clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Follow Eater editors each week as they share their favorite dishes around town

Giant buttery hashbrown at Ospi in Venice.
Giant buttery hashbrown at Ospi in Venice.
Nicole Adlman

The editors of Eater dine out several times a week, if not per day, which means we’re always encountering standout dishes that deserve time in the limelight. Here’s the very best of everything the team has eaten recently.


June 27, 2022

Giant buttery hashbrown at Ospi in Venice

Giant buttery hashbrown at Ospi in Venice.
Giant buttery hashbrown at Ospi in Venice.
Nicole Adlman

There’s not much to do on a lazy last weekend in June than brunch at your local neighborhood spot — none more local to me than Ospi near the North Venice entrance of the Venice Beach boardwalk. The brunch menu here is full of breads (three-inch-thick fett’unta spread with mashed avocado, pickled fresno chiles, and a runny egg), pastas, pizzas, and those irresistible round disks of breaded and fried provolone served alongside a creamy vodka sauce, leaving only a few items for the gluten-sensitive set. Lucky for us, one of those dishes is the “giant buttery hashbrown,” which is, in the most ideal way, what it sounds like: a flat, rectangular nest of crispy shredded potato (think a loose, oblong latke) topped with citrusy house-cured Ora King salmon gravlax, zig-zaggy lines of dill labneh, slices of pickled red onion and cucumber, and briny capers. This is my platonic brunch ideal and worth getting to Ospi early for (it sometimes sells out before 2 p.m.). And if you’re wondering, the plate lives up to each aspect of its name — full of intense salted butter flavor, giant enough to split with three people, and satisfying any post-Saturday urge for fast-food-style hash browns. 2025 Pacific Avenue, Venice. —Nicole Adlman

Bò lá lốt at Bé Ù in Silver Lake

Bo la lot at Be U in Silver Lake.
Bo la lot at Be U in Silver Lake.
Cathy Chaplin

Every so often when the stars are perfectly aligned — a.k.a. when chef Uyen Le gets her hands on fresh betel leaves — a vegetarian version of Vietnamese bò lá lốt makes an appearance on Bé Ù’s menu. Even though its made with Impossible beef, the bò lá lốt doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to flavor or texture. The one-of-a-kind herbal taste of betel leaf complements the spiced filling, with the lightest smokey kiss from the grill. A smattering of crushed peanuts and scallion oil add the perfect finishing touches to this Vietnamese classic. 557 North Hoover Street, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Slippery shrimp at Yang Chow in Chinatown

Slippery shrimp at Yang Chow
Slippery shrimp at Yang Chow in Chinatown.
Cathy Chaplin

Yang Chow’s slippery shrimp is near-perfect snacking food. Sweet, crunchy, light, and yes, a bit slippery, these cornstarch-crusted delights are a must when showing someone the breadth and depth of Chinatown’s food scene. Sure, there are better restaurants, older restaurants, and even new, hotter places to dine, but it’s the slippery shrimp that tells a tale of Chinese American innovation and determination across the decades. Better still — it’s delicious and easily eaten as part of a larger group order at a sit-down table or as an on-the-go platter, fork in hand, between several other food tour stops in the neighborhood. There is no wrong way to eat a slightly sugary, slightly vinegary slippery shrimp. 819 North Broadway, Chinatown. —Farley Elliott

Ceviche at Damian in the Arts District

Ceviche at Damian in the Arts District.
Ceviche at Damian in the Arts District.
Mona Holmes

Be sure to walk slowly through Damian in the Arts District. There’s so much to take in at chef Enrique Olvera’s LA spot located in a former warehouse (I’m certain it was a prominent site during 1990s underground rave culture). With a transformation that’s nothing less than fresh thanks to a collaboration between designer Michaela De Bernadi and architect Alonso de Garay, the concrete is smooth and enhanced with soft light, harboring a sleek, sexy feel. The patio with a retractable sunroof shifts the light and brings in a breeze at the right hour. The kitchen has chef Jesús “Chuy” Cervantes at the helm, where he’s preparing incredible dishes. And for the newly launched brunch, Cervantes has an assortment of dishes centered on fish, including a rockfish ceviche. Delicately made with wild rockfish, slices of poblano, corn, and housemade tortillas, the dish suits LA’s 90 degree days. And though the tortillas are a wonderful add, it’s likely that most — like me — will search for a spoon to put as little distance between and this dish and the diner as possible. The crab tostada is equally stunning. 2132 East Seventh Place, Arts District. —Mona Holmes

Balsamic ricotta Detroit-style pizza at Nic’s on Beverly in Beverly Grove

Fluffy pizzas and lamb pasta doesn’t necessarily scream vegan to me, but at Nic’s on Beverly, they absolutely blow Italian vegan food out of the water. Nic’s menu is full of meat and seafood dishes I never thought could be made plant-based, like fish and chips and the lamb gyro burger. We knew we had to try the balsamic ricotta Detroit-style pizza based off a friend’s recommendation, and it did not disappoint. The sweet and spicy balsamic garlic, which was coated onto the crust of the pizza, came through in every bite. The almond ricotta was immaculate, playing well with the fresh arugula. The softer crust made me wish all pizzas were made with this way. The orecchiette pasta made with a plant-based lamb was also also an amazing surprise — the protein’s texture and flavor mimicked lamb almost exactly. The orecchiette pasta was perfectly al dente with a great chew to it. Nic’s is worth a stop for a nice date for vegans and non-vegans alike. 8265 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Julia Hess


June 21, 2022

Smothered pork chops at Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen in Inglewood

Smothered pork chops, corn and okra, and mashed potatoes with gravy served on a round white plate at Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen.
Smothered pork chops at Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen in Inglewood.
Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen

There’s soul food and then there’s the powerful, flavor-packed plates at Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen in Inglewood, which serves heaping portions of smothered pork chops, fried chicken, and meatloaf with a choice of two sides for lunch and dinner. Lunch time means a requisite wait along the sidewalk, though the food comes out quickly. Smothered pork chops are tender, salty, and hard to stop eating with its rich gravy. The red beans and rice, and collard greens, were fantastic complements to the dense sauce. This is the kind of soul food that will keep you satisfied and happy for an entire afternoon. 202 East Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood. —Matthew Kang

Crispy crab at Hansei pop-up in Little Tokyo

Crispy crab at Hansei pop-up in Little Tokyo.
Crispy crab at Hansei pop-up in Little Tokyo.
Cathy Chaplin

While I have eaten countless California rolls in my lifetime, none have taken me aback quite like chef Chris Ono’s rendition made with layers of Dungeness crab, Santa Barbara uni, avocado, and cucumber, served atop a crispy seaweed raft. The three-bite wonder combined wholly familiar flavors in a different format, bringing to focus the chef’s uniquely nikkei point of view and leaving diners wanting more. While it’s impossible to get your hands on this superb dish right now, consider this a sneak peek of what’s to come at Ono’s upcoming Hansei residency at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) this August. 44 San Pedro Street, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

All the sips at Capri Club in Eagle Rock

A corner look at a new bar with wood paneling and red booths, at daytime.
All the sips at Capri Club in Eagle Rock.
Capri Club

Who knew that wood paneling could be this hip? Capri Club owner Robert Fleming, for one. His brand new Eagle Rock hangout is the early front-runner for hotspot of the summer in the neighborhood — a big get considering the competition from nearby spots, like Walt’s, the Hermosillo, and the incoming Dunsmoor — and has been packed since the moment it arrived. Sitting on the sidewalk, it’s possible to catch the entirety of the action inside the small bar and restaurant, where chef Francesco Allegro turns out Italian snacks and barman Nic Vascocu seems to pour whatever the heck he wants.

That’s the beauty of the place really; there are negronis and spritzes and other easy-drinking options for all to enjoy, but it’s deep in the aperitivo list that the place truly shines. Served straight up in small sipping glasses, each is a sub-$10 delight that perks up any evening. Let the newcomers enjoy the everyday stuff on Capri Club’s truncated menu (because well, it’s good) — you’re here to raise eyebrows with an order from deep on the list. 4604 Eagle Rock Boulevard. Eagle Rock. —Farley Elliott

Shengjianbao at Pine and Crane in Silver Lake

One of my favorite comfort foods is dumplings. Soup dumplings, steamed buns, even crispy wontons — there’s something so special about meat pursed up in a blanket of dough. Pine and Crane in Silver Lake is one of those spots that nails it across the board for Taiwanese comfort food, but particularly the pan-fried pork buns (shengjianbao) that transport me to Shanghai where I studied abroad. The shengjianbao are pillowy and fluffy with a crispy bottom and bursting with juicy pork filling. Other essential plates for me are the mapo tofu and beef roll. However, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Like in China, get a bunch of plates and share family-style which is personally my favorite methodology at any restaurant. 521 Griffith Park Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Julia Hess.


June 13, 2022

Crab fried rice at the bar at Kato in Downtown

Crab fat rice at the bar at Kato in Downtown.
Crab fried rice at the bar at Kato in Downtown.
Matthew Kang

Word is starting to trickle out about the stellar bar menu at Kato, boasting a short list of just five or so dishes, including this incredible show-stopping dungeness crab fried rice served in its shell. Boasting strips of tender sweet dungeness crab — easily my favorite kind — with the rich tomalley and other tasty innards, with rice, ginger, soy sauce, and other aromatics, this was a winning dish for a casual Tuesday dinner. The gorgeous presentation and the extra hit of chopped chives elevated this fried rice into something so delicious that I was trying to scoop up every last savory grain of rice inside the shell. Right now the bar doesn’t require reservations, making it an easy way to taste the Michelin-level food at Kato without the hassle of nabbing a table. And the cocktails by Austin Hennelly are delightful too. 777 South Alameda Street, Building 1, Suite 114, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

Galbi and cold noodle combination at Omma Tofu House in Arcadia

Galbi and cold noodle combination at Omma Tofu House in Arcadia.
Galbi and cold noodle combination at Omma Tofu House in Arcadia.
Cathy Chaplin

Omma Tofu House sits in the farthest corner of a hidden away food court in Arcadia. For those who make the effort to find this fast-casual food stall, the reward is solidly prepared Korean cooking that can compete with K-town’s finest. While the combination meals offer slightly too much food for a single diner, I went ahead and ordered the galbi and cold noodle duo because the promise of sizzling meat paired with ice-cold noodles proved too enticing to resist. Both dishes knocked it out of the park — the buckwheat noodles were properly tangy and icy, while the short ribs were impressively savory and tender. Sometimes the most stellar bites are hiding in plain sight. President Square Food Court, 1220 South Golden West Avenue, Stall F, Arcadia. —Cathy Chaplin

Italian Princess croissant at Artelice Patisserie in Sawtelle

Italian princess croissant at Artelice Patisserie in Sawtelle.
Italian princess croissant at Artelice Patisserie in Sawtelle.
Julia Hess

Tucked around the corner of an under construction strip mall in Sawtelle lies Artelice Patisserie, which is only open from Thursday to Sunday. This place is the French patisserie of my dreams, fully stocked with over a dozen different macaron flavors in beautiful bright colors, intricate desserts, and an amazing selection of specialty croissants. My favorite croissant is the Italian Princess stuffed with shitake and cremini mushrooms, basil, and Parmesan. The flavors and depth of the mushrooms are perfectly complemented with the light layers of perfectly laminated dough. Artelice Patisserie absolutely kills it across the board. Make sure to ask about the unique macaron flavors on offer, like yuzu, jasmine, and cassis. 11301 West Olympic Boulevard, Unit 123, Los Angeles. —Julia Hess

Jambon beurre sandwich at Maison Matho in Melrose Hill

Jambon beurre sandwich at Maison MathoI in Melrose Hill.
Jambon beurre sandwich at Maison MathoI in Melrose Hill.
Farley Elliott

It’s hard to figure out what’s better about Maison Matho: the charming off-pink walk-up space hiding on bustling Melrose; the owner taking orders inside wearing a full-sized, towering white chef’s toque; or the food itself. Perhaps it’s all of it at once that makes Maison Matho a sleeper hit for easy grab-and-go cafe needs. The tiny shop turns out a variety of everyday French options, from croissants and tarts to omelettes and sides like simple gem lettuce salads with Dijon vinaigrette, though most folks opt for the crusty sandwiches served on baguette slices. The jambon beurre is sized just right, rich and meaty enough to fill up on but crunchy and acidic enough (thanks, pickles) to not weigh down. It’s a relative bargain for sub-$10, and goes well with a latte and a few minutes spent happily in the sun, watching Melrose roll past. 4770 Melrose Avenue, Melrose Hill. —Farley Elliott


June 6, 2022

Crullers and soy milk at Yung Ho Cafe in San Gabriel

Dishes from Yung Ho, including the cruller at the bottom right.
Dishes from Yung Ho, including the cruller at the bottom right.
Farley Elliott

For anyone missing Taipei these days (or simply looking to dive deeper into LA’s storied and robust Taiwanese food scene), there is Yung Ho Cafe in San Gabriel. The strip mall spot off Valley Boulevard is a haven for Taiwanese flavors, from minced pork over rice to dumplings, noodles, steamed bok choy, and of course those staple, airy crullers that come long and shatteringly thin to almost every able. Add some sweetened soy milk for dunking and sipping to fully enjoy the sense of dining half a world away, right here in Los Angeles. 1045 E. Valley Boulevard, San Gabriel. —Farley Elliott

Camarones a la barbacoa at Coni’Seafood in Inglewood

Camarones a la barbacoa from Coni’Seafood.
Matthew Kang

You know that feeling when you order a dish, take a bite, and decide it’s so good that you need to order another portion? That’s what happened when we got this plate of camarones a la barbacoa at Coni’Seafood’s Centinela location. The sleepier outpost still makes terrific food, including the signature Nayarit-style pescado zarandeado, but these plump, tender shrimp were the star of the table this time. With a spellbinding broth mixing chiles, olives, and tomato, the dish tastes so much like a coastal Italian sauce that it almost begged for some kind of pasta. Instead, there’s rice to help mop up all the flavors. And in case you’re wondering, we did finish two whole platters of the camarones a la barbacoa. 4532 S. Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

Sushi rolls at Sushi Fumi in West Hollywood

Hina roll at Sushi Fumi in West Hollywood.
Hina roll at Sushi Fumi in West Hollywood.
Julia Hess

I’m originally from Philly and grew up eating Genuardi’s supermarket sushi with my dad, so one of my favorites parts about living in LA that I don’t take for granted is the abundance of great fresh sushi spots. While it is amazing to have some of the best sushi chefs in the world here that serve up to-die-for omakase feasts, I love that there is a sushi spot for every occasion, from fast-casual to high-end. My favorite neighborhood spot for a weeknight dinner is Sushi Fumi in West Hollywood. This week, we ordered the Hina, Miu, and tuna lemon special rolls. The Hina combines my love for shrimp tempura with spicy tuna and a kick of jalapeno. The Miu’s highlight is the crispy onions, contrasting with the soft albacore and spicy tuna. Saving the best for last, the tuna lemon roll is paired with avocado and topped with a jalapeno sauce and small lemon slices that makes this feel so delicate and light on the palate. The best move here is to order a bunch of different rolls for the table (but no shame if you want all the tuna lemon rolls to yourself). 359 N. La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Julia Hess

White asparagus with morels at Fia Steak in Santa Monica

White asparagus with morel mushrooms at Fia Steak.
White asparagus with morel mushrooms at Fia Steak.
Matthew Kang

A second trip to Fia Steak yielded even more intel about Brendan Collins’s luxurious Santa Monica steakhouse. First, the menu is a tad more approachable with steaks that don’t necessarily cost over $100 (though the bistecca alla fiorentina is still around). Second, the menu continues to offer some high-end ingredients like white asparagus topped with morels, Hokkaido scallops, and Maine lobster risotto, but one thing Collins nails across the board are the portions. Yes, prices are high, but the kitchen doesn’t skimp on the plate. Take this plate of white asparagus — plump and juicy, mildly flavored but absolutely sloshed with umami-riddled morels, arguably the best mushroom out there. The buttery sauce helped it all come together, with minced chives helping to balance out all the rich flavors. This was an exercise in luxury that didn’t need any meat to amplify the quality. 2458 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica. —Matthew Kang


May 31, 2022

Dirty chicken at Citrin in Santa Monica

Dirty chicken at Citrin in Santa Monica.
Dirty chicken at Citrin in Santa Monica.
Matthew Kang

What’s the best deal in fine dining in Los Angeles? One could argue the whole roast chicken covered with bread crumbs at Citrin, the former Melisse (which is now cordoned off to a separate dining area) that still very much feels like an upscale restaurant except with a fully a la carte menu. The “dirty” chicken, so called because of the textured outside, is an incredible feast for two people and priced at $78. Yes, that’s a lot for a whole chicken but it also comes with a side of luxurious buttery mashed potatoes (more like a Joel Robuchon-style pommes puree), sauteed mushrooms (including some morels), and regal albuferra sauce. There are even some roasted vegetables like onion and asparagus to round out the dish. The chicken itself is wonderfully juicy and textured like it was roasted for an unreasonably long time at a low temperature. Coupled with some starters like the classic lobster bolognese or surf clam ‘chowder’, it made for a fairly approachable dinner without the fanfare (or price tag) of a whole tasting menu. Citrin says this exact chicken preparation will eventually be sold a la carte at his upcoming Main Street Santa Monica takeout spot (whenever that opens) for an even lower price. 1104 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite A, Santa Monica. —Matthew Kang

Malai rigatoni at Pijja Palace in Silver Lake

Malai rigatoni at Pijja Palace in Silver Lake.
Malai rigatoni at Pijja Palace in Silver Lake.
Cathy Chaplin

I can’t stop thinking about Pijja Palace, the brand new Silver Lake restaurant serving up Indian takes on pizza, pasta, and bar bites. The dining room lights up with smiles and flat screens, while the cooking is equal parts familiar and exciting. Most of all, I admire the confidence and vision of owner Avish Naran. In a city that can play to the hits a little too safely when it comes to restaurants, it takes some real guts to bring forth a concept that requires diners to have some faith and fun. From the looks of things so far, Naran’s risk is paying off. The crowds are happy sipping old fashioned cocktails made with cardamom bitters, while dunking lentil-battered onion rings in mango chutney. Nearly everyone orders the malai rigatoni, the housemade pasta bathed in an irresistible tomato masala sauce. The creamy gravy clings to every crevice. 2711 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Fried chicken at Go Go Bird in Culver City

Fried chicken at Go Go Bird in Culver City.
Fried chicken at Go Go Bird in Culver City.
Go Go Bird

It’s arguably the best sound to hear when eating: the violent crunch of crispy fried chicken. We’re lucky to have so many fried chicken options in Los Angeles, and that includes chef Brandon Kida’s Go Go Bird. There’s not a single wing or tender that sits under heat lamps, and Go Go’s Japanese marinated Jidori chicken arrives impossibly hot. Kida’s Koreatown upbringing along with his love of Pioneer Chicken and fast-food is on display here, as he applies Chinese chile oil along with Szechuan chiles to boost the flavor. There’s a choice of dipping sauces that complement perfectly. But if fried chicken seems a little too heavy, order one of the vegetable or pork gyozas with more chile oil and call it a day. Citizen Public Market, 9355 Culver Boulevard, Culver City. —Mona Holmes

Seared sugar snap peas at Detention in Santa Ana

There is plenty of fun still to be had at Detention in Santa Ana. The 4th Street restaurant — previously the location of Playground, one of the most progressive Orange County restaurants of the past decade — is pushing out playful takes on spring excess, like vadouvan carrots with golden raisins or some seriously good snap peas. Seared off on a plancha (there’s a window into the kitchen from the dining room where one can even see the action as it happens) and laid over a wide round of tahini, this is the dish to get right now, before things transition into summertime. Chef John Parker rotates his menus often while never deviating from the restaurant’s core directive: have a blast making bold, flavorful food. If anything the sugar snap peas work so well because they’re relatively subtle compared to the chicken liver mousse and cheesy bread and rich, impossible-to-stop-eating ‘bacon’ tartine made with oyster mushrooms. Those snap peas show the breadth of what’s possible at this Santa Ana space — and it’s no wonder Orange County is showing up to support. 220 East 4th Street, Santa Ana. —Farley Elliott


May 23, 2022

Ox tongue curry rice at Ryla in Hermosa Beach

Ox tongue curry rice at RYLA in Hermosa Beach.
Ox tongue curry rice at RYLA in Hermosa Beach.
Cathy Chaplin

Chefs Ray Hayashi and Cynthia Hetlinger are cooking their hearts out at Ryla, located just steps away from the Hermosa Beach pier. The menu, which draws from Hayashi’s Japanese American roots and South Bay upbringing, is chock-full of dazzling dishes. It’s hard to think of a better starter than the plush Hokkaido milk bread served with a rich and creamy tobiko seaweed spread. Also highly recommended are the daily specials featuring freshly caught seafood — on my visit, the hamachi sashimi served simply with wasabi and pickled seaweed and calendula flower impressed with its restraint. While it’ll be hard not to fill up on shareable plates, set aside some gastro real estate for the ox tongue curry served with steamed rice. The deeply fragrant gravy, coupled with the twice-cooked and tender-as-can-be tongue, is as good as it gets. A jolt of freshness comes from pickled ginger and a smattering of spring vegetables. 1220 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach. —Cathy Chaplin

Malted chai soft serve at Pijja Palace in Silver Lake

Malted chai soft serve at Pijja Palace in Silver Lake.
Malted chai soft serve at Pijja Palace in Silver Lake.
Cathy Chaplin

I’ll admit to a high-level of curiosity when talking to Pijja Palace owner Avish Naran about his restaurant. I loved the idea, plus it was in one of Silver Lake’s iconic spots. I initially worried about what he described as an “Indian pizza parlor and sports bar” being gimmicky, but it’s a place I look forward to visiting again. Order tons for the table and share, but leave room for the soft serve. Both flavors are served in a tiny and very frosty glass, and while the cookies and cardamom are delicious, the malted chai flavor screams wonderful. Little balls of malted chocolate and light sweetness are what makes this dessert special. Sharing spoonfuls almost feels like you’re at an old-school soda fountain shop, but with infinitely better flavors and the NBA on full blast. 2711 West Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake. —Mona Holmes

Black and white garlic spaghettini at Spartina on Melrose

Black and white garlic spaghettini at Spartina on Melrose.
Black and white garlic spaghettini at Spartina on Melrose
Julia Hess

On the great hunt for the best happy hour meal deals, I checked out Spartina on Melrose. Needless to say, Spartina’s extensive happy hour menu did not disappoint — the menu includes everything from full pasta dishes to pizzas and paninis, all for under $15. I settled on the pizza bianca (spinach, Swiss chard, broccolini, leeks, Parmigiano) and the black and white garlic spaghettini. The spaghettini is a dream pasta dish for garlic lovers — filled with deep-roasted garlic flavor, complemented with Pecorino, and a kick of spice — making it the favorite at the table. Spartina offers a daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a great outdoor patio. 7505 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles. —Julia Hess

Galbijjim from Soban at Eeeeeatscon in Santa Monica

Galbijjim from Soban at Eeeeeatscon.
Galbijjim from Soban at Eeeeeatscon in Santa Monica.
Matthew Kang

Soban’s refined Korean fare rarely steps out of its Olympic Boulevard space, but this weekend at Infatuation’s Eeeeeatscon event in Santa Monica, the beloved restaurant served mini versions of its celebrated galbi jjim for just $11. The tray came with a handful of Soban’s textbook kimchi, cured to a very strong flavor but great for balancing the slightly sweet, tender short rib. Each bite was undergirded by chewy purple rice, something that isn’t necessarily healthier than the plain white style, but certainly more visually interesting. Fans of the galbi jjim can get a full size portion every day (except Tuesdays) at Soban. 4001 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

Marinated mushroom sandwich at Peasant’s Deli in Solvang

It’s early summer travel season, and for thousands of people that means a trip to the Central Coast — specifically that Danish tourist town Solvang. From Sideways jokes to new restaurants run by familiar LA faces to an absolutely massive weekend brunch culture, there’s something for just about everyone. Lately the scene has even grown to include Peasant’s Deli, an offshoot of the popular Peasant’s Feast restaurant that is meant to be more of a takeaway of sorts, a place to stop in for a sandwich, a splash of wine, and to pick up some tinned fish and bread to take to a nearby winery or park. While the menu of sandwiches offers staples like a cold cut combo, it’s the entirely meatless mushroom option with smoked provolone, peppers, onions, and artichoke spread that steals the show. Oh, and the place also offers caviar bumps and cones of shaved jamon iberico for folks needing to step things up a notch. Again: Somehow Solvang does it all. 473 Atterdag Road, Solvang. —Farley Elliott


May 16, 2022

Sundubu-jjigae at Surawon Tofu House in Koreatown

Soontdubu and fried mackerel combo at Surawon in Koreatown.
Sundubu-jjigae at Surawon Tofu House in Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

Surawon Tofu House’s reputation precedes it. By now, it’s well-documented that the sundubu temple makes its own soft tofu each day and has long been a favorite of food publications in Los Angeles, including this one. It took me far too long to make a first visit, but I finally did over the weekend when I realized I needed a spicy kimchi sundubu-jjigae to awaken me from my vacation slumber. The hot stone bowl delivered, but so did everything else: the sweet, spicy, acidic banchan; the crispy-bottomed, seaweed-flecked bibimbap; the soy-marinated galbi-jjim. Don’t sleep on Surawon — it is, deservedly, the best soon tofu house in Los Angeles. 2833 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman

Dirty burger at Crack in Long Beach

A close up shot of a griddled burger with lots of cheese on a green table.
Dirty burger at Crack in Long Beach.
Farley Elliott

On a sunny day, surrounded by well-worn fairway grass, swaying palm trees, and the swirl of a light coastal breeze, it can almost feel like the back patio at Bixby Village Golf Course is a personal hideaway just for close friends. Indeed, many of the regular golfers at this tiny nine-hole course do know each other, but make no mistake: the center of the party is Dave Trepanier’s burgers. The beguilingly simple, decided unsmashed burgers are thick, rich, and hearty thanks to a generous scoop of onion and bacon jam on top. The Dirty is particularly powerful thanks to the addition of chipotle sauce and the removal of all vegetable toppings; check it out the next time the patio calls — that is, if you can get a seat right now. 6180 Bixby Village Drive, Long Beach. —Farley Elliott

Roti canai at Ipoh Kopitiam in Alhambra

Roti canai at Ipoh Kopitiamin Alhambra.
Roti canai at Ipoh Kopitiamin Alhambra.
Cathy Chaplin

Every meal at Alhambra’s thriving Malaysian spot Ipoh Kopitiam ought to begin with the roti canai. The kitchen is ready for the demand, so in no time at all a server will bring out two properly ballooned, crisp-golden roti served alongside a small pot of spicy curry. Part of the fun of eating roti canai is that it’s a total hands-on affair — tearing into the bread, letting out its steam, ripping off a portion, and dipping it into the deeply flavorful broth. The chances of some of the turmeric-laced curry dripping on one’s clothes while transporting the roti from bowl to mouth is highly likely, but truly worth it, so go ahead and dive in headfirst. 1411 South Garfield Avenue #104, Alhambra. —Cathy Chaplin

House special fried noodles at Lao Xi Noodle House in Arcadia

House special fried noodles at Lao Xi Noodle House in Arcadia.
House special fried noodles at Lao Xi Noodle House in Arcadia.
Matthew Kang

Taking over the former Cindy’s Noodle Land along Baldwin Avenue, Lao Xi Noodle House has expanded to a second location in Arcadia, bringing a wide array of fresh noodle expertise to this busy stretch. While San Gabriel, Monterey Park, and Alhambra get the lion’s share of attention in the SGV, Arcadia might be the unsung hero of the region’s excellent Chinese cooking. Lao Xi’s fantastic house special noodles, studded with tender pork pieces and cooked to an ideal bite, could be the best plate of noodles in Los Angeles under $15, especially with a portion good enough for a table to share. I enjoyed how the vegetables, from the white onions and celery slices to the mushrooms, retained their texture, adding to the harmony and seasoning of the dish. 921 S. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia. —Matthew Kang

Crab cake Benedict at Bacari on West 3rd

Crab cake Benedict at Bacari on West 3rd.
Crab cake Benedict at Bacari on West 3rd.
Julia Hess

Tucked behind a small tunnel off West 3rd Street lies Bacari, a courtyard oasis and restaurant serving up one of my favorite brunches in LA. On the menu at this Venetian and Mediterranean restaurant are cicchetti (small plates) that allow diners to order many dishes to sample — my rule of thumb is to get at least two plates per person. The caramelized Brussel sprouts with a tart pomegranate molasses and creme fraiche are a must on every visit. I also like to try new dishes, so this week I ordered the crab cake Benedict. The crab cake is panko-crusted and topped with a silky grapefruit hollandaise. There’s only one crab cake per order, but it’s filling, rich, and allows for more room to try other plates. This is definitely a new favorite of mine. 8030 West 3rd Street, #3/4, Los Angeles. —Julia Hess

Large meat combo at Quarters Korean BBQ in Koreatown

Sometimes it’s best to go big — or in the case of staple Koreatown hangout Quarters Korean Barbecue, to go large. The satisfying combo option (second only to the “jumbo” tray that includes shrimp and other delicacies) is meant for a group of four to five, and can easily feed that many over a night of drinking, music, and great conversation. Toss in a few extra sides or maybe a second order of bulgogi to really set the night off, and don’t forget the full bar, snacky seafood pancake starters, and soju. Quarters is the kind of place where every night feels like something special, and that’s no small feat in a neighborhood already so adept at keeping the party going. 3465 West 6th Street, Koreatown. —Farley Elliott


May 9, 2022

Pastrami classic cheeseburger at HiHo Cheeseburger in Studio City

Pastrami classic cheeseburger at HiHo Cheeseburger in Studio City.
Pastrami classic cheeseburger at HiHo Cheeseburger in Studio City.
Eddie Sanchez

Is pastrami strictly necessary on any burger? In Los Angeles, that is (and has been) a source of serious debate. Obviously the meat-on-meat, salt-on-salt combination can be a bit overwhelming for some, but when the balance hits just right it’s a thing of Southern California beauty. It helps that at quickly expanding HiHo Cheeseburger, the pastrami comes from RC Provisions, the top name in the local game — and that the beef arrives as a slightly thick, well-griddled grass-fed wagyu patty. A double burger here, with pastrami, is still under the $15 mark, no small feat for the quality and consistency found at HiHo. And besides, when doubling up with pastrami, cheese, and meat, it’s best to pay for the good stuff. HiHo Cheeseburger, now open in Studio City at the Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge. 12833 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City. —Farley Elliott

All the mochi dishes at N/soto in West Adams

Crudites with mochi flatbread at N/soto in West Adams.
Crudites with mochi flatbread at N/soto in West Adams.
Cathy Chaplin

For those who can’t get enough of the bouncy, stretchy chew of mochi, it’s definitely possible and highly encouraged to build an entire meal around the ingredient at N/soto. The crisp-tender crudites served with warm mochi flatbread, creme friache, and eggplant dip make for an irresistible starter — the flatbread’s toothsome chew just can’t be beat. Moving onto the agemono (deep-fried) section of the menu, select the agedashi mochi. The contrast between the warm broth and fried mochi is truly something to experience. Served alongside are perfectly cooked shiso-wrapped shrimp that feel gratuitous in a way but wholly welcomed. And finally, don’t miss the coffee pudding with mochi balls for dessert. There’s much to love about chefs Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama’s latest restaurant and the abundance of mochi on the menu is just the start. 4566 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Ricotta hotcake at Great White in Venice

Ricotta hotcake at Great White in Venice.
Ricotta hotcake at Great White in Venice.
Mona Holmes

When making plans around weekend brunch at Great White, nothing else matters but this: get there early. Or, just plan to wait with friends and family, read a book, cue up a podcast, or anything necessary to bide time while waiting for a table to open up at the Venice or Larchmont locations. The patios are breezy, all employees don white, and the food stands up. Coffee is the thing to order at this Australian cafe founded by owners Sam Trude and Sam Cooper, as is the banana bread — with a gluten-free option — and topped with salty whipped butter. But the ricotta hotcake with whipped chai ricotta, maple syrup, market fruits, and hazelnut dukka with sesame seeds, coriander, and cumin. It’s filling and cornmeal-like, flavorful and worth sharing with a table while sitting underneath an umbrella and people-watching the weekend away. 1604 Pacific Avenue, Venice Beach. —Mona Holmes

Trio marcaibo tostones at Amara Cafe in Pasadena

Trio marcaibo tostones at Amara Cafe in Pasadena.
Trio marcaibo tostones at Amara Cafe in Pasadena.
Julia Hess

After an eventful day at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, my friends and I found ourselves at Amara Cafe in Old Town Pasadena for a late lunch. This Venezuelan cafe serves up everything from arepas to cachapas to churros. I decided on the tostones trio and shared an order of the churros with dark chocolate. The three tostones came topped with beef, pork, and chicken, along with some slaw, and served with nata criolla, sweet plantains, and black beans on the side. The crispy tostones with juicy, flavorful meats made for an amazing lunch entree. Definitely finish your meal with an order of the churros with a decadent chocolate sauce for dipping. Amara Cafe is not to be missed on your next lunch date in Old Town Pasadena. 55 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena. —Julia Hess


May 2, 2022

Shrimp, beef, and chicken patties at Little Kingston Jamaican Restaurant in View Park-Windsor Hills

Shrimp, beef, and chicken patties at Little Kingston Jamaican Restaurant in View Park-Windsor Hills.
Shrimp, beef, and chicken patties at Little Kingston Jamaican Restaurant in View Park-Windsor Hills.
Nicole Adlman

After a hike up the steep set of stairs marking the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, my appetite was similarly elevated. We headed immediately to Little Kingston Jamaican Restaurant in View Park-Windsor Hills, which still operates from a takeout window with adjacent patio seating (the indoor restaurant has not reopened since the start of the pandemic). When it was our turn, we ordered a smorgasbord of some of my favorite Jamaican dishes: ackee and saltfish, a creamy combination of the yellow, springy meat of the ackee fruit, sliced peppers, and tangy salted cod served with rice and peas, vinegary cabbage, plantains, and a piece of a crisp festival; a small cauldron of chicken soup, the broth thickened and deeply orange from pumpkin, potato, and carrot; and, of course, patties on the side — two each of jerk chicken, curry chicken, shrimp, and classic beef. The patties were all satisfying, but I especially loved the shrimp rendition, its flaky crust a tangerine color darker than the turmeric-spiced yellow crust of a traditional Jamaican beef patty. The freshness of the food and broadness of the menu is what makes Little Kingston maybe the best Jamaican restaurant in Los Angeles — those patties are not to be missed. 4716 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman

Oxtail pho at Pho Saigon Republic in Chinatown

Oxtail pho at Pho Saigon Republic in Chinatown.
Oxtail pho at Pho Saigon Republic in Chinatown.
Cathy Chaplin

Located underneath the Metro Gold Line tracks, Pho Saigon Republic can be hard to find at first but persevere because the beef noodle soup here is truly excellent. Bowls come in both small and large sizes, and while the former would have provided plenty of sustenance I’m not mad that my dining companion insisted on the heftier serving. The move here for a party of two is to order a bowl of the house special pho (dac biet) that comes with rare beef, brisket, tripe, and meatballs, along with a bowl of the oxtail pho. Split the proteins down the middle for a meaty tour de force — a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. 818 North Spring Street, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Kai Ryssdal sandwich at Wax Paper in Frogtown

Kai Ryssdal sandwich at Wax Paper in Frogtown.
Kai Ryssdal sandwich at Wax Paper in Frogtown.
Damla Ercan Heard

Wax Paper, a tiny counter shop with locations in Frogtown and Chinatown, proves what a good sandwich can do. Staple ingredients like roast beef and turkey are elevated with flourishes like marinated veggies and honey butter. The Kai Ryssdal may look simple, however, the taste is anything but — albacore tuna, a celery slaw, green onion vinaigrette, and black olive aioli are served on a freshly baked French sesame roll. The sesame seeds’ sweet and golden notes made it a great accompaniment to the acidic ingredients. Get the sandwich to-go and enjoy it by the LA River. 2902 Knox Avenue, Los Angeles. —Damla Ercan Heard

Brooklyn Bee at Speak Cheezy in Long Beach

Brooklyn Bee at Speak Cheezy in Long Beach.
Brooklyn Bee at Speak Cheezy in Long Beach.
Farley Elliott

It’s not so much a pizza war in Long Beach right now as it is a meeting of the minds. The city has been hit with some spectacular options in the past couple of years, including stalwart Little Coyote with its two locations and long lines. The newest entrant is Speak Cheezy on 4th Street, the no-nonsense shop that started as a pop-up serving out of an unmarked van. Chef and owner Jason Winters now has a shop to call his own on one of the city’s busiest blocks, and he’s turning out blistered sourdough pies hot and fast. Speaking of hot, the spicy salami and fermented Fresno chile honey option known as the Brooklyn Bee is quickly becoming one of the place’s best sellers — and for those looking for a touch of extra warmth, there are house-pickled jalapenos to add as well. If this is what a pizza turf war looks and tastes like, then it seems like every side is going to get what they want. 3950 4th Street, Long Beach. —Farley Elliott

Mantee at Mantee Cafe in Studio City

Mantee at Mantee Cafe in Studio City.
Mantee at Mantee Cafe in Studio City.
Julia Hess

Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been slowly eating my way through all the amazing Armenian restaurants the city. This week I ventured to Mantee Cafe, a backyard oasis hiding in Studio City, to try its namesake dish. Mantee was a snack always available in my family’s freezer while growing up, so I was excited to experience the Armenian dumplings as a fully plated dish. Mantee Cafe serves its crispy meat-filled mantee with a garlicky yogurt, sumac, and red pepper powder. Mixed together, every bite is a drool-worthy burst of flavor — the yogurt complimenting the spiced meat and the varying textures between the crispy mantee and saucy yogurt. I’m definitely excited to come back here and explore more of the menu. 10962 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City. —Julia Hess

Toasted egg yolk at Jean Georges in Beverly Hills

Toasted egg yolk at Jean Georges in Beverly Hills.
Toasted egg yolk at Jean Georges in Beverly Hills.
Cathy Chaplin

There are times when it’s necessary to return to the classics, to appreciate a legendary chef in an iconic restaurant. In today’s case, it’s Jean Georges Beverly Hills. And the dish is the toasted egg yolk. First, Petrossian Ossetra caviar is amazing, but when it’s layered between thinly sliced housemade brioche and delicate egg yolks — it’s heaven. The brioche is lightly toasted, and while tempting to eat with a knife and fork, the construction allows one to pick it up and eat by hand. Nothing falls apart on this classic dish, and you’ll wish there was more instead of just two bites. At the very least, there are seven more courses to try if opting for the seasonal tasting menu. And while the molten chocolate cake might sound cliche, remember that the chef brought this excellent dessert to American palates many decades ago. 9850 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills. —Mona Holmes


April 25, 2022

Pescado zarandeado at Coni’seafood in Inglewood

Pescado zarandeado at Coni’seafood in Inglewood.
Pescado zarandeado at Coni’seafood in Inglewood.
Matthew Kang

During a recent trip to LA, I inhaled as many tacos as possible for lunch and dinner. But for all the Mexican food I tasted, the pescado zarandeado (about $31) at Coni’seafood was my most memorable bite. The simply prepared snook was grilled to perfection with just the right amount of smokiness and charred edges. I tore into the white flesh and didn’t even bother folding it into a warm tortilla with caramelized onions half the time because I wanted to savor every bite of the fish. Eater LA editor Matt Kang, who drove me from the northeast side of town to Inglewood, insisted I try this dish as a lesson in Mexican cooking done right. I think it’s time for me to book another trip out West. 3544 West Imperial Highway, Inglewood. — Bao Ong

Hokkaido scallop crudo at Campo é Carbón in La Puente

Hokkaido scallop crudo at Campo é Carbón in La Puente.
Hokkaido scallop crudo at Campo é Carbón in La Puente.
Mona Holmes

I spent 30 minutes driving on the 60 into La Puente on Saturday night where the Campo é Carbón pop-up carefully curated everything — from perfect playlists (disco, Anderson Paak, and low-key beats) to smoky mezcal cocktails, and the gorgeous candle-lit backyard inspired by trips to Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe. The Hokkaido scallop crudo, delicate and balanced, was only one of the many standouts. Chef and co-founder Ulysses Gálvez combined the scallops with orange, yuzu, and chile. I wanted to order a second one, but waited to see what else was on the docket. I was glad that I held off because the octopus with chicharron gremolata, marlin taco, and the pork chop with pickled mustard seed were lovely. Make your way up to scope out the custom fire pit, where Gálvez works over an open fire. You’ll likely meet co-founder Adriana Alvarez, who makes her way around the patio that she decorated. You’ll be thinking about a lot on the way home, but especially those scallops. —Mona Holmes

AYCE Sunday feijoada at Caboco in the Arts District

AYCE Sunday feijoada at Caboco in the Arts District.
AYCE Sunday feijoada at Caboco in the Arts District.
Matthew Kang

I’m a big fan of Brazilian food, considering my parents grew up in Brazil and I spent most celebratory meals at home eating churrasco or feijoada. It’s rare to see a restaurant fully lean into the weekend Brazilian ritual, but Caboco has a nifty Sunday brunch that serves all-you-can-eat black bean stew with all the fixings, including collard greens, rice, and even caipirinha-laced sausage. The gritty farofa brought the entire meal together, and servers were more than happy to replenish dishes as we ran out. The feijoada itself, deep with porcine flavor and smoky from hunks of beef, was almost exactly how my dad would make it. The spicy pimenta peppers added a punchy, vinegary kick too. This is definitely something I would enjoy again for brunch. 1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

Truffle tagliatelle at Sestina in Culver City

Truffle tagliatelle at Sestina in Culver City.
Truffle tagliatelle at Sestina in Culver City.
Julia Hess

Hiding in plain sight in downtown Culver City is Sestina, a vegan restaurant masquerading as a standard Italian restaurant where Matthew Kinney brings a plant-based twist to traditional Italian cooking. We started with the arancini, then split the tie dye pizza and tagliatelle. All three dishes were flavorful choices, however my favorite was the super-creamy and cheesy truffle tagliatelle. The sauce was bursting with truffle flavor, while the fresh tagliatelle made for a great pairing. I’m so genuinely astonished by this fully vegan meal that it made me consider the vegan life, especially if this is what plant-based food can taste like. Definitely check out this spot for a night out — it’ll impress even your most stubborn non-vegan friends. 9725 Culver Boulevard, Culver City. —Julia Hess

Sobrassada panino at Horses in Hollywood

Ssobrassada panino at Horses in Hollywood.
Ssobrassada panino at Horses in Hollywood.
Cathy Chaplin

There is much to love on the menu of the very popular, very tasty restaurant Horses. The endive Caesar salad graces nearly every table, while the crowds would mob if the Cornish game hen ever left the menu; not to mention the off-menu Herman vodka pasta that hits a delicately spicy note. But the dish that haunts me time and again is the sobrassada panino, a seemingly simple appetizer of crustless bread, spicy sausage, and sticky honey. The even toasting gives the panino an irresistible crunch, while the honeyed flourish plays nicely with the sausage’s savory spice. It’s tough to get a last-minute table at Horses right now, so sidle up to the bar for a drink and these finger sandwiches. 7617 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Rooftop sushi at IO Rooftop in Hollywood

With all the growth that Hollywood has seen over the past year or so, it’s still remarkable that places like IO Rooftop at the Godfrey Hotel exist. The unfussy open-air hotel bar and lounge is perfect for that next LA daytime getaway, and isn’t overstuffed with the usual elbow-to-elbow crowds currently packing the neighborhood. Add in views of the high rises and the ocean, and IO Rooftop makes for an unforgettable option for a night (or a day) out, complete with cocktails, wine, and a whole bunch of sushi meant to share among friends. This summer promises pool parties, more attention, and plenty of heat, so get to IO Rooftop now before the lid really blows off the place. 1400 Cahuenga Boulevard, Hollywood. —Farley Elliott


April 18, 2022

Tortilla Espanola at Bar Moruno in Silver Lake

Tinned fish, eggs, potatoes, and more shown from overhead on a wooden table.
A selection of dishes from Bar Maruno in Silver Lake.
Wonho Frank Lee

A table at Bar Moruno in Silver Lake might be the hottest seat in Los Angeles right now. The corner of Sunset where the revived restaurant lives is pulsing with energy and inside, the space, formerly Kettle Black, feels similarly kinetic, with servers weaving around the divider that separates the long, lively bar area from the diners scooping buttery, salty tinned fish onto slabs of crusty bread. Many dishes stand out in memory from a night at Moruno — the pan con tomate, with cherry tomato confit that pops immediately in your mouth; the wood-fire roasted prime rib-eye, studded with flaky sea salt and finished with olive oil — but for me, the eye-fluttery, breath-shortening moment came from the tortilla Espanola: layered potatoes collapsing from the melty weight of whipped eggs and olive oil. Each bite was better than the next, but that was true for everything at Bar Moruno. Secret is definitely out. 3705 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman

Braised lamb at Lulu at the Hammer Museum in Westwood

Braised lamb at Lulu at the Hammer Museum in Westwood.
Braised lamb at Lulu at the Hammer Museum in Westwood.
Cathy Chaplin

It doesn’t get any more serene than lunching on the sun-speckled patio at Lulu. Situated on the ground floor courtyard of the Hammer Museum, Lulu brings a bit of Berkeley to a bustling part of town from legendary chef Alice Waters. With two menus available — a three-course prix fixe for $45 and an a la carte “bar menu” with dishes large and small — it’s easy to choose your own adventure here. The Easter Sunday set menu included tender asparagus served with smoked salmon, a red wine-braised lamb with springtime vegetables and crispy polenta, and a slice of olive oil walnut cake with Meyer lemon ice cream and strawberries. The kitchen’s commitment to coaxing the purest flavors from each of its impeccably sourced ingredients was apparent with every bite. The lamb was especially memorable with its sweet and snappy fava beans and sugar peas, and seriously soppable red wine sauce. A bit of course salt and lemon zest brightened the bowl just right. Lulu feels right at home in Los Angeles. 10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Southern Thai fried chicken at Anajak in Sherman Oaks

Southern Thai fried chicken at Anajak in Sherman Oaks.
Southern Thai fried chicken at Anajak in Sherman Oaks.
Bao Ong

The Eater New York and Los Angeles teams often tease each other when it comes to the East Coast-versus-West Coast superiority complex surrounding our city’s restaurants. I won’t delve into this debate that spans tacos, bagels, pizzas, and much more. But after a visit to Anajak, I’ll give LA at least one win. Our five pieces of Southern Thai fried chicken ($19) arrived hot and crispy. The chile-spiked nam jim sauce and side of sticky rice topped with fried shallots were also great accompaniments to a dish I wish I could order on a weeknight to my shoebox-sized Manhattan apartment. While the chicken was stellar, what set this restaurant apart was its extensive list of natural wines. Our not-too-sweet Riesling was an ideal pairing that tempted our table to place one more order. We don’t have a Thai restaurant quite like this in New York — yet. 14704 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks. —Bao Ong

Bucatini with bone marrow at Tesse in West Hollywood

While Coachella-goers were partying it up, it left Angelenos the time to actually enjoy all their favorite things without the traffic and crowds — including restaurants. This weekend I enjoyed a fun and quiet happy hour at Tesse in West Hollywood. Tesse offers up a great selection of menu items and drinks for its daily Sunset Hour specials, but the real dish that shines is the bucatini with bone marrow from the main dinner menu. While the tableside preparation of the bone marrow being stirred into the pasta is absolutely a luxe experience, that first bite of the succulent bone marrow and duck prosciutto bits in a cream sauce had me dead and gone to heaven. The bucatini is perfectly al dente and provides a solid chew in contrast to the tender bone marrow and cream sauce. To find a high-quality fancy pasta dish in LA for under $30 seems like a miracle, but alas, it is here at Tesse. Come for Sunset Hour to enjoy drinks and shared plates to start (I recommend the cauliflower), but don’t deprive yourself of the bucatini. 8500 Sunset Boulevard, Ste. B, West Hollywood. —Julia Hess


April 11, 2022

Omakase at Sushi Sasabune in West LA

Omakase at Sushi Sasabune in West LA.
Omakase at Sushi Sasabune in West LA.
Nicole Adlman

Westside omakase icon Sushi Sasabune doesn’t need a modern interior, gold leaf flakes, or a rare sake list to compete with the strong slate of sushi restaurants in Los Angeles. Instead, it focuses on the freshness of the fish, obsessive knifework, and service that feels attentive and omniscient — staff will anticipate your questions and needs before you even articulate them. Whether you spring for the Japanese omakase ($145-150, depending on what’s served that day) or the more elemental omakase priced at $95, the quality of the fish, which is sourced by the chef each morning, stuns (highlights from a recent meal include seared baby tuna and mussel clam sashimi, melty toro, and rich monkfish liver). The restaurant has a small but cozy outdoor patio facing the KFC across the street, a contrast that makes the nuance of the meal even more enjoyable; diners who want to watch the chef at work can reserve the counter. 11917 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman

Tacos at Sonoratown in Downtown

Tacos at Sonoratown in Downtown.
Tacos at Sonoratown in Downtown.
Cathy Chaplin

I insisted on a Downtown lunch outing on a recent Friday when both my husband and daughter were off from work and school respectively. It’d been far too long since we’d been in the heart of Los Angeles together, immersed in the Fashion District’s seemingly endless spools of fabric and electric weekday bustle. After placing an order for a whole lot of tacos, a chicken chivichanga, and a steak caramelo, we snagged seats just outside the Sonoratown’s door and settled in for some of the best tacos in town. The ones filled with chopped and grilled steak were as good as ever, while the tripa taco took us aback with its assertive and musty profile. The awesomely smoky chicken-filled taco made for a pleasant surprise. We polished off the entire order as city busses whooshed on by. 208 East 8th Street, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Beef noodle soup at Mandarin Noodle House in Monterey Park

Beef noodle soup at Mandarin Noodle House in Monterey Park.
Beef noodle soup at Mandarin Noodle House in Monterey Park.
Farley Elliott

The beef noodle soup is the gateway at Mandarin Noodle House, the staple Monterey Park spot that has been turning out trusty Taiwanese food for more than four decades. It’s hearty, dark broth feels instantly enriching; the thick stumps of beef still hold some softened chew; and the housemade noodles are bounce-y and satisfying, perfect for a midday meal of slurping satisfaction. From there, tables pile high with beef rolls and cold noodles and small arrays of vegetables for snacking, plus tea (always tea) on the side. It almost always ends up being too much food, but that’s the appeal of places like Mandarin Noodle House — they implore people to bring groups of family or friends, to share amongst those closest to us, to snack until there’s simply no room left. And then, they bag up the leftovers for another meal, another shot at that large bowl of beef noodle soup. Another reminder of just how vital the San Gabriel Valley is to Los Angeles. 701 W. Garvey Avenue, Monterey Park. —Farley Elliott

Capellini marechiara at Lavo Ristorante in West Hollywood

Capellini marechiara at Lavo Ristorante in West Hollywood.
Capellini marechiara at Lavo Ristorante in West Hollywood.
Matthew Kang

Italian restaurants are so numerous in LA that it’s becoming unbearable. So many places retread the same dishes, and yet they continue to open. While Lavo should be passe by this point, the new Sunset Strip restaurant is surprisingly excellent out of the gate. Opened for just a few weeks, the Tao Group spot has a restrained, scene-y dining area and attentive service. The star of the meal for us was this seafood-laden capellini marechiara, topped with fresh squid, lobster, clams, shrimp, and scallops. The pasta was perfectly cooked, not quite as thin as angel hair, and retaining enough heft to soak up the lemony, oceanic sauce. A bit of Calabrian chile added a spicy but subtle kick. Finding a great seafood pasta is much harder than it should be in LA, and this one might be near the top of my list. My only wish was for more capellini on the platter. 9201 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 100, West Hollywood. —Matthew Kang

Ravioli with spring peas, mint, and Parmesan at Antico Nuovo in Larchmont

Ravioli with spring peas at Antico Nuovo.
Ravioli with spring peas at Antico Nuovo.
Matthew Kang

Springtime flavors are in effect all over Southern California, and it’s especially perfect for LA restaurants. City chefs maintain close relationships with their produce growers, who operate slightly more north or east of LA, making the ingredients shine that much more when arranging it on a plate. Chef Chad Colby is one taking advantage of the April bounty, who produced a new dish at his restaurant Antico Nuovo. Colby draws the best vegetables from Freshly Foraged Produce, so his menu is constantly evolving depending on the time of year at his Larchmont-adjacent restaurant. Colby’s ravioli with spring peas, mint, and Parmesan is presented in a shallow bowl with pillowy, light ricotta that fills the housemade pasta. It’s simply bright all around, with flavors that make you wish the bowl stays full. You won’t have to ask for the best wine to accompany the ravioli, attentive Antico Nuovo staff will make sure you locate an unforgettable glass, or even better, bottle. 4653 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Mona Holmes


April 4, 2022

Fried chicken barrel from Dinah’s Family Restaurant in Westchester

Fried chicken barrel from Dinah’s Family Restaurant in Westchester.
Fried chicken barrel from Dinah’s Family Restaurant in Westchester.
Nicole Adlman

I’ve been in a bucket state of mind lately, an impulse that drove me to Dinah’s Family Restaurant in Westchester on a Sunday not too long ago. The location is quiet in the late afternoon, which makes it easier to grab a seat at the counter in the red-trimmed restaurant with faded Googie-style signage and a bucket jutting from its roof, or less of a wait for its attached to-go operation. I chose to order an 18-piece “barrel” of Dinah’s original fried chicken to go, with creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and a thick and creamy gravy on the side as accompaniments. The meal is substantial enough to need a kitchen counter or table to fully behold, but I snuck a first few bites in my car, the bucket nestled on the center console, the chicken still spitting hot and fryer-rack crispy — best dipped in the white country gravy or drizzled with threads of honey and hot sauce straight from the packet. 6521 South Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman

Pho tai at Pho 45 in Garden Grove

Pho tai from Pho 45 in Garden Grove.
Pho tai at Pho 45 in Garden Grove.
Matthew Kang

It’s almost embarrassing to see the riches of Garden Grove and Westminster’s pho, with so many noodle soup shops that virtually every strip mall has a contender. Pho 45 is certainly near the top of the heap, challenging the iconic Pho 79 and Pho Akaushi with its tender beef filet slices and soulful broth. What separates Pho 45 are two things: affordability and speed. This place pops out noodle bowls in less time than McDonald’s can fry a McNugget. Within 90 seconds of our order, servers brought out steaming hot bowls of beef broth, a plate of fresh herbs, blanched bean sprouts (which are great because they’re already softened and don’t bring down the temperature of the broth), sliced onions, and even the cha gio. The broth here is slightly thinner but also less salty than other shops, which I really appreciate. The small bowl runs a mere $10.99, an absolute bargain given rising food prices across the board. The entire combination of the aromatics and the beef, with its softened edges and milder umami, makes this my new go-to pho in Little Saigon. 9240 W. Garden Grove Boulevard #19, Garden Grove. —Matthew Kang

Breakfast tacos at Macheen in Boyle Heights

Breakfast tacos at Macheen in Boyle Heights.
Breakfast tacos at Macheen in Boyle Heights.
Cathy Chaplin

The breakfast tacos at Jonathan Perez’s Macheen automatically come with scrambled eggs, cotija cheese, and avocado salsa on house-made flour tortillas. The unexpected but wholly welcomed choice of protein — birria, pork belly, brisket, or pork sausage — elevates each taco’s sturdy foundation to astronomical heights. The meltingly tender pork belly is especially fantastic, as are the heat-heavy al pastor-style mushrooms aimed at vegetarians but beloved by omnivores too. Also worth ordering here are the fish tacos, crisp and neat parcels sauced with a roasted jalapeño tartar. Find Macheen inside Milpa Grille in Boyle Heights from Monday through Saturday and at Smorgasburg on Sundays. 633 East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Chinese chicken salad at the Rose Venice in Venice

Chinese chicken salad at the Rose in Venice.
Chinese chicken salad at the Rose in Venice.
Mona Holmes

The challenging task of large group dining was made easy on a weekday by walking into the Rose Venice. Our seven out-of-town visitors welcomed chef Jason Neroni’s easy menu and drank coffee and ordered hearty sandwiches and burgers, while I opted for something a little lighter: the Chinese chicken salad. Mind you, this isn’t a dish I usually seek out. It’s unremarkable at most restaurants with very flimsy lettuce and heavy-handed dressing. But Neroni’s made me remember why this dish is a classic. Every ingredient is either chopped or shaved to administer the perfect bite, with an ideal portion size that’s not gargantuan or too small. The shaved cabbage, puffy sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, and slivered carrots are where the crunch is at, while the remaining flavorful chicken chunks, Mandarin wedges, cilantro, scallion, mint, and toasted sesame dressing are lovely. It’s the kind of salad you hope to try when dining out, especially when showing off LA to those who haven’t explored the city’s sights before. 220 Rose Avenue, Venice. —Mona Holmes

Oyster mushroom kebab at Bavel in the Arts District

The past year has brought Los Angeles more colorful restaurants (Horses, in Hollywood), busier restaurants (Mother Wolf, also in Hollywood), and places with perhaps more charm and bigger views of the city — but you’d still be hard-pressed to find a more beloved restaurant than Bavel. The Arts District staple is crowded nightly with fans who flock for the smoke and gold, who revel in the houseplants and approachable wine list. It’s still a scene (perhaps the scene for Downtown LA at large), and shows no signs of slowing down, despite the increase in competition. Many of the signature stars like the lamb neck shawarma are still here, as are those impossibly wonderful grilled oyster mushrooms on a simple, grassy puree. To eat them in such a charming, captivating, and clattering space feels meaningful, a reminder of how much Los Angeles lost over the past two years, and how hard we’ve worked to get back to moments like this. Forget hot and new and shiny and of the moment: Restaurants like Bavel matter to this city, in a deep and ongoing way. 500 Mateo Street, Arts District. —Farley Elliott

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Los Angeles newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world