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Trout roe on soft boiled eggs at Majordomo
Wonho Frank Lee

The 38 Essential Los Angeles Restaurants, Fall 2018

Eater’s recommended restaurants in the City of Angels

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Trout roe on soft boiled eggs at Majordomo
| Photo by Wonho Frank Lee

Los Angeles is the most amazing place to eat in America, thanks to an incredible variety of international cuisines and some of the most talented chefs in the world. LA’s great seasonal produce and access to ingredients makes it an ideal place for restaurants to thrive — but how do you know which ones to go to? Here to help is the Eater 38, a collection of elite restaurants that aims to answer the question, "Can you recommend a place?"

Eater will continue to update restaurants every three months, adding in eligible places that have been open for at least six months. And do check out the Eater LA heatmap for a rundown of the hottest places to eat in the city right now.

Removed October 2018: Gjusta, M.B. Post, Baroo, Shibumi, Kura, E.P. & L.P

Added October 2018: Majordomo, Dialogue, Uovo, Rosaliné, Shaanxi Garden, Otafuku

Restaurants are located in geographic order, from west to east.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 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 undergone a complete makeover, offering a wide-ranging menu to anticipate the neighborhood’s every dining need, from breakfast through dinner service. Jason Neroni's produce-driven, pasta-centric menu is sure to please most people, while the multifaceted building allows for everything from a casual bite at the bar to a more composed sit-down experience on the patio.

The Rose, Venice
Wonho Frank Lee

2. Spago

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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 stands 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.

Spago, Beverly Hills
Elizabeth Daniels

3. 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 (and most unsung) dining rooms in the city. 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 fresh, more thoughtful way. If LA had its own version of New York’s rollicking Momofuku Ssam Bar, this might be it.

Lukshon, Culver City

4. A.O.C.

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8700 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 859-9859
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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 pristine produce and great execution. Dinner’s even more expansive, with Goin's trademark touch on rustic American cuisine coupled with suave service. Nearly everyone has a plate of the Spanish fried chicken on their table, though anything from the wood oven would be a solid dish to order. A.O.C. is one of LA’s modern icons, and everyone should dine here at least once a year.

5. Republique

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624 South La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(310) 362-6115
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When Walter and Margarita Manzke took over the iconic Campanile space, they knew the stakes were 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 as good as one can expect, while the charcuterie board is sure to stun anyone.

Elizabeth Daniels

6. Petit Trois

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

Joshua Lurie

7. Trois Mec

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716 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 484-8588
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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 in advance on their website 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.

Trois Mec
Wonho Frank Lee

8. Luv2eat Thai Bistro

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6660 Sunset Blvd P
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 498-5835
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Since it 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.

9. 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 perhaps the best way would be to describe them as an elemental, but unexpected presentation of global flavors.

10. Sqirl

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720 N Virgil Ave #4
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 284-8147
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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. Consider the rice bowl, topped with ricotta and fermented hot sauce, or the incredible ricotta toast topped with its signature jam. Just be ready to wait in line.

11. 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 No. 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 this place’s pastrami and even corned beef: there is no better version anywhere in town, and perhaps even in the country. Pro tip: Try the No. 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 daytime dining rooms in town.

Langer’s #19 sandwich
Wonho Frank Lee

12. Night + Market Song

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3322 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 665-5899
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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 — pork toro, Bangkok mall pasta, and larb — 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.

Elizabeth Daniels

13. 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 finds its best expression just steps from Downtown’s LA Live. With creative takes on Mexican-American cuisine, plus a killer evening ambience, Broken Spanish is the grown-up restaurant this area desperately needed. Order the chicharron and some of the wonderful blue corn tortillas.

Wonho Frank Lee

14. Mariscos Jalisco

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801-, 899 E 10th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(323) 309-1622

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-your-buck dishes in LA. The epic (and spicy) Poseidon, a massive tostada of chopped octopus, is something worth sharing if you're adventurous. Only open during the day, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Yelp

15. Bestia

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2121 E 7th Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 514-5724
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Seasonal, meat-driven rustic Italian in an industrial space in the heart of the Arts District: Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis knew something about finding the most unexpected spot and offering the area an ideal restaurant. 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.

Bestia, Arts District
Sierra Prescott

16. 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 it’s open, and nearly every hour it’s open. What's everyone waiting for? Nashville-style hot chicken, made to perfection. Everybody should order at least one item as spicy as they can handle, and try the fried chicken sandwich too. It's truly a marvel of fried chicken in Los Angeles.

17. n/naka

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3455 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 836-6252
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Niki Nakayama’s phenomenal California-Japanese kaiseki might possibly be the most impressive restaurant to visit in Los Angeles. If the Michelin Guide were still rating in LA, n/naka would be a strong contender for three stars. The hidden-in-plain-sight building in Palms hosts one of the warmest, loveliest dining rooms, with fantastic wine pairings and pristine seafood prepared with a master’s touch. Reservations required, often weeks in advance.

18. Kismet

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4648 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 409-0404
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Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson opened this sleek modern Middle Eastern restaurant in early 2017 with a commitment to refined, restrained technique and top-quality farmers market produce. The result is one of the most popular new restaurants in the city. The morning Turkish-ish breakfast is a solid daytime pick, while the mezzes and small plates rule the roost for dinner service.

Wonho Frank Lee

19. Michael's Restaurant

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1147 3rd St
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 451-0843
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Chef Miles Thompson is steering a pretty big boat these days with Michael’s in Santa Monica. The long-standing restaurant has been in the hit-making business for decades, helping to launch the career of countless well-known chefs, but it’s all now in the hands of the eager wunderkind who navigates between classic menu items like foie gras and all-new interpretations like hamachi collar with fish-sauce caramel. Add in the gorgeous leafy patio, the always eclectic crowd, and the fun-loving Michael McCarty himself working the room, and it’s smooth sailing at one of LA’s most iconic restaurants. —Farley Elliott

Michael’s, Santa Monica
Wonho Frank Lee

20. Felix

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1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(424) 387-8622
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Evan Funke returns to Los Angeles with one of the city’s most celebrated new restaurants, a temple of pasta and Italian cuisine in Venice in the iconic former Joe’s space along Abbot Kinney. Start with the superb focaccia, served in a plush round at the start of the meal. Then venture into one of the fresh salads prepared as lovingly as the pastas. But the main draws are the handmade pastas: rigatoni all’amatriciana, tonnarelli cacio e pepe, and pappardelle bolognese.

Felix, Venice
Wonho Frank Lee

21. Gwen

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6600 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 946-7500
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Gwen’s menu has meandered from a tasting menu to a more approachable a la carte bill of fare, and it’s done wonders for the overall usability of celebrity chef Curtis Stone’s grand Hollywood restaurant. Though meat and seasonal roasted vegetables are still the stars of the show, carefully prepared seafood now plays a solid supporting role. With magnificent ambience and impeccable service, Gwen stands as one of LA’s grand dining experiences.

Gwen, Hollywood
Wonho Frank Lee

22. Rossoblu

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1124 San Julian St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 749-1099
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Steve Samson, whose Southern Italian accomplishments at Sotto continue to excel in West LA, has debuted this incredible ode to Northern Italian cuisine, especially from the region of Bologna and Emilia-Romagna. The modern dining room is one of the most attractive spaces in the city, while the wood-roasted meats and pastas would please anyone. Try the tortellini in brodo.

Rossoblu, Downtown LA
Wonho Frank Lee

23. Scratch|Bar & Kitchen

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16101 Ventura Blvd #255
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 646-6085
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Phillip Frankland and Margarita Lee have taken their tasting menu restaurant to the next level thanks to a retooled dining experience (like the cocktails and amuse bouches at a secret new bar) and a sharper, more polished set of dishes. This Encino restaurant is now the premier dining destination in the Valley, with a slew of creative and flavorful dishes that excite and delight diners with every course. Reservations required.

Scratch Bar
Jakob Layman

24. Pizzana

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11712 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 481-7108
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LA’s pizza game has been very strong lately, and this newer entrant in Brentwood takes the artform to new heights thanks to its detailed approach to Neapolitan pizza. But unlike many other pizza specialists, Pizzana isn’t afraid to play around with the medium, incorporating new techniques and flavor combinations that reflect the diversity of LA. And the best part? The elevated pizza dishes mean that every bite has a slightly crispy crust without any of that standard sogginess.

The Messicana pizza with chorizo, cilantro sauce, and pickled chiles from Pizzana
Wonho Frank Lee

25. Gish Bac Restaurant

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4163 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90018
(323) 737-5050
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There are a bevy of excellent Oaxacan restaurants in Los Angeles thanks to influx of settlers from the 1990s, and Gish Bac might be the best of the bunch thanks to the work of chef and owner Maria Ramos. This Mid-City classic serves a bit of everything from Oaxaca, including a great tlayuda and delicious torta, but the star of the show is the goat barbacoa enchilada, slow cooked for five hours in guajillo chiles. Truly one of LA”s best regional Mexican restaurants.

Torta from Gish Bac
Matthew Kang

26. Raffi's Place

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211 E Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205
(818) 240-7411
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This massive Persian dining hall features some of the best kabobs in the city. With an expansive indoor-outdoor space, servers weave through tables carrying platters of grilled meats, white rice, and mezze to large parties and families. Start with an eggplant dish called kashk o’bademjan and then order a parade of shish, koobideh, and barg kabob for a satisfying celebration meal.

Raffi’s Place, Glendale
Raffi’s Place [Official photo]

27. Sonoratown

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208 E 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 628-3710
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Regarded as one of LA’s most impressive taco restaurants, this tiny Downtown LA spot prepares an authentic Sonoran-style tacos and quesadillas with grilled meats and flour tortillas. Don’t forget to order the chivichanga, a burrito with cheese and shredded chicken or machaca beef. It’s all ready affordable too, though parking can be tough in this part of Downtown.

Taco from Sonoratown
Farley Elliott

28. Elite Restaurant

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700 S Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 282-9998
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This sprawling Monterey Park dim sum palace stands out for its consistency and quality, where diners can order shu mai, har gow, and other classics from a menu. Dishes come out as they’re prepared instead of being served from carts, though servers do roam around with trays of ready-to-eat snacks. The congee is especially good here, as are the taro dumplings. Weekday waits aren’t too bad but weekends can mean hour long queues for some of LA’s best dim sum.

Shu mai at Elite

29. Animal Restaurant

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435 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782-9225
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After ten years, one of LA’s most iconic restaurants continues to pursue greatness along Fairfax Avenue. One could argue that Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo helped launch LA’s standing from a national and even international food city. It started with these meat-centric small plates and inventive comfort food preparations that still hold up after a decade.

Chicken liver toast at Animal
Matthew Kang

30. Pizzeria Mozza

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641 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 297-0101
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Nancy Silverton’s enduring pizzeria opened ten years ago, heralding a new kind of elevated but casual restaurant in LA. And the salads, pizzas, and desserts are still extraordinary, a credit to the James Beard award winner and years of consistency. Order the tricolore or chopped salad to start, follow up with a wood-fired pizza, and finish with the caramel coppetta dessert.

Pizzeria Mozza
Elizabeth Daniels

31. Park's Barbeque

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955 S Vermont Ave G
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 380-1717
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This is the Korean barbecue to end all arguments, with the highest quality meat and banchan one can find in Los Angeles, which is one of the world’s epicenters for Korean cuisine. Order some wagyu beef and prime American short ribs and eat with the restaurant’s pristine kimchi and fresh lettuce wraps.

Thinly sliced short rib at Park’s BBQ
Matthew Kang

32. Tsubaki

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1356 Allison Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 900-4900
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Don’t be fooled by the diminutive size of Echo Park’s Tsubaki. The modern Japanese restaurant carries a small footprint but is big on flavor, with dishes like sake-marinated foie gras terrine and rich yakitori skewers. Don’t sleep on the robust sake list or the pre-Dodger game deals from this Sunset Boulevard star situated just down the hill from Chavez Ravine, either. —Farley Elliott

Tsubaki, Echo Park
Wonho Frank Lee

33. Uovo

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1320 2nd St Ste A
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 425-0064
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This reasonably priced pasta destination in Santa Monica takes a lot of inspiration from Italy’s greatest restaurants and puts them in a casual, bar-like setting. Using pasta hand made by artisans in Italy then flown in weekly, Uovo serves tonnarelli al arrabiata, tortellini in brodo, and ragu around $16 to $18 a serving when they can go for nearly twice as much in other restaurants.

Tonnarelli al arrabiata at Uovo
Wonho Frank Lee

34. Dialogue

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1315 3rd Street Promenade Suite K
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Celebrated Chicago chef Dave Beran of Alinea and Next made headlines when he moved to Los Angeles. His first project, a diminutive tasting menu in Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, might be one of the most innovative places to dine right now. The nearly $200 experience comes in around 20 courses, with a whirlwind of elegantly plated textures, flavors, and ingredients.

Dialogue, Santa Monica
Wonho Frank Lee

35. Rosaliné

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8479 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 297-9500
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Ricardo Zarate makes a triumphant return with this popular West Hollywood ode to Peruvian cuisine. The scene is bustling most nights, and often celebrities come in hordes (apparently the cast of Crazy Rich Asians met up here recently). Start with some of the most creative cocktails in town, then order up a slew of ceviches and small plates before ending with a grand platter of paella or lomo saltado.

Rosaliné, West Hollywood
Wonho Frank Lee

36. Otafuku

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16525 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 532-9348

This all-around izakaya and noodle shop in sleepy Gardena feels like a terrific Japanese restaurant plucked out of a Tokyo back alley. Packed with salary men and women coming for after work drinks, the food is wonderfully prepared, reasonably priced, and always delicious. Order the zaru soba during lunch or pick up a bunch of the grilled skewers with some beer for dinner. The eel tempura is another must-order.

Noodles, tempura, and yakitori at Otafuku
Stephie L./Yelp

37. Majordomo

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1725 Naud St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 545-4880
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David Chang’s Chinatown restaurant has been one of the most impressive openings in Los Angeles this year and he’s done a masterful job of blending seasonality with many of the Asian flavors and cuisines that Angelenos love and understand. The sleek industrial environs work well with the often modestly presented plates. Start with bing breads and dips, then venture into the noodles or raw seafood before finishing strong with tableside smoked short ribs.

Majordomo, Chinatown
Wonho Frank Lee

38. Shaanxi Garden

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529 E Valley Blvd #178a
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 787-5555

There are so many phenomenal restaurants in San Gabriel Valley, but this one has a great mix of hand pulled noodles, stir-fried specialties, and regional Shaanxi favorites with plenty of space to bring a crowd. Order the biang-biang noodles, lamb “burgers”, and more, and expect to pay around $15 to $20 per person.

Biang biang mian at Shaanxi Garden
Matthew Kang

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1. Rose Cafe-Restaurant

220 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291
The Rose, Venice
Wonho Frank Lee

This iconic Venice restaurant has undergone a complete makeover, offering a wide-ranging menu to anticipate the neighborhood’s every dining need, from breakfast through dinner service. Jason Neroni's produce-driven, pasta-centric menu is sure to please most people, while the multifaceted building allows for everything from a casual bite at the bar to a more composed sit-down experience on the patio.

220 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291

2. Spago

176 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Spago, Beverly Hills
Elizabeth Daniels

Wolfgang Puck's Beverly Hills flagship still has a compelling tasting menu that stands 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.

176 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

3. Lukshon

3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90232
Lukshon, Culver City

Sang Yoon put together one of the most impressive (and most unsung) dining rooms in the city. 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 fresh, more thoughtful way. If LA had its own version of New York’s rollicking Momofuku Ssam Bar, this might be it.

3239 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90232

4. A.O.C.

8700 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

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 pristine produce and great execution. Dinner’s even more expansive, with Goin's trademark touch on rustic American cuisine coupled with suave service. Nearly everyone has a plate of the Spanish fried chicken on their table, though anything from the wood oven would be a solid dish to order. A.O.C. is one of LA’s modern icons, and everyone should dine here at least once a year.

8700 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048

5. Republique

624 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Elizabeth Daniels

When Walter and Margarita Manzke took over the iconic Campanile space, they knew the stakes were 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 as good as one can expect, while the charcuterie board is sure to stun anyone.

624 South La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

6. Petit Trois

718 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038