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A piece of soy-sauce covered shad with slices inset over sushi rice.
Sushi Note Omakase.
Wonho Frank Lee

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LA’s Food Experts Discuss Their Best Restaurant Meals of 2023

The most delicious meals in Los Angeles and beyond, according to LA food aficionados

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 best restaurant meals of the year.

Brian Addison, founder, Longbeachize

The collaboration dinner between chef Dima Habibeh of Ammatolí and Top Chef Middle East winner chef Ali Ghzawi. Long Beach’s love letter to Jordan and Jordan’s response in turn—something that could be said sums up Dima’s entire existence in and gift toward Long Beach. And while our city has had the blessing that is her food, where she has single-handedly introduced the glorious world of Amman and its surrounding cuisines to the palates of our denizens, we’ve never had the privilege of watching her amongst fellow Jordanians, let alone someone of the caliber and stature of Ali.

Gary Baum, Senior Writer, The Hollywood Reporter

Sushi Note Omakase in Beverly Hills — a flawless experience. Beyond L.A. it would be Sarde, this new, dimly-lit, seafood-focused spot in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood. Right now it feels like a secret. I shouldn’t even be talking about it.

Cathy Chaplin, Senior Editor, Eater LA

A duo of Southeast Asian pop-ups stole my heart (and my stomach) this year. The Lao cooking at Yum Sະlut in Chinatown was nothing short of fabulous, while slurping bowls of boat noodle soup at Mae Malai’s stand on Hollywood Boulevard left an indelible impression on me. While Yum Sະlut is still looking for a permanent space, Mae Malai has thankfully settled into permanent digs in Thai Town. Outside LA, I adored the offal-centric meal at Santo Palato in Rome.

Streetside diners at Mae Malai on Hollywood Boulevard.
Streetside diners at Mae Malai on Hollywood Boulevard.
Wonho Frank Lee

Virali Dave, food writer

Rustic Canyon. That cheesy gnocchi is the stuff of dreams.

Farley Elliott, SoCal Bureau Chief, SFGate

It’s hard to argue against Kato in Downtown, though the most flavor-packed food you can have right now might be found at Kuya Lord.

Bill Esparza, contributor, Eater LA

My best meal of 2023 was at Comedor Tenchita, enjoying the Sunday specials like segueza (mole de maiz), empanadas de amarillo con riñon, and higaditos, a Valles Centrales breakfast dish that’s a major craving of mine.

Alison Herman, TV Critic, Variety

A birthday dinner at Camphor hit the perfect balance between technical execution and creative innovation, with service and portion sizes that justified the hefty price tag.

Mona Holmes, Reporter, Eater LA

Bar Chelou, Lonely Oyster, and a delicious pizza and cake combo from Quarter Sheets.

Clam toast and butterflied trout at Bar Chelou in Pasadena with a cocktail to the right.
Clam toast at Bar Chelou in Pasadena.
Wonho Frank Lee

Matthew Kang, Lead Editor, Eater LA

This is super tough, it’s probably a tie between the second meal I had at Sushi Sonagi and the fourth-anniversary dinner at Pasjoli with Dave Beran’s greatest hits. Outside of LA, I was reminded of how fantastic Parachute is in Chicago — it’s easily my favorite modern Korean restaurant in the country.

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

I don’t know if this counts but RC Provisions feted me in-house with samples from some of their most important clients: Langer’s, Pink’s, Tommy’s, Brent’s, and Bay Cities. I mean, that’s definitely a cheat code but that’s an amazing meal. And stunning that all of those L.A. favorites are sourced at this unassuming spot in Burbank. For an actual restaurant, the omakase from Sushi Note in Sherman Oaks was like no other sushi meal I’ve had, and that includes the glory days of Urasawa. Most of the chef’s selected fish were completely new to me, and each course was plated beautifully. This spot is truly a hidden gem on Ventura Boulevard’s Sushi Row.

Joshua Lurie, founder,

My year’s best eating day was pretty clear: October 8. Bell’s for dinner in Los Alamos is a blast. Great market-driven “very Franch” food and warm hospitality make this my favorite restaurant on California’s Central Coast. Their $90 prix fixe menu from chef Daisy Ryan and crew, with choices for each course, is a relative bargain. For lunch, my wife and I enjoyed Companion Hospitality’s sister restaurant in Los Olivos, Bar Le Côte. Former L.A. chef Brad Mathews presides over their great seafood preparations, salads, and crisp rye chocolate chip cookies.

Elina Shatkin, KCRW

House of Mandi, a Yemeni restaurant in Anaheim. Ryla, a vastly underrated restaurant in Hermosa Beach. Funke in Beverly Hills. Anajak Thai in Sherman Oaks. The Wieners Circle in Chicago after the James Beard Awards.

Memo Torres, L.A. Taco and Apple Maps

Two meals stand out this year. First, it was a reputed place, but I finally had the opportunity to try Majordomo. Worth its reputation. The second was Mirate, with an all-star cast from the kitchen to the bar with an incredible lineup of tacos, dishes, and mezcales. It was the perfect setting for a fun date night with the misses.

Jean Trinh, freelance reporter

It was Baroo’s tasting menu. Its themes were so thoughtful, contemplative, and poetic. And each dish surprised me, changing in flavors and textures from start to finish. I honestly haven’t been able to stop thinking about the meal and can’t wait to go back.

Hokkaido scallop, minari, gim, rice puff at Baroo.
Hokkaido scallop, minari, gim, rice puff at Baroo.
Wonho Frank Lee

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