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Camarones zaraneados at Muelle 8 in Downey, California.
Camarones zaraneados at Muelle 8.
Matthew Kang

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LA Food Experts Share Their Favorite Go-To Restaurants in 2023

These tried-and-true restaurants consistently hit it out of the ballpark for Eater’s panel of industry experts

Welcome to the Year in Eater 2023 our annual tradition that looks back at the highs, lows, and in-betweens of Los Angeles’s restaurant scene. Today, LA’s finest food writers, editors, reporters, and a few select others with strong opinions share their go-to favorite places to eat around town.


Brian Addison, founder, Longbeachize

A lotta return to staples with Sonoratown, Guelagetza, and Howlin’ Ray’s. But I was obsessed with two things this year: dim sum and pasta. So that meant a lotta Ixlb Dimsum Eats, NBC Seafood, Five Star Seafood, and an absolute ton of Long Beach pasta. Our pasta game here is solid enough that traveling for pasta in LA seems uneconomical: Nonna Mercato, La Parolaccia, Michael’s on Naples, and Ellie’s.

Gary Baum, Senior Writer, The Hollywood Reporter

Courage, Clark Street, Langer’s, Borekas, KazuNori, Sonoratown, Holbox, Zankou, Sri Siam, Anarbagh.

Cathy Chaplin, Senior Editor, Eater LA

Old Sasoon Bakery and Roma Market in Pasadena, and Xi’an Biang Biang Noodle on the border of San Gabriel and Rosemead.

Virali Dave, food writer

So many. Tulsi, Baar Baar, Grandmaster Recorders, the Rendition Room, Sadaf, Otoño, Woon, El Cocinero, and Made in Italy in Westlake Village.

A barkeep shakes a cocktail shaker at the Rendition Room.
A barkeep shakes a cocktail shaker at the Rendition Room.
Wonho Frank Lee

Farley Elliott, SoCal Bureau Chief, SFGate

Ototo is the usual answer, and I’m glad to see them recognized nationally for their sake program. I also keep going to Saffy’s daytime cafe, because where else can you get whole loaves of Ori and Genevieve’s breads, plus pastries and tea?

Bill Esparza, contributor, Eater LA

Holbox, Comedor Tenchita, Del Mar Ostioneria, Muelle 8, Amphai Northern Thai Food, Guatemalan Night Market, Corredor Salvadoreño, Birrieria Nochistlan, Mariscos Jalisco, and Saffy’s. Ka’teen and Mírate were my go-to neighborhood spots for meetings, as was the La Monarcha on Sunset/Gower. And, as always, my mezcal at Madre on Fairfax.

Alison Herman, TV Critic, Variety

Sonoratown, Bé Ù, Holy Basil, Kismet Rotisserie.

Caramelized pork and eggs rice at Bé Ù in East Hollywood.
Caramelized pork and eggs rice at Bé Ù in East Hollywood.
Bé Ù

Matthew Kang, Lead Editor, Eater LA

Yuk Dae Jang in Gardena, Chef Tony in SGV, New York Deli in Torrance, Yangban in Arts District, Soban in Koreatown, Pho House in Lawndale, Quality of Bombay in Lawndale, Massis Kebab in Glendale, H&H Brazilian Steakhouse at the Beverly Center, and Big Wok in Manhattan Beach.

Evan Lovett, founder, L.A. in a Minute

Studio Sushi in Studio City, Guelaguetza in Koreatown, Catch 818 Mariscos in Van Nuys, and Mizlala in Sherman Oaks.

Joshua Lurie, founder, FoodGPS.com

We had several family gatherings at Taste of MP in Monterey Park, a classic Cantonese restaurant that serves standout dishes like snow pea leaves with preserved eggs in supreme soup, my favorite vegetable dish at Cantonese restaurants in the SGV. Mr. Chopsticks in El Monte is another place that works well for family meals. Their roasted squab always hits and the stir-fried lobster over noodles was a knockout dish in November. Dvin Meat Market, a butcher shop located on a Glendale side street, is one of my favorite places to preorder kebabs to enjoy with friends at home. My latest seven-pound haul featured pork jowl, beef lule, and chicken thigh. D-vine serves no sides or rice, so when I’m looking for the full experience, Mini Kabob and Hamlet’s Kitchen remain great.

Kristie Hang, contributor, Eater LA

I have been so impressed with Coconut & Co., a specialty shop that focuses on crafting made-from-scratch coconut snacks and drinks from Singapore and Southeast Asia. They offer the best kaya toast and freshly made pandan chiffon cake. The owners dedicate four hours each morning to preparing the kaya jam, and even the palm coconut sugar they use for their coconut shakes is imported from Indonesia.

I’ve been doing weekly pickups from Soy Sweet LA, an Instagram-run business operated by two Vietnamese-American cooks out of their South Pasadena home. They create the silkiest and jiggliest tofu pudding and grass jelly, also known as bingfen.

I’ve also been impressed with Teddy Moo Moo, a home baker putting a modern spin on traditional Chinese nougat candy. It’s an aerated candy made from whipped egg whites and boiled sugar syrup, much like marshmallows.

Mona Holmes, Reporter, Eater LA

Bistro 1968, Bodega Park, Jerusalem Chicken, and Lonely Oyster. I also have a Mini Kabob addiction.

Elina Shatkin, KCRW

California Chicken Cafe. El Pollo Loco. I have a seven-year-old. I work in public radio. Do you think I have the $$$ to be getting takeout from Mother Wolf on the regular?

Lesley Suter, Interim Editorial Lead/Special Projects Editor, Eater

My go-to spots were restaurants that served delicious comfort food in a quick and casual format: Tam’s Noodle House, Bodega Park, Needle, and Bé Ù.

Memo Torres, reporter, L.A. Taco and Apple Maps

I eat out so much that it feels unfair not to mention them all. But diners and cafes are my most consistent destinations. There are my go-to cafes like Nick’s Cafe for American breakfast, Teddy’s Cafe for fish and chip Fridays, Saby’s Cafe for fresh blue corn, and Venice Bakery for chilaquiles. But the one spot I’ve favored the most has been El Huarachito. The rich guisados, sweet cafe de olla, and festive personality of Esther, the owner, have been a great source of soulful replenishment in this challenging year for us all.

A styrofoam container filled with koobideh, hummus, and roasted vegetables from Mini Kabob in Glendale.
Koobideh, hummus, and roasted vegetables from Mini Kabob in Glendale.
Cathy Chaplin

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