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.
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.