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The Biggest LA Restaurant Openings to Know in August

From a nacho spot in Santa Monica to a sandwich phenomenon’s second outpost, here are the most important new spots in Los Angeles

Overhead flash shot of tray of raw oysters on ice with two drinks, one being held.
Oysters at Lillie’s in Culver City.
Dylan + Jeni

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Los Angeles is no stranger to splashy restaurant openings situated in iconic buildings and helmed by big-name chefs. Consider this monthly rundown a go-to guide for the newest and boldest debuts across the Southland. For more under-the-radar restaurant openings, check out this companion list.


Vamos Vamos, Santa Monica

One of the restaurants helping to usher in an exciting new era of dining on Santa Monica’s Main Street, Vamos Vamos is the brainchild of Silverlake Wine owners Randy and April Clement. Since day one, the compact, casual spot has been packed with diners clamoring for New Mexican-inspired, green chile-topped fare like wood-fired pizzas, tacos, tostadas, and nachos piled with toppings like chile verde and carne adovada. With a list of six margaritas that range from hibiscus to spicy, Vamos Vamos feels like a party disguised as a restaurant, and locals are here for it.

A side shot of a plate of nachos and pink cocktails with salted rims.
Nachos and margs.
Vamos Vamos

Workshop Kitchen & Bar, La Brea

Having chef’s Michael Beckman’s seasonally driven tasting menus no longer means slogging through a drive to Palm Springs: Beckman and his team debuted a stunning new outpost of his desert destination in the Continental Graphics Building on La Brea, complete with its signature Brutalist architecture, as well as 14-foot concrete dining “cocoons” in lieu of booths. Relying heavily on produce from the Santa Monica Farmers Market as well as Beckman’s own garden, the kitchen is turning out two five-course tasting menus, one featuring fish and meat, the other completely plant-based. This being Workshop Kitchen & Bar, there’s also a killer cocktail program to go along with the beautifully composed plates.

A modern dining room done in neutral gray tones.
Workshop Kitchen & Bar.
Wonho Frank Lee

Konbi, Culver CIty

Westsiders have been coming out in droves since Konbi’s late-August opening at One Culver, queuing up outside for its signature Japanese konbini-style sandwiches (including, yes, the Insta-famous egg salad) and fresh-baked French pastries. Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery debuted some new items at this location, too, including a crisp ham-and-cheese croissant and bostock made from croissant dough. Plus, there’s an extensive selection of gelato-style ice cream, in rotating flavors ranging from classics like chocolate and vanilla to a superlative dairy-free pistachio number, giving even the most die-hard Konbi fans something novel to try.

A sliced tuna sandwich, a ham-and-cheese croissant, and other assorted pastries on a counter.
A selection of items from Konbi.
Wonho Frank Lee

Hart House, Westchester

Plenty of celebrities have opened restaurants in Los Angeles, but actor Kevin Hart may be the first to open a vegan fast-food restaurant — and its first weekend reportedly saw hundreds of people lining up for Hart House’s meatless burgers, tots, and milkshakes made from a soy-and-oat blend. Hart brought on former Burger King head of culinary innovation Mike Salem to develop the menu, which also includes crispy chick’n nuggets with dipping options like creamy ranch, barbecue, and buffalo sauces. The first location is steps away from the In ‘n Out near LAX, and more outposts are planned in the coming months.

A table with vegan burgers, salads, and tots.
Vegan burgers and tots.
Hart House

Lillie’s, Culver City

The historic Beaux-Arts Culver City Hotel is now under the LA-based Proper Hospitality fold, and with the new ownership comes a Cal-French restaurant, Lillie’s (named for city founder Harry Culver’s wife). The menu weaves between raw bar starters and staples like French onion soup to steak frites, salads, roast chicken, chilled Maine lobster, and more. Plus, there’s plenty of natural wine and a full bar. The opening of Lillie’s also means a return to intimate cafe-style live music nights at the hotel — a welcome blast from the past for locals.

Overhead flash shot of a summer salad with greens and fruit and rose wine.
Cal-French fare at Lillie’s.
Dylan + Jeni

Emmy Squared, Santa Monica

Celebrated NYC pizza specialist Emmy Squared, known for its Detroit-style pies and one seriously large burger, has taken up residence at the growing Santa Monica Brew Works compound at the corner of 20th Street and Colorado Avenue — meaning one of America’s most famous pizzas is now available just a mile from the ocean. Emmy Squared is open for daily evening hours and weekend lunch service spread across a full menu of pizzas, that Big Matt burger, sandwiches (like an equally massive chicken Parm option), salads, and more.

An overhead shot of a square pizza with lots of basil and burned edges.
A margherita pizza at Emmy Squared.
Farley Elliott

Mr. T, Hollywood

Hollywood’s ever-evolving Sycamore Street has gotten a shot of Parisian flavor, thanks to a new outpost of the Marais sensation Mr. T. Chef Tsuyoshi Miyazaki and restaurateur Guillaume Guedj have brought their bistro, which offers upscale takes on street food, to the bustling street, complete with a sprawling patio, chic minimalist dining room done up in raw stone and concrete, and dishes like comte mac cheese served with a mimolette flambé. Los Angeles native Alisha Vannah is heading up the kitchen, offering some only-in-LA dishes like a big-eye tuna crudo.

A minimalist dining room done in marble, quartz, stone and wood.
Mr. T’s dining room and bar.
Wonho Frank Lee


San Laurel at the Grand DTLA, Downtown

The all-day restaurant at Conrad is the first of three from chef José Andrés, who will eventually open a Bazaar Meat on the grand Frank Gehry-designed property just across from Walt Disney Concert Hall. With a wide menu of polished, Asian and Latin American-influenced fare, expect an Andrés level of accessibility with everyday appeal. The 10th floor space has ample outdoor seating with nice views of the mountains, as well as a modern indoor dining room.

A sunset view of a tiled and leather restaurant bar.
San Laurel inside the Conrad DTLA.
Wonho Frank Lee

Sawa, Little Tokyo

The space next to Kaneyoshi’s underground lair in Little Tokyo has turned into a swanky Japanese cocktail bar and omakase experience called Sawa, with chef Anthony Nguyen creating stellar sushi nigiri courses paired with other prepared dishes, all complemented by intricate Japanese-influenced cocktails and hi-fi tunes.

Dimly lit cocktail bar with stools.
Sawa in Little Tokyo.
Wonho Frank Lee

Cali Chilli, Long Beach

Fine dining Indian hasn’t been a feature of the cuisine in Long Beach, but Cali Chilli from chef Manjunath Mural opened earlier this month in Lakewood Village serving things like butter chicken covered with buff pastry, eggplant bharta lasagna, and qulfi with pistachio and saffron ice cream in an arresting, eye-catching space. Could the Michelin Guide finally recognize this level of Indian cooking in Long Beach?

A dome of puffed bread on a warm colander at a restaurant.
Butter chicken with puff pastry at Cali Chilli.
Brian Addison

Tail o’ the Pup, West Hollywood

The 1933 Group has returned the legendary Tail o’ the Pup hot dog stand to its rightful place along Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. The group also expanded the stand’s classic menu to include more than just hot dogs (although they’re very much still on offer with various toppings): Tail o’ the Pup now serves corn dogs, chili and cheese fries, burgers, fountain drinks, milkshakes, and soft serve. Visitors can order at the hot dog-shaped stand, decked out in red, yellow, and white, before snagging a booth, stool, or seat at the building behind.

A tilted look at a hot dog stand in the shade at summertime.
Tail o’ the Pup stand in West Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Maciel’s Vegan Butcher and Deli, Highland Park

Maciel’s is LA’s first-ever plant-based butcher shop, and combines Mexican influences with classic deli touches. It’s the brainchild of Bañales Luna, along with her husband Joe Egender and business partner Dustin Lancaster. The welcoming neighborhood deli has a handful of seats inside and more along the sidewalk, offering cold cuts made from plant-based ingredients like chickpeas, vegetables, seitan, tofu, spices, and brines. Sandwiches include a Reuben made with pastrami, sauerkraut, vegan cheese, and vegan Russian dressing on rye bread, while the Flores is made with Mexican ribs, pickled onions, arugula, and vegan mayonnaise on ciabatta.

Plant-based charcuterie platter at Maciel’s.
Plant-based charcuterie platter at Maciel’s.
Wonho Frank Lee

The Hideaway, Beverly Hills

Several bold-faced names, including owner Jeffrey Best, bartender Julian Cox, and investors Ryan Phillippe and Evan Ross, are behind this new subterranean Mexican hang at the Rodeo Collection. The Hideaway’s menu harkens back to old-school Mexican food with more upscale ingredients: Think pescado zarandeado (grilled branzino with salsa verde, salsa roja, and charred lemon), and a tomahawk steak served with roasted cipollini onions and chimichurri. And given that Cox is involved, there are great tequila cocktails as well, which can be enjoyed on the restaurant’s tile patio.

Buttons that read “Push for Tequila” at the Hideaway.
The Hideaway Beverly Hills
The Hideaway

Canopy Club, Culver City

Yes, it’s now possible to eat lobster frites — that would be a whole grilled lobster served with fries — next to a rooftop pool, thanks to Canopy Club in downtown Culver City. Perched atop the Shay Hotel, the restaurant has serious Palm Springs-meets-Miami vibes, lots of greenery, and great views. It’s the perfect spot to grab some late afternoon sun, cocktails in a carafe, and chill vibes.

Tropical wallpaper and midcentury inspired furniture at Canopy Club.
Canopy Club, Culver City.
Sierra Prescott

Gusina Saraba, South Central

The Saraba Truck has been one of the only places to get Garifuna cuisine in Los Angeles, but now Winston Miranda has brought a permanent location inside Mercado La Paloma in South Central with a stall serving Belizean favorites like jerk chicken and oxtails, as well as traditional Garifuna dishes like hudut, coconut soup with mashed green banana, as well as tapou, fish soup with green banana and root vegetables. Named Gusina Saraba, this stall also has all-you-can-eat fry jacks for weekend brunch.

Plate of jerk chicken with vegetables.
Jerk chicken from Gusina Saraba.
Matthew Kang


Broad Street Oyster Co., Downtown

It’s no longer required to hop on Pacific Coast Highway to nab Broad Street Oyster Co.’s signature lobster rolls and seafood towers. The Malibu seafood sensation opened in Downtown’s Grand Central Market last week. There’s also draft beer and tall stools for counter seating in the former Prawn space. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

An assortment platter from Broad Street Oyster Co.
An assortment platter from Broad Street Oyster Co.
Liam Brown

Capri Club, Eagle Rock

Robert Fleming’s Capri Club beckons passersby with its deep red leather booths and an arcing wood bar. First opened in 1963, Capri Club kept a number of lived-in touches like a worn floor and wood paneling. To drink, a full lineup of cocktails and a separate menu for aperitivi. Puglian-born chef Francesco Allegro oversees the bar bites menu that includes marinated anchovies, tuna-stuffed peppers, and meatballs in sugo.

A daytime shot of a wood-paneled neighborhood bar.
Find lighter bites and strong cocktails at Capri Club in Eagle Rock.
Capri Club

Catch Steak, West Hollywood

Located in the palatial 10,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Fig & Olive on Melrose Place, the contemporary steakhouse comes from Catch Hospitality Group, which also operates seafood hotspot Catch LA located a half-mile away. At the heart of Catch Steak’s menu is a vast selection of beef including Japanese wagyu and American-sourced USDA prime beef. The menu also has a smattering of shareable dishes and mains aimed at those cutting back or refraining from eating beef, like salmon, sushi rolls, and even a vegetarian chicken parm.

40-ounce prime tomahawk at Catch Steak in West Hollywood.
Glitz, glam, and red meat at Catch Steak in West Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Dono, Santa Monica

At chef Brendan Collins’s Spanish spot Dono, expect to find all the classics — from jamon croquetas to bacon-wrapped dates, albondigas with yogurt and grilled octopus with potatoes. Pastry chef Danielle Christie prepares a polished mil hojas with dulce de leche and coffee ice cream, as well as a very appealing chocolate flan with cherry jam and alfajore. To wash it all down is a Spanish-influenced array of gin and tonics, sangrias, and other easy sippers from bartender Gabriella Mlynarcyzk.

Seafood paella from Dono in Santa Monica.
Seafood paella at Dono in Santa Monica.
Wonho Frank Lee

Dunsmoor, Glassell Park

With Dunsmoor, longtime Hatchet Hall and Hart & the Hunter chef Brian Dunsmoor is bringing nearly-forgotten foodways to Glassell Park. The restaurant’s menu, with its aged filigree detailing and nods to regions like the Carolinas and the Pacific, is meant to take diners across time and place. Look for dishes like coal-roasted oysters, lamb tartare, pork rillettes, and more.

A wide shot of several bowls and small plates with ham and pickles.
Regional American dips and pickles at Dunsmoor in Glassell Park.
Wonho Frank Lee

Kuya Lord, Melrose Hill

After two years of cooking in a garage, chef Maynard Llera’s first standalone restaurant opened in Melrose Hill. The menu is still being tweaked and expanded, but so far it hinges on noodle and rice bowls topped with a number of proteins (pork, chicken, and seared tofu). Crowds are lining up early for a taste of Llera’s lechon kawali. The restaurant is open from lunch through dinner starting at 11:30 a.m.

review of a new pop up restaurant kuya lord during covid-19
Pancit Chami with prawns from Kuya Lord’s pop-up days.
Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Mother Tongue, Hollywood

Find Michael Mina’s Mother Tongue perched atop the 75,000-square-foot, five-level fitness club called Heimat in Hollywood. Designed by renowned architect Martin Brudnizki, the rooftop space includes a lounge pool and jacuzzi, in addition to the restaurant. Behind the stoves is Fernando Darin, a 15-year hospitality veteran and former executive chef at Patina. The menu draws myriad influences from Asia, South America, the Middle East, and more.

A plated plate of crispy-skinned fish at Mother Tongue in Hollywood.
Brazilian moqueca at Mother Tongue in Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Pine & Crane, Downtown

Silver Lake favorite Pine & Crane now has a Downtown outlet. The fast-casual restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for now. The menu offers a blend of the original outlet and sister restaurant Joy on York in Highland Park. Diners can score everything from daikon rice cakes and fan tuan to thousand-layer pancakes, pan-fried buns, beef rolls, and a variety of noodle and rice dishes, like the ever-popular minced pork on rice and vegan mapo tofu. Beer and wine is coming soon.

An overhead shot of clusters of meat and a cooked egg on rice in a bowl.
Minced pork over rice at Pine & Crane in Downtwon.
Matthew Kang

Pizzeria Bianco, Downtown

The long-awaited pizzeria from Chris Bianco opened at the Row in Downtown. Lunchtime brings 18-inch New York-style pizzas available whole or by the slice. “This is shit I grew up with, but I call it New York-ish. I didn’t want to get into the authenticity game,” says Bianco. For dinner, Bianco is recreating his famous Phoenix pizzeria and preparing 12-inch blistered pies in a wood-fired oven. This is Bianco’s first official Pizzeria Bianco outside of the Phoenix area.

A blistered pizza with light cream and pistacio.
Pizzeria Bianco is open at the Row in Downtown.
Pizzeria Bianco


Mes Amis, Hollywood

Chef Lincoln Carson is back in Los Angeles with French stunner Mes Amis. On the food front, diners move through a concerto of courses — from seafood starters, like raw bar towers with dayboat scallops and prawns to richer dishes like a duck pate en croute or a savory vegetable galette. Traditional brasserie mains, like steak au poivre, whole poached lobster with charred onions, and large-format lamb Wellington, is also on the menu.

A round savory pastry on a white plate with greens.
Savory vegetable galette at Mes Amis in Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

El Momo, Monterey Park

After decades of serving pork carnitas on the streets, Romulo “Momo” Acosta opened a permanent location in the SGV. Located in the former Z’s Crazy Good restaurant in Monterey Park, El Momo’s menu includes carnitas tacos (pork skin, hog maw, and pork shoulder), plus cheesy mulitas, tortas, and birria. Spicy tortas ahogadas are a new addition to the restaurant, which will be open from mornings to early evening, Tuesday through Sunday.

Pork skin carnitas tacos from El Momo.
Pork skin carnitas tacos at El Momo in Monterey Park.
Wonho Frank Lee

Bagel + Slice, Highland Park

After years of navigating through a pandemic, permits, and of red tape, chef Bradford Kent finally opened Bagel + Slice in the Oxy Arts building in Highland Park. Expect to find bagels served all-day, New York-style pizzas in the afternoons and evenings, and salads to balance it all out. Most notable of all, the restaurant is committed to social, environmental, and financial sustainability.

A bagel topped with cream cheese, tomatoes, pistachio chimichurri, cucumber, red onion, and dill from Bagel and Slice.
The Superfresh bagel topped with cream cheese, tomatoes, pistachio chimichurri, cucumber, red onion, and dill.
Wonho Frank Lee

Pijja Palace, Silver Lake

Pijja Palace brings desi twists to pizzas, pastas, and wings. Under owner Avish Naran’s watch, the Indian sports bar takes as much care in the kitchen as it does in the front-of-house, which boasts 13 flatscreen televisions. Spice abounds on the menu — from okra fries layered with chile powder to chicken wings dusted with Kashmiri red chile and a fiery malai rigatoni with tomato, cream, and coriander. Wash it all down with draft beers, wines, and fun cocktails like a chai whiskey sour.

Rigatoni pasta with a tomato cream sauce and spices on a white plate.
Malai rigatoni at Pijja Palace in Silver Lake.
Emra Visuals

Sonoratown, Mid-City

Sonoratown, the six-year-old Fashion District restaurant known for serving some of the best tacos in all of Los Angeles, debuted its sophomore location in Mid-City more than a year after it was first announced. The specialty here is mesquite-cooked meats served on plush flour tortillas. The cooking style reflects the style San Luis Rio Colorado, the hometown of co-founder Teo Diaz. Expect to find fast-casual-service, colorful design, and pre-packaged tortillas available to-go.

Tacos from Sonoratown.
Mesquite-cooked meats served on plush flour tortillas at Sonoratown.
Matthew Kang

Lodge Bread, Pico Robertson

Fans of the now-closed Hasiba will be pleased to know that the restaurant’s owners, Or Amsalam and Alex Phaneuf, are serving Hasiba’s beloved humus and freshly baked pitas at the third location of Lodge Bread. Also on the bill of fare are breakfast and lunch favorites, like almond butter toast on fermented bread, pastrami melts, jamon beurre, and cauliflower-stuffed pita sandwiches.

Lodge Bread Woodland Hills
Sandwich from Lodge Bread.
Lodge Bread


Kodo, Arts District

The new Kodo looks nothing like anything the Arts District has seen before. Matching light slate tones and lots of stone with blonde wood finishes — all while toggling between smooth lines and sharp corners across multiple dining spaces — the restaurant feels like something pulled across eras. It is both modern and timeless, Japanese and Angeleno, culled from the creative class and plunked down with heavy authority inside of a former firehouse. The Kensho Group restaurant’s menu comes by way of Yoya Takahashi (Hamasaku) and features traditional Japanese flavors as well as a modern sake bar, cocktails, and more.

An overhead shot of a variety of Japanese dishes, mostly on stone plates and bowls.
An overview of Kodo’s menu.
Wonho Frank Lee

N/soto, West Adams

The last time Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama opened a new restaurant was over a decade ago with n/naka. The restaurant remains one of the most difficult reservations in Los Angeles, and now with n/soto, perhaps diners have another chance to try their Michelin-rated food. The restaurant — housed inside a Mid-City space that’s filled with white oak, a long bar, and deep blues and grays — will evolve its menu with the seasons, including recent options like a carrot fennel tartare, Hokkaido scallop sashimi with pickled cauliflower, pepita seeds, and ume plum blossoms, or grilled kushiyaki meats. The new n/soto is a big step for the beloved chefs, a challenge they’re ready to take on.

Carrot and fennel tartare at N/Soto in West Adams.
Carrot and fennel tartare from n/soto.
Wonho Frank Lee

Causita, Silver Lake

Chef Ricardo Zarate opened his Nikkei Peruvian food restaurant Causita on April 19 next door to the recently reopened Bar Moruno in Silver Lake, marking a strong return for the once-dominant force behind spots like Paiche and Mo Chica. The seafood-heavy menu includes starters of ceviches and tiraditos, along with a nigiri causa nikkei. Zarate serves Peru’s traditional potato or causa, with sushi-like preparations of tuna, salmon, and other raw fish served with a side of potato. There are innovative creations here too, like foie gras churro bombs with the citrusy lucuma fruit and cranberry, and a multi-course Nikkei steak omakase that costs $100 a person. As for the former Sawyer space on Sunset, expect a pared-back aesthetic, long corner bar, and that same leafy tiled patio.

An assortment of plates at Causita restaurant in Silver Lake, California.
Small plates at Causita.
Wonho Frank Lee

Outer Reef, Dana Point

Chef John Tesar, known for his many James Beard Foundation award nominations, his time on Top Chef, and penchant for (ahem) speaking up, has finally landed in Orange County. After promising a coastal restaurant there for years, Tesar has this month opened Outer Reef as an ode to the bounty of the sea, moving from many raw preparations like a razor clam tartare, geoduck sashimi, and dry-aged tuna, to grilled items and larger mains. There’s also shareable spot prawn ramen, roasted half lobster, kimchi-glazed halibut, and a black cod milanese to go along with housmade pastas and at least one steak. Outer Reef serves from inside the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, so expect a more upscale experience and views to the sea.

A wide, largely white dining room with ocean scenery beyond at a new restaurant.
The dining room at Outer Reef.
Kevin Marple

Bike Shed Moto Co., Arts District

Massive new motorcycle-influenced cafe and bar Bike Shed Moto Co., based out of London, opened its doors in early April at 1580 S. Industrial Street in the Arts District. The multi-hyphenate space is located across from the Flying Embers Taproom and just down the street from Caboco, with plans to bring this section of Los Angeles all the deep leather, wood, and motorcycle talk it can handle. Motorcycle fans and diners of all stripes can stop in for the all-day menu, the in-the-round cocktail bar, the private membership club, or just to get a haircut, a tattoo, or pick up some merch. Yes, it really is that big (and cool).

A lively evening bar inside a warehouse space.
Hanging out inside Bike Shed Moto. Co.
Wonho Frank Lee


Benny Boy Brewing, Lincoln Heights

After years of development and extensive work at other breweries, Ben Farber and Chelsey Rosetter have opened their cidery and craft brewing operation in Lincoln Heights with a breezy indoor-outdoor space. Sourcing local apples from Five Mile Orchard near Santa Cruz and using a whole flower hop method, the cider gains a natural instead of forced carbonation. Beers are European-influenced, like a California saison with fresh basil. The casual everyday drinking spot also has wine from Pali Wine and pommeau from Spirit Guild Distillery. Hours run Wednesday to Sunday, and parking can be kind of tight, so be sure to bike, walk, or Uber there.

Benny Boy Brewing’s patio in Los Angeles, California.
Benny Boy Brewing’s patio in Los Angeles, California.
Marie Buck

Magari, Hollywood

The former Paley at Columbia Square in Hollywood has switched over to Japanese-Italian Magari as of early March in a modern, rather gorgeous space that retains sweeping windows and gains a nice outdoor patio. The fare, from a trio of chefs in Yoshiyuki Okuno, Enrico Merendino (who is likely to be at the pass most nights), and consulting chef Tony Messina, is indeed Japanese-influenced pasta, crudo, and wood-grilled items. The portions and pricing can be a little head-scratching, but there are gems on the menu like the wood-roasted orata with a katsuoboshi acqua pazza.

Magari’s dining room in Hollywood
Magari’s dining room in Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Bar Moruno, Silver Lake

After a more than five-year hiatus, Bar Moruno’s Chris Feldmeier and David Rosoff have reopened their acclaimed Spanish restaurant in Silver Lake in the former Kettle Black space. The new look is grown up, filling the walls and high-ceiling dining room with both intimate seating and a lively bar. Spanish-inspired drinks might mean a meal starts with a gin and tonic or vermouth, before ordering a tinned fish board. Later dishes could be a tortilla española or Feldmeier’s signature roasted squash with cashews. Bar Moruno fills a real niche filled in LA’s dining scene with modern Spanish fare, a cuisine the city sorely needs more of.

A tall ceilinged restaurant with a wide bar and green stools, plus yellow seats.
Bar Moruno, Silver Lake.
Wonho Frank Lee

Tuk Tuk Thai, Sawtelle

Popular West LA Thai restaurant Tuk Tuk Thai finds a new home on the northern edge of Sawtelle with its spicy, flavor-packed street-inspired dishes like chicken satay, Isaan sour sausage, green curry, and pan-fried noodles. Operators Amanda Kuntee and Katy Noochlaor have experience running their family restaurants Chao Krung and Same Same. The millennial pink interior and modest patio are great for dining on-site while everything travels well for delivery and takeout. The Westside always needs more Thai food, and the return of this spot is a huge boon for the neighborhood.

Dishes from Tuk Tuk Thai in West LA/Sawtelle Japantown with satay and rice noodle dishes.
Dishes from Tuk Tuk Thai in West LA.
Tuk Tuk Thai

Asterid, Downtown

Ray Garcia, previously of Broken Spanish, is back in Downtown, with a set of modernist, LA-inspired dishes located in the former Patina slot at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Meant to be a landmark restaurant for an iconic space, Asterid starts with an octopus roll with Aleppo yogurt, or a cashew muhammara with ancho chiles, pomegranate, and feta. A lamb shank with chile Japones features charred eggplant puree with flatbread while the chicken liver mousse covered with fresh citrus almost looks like dessert. This is fancy but shareable food with Garcia at his most creative, working well for pre-show dinner or a fantastic middle-of-the-week date night.

An assortment of dishes at Chef Ray Garcia’s Asterid in Downtown LA.
Dishes from Ray Garcia’s Asterid in Downtown LA.
Wonho Frank Lee

Ronnie’s, Hollywood

Serving a slew of comfort food likely found in chain restaurants, but upgraded with a chef’s approach, Ronnie Muñoz gained fame during the pandemic with some well-read profiles before taking his food truck and pop-up operation to the multi-faceted building on the corner of Sunset and Tamarind avenues. Expect a bloomin’ onion, chicken tender, skillet cookie, and loaded fries served in a friendly neighborhood-style venue, with cocktails, craft beer, and wine as well.

A light green background with fried tenders and french fries in a black basket.
Fried tenders and french fries.
Ronnie’s Kickin’

Manzke, Pico-Robertson

Chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke didn’t plan to open a Michelin-level upscale restaurant when they took over the former Picca and Sotto building along Pico Boulevard. But when they opened Bicyclette in the subterranean dining room, they decided to make the upstairs and its adjoining mezzanine a true ode to their lengthy careers and the stellar cuisine of Los Angeles. With a mostly French point of view, the Manzkes take the best ingredients available in LA and from the Pacific Rim to do a decadent, luxurious dinner priced well over $250 before drinks come into the equation. While the event isn’t going to be cheap, the quality is there from start to finish thanks to a dedicated staff, stellar vintage wine and spirits selection, and an understated but well-appointed dining room that feels like it’s been there for generations.

Abalone with black truffle in a shell-looking dish.
Abalone with black truffle at Manzke.
Wonho Frank Lee


Camphor, Arts District

Alain Ducasse veterans Max Boonthanakit and Lijo George lead the kitchen at Camphor, located inside the former Nightshade. The former highly regarded restaurant from chef Mei Lin closed unceremoniously during the pandemic, with partner Cyrus Batchan retaining the space and reopening with more or less the same interior. The young chef duo of Boonthanakit (who was the pastry chef at Nightshade when he was awarded Eater Young Gun) and George have a conceptual, mostly French bistro menu with influences from Southeast Asia. Sample dishes include fried baby shrimp gunpowder or roulade of chicken with thyme and jus. The food looks precious and fancy, and the early word is mostly positive.

Bar and open kitchen at Camphor restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles
Kitchen and bar counter seats at Camphor.
Wonho Frank Lee

Pizzeria Sei, Pico-Robertson

Providence and Ronan veteran William Joo opens a small nine counter-seat pizza restaurant with his wife Jessica So in Pico-Robertson with the aim of making of the city’s most notable destinations for the Italian specialty. Modeled after the revered Tokyo pizzerias of Savoy and Seirinkin, Joo makes Neapolitan pizzas with blobby, mochi-like crusts and farmers market ingredients at higher than $20 per pie. There’s a selection of salads and small plates that would make any Italian food lover smile, then a tight list of pizzas featuring everything from a basic marinara or margherita to the more meaty and spicy diavola.

William Joo of Pizzeria Sei puts a pizza into a woodfired oven.
William Joo of Pizzeria Sei.
Matthew Kang

Angelini Ristorante, Pacific Palisades

Longtime Italian chef Gino Angelini has finally expanded his restaurant to the West, this time in conjunction with Amici owner Tancredi Deluca, who took over a space in the Rick Caruso-owned Palisades Village in Pacific Palisades. Find familiar Angelini favorites like seafood risotto, tagliatelle bolognese, and lasagna verde “Nonna Elvira.” Expect a midcentury modern ambience with speckled or marble tabletops, globe lighting, and top notch service as would befit a typical upscale Westside Italian restaurant.

An assortment of dishes and cocktails from Angelini Ristorante & Bar in Brentwood, California
Pasta and cocktails from Angelini Ristorante & Bar.
Dylan + Jeni

Tommy’s, Beverly Hills

This is a pretty confusing name for anyone who likes chili cheeseburgers in LA, but Tommy Salvatore thinks Beverly Hills denizens will likely think differently. Taking over the former Bouchon space in the heart of the Golden Triangle, expect a lot of A-list celebrities and people who crave attention from paparazzi at this grand venue. Chef Vartan Abgaryan does a menu of Italian-inflected fare like cavatelli in light poblano coconut cream sauce or chicken parm with smoked mozzarella. Be ready to dish out cash, and maybe pose for a few errant snapshots.

An overhead photo of two roasted artichoke halves.
Roasted artichoke from Tommy’s.
Tommy’s Beverly Hills

Kato, Downtown

Jon Yao and company are back, this time with a much-upgraded space and kitchen in Downtown at the Row. With partners Ryan Bailey and Nikki Reginaldo, the Michelin-starred Kato has a full menu overhaul plus cocktails and wine, in a 48 seat dining room. The interior decor has a few flourishes, from Yao’s grandfather’s artwork to some adjusting lighting but overall the former M.Georgina vibe remains, albeit with fewer diners and more tweezers (to make each dish). Customers coming in from SGV will love the shorter drive while Westside fans will have to brave more traffic.

Local black cod wrapped in hoja santa with a broth of fish bones and preserved vegetables.
Local black cod wrapped in hoja santa with a broth of fish bones and preserved vegetables from Kato.
Wonho Frank Lee

Maude, Beverly Hills

Curtis Stone’s Michelin-starred tasting menu has a new chef in Osiel Gastelum, who transfers over from the now-closed Somni. Closed for the past two years, the overall recipe is familiar, with a mostly fixed tasting menu drawing from Gastelum’s upbringing in Sinaloa and Southern California, as well as Stone’s elegant perspective. The plateware looks refreshed too, still conjuring grandma’s dishes but with more precision than ever.

Crab with citrus and apple at Maude.
Crab with citrus and apple at Maude.
Andrea D’Agosto

Ryla, Hermosa Beach

Chefs Ray Hayashi and Cynthia Hetlinger are a husband-and-wife team who won’t let anything stop them. Their new restaurant Ryla just opened in Hermosa Beach with a fantastic bifurcated dining room that splits more casual bar seating with an izakaya-esque dining section with modern design. On the plate, there’s everything from fluke sashimi and uni-topped agedashi tofu to Peads and Barnett tonkatsu and glazed New York strip steak. Be sure to order the Penicillin-inspired Grandma’s Cigarettes cocktail for a smoky take on the classic drink.

Wild fluke sashimi with tosazu, mandarines, serrano chile, crispy lotus root at Ryla.
Wild fluke sashimi with tosazu and mandarines from Ryla.
Wonho Frank Lee

Selva, Long Beach

Colombian food doesn’t quite have a strong foothold in Southern California, though that perception might change with Selva, with Carlos Jurado opening earlier this month with experience from Vespertine to Catbird Seat and Husk in Nashville. There are arepas and ceviches, as one would expect, but also grilled specialties, smoked chicken, and buñuelos to go along with the aguardiente sours and other Colombian drinks.

Ceviche from Selva in Long Beach in a dark bowl.
Ceviche from Selva in Long Beach.
Wonho Frank Lee

Ella, Beverly Hills

The team behind Melrose Umbrella Company have taken over the food and beverage situation at the Sixty Hotel in Beverly Hills with this built-for-the-neighborhood restaurant with chef Brian Min at the helm. The versatile Californian menu with international influences and local produce has everything from glazed duck wings and dry-aged branzino to charred eggplant dip and tomahawk steak. The bright dining room, designed in part by Austin Melrose, along with the drinks by Zach Patterson and Dorian De Tappan, make this a swanky good time in Beverly Hills.

Dry-aged grilled branzino at Ella restaurant in Beverly Hills
Dry-aged grilled branzino at Ella.
Wonho Frank Lee


Yangban Society, Arts District

At Yangban Society, owners Katianna and John Hong serve up Korean flavors and a new kind of mixed dining experience that offers lunchtime staples, sit-down dinners, and snacks and merch to-go. Along with branding firm Folklor, the Hongs redesigned the former Bon Temps space to include an airy ground floor complete with an alleyway patio, a bold blue mini-mart, and plenty of communal seating. The centerpiece deli pulls influences from Korean, Korean-American, California cooking, and more. The ever-evolving menu can include things like griddled potato bread, galbi pork ribs, and honey walnut carrots. For dessert, buffalo milk soft-serve from Petaluma’s Double 8 Dairy is a must.

A side angle of long communal tables and empty deli cases in a closed restaurant.
The downstairs deli cases and communal dining room at Yangban Society.
Wonho Frank Lee

Ipoh Koptiam, Alhambra

Home cook Kenji Tang garnered praise on Chinese-language social media platforms before opening Ipoh Kopitiam in Alhambra. The Malaysian cafe’s opening menu includes many Singaporean and Malaysian favorites like kaya toast, Hainan chicken, roti canai, beef rendang, and dry wonton noodles. House-specials include the bak kut teh, an herbal pork rib soup, and char kway teow, Chinese-influenced stir-fried rice noodles.

Ipoh Kopitiam serves Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine at the corner of Garfield and Valley Boulevards in Alhambra.
Ipoh Kopitiam serves Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine at the corner of Garfield and Valley Boulevards in Alhambra.
Ipoh Kopitiam

Mother Wolf, Hollywood

Pasta impresario Evan Funke explores the Roman culinary diaspora at Mother Wolf located inside Hollywood’s historic Citizen News Building. The Martin Brudnizki Design Studio-built space boasts a 3,000-square-foot open kitchen and 150 dining room banquettes, booths, and two- and four-tops. On the menu are classic Roman pastas, like cacio e pepe, rigatoni all’amatriciana, and spaghettone alla gricia, along with burnished Roman-style pizzas and starters like fried squash blossoms and artichokes. To drink are cocktails, Italian wines, and a roaming amaro cart. Snag a seat at the bar or the pizza bartop to look in on the action.

A long look down the middle of a dining room to a red-tiled open kitchen in the back.
The Martin Brudnizki Design Studio-built space at Mother Wolf inside the historic Citizen News Building.
Wonho Frank Lee

Cabra, Downtown

Chef Stephanie Izard takes over the rooftop dining deck at Downtown’s Hoxton Hotel with Peruvian spot Cabra. Partners Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm of the Boka Group are backing the new spot, which follows Izard down a Peruvian path to dinnertime dishes like quinoa and tuna salad, avocado dip with taro and sweet potato chips, and heartier mains like skirt steak saltado, skin-on pork shank, and lots of roast fish and chicken to share. A full bar is also available from beverage director Daniel Dooreck, with options like tonics, pisco sours, and local and Peruvian beers and wine.

An angled photo of a full table of food and drink at daytime inside a new restaurant.
Peruvian fare from Top Chef star Stephanie Izard at Cabra.
Stan Lee

Fanny’s, Mid-Wilshire

Though Fanny’s (named for Fanny Brice) technically opened last fall with daytime fare for folks visiting the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Mid-Wilshire, dinner service commenced just this month. Restaurateur Bill Chait, partner Carl Schuster, and chef Raphael Francois head up this 10,000 square foot, two-story space with a bend towards Hollywood’s Golden Age. Expect to find plenty of tableside flourishes, with suited captains rolling through for cheese service or to slice off a just-seared steak. All manner of preparations happen by cart, from freshly-prepared salads to saucy finishes; the prime rib cutting is a show unto itself. To drink are cocktails from Julian Cox.

A side angle of a thick cut pork chop in a black container on wooden board.
Pork porterhouse at Fanny’s in Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

The Dutchess, Ojai

The Dutchess comes from Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb of Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon empire (Milo & Olive, Huckleberry, Tallula’s). The duo partnered with chef Saw Naing, pastry chef Kelsey Brito, and Kate Pepper of Kate’s Bread for the new eatery. Daytime offerings led by Brito and Pepper lean into breads, pastries, and breakfast fare, while Naing, who previously oversaw Tallula’s in Santa Monica, brings his Burmese-Indian background to dinner. The evening menu includes tea leaf salads, chicken tikka skewers, naan, paratha, aloo puri, and biriyani with yogurt-marinated lamb shoulder.

Cocktails, dishes, and desserts at the Dutchess.
Cocktails, dishes, and desserts at the Dutchess in Ojai.
Elise Freimuth
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