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5 Under-the-Radar New Restaurants to Check Out in Los Angeles Right Now

Guatemalan delights in the Valley, Spanish tapas in Mar Vista, and more

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Thai-style chicken rice at Heng Heng Chicken Rice in East Hollywood.
Thai-style chicken rice at Heng Heng Chicken Rice in East Hollywood.
Heng Heng Chicken Rice

Brand new restaurants open every day across the Southland, usually without too much fanfare. This periodic compilation spotlights some of the most notable and under-the-radar places that have popped up recently. From the San Fernando Valley to the South Bay, from the Westside to the San Gabriel Valley — let’s dive right in. For the biggest restaurant openings in town, check out this companion list.

March 23, 2023

East HollywoodHeng Heng Chicken Rice brings Thai-style Hainan chicken rice to Thai Town visitors and residents. In addition to the classic dish composed of poached chicken over rice, the restaurant also serves a version with deep-fried chicken or crispy pork belly on a bed of garlicky noodles. 5420 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

Arts District— Find Tokyo-style street food and a boisterous dining room at Taberu. In addition to the house-special pork belly-wrapped grilled vegetable skewers (yasai maki), the winding menu also includes a smattering of appetizers, ramen, sake cocktails, and beer. 806 E. 3rd Street, Unit 140, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

Calabasas— Come into Meez for “traditional and modern” interpretations of Persian cuisine. Any one of the menu’s trio of stews (ghormeh sabzi, gheymeh, fesenjoon) served with basmati rice makes for a warming starter before tearing into platters of grilled beef, chicken, lamb, or fish. 23508 Calabasas Road, Calabasas, CA 91302.

Mar Vista— The former Gravlax space is now Yahir, a Spanish-leaning spot for small plates and wines. The venison tartare gets topped with a cured egg yolk, while the chicken liver mousse is paired with an apricot chutney. Red, orange, white, and sparkling wines are available to wash everything down. 12400 Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90066.

Sylmar— Flanked between a dentist’s office and a cell phone service store, Antojitos Tacaná brings Guatemalan cooking to the San Fernando Valley. Try a shuco, a Guatemalan take on a hot dog, or pick from a handful of classic street foods including tamales, garnarches, and quesadillas. Don’t miss the weekends-only pig feet soup. 14705 Rinaldi Street, San Fernando, CA 91340.

February 28, 2023

Glendora— Pinoy provisions purveyor Lumpia Mania just opened inside the Glendora Public Market. In addition to its namesake deep-fried rolls, the stall prepares a drippy double lumpia burger made with American cheese, beef patties, and butter on a pandesal roll. 905 E. Arrow Highway, Glendora, CA 91740.

South El Monte— Bánh Cuốn Hương Bắc brings northern Vietnamese fare to a busy stretch of Garvey Avenue. The specialty is bánh cuốn, steamed rice flour “crepes” served plain or filled with ground shrimp or a mixture of pork and wood ear mushrooms. Rounding out the succinct menu are noodle soups that also hail from the northern canon including canh bún, bún riêu, and bún mọc. 9442 Garvey Avenue, South El Monte, CA 91733.

Reseda— There are pupusas on the menu, of course, and so much more at Con Sabor Salvadoreño. Those swinging by during morning hours will do well with a traditional Salvadoran breakfast plate that includes eggs, fried plantains, rice, and beans. The pan con pollo makes for a tremendous lunch, while the pollo asado works at any time of day. 8241 Tampa Avenue, Reseda, CA 91335.

Monterey Park— While Korean barbecue is fairly common around the San Gabriel Valley, restaurants specializing in grilled Korean-style seafood are a rare sight. The Clam House takes a page from the playbook of Jae Bu Do in Koreatown with tableside charcoal grills and set menus that range from $80 to $175. 133 W. Garvey Avenue, Ste. C, Monterey Park, CA 91754.

Inglewood— After popping up in View Park-Windsor Hills for years, Bootsy BBQ finally has a brick-and-mortar location tucked inside Comfort LA in Inglewood. Get a taste of Armond Keys’s beef ribs, baby backs, brisket, and even salmon on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. until sold out. 902 N. La Brea Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90302.

January 30, 2023

Alhambra— Come into Orange Bistro for Taiwanese cooking served in a contemporary dining room. The portions are on the larger side, so eating with a group is essential for trying dishes beyond the requisite three-cup preparation. Stinky tofu gets a dedicated section on the robust menu. 11 W. Main Street, Alhambra, CA 91801.

South Pasadena— A second branch of Rice & Nori just opened in South Pasadena. The fast-casual Japanese American menu includes over a dozen onigiri, like ones filled with bacon and avocado, along with hand rolls and sashimi. 901 Fair Oaks Avenue, Ste. D, South Pasadena, CA 91030.

Santa Monica— Vegan sushi is on the rise in Los Angeles, and the latest newcomer is Narita on Main Street in Santa Monica. Expect to find classic appetizers (seaweed salad, marinated cucumbers, mixed greens), souped-up and simple sushi rolls, and even sashimi on the plant-based menu. 2400 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405.

Monterey Park— Hunan and Sichuan cuisines, famous for chile-laden dishes, are the focus at Chef Fu. Duck heads and necks headline the cold appetizers, while fried cumin lamb, spicy pork trotters, and frogs in dry pot round out the menu. 788 S. Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, CA 91754.

Canoga ParkTainos is here to satisfy those in search of Puerto Rican fare in the Southland. Tucked into a ghost kitchen in the Valley, Tainos’s signature dish is a whole-roasted chicken marinated in a proprietary spice blend and served with rice, beans, and guava sauce. The menu also includes mofongo and empanadas. Open Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 9020 Owensmouth Avenue, Ste. 20, Canoga Park, CA 91304.

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