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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

A crispy Mexican tortilla with toppings at Mirate restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
For sexy vibes and casual modern Mexican fare: Mirate.
Sierra Prescott

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.

December 16, 2022

For snacks and sandwiches and so much more: Milkfarm

Eagle Rock’s Milkfarm is the kind of powerhouse cheesery that makes you rethink your entire journey in life. Why shouldn’t you drop everything to dedicate the rest of your life to exploring the various nuances of different animal milk cheeses from vast and disparate regions? Why wouldn’t you figure out the best sturdy-yet-thin crackers to pair with the finest brie, or the most floral aperitif to serve along with freshly sliced jamon and tinned fish? Who wouldn’t want to pick up a loaf of Bub and Grandma’s bread, or sit down for an on-site sandwich, at this little corner of creamy heaven along Colorado? Transport yourself to Milkfarm this weekend to see what the future might hold. 2106 Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock. —Farley Elliott

For a mezcal-fueled Oaxacan brunch in Torrance and West Hollywood: Madre

For a mezcal-fueled Oaxacan brunch in Torrance and West Hollywood: Madre.
For a mezcal-fueled Oaxacan brunch in Torrance and West Hollywood: Madre.
Matthew Kang

With three handy locations in LA, Ivan Vasquez could be the strongest evangelist for tasty Oaxacan fare in the city, with an expansive Torrance location that works great for bright weekend brunches. Expect dishes like a very solid, well-portioned lamb barbacoa platter served with all the appropriate garnishes and a rich consome to wash it all down. Fried egg-topped memelas on handmade tortillas feel like perfect brunch fare while the shareable plate of enfrijoladas — fried black bean sauce — with the choice of tasajo, cecina, or chorizo comes with two eggs any style. And to drink, mezcal cocktails are the ideal accompaniment to eggs, beans, masa, and meat. 1261 Cabrillo Avenue, Suite 100, Torrance. —Matthew Kang

For doughnuts that surprise and delight: Bub and Grandma’s Restaurant

For doughnuts that really hit the spot: Bub and Grandma’s.
For doughnuts that surprise and delight: Bub and Grandma’s Restaurant.
Cathy Chaplin

It’s all about the pastry case at the newish Bub and Grandma’s Restaurant in Glassell Park. While the daytime spot’s menu of sandwiches is familiar by now, the pastry case adjacent to the takeout window always offers a surprise or two. From croissants to tarts and cakes, the ever-changing array of sweets never fails to delight on every visit. So far, it’s the yeast-risen doughnuts that have captured my deep-fried dough-loving heart. Glazed with flavors like passion fruit and maple syrup, the rings boast the lightest of textures with icing that really sings. ‘Tis the season to treat yourself, you hear? 3507 Eagle Rock Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For sexy vibes and casual modern Mexican fare: Mírate

Matthew Egan and chef Joshua Gil are very good at what they do. Back in 2020, the partners opened Mírame in Beverly Hills, and in November debuted Mírate. The name translates to “look at you” in Spanish and the Los Feliz spot is truly gorgeous to look at. There are multiple levels throughout the former Rockwell Table & Stage with plush seats, Egan’s photography adorning the walls, and of course, Gil’s menu. His albondigas (meatballs) are his grandmother’s uncle’s recipe, who was a chef from China, giving Mírate’s version more of a shu mai-like texture. Or, try the crunchy Oaxacan tlayuda with grilled hangar steak while taking a sip from former Gracias Madre barman Max Reis’s cocktails. Ask for a recommendation from Mírate’s curated mezcal collection, or the rare gins, rums, and other agave-based spirits. The space boasts two bars with different personalities, but every corner of the Mírate space has unique yet cohesive vibes. Go with a group of friends. Mírate is open late. 1712 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Feliz. —Mona Holmes

December 9, 2022

For rainy-day soup that’s sure to feel right: Han Bat Seol Lung Tang

It’s shaping up to be another blustery weekend in Los Angeles, which can only mean one thing: Soup season is still very much upon the world. Head to Koreatown specialist Han Bat Seol Lung Tang for enriching bowls of oxtail soup, served simply with a few meat options and lots of fortifying green onion. Banchan, rice, kimchi, and other accoutrements accent the meal but here it’s really about keeping one’s head down so the steam can rise up from the bowl. Inexpensive, warming, delicious, and flavorful, this is the ideal kind of meal for a rainy weekend day — and who knows, it might just make you strong enough to brave the weather for a second stop for dumplings or Korean barbecue nearby. 4163 West 5th Street, Koreatown. —Farley Elliott

For brunch with an Indonesian flair: Bone Kettle

For brunch with an Indonesian flair: Bone Kettle.
For brunch with an Indonesian flair: Bone Kettle.
Jean Trinh

LA has a plethora of brunch options, and while it’s commonplace to find many renditions of eggs Benedict and shakshouka, it’s rare to find breakfast dishes that are actually surprising. That’s where Bone Kettle comes in. Indonesian chef Erwin Tjahyadi goes for bold flavors at his Southeast Asian gem and the results are refreshing and comforting. Bone Kettle’s play on chicken and waffles consists of confit duck paired with vibrant green pandan waffles drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and showered with pork floss, and served alongside a sunny-side-up duck egg. There are options for beef rendang omelet, a loco moco stacked high, soft shell crab with squid-ink waffle, and a variety of french toasts, including one with ube jam and toasted coconut. A bonus is that Bone Kettle has a lovely and lively patio that’s perfect for group outings and those weekends when folks can while the day away. 67 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena. —Jean Trinh

For properly chewy New York-style bagels: Bagel+Slice

For properly chewy and sustainably sourced bagels: Bagel + Slice.
For properly chewy New York-style bagels: Bagel+Slice.
Cathy Chaplin

There’s never a bad time to swing into chef Bradford Kent’s Bagel+Slice in Highland Park. The restaurant’s winning fast-casual formula includes bagels — served plain, swiped with cream cheese, or topped with smoked salmon and such — for breakfast and pizzas sold by the slice or as whole pies from lunch to late at night. The New York-style bagels are particularly solid, each one is hand-rolled, kettle-boiled, and plank-baked. From everything to rosemary and salt, the bagels’ chew is unbeatable, even after aging in the fridge for a few days. Regardless of when one stops in for a bite, be sure to snag a dozen bagels to go because they freeze exceptionally well. 4751 York Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For live music and a European-style hotel restaurant vibe: Lillie’s at the Culver Hotel

Wagyu bavette steak frites at the Culver Hotel in Culver City on an ornate plate.
Wagyu bavette steak frites at the Culver Hotel in Culver City.
Matthew Kang

The ground floor of the historic Culver Hotel has always been a casual place to pop in for a weeknight meal, but during the holidays, it seems the entire Downtown Culver City area perks up for the festivities. Lillie’s, a new French bistro, offers a relaxed dining area spread across the lobby floor and a people-watching garden just outside. Almost every night of the week there’s live music, and the evening we went, a talented jazz trio played mellow Christmas standards to the boisterous lounge. The fare is predictable French, and probably still in need of a few nips and tucks to get the quality down, but the cheesy onion soup, fresh oysters, shrimp cocktail, and a well-seared wagyu bavette steak with crisp fries were very solid. (The snapper, mussels, and salad weren’t quite there on our visit.) Between the stellar cocktails, holiday tunes, and lively room, Lillie’s feels like a European jaunt without a long-haul flight. 9400 Culver Boulevard, Culver City. —Matthew Kang

December 2, 2022

For easy sushi takeout with Filipino flavors in a pizza box: i.8sushi

For easy sushi takeout with Filipino flavors in a pizza box: i.8sushi.
For easy sushi takeout with Filipino flavors in a pizza box: i.8sushi.
Jean Trinh

There are a lot of things that make i.8sushi stand out, like its takeaway concept of sushi in a pizza box, punny name, and chef-owner J. Margaux Diño’s creations that incorporate Filippino flavors. The restaurant, which started amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, has grown from a home garage operation to a ghost kitchen in Van Nuys and a small brick-and-mortar in Silver Lake. While the restaurant pays homage to classic rolls, some of the more unique ones include toppings like mango, sweet chile sauce, a Hot Cheetos crumble, and roasted corn spicy mayonnaise. The brulee roll is the showstopper, with a torched and caramelized Kewpie mayonnaise top over crab. 4422 Sunset Drive, Silver Lake. —Jean Trinh

For rainy day dumplings to warm up with: Hui Tou Xiang

Hui tou dumplings at Hui Tou Xiang.
For rainy day dumplings to warm up with: Hui Tou Xiang.
Cathy Chaplin

Is there a better cloudy day meal than dumplings? Maybe not, and that’s precisely why Hui Tou Xiang is a must-eat this chilly, overcast weekend. The San Gabriel strip mall Chinese restaurant offers a variety of dumplings — including the long, boxy namesake pork hui tou — as well as noodle dishes, griddled leek pancakes, soups, and more. The SGV outlet is few on frills so expect to either eat at one of the small tables outside or snag food to-go, while the newer Hollywood outlet on Cahuenga is prime for indoor dining. Really though, regardless of circumstance and space, it’s all about scoring some piping-hot dumplings on a weekend like this. Oh, and don’t forget to take some frozen dumplings home, too. 704 W. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel. —Farley Elliott

For a literal mountain of Korean comfort food: Sun Nong Dan

For a literal mountain of Korean comfort food: Sun Nong Dan.
For a literal mountain of Korean comfort food: Sun Nong Dan.
Matthew Kang

It’s been a while since I visited Sun Nong Dan, famous for its cauldrons of steaming hot braised Korean short rib. The newish Western Avenue location, which takes over a former Sizzler, is such a pleasant place to bring a crew and dig into this world-class comfort food. Sun Nong Dan’s larger digs and cleaner ambiance mean it’s actually a dining experience instead of a rushed meal. On the stone bowl, there’s enough food for four large humans to pick at beefy rich slivers and slabs of meat, studded with tender potato and chewy rice cakes. The recipe seems to have changed of late, with fewer carrots and green onions to mix up the flavors, but the move is always to go as spicy as you can handle. We ordered a middle-of-the-road spice but I wish we amped up one more level to better balance the sweetness of the sauce. Still, it’s hard to find a more satisfying way to soak in the flavors of Korean cuisine. 710 S. Western Avenue, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

For dependably great Italian comforts: Ronan

As much as I love checking out LA’s newest restaurant openings, I adore revisiting standbys like Ronan in equal measure. There’s something so comforting and joyful about dining in a restaurant that’s fully integrated into its neighborhood and has a solid following that shows up night after night. For those in the mood for something that feels familiar yet fresh, Ronan’s Italia cooking continues to delight. A round of drinks is definitely in order, followed by an order of the tremendous steamed clams. Hold off on ordering anything else for a beat or two to fully take in the good booze and even better clams. Depending on the size of one’s party and the appetites on hand, move on to a pizza or two before sharing the tiramisu for dessert. 7315 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

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 BBQ on a steel tabletop grill.
For fancy Korean barbecue with al fresco dining: Park’s BBQ.

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 Ri Rang Tofu House

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