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The 38 Essential Los Angeles Restaurants, Summer 2017

Eater's recommended restaurants in the city of Angels

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This collection of elite restaurants aims to answer the question, "Can you recommend a place?" Eater will continue to update restaurants every few months, adding in eligible places that have been open for at least six months. Instead of a typical alphabetical order, the map is configured from a west to east direction (except for the new additions at the end).

Added July 2017: Matsuhisa, Dune, E.P. & L.P., Everson Royce Bar, Howlin' Ray's

Removed July 2017: Union, Alimento, Din Tai Fung, Maude, Norah

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cassia

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1314 7th St
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-6699
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Bryant and Kim Ng have partnered with Rustic Canyon's Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan for a powerhouse restaurant in Santa Monica. The vibe is wonderful: expansive and vibrant without being too formal, it's the kind of place one can drop in for a cocktail and raw seafood at the bar, or a long sit-down dinner with friends. The plates recall Bryant Ng's upbringing, with flavors of Singapore and Vietnam with a heavy dose of French technique.

2. Gjusta

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320 Sunset Ave
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 314-0320
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Is there a better day-time eatery than Gjusta at the moment? Except for the paucity of seating, the fare coming out of the massive kitchen and ovens is impressive from beginning to end, starting with the pastries, breads, and sweets. The smoked fish is some of the best in town while the breakfast offers everything from pork sausage and eggs to flatbread pizzas. For lunch, try a prime rib, porchetta, or banh mi sandwich, which comes loaded with house-made pate.

3. Rose Cafe & Restaurant

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220 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 399-0711
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This iconic Venice restaurant has found a complete makeover, offering the most flexible restaurant the area could have imagined, from breakfast through dinner service. Jason Neroni's produce-driven, pasta-centric menu is sure to please most people while the multi-faceted building offers everything from a casual bite at the bar to a more composed sit-down experience on the patio.

4. M.B. Post

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1142 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 545-5405
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David LeFevre's enduring Manhattan Beach restaurant remains packed every night of the week thanks to its crowd-pleasing menu of market-driven fare with a chef's touch. The dark environs make for a perfect date spot just steps from the ocean, while the crave-worthy fare like the cheddar bacon biscuits, green curry mussels, and braised lamb belly convince diners to become regulars after just one bite.

5. Hatchet Hall

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12517 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-4222
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Brian Dunsmoor's ode to Southern cooking continues to produce some of the city's finest American cuisine, with a bent toward using fresh produce and deep flavors. This expansive Culver City restaurant has it all, from a genre-bending wine list to solid cocktails. After dinner, hang out in the Old Man Bar, tucked behind the main dining room, for a Nick Offerman-style nightcap.

6. Spago Beverly Hills

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176 N Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 385-0880
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Wolfgang Puck's Beverly Hills flagship still has a compelling tasting menu that would stand up to the city's best. Throw in a star-powered crowd with world-class service, and there's a truly iconic LA restaurant that will appeal to high end diners and people watchers alike. Don't be surprised if Wolfgang himself is working the dining room and giving tours to the kitchen.

7. Sotto

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9575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 277-0210
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With Steve Samson now running things at this stalwart restaurant on the southern edge of Beverly Hills, the Southern Italian fare is as good as it's ever been. The pizzas are top notch, the wine program is next level, and the cocktails are worth boasting about. But the pastas and plates are really what bring people back every day and every week.

8. Lukshon

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3239 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 202-6808
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Sang Yoon put together one of the most impressive dining rooms in the city, and it continues to be one of the most unsung restaurants in town. Yoon continues to tinker with the Asian-inspired menu, pulling off old favorites and testing new ones without any remorse. All the flavors will seem familiar, but come presented in a more thoughtful way. If LA had its version of Momofuku Ssam Bar, this might be it.

9. Hamasaku

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11043 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 479-7636
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Los Angeles has hundreds of sushi restaurants, and many of them are excellent. However, few offer the overall intimacy of a counter omakase experience coupled with reasonable prices. While this corner strip mall restaurant still offers flashy, over-the-top rolls for celebrity types, the real gem is the omakase tasting, chock full of interesting fish and based on warm, well-seasoned rice.

10. A.O.C.

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8700 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 653-6359
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Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne's enduring West Third Street classic has one of the most pleasant patio spaces in town, making for a quality lunch with perfect produce and great execution. Dinner's even more expansive, with Goin's trademark touch on rustic American cuisine coupled with suave service. A.O.C. is one of LA's modern icons, and everyone should dine here at least once a year.

11. Aburiya Raku

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521 N LA Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
(213) 308-9393
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This West Hollywood restaurant, transplanted from Las Vegas, has some of the most consistent, and delicious, izakaya fare in Los Angeles. Order an innovative fish-based plate or just opt for an endless parade of kushiyaki skewers grilled to perfection. Open late night, which definitely helps the industry crowd looking for a plate to eat after 11 p.m. The affordable lunch bento options are also great.

12. Jon & Vinny's

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412 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 334-3369
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Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo wanted to put their mark on Fairfax, and while their still-excellent restaurant Animal occupies the western part of the block, their shiny Italian-American-inspired place is all the rage. With composed pastas, salads, and some fine pizzas, it's the kind of comfort food that everyone can get behind.

13. Angelini Osteria

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7313 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 297-0070
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Gino Angelini's classic Italian restaurant straddles the line between the hyper modern pasta shops pervading the city and old school red checkered table spots. Still one of the most reliable dinners in Los Angeles, Angelini continues to deliver what every other Italian restaurant has been trying to do: incredible pasta and entrees that one will remember for weeks, or years, like the signature lasagna.

14. République

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624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(310) 361-6115
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When Walter and Margarita Manzke took over the iconic Campanile space, they knew the stakes were going to be high. And who in LA would have thought they would've succeeded this much, offering a swell breakfast to dinner menu with a French point of view. Throw in some pockets of New American and even Asian influences and the bill of fare will likely appeal to everyone. The desserts, breads, and pastries by Margarita are near perfect while the charcuterie board is sure to stun anyone.

15. Chi Spacca

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6610 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 297-1133
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Anyone looking for a great place for steak should look to Chi Spacca first. It's not a classic-looking steakhouse: it's small and boasts an open kitchen. The house-made salumi was the first such program in the city, and it's worth ordering every time. The amazing focaccia di recco is a carb-lover's dream come true. But the massive steaks, dry-aged in house and grilled to perfection, are the epitome of beef. Order a bottle of fantastic wine and you'll be ensured a legendary meal.

Nick Solares

16. Petit Trois

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718 Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 468-8916
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Ludo Lefebvre has perfected this facsimile of a Parisian bistro right next to his first effort, Trois Mec. With near ideal renditions of classics (though, with some leeway here and there), Petit Trois has already become the most talked about French restaurant in the city. Try the omelette, steak frites, escargot; pretty much everything on the tight menu is worth ordering.

17. Trois Mec

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716 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 468-8915
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Ludo Lefebvre paired up with chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo to create a culinary version of Led Zeppelin — a supergroup of uber-talented culinary minds that produces one of the best tasting menus in town. Purchase tickets on select days and watch Lefebvre create some of the most creative, expressive cuisine in Los Angeles. And at under a $100 per person for the tasting menu, it's fairly reasonable too.

18. Luv2eat Thai Bistro

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6660 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 498-5835
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Opened just a few years ago, Luv2eat has ascended into the heights of LA's Thai restaurant scene with wonderfully prepared plates of Southern and sometimes Northern specialties. The Phuket-style crab curry should be on every table, along with the khao soi. Kua gling, a Southern Thai spicy dry meat curry, is fantastic, along with the fried sour Thai sausage, served with crunchy vegetables. Just remember, anything "medium" spicy or above will likely blow the lights out for most people, so order mild if insane spice is an issue.

Wonho Frank Lee

19. Here's Looking at You

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3901 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 568-3573
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Former Animal chef Jonathan Whitener has opened a bustling restaurant in the heart of Koreatown with some of the most creative, and delicious, cuisine in Los Angeles. There's no easy way to categorize these plates, but they tend to veer toward pristine ingredients, unlikely combinations, and lovely plating.

Wonho Frank Lee

20. Jun Won

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414 S Western Ave Ste B
Los Angeles, CA 90020

After Jun Won closed last year, it left a gaping hole in Koreatown's dining scene. Thankfully it's returned with a bigger, newer space with ample parking. The place is just an ode to great Korean cuisine, starting with its excellent banchan, served as freebie appetizers before the rest of the meal. Then delve into the fish specialties, such as the flavor-riddled spicy braised black cod and pan-fried sole fish. Everything from the seafood pancake to the tofu stew with dazzle anyone unfamiliar or well-versed in Korean food.

Farley Elliott

21. Sqirl Kitchen

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720 N Virgil Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(213) 394-6526
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Jessica Koslow realized that the Eastside was bereft of a great everyday breakfast and lunch spot, and SQIRL was the answer everyone was waiting for. Tucked away on a sleepy stretch of Virgil, this seasonal kitchen produces surprising cuisine that balances flavor with superb ingredients. Just be ready to wait in line.

22. Baroo

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5706 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 819-4344
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This tiny restaurant in East Hollywood is preparing some of the most inventive, and affordable, cooking in Los Angeles through the efforts of Kwang Uh, who worked at Noma. Basing the menu off of his Korean heritage and fermentation, the seven-item menu earned the place a James Beard semi-finalist nod, a massive recognition for such a humble outfit. To taste the future of Los Angeles food, come here. Just be patient, as the operation was never meant to handle a high volume of diners.

23. Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant

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704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 483-8050
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Yes, the #19 pastrami sandwich is an amazing sandwich, but the pure pastrami on house-based rye is simplicity at its best. There's a reason why people make pilgrimages to try their pastrami and even corned beef: there is no better version anywhere in town, and perhaps even in the country. Pro tip: try the #54, a blend of both the pastrami and corned beef in one sandwich. And don't skip the rest of the classic Jewish deli menu — it's all very well executed in one of the best day-time dining rooms in town.

24. Night + Market Song

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3322 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Kris Yenbamroong built this place from the ground up, and while his original spot in West Hollywood still goes strong, this second rendition in Silver Lake seems to reflect the young chef's ethos a tiny bit more. With a cadre of excellent Thai dishes in a fun, convivial atmosphere (crack open a tall boy of Miller Lite to start a meal), Night + Market Song is the place to be any night of the week on the Eastside.

25. Broken Spanish

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1050 S. Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 749-1460
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Ray Garcia's homage to the food of his upbringing is finding its perfect expression just steps from Downtown's LA Live. With creative takes on Mexican-American cuisine, plus a killer evening ambiance, Broken Spanish is the grown up restaurant this area desperately needed. Order the chicharron and some of the wonderful blue corn tortillas.

26. P.Y.T.

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400 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-7015
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Josef Centeno's newest Downtown restaurant is an ode to vegetables, with some of the sharpest and most innovative cooking the chef has ever prepared. A plant-based diner looking for real creativity can finally find it here. And the carnivores will be pleased to know there's an entree or two with meat in them, too.

Wonho Frank Lee

27. Bestia

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2121 E 7th Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 514-5724
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Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis knew something about finding the perfect spot and offering the area the ideal concept. Think seasonal, meat-driven rustic Italian in an industrial space in the heart of the Arts District. Who knew it was going to be one of the most talked about and constantly booked restaurants in the city despite having a nearly hidden location? The pizzas, pastas, appetizers, and mains all shine, with cocktails and wine as impressive as any restaurant's in town.

28. Szechuan Impression

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1900 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 283-4622

This chef-driven Sichuanese restaurant in San Gabriel Valley is exhibit A in well executed Chinese cuisine, with toothpick lamb, cold noodles, tea-smoked ribs, and one of the many boiled fish pots as must-order items. Don't forget to order the chewy rice cakes for dessert.

Toothpick lamb from Sichuan Impression, San Gabriel Valley Bill Addison

29. Salazar

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2490 Fletcher Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Frogtown hasn't had a great restaurant, which makes Salazar's landing last year all the more impressive. It's a Sonoran-style taco joint, which means grilled carne asada and other meats served on flour tortillas. The vegetables and other dishes are also delightful, but nothing beats that ambiance: an oasis in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles.

30. Black Market Liquor Bar

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11915 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 446-2533
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Chef Antonia Lofaso's enduring Studio City restaurant has been quietly serving crowds for the past years, and while the prices skew a bit higher, the dishes and drinks are top notch. The cavernous dining room feels like a party every night, while the market-driven plates are sure to please anyone at your table. In this burgeoning dining neighborhood, Black Market is a beacon of consistency.

31. Sun Nong Dan

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3470 W 6th St Ste 7
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 365-0303
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It's been quite the run for this Koreatown star, with massive cauldrons of excellent galbi jjim, or slow-braised short ribs. Available with a soy base or three levels of spice, the place packs in crowds every night. Each platter is stuffed with chewy rice cakes, potatoes, and tender carrots.

32. Saj Bakery

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11146 Balboa Blvd
Granada Hills, CA 91344
(818) 368-4000
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There's plenty of casual Middle Eastern cuisine in the Los Angeles area, but this fantastic bakery and shawarma palace in a wide Granada Hills strip mall is one of the few destination-worthy spots. The freshly baked flatbreads go perfectly with the various kinds of shawarma, including chicken and beef. Finish with the kafta hummus pie, a kind of calzone topped with sesame seeds.

33. Mariscos Jalisco

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3040 E Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90023
(323) 528-6701

This wonderful seafood truck in East LA is one of the most reliable street food experiences in town, with deep-fried shrimp tacos topped with a fresh salsa that might be one of the best bang for the buck dishes in LA. The epic (and spicy) Poseidon, a massive tostada of octopus and more, is something worth sharing if you're adventurous. Only open during the day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

34. Howlin' Ray's

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727 N Broadway #128
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 935-8399
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Johnny Ray Zone and Amanda Chapman might have the busiest single restaurant in Los Angeles, with a line that snakes around Far East Plaza in Chinatown every day they're open, and nearly for every hour they're open. What's everyone waiting for? Nashville-style hot chicken, made to perfection. Yes, order at least one item as spicy as one can handle, and pick up the fried chicken sandwich too. It's truly a marvel of fried chicken in Los Angeles. Open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch only at the moment.

35. Dune

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3143 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

A tiny fast-casual operation in Atwater Village, this Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant has superb falafel and grilled lamb, plus addictive and well-made mezzes to enjoy on the side. The prices are reasonable and the service is quick. Is there a better place to show off how great L.A.'s dining scene can be, in one, reasonably priced package?

Farley Elliott

36. Matsuhisa

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129 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 659-9639
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Nobu Matushisa started his global restaurant empire with this humble location along La Cienega's restaurant show. Diners still pack the place nightly while a slew of talented chefs fit behind the tight sushi bar and prepare waves of gloriously fresh fish. The kitchen's no slouch either, with iconic plates like the miso black cod still wooing fans with its salty-sweet punch. LA has a lot of sushi bars, yet Matushisa continues to be a standard-bearer.

Matsuhisa Matthew Kang

37. E.P & L.P.

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603 N LA Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 855-9955
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This West Hollywood restaurant continues to be a scene every night of the week, but lurking between the glitz is a really good restaurant helmed by Louis Tikaram, who manages the Thai and Southeast Asian menu. While the rooftop is a fun spot for cocktails and small bites, the main dining room boasts superb Asian food that pleases a crowd.

E.P. & L.P. Wonho Frank Lee

38. Everson Royce Bar

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1936 E 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 335-6166
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One of the Arts District's most popular bars, this Downtown lounge with a great outdoor patio (and smaller interior) continues to produce some of the best bar food in the city. It's no surprise because James Beard Award winner Matt Molina (Mozza) puts a lot of effort into making a supremely good burger, or perfect biscuits, or even a shrimp roll that would make one forget about lobster.

Wonho Frank Lee

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1. Cassia

1314 7th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Bryant and Kim Ng have partnered with Rustic Canyon's Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan for a powerhouse restaurant in Santa Monica. The vibe is wonderful: expansive and vibrant without being too formal, it's the kind of place one can drop in for a cocktail and raw seafood at the bar, or a long sit-down dinner with friends. The plates recall Bryant Ng's upbringing, with flavors of Singapore and Vietnam with a heavy dose of French technique.

1314 7th St
Santa Monica, CA 90401

2. Gjusta

320 Sunset Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Is there a better day-time eatery than Gjusta at the moment? Except for the paucity of seating, the fare coming out of the massive kitchen and ovens is impressive from beginning to end, starting with the pastries, breads, and sweets. The smoked fish is some of the best in town while the breakfast offers everything from pork sausage and eggs to flatbread pizzas. For lunch, try a prime rib, porchetta, or banh mi sandwich, which comes loaded with house-made pate.

320 Sunset Ave
Venice, CA 90291

3. Rose Cafe & Restaurant

220 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291

This iconic Venice restaurant has found a complete makeover, offering the most flexible restaurant the area could have imagined, from breakfast through dinner service. Jason Neroni's produce-driven, pasta-centric menu is sure to please most people while the multi-faceted building offers everything from a casual bite at the bar to a more composed sit-down experience on the patio.

220 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291

4. M.B. Post

1142 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

David LeFevre's enduring Manhattan Beach restaurant remains packed every night of the week thanks to its crowd-pleasing menu of market-driven fare with a chef's touch. The dark environs make for a perfect date spot just steps from the ocean, while the crave-worthy fare like the cheddar bacon biscuits, green curry mussels, and braised lamb belly convince diners to become regulars after just one bite.

1142 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

5. Hatchet Hall

12517 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066