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4 Restaurants to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles

Your handy guide on where to eat from the editors at Eater LA

For a reasonably priced omakase that retains a dose of LA flavor: Hamasaku.
For a reasonably priced omakase that retains a dose of LA flavor: Hamasaku.
Matthew Kang

Every Friday our editors compile a trusty list of recommendations to answer the most pressing of questions: “Where should I eat?“ Here now are four places to check out this weekend in Los Angeles. And if you need some ideas on where to drink, check out our al fresco cocktails map for the latest.

November 18, 2022

For impeccable service and the best fries in town: Hillstone in Santa Monica

Ding’s Crispy Chicken sandwich at Hillstone in Santa Monica.
For impeccable service and the best fries in town: Hillstone in Santa Monica.
Karen Palmer

Yes, Hillstone is part of a chain. Yep, it’s absolutely correct that the menu rarely changes. Yes, the restaurant serves sushi and barbecued pork ribs. But guess what? I don’t care, and neither do plenty of other people who claim it and other Hillstone Restaurant Group locations like R+D Kitchen and South Beverly Grill as their favorites. It’s a chain, but it’s the chain — operating at a level all others aspire to. The Hillstone in Santa Monica is my go-to not only because of its proximity, but because I’m guaranteed excellent service, a lively bar scene, and some of the best french fries in town. Where else, I ask, does a server or bartender bring an ice-cold glass for your martini when you’re halfway through, to ensure that the drink doesn’t get warm (the martini’s death knell)? How many other restaurants in Los Angeles don’t bat an eye at modifications, greeting requests with a smile? And where else can one find spinach-artichoke dip served with tortilla chips, which are inexplicably the perfect vehicle for the creamy dip? Why does the Ding’s crispy chicken sandwich, with its thin layer of fried chicken, punchy slaw, tomato, and a slick of mayonnaise also get topped with a cold slice of cheese? And why is it cut into three sections? I don’t know, but it’s perfect. Just like Hillstone. 202 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica. —Karen Palmer

For fancy Korean barbecue with al fresco dining: Park’s BBQ

Raw pieces of thinly sliced beef at Park’s Barbeque on a steel tabletop grill.
For fancy Korean barbecue with al fresco dining: Park’s BBQ.
Matthew Kang

Just like with dim sum, it’s hard to find a Korean barbecue spot that has outdoor seating. That’s why Park’s BBQ is such a gem. The longstanding Koreatown restaurant has plenty of room on its large patio (an ideal spot for large group dinners) and heat lamps to keep folks warm during the winter months. The meats are high quality, with options for wagyu as well, and the menu goes beyond just barbecue, with popular dishes like beef short rib soup, seafood pancake, and spicy black cod. The service is top-notch and servers come to each table to grill the meats for guests. The best part? They take online reservations too. 955 South Vermont Avenue, Suite G, Koreatown. —Jean Trinh

For a reasonably priced omakase that retains a dose of LA flavor: Hamasaku

For a reasonably priced omakase that retains a dose of LA flavor: Hamasaku.
For a reasonably priced omakase that retains a dose of LA flavor: Hamasaku.
Matthew Kang

The sushi counter at Hamasaku has been an underrated place for an omakase since opening in a West LA strip mall in 2000. New chef Ei Hiroyoshi, who comes from Sasabune Beverly Hills, delivers on the promise of attainably priced, high-level nigiri. Hiroyoshi has a keen sense of what Angelenos love about great sushi, from the pristine fish to the well-seasoned rice. While Hiroyoshi’s $100 omakase isn’t something the restaurant is excited to publicize, as the pacing hurts the kitchen’s ability to churn out more dishes, those in the know will find a parade of akami, sea bream, toro, and uni. Hiroyoshi’s strength is the gentle way he singes meat with a torch, amplifying the earthy umami of the fish’s skin without actually cooking it. Keep this on the hush-hush or else it’ll be too hard to get a reservation. 11043 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

For a local bar with outstanding food and cocktails: Oy Bar

Oy Bar might be the perfect holiday bar without trying to be one. It’s a cozy neighborhood spot with welcoming lighting and strong drinks; owner Jeff Strauss makes delicious and comforting food. This is the same Strauss who opened Jeff’s Table in Highland Park, where his inventive sandwiches became a regular and popular part of early pandemic living. He moved his sights over to Studio City and into the former Oyster House to build a spot that appeals to those who just want to chill, drink, and eat. There’s so much to sample, so it’s best to go with a group and order the matzoh ball ramen, a formidable thing called the Oy burger, and the pastrami Reuben quesadilla with jalapeno, and cabbage — with a significant cheese sear on the tortilla. The El Diablo cocktail is a throwback Trader Vic’s tribute with Arrette tequila, ginger, lime, black currant, and soda. Bartenders will help locate something that appeals. Get there early to secure a table. 12446 Moorpark St., Studio City. —Mona Holmes

November 11, 2022

For outstanding burritos with homemade tortillas: Burrito House

What’s better than a burrito shop that makes its own flour tortillas? A shop that stuffs that puffy, flavorful tortilla with nopales for breakfast, or chile verde or carne asada in a lunch burrito. That’s only a small sampling from the menu at Burrito House in Bell, where staff touts another specialty item: the wet chile relleno burrito with green sauce that will inevitably become leftovers because of the portion size. Burrito House has something for everyone including the adobada french fries, classic French toast, and capirotada, similar to a Mexican bread pudding. Burrito House is a solid neighborhood spot where locals are the primary customer base. But there’s always a diner or two who makes the trek to Bell for a wet chile relleno burrito. 4807 Florence Avenue, Bell.—Mona Holmes

For a reasonably priced Persian kebabs feast in Century City: Panini Kabob House

Kebab family tray from Panini Kabob House with grilled chicken and koobideh in an aluminum tray.
Kebab family tray from Panini Kabob House.
Matthew Kang

Tucked into a less trafficked part of Westfield Century City hides Panini Kabob Grill, a chain of Mediterranean restaurants that won’t get the press of Din Tai Fung or Eataly but serves a surprisingly great set of kebabs that even work well for takeout. The kebabs here gain a heavy blister that adds a smoldering depth to each bite. Even with a short drive back home, the well-seasoned koobideh and chicken breast stayed juicy to the last bite. The cooks are also keen to ensure the vegetables get that fiery singe, and thankfully the restaurant makes sure there are enough vegetables to go around the table. Along with fluffy white rice and some fresh, lightly dressed salads, Panini Kabob Grill serves a satisfying feast that comes out to a modest per-person price. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Westfield Century City, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

For a modern Taiwanese breakfast with gorgeous patio dining: Pine & Crane

A semi-shaded restaurant patio at daytime, with green and orange seats.
Patio of Pine & Crane in Downtown LA.
Matthew Kang

The Pine & Crane in Downtown is truly special not only because of its modern design — a beautiful park-facing patio, pastel green and orange accents throughout the space, and parchment lanterns — it’s also the only outpost of the brand that serves up Taiwanese breakfast. On Thursdays through Mondays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., diners can catch dishes like fan tuan, a purple sticky rice roll filled with pork floss, Chinese doughnut, soy-braised egg, and preserved vegetables; a spicy thousand-layer pancake with egg, cheese, and basil; and savory soy milk showered with toppings like scallions, pork floss, and Chinese doughnut. The early bird catches the Chinese doughnut when it comes to this place. 1120 S. Grand Ave., Unit 101, Los Angeles. —Jean Trinh

For a rollicking group dinner: Cassia in Santa Monica

Southeast Asian-leaning Cassia has been around for years, but Bryant Ng’s standards like “sunbathing” prawns and beef rendang are as flavorful and fiery as ever, as a recent visit proved. Plus, the sprawling dining room and patio make it perfect for big groups. Start with a glass of wine or well-mixed cocktail at neighboring sister restaurant Esters Wine Bar before snagging a big table to dig into dishes like wontons with roasted chile oil, clay-oven bread dipped into creamy chickpea curry, a newer side of wok-tossed water spinach, and charcuterie fried rice studded with lap cheong and tasso. This is the sort of food that’s meant to be shared between friends. Plus, on my Monday night visit, the dining room was lively and bustling, but not distractingly so. It may be seven years old, but Cassia hasn’t slowed down one bit. 1314 7th Street, Santa Monica. —Karen Palmer

November 4, 2022

For a solo dining experience that doesn’t feel lonely: Kim Kee Noodle Cafe

For a solo dining experience that doesn’t feel lonely: Kim Kee Noodle Cafe.
For a solo dining experience that doesn’t feel lonely: Kim Kee Noodle Cafe.
Jean Trinh

Kim Kee Noodle Cafe in Monterey Park is often bustling and full of energy in the mornings, even on weekdays. This Teochew-Vietnamese restaurant (that also has a couple other locations in the San Gabriel Valley) specializes in comforting bowls of noodle soup that make for a great breakfast. The menu is lengthy with plenty of choices for toppings such as beef meatballs, shrimp, and offals. And the fast and efficient service is a bonus for solo diners (a common sight at Kim Kee) who want to get in and out quickly. 441 West Garvey Avenue, Monterey Park. —Jean Trinh

For a soul-warming bowl of pho on a chilly autumn weekend: Phoholic

A metal bowl filled with Vietnamese beef noodle soup at Phoholic.
For a soul-warming bowl of pho during this first chilly weekend of autumn: Phoholic.
Photos by Wonho Frank Lee

It’s taken a few years for me to realize that Little Saigon and environs are as far away from my South Bay home as some parts of Los Angeles. So earlier this week, after the feature dropped on this ultra-busy pho restaurant, I made the trek down to Orange County for a comforting bowl of noodle soup. We were greeted with a lengthy queue at the Stanton restaurant, but it moved very quickly. Phoholic’s menu is focused on pho only, with variations of beef parts, starting with rare steak and going up to hulking bones. We kept it fairly easy with rare steak and brisket, finding the brisket to be a bit tough, while the steak was tender and well-flavored. The bowls certainly rank among the top tier in the area, better than almost any shop in LA County, while the choice of herbs, from ngo om to basil, was excellent, adding punchy freshness to the broth. At $12 a bowl, including tax, and served within minutes, it’s hard to think of a better dish on Southern California’s first bona fide cold weekend. 12829 Beach Boulevard, Stanton. —Matthew Kang

For an upscale dinner in the heart of Downtown: Asterid

Lamb Shank chile japones, charred eggplant puree, pickled cabbage, flatbread from Asterid restaurant in Los Angeles
For an upscale dinner in the heart of Downtown: Asterid
Wonho Frank Lee

While the rest of the country is settling into fall weather, the temps here are holding steady even after the sun sets which makes al fresco dining a yearlong treat in the Southland. If this weekend calls for something extra special, snag a table at Asterid tucked into the ground floor of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The heated outdoor patio, with full views of the undulating building, makes for a cozy autumnal setting. Chef Ray Garcia’s cooking is celebratory yet familiar; it’s the kind of food that appeals to all moods and appetites. Start with the chicken liver mousse before digging into the beet risotto. The lamb shank falls off the bone and deserves a spot on the table, too. Rice pudding for dessert is a must. 141 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For the best mall pizza you’ll ever have: Roberta’s

Roberta’s blistered pizza, drizzled with honey and pepperonis.
For the best mall pizza you’ll ever have: Roberta’s.
Matthew Kang

Yes, it’s a Brooklyn transplant, and yes, its expansion strategy is to get a stronghold in upscale malls around Los Angeles. But that doesn’t change the fact that the original LA location of Roberta’s at the Platform turns out some of the most reliably good blistered, wood-fired pizzas in the city (there, I said it). Plus, there’s a full bar, with rotating signature cocktails, and a solid natural wine list, so if you want a martini with your pizza, make it so. Personal favorite pies include the Urusla’s Delight (a seasonal clam pie) and Famous Original, which, with its four-cheese blend and hit of chile flakes, is essentially the prototype of the perfect cheese pizza. Start with an order of the “bread” (puffed-up pizza dough slathered in olive oil), add a side of anchovies, then work your way through a couple of salads or expectedly delicious seasonal veggie sides before you get to the main event. One thing to keep in mind: If the Famous Original isn’t on the menu, the kitchen will make it upon request. I highly recommend doing so. 8810 Washington Boulevard, Culver City. —Karen Palmer

October 28, 2022

For an upscale celebration dinner with stunning views: San Laurel

A cocktail in a white and tan colorway within a smoking box.
For an upscale celebration dinner with stunning views: San Laurel
Wonho Frank Lee

It’s a grand experience from start to finish at chef José Andrés’s San Laurel. Located inside the upscale Conrad hotel in Downtown LA, the stunning restaurant — that’s perfect for a birthday or anniversary dinner — overlooks the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. San Laurel is all about the little details. Servers are incredibly attentive, and plates are adorned with musings written in Spanish by the ceramics artist. Diners can go all-out with the cocktails and get the Foggy Hill, which is presented in a treasure chest that, once opened, has a plume of aromatic orange-thyme smoke billowing out. Dishes like the wild mushrooms in cream, served with a toasted pan de cristal bread, are the star of the show. Also not to be missed is the fideuá pasta that mimics a mac and cheese with vermicelli noodles and is showered with crispy shallots, as well as the rack of lamb in a cumin-carrot puree. 100 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. —Jean Trinh

For beach vibes with a side of nostalgia: Hot Dog on a Stick

A red and white building for the Hot Dog on a Stick restaurant in Santa Monica, California.
For beach vibes with a side of nostalgia: Hot Dog on a Stick.
Hot Dog on a Stick

For those who grew up in Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Hot Dog on a Stick hits different. It’s likely that visitors feel the same way, as the location can have incredibly long lines — that is, before the site underwent construction for most of the year. There are plenty of other spots to find this compact meal on a stick throughout Southern California, from LA chain restaurants like Wienerschnitzel to the many Korean corn dog options, and many are outstanding. But Hot Dog on a Stick is a whole different experience. Those charming, elongated uniforms and hats make employees seem far taller than they actually are. Seeing the massive hand-churned lemonade vats, or witnessing an employee dipping a hot dog or cheese in drippy cornmeal batter before frying, are inexplicably satisfying. So is taking a bite. The conditions for a Hot Dog on a Stick visit are perfect over the weekend. Now that the brand-new Santa Monica building is open, and with a sunny forecast to boot, it’s time to go and see if the LA-based chain still has staying power. 1633 Ocean Front, Santa Monica. —Mona Holmes

For Vietnamese noodle soups to cure all that ails: Kim Hoa Hue

For Vietnamese noodle soups to cure all that ails: Kim Hoa Hue.
For Vietnamese noodle soups to cure all that ails: Kim Hoa Hue.
Cathy Chaplin

There are a lot of great Vietnamese restaurants in Los Angeles, but the one I recommend time and again is Kim Hoa Hue in El Monte. When a lingering cold had me craving pure comfort last week, I headed to this solid-as-can-be stalwart for central Vietnamese cooking. The banh canh — with its plump, hand-made noodles and viscous broth — offered the kind of gentle hug that I needed. Also on the table was the restaurant’s appetizer sampler that includes a half-dozen different steamed rice flour nibbles (banh nam, banh uot, banh bot loc) and a heaping plate of papaya salad topped with beef jerky and liver. This is as close as it gets to Grandma’s home cooking. 9813 Garvey Avenue, El Monte. —Cathy Chaplin

For a pizza-and-cake party: Quarter Sheets

A piece of tomato pie topped with ricotta on checkered paper at Quarter Sheets.
For a pizza-and-cake party: Quarter Sheets.
Wonho Frank Lee

Dinner at Quarter Sheets always feels like a party — a “kid’s birthday party,” as co-owner and baker extraordinaire Hannah Ziskin told Eater recently. She and her partner, pizza maestro Aaron Lindell, have hit on something very special at their Echo Park spot: With Lindell’s three different style of pan pizza and Ziskin’s beautifully executed desserts, there’s something to fill every carb craving, along with easy-drinking natural wine and fresh-from-the-market sides to round everything out. Dig into a “Sicilian corner” topped with vodka sauce, or try Lindell’s fluffy, focaccia-like tomato pie before sliding a fork through layers of Ziskin’s chiffon “slab” cake. Quarter Sheets may feel deceptively casual, but both Lindell and Ziskin are masters of their respective crafts, so every meal here feels like a celebration. 1305 Portia Street, Los Angeles. —Karen Palmer

October 21, 2022

For a new Thai restaurant experience: April 90’s Something

Quietly over the summer as Pijja Palace was growing in popularity, the sign for Khun Mae Ploy Thai Cuisine, the neighboring restaurant in the same strip mall, went down and a whimsical April 90’s Something took its place. Inside, there are neon signs with the new business name, blue and green lights that give a pop of nightlife vibes, and a wall of Thai movie posters. The Thai fusion restaurant offers some new takes on familiar standbys, like its tom yum seafood fettuccine, fried chicken larb, and calamari salad with a soy-mustard dressing. For more traditional fare, find pad see ew with perfectly crispy pork. 2703 Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake. —Jean Trinh

For a Presidential taco trio: Tacos 1986

Local Tijuana-style taqueria Tacos 1986 made a splash last week after President Biden stopped in to pick up an order for himself and Los Angeles mayoral candidate Karen Bass. I coincidentally swung into the mini-chain’s Beverly location a few days before their visit. I hadn’t been in a while, and despite a lightning-quick expansion to multiple locations across the city over the past few years, it still slaps. Three “con todo” tacos on house-made corn tortillas flecked with char were each folded neatly in paper and topped with a drizzle of salsa and finely chopped onions and cilantro covered in a generous dollop of creamy guac. Although all of the trompo-roasted and grilled meats are as flavor-packed as they’ve always been, Tacos 1986’s beloved mushrooms might still be my favorite filling: Soaked in chile-heavy salsa macha before they’re cooked, the chewy, charred mushrooms are at once savory, salty, and just a touch sweet. And, to me, it’s the texture that really shines. The ‘shrooms are a perfect example of coaxing meaty elements out of a natural ingredient that’s not meat (as opposed to the processed plant-based proteins flooding the market today). I have yet to try the President’s go-to order of chicken quesadillas, but I have no doubt that it, too, would slap. 7235 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Karen Palmer

For a Korean feast without trekking to Koreatown: A Di Rang Tofu House

Bunches of small Korean appetizers on a table top at A Di Rang Tofu House.
For a Korean feast without trekking to Koreatown: A Di Rang Tofu House.
Cathy Chaplin

For those who reside on the far east side of Los Angeles, Koreatown can sometimes feel like a world away. But thankfully there are more than a few very solid options for Korean cooking in this part of town, including San Gabriel’s A Di Rang Tofu House — where the banchan is plentiful and refillable, and the barley tea flows like wine. While the house-special tofu is rightfully popular, the combination option that includes cold noodles and sizzling galbi is hard to pass up. No matter what’s on the table, sit back, relax, and take in the Korean comforts without having to battle a commute or hard-to-find parking. 529 East Valley Boulevard, #128, San Gabriel.

For fun bites in the middle of Hollywood: Ban Oui

Head to chef Casey Felton’s Hollywood restaurant, where seating is sparse, and try something from her LA-centric menu. Grin and bear the congestion or walk there after shopping at the Hollywood farmers market this Sunday. Order the pork belly banh mi-style sandwiches, roasted mushroom salad, burger, sticky wings, or the griddled breakfast burrito with tater tots, crispy pork belly, avocado, crema, cheddar, and scrambled eggs. Always be sure to check for seasonal specials, which at the moment are some lightly crispy elote fries with a lime wedge, a hint of heat, and dusted in cotija cheese. This deep-fried goodness will make the challenging parking worth the trek. 1552 North Cahuenga Boulevard, Hollywood. —Mona Holmes

October 14, 2022

For a very LA diner breakfast: Pann’s

Pann’s 2
For a very LA diner breakfast: Pann’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Los Angeles is known for its architectural gems, with classic diners among the greats. Pann’s is one of the last from the Googie era of architecture, known for its space-age influences. A recent Saturday visit at midday saw the iconic Inglewood diner outfitted with tufted red booths and geometric light fixtures humming along, with a short wait for tables. Given the place’s history and its popularity, food was better than it needed to be: the necessary diner-style coffee was strong and fresh, while the kitchen’s well-known fried chicken to top waffles (or, in my case, fluffy buttermilk pancakes) was served hot and shatteringly crisp. To top all of that, everyone who dropped by our table had a smile on their faces, multiple coffee refills were offered without request, and we were able to linger without feeling rushed. Despite it being a bustling weekend, it was the ideal place to catch up with some friends over a heaping plate of carbs. 6710 La Tijera Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Karen Palmer

For a fancy, treat-yourself afternoon tea: the Living Room at the Peninsula

The afternoon tea at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills is just as grand as the hotel is itself. It takes place past the lobby, in what looks like an opulent living room, with cozy couches, a warm fireplace, and large windows facing greenery. A harpist performs live. Diners are dressed up, servers are attentive, and the vibe is chatty and vibrant. The traditional tea set, which starts at $125, comes with a three-tiered stand lined with savory sandwiches such as a smoked salmon with caviar, sweets like currant scones, a pot of tea, and a glass of Champagne. It’s a splurge, for sure, but one that leaves a memorable impression with friends and family. 9882 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills. —Jean Trinh

For a family feast that suits every taste: Fogo de Chao

For a family dinner that suits every taste: Fogo de Chao.
For a family dinner that suits every taste: Fogo de Chao.
Fogo de Chao

A brand new Fogo de Chao — the Brazilian churrasco chain — just landed in Pasadena. It’s the forth location in LA, along with Beverly Hills, Downtown, and El Segundo. With its impressive line of barbecued meats, from spicy pork sausage to lamb chops and bone-in rib eye, and extensive buffet of accoutrements, it’s already a hit with the local crowd, especially those dining with a diverse group. Omnivores can go wild with the non-stop parade of all-you-can-eat meats, while those refraining from animal flesh can graze the “market table” full of seasonal salads, imported cheeses, soups, and more. This doesn’t make up for the devastating closure of Souplantation, but it’ll do because every town deserves a good buffet. 234 E Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena. —Cathy Chaplin

For classic karaoke and BYOB in Little Tokyo: Max Karaoke Studio

For those unashamed to admit it, karaoke heals. There is something cathartic about belting out Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy,” or Aretha Franklin’s “Say A Little Prayer For You” in front of friends with a few sips of liquid courage. Actual enjoyment requires that groups get a private room. No one wants to hear strangers sing the worst pop songs, so make a reservation at Max’s Karaoke Studio in Little Tokyo. Max’s rooms are dark and unfussy, plus patrons can bring a cooler full of alcohol. (Max only allows drinks with less than 20 percent alcohol, and will throw out those who get unruly.) And because it’s in the ideal Little Tokyo neighborhood and a block away from the Arts District, there’s plenty of places to dine before or after one is summoned to the microphone, including Beard Papa’s, MG Tofu House, or Little Tokyo Taiyaki. The aforementioned restaurants are located in the same shopping mall as Max’s at the three-story Little Tokyo Galleria. Call to make a reservation. 333 South Alameda Street, Suite 216, Little Tokyo. —Mona Holmes

October 7, 2022

For a taste of Little Saigon in LA: Tay Ho

The original Tay Ho restaurant opened in Little Saigon back in 1986. It was one of the earliest businesses in the neighborhood as the Vietnamese community was gaining its foothold in America. The house-special banh cuon — delicate rice flour crepes filled with ground pork and woodear mushrooms — was a hit with the community from the start, including with my family down in San Diego. Fast forward to 2022, and the eldest granddaughter of Tay Ho’s founder has modernized the brand and brought it to LA. First-timers should order a banh cuon set that includes a shrimp and sweet potato fritter, an array of proper fixings (bean sprouts, cucumber, cilantro, fried onions), and the all-important nuoc cham sauce. Wash it all down with ca phe sua da. 529 East Valley Boulevard #118, San Gabriel. —Cathy Chaplin

For comforting takeout Asian rice bowls: Oi Asian Fusion

Oi Asian Fusion is one of the most underrated takeout restaurants in the rice-bowl game. Its comforting dishes are an amalgam of Filipino and other Asian flavors — and the menu has enough options so that it never gets boring. There’s a pork belly adobo bowl with a soft-boiled egg; ribeye bistek with fried shallots, fried egg, and ponzu; and an umami-packed mushroom and egg dish that marries ponzu sauce with cortina cheese. (Pro-tip: Always opt for the garlic rice.) This chain, which is owned by Philippines-born brothers Eric and Erwin de la Cruz, has been operating for a decade. First starting in Reseda, the brand has quietly grown to more than a handful of outposts throughout Southern California, from West L.A. to East Hollywood and Long Beach. While there are seats and tables at the locations, takeout is always solid, quick, and easy — perfect for a lazy weekend. 4734 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Jean Trinh

For seafood with a side of views: Dear Jane’s

Dear Jane’s takes itself seriously in that it’s beautifully designed with nautical elements that don’t hit you over the head with “I’m on a boat” vibes, and in that it sources high-quality seafood for its flawlessly executed dishes. But it doesn’t eschew a sense of humor; there are winks of playfulness in dishes like “bougie” fish sticks topped with caviar and served with a roe-topped seven-layer dip (which, trust me, you’ll want to slather on everything). Or there’s the shrimp Louie salad, which is dressed lightly in a zippy Russian-esque dressing tableside for an added layer of pomp and circumstance. Or the signature cocktails all named for famous Janes (Jetson, Fonda, and Goodall among them). Marina del Rey has needed new energy for quite some time, and with its floor-to-ceiling views of boats docked in the marina, high-spirited vibes, and craveable seafood dishes, Dear Jane’s is just the shot in the arm the neighborhood needed. 13950 Panay Way, Marina Del Rey. —Karen Palmer

For delights from one of LA’s most-respected Ethiopian creators: Merkato

On a central strip of Fairfax south of Olympic is Little Ethiopia, and directly in the center is one of LA’s most beloved establishments: Merkato. It’s a nearly 30-year-old restaurant, bar, and market where the staff serves triangular-shaped sambusa (flaky dough stuffed with lentils) and a combination of traditional dishes layered on top of injera — the squishy, flavorful flatbread — like awaze tibs, cabbage, fried fish, or peas. Not to be missed is the strong coffee service before venturing into the attached market for spices, groceries, and merchandise. 1036 1/2 S Fairfax Avenue, Little Ethiopia.—Mona Holmes

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