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The 24 Hottest Restaurants in LA Right Now, December 2014

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More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? Restaurant obsessives want to know what's new, what's hot, which favorite chef just launched a sophomore effort. And while the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the 'it' places of the moment. Thus, we offer the Eater Heatmap, which will change continually to always highlight where the crowds are flocking to at the moment.

7/3 Added: Mastro's Ocean Club, ChocoChicken, Alimento, Blue Plate Oysterette, La Boulange, Saint Martha, Beelman's Pub, Madera Kitchen, Tipple & Brine, Ladies Gunboat Society, Escala
8/7 Added: Petit Trois, KazuNori, Barton G., Sushi Akatora, HYDE Sunset, Field Trip
9/4 Added: Commissary, Brilliantshine, New Port Seafood, Meat District Co., Haché LA, Chengdu Taste 2, The Nice Guy, Sushi Tsujita
10/2 Added: Pistola, Hutchinson, The Anchor, Murph's, The Gadarene Swine, Holy Cow, Bachi Burger, Szechuan Impression
11/6 Added: Yellowtail Sunset, Pete's, Cardamom, Ocean Prime, Empress Pavillion, Bowery Bungalow, Cadet, Gjusta, Cascabel, Magnolia House, Butchers & Barbers, The Horn, Mercado
12/4 Added: Love & Salt, All'Acqua, Prufrock Pizzeria, Barrel & Ashes, Stir Market, GC Marketplace

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Ledlow Swan

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Josef Centeno quickly flipped the name of Pete's Los Angeles to Ledlow Swan after a few months of serving American classics in the Downtown space. Ledlow Swan, takes Centeno's approach to New American comfort fare and serves it one of the best restaurant spaces in the city.

The Gadarene Swine

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Phillip Frankland Lee has ventured into new territory here with (essentially) a vegan restaurant right in the heart of Studio City. The main focus is at the bar, where chefs prepare elegant, fine dining-type dishes right before diners. It's possibly the most ambitious restaurant in the Valley right now. Lunchtime has some more affordable vegan options that are ideal for local studio and office workers, though the tasting menu is an option at the bar from lunch through dinner.

Alimento

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Zach Pollack brings an innovative take to Italian to a part of Silver Lake that's just screaming for a marquee restaurant. And Silver Lake denizens might have finally gotten what they wanted: next-level pasta, composed meat dishes, and a tiny yet convivial room that's an ideal neighborhood spot. The pork shank is a early hit. Yes, they've got a separate tip line for back of house staff, but it's considered optional.

Saint Martha

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This stylish nook of a wine restaurant opened unexpected in a Koreatown strip mall, bringing composed culinary execution to a part of town rife with dumpling shops and Korean BBQ spots. Bites from chef Nick Erven include wood-smoked brisket with hoisin. The wine list, rife with Coravin-ready pours of older vintage finds, is easily one of the best for oenophiles. Jonathan Gold is a fan, which is always a good thing.

BrilliantShine

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Julian Cox and Josh Goldman finally have a place to call their own, and the excellent drink list is easily the first draw here. But the food menu, put together by Paiche alum Richie Lopez, has some great dishes as well, including the fan favorite uni lobster rice.

Petit Trois

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Ludo Lefebvre, in conjuction with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, have created the ideal casual bistro right next to their first effort together, Trois Mec. Petit Trois serves beef tartare, omelettes, pan bagnat, and other French regulars in near perfect form in a charming room that also produces fantastic cocktails.

Pistola

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Vic Casanova and partner Seth Glassman have taken over the former AOC space with an Italian-style steakhouse lifted straight out of 1950's New York City. With a slew of fantastic pastas and excellent steaks, it's the place to be right now on West Third Street.

Hutchinson Cocktails & Grill

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Steaks seem to be in vogue in Los Angeles right now, but this Indonesian-inspired variant now open on La Cienega is definitely a departure from the old school steakhouse format. So next to fine grilled steaks, find dishes like nasi goreng and noodles in a rather beautiful interior.

Szechuan Impression

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There's a new Sichuanese player in town, and this one might even come with a better pedigree than Chengdu Taste. While the flavors aren't quite as intense (though still spicy) as Chengdu Taste, the variety and unique offal dishes are the main draws, leading to hours-long lines that never seem to go away. If you're looking for a Chengdu Taste alternative, this just might be it.

Yellowtail Sunset

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The Sunset Strip just got a major upgrade from Vegas chef Akira Back, who opened his popular sushi and Japanese fusion menu in the former Mirabelle space. Though prices are on the high side, the service, ambiance, and total package makes this a good place to seal the deal, whatever deal that may be.

Cardamom

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This Indian restaurant might be one of the best new places to enjoy this South Asian cuisine in Los Angeles at the moment, thanks to award-winning chef Manju Choudhury's upscale cuisine. The bright, well-designed space certainly helps too.

Bowery Bungalow

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George Abou-Daoud has taken over an old Thai restaurant in Silver Lake and turned it into one of the most charming new restaurants on the Eastside. Featuring a menu of Middle Eastern and other Silk Road specialties, Bowery Bungalow is an affordable new place to enjoy some hearty fare.

Kris Tominaga wasn't going to stay still for long. This new restaurant in conjunction with The Counter Burger and Freddy Smalls' Jeff Weinstein melds rustic French country fare with a sleek new dining room. Most of the food is cooked on a wood grill, adding an extra depth of flavor to the dishes.

Gjelina's Travis Lett has struck gold again, creating an already popular Venice cafe and bakery on a rather sleepy stretch of Sunset Avenue. With a host of great takeaway and baked options, as well as sandwiches and prepared foods, Gjusta is exactly the place that Venice needed.

Cascabel

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With inventive takes on seaside Mexican cuisine, Alex Eusebio adds a nice complementary restaurant to Toluca Lake. Ceviches, tacos, antojitos, and a few heartier dishes round out a menu that's sure to please the locals, all in a room that's as cheerful and convivial as can be.

Magnolia House

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This charming new drinking spot in a former bungalow has some of the most compelling new interior design this side of the 626. Melding mid-century style with a bit more colorful flair, plus some fine cocktails by Portland-based Evan Zimmerman, it's easily the best new place to drink in Pasadena. Bar bites from Kyu Yi tend toward being more drink friendly than adventurous.

Butchers & Barbers

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The Houston Brothers finally have a restaurant to call their own, this one just steps from Dirty Laundry and No Vacancy in the hearth of Hollywood. With Luke Reyes pushing out seasonal American fare in a room seemingly designed as a strict period piece Hollywood set, this will be one of the hardest tables to get this winter.

The Horn

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This West Hollywood steakhouse has a bit more focus on exotic meats than the average meat and potatoes place in town. Throw in an industrial look and open patio and you have a swell new place to enjoy some fine steaks in WeHo.

Love & Salt

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This new California-inspired restaurant with plenty of Italian influence joins the crowded ranks of Manhattan Beach, which is quickly becoming the culinary mecca of the South Bay. Michael Fiorelli and Rebecca Merhej helm the kitchen, which churns out top grade pastas, small plates, and more using farmers market produce. Don't skip out on the wood-fired pizzas, either.

Barrel & Ashes

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This landmark barbecue joint from Timothy Hollingsworth and Rory Hermann, with chef de cuisine Michael Kahikina and restaurateur Bill Chait, pits fine dining prowess with the smoked simplicity of Texas-style barbecue. The brisket, ribs, and sausages have all received high marks from Texas BBQ purists, which is always a good sign, but don't miss out the Julian Cox cocktail list, inspired by picnic drinks.

All'Acqua

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This comfortable Italian-esque restaurant from Claudio and Adria Blotta, plus chef Don Dickman, produces an expansive menu of approachable pastas, salumi, pizzas, and hot plates that should appeal to nearly everyone. It's a welcome sight to see another grown up restaurant land in Atwater Village. The kitchen's open late too, which is good for night owls on the Eastside.

Stir Market

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Beverly Blvd always needed something like this: an every day, European style market that offered everything from dry goods and pastries to grab-and-go options and light fare. Throw in a wine and beer bar, and it's the perfect place to land any time of the week. But that porchetta: it's what everyone is talking about.

Prufrock Pizzeria

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This simple pizzeria from Regent Theater owner Mitchell Frank (who also does The Echo, Mas Malo, and El Prado), Prufrock is the ideal place to grab a slice and salad before watching a rock concert next door. And the Love Song Bar is a swell place to drink up before the music starts. Downtown dwellers don't seem to need much else to be happy.

GC Marketplace

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Gary Arabia has made a career out of catering big gigs, but this time he takes over a historic building in the northern stretch of Hollywood as it extends toward Universal and Studio City, and provided a much needed dining hall for the masses. Everything from cheese, wine, rotisserie, grill, and pastries are available fresh from the kitchen counters.

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Ledlow Swan

Josef Centeno quickly flipped the name of Pete's Los Angeles to Ledlow Swan after a few months of serving American classics in the Downtown space. Ledlow Swan, takes Centeno's approach to New American comfort fare and serves it one of the best restaurant spaces in the city.

The Gadarene Swine

Phillip Frankland Lee has ventured into new territory here with (essentially) a vegan restaurant right in the heart of Studio City. The main focus is at the bar, where chefs prepare elegant, fine dining-type dishes right before diners. It's possibly the most ambitious restaurant in the Valley right now. Lunchtime has some more affordable vegan options that are ideal for local studio and office workers, though the tasting menu is an option at the bar from lunch through dinner.

Alimento

Zach Pollack brings an innovative take to Italian to a part of Silver Lake that's just screaming for a marquee restaurant. And Silver Lake denizens might have finally gotten what they wanted: next-level pasta, composed meat dishes, and a tiny yet convivial room that's an ideal neighborhood spot. The pork shank is a early hit. Yes, they've got a separate tip line for back of house staff, but it's considered optional.

Saint Martha

This stylish nook of a wine restaurant opened unexpected in a Koreatown strip mall, bringing composed culinary execution to a part of town rife with dumpling shops and Korean BBQ spots. Bites from chef Nick Erven include wood-smoked brisket with hoisin. The wine list, rife with Coravin-ready pours of older vintage finds, is easily one of the best for oenophiles. Jonathan Gold is a fan, which is always a good thing.

BrilliantShine

Julian Cox and Josh Goldman finally have a place to call their own, and the excellent drink list is easily the first draw here. But the food menu, put together by Paiche alum Richie Lopez, has some great dishes as well, including the fan favorite uni lobster rice.

Petit Trois

Ludo Lefebvre, in conjuction with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, have created the ideal casual bistro right next to their first effort together, Trois Mec. Petit Trois serves beef tartare, omelettes, pan bagnat, and other French regulars in near perfect form in a charming room that also produces fantastic cocktails.

Pistola

Vic Casanova and partner Seth Glassman have taken over the former AOC space with an Italian-style steakhouse lifted straight out of 1950's New York City. With a slew of fantastic pastas and excellent steaks, it's the place to be right now on West Third Street.

Hutchinson Cocktails & Grill

Steaks seem to be in vogue in Los Angeles right now, but this Indonesian-inspired variant now open on La Cienega is definitely a departure from the old school steakhouse format. So next to fine grilled steaks, find dishes like nasi goreng and noodles in a rather beautiful interior.