10 Exciting Dinner Spots To Try In LA Right Now
A night out at one of these places feels overwhelmingly of the moment.
For anyone wondering which sit-down restaurants are currently hot in LA right this second, you have arrived at the right figurative Internet place. What does “hot” mean, you ask? Well, it’s safe to say that we put on relatively cute outfits to dine at each restaurant below (possibly even that pair of shoes that make our ankles bleed a little). A night out at one of these places–whether it’s for a casual catch-up with a friend or an impressive date night–feels overwhelmingly of the current moment. Many of them are brand spanking new, but we’ve also listed a couple of old spots that are either doing something new or have finally reopened for the first time in a while.
And, as always, we wouldn’t be recommending any of these restaurants simply for having a memorable scene. We’ve been to each and every spot and loved the food they serve, so you can plan your dinner confidently.
If a Venn diagram existed with “traditional SGV Chinese spot” on one side and “I-can't-believe-this-exists maximalist party hub” on the other, Monarch would live in the tiny sliver in between them. This Hong Kong-style dinner destination in Arcadia is run by the people behind Chifa— it’s where you’ll sit in a tie-dye chair, eat on ethereal dinner plates, and generally have a big night out in a baby blue banquet hall. A date for two here would be sexy, but Monarch gets more fun the more people you bring. So if you want to have a long, memorable night with a group that appreciates curvy flatware, come here for inventive Cantonese dishes like crab sweet corn soup, black pepper lobster tail, and a tender curry lamb shank. You’ll be seated at a big round table with a marble lazy susan, and you should definitely take advantage of their solid cocktail list.
photo credit: AVABLU
Casa Madera is a massive, clubby “Tulum-inspired” restaurant on the Sunset Strip, hailing from one of the world’s great epicenters of Yucatan culture… Toronto. Jokes aside, this place is totally serviceable, and if you’re looking to put on a risque outfit and get a little wild with friends on a Friday night, it’s great. Serving as the ground-floor restaurant of The Mondrian, Casa Madera’s patio is undeniably beautiful with white wood accents, hanging flowers, and very impressive views of the city. The food is fairly average clubstaurant-type food (save for a flavorless burger, which is just plain bad), so we recommend keeping it simple and sticking to ceviches and tacos. And then load up on the real reason you’re probably here—margaritas. Which thankfully are quite good.
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photo credit: Shade Degges
Fancy French restaurants have their clichés, some of which you'll definitely see at Juliet: pricey menu, big (mostly French) wine selection, and beautiful small portions that just look expensive. But what makes this Culver City spot a refreshing addition is how different it feels from the usual stuffy brasserie. For one, it looks like a modern farmhouse in Architectural Digest, with old wooden floors, sleek concrete walls, and white marble tabletops spilling onto a breezy outdoor patio. On the menu are eye-grabbing dishes like veal sweetbreads in a silky maitake mushroom sauce, duck confit cigars, and cute little chicken liver tartlets topped with apple gelee. You won't get out of Juliet for cheap, but for a flashy French dinner that's actually enjoyable, it's a worthwhile splurge.
photo credit: Tonchin
Larchmont is known for being "quaint." It's got cozy dinner spots, quiet cafes, and a farmers market where you can get a sack of grapefruits and a Frenchie puppy in the same hour. But that’s why this Japanese spot Tonchin is such a great addition to the neighborhood. This ramen restaurant, known for its housemade noodles and signature tonkotsu broth, has brought a jolt of energy to the sleepy corner of Melrose Ave and Larchmont Blvd. Tonchin has everything you’d want in a fun dinner—good ramen, solid bar bites, a long list of natural wine, and a packed dining room that's energetic without being annoyingly loud or chaotic. They've even got some attention-grabbing desserts like matcha kakigori and a caramelized banana served on a slab of shortbread. Keep Tonchin in mind for your next date night, or a fun night out with friends.
If you’re looking to get dressed up, throw down on a fancy dinner, then go out after, the Sunset Strip can be a good place to start. The only issue is most of the restaurants on this stretch aren’t worth planning your night around. Saltie Girl has changed that. This popular Boston import in the heart of Sunset Plaza brings a massive menu filled with all sorts of big-plate seafood dishes, sashimi, salads, and steaks. Our recommendation? Skip all that stuff (you can find better versions elsewhere) and concentrate on the classic New England dishes instead. Think lobster rolls overflowing with tender meat, juicy bar burgers, and one of the best clam chowders we’ve had in years. There’s also a booklet detailing their impressive tinned fish stock—get at least one board for the table or don’t bother telling people you came.
photo credit: Sam Frost
Lemon Grove is a Hollywood rooftop restaurant atop The Aster, but before you jump to any conclusions, know that this place is much more tolerable than the words “Hollywood rooftop” might imply. The breezy space offers great views that you can enjoy with a lavender-infused gin tonic, and the food, as hard as it is to group into one cuisine, is better than it needs to be. There’s a somewhat Italian, somewhat Thai dish of tom kha lemon pasta covered in a tangy layer of yellow foam, a creamy hamachi tartare, and a fluorescent pink dragon fruit panna cotta that wins extra points for its beautiful presentation. That's the overall theme here: pretty food and cocktails on a stylish rooftop that doesn’t feel crowded or hectic. If you want to impress someone with a night out in Hollywood, Lemon Grove is a very solid option.
Beverly Grove’s West 3rd Street has no shortage of pre-going-out spots—sexy, booze-forward restaurants where you can snack on good food, get a little tipsy, and still make it to the bar/nightclub/party you committed to afterward. The newly opened Mezzanine Sushi in the Palihouse West Hollywood is already one of the best options in the neighborhood for exactly those nights. Located on the hotel’s loungey second floor, Mezzanine has “sushi” in its name, but the small izakaya plates are what you should concentrate on. The seafood pancake is plump and juicy, the grilled yellowtail collar flakes beautifully under a pair of chopsticks, and the wood-fired tomatoes are tiny smoke explosions in your mouth. Of course, drinking is a big part of the experience here, too, with a large range of interesting sake to choose from and a bar downstairs that has every classic cocktail in the book.
photo credit: Vamos Vamos
If you’re looking for nacho platters, refreshing margaritas, and a fun crowd, Vamos Vamos is your spot. A meal here feels like the result of someone telling summer to pack itself inside a room on Main Street in Santa Monica. This New Mexican restaurant is a sibling of Everson Royce Bar and Triple Beam Pizza, which means the people behind it know what to serve to people who simply want to have a good time. There’s more attention to the detail in the glorified bar food than initially meets the eye, and everything on the menu pairs nicely with a round of cocktails. If you try walking into the narrow, white brick dining room on a Saturday night, a host might quote you a 2-hour wait for a table—so let this be your reminder to make a reservation ahead of time.
The first thing you might notice about Mr. T in Hollywood is a server walking around the dining room setting food on fire to the beat of a Jay-Z song. You’re looking at their comte and mimolette cheese flambé, which shows up in a few signature dishes at this fusion-y French spot on Sycamore St. The flaming dairy isn’t the only attraction here, but it does tell you what you need to know: Mr. T keeps it cool by sprinkling in a little Parisian attitude into everything it does. The menu melds street food with traditional French cooking, and you can watch the action in the open kitchen from seats at the counter. Drop in with a date and snack on minty-sweet tuna crudo or invite friends to crowd around a patio table for wagyu burgers, truffle mac and cheese, and chicken mille-feuille.
Located mere blocks from the original Catch, Catch Steak is a meat-centric spinoff that follows the same template as its predecessor: build a tacky, semi-exclusive space with generic food that tastes good, and the rich will follow. You’ll see Tiffany blue Teslas and camo-printed Rolls-Royces parked out front along La Cienega. Inside, things get even more wild. The ballroom-esque space is filled with belligerent studio execs eating $250 tomahawk steaks and dudes in Armani suits refusing to take off their sunglasses even though it’s 9:45pm. Espresso martinis are guzzled like seltzer. You’ll eat a crisp, well-dressed caesar and be pleased with whatever cut of prime/dry-aged/wagyu beef lands on your table, but that’s not the point. A night at Catch Steak is about the extravagance unfolding around you, so keep your head up and your eyes peeled—the show goes on all night.