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.
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. 12 Exciting Dinner Spots To Try In LA Right Now is presented by Robert Mondavi. Robert Mondavi, the soul of Napa Valley fine wine, now ships wine directly to your door. Use the discount code “SUMMER30” for 30% off your order, shipping included.*
From the second you round the corner and spot Anajak’s alleyway patio, you’re hit with a sensory overload. There’s a row of white-clothed tables reflecting dramatic shadows on the massive brick wall. You’ll hear R&B blasting over the loudspeaker, and spot chef Justin Pichetrungsi at the far end preparing his 14-course Thai omakase experience for the lucky group who snagged the reservation. It’s one of the most objectively unique and cool dining setups in town right now that’s only heightened by the food coming out of the kitchen. Whether you’re there for the omakase, Tuesday’s taco night, or you simply rolled up with some friends on a random weeknight to drink natural wine, Anajak’s assorted menus are all filled with flavor. There’s perfectly-crunchy fried chicken with a sweet and spicy side sauce we’d buy in bulk, Chinese sausage tostadas topped with mint, and haw mok, a creamy fish curry custard that tastes like a spicy dessert. Anajak has been open in Sherman Oaks for over 40 years and is a case study of reinvention. The time is now to experience it.
At first glance, Melanie looks and feels like many other good wine bars around town. There’s a well-curated list filled with mostly European biodynamic wines, a cute space that feels like a friends’ living room right as the party is starting to peak, and a menu filled with snacks you want to be eating while drinking chilled Beaujolais. But what makes this Beverly Grove spot exciting are the actual people serving you the wine. Melanie’s sommeliers know how to level with you. No question is a dumb question, and they’ll also happily keep offering tastes until you find your match. For food, the mussels are a standout. They’re plump, buttery, and come bathed in a rich, savory vadouvan curry. We also loved the stone fruit toast topped with Iberico jamon, and though it’s not technically on the menu, be sure to ask for a side of their perfectly-crispy shoestring fries. They’ll go great with your next bottle.
Whenever people ask us for a dinner recommendation lately, we find ourselves leaning heavily on Lasita, the Filipino rotisserie spot and wine bar in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza. Date night? Go split a chicken and a bottle of wine. Birthday dinner? Go split several chickens and several bottles of wine, and order every sauce and side on the menu. Meetup with a friend? You get the idea. We’ve been fans of this place since its very first iteration as Lasa - a BYOB Filipino pop-up in 2017. While the interior, the management, and the menu have changed a little over the years, many of the same bright and spicy flavors (the electric orange spicy salsita is a non-negotiatable) and friendly faces are there to welcome you for a fun, family-style meal. Plus, no worries about making a reservation way in advance - you should be able to roll up on a Friday night with a group, no problem.
If you’ve ever lived in, visited, or googled the city of Chicago, you’ve probably heard of Girl & The Goat. Since opening in 2010, it’s become one of the most popular restaurants there, thanks to chef Stephanie Izard’s celebrity Top Chef status and intense meat-forward dishes you can’t really find anywhere else. Its second location in the Arts District is cause for excitement. The massive space on Mateo St. is stunning, with an industrial, green-plants-everywhere aesthetic that provides the perfect backdrop for everything from date night or impressing a client who you’re secretly scared of. That said, what sets Girl & The Goat apart from the pack is the remarkably tasty food. You could argue the menu here is a bit all over the place and somewhat hard to define - and you’d be right - but who cares if we can’t categorize goat liver mousse topped with grilled blueberries and served with piping hot crumpets? It’s just delicious.
Run by the Los Angeles power duo behind République, this cozy, subterranean spot in the old Sotto space in Beverlywood is a traditional French bistro in every sense of the word. Unlike their other restaurants, the focus here is on simply, heavy French dishes like caramelized onion tarte tatin, crusty baguettes topped with sardines, and beef short ribs served with golden potato mousseline that are so tender, you can slice through them with a butter knife. However, no meal is complete without their escargots en croute – baked in a buttery, flaky pastry crust (which our server instructed us to delicately cut into, before flipping upside down and letting the escargot and its garlic/parsley/butter juices soak through it), it’s exactly what we want to be eating when our cooler, more-cultured alter ego takes over and demands nourishment.
Amigas Amores is an Italian/Mexican pop-up that’s been doing various stints around town for a while, but as of April this year, the husband-wife operation have planted permanent roots on York Blvd. in Highland Park. Right now, the experience happens in a discreet parking lot (you get directions once you RSVP) decorated with string lights, papel picado, and a front row seat of Chef Danielle Duran-Zecca’s cooking. The menu changes weekly, but you can generally expect dishes like pillow-y soft elote agnolotti, lobster black ink fettuccine topped with epazote breadcrumbs, and a calzone filled with perfectly-cooked pork carnitas and mozzarella and Oaxacan cheese. Oh, and a lot of wine. There are plans to open permanently in the adjacent building by fall, but in the meantime, make a reservation for their Friday dinner service or Sunday brunch and get ready for one of the most delicious - and personalized - dining experiences in LA.
As you walk through Agnes’s massive barn doors on Green St. in Pasadena, don’t be alarmed if you’re hit with a bucolic-type nostalgia you didn’t even know existed within you. There’s a wine and cheese market up front, a giant hearth roaring in the back, and giant wooden beams soaring across the dining room. The whole place feels like an upscale dairy farm in the Midwest and that’s very much on purpose. Agnes is an homage to the head chef’s Iowa upbringing, with a tremendous menu filled with giant cuts of meat, pasta, and of course, lots and lots of incredible cheese. For native Midwesterners (like myself), seeing things like cheese curds with buttermilk ranch and puppy chow on the menu might make you immediately text a high school friend, “I’m at a restaurant in Pasadena that serves puppy chow.” Don’t feel bad about it. This place is designed to rehash all sorts of childhood comforts - and that’s about as exciting as it gets.
This tiny Israeli cafe in Lincoln Heights has quickly become one of our favorite casual dinner spots on the Eastside, and it’s wrap-around patio is a big reason. With patterned walls, red canopies, and a basketball hoop that looks like a pivotal prop from a 90s feel-good sports movie, Mazal works just as well as a casual midweek date spot as it does a big friend hangout on the weekends. We recommend going all-in on the spreads (hummus, madbuka, babaganoush) and rounding out your meal with a fresh Israeli salad and a Jerusalem bagel toast that comes with melted provolone, spicy schug, kale, and pesto. Plus, everything is under $20, meaning even with a few glasses of wine (or an entire bottle), you and your table can walk out having spent around $40 a person.
Located in the Malibu Country Mart, Lucky’s is an upscale steakhouse that originated in the A-Lister commune known as Montecito. Though this location lacks Oprah and Meghan Markle sightings, the crowd milling around the dining room will keep you entertained from start to finish. You’ll spot locals sipping martinis and intentionally placing their hands so everyone can see their jewelry and surfers who didn’t even bother changing out of their board shorts. That said, Lucky’s is more than just a people-watching sideshow - the food is good too. We recommend doing your best to not to fill up on their excellent table rolls, starting with the shrimp and prosciutto-filled chopped salad, and going for whatever big piece of meat is catching your eye.
It’s not often we get excited about hotel lobby restaurants, but The Barish is an exception. Located inside Hollywood Roosevelt, this Nancy Silverton spot has massive Old Hollywood energy (it helps being inside one of the most historic hotels in LA), plus a menu that’s stacked with standout dishes like goat cheese-filled rigatoni and one of our favorite steak tartares in town. It’s the kind of place that begs you to sip a fancy cocktail while you toast to a new client or build a buzz before seeing a show at Pantages. If you’re looking for a fancy dinner spot in Hollywood, snag a table at The Barish.
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