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Bon Temps Arts District Los Angeles
Sea urchin caviar tartlette at Bon Temps.
Wonho Frank Lee

16 Most Important Los Angeles Restaurant Openings in 2019

From the nation’s first cannabis restaurant in West Hollywood to Tijuana-style tacos in Downtown

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Sea urchin caviar tartlette at Bon Temps.
| Wonho Frank Lee

There is not a day that goes by without a new restaurant opening somewhere in the Southland. While most establishments serve the neighborhood in which they operate, the most exemplary places are able to meet diners’ needs and bring forth a culinary point of view that shapes and sways Los Angeles’s greater dining scene. From the nation’s first cannabis restaurant in West Hollywood to Tijuana-style tacos in Downtown, here now are the 16 most important restaurant openings in 2019.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Yang's Kitchen

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112 W Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 281-1035
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Yang’s Kitchen is redefining Chinese cooking in the San Gabriel Valley by celebrating whole grains and traceable ingredients. The beef noodle soup and braised pork rice have emerged as the restaurant’s two runaway hits. Both are Taiwanese in origin but manage to capture a real sense of place with their ethos and execution. 

Overhead shot of dishes from Yang’s Kitchen.
Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra
Wonho Frank Lee

2. Cannabis Cafe

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1201 N La Brea Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90038
(323) 975-7676
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Cannabis Cafe is America’s first licensed cannabis consumption lounge and restaurant where diners can eat a meal while consuming cannabis or eat cannabis-infused edibles on the premises. The vegan nachos are especially good because chef Andrea Drummer centers most of the cashew cheese towards the bottom of the dish, allowing crispy chips to thrive long after the plate lands on the table. 

Lowell Cafe’s sticky tamarind wings
Cannabis Cafe in West Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

3. All Day Baby

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3200 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

The highly-anticipated follow-up to Koreatown’s Here’s Looking At You opened just after Thanksgiving. The 2,000 square foot Silver Lake corner lot has been fully transformed and reimagined into an all-in-one neighborhood diner, bar, and bakery complete with patty melts, sticky buns, and boozy milkshakes. Early hits include the melty beef and cheddar sandwich, along with the fresh-baked conchas.

An overhead view of conchas, chicken, and pancakes.
All Day Baby in Silver Lake.
Wonho Frank Lee

4. Spoon & Pork

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3131 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 922-6061
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Purveyors of modern Filipino fare Spoon & Pork opened a physical location earlier this year on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. The comforting menu is largely unchanged from what was served on the truck, including adobo belly nigiri and the Chori Burger, a house-made Filipino pork chorizo on a toasted Hawaiian bun.

Dark table with colorful Filipino dishes from Spoon & Pork restaurant.
Spoon & Pork in Silver Lake.
Spoon & Pork [Official Photo]

5. Auburn

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6703 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 486-6703
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Auburn is the debut restaurant from chef Eric Bost, a North Carolina native who spent the last decade in the kitchens of Alain Ducasse in Paris, Guy Savoy in Las Vegas and Singapore, and most recently, République in Los Angeles. Here in this comfortably minimalist dining room, he’s striking out on his own in stunning fashion. The multi-course dinnertime tasting menus dazzle and delight at every turn.

Turnips with Spanish mackerel at Auburn
Auburn on Melrose Avenue.
Wonho Frank Lee

6. Antico

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4653 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 510-3093
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Mozza alum Chad Colby finally has a place to call his own with Antico, a single-room strip mall restaurant at the edge of Larchmont, Koreatown, and Hollywood. The rustic Italian menu includes a rotating cast of pastas, lots of grilled meats, simple vegetable preparations, and the finest freshly spun ice cream around.

A light pink swirled strawberry ice cream in a cup at Antico.
Antico on Beverly Boulevard.
Wonho Frank Lee

7. Ototo

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1360 Allison Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 784-7930
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Echo Park’s cozy Ototo is a small neighborhood anchor in a sea of competition. The Japanese snack shop and sake haven hides just up the hill from Sunset and steps from Dodger Stadium, which in any other city might mean there would be no room for a local hangout with under 40 seats that skews delightfully obscure. Thankfully this is LA, and Ototo is perfect for the neighborhood and the whole city, turning out intriguing sakes from a meandering, thoughtful list, while also cooking up Japanese-style chili burgers, katsu sandwiches, and some snappy and slightly spicy green beans (yes, really) that are the absolute mindless snack when drinking and conversing. That’s right: This is 2019, and Ototo is so good at what it does, it has made the green bean feel cool.

ototo
Ototo in Echo Park.
Wonho Frank Lee

8. Nightshade

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923 E 3rd St #109
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 626-8888
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From the bay scallops with a coconut vinaigrette to the Szechuan hot quail and the squid ink tagiatelle with cuttlefish bolognese, there isn’t a single miss on chef Mei Lin’s globally-influenced menu. The desserts are as memorable as the savories, so be sure to save room for the coconut mousse with lime coconut granita.

Shrimp toast with Cantonese curry at Nightshade
Nightshade in the Arts District.
Wonho Frank Lee

9. Tacos 1986

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609 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Tacos 1986 found a permanent home this year in Downtown on the corner of 6th and Spring. Victor Delgado and Jorge “Joy” Alvarez-Tostado’s Tijuana-style taco shop makes fresh tortillas, grills meats over fire, and builds each taco with guacamole and salsa. There’s plenty of melty cheese, which distinguishes these from more typical LA specimens.

Tacos 1986 Los Angeles
Tacos 1986 in Downtown.
Wonho Frank Lee

10. Bon Temps

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712 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 784-0044
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Chef Lincoln Carson is serving up good times from morning until late-night in the Arts District. For breakfast are some of city’s finest croissants and pastries, while lunchtime brings a casual daytime menu with oysters and composed plates. Best of all is dinner, where savories and sweets are thoughtfully composed, expertly balanced, and dreamily plated.

Bon Temps Arts District Los Angeles
Bon Temps in the Arts District.

11. Onda

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700 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 620-9917
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Jessica Koslow, the force behind the impossibly hip daytime cafe Sqirl, has teamed up with Gabriela Cámara, arguably one of Mexico’s most important restaurateurs (Contramar in Mexico City, Cala in San Francisco), to open Onda on the ground floor of the Proper Hotel in Santa Monica. The menu leans light, vegetable-forward, and herbaceous, with items like jackfruit sopes and a hearts of palm ceviche.

Turkey al pastor quesadilla at Onda on a plate.
Onda in Santa Monica.
Wonho Frank Lee

12. Dear John's

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11208 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 881-9288
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Dear John’s, the Frank Sinatra co-signed steak and martini bar in Culver City, is a collaborative effort between chefs Hans Rockenwagner and Josiah Citrin. There’s a punchy shrimp cocktail and a rich chicken Parmesan on offer, plus cocktails like martinis and Manhattans for all to enjoy. Come by before April 2021 when the restaurant gets demolished to make way for a new development. 

Dear John’s in Culver City.
Wonho Frank Lee

13. Pasjoli

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2732 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(424) 330-0020
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Here at chef Dave Beran’s upscale but relaxed Santa Monica bistro, diners indulge in French classics like beef tartare, chicken liver pate, and turbot meunière. The restaurant’s table-side preparations are especially fetching — caviar is weighed on an 1840s postage scale, while a whole roasted duck is pressed in an antique contraption.

Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Pasjoli in Santa Monica.
Wonho Frank Lee

14. American Beauty

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425 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 412-0075
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Grilled simply over wood and dressed with butter, the 15-day dry-aged Flannery steak at American Beauty exemplifies the restaurant’s simple, but modern approach to the classic steakhouse experience. American Beauty comes to Venice thanks to Jeff Goodman and Paul Hibler of American Gonzo Food Corporation, along with Bruce Horwitz of the Tasting Kitchen and chefs Elisha Ben-Haim and Anthony Goodwin. 

A rare steak cut into section, with knife on top.
American Beauty in Venice.
Wonho Frank Lee

15. Court Cafe

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5496 W Centinela Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310) 431-4969

In early summer, the South LA trio known as the Foodminati opened a daytime restaurant. Nestled on the border of Westchester and Inglewood, Court Cafe is a collaboration between Taco Mell’s Jermelle Henderson, Bleu Kitchen’s Calvin Johnson, and Keith Garett of All Flavor No Grease. The menu aims to please with original dishes like Garret’s ocho burrito with lobster, chicken sausage, shrimp, bell peppers, spinach, eggs, etouffee sauce, and smoked gouda cheese sauce.

16. Colossus

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2311 S Alma St
San Pedro, CA 90731
(213) 444-0077
Visit Website

Owner Kristin Colazas Rodriguez has been popping up at farmers markets around San Pedro for some time now and finally settled in on Alma Street. Rodriguez’s breads and pastries lean into the San Francisco tradition featuring long fermentation, non-commodity wheat, and tons of personal touches.

Pastries from Colossus Bread in San Pedro, arranged on a table.
Colossus in San Pedro.
Farley Elliott

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1. Yang's Kitchen

112 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801
Overhead shot of dishes from Yang’s Kitchen.
Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra
Wonho Frank Lee

Yang’s Kitchen is redefining Chinese cooking in the San Gabriel Valley by celebrating whole grains and traceable ingredients. The beef noodle soup and braised pork rice have emerged as the restaurant’s two runaway hits. Both are Taiwanese in origin but manage to capture a real sense of place with their ethos and execution. 

112 W Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801

2. Cannabis Cafe

1201 N La Brea Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90038
Lowell Cafe’s sticky tamarind wings
Cannabis Cafe in West Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Cannabis Cafe is America’s first licensed cannabis consumption lounge and restaurant where diners can eat a meal while consuming cannabis or eat cannabis-infused edibles on the premises. The vegan nachos are especially good because chef Andrea Drummer centers most of the cashew cheese towards the bottom of the dish, allowing crispy chips to thrive long after the plate lands on the table. 

1201 N La Brea Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90038

3. All Day Baby

3200 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
An overhead view of conchas, chicken, and pancakes.
All Day Baby in Silver Lake.
Wonho Frank Lee

The highly-anticipated follow-up to Koreatown’s Here’s Looking At You opened just after Thanksgiving. The 2,000 square foot Silver Lake corner lot has been fully transformed and reimagined into an all-in-one neighborhood diner, bar, and bakery complete with patty melts, sticky buns, and boozy milkshakes. Early hits include the melty beef and cheddar sandwich, along with the fresh-baked conchas.

3200 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

4. Spoon & Pork

3131 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Dark table with colorful Filipino dishes from Spoon & Pork restaurant.
Spoon & Pork in Silver Lake.
Spoon & Pork [Official Photo]

Purveyors of modern Filipino fare Spoon & Pork opened a physical location earlier this year on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. The comforting menu is largely unchanged from what was served on the truck, including adobo belly nigiri and the Chori Burger, a house-made Filipino pork chorizo on a toasted Hawaiian bun.

3131 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

5. Auburn

6703 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Turnips with Spanish mackerel at Auburn
Auburn on Melrose Avenue.
Wonho Frank Lee

Auburn is the debut restaurant from chef Eric Bost, a North Carolina native who spent the last decade in the kitchens of Alain Ducasse in Paris, Guy Savoy in Las Vegas and Singapore, and most recently, République in Los Angeles. Here in this comfortably minimalist dining room, he’s striking out on his own in stunning fashion. The multi-course dinnertime tasting menus dazzle and delight at every turn.

6703 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

6. Antico

4653 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004
A light pink swirled strawberry ice cream in a cup at Antico.
Antico on Beverly Boulevard.
Wonho Frank Lee

Mozza alum Chad Colby finally has a place to call his own with Antico, a single-room strip mall restaurant at the edge of Larchmont, Koreatown, and Hollywood. The rustic Italian menu includes a rotating cast of pastas, lots of grilled meats, simple vegetable preparations, and the finest freshly spun ice cream around.

4653 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004

7. Ototo

1360 Allison Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026
ototo
Ototo in Echo Park.
Wonho Frank Lee

Echo Park’s cozy Ototo is a small neighborhood anchor in a sea of competition. The Japanese snack shop and sake haven hides just up the hill from Sunset and steps from Dodger Stadium, which in any other city might mean there would be no room for a local hangout with under 40 seats that skews delightfully obscure. Thankfully this is LA, and Ototo is perfect for the neighborhood and the whole city, turning out intriguing sakes from a meandering, thoughtful list, while also cooking up Japanese-style chili burgers, katsu sandwiches, and some snappy and slightly spicy green beans (yes, really) that are the absolute mindless snack when drinking and conversing. That’s right: This is 2019, and Ototo is so good at what it does, it has made the green bean feel cool.

1360 Allison Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026

8. Nightshade

923 E 3rd St #109, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Shrimp toast with Cantonese curry at Nightshade
Nightshade in the Arts District.
Wonho Frank Lee

From the bay scallops with a coconut vinaigrette to the Szechuan hot quail and the squid ink tagiatelle with cuttlefish bolognese, there isn’t a single miss on chef Mei Lin’s globally-influenced menu. The desserts are as memorable as the savories, so be sure to save room for the coconut mousse with lime coconut granita.

923 E 3rd St #109
Los Angeles, CA 90013

9. Tacos 1986

609 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tacos 1986 Los Angeles
Tacos 1986 in Downtown.
Wonho Frank Lee

Tacos 1986 found a permanent home this year in Downtown on the corner of 6th and Spring. Victor Delgado and Jorge “Joy” Alvarez-Tostado’s Tijuana-style taco shop makes fresh tortillas, grills meats over fire, and builds each taco with guacamole and salsa. There’s plenty of melty cheese, which distinguishes these from more typical LA specimens.

609 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

10. Bon Temps

712 S Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Bon Temps Arts District Los Angeles
Bon Temps in the Arts District.

Chef Lincoln Carson is serving up good times from morning until late-night in the Arts District. For breakfast are some of city’s finest croissants and pastries, while lunchtime brings a casual daytime menu with oysters and composed plates. Best of all is dinner, where savories and sweets are thoughtfully composed, expertly balanced, and dreamily plated.

712 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021

11. Onda

700 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Turkey al pastor quesadilla at Onda on a plate.
Onda in Santa Monica.
Wonho Frank Lee

Jessica Koslow, the force behind the impossibly hip daytime cafe Sqirl, has teamed up with Gabriela Cámara, arguably one of Mexico’s most important restaurateurs (Contramar in Mexico City, Cala in San Francisco), to open Onda on the ground floor of the Proper Hotel in Santa Monica. The menu leans light, vegetable-forward, and herbaceous, with items like jackfruit sopes and a hearts of palm ceviche.

700 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

12. Dear John's

11208 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230
Dear John’s in Culver City.
Wonho Frank Lee

Dear John’s, the Frank Sinatra co-signed steak and martini bar in Culver City, is a collaborative effort between chefs Hans Rockenwagner and Josiah Citrin. There’s a punchy shrimp cocktail and a rich chicken Parmesan on offer, plus cocktails like martinis and Manhattans for all to enjoy. Come by before April 2021 when the restaurant gets demolished to make way for a new development. 

11208 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230

13. Pasjoli

2732 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Pasjoli in Santa Monica.
Wonho Frank Lee

Here at chef Dave Beran’s upscale but relaxed Santa Monica bistro, diners indulge in French classics like beef tartare, chicken liver pate, and turbot meunière. The restaurant’s table-side preparations are especially fetching — caviar is weighed on an 1840s postage scale, while a whole roasted duck is pressed in an antique contraption.

2732 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

14. American Beauty

425 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291
A rare steak cut into section, with knife on top.
American Beauty in Venice.
Wonho Frank Lee

Grilled simply over wood and dressed with butter, the 15-day dry-aged Flannery steak at American Beauty exemplifies the restaurant’s simple, but modern approach to the classic steakhouse experience. American Beauty comes to Venice thanks to Jeff Goodman and Paul Hibler of American Gonzo Food Corporation, along with Bruce Horwitz of the Tasting Kitchen and chefs Elisha Ben-Haim and Anthony Goodwin. 

425 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291

15. Court Cafe

5496 W Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045

In early summer, the South LA trio known as the Foodminati opened a daytime restaurant. Nestled on the border of Westchester and Inglewood, Court Cafe is a collaboration between Taco Mell’s Jermelle Henderson, Bleu Kitchen’s Calvin Johnson, and Keith Garett of All Flavor No Grease. The menu aims to please with original dishes like Garret’s ocho burrito with lobster, chicken sausage, shrimp, bell peppers, spinach, eggs, etouffee sauce, and smoked gouda cheese sauce.

5496 W Centinela Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90045

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16. Colossus

2311 S Alma St, San Pedro, CA 90731
Pastries from Colossus Bread in San Pedro, arranged on a table.
Colossus in San Pedro.
Farley Elliott

Owner Kristin Colazas Rodriguez has been popping up at farmers markets around San Pedro for some time now and finally settled in on Alma Street. Rodriguez’s breads and pastries lean into the San Francisco tradition featuring long fermentation, non-commodity wheat, and tons of personal touches.

2311 S Alma St
San Pedro, CA 90731

Related Maps