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 some of the year’s toughest restaurant closures.
Brian Addison, founder, Longbeachize
Taco Maria. It felt like the last vestige of Jonathan Gold’s love for OC disappeared.
Gary Baum, Senior Writer, The Hollywood Reporter
Downtown LA. has been hit especially hard: Woodspoon, which has been an important neighborhood anchor. Sari Sari, which had become a lodestar for Grand Central Market, especially for the halo halo. Cafe Basque, which had such a promising start. It’s been a very tough year.
Cathy Chaplin, Senior Editor, Eater LA
Taco Maria in Costa Mesa, Kinn in Koreatown, and Angler at the Beverly Center.
Farley Elliott, SoCal Bureau Chief, SFGate
Animal for sure, though just down the street the loss of Diamond Bakery as a historic Jewish bakery space is also so deeply impactful for the city.
Bill Esparza, contributor, Eater LA
I attended the last service for Taco Maria and hated to see it close. Although there are plans for chef Carlos Salgado to reopen, and I’m confident that he will, the void left behind in the meantime is tough to bear. Sometimes I just want to head to Costa Mesa and grab a seat at the chef’s counter, and I can’t right now.
Kristie Hang, contributor, Eater LA
Sesame Grill in Arcadia went from fine dining back in the day and pivoted to a fried chicken establishment that did really well locally. It was beloved by the community and even though their chicken even outperformed the local chicken chains, it didn’t make it.
Evan Lovett, founder, L.A. in a Minute
Mister O’s was a cool little neighborhood spot with a fun patio and it was a go-to for us, so that ranks pretty high up for me. Animal, of course, is legendary and helped usher in the modern renaissance of Los Angeles cuisine. But the simultaneous closures of Diamond Bakery in the Beverly Fairfax Historic District and Silver Lake’s Cafe Tropical were gut punches to LA’s proud communities, cultures, and traditions.
Alison Herman, TV Critic, Variety
Not quite a closure, but I’m bummed All Day Baby wound down the 10-month run of Tet a Tet, the Vietnamese restaurant-within-a-restaurant that took over the space at night. I’m also sad to see the end of Angry Egret Dinette, a perfect pandemic concept that was whatever it wanted to be.
Mona Holmes, Reporter, Eater LA
Woodspoon’s closure was so unfortunate. Since 2007, this Downtown restaurant was filled with regulars and newcomers until a random person driving a scooter collided with owner Natalia Pereira. The accident left her with injuries that required her to walk away from the restaurant temporarily. I truly hope she returns. And Kinn. I loved my meal there and hope we can see more from chef Ki Kim.
Matthew Kang, Lead Editor, Eater LA
This year was probably the worst in the past decade for closures. I’m bummed about Angler’s closure. I hung out at Craft on its second-to-last night and recalled so many memories I made there over the past 16-plus years. I credit a lot of my journey in this industry to Craft. I even messaged Tom Colicchio to see if he would be around in the final days (I’ve never met him), but I never heard back. My heart will always be in Koreatown, and my family spent so many days and nights at Jeon Ju. I wish I had known earlier that it had closed because I would’ve gone for every straight meal until its last service.
Joshua Lurie, founder, FoodGPS.com
It’s too bad that Tet-a-Tet didn’t continue at All Day Baby. I really appreciated this personal vision from Lien Ta and Jonathan Whitener. Hopefully, some of those dishes make their way to Here’s Looking at You. I see you, fried whole huachinango and crispy pig’s trotters. In the meantime, I’m happy All Day Baby and Here’s Looking at You are still rolling.
Elina Shatkin, KCRW
Probably Cafe Tropical in Silver Lake. The world needs more low-key cafes, diners, and neighborhood restaurants that thrive on word of mouth rather than passing trends, glossy Instagram posts, and TikTok influencers. Sadly, in a high-cost-of-living city like LA, those places often get priced out by gentrification.
Nicole Adlman, Cities Manager, Eater
Breadblok’s overnight closures were pretty gutting for those of us who depended on its stores for high-quality gluten-free breads. Happy that Modern Bread and Bagel, which just opened a second location in Santa Monica, is taking up quite literally where it left off.
Jean Trinh, freelance reporter
When Kinn closed, it broke my heart. I loved everything that chef Ki Kim was doing at the restaurant with his tasting menu and hoped to go there many more times over the years. He was doing something unique, bringing fine dining to a more casual and approachable environment, playing with the Korean flavors he grew up eating, and surprising diners with every bite.