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5 Under-the-Radar New Restaurants to Check Out in Los Angeles

A French bakery in Culver City, Mexican breakfast in Hawthorne, and more

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Phở Gà Số Một in Alhambra specializes in chicken prepared in a variety of Vietnamese ways.
Phở Gà Số Một in Alhambra specializes in chicken prepared in a variety of Vietnamese ways.
Phở Gà Số Một

Brand new restaurants open every day across the Southland, usually without too much fanfare. This periodic compilation spotlights some of the most notable and under-the-radar places that have popped up recently. From the San Fernando Valley to the South Bay, from the Westside to the San Gabriel Valley — let’s dive right in. For the biggest restaurant openings in town, check out this companion list.

December 13, 2022

Koreatown— Find a casual and accessible menu of Korean-inflected Hawaiian cooking at Khawaiian inside the Wilshire Center food court. Appetizers include an assortment of tofu skin pockets (inari) filled with tuna salad, spicy tuna, or seasoned rice, while larger plates come with Spam, beef bulgogi, and teriyaki chicken. 3438 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

West Adams— The folks at Vicky’s All-Day are bringing a globally-inspired menu to the rapidly developing neighborhood of West Adams. Breakfast includes shakshouka, waffles, and chilaquiles, while lunch and dinner mean an array of salads, pizzas, and even shaking beef. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. 5410 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles.

AlhambraPhở Gà Số Một seems to be the spot for chicken enthusiasts. This family-owned newcomer specializes in chicken prepared in a variety of Vietnamese ways, from steamed chicken to chicken noodle soup (pho ga) and curry chicken (ca ri ga). 1257 East Valley Boulevard, Alhambra.

Hawthorne— Con Huevos is here to serve those who cannot get enough of Mexican-style breakfast. Genre standbys like chilaquiles and huevos rancheros share menu space with lesser-known hits like the tamal torta. The restaurant is closed on Wednesdays. 11644 Hawthorne Boulevard, Hawthorne.

Culver City— Downtown Culver City has a French bakery to call its own with Sweet Lily. This is the second outlet of Thibaut Leymarie and Marine Le Faucheur’s boulangerie specializing in house-made bread and pastries. 9516 Culver Boulevard, Culver City.

November 8, 2022

Rosemead— Fans of Chinese morning staples need to swing by Mr. Breakfast, a newcomer to the Square Shopping Center in Rosemead. While the restaurant is open until midnight, breakfast and noodle dishes are only served until 3 p.m. On the Tianjing-style menu are steamed dumplings, soy milk, and fan tuan made with purple rice. 8118 Garvey Avenue, Ste. B, Rosemead.

Sherman Oaks— Chef Roy Elam prepares Italian-leaning, plant-based fare at Donna Jean, which is named after his mother. Prior to opening the first location in San Diego, Elam was the former head chef of Sun Cafe in Studio City and worked for Matthew Kenney and Scott Winegard at Plant Food + Wine in Venice. The menu includes pastas, pizzas, and even a sampling of house-made vegan cheeses. 4720 Woodman Avenue, Sherman Oaks.

Long Beach— Nigerian food goes fast-casual with Sumptuous African Restaurant. Step up to the front counter, where dishes are neatly laid out behind a glass barricade. Ready to ladle a la carte or as part of a combination platter is pepper soup with goat offals, spicy ofada stew with red bell peppers and tomatos, and more. 1909 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach.

San Gabriel— Noodle soup season is finally here, and JCHF Potato Noodle is ready for it. The restaurant’s signature potato starch noodle soup comes with seaweed, bok choy, and bean curd in a savory-spicy broth. Add lamb, beef, cuttlefish balls, and more for a few bucks more. 288 S San Gabriel Boulevard, Ste. 102, San Gabriel.

Artesia— New to the LA Filipino food scene is Mekeni Pinoy’s Pride. In addition to Pinoy standards like pork adobo, pancit, oxtail kare kare, and lechon de leche are lesser-known hits like boom boom soup (beef noodle soup with udon noodles) and mandaragat medley (seafood soup with vegetables). 18152 Pioneer Boulevard, Artesia.

October 12, 2022

Mid-Wilshire— Smack dab on Pico Boulevard between Spaulding and Stanley avenues is Little Miss Cafe, a women-owned shop serving coffee, tea, breakfast, and lunch daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to a host of caffeinated drinks, the cafe serves simple and savory dishes like polenta and eggs with soy chorizo, and an eggplant panini with caramelized onions. 5671 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles.

San Marino— The folks in San Marino are lucky to have Meat & Essentials in their backyard, a neighborhood market that stocks pasture-raised meats and a well-curated selection of daily provisions. An Aussie-style espresso bar and a small food menu of pastries, toast, and sandwiches are just icing on the cake. 2004 Huntington Drive, San Marino.

KoreatownPixiu Mala Hongtang is here for those seeking a hit of mala without having to travel to the San Gabriel Valley. The Korean-slash-Chinese restaurant lets diners select from a buffet of ingredients and various spice levels to fully customize their malatang soup experience. Also on the menu are deep-fried gyozas and fried rice for those who want to keep the numbing spices at bay. 425 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles.

Pasadena— Find pizza, pasta, and neighborhood vibes at Marina, an Italian restaurant from Nader Kaiser (Republik Coffee Lounge) and Gustavo Landgrebe (Tasca Wine Bar and 1810 Restaurant). Expert touches from chef Dylan Stage, like the house-cured duck prosciutto and the made-from-scratch pork sausage, keep the menu feeling fresh. 841 Cordova Street, Pasadena.

AlhambraLily’s Kitchen specializes in Guilin noodles, a comforting bowlful of rice noodles topped with a marinated egg, slices of beef and roast pork, and a plethora of self-serve garnishes (roasted peanuts, cilantro, chile sauce, etc.). Be sure to mix well because the savory sauce is at the bottom of the bowl. 417 West Main Street, Alhambra.

September 13, 2022

San Gabriel— Decked out in red, white, and blue stripes, Love at the Curb is dedicated to Sichuan-style skewer hot pot. Start by ordering a soup base (tomato, mushroom, “special spicy”) and side dishes (crispy pork, dumplings, fried rice), then head to the nearby refrigerators to select various vegetable and protein skewers for cooking in the hot broth. Skewers will be counted at meal’s end to determine the bill. 301 West Valley Boulevard, Ste. 112, San Gabriel.

Westwood— Find French-style burritos at the French Way. “FrenchFolds” come in three sizes (small, medium, and large) and can be customized with fillings like ground beef, chicken tenders, and vegetable spring rolls, along with choice of sauce (ranch, ketchup, barbecue, and more). 1303 Westwood Boulevard, Westwood.

Long Beach— Long Beach finally has a Cuban restaurant to call its own with Azúcar Caribbean Cuisine. The well-appointed eatery serves a Cuban American and Latin-inspired menu. Early hits include the show-stopping paella del mar with fresh clams, mussels, fish, calamari, and shrimp, and the classic ropa vieja. 1169 East 10th Street, Long Beach.

East Hollywood— Painted a fetching shade of magenta, Muerdeme is easy to spot on Fountain Avenue. This fast-casual restaurant with an al fresco takeout window makes homey Mexican plates, including tacos on house-made tortillas, sturdy cemita sandwiches, and mole chicken enchiladas. 4850 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles.

Alhambra— Luyixian takes over the space formerly occupied by the beloved Taiwanese spot Old Country Cafe. Open until midnight daily, the newcomer is already popular with night owls for its mostly Sichuan menu. The pork knuckle served with a house-made red chile sauce is the dish to get. 2 East Valley Boulevard, Ste 1E, Alhambra.

July 20, 2022

Little Tokyo— Udon noodle specialist Aizen opened a stone’s throw away from the original Marugame Monzo in Little Tokyo. Some of the more intriguing offerings include the bibimbap-inspired bowl with kimchi and ground chicken, and the salad udon with leafy greens, bell peppers, and carrots in a tomato soup broth. Rounding out the menu are appetizers, rice bowls, and sushi. 232 East 2nd Street, Ste. B, Los Angeles.

Artesia— Find traditional Ethiopian cooking at Awaze Ethio Fusion and Restaurant. Specialties include the tibs (beef sauteed with red pepper paste, onion, tomatoes, garlic, and jalapenos) and the kitfo (raw ground beef seasoned with herbed butter and spiced chile powder), along with plenty of vegan options. The restaurant originally opened in Cerritos this past spring and recently relocated to Artesia. 18764 Pioneer Boulevard, Artesia.

Cerritos— With two successful locations in Orange County, Smoking Tiger Bread Factory opened its first LA shop in Cerritos. The Korean-owned coffee house serves an extensive drinks menu, along with a line of house-made baked goods including a garlic sausage croissant, mochi pie, matcha scone, and ham and cheese focaccia. 11900 South Street, Ste. 134, Cerritos.

Arts District— Swing by the Rising Sun for a “sidewalk brunch” inspired by New Orleans street cafe culture. The window service-only spot serves up chicken and waffles, po’ boy sandwiches, shrimp and grits, sugar-dusted beignets, and more. Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee is on hand for caffeinating. 1356 Palmetto Street, Ste. 200, Los Angeles.

Los Feliz— Find Lad Nah Silom set up outside the Silom Supermarket in Los Feliz from 5 p.m. until midnight nightly. This makeshift food stall on the edge of Thai Town wok-fires a succinct menu of Thai noodles for $10 per plate. The Bangkok street food vibes here are irresistible. 5321 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

June 8, 2022

Culver City— The restaurant Sexy Beans is named for the national dish of Brazil: feijoada. Under Chef Simoní’s care, the black bean stew is deeply savory with just a hint of smoke. The traditional recipe comes with pork and beef, while the vegan version is made with carrots and beets. 5660 Selmaraine Drive, Culver City.

Little Tokyo— While gyozas are a familiar side dish on many restaurant menus, these delicate Japanese dumplings get top billing at Kaminari Gyoza. Filled with pork, shrimp, chicken, and Impossible pork, the Utsunomiya-style gyozas come pan-fried, deep-fried, or boiled in a soup. 323 East 1st Street, Los Angeles.

North Hollywood— With one successful location of My Fish Stop in Sherman Oaks under Harris Brown’s belt, he’s bringing more Mississippi soul fish to North Hollywood. In addition to classic you-buy-we-fry menu items like shrimp, cod, and salmon, Brown imports catfish from Isola, Mississippi twice a week. 11046 Magnolia Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Koreatown— Find Brother’s Handmade Fishcake inside the Wilshire Center in Koreatown. The specialty here are fish cakes and croquettes, both popular street foods in South Korea. 3500 West 6th Street, Los Angeles.

Pacific PalisadesBlin Blin serves sweet and savory blinis made from owner Alena Logvinenko’s Ukrainian grandmother’s recipe. The blinis here are thin like pancakes and come stuffed with everything from Nutella to lox with cream cheese. 857 Vía De La Paz, Ste. A, Pacific Palisades.

May 4, 2022

Arcadia— Anaheim restaurant Craft by Smoke & Fire opened its second location at the Santa Anita Mall in mid-April, racking up over 100 glowing Yelp reviews in just two weeks. The diverse menu runs the gamut from barbecue staples to hot chicken and even a giant Bavarian pretzel. A third location in Pasadena is slated for the future. 400 South Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia.

Woodland Hills— Find chef Juan Torres’s Pasta Selvatica truck parked daily at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills for lunch and dinner. On the menu are appetizers (mozzarella sticks, fried risotto balls, and braised pork meatballs), a handful of market-driven pastas, and olive oil cake and cannoli for dessert. 5800 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Woodland Hills.

Beverly Hills— Stylish La Ong moves into Santa Monica Boulevard in the space formerly occupied by lifestyle brand Joe & the Juice. The family-owned Thai restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and cooks up the usual suspects like chicken satay, pad thai, and papaya salad. Save room for the roti and coconut ice cream for dessert. 9632 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills.

Sierra Madre— Beloved Altadena sandwich shop Perry’s Joint now has a second location several towns over. Owner Perry Bennett is now in Sierra Madre, constructing the same sky-high sandwiches that have made his original store a hit. The “Hey Joe!” sandwich with hot roast beef, pastrami, toasted hot link, cheese, onion, diced peppers, mayonnaise, and mustard is the one to get. 148 West Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre.

Alhambra— The first LA outlet of hot pot chain Tasty Pot is now open in Alhambra. The menu includes a dozen different Taiwanese-style hot pots ranging from beef to lamb and stinky tofu. Each individually portioned hot pot can be spiced to taste with various vegetable add-ons. 33 West Main Street, Alhambra.

April 13, 2022

Pasadena— The George is hoping to liven things up in mellow Northeast Pasadena with “regional American” cooking and a full bar. Behind the project is restauranteur Richard Brent of Diablo in Silver Lake, along with Pasadena residents Xochitl Cubero and David Renteln. On the early menu are pork chops, Cornish hens, gnocchi, and craft cocktails. 1615 East Washington Boulevard, Pasadena.

Koreatown— Chef Mario Alberto’s culinary resume includes stints at Gjelina in Venice, the now-closed Lazy Ox Canteen in Downtown, and the original Mo-Chica inside the Mercado la Paloma. His lone solo venture Chimu at Grand Central Market was short-lived but critically acclaimed. Now with Olivia, Alberto focuses on approachable vegetarian cooking offering pizzas, bowls, salads, and sandwiches. 205 South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles.

Gardena— New to the South Bay is Top BBQ & Noodle, a Cantonese-Vietnamese restaurant looking to save residents a trip to the San Gabriel Valley or Little Saigon. The menu spans Hong Kong-style roasted meats, dim sum, fried rice and noodles, and Vietnamese beef pho. 1425 Artesia Boulevard, Ste. 21, Gardena.

Westchester— Find a succinct menu of soul food classics at A Family Affair Southern Cuisine on busy Manchester Avenue in Westchester. The restaurant’s specialties include lamb chops, jambalaya, oxtails, and crab claws. Open from noon to 7 p.m. every day except on Wednesdays. 5575 West Manchester Avenue, Los Angeles.

City of Industry— Filipino comfort food is what it’s all about at Almuchow Atbp., a fast-casual spot serving savory Pinoy breakfast and more. Find plenty of garlic rice and fried eggs accompanied by a plethora of proteins including longsilog (sausage), daingsilog (milk fish), marinated beef and pork, and Spam. Open daily at 8 a.m. except on Tuesdays. 1001 East Amar Road, Ste. 110, City of Industry.

March 9, 2022

Long Beach— A modern-looking Thai restaurant named after the northern city of Chiang Rai has opened in Long Beach serving khao soi, boat noodles, and other classics along Anaheim Street. The food looks pretty awesome, with a lot of fresh herbs throughout and a wide menu that has almost every popular Thai dish on it. 3832 East Anaheim Street, Long Beach. —Farley Elliott

Fairfax District— Carb lovers will find a lot to like with Pasta Corner, a new stall at the Original Farmer’s Market serving reasonably-priced handmade pastas. Hot dishes like penne arrabbiata and tagliatelle with truffles are available, though almost everything can be taken home and finished in one’s own kitchen, too. 6333 West 3rd Steet, Ste 510, Fairfax District. —Farley Elliott

Koreatown— Korean barbecue in LA just never stops. A place called Hanu Korean BBQ opened with a familiar menu of a la carte meats, banchan, and barbecue-friendly dishes like kimchi stew and naengmyeon. Quality looks to be a step above an AYCE spot, with large combination options that should provide plenty of food for groups. 2999 West 6th Street, Ste. 104, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott

Larchmont— It’s not every day that a Burmese restaurant opens in LA. Bagan Burmese Kitchen comes to the northern end of Koreatown along Western Avenue, serving tea leaf salad, pork curry, lamb curry paratha, and mohinga. There’s also biryani on the menu but that requires a one-day advance notice to order. 615 North Western Avenue, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott

South LA/Vermont Square— A Salvadoran restaurant called Jaguar Metapan opened along Normandie just south of Vernon Avenue. Think carne guisada, mojarra frita, sopa de pata, siete mares, and antojitos of empanadas de plátano and pan con pollo. The restaurant is cash only. 4800 S Normandie Avenue, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott

January 5, 2022

South LA— Chef, artist, and activist Wo’se Kofi opened Baba’s Vegan Cafe in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of South LA amid the holiday hubbub. The former sous chef at Mister Wisdom and Stuff I Eat is making his signature Jamaican patties, along with a slew of vegan soul selections. The “welcome plate” changes daily and includes a bit of everything, like mac salad, dirty rice, and red cabbage. 6619 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles.

Atwater Village— The vacant Village Tavern is now a temple dedicated to mezcal with Sagrado Mezcaleria + Kitchen. The evenings-only spot serves an Oaxacan small bites menu meant to be paired with cocktails, like the “loca en la cabeza” made with mezcal, absinthe, agave, and grapefruit bitters. 3216 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Manhattan Beach— Chef Al Kim serves a pan-Asian menu with an emphasis on noodles and dumplings at Pa-Do, which means “ocean waves” in Korean. On the menu are traditional takes, like the xiao long bao and pork potstickers, along with playful riffs including a Philly cheesesteak dumpling. 1017 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach.

San Gabriel— Little Saigon’s beloved Banh Cuon Tay Ho now has a LA location. Whereas the Orange County shops provide full service and mom-and-pop charm, this newest outlet is takeout-only, slickly packaged, and Instagram-ready. The restaurant’s signature Vietnamese banh cuon (rice rolls) come filled with traditional pork and wood ear mushrooms or Beyond meat. 529 East Valley Boulevard, Suite 118B, San Gabriel.

Fairfax District— Plant Based As Fuck (PBAF) is here to serve those in the mood for classic fast-food prepared with a vegan bent. On the meatless menu are burgers, chicken sandwiches, breakfast burritos, with fries and tater tots on the side. 345 North La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles.