s Sunday Gravy, it’s a story of family and perseverance that makes the restaurant stand proud, but it’s the chicken parm, hearty meatballs, and clam and shrimp linguine that make the menu stand out. Stop by before a game at SoFi Stadium, or on a warm, inviting Sunday night without all the football fuss; there really is no bad time to be eating what may be some of LA’s top Italian-American dishes, complete with lots and lots of gravy. 1122 Centinela Avenue, Inglewood. — Farley Elliott

For a bountiful Brazilian buffet: Pampas Grill

Buffets aren’t usually known for careful cooking, but here at this traditional Brazilian comida à quilo joint inside the Original Farmers Market, the food is fresh, flavorful, and paid for by the pound. Move down the line to select from an assortment of side dishes (vegetables, salads, and pastas) and finish at the churrasco station where grilled steaks, sausages, and chicken await. The top sirloin cap and bacon-wrapped chicken are favorites among the carnivorous set. 6333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For pizza that’s designed for comfort: Hail Mary Pizza

The space at Hail Mary Pizza in Atwater Village reminds me of an East Coast joint. Compact, colorful, and situated in an old building with hardwood floors, Hail Mary Pizza is busy and loud. It’s entirely worth it to pick it up rather than paying fees to the delivery apps, just to absorb the feel of the place. The friendly staff is also a draw, but come for the pizza. If available, grab a seat near the window or outside and order Hail Mary’s blistery, thin, gorgeous pizza that’s full of every ingredient that you want. The salami pizza with marinara, capers, fennel, and mozzarella is stunning, as is the rich and tangy Lord Cheesus pie with mornay sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan, raclette, feta, and goat cheese. Cut the richness with a dry champagne or beer, and order the meatballs, too. 3219 Glendale Boulevard, Atwater Village. —Mona Holmes


October 1, 2021

For steamed pork belly in its finest Korean form: Kobawoo

A plate of steamed pork belly with radishes and greens for wrapping and eating.
For steamed pork belly in its finest Korean form: Kobawoo
Matthew Kang

Koreatown favorite Kobawoo opened its dining room to an eager daytime and evening clientele hankering for its incredible bossam, perhaps the finest expression of the pork belly dish in all of Los Angeles. Served moist and sliced thin, the bossam is a marvel here, with balanced porcine richness and hints of soy and other flavorings that I’m sure is a closely held secret. The other dishes will impress here too, imbued with intensity and finesse that belies Kobawoo’s approachable pricing and hefty portions. Try the haemul pajeon (seafood pancake) and naji bokeum, which is the kind of stir-fried spicy squid dish that will put a smile on any fans of Netflix’s Squid Game’s face. 698 South Vermont Avenue, # 109, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

For a food hall adventure outside of LA: 4th Street Market

When dining out with a group with completely different tastes, opt for a food hall. Take a lap around to check out what’s good, order enough to share, and sit down together while marveling at the surprises. And while it’s always easiest for LA residents to venture to Grand Central Market, only a 40 minute drive south of Downtown is Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market. The familiar Burritos la Palma is stationed there, as well as the flavorful and plant-based Naughty Panda, Chunk N Chip’s cookies, along with Mar Seafood’s Latin-Asian flavors. Tea from Loose Leaf Boba is a must, but so is hanging out in the colorful hall. When ready to venture outside, Santa Ana’s historic city center is a stunning place to explore and very walkable. 201 East 4th Street, Santa Ana. —Mona Holmes

For a seaside view and seafood to match: the Lobster

There are restaurants along the beach, and then there is the Lobster, a Santa Monica mainstay that has been up and running (in one way or another) for nearly 100 years. Here, the restaurant’s signature crustacean finds its way into most dishes (including a pretty fantastic and simple lobster-only version of a traditional shrimp cocktail starter), and is always best paired with a few heavy pours of wine and a peek at the waves. While not an inexpensive place to dine — though what seafood restaurant is? — the Lobster still manages to feel like an appropriate place for all, with kids running around while parents slurp oysters in bibs and date night revelers hide in the corners, eager to watch the sun set. It helps, too, that star chef Govind Armstrong runs the kitchen, making for a beautiful blend of comfort food, upper-class oceanside dining, and LA-casual ambiance. This is one spot for the tourists, the locals, and just about everyone up and down the food chain. 1602 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica. — Farley Elliott

For a sugar high-filled pitstop: Donut Man

Swing into the original Donut Man in Glendora to make any eastbound or southbound road trip a bit sweeter. Jim Nakano, along with his wife, Miyoko, purchased the business shortly after they married and settled in Glendora in 1972. The shop makes an array of classic doughnuts like maple bars, glazed twists, and French crullers throughout the day. Also on hand right now are the shop’s famed strawberry doughnuts — imagine a simple glazed doughnut, butterflied like Pacman, and jammed with a pint of ripe and lightly glazed strawberries. If Glendora’s too far a trek, there’s now a location inside Downtown’s Grand Central Market. 915 East Route 66, Glendora. —Cathy Chaplin


September 24, 2021

For a salsa dance party waiting to break out in Little Tokyo: Rumba Kitchen

For a salsa dance party waiting to break out in Little Tokyo: Rumba Kitchen.
For a salsa dance party waiting to break out in Little Tokyo: Rumba Kitchen.
Matthew Kang

Omayra Dakis knew she had a good space going in Little Tokyo when she toured the former Curry House restaurant. Transforming it into Rumba Kitchen, she retained its funky, angular space and made sure the far wall gave it a sense of the street, which makes sense since she’s preparing the kind of food one would enjoy in San Juan or on Playa Piñones. “People cry when they walk in here,” says Dakis, who opened one of the only true expressions of Puerto Rico when she opened Rumba last month. The beautiful fried chiofrito red snapper is a banger from the get-go, with an amazing crust and delicious beurre blanc sauce. Dense tostones complete the dish, though the experience lacks ocean breezes (which, they can’t do anything about this far inland). The lechon mofongo and bacalaitos (salt cod fritter pancakes) were also very tasty. And be sure to try the flan designed by Omayra’s 13-year-old daughter and Master Chef Jr. competitor Maria Dakis. Once Rumba lands a beer and wine license, it’s hard to imagine this place not being the most fun dining destination in Downtown. 123 Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Street, #204, Little Tokyo. —Matthew Kang

For an easy weekend dinner in Pasadena: Luggage Room Take Away

The folks behind Pasadena’s Luggage Room Pizzeria recently took over the Sushi Kimagure space across the courtyard and transformed it into a takeout arm for the full-service restaurant. Luggage Room Take Away allows for carry out, curbside pick-up, and delivery, but there’s plenty of casual seating inside and outside for those who want to linger. The pizzeria’s full menu is offered at the annex including the finest deviled eggs in town (that come topped with bacon for no extra charge), timeless bacon-wrapped dates, and plenty of pizzas, of course. The Gladiator with pepperoni and sausage is great for meat-lovers, while the Mushroom Party and the daily-changing farmers market pie works for vegetarians. Here’s to the weekend. 260 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena. —Cathy Chaplin

For the scene (and food) you already know works: Bacari Silver Lake

There have been a few side-eyes and light whispers found when scanning the sidewalk in front of Bacari Silver Lake over the past couple of months. The new Sunset Boulevard restaurant did take over the long-running and beloved Cliff’s Edge space, after all, though it would be hard to tell when stepping back into the leafy patio for date night once again. The gorgeous, hip dinner destination still throws off the same good lighting and ambiance music that made its predecessor so popular, it’s just that now the food is even more familiar thanks to strategically-placed Bacari locations across the city from Glendale to Playa del Rey. Don’t worry about a thing, as the equally mellow Bob Marley would say, because even staunch former fans would have to admit, sitting on the patio and enjoying a cocktail or three: the new Bacari Silver Lake has kept the fun and the flavor. Every little thing is gonna be alright. 3626 Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake. — Farley Elliott

For a visit to the oldest food site in Los Angeles: Grand Central Market

Reopening of California - during the Coronavirus pandemic.
For a visit to the oldest food site in Los Angeles: Grand Central Market
Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Let’s just say it: the iconic Grand Central Market is one of the best places to eat or drink in Los Angeles. The ideal mix of vendors makes it great, whether its Nicole Rucker’s incredible baked goods at Fat & Flour, pupusas at Sarita’s, bagels or pastrami at Wexler’s, Lucky Bird’s lemony and crispy fried chicken, the 52-year-old Mexican purveyor Roast To Go, the entirely plant-based Ramen Hood, or the longstanding China Cafe, it’s entirely possible for people (especially picky ones) to find something they really love, and then enjoy a meal together as a group. Plus, we are knee-deep in NFL, college football, and on the cusp on the start of NHL and NBA seasons. So nabbing a beer or glass of wine at Golden Road Grand Central Market while watching a game on one of the TV screens is a high possibility. For the non-sports fans, the eye-grabbing Oyster Gourmet always offers sustainable raw bar options with incredible wines under the oyster shell-like tiki bar. It’s lit after 7 p.m. on a Friday night. Just go. 317 South Broadway, Downtown. —Mona Holmes


September 17, 2021

For towering sandwiches in the sunshine: Heritage Sandwich Shop

Maybe it’s the Craftsman home, converted into a sunny, simple sandwich shop. Maybe it’s the picnic tables, shaded along a side street that flows, leafy and bright, towards the ocean. Maybe it’s the owners, brother-sister duo Lauren and Philip Pretty, who make Long Beach’s new Heritage Sandwich Shop sing so sweetly. Or maybe it’s just those sandwiches, behemoths on bread stuffed with high-quality ingredients like roasted Pasturebird chicken or tiger prawns and avocado. Whatever the heck is going on at Heritage, it’s working — particularly the smoked pork belly and tomato and pepper jam sandwich, stacked inside wide slices of country loaf bread. This is peak summertime decadence, a BLT with bite and a smile. When you can’t quite put your finger on all the small things that add up to mean so much; when you can’t stop taking bites as the sunshine flickers through the shade sails; when you find yourself dining out in Long Beach on a warm day and anything feels possible… that’s how you know you’ve hit on the right restaurant at precisely the right time. 2032 East 7th Street, Long Beach. — Farley Elliott

For seasonal moon cakes with all the fillings: Kee Wah Bakery

For festive moon cakes with all the fillings: Kee Wah Bakery.
For festive moon cakes with all the fillings: Kee Wah Bakery.
Cathy Chaplin

I pay attention to the Lunar calendar exactly two times each year — once during January or February for the new year and again around September for the mid-autumn festival. The fall festival lands on September 21 this year, so the Asian bakeries in and around Los Angeles are fully stocked with mooncakes right now. My favorite ones come filled with fruits, nuts, preserved meat, and a single salted egg yolk in the center. When my go-to mooncake purveyor, Phoenix Bakery in Chinatown, didn’t carry this variety, I headed to Kee Wah Bakery in Arcadia to pick up a few up ahead of the holiday rush. For those who are new to the tradition or anticipate the occasion as much as I do, enjoy a mooncake this weekend while sipping tea and gazing at the growing moon. 1010 South Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia. —Cathy Chaplin

For Indian specialties with market options: Bhanu’s Indian Grocery & Cuisine

Plan carefully before making a run to the family operated Bhanu’s Indian Grocery & Cuisine. First, bring grocery bags to fill up staples like basmati rice, dal, frozen naan, cardamom, black tea, snacks, plus all the goods you didn’t know you needed. Once finished, head to Bhanu’s restaurant portion and order from the extensive menu that includes South Indian specialties like dosas or the incredible medu vada (a.k.a. lentil donuts). You will bring food home with these portion sizes. The scent from everything is worth the visit alone, which are likely the items coming from the tandoori oven or hearty curries, or thali combinations which generously comes with a choice of two side dishes, rice, raita, naan, or roti. The combo seafood thali is a worthy option with coconut fish or shrimp curry that’ll rival any Indian restaurant in the SoCal region. 7246 Rosemead Boulevard, San Gabriel. —Mona Holmes

For a feast of LA flavors tucked into fantastic ingredients: Majordomo

For a feast of LA flavors tucked into fantastic ingredients: Majordomo.
For a feast of LA flavors tucked into fantastic ingredients: Majordomo.
Matthew Kang

I’ll boldly admit that before the pandemic, Majordomo was without a doubt my favorite place to eat in Los Angeles. I didn’t partake in its takeout situation while onsite dining was shut down because I could only conceive of enjoying the food while sitting on the relaxed outdoor patio or its bustling industrial dining room. A few weeks ago, I returned and found it exactly as I had remembered more than 18 months ago. The bing was plush, redolent with yeasty, toasty smells , an ideal vehicle for the spiced, stringy lamb. Heirloom tomatoes marinated with a tangy vinaigrette and sided with peaches were so sweet that they almost stung my teeth. A special of thinly sliced pig head and pineapple terrine felt like a room temp ode to al pastor tacos, especially when scooped onto the bing. At the time, entrees were somewhat limited to the spicy bossam, a truly immense dish that feeds five or six. The dish is not a bossam in the slightest, and really shouldn’t be called it, but its heritage as a classic Momofuku icon cannot be denied, and it’s no surprise it’s retained staying power as a popular showcase for dinner parties. Big, meaty hunks throw off smoky, roasty, and porky aromas, making the effort of ripping into the pork shoulder a primal, almost ridiculous task. I’m a big fan of lacing the bottom of the bossam with escabeche, a nod to LA’s love of crunchy, pickled carrots and chiles. Majordomo has smartly kept its onsite dining until it felt confident enough that it could deliver a great dinner experience, and I believe they’ve achieved that standard. 1725 Naud Street, Chinatown. —Matthew Kang


September 10, 2021

For some of the most beautiful and delicious desserts in Los Angeles: Artelice Patisserie

For some of the most beautiful and delicious desserts in Los Angeles: Artelice Patisserie.
For some of the most beautiful and delicious desserts in Los Angeles: Artelice Patisserie.
Matthew Kang

There are a number of amazing places to get pastries and composed desserts in Los Angeles, but perhaps none is better than Artelice, which really digs into what a European-style viennoisserie and patisserie could be. Chef Farid Azarang oversees one of the most extensive and detail-oriented pastry operations in the city, with a spacious outlet in Burbank that seems to be the flagship, while a branch in Sawtelle makes it accessible to Westsiders. With turquoise blue boxes and colorful ornate decorations, everything from the Napoleon to the St. Honore to the various chocolate covered cakes are presented with impeccable style and balance, worthy of an upscale place in Paris or London. The croissants aren’t just the standard varieties either, with Azarang taking inspiration from global flavors like matcha, rose, and orange blossom. The only thing to know is that Artelice has limited service on weekends, so get there before all the good stuff sells out. 117 North San Fernando Boulevard, Burbank. —Matthew Kang

For Mediterranean fare from an LA classic: Zankou Chicken

After a years-long break from eating Zankou Chicken, I went to the new Downtown location to revisit the food I grew up on. Years ago, I simply burned out on the menu after decades of overconsumption. But the new dining room on 7th between Hope and Grand is everything I needed after a short holiday week, with a modern yet retro dining room blaring nothing but the best and cheesiest 80s music. Staff recommended a lule and shish kebab combination washed down with a cucumber lime soda. It’s still great with incredibly tender meat, that classic rice, creamy hummus, and an ample serving of pickled turnips. This is an LA classic. Get to one of Zankou’s many Southern California locations now. 611 West 7th Street, Downtownowntown. —Mona Holmes

For incredible pastries made by a newly minted worker-owned cooperative: Proof Bakery

There’s never a bad time to visit chef Na Young Ma’s Proof Bakery, which opened in Atwater Village in late 2010 and recently transitioned to a worker-owned cooperative. Mornings bring some of the city’s best croissants made with a touch of sourdough starter. The lunchtime crowd is treated to savory tarts and open-faced sandwiches. Available throughout the day is an array of stunning sweets including a superb chocolate chip cookie that comes crisp, caramelized, and complex, with a sprinkling of coarse salt and an abundance of deep, dark chocolate discs. 3156 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For a proper pita and heaps of vegetables: Kismet Rotisserie

Jammy eggs and greens inside a pita sandwich in the sun.
For a proper pita and heaps of vegetables: Kismet Rotisserie
Wonho Frank Lee

LA’s pita game has been strong for years, thanks to the region’s culinary diversity and a general willingness to get the best out of every product available. Still, it can be stunning (in the moment) to score a bite of really great pita, sitting at a sunny yellow table on a blistering summer day in LA. At Kismet Rotisserie, the lunch-through-dinner pita sandwiches come stuffed with delicious chicken or, for those eschewing meat, a hefty pile of crunchy, just-cooked, and in some cases even lightly pickled vegetables. Everything is rich with tahini, and the inclusion of a soft, slightly runny egg puts the whole thing over the top. It’s a great meal made up of great ingredients, and made all the better when wrapped in a lightly burnished, texturally complex pita. Oh, and those schmaltzy potatoes with garlic sauce are pretty great too. 4666 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Feliz. — Farley Elliott


September 2, 2021

For a terrific grilled skewer bonanza in Silver Lake: Greekman’s

An overhead shot of meat on skewers inside a white and blue tray, with bread at the side.
For a terrific grilled skewer bonanza in Silver Lake: Greekman’s.
Andrea D’Agosto

LA in general lacks the kind of upper-middle range Greek food, or Greek food in general outside of Petros (in the South Bay), Papa Cristo’s (iconic and casual), or Avra (posh, expensive, celebrity-riddled). Jonah Freedman sought to fill this gap by converting his namesake Jewish deli into a summery, outdoor-friendly Greek restaurant with a fantastic covered patio and charcoal-grilled souvlaki. The formula is excellent, and the execution is even better. Familiar fare like salads, grilled octopus, and lemony grilled branzino give way to more innovative smoked cauliflower coated with a spicy labne, or pasta-like giganti beans coaxed into tender comfort with tomato and feta. The souvlaki sampler is a must-order, big enough for two to share (or one hefty appetite), with blackened prawns, seasoned ribeye, or seared oyster mushrooms on the platter. It’s all really terrific, especially when paired with Greek orange wines or even the licorice-y ouzo liquor. There might not be a better place to enjoy the last throes of LA summer. 2619 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.—Matthew Kang

For a delightful pizza surprise in a Valley strip mall: Gorilla Pies

An overhead shot of two pizzas on round trays with a metal sheet of cheesy bread in the top left corner.
For a delightful pizza surprise in a Valley strip mall: Gorilla Pies.
Farley Elliott

The Nextdoor threads, group chats, and Facebook posts in and around Valley Village have been lighting up for the past couple of weeks, spurred on by lots of talk about “Pittsburgh-style pizza.” While the objective reality of such a pizza sub-genre is up for (heavy) debate, there’s absolutely no denying the flavor and passion found at Gorilla Pies on Burbank Boulevard. Chef Ben Osher, who has quite literally been around the world and back cooking food, is using this pandemic pop-up turned strip mall restaurant to pull himself back towards his roots. The memories inside of him, of cheesy slices and overloaded hand-tossed pies, are on full display at Gorilla Pies now; each pizza is an opportunity to share those memories with the world. Whether it’s the Green Monster with shiitake mushrooms and a spinach-ricotta sauce, or the Rabbi with pastrami and smoked kraut, there is no other pizza restaurant matching the flavor and personality of Gorilla right now. So can one restaurant’s menu really stand in as an entire genre of regional pizza — or is Osher just trying to hack out a pathway back to his hometown? The answer lies in Valley Village, and is best parsed out over a pizza. 12417 Burbank Boulevard, Valley Village. — Farley Elliott

For a culinary tour through northern Thailand: Pailin Thai Cuisine

The dishes of northern Thailand, a cuisine heavily influenced by neighboring countries Myanmar, Laos, and China, is the specialty at this Thai Town spot. The deep-fried larb balls make for an excellent starter — each wonderfully sour pork nugget fried to a crisp. Don’t pass up trying the restaurant’s popular khao soi noodles, a Burmese-influenced noodle soup comprised of curly egg noodles in a curry and coconut cream sauce. It’s an extraordinarily rich and intensely comforting bowl that’s brightened by galangal and makrut lime. 5621 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For a festive outdoor patio with options and local beer: Blvd Markt

When heading to Downtown Montebello’s new BLVD MRKT, leave room. The welcoming patio has options for all, whether cochinita pibil from the family-owned Los Taquero Mucho, shrimp etouffee from NOLA Cajun & Creole, or pupusas from Vchos, everything is best washed down with caffeine from Cafe Santo or the outrageously delicious Mexican lollipop cider at Alchemy Craft. This shipping container food hall took years to build with a dedication to local businesses and the community as a whole. Owner Barney Santos takes care to craft a vibe-y playlist with everything you can imagine, and umbrellas are moveable as the sun shifts throughout the day. This is a place for family, groups of friends, or solo travelers looking to chill in a welcoming space. Order thoughtfully — sharing is caring — and enjoy. 520 Whittier Boulevard, Montebello. —Mona Holmes


August 27, 2021

For a festive meal on one of West LA’s best outdoor spaces: Hermanito

It’s downright steamy these days, so the best option for dining out is on a patio place that sparks joy. For me, that place is Hermanito on Sawtelle. The owner expanded the dining area to include the side driveway and rear parking lot, and it’s something to behold. There are tons of tables with ample space between them, plus a lush and covered area that takes cues from any tropical climate with wood, plants and faux grass to keep the asphalt temperature down. After taking in the space and staving off hunger with the fried avocados paired with a jalapeno-cucumber mezcal cocktail, order the five spice duck. The handmade flour tortillas, rich mole and duck a la plancha are a smoky treat. Each of the dishes are filling, so bring a crew or an empty stomach, then walk around the busy street which is evokes a busy New York vibe. 2024 Sawtelle Boulevard, Sawtelle. —Mona Holmes

For natural gelato to beat the late summer heat: Ecco un Poco

For natural gelato to beat the late summer heat: Ecco un Poco 
For natural gelato to beat the late summer heat: Ecco un Poco.
Nicole Adlman

This small, surprising gelateria wedged on a busy stretch of West Third in Beverly Grove serves not only what may be the best gelato in Los Angeles, but what may also be the city’s best (if not only?) vegan, gluten-free waffle cone. The shop is run by husband-and-wife owners Alessandro Restelli and Alejandra Unger, who were trained in the craft under gelato master — yes, gelato master — Vetulio Bondi in Florence (Restelli is originally from Northern Italy, closer to Milan; Unger is from Mexico). The Proustian choice, for me, is the Piedmont hazelnut flavor, its namesake a Piedmont hazelnut tree which, they say, is rumored to produce some of the best hazelnuts in the world. For me, it was reminiscent of the nocciola (hazelnut) gelato you can find in comunes across Italy, a perfectly earthy, nutty bite made even better when eaten in Los Angeles’s late summer heat. The gluten-free cone, meanwhile, is crunchy and stable enough to keep the gelato from spilling onto the street. 8318 West Third Street, Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman

For a Brazilian happy hour in the sun: Nossa

For a Brazilian happy hour in the sun: Nossa.
For a Brazilian happy hour in the sun: Nossa.
Farley Elliott

What to do when wandering around at 4 p.m. on a warm Los Angeles afternoon, hungry but not starving (and trying to save a little in the tank for dinner)? If you’re in the Los Feliz area, try Nossa, the newish southern Brazilian spot on Hillhurst. The colorful, inviting space is currently closed for indoor dining but the street side patio seating and sidewalk tables offer more than enough room to sip happy hour wines and peruse the snacks list. There are plenty of bites to choose from, from the pãonini mini sandwiches to the cheese bread to the burger. The latter is a beefy boy (pun very much intended), buoyed by a brisket and short rib mix and made all the more unique thanks to a hefty slice of roasted tomato and some softened hearts of palm. It’s more than a snack, sure, but dinner isn’t for a couple of hours. 1966 Hillhurst, Los Feliz. — Farley Elliott

For hand-pulled noodles served in a slick setting: Noodle St.

It’s all about Chinese hand-pulled noodles at Noodle St., a fast-growing chain with four locations in Southern California. Lunching at the newest outlet in Old Pasadena reminded me of the modern restaurants that serve local fare in pretty environs (complete with air conditioning, cushy seating, and English language menus) that are a common sight throughout Asia. Noodle St. brings that same (somewhat sterile) sensibility to LA. Try the signature hand-pulled noodles — they’re great in the Lanzhou beef noodle soup or prepared with eggs and tomatoes. The beef rolls, scallion pancakes, and lamb skewers round out the menu. 87 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena. —Cathy Chaplin


August 20, 2021

For the kind of comforting LA tacos that never get old: Los Cinco Puntos

For the kind of comforting LA tacos that never get old: Los Cinco Puntos.
For the kind of comforting LA tacos that never get old: Los Cinco Puntos
Farley Elliott

Live in Los Angeles long enough, and there’s every reason to believe that — eventually, if you’re living your life right — you’ll end up at Los Cinco Puntos, the Boyle Heights-East LA classic known for its mixed carnitas and extra-thick tortillas. Made by hand, the dense discs hold fistfuls of slowly-cooked pork of all shapes and cuts, from intestines to skin to shoulder. The guacamole add-on is a must, as are the nopales, leaving each taco teetering on the edge of madness. Two are enough, but three is better here, because you’ll always be chasing just one more bite of tender pork. 3300 East Cesar Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott

For fantastic crudo and more in Santa Monica: Crudo e Nudo

For fantastic crudo and more in Santa Monica: Crudo e Nudo.
For fantastic crudo and more in Santa Monica: Crudo e Nudo
Matthew Kang

I’m not usually one to indulge in crudo for a Friday lunch, but last week a friend and I decided it was due time to try Crudo e Nudo, a very au courant restaurant along Main Street Santa Monica serving incredibly fresh seafood in hand-thrown ceramic dishes and beautiful chilled wines. Chef Brian Bornemann and partner Leena Culhane have a daily mix of fresh crudo, locally caught and considered “sustainable” (so don’t expect bluefin tuna or anything). The fish are served lightly dressed with seasonal ingredients and possibly the most delicious olive oil ever. The tuna toast (yes, there is some tuna on the menu) is presumably caught on a line and chopped up over seeded Gjusta bread while the caviar nachos come with masago, ikura, creme fraiche, and calabrian sauce. Expect to spend more than $100 a person for this luxurious meal, but for the quality and amount of fish, it’s worth it. 2724 Main Street, Santa Monica. —Matthew Kang

For a delicious yuzu shio broth straight out of Tokyo: Afuri Ramen

Ramen and dumplings from Afuri in Arts District.
For a delicious yuzu shio broth straight out of Tokyo: Afuri Ramen
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

Afuri Ramen is barely two months into its Arts District tenure, but the famed ramen shop has already made quite the splash. It’s a bold move, as Los Angeles has a robust ramen culture, with key spots in Little Tokyo, Sawtelle, Gardena, and other South Bay communities. But Afuri’s unique yuzu shio broth is a refreshing reminder of ramen’s traditional shoyu and miso-based varieties. There’s options for all, including those in need of a plant-based broth, or noodles without gluten. But if going for Afuri’s signature style, the yuzu shio ramen comes with a slice of chashu pork, a green splash of endive leaves, and bamboo. While other restaurants offer yuzu shio in LA, it’s nice to shine a light on this style and in a gorgeous bright space with high ceilings and a welcoming patio. 688 Mateo Street, Arts District. —Mona Holmes

For a legendary burrito experience: Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Café

There’s no use trying to pick up your burrito at El Tepeyac Café. It likely weighs over two pounds and is portioned larger than your head. Only a knife and fork will do in this situation, along with an appetite comparable to that of an Olympic swimmer. Get the famous Hollenbeck burrito, a giant flour tortilla crammed to maximum capacity with slow-cooked pork, rice, beans, and guacamole. The massive parcel is ladled with additional pork, making for a sopping and saucy creation of epic proportions. Dine outdoors for limited service or indoors for full-service. 812 North Evergreen Avenue, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

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