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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

Tuna tostada with sea urchin at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
For Downtown views and dining options that fit every occasion: Sendero.
Wonho Frank Lee

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, here’s our list of the hottest places to get cocktails in town.

June 2, 2023

For Westwood’s unsung bistro that just oozes charm: Violet Bistro

A plate of duck confit with cherries on a white plate.
Duck confit with wild rice and fresh cherries at Violet Bistro in Westwood.
Matthew Kang

I’d been completely sleeping on Violet Bistro, a beautiful little brick-lined find from Dana Slatkin, who’s a bit of Westside food legend. Slatkin spent time in Michelin-starred restaurants in France and then worked as the GM of the now-closed L’Orangerie before getting into writing cookbooks and opening the Violet cooking school. Slatkin said that Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters, who operates Lulu just down the block, called it “the most beautiful cooking school in America,” which seems hard to argue given its gorgeous, light-filled perch just above the restaurant. But first, the bistro, which opened in January 2020 as a fine rendition of a cozy French country restaurant serving incredible salads and tightly crafted classics under the direction of executive chef Brittany Cassidy (a vet of Rustic Canyon and Birdie G’s). Everything seems to have a careful eye for seasonal, market-fresh ingredients, which helps amplify the familiar French flavors with a solid dose of California panache. Opt for the duck confit over wild rice, spring peas, and plump fresh cherries, and finish with the crème caramel or profiteroles for dessert. You’ll be swooning out the door. 1121 Glendon Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024 —Matthew Kang

For Downtown views and dining options that fit every occasion: Sendero

Tuna tostada with sea urchin at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
For Downtown views and dining options that fit every occasion: Sendero.
Wonho Frank Lee

Head to the Ritz-Carlton near L.A. Live for a trio of boisterous dining options perched on the 24th floor of the swanky hotel. The well-appointed Leña is ideal for those seeking a more formal steakhouse experience, while the newly opened Agave Library works great for those desiring to sit back and sip something strong while chef Kevin Luzande takes care of the details. Corteza is the easiest going and a superb spot for those who love to order a bit of everything to share. Corteza’s raw bar preparations are especially noteworthy, especially the Peruvian salmon ceviche and Ensenada-inspired tuna tostada with sea urchin and salsa macha. The cocktails at all three concepts are top-notch, so don’t hold back — it’s the weekend after all. 900 W. Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90015. –Cathy Chaplin

For pizza pie, disco, and transport back to the 70s: De La Nonna and Let’s Go Disco

A corner look at a wooden bar with leafy plants hanging from above and wooden stools beneath.
Bar at De La Nonna.
Wonho Frank Lee

Everything about Downtown’s De La Nonna is incredibly cheery, so it’s fitting that some customers dress to fit with the scene from the retro red and white checkered floor, rattan dining chairs, or overflowing lush plants. Each touch reads the 1960s and 70s. Whether for lunch or dinner, fill up the table with burrata and focaccia, bluefin tuna tartare, springtime pea salad, and of course the thick-crusted but surprisingly light pizza, which is the star of the show. Wash it down with a massive spritz — there’s even a non-alcoholic variety — before walking next door to De La Nonna’s sister project: The Let’s Go Disco Club. There, the staff helps pull off a full-on 1970s-era lounge with red and pink hues. The excellent playlist might initiate a shimmy or straight-up dance party. 710 East Fourth Place, Arts District, CA 90013. —Mona Holmes

For a piece of Hollywood history with a side of chow fun: Formosa Cafe

Formosa Cafe’s beautiful bar.
Wonho Frank Lee

West Hollywood’s iconic and kitschy Formosa Cafe is lined with history from floor to ceiling in the most literal way. First opened in 1939, the bar and restaurant have welcomed the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, and many more stars, so it’s fitting that the terrazzo floor tiles mirror the same look as those on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Among deep red wallpaper and silk lanterns, there are booths dedicated to past celebrity patrons, and walls are lined with framed headshots. There’s even a trolley car inside, which dates back to 1904. The preservation of history coupled with a strong food and drink program are par for the course for the 1933 Group, whose properties also include Highland Park Bowl and Idle Hour. Whether visiting again or trying the fried tofu, cong yu bing, and chow fun for the first time, a weekend stop becomes one of the city’s most delicious history lessons. 7156 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90046. —Virali Dave

May 26, 2023

For an urban rooftop beach party: Agua Viva

Ring in the unofficial start to summer this Memorial Day weekend with a festive meal atop Conrad’s rooftop Downtown. The less-fussy of chef José Andrés two restaurants at the hotel, Agua Viva, works well for lunch, brunch, or dinner with plenty of vacay vibes and cool breezes. Start with a cocktail and an order of expertly fried crab croquettes with tartar sauce. The “Organized Caesar” salad is fun to share, its tightly coiled romaine and jicama rolls drizzled in an egg yolk dressing and topped with Parmesan and boquerones. Bring it all home with the whole fried fish. 100 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. –Cathy Chaplin

For a solid Persian breakfast in the Valley: Asal Bakery and Kabob in Woodland Hills

The Valley is full of places to grab delicious Persian food, with multiple Iranian grocery stores, bakeries, and restaurants spread from Encino through Thousand Oaks. For those looking to mix up their weekend brunch plans with proper Persian fare, Asal Bakery and Kabob in Woodland Hills is a fine stop for a Saturday or Sunday morning. The move is to order some of the crispy, soft sangak (bread) for the table along with some panir (cheese) and plenty of fresh sabzi (herbs). Or, grab some asal (honey) and sarshir (cream) for a sweet morning treat. The soft omelet is also a solid option and comes with tomatoes. No meal is complete without a proper cup of tea served extra hot. Order some extra sangak to go, and enjoy the bread at home throughout the week. 20008 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills, CA 91364. —Virali Dave.

For the busiest of LA’s new high-end Italian restaurants on the Westside: Jemma di Mare

Lobster fettuccini at Jemma Di Mare in Brentwood.
For an Italian American feast in Brentwood: Jemma di Mare
Wonho Frank Lee

LA never tires of good Italian food, and Brentwood never loses an opportunity to jump into a new flashy pasta spot. The latest, Jemma di Mare, comes from Ospi and Jame Enoteca duo Jackson and Melissa Kalb, and despite a hard-to-find, third-story strip mall space, it boasts one of the loudest dining rooms in Brentwood right now. A broad space with an open kitchen, cocktail bar filled to the brim with after-work-suited types, and plush booths, Jemma di Mare has a hint of that Houston’s or Joey vibe, which wipes away any sense of pretension. Kalb’s sprawling menu sticks to the tried-and-true, including grilled prawns, focaccia, fritto misto, and spicy Caesar salad. Once the rigatoni alla vodka, saucy lobster fettucini, and cheese-laden veal Parmesan arrive, you realize Kalb’s less uppity version of Carbone was going to be a massive success in this neighborhood. The Kalbs know how to create a hit. 11677 San Vicente Boulevard #200, Los Angeles, CA 90049 —Matthew Kang

For classic donuts from an old-school shop: Donut Star in Eagle Rock/Highland Park

Southern California is full of shops that give modern takes on doughnuts. Cereal toppings, fancy superhero dedications, or even gluten-free. But sometimes, a glazed, rainbow sprinkles, or maple old-fashioned does the job. As a longtime neighborhood favorite, Donut Star can help accomplish this task. This is an unfussy Northeast LA doughnut stop complete with TVs, lottery machines, and linoleum flooring. It’s not so different from SoCal’s familiar pink box joints, but there is quality in each bite. Every option is solid including the apple fritters, raspberry-filled, and the always-satisfying breakfast croissant sandwich. 4102 Verdugo Road, Los Angeles, CA 90065. —Mona Holmes

May 19, 2023

For bottomless brunch and a show: Idle Hour

What better way to start (or close out) a weekend than with a solid bottomless brunch? A personal favorite is the bottomless mimosa brunch at Idle Hour, North Hollywood’s iconic barrel-shaped bar that is special for so many reasons. Built in 1941 as part of the programmatic architecture movement, the 1933 Group establishment is known for its warm, woodsy interior and relaxed, open back patio. There’s also a solid Sunday brunch featuring $16 bottomless mimosas that come with live music from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mimosas are poured without a time limit (a rare find) and the staff at Idle Hour is attentive, so glasses are likely to always be half-full. There’s also a monthly, no-cover, bottomless drag brunch on Saturdays. 4824 Vineland Avenue, Los Angeles CA 91601. — Virali Dave

For a real Bangkok street food seafood feast in Downtown LA: Yum at Holy Basil

For a real Bangkok street food seafood feast in Downtown LA: Yum at Holy Basil.
For a real Bangkok street food seafood feast in Downtown LA: Yum at Holy Basil.
Matthew Kang

Holy Basil already serves some of the city’s most impressive Thai street food, but the scene gets real on evenings from Thursday to Saturday, with colorful tables, plastic chairs, and checkered plastic table covers spread across the front space of the Downtown food stall. Called Yum at Holy Basil, this pop-up (of sorts) takes Holy Basil’s already stellar slate of fried noodles and Thai curries to the next level, with fresh seasonal seafood imbued with the balanced, impressive seasonings of Bangkok street food. The Dungeness crab curry is a saucy, earthy dish to share for two — the crab’s tender meat soaking up the pool of galangal and spice-laden sauce. Grilled prawns covered with slivers of shallot, chile, lime, and fish sauce could only possibly be improved by Bangkok’s massive river prawns, but these delicate, plump shrimp still work well. End with a scoop of tart guava sorbet and be grateful that instead of a sweltering night market you’re dining in an enclosed, comfy space in LA. 718 S. Los Angeles Street, Suite A. Los Angeles, CA 90014. —Matthew Kang

For a taste of Taiwanese fast-food: Bafang Dumpling

Bafang Dumpling opened its first U.S. location in late March in City of Industry.
For a taste of Taiwanese fast-food: Bafang Dumpling.
Bafang Dumpling

With over 1,000 locations in China and Taiwan, Bafang Dumpling has the grand ambition to infiltrate the U.S. market with its line of affordably priced wares. The two existing LA outlets in the City of Industry and Temple City will be joined by two more in Gardena and Torrance in the coming months. If things progress according to plan, nearly every neighborhood across the Southland will have its own location. Come into Bafang with a good-sized group to try a little bit of everything. The steamed dumpling sampler includes all three varieties (pork, kimchi, and corn), while the warmly spiced pork chop and signature noodles are a must. Don’t forget to check the cold case full of appetizers like seaweed and pigs ears. 5728 Rosemead Boulevard, Unit #102, Temple City, CA 91780. —Cathy Chaplin

For a fresh menu from a cozy newcomer: Amiga Amore

Yellow-orange stuffed pasta with edible flowers in a bowl at Amiga Amore.
For a fresh menu from a cozy newcomer: Amiga Amore.
Wonho Frank Lee

Highland Park’s brand spanking new restaurant Amiga Amore is all that. Chef Danielle Duran-Zecca’s vision is a pop-up journey gone permanent on the eastern side of York Boulevard, where her merger of Mexican and Italian flavors is truly dazzling. Surrounded by mostly retail shops and a handful of popular spots within walking distance — including Holcomb, MacLeod’s, Maciel’s, and Goldburger — Amiga Amrore fills in the Boulevard with vibes and dishes that reflect her own marriage and business partnership with Alessandro Zecca that is a refreshing addition to LA. Her signature elote agnolotti is as dreamy as it sounds, as are the chorizo and clams with the subtly spicy chile de arbol bread. For now, the spectacular mocktails will make do while Amiga Amore’s liquor license is sorted out, but they welcome customers bringing in wine bottles. And though it might seem as if there are too many tables for that tiny front room — patio seating is available in the rear — it miraculously works and creates such intimacy. Book a table now, or stop by to see if a bar seat is free. 5662 York Boulevard, Highland Park, CA 90042. —Mona Holmes

May 12, 2023

For solid diner fare with a side of shiny new cars: Horseless Carriage

For a solid diner fare with a side of shiny new cars: Horseless Carriage.
For solid diner fare with a side of shiny new cars: Horseless Carriage.
Cathy Chaplin

While it might seem strange to dine in a car dealership, have a little faith and head over to the sprawling Galpin Motors lot in North Hills. Since 1966, the Horseless Carriage has been serving up some of the area's finest diner fare to hungry car shoppers and in-the-know Valley residents. The Belgian waffle, which has been on the menu since day one, is crisp and airy in all the right places. Those in the mood for something savory will do well with chef Geovanni Euceda’s signature chicken fettuccine in a Champagne sauce or the scratch-made soup of the day. Save room for pie; the ones served at the diner are made on the second floor of the Ford showroom. A slice of coconut cream or fresh strawberry goes down easily. 15505 Roscoe Boulevard, North Hills, CA 91343. —Cathy Chaplin

For a customizable Indian food tour with up to 15 stops: Pioneer Boulevard, Artesia

An egg dosa in a silver platter with two chutneys and sambar.
An egg dosa from Anjappar Chettinad Indian Restaurant.
Virali Dave

In Los Angeles’s growing Indian food scene, Artesia’s Pioneer Boulevard remains a staple destination, a great place to stop by on a Saturday or Sunday for a self-guided Indian food tour and a long stroll down the street. LA’s own Little India has dozens of options for snacks, meals, and sweets, and this curated list is a guide to the best spots for tangy chaat, Chettinad dosas, minty paan, salty farsan, and more. The pro move is to go with a group and order one or two dishes at each spot, starting with chaat, which is less likely to ruin any appetites; moving to the heavier dosas, rice dishes, and curries; and ending with dessert and paan. With the right pacing, it’s even possible to start with lunch and keep going through dinner. Pioneer Boulevard, Artesia, CA 90701. —Virali Dave

For Spanish decadence in an understated dining room: Telèferic

An overhead shot of wooden tables and sliced ham and pan con tomate at a new restaurant.
Sliced ham and pan con tomate at Telèferic
Abel Rincon

Spanish food and red sauce, East Coast-style Italian food are all the rage right now in Los Angeles, and for good reason. Both offer diners big flavor, communal dining opportunities and a chance to enjoy a cuisine that has historically ebbed and flowed in LA dining relevance over the years. One of the bigger names on the Spanish side is the new Telèferic, now open in Brentwood. This small but mighty group hails from Barcelona proper and now has a couple of locations in the Bay Area as well. They’ve landed softly in what was historically one of the Westside’s sleepier restaurant neighborhoods (but no more), and are turning out reliable Spanish fare with plenty of seafood and just the right amount of dazzle. There are big plates of jamón and sturdy glasses of gin and tonic (plus porrons that can be ordered for the table), though the star of the show is certain to be the paella of course. Perhaps best of all, the restaurant isn’t actually going for a clubby, decadent design — they leave the pops and sizzle on the menu — instead opting for soft curves, warm natural light, and a collection of smaller attached dining rooms that fill out to make the whole restaurant seem cozy, approachable, and good for small groups to enjoy. It’s never too loud or too fussy at Telèferic, and that’s good news for a Brentwood neighborhood that, while busy, still likes to go to bed at an appropriate hour. 11930 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90049. —Farley Elliott

For oceanside views on a breezy weekend day: La Playita in Hermosa Beach

One of LA’s greatest pleasures is sitting in an old-school restaurant serving unfussy meals, while overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Hermosa Beach’s beloved La Playita has been doing this for over 40 years, serving both Mexican and American breakfasts with chilaquiles, huevos Mexicanos, or french toast, available all day long. Beer, margaritas, wine, or juices are also a possibility, as is the burrito platter combo, fish tacos, or hearty chile verde. The seating area is downright lush with plenty of plants and a direct ocean view. Weekend lines can be long, but hang in there. 37 14th Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 —Mona Holmes

May 5, 2023

For afternoon tea and a celebration of the coronation across the pond: the Fairmont Miramar Hotel

The 102-year-old Fairmont Miramar started an English-inspired afternoon tea service, served in the hotel’s Fountain Room, last month. Tea service is currently offered on Saturdays and Sundays. This weekend’s service will celebrate the coronation of Charles III and his wife Camilla as king and queen of the UK with a special glass of Chapel Down, a sparkling English wine that is used for all royal celebrations. Along with teas, there will be sweet and savory treats: goat cheese and caramelized fig sandwiches; warm scones with clotted cream, lemon curd, and housemade preserves; profiteroles with chocolate and sea salt caramel, and more. 101 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401. —Virali Dave

For the crispiest vegan fingers and fries in town: Lettuce Feast

While the food truck craze has certainly eased in the past decade or so, a dedicated fleet of meals-on-wheels businesses continues to roam the city day in and day out. The Lettuce Feast truck, which specializes in delectable deep-fried faux chicken, makes daily stops in nearly every corner of the Southland including Santa Clarita, Northridge, North Hollywood Culver City, Downtown, and Altadena. (The latest schedule is posted weekly on Instagram.) Hearty appetites will appreciate the sandwiches like the Nashville “sando,” which includes a sizeable hunk of faux chicken along with pickles, slaw, and a truly great ranch-style dressing. Chicken fingers, available in combination meals and individually, make for a great snack. The strawberry shortcake dessert is very shareable, too. Catch the truck this weekend on Friday in Downtown, Saturday in Long Beach, and Sunday in North Hollywood. –Cathy Chaplin

For a solid brunch in a cozy neighborhood: Little Dom’s

Everyone has their go-to restaurants for any type of mood, and Los Feliz’s Little Dom’s is one of those spots for me. Chef Brandon Boudet spent years curating a daytime menu that simply works, with a ricotta and blueberry pancake thanks to pastry chef Ann Kirk, a Wolfgang Puck-inspired smoked salmon pizza, a hanger steak and eggs, and the breakfast pizza with sunny side up eggs. Order a bunch of things for the table along with a bottle of prosecco to catch up with friends or family, or pours of Little Dom’s housemade bloody mary mix. Though the restaurant’s footprint has expanded to Carpinteria, Little Dom’s still manages to feel like a comfy neighborhood restaurant. The wait is worth it. 2128 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Feliz, CA 90027. —Mona Holmes

For a chance to return to a memory: Dave’s Hot Chicken

A full tray of spicy tenders and sliders and fries and sides.
For a chance to return to a memory: Dave’s Hot Chicken.
Wonho Frank Lee

It has, somehow, been six full years since the first Dave’s Hot Chicken pop-up in an East Hollywood parking lot. The world is a very different place, but there is one constant: No matter where you or a family member are in America right now (or even in Canada, for that matter) there’s probably a Dave’s Hot Chicken restaurant somewhere nearby. The company has exploded in franchise growth over the past half-decade, jumping from its first real shop on Western to well north of 150 storefronts across the United States and beyond. It’s a magical journey that started with a few friends cooking spicy chicken tenders in a Thai Town parking lot next to Tabula Rasa wine bar, and has since become one of the country’s biggest restaurant success stories. And while the guys aren’t cooking outdoors anymore (save for the occasional anniversary party, like the one that went down at the original lot earlier this week), the energy they bring and the food they serve is still remarkably similar to those very first days. Congrats on six years to the Dave’s Hot Chicken team, and if you haven’t been in for a spicy tender slider in a bit, perhaps now’s the time — there’s almost certainly one right around the corner from wherever you are. 970 N. Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029. —Farley Elliott

April 28, 2023

For contemporary Indian cuisine in Culver City: Arth Bar and Kitchen

Arth Bar and Kitchen, which opened in July 2021, serves a contemporary but thorough take on Indian cuisine. Expect dishes that pull from multiple regions across India and move beyond traditional techniques and ingredients to provide an experience that is imaginative yet comforting to those more familiar with the cuisine. The menu features Old Monk drunken wings made with India’s rum of choice, along with lobster moilee, a coconut milk-based dish from the state of Kerala that is traditionally made with prawns or shrimp and is harder to find elsewhere in Southern California. There are also classic dishes like the Bombay pav bhaji, biryani, and paneer butter masala. Especially worth trying are the more inventive treats, like the malai broccoli and jackfruit nuggets. Old Monk also shows up on the drinks menu in the form of a Manhattan or a Desi sour, which also includes peach liqueur, lemon juice, egg whites, and eucalyptus bitters. 9531 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232. — Virali Dave

For a second Valley option for flaky daytime pastry: Baba Burekas

For a second Valley option for flaky daytime pastry: Baba Burekas.
For a second Valley option for flaky daytime pastry: Baba Burekas.
Farley Elliott

Sherman Oaks’ ultra-busy Borekas is making a huge statement in the Valley right now, cementing itself as one of the best bites of food in all of LA. The lines are long, the fans are real, and business is certainly booming — so, naturally, second-comers are starting to spring up out of the woodwork. The next name to know is Baba Burekas in Tarzana, run by a young cadre of Israeli friends and serving from a small, modern storefront in a strip mall off Reseda Boulevard. The overlap is obviously in the imagery, from the shape and ultra-burnished exterior to the snacky sides and ingredients within. That’s all to say: Baba Burekas is definitely very good, and for a massive Valley region that isn’t as historically accustomed to waiting in line for the hot new thing, having a second option to try out in Reseda is a win for basically all parties involved. Head out to the corner of Reseda and Oxnard this weekend to see what the new fuss is all about. 6030 Reseda Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 91356. —Farley Elliott

For rooftop cocktails and bites that please a crowd: Granville

It always helps to have a spot that satisfies everyone in your back pocket, especially when dining with a group of friends or family. With ample parking and a varied menu, Granville fits the bill. The SoCal mini-chain has locations in Burbank, Studio City, West Hollywood, and Pasadena. It’s a pleasant place to take in a warm afternoon — there are heat lamps for the cooler days and nights — along with creative cocktails that’ll make your mother happy. Order her the strawberry fields with prosecco, tequila, and strawberry-vanilla peppercorn. Plates are incredibly shareable with options like the burrata and heirloom tomato salad and grilled cheese with tomato bisque. Granville’s got everyone covered with burgers, pasta, skirt steak, and a pan-seared rainbow trout with a preserved lemon and butter sauce. 270 S. Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. —Mona Holmes

For Korean snacks today and provisions for the week: Han Kook Market

I recently stumbled into Han Kook Market for a jar of kimchi and left with my hands full of banchan, kimbap, furikake, and a 25-pound bag of rice. Nestled in the foothills of La Crescenta-Montrose, the market is tiny compared to larger chains like H-Mart, but the shelves are jam-packed with provisions while the counters are lined with an array of prepared foods. In addition to top-notch banchan, including fish cakes and dried anchovies, are plenty of meats for grilling and kimbap for snacking. Swing by for lunch on the go and the week’s Korean staples. 3157 Foothill Boulevard, La Crescenta-Montrose, CA 91214. —Cathy Chaplin

April 21, 2023

For an out-of-this-world meal that pulls from multiple cuisines: Interstellar

The team behind Santa Monica’s Interstellar has created a menu that reflects the multitudes of cultures that exist in the U.S. The name of the restaurant and cafe references the space between two stars, and the two stars represent the co-owners and wife-and-husband team Angie and Daniel Kim’s two cultures — Korean and American. Expect dishes like Greek salad, shakshuka, Cajun shrimp, and Moroccan harissa and burrata alongside lobster rolls, popcorn chicken, katsu curry, and a Korean bulgogi burger. There’s also a robust drink menu that features delicious coffee and cocktails made with ingredients like tamarind and soju. From drinks through dessert, it’s clear everything is made with the utmost attention and care, and the chefs use spices and seasonings to layer dynamic flavors in dishes like the ganjang gaeran, which comes with a soy sauce marinated egg atop a bed of rice flavored with Thai chile, serrano, garlic, sesame seed, and more. Interstellar’s truffle linguini is equally impressive and comes with a generous amount of black truffles, Parmesan cream, garlic, poached egg, chile flakes, applewood smoked bacon, and parsley. 109 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401. —Virali Dave

For familiar burgers with a spicy twist: Yellow Paper Burger

For familiar burgers with a spicy twist: Yellow Paper Burger.
For familiar burgers with a spicy twist: Yellow Paper Burger.
Cathy Chaplin

It’s hard to think of a better way to start or end the weekend than with a well-made burger. Early pandemic pop-up Yellow Paper Burger from partners Colin Fahrner and Katie Reid Burnett is still going strong after nearly three years. While the operation is no longer run out of the couple’s home, the pop-up events boast the same freewheeling spirit and convivial atmosphere that made Yellow Paper such a hit. The classic burger comes on butter-toasted buns with mayonnaise, chopped chiles, pickles, tomatoes, and onions. The beef patties, which are available as singles or doubles, are lightly smashed with crisp and caramelized edges. The package is familiar and satisfying, with the chopped chiles bringing some welcome heat. Find Yellow Paper Burger this Sunday at Club Tee Gee in Atwater Village starting at 5 p.m. —Cathy Chaplin

For beachside breakfast on a warm weekend: Chuck’s Coffee Shop

Located mere blocks from the Pacific Ocean is Chuck’s Coffee Shop. It’s one of Long Beach’s beloved spots where an unfussy breakfast or lunchtime menu draws in crowds, as does the large bright windows and ample outdoor seating. Order the omelets, banana pancakes topped with walnuts and apples, or the impeccable country-fried steak. However, it’s the chile verde that might cure all that ails you emotionally. Settling into one of the navy blue seats is always a pleasant experience, as is the knowledge that this family-run operation has been serving Long Beach since 1964. Get there early to avoid waiting too long for a table. And if a dog is in tow, Rosie’s Dog Beach is just a five-minute walk away. 120 E. Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90803. —Mona Holmes

For a friendly goodbye, great cheese, and new beginnings: DTLA Cheese

Grand Central Market is on the cusp of its biggest changes in years, with some prominent vendors retiring or walking away from their spaces as new, popular names move in. Among the departing tenants is DTLA Cheese, the longtime stall run by Lydia Clarke and Reed Herrick, which is moving out of the market and around the corner, landing next door to Kippered at the corner of 4th Street and Broadway next month. The goodbye party runs all weekend long, with the final day of sales coming this Sunday, April 23. Clarke and Herrick will be on hand to work up salads, sandwiches, cheese boards, and whatever else they can dream of, and don’t forget to pull some fun, interesting stuff from the robust cheese case before it moves around the corner. It’s not farewell for DTLA Cheese (far from it), but this weekend is a moment to stop by the nine-year-old stand to remind yourself of just how much the group has accomplished at Grand Central Market, LA’s oldest hangout for vendors, restaurants, and retail. Congrats to the team, and the market, on an important run. 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013. —Farley Elliott

April 14, 2023

For delicious pasta on the Westside: Forma

For those looking to spend their weekend on the Westside while part of the city clears out for Coachella, Forma makes a fine stop for lunch or dinner in either Santa Monica or Venice. Diners can enjoy charcuterie and cheese, Californian and European wines, and of course, a hearty bowl of pasta. The chitarra cacio e pepe makes a great option — fresh, al dente, homemade spaghetti, plus black pepper and extra virgin olive oil, all tossed in a pecorino Romano cheese wheel. The pro move is to enjoy the nice weekend weather with a stroll around the area before stopping in for happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. 1610 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403. —Virali Dave

For soul-satisfying Korean cooking: Sun Non Dan

With two locations in Koreatown and two more in the San Gabriel Valley, Sun Non Dan makes it easy to scratch an itch for soul-satisfying Korean cooking. The portions are sizable here, so order accordingly depending on the number of folks gathered around the table. The complimentary banchan is dependably good, while the rice cake soup (dduck guk) is just the thing to prep palates for the star of the show: galbi jjim. With medium and large portions available, there’s no excuse to not order the signature dish of tender, bone-in beef hunks swimming in a gochujang-fortified brew. Definitely opt for the addition of rice cakes and the heap of cheese that is blow-torched at the table. 927 E. Las Tunas Drive, Ste J, San Gabriel, CA 91776. —Cathy Chaplin

For a big-flavor taco with tons of community support: Villa’s Tacos

For a big-flavor taco with tons of community support: Villa’s Tacos.
For a big-flavor taco with tons of community support: Villa’s Tacos.
Farley Elliott

The edges are, for some, the best part of a Villa’s taco. Crispy from griddled cheese, the rim of the handmade tortilla offers a textural contrast to the chorizo or steak inside, making for a wonderfully blended experience that is at once messy, delicious, and decadent. There’s guacamole on top for just that extra bit of excess and creaminess, but without the lacy edges, the taco simply would not work as well. And work it has; this tiny shop in Highland Park has gone from street food sensation to Netflix star, all without losing its local heart. Today the corner restaurant plays to lines day and night, with fans lining up to order three-packs of tacos and eat on the makeshift patio. It’s always nice to see such local support even after a place becomes a big, international name. At Villa’s Tacos, they aim to offer something big and delightful for everyone who comes by — but the real locals know that it all starts at the edges. 5455 N. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90042. —Farley Elliott

For incredible pasta and a rare table reservation: Felix

Though nearly 10 million people reside in LA County, a hefty number of them will be temporarily absent for a spell with Coachella beginning its two-weekend run this afternoon. Those of us staying behind may have noticed a shockingly sparse Friday morning commute, shorter lines for coffee, as well as abundant restaurant reservations. Let’s take a look at Felix, where reservations are usually frustratingly hard to come by. One glance at its reservation site will reveal tables available for this weekend. For those hoping to score a reservation for next weekend, check back in a week when tables are released starting at midnight. It’s a rare opportunity to sample chef Evan Funke’s incredible pasta — just think of the possibilities that include Funke’s rigatoni all’amatriciana or cacio e pepe. Head over to the Felix website now before everyone else jumps on the idea. 1023 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, CA 90291. —Mona Holmes

April 7, 2023

For a journey into one of LA’s most improved wood-fired menus: Angler

Hot chicken-fried fish collar at Angler.
Hot chicken-fried fish collar at Angler.
Matthew Kang

I’ve long been a fan of Angler, a restaurant whose narrative always seems to involve its ground floor location at the Beverly Center. I actually appreciate how centrally located Angler is, and the ease of its valet parking. Once inside, it feels secluded from the rest of the city, almost like a TV set with dramatic lighting and faux fisherman’s lodge elements. Earlier this year it closed and reopened with a full menu overhaul leaning more into its wood grill. With tables pushed closer together, eating here is more energetic too, which plays better with the more casual array of swordfish skewers al pastor, caviar-topped rice bowls, and hot chicken-fried sea bass collar. My favorite new dishes were the Cajun-spiced embered oysters, whole-grilled sea bream, and raw vermillion salad. I do with the desserts eventually get rounded out beyond the soft serve topped with smoky caramel — a great way to finish the meal, but I’m pining for something more after my recent visit. 8500 Beverly Boulevard, Suite 117, Los Angeles, CA 90048. —Matthew Kang

For a tiny slice of deliciousness in Santa Monica: Bar Monette

An overhead shot of a puffy crust small pizza on a teal colored marble floor.
Pizza from Bar Monette.
Bar Monette

It’s surprising to see chef Sean MacDonald working a room as small as Bar Monette in Santa Monica. Opening tonight, the jewel box space sits at just 900 square feet, making it an intimate operation that’s wrapped in emerald greens and marble touches. It’s a beauty of a space, to be sure; it’s just that MacDonald has led much more prominent spaces before back in Canada, all while racking up awards for his efforts.

Now he’s in Los Angeles, sitting close to the beach and serving Neapolitan pizzas and decidedly delicious snacks, small plates, and sides (with lots of wine, of course).His talent pours into every corner of the room, even if his quiet energy feels a distance away from the liveliness of the compact bar with its stand-up tables and candlelit wall sconces. MacDonald and his team’s pizza is light, refreshing, and delightful, a far cry from LA’s pan pizza obsession of late, while dishes like a truffle creamed corn with uni are luxuriously surprising. The space may be small, but with MacDonald at the helm the opportunity for something great is large at Bar Monette. 109 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401. —Farley Elliott

For fresh, handmade pasta in the San Fernando Valley: Osteria La Buca

Italian dishes from Osteria La Buca.
Dishes from Osteria La Buca.
Osteria La Buca

With locations on Melrose Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, Osteria la Buca marries California farming with what they call grassroots Italian cooking. Freshness is key at the osteria, which is Italian for tavern, and all the produce comes directly from either their own private farm in West LA or from local farmer’s markets.

Los Angeles is full of restaurants that serve incredible pasta, and Osteria la Buca is one of them. The dinner menu features eight different pastas, all of which are made in-house daily and by hand, and can also be made without gluten. The bright orange Calabrian sorpressini comes with rainbow chard, canellini beans, Parmesan, walnuts, chives, and lemon. The dish is a marriage of well-balanced flavors and textures, as delicious as it is beautiful. Other options include vibrant but simple pizzas, meat and seafood dishes, and vegetable-forward sharing plates. The drinks even include a Negroni on tap, plus an extensive wine list. 14235 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. —Virali Dave

For a low-key exploration of modern Korean flavors: Kinn

Crispy octopus on a colorful blue plate.
Crispy octopus at Kinn.

With over a year in between visits to Kinn, I’m happy to report that LA’s only dedicated modern Korean tasting menu restaurant is still going strong under the direction of chef Ki Kim. Given the constraints of the space and also the pricing of the menu, which remains aggressively approachable for the execution and level of ingredients at around $100 per person, Kinn continues to weave in compelling narratives and flavors from Korean with an American lens. While there’s a casual, whimsical approach to dishes like bossam and fried rice, fried octopus or seared fish show Kim’s finesse and consistency. One wonders if the experience wouldn’t benefit from a just a few touches of luxury, or even options for a bigger, shareable beef or lamb course as a supplement, but as is, Kinn works really well as a grown up place to sip wine, nibble on Korean-inflected small plates, and have a night out in K-Town. 3905 W 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020. —Matthew Kang

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