LAGuide

17 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.

THE SPOTS

What is that saying? "When god closes a Happy Foot/Sad Foot clinic, they open a Pijja Palace?"  The new Indian sports bar in Silver Lake, is, in the best way possible, Stimulation with a capital S. There are three giant flatscreen TVs on every wall, forcing you to stare directly into LeBron James' eyes until you merge souls. The dining room, which is divided into two separate areas, has a slick mid-century modern look that actually feels fresh. And like one of our other favorite restaurants at the moment, Tokki, the food is fun. Thin-crust pizzas come topped with kadai paneer, saag gravy, stinger chiles, or baingan jawa fry, a deep-fried eggplant dish made with mustard oil. And the pasta offerings include a wonderful cheese and shell dish loaded with saffron, parmesan, and Indian long pepper. It's our new go-to comfort dish. Have you ever eaten food like this? Probably not. Order the malted chai soft serve. 

Taking a page straight from Brigadoon, Cobras And Matadors has emerged from the mist of LA restaurant heaven and recently reopened in their original location in Beverly Grove—a decade after closing. If you’re unfamiliar with the old neighborhood Spanish tapas spot, here’s what you need to know: You’ll eat simple, well-executed dishes like perfectly grilled asparagus topped with sweet manchego and buttery gambas al ajillo—all in a lively little dining room that feels like a tavern on a Valencia side street. This is the kind of place you show up to with a few friends and a bottle of wine on a Wednesday night (yep, it’s still BYOB) and accidentally stay until midnight—chatting with the waitstaff and making friends with every adjacent table.

Walking into this sleek Japanese izakaya in the Arts District is somewhat mystical. A precisely 10-foot tall mini-maze of LED-lined steel walls opens up to a sprawling patio. Kodō's gray cube of a courtyard is packed, but maintains a sense of serenity. People are dressed like they’re planning to show-face at a cool gallery opening that same night and the menu, from the same team behind Kensho, is a long list of chargrilled bar snacks and sushi. , We recommend focusing on the latter. The cocktails range from lychee martinis to oolong palomas, and the extensive sake list has options by the glass and bottle. After some sea bream sashimi and ikura nigiri, make sure to end your meal with the cheesecake—it’s smooth and refreshing.

Don’t kill the messenger, but when it comes to restaurants, Sunset Junction has become a complete snoozefest lately. Bar Moruno is already starting to liven things up. The party-like energy at this upscale Spanish spot hits you the second you walk in—you’ll spot friends and coworkers hovering over round wooden tables eating canned fish and swapping today’s best drama and a walk-in only bar area that starts popping by 6:30pm every night. It’s the kind of place you might roll into on a weeknight for silky egg salad and pan con tomate, and accidentally stay for three hours because there’s an entire gin martini section on the menu. Bar Moruno is fun, a little kitschy, and feels as close to a tapas bar in Barcelona as you’ll get in LA. Sunset Junction is more exciting for it.

Sometimes, an excessive dinner is in order. Maybe you’ve got friends visiting from out of town who are looking to have “a night,” or maybe it’s Friday and you want to drink martinis, talk over each other,  and order a few interesting dishes. Grandmaster Recorders from the E.P. & L.P. people is a great option on Cahuenga in Hollywood. This Australian-ish spot borrows from the space’s history (it was once the recording studio by the same name where Stevie Wonder, Bowie, and the Chili Peppers made the magic happen), so music and food carry equal weight. The dishes range from good to very tasty and many are a bit over the top—caviar cannolis and wagyu pappardelle are available, but it’s the grilled scampi and basil hand roll that we’d order again and again. Dinner here is not cheap (with drinks, you’ll likely be paying well over $100 per person). But if you’re looking to kick off an open-ended evening, start here. You can seamlessly continue the night at their adjacent disco bar, or upstairs at the rooftop bar.

Dinner at Ryla is full of subtle surprises. Raw oysters come with hibiscus gelee. Pan-fried sea bream is served in a tasty pool of lime coconut broth. And the Japanese whiskey is infused with bancha tea. This Japanese-Taiwanese spot from the Fishing With Dynamite people has an incredible menu of dishes like pork tonkatsu, ox tongue curry rice, and matcha tiramisu. The space in Hermosa Beach—a 50/50 split between a bar and dining room—has a snug interior featuring lots of dark wood and cranes painted on the walls. In other words: it’s exactly the kind of spot where you can spend a couple hours grazing on small plates and sipping whiskey cocktails. Whether you come to drink or eat (or, ideally, both) this is the reservation to make.

Cabra review image
7.6

Cabra

$$$$
Hours:THURSDAY04:00PM to 11:00PM

From Hollywood to the Arts District, new hotels seem to be opening daily in LA right now—and most of them have some form of a rooftop. If you’re wondering which one you should prioritize, head to Cabra. Located on top of The Hoxton Downtown, the sprawling space has all the requisite rooftop amenities—great skyline views, a semi-rowdy crowd full of questionable hat choices, and a pool that someone’s absolutely going to fall into—but what sets Cabra apart from the pack is the food. Run by the chef from nearby Girl & The Goat, Cabra’s Peruvian-leaning menu is filled with light, shareable small plates that are great for big groups and won’t fill you up to the point where you can’t go out afterwards. There are definitely some bigger dishes, such as the excellent pork shank with tangerine salad and crispy potatoes, but we recommend sticking mostly to the “Cold Stuff.” Here’s where you’ll find everything from salmon ceviche with pistachio to tuna tiradito topped with passionfruit and jicama.  

Ardor imageoverride image
7.4

Ardor

$$$$4243101572
Hours:THURSDAY7:00AM to 11:00PM

Ardor is one of the wildest nights you can have at an LA restaurant right now. It’s technically the ground-floor restaurant at The West Hollywood Edition hotel, but walking into its sprawling dining room feels like you’ve stepped onto some Miami mega-yacht that’s been completely suspended from all time and space. Staff greets you in floor-length white satin sheath gowns, accent lights jut out from tropical plants like you’re walking a knock-off Fenty runway, and everyone else will either be watching TikTok or recording something for TikTok. Ardor takes people-watching to Olympic levels, but in the event you tire of international gazillionaires being monsters to anyone refilling their water glasses, the good news is there’s solid food. Standouts include pillowy milk bread topped with dried tomatoes, shrimp plancha in a creamy scampi sauce, and some of the best onion rings we’ve ever eaten. Ardor isn’t for everyone—or every day— but if you’re in the market for an over-the-top meal where money isn’t a problem, this hotel restaurant is one of the best shows in town. 

On paper, the concept of Mātu is sort of absurd. This dimly-lit spot in Beverly Hills specializes in a five-course prix-fixe menu consisting of various premium Wagyu beef dishes. It's an indulgence of the highest variety, and yet, when we actually dined there, we were taken aback at how toned-down and sensible the whole experience felt. For starters, the prix-fixe menu is $78. Sure, that’s a lot of money and no one should be mistaking Matu for a casual Tuesday night dinner spot, but to be eating five courses of premium meat on S. Beverly Blvd. for under $100 is a good value. Secondly, the food is excellent and coursed out in a way that doesn’t feel like a grotesque meat parade. You’ll sip clear earthy beef broth, sample thinly-sliced pieces of NY strip steak, and finish with a wood-fired ribeye and perfectly-cooked broccolini. Mātu is the kind of place where celebrating something feels euphoric—whether it’s a promotion, anniversary, or simply surviving the previous month—without having to constantly check the prices. 

The Arts District’s newest restaurant is Camphor, a luxurious French(ish) spot where the dining room feels like a jewelry box. Nearly every wall is covered in floor-to-ceiling mirrors (including the bathroom), booths are velvet, and everyone eating here looks like they professionally model as a side gig. We say the menu is French(ish) because you’ll mostly find traditional dishes like asparagus and béarnaise, nicely peppered saucisson, and steak au poivre, among a few South Asian offerings. There’s kiwi sprinkled with mint and cardamom for dessert, and a dish called baby shrimp “gunpowder”—a crispy little snack coated in a red chili chutney that’s an absolute must-order.

With all due respect to Love Is Blind, Here’s Looking At You is our favorite return of the year thus far. After a successful crowd-funding campaign, the Koreatown spot is back in the same great corner space with a menu that mixes old favorites with plenty of new dishes as well. If you were a regular, you’ll recognize the tomatoes topped with crispy lap xuong, steak tartare mixed with red chili and tamari, and frog legs in a spicy salsa negra. If you’re new, you’ll get to experience those plus plenty of new standouts like the crispy, crackly duck confit that’s meant to be eaten with your hands. One might assume HLAY needs a little time to get back on its feet, but that’d be incorrect—the lively dining room is already slammed every night with dates, friend dinners, and solo diners trying to snag a seat at the bar. 

​​Encanto is a new Mexican restaurant in Los Feliz that feels like a secret basement party. Although only in their soft launch phase, when we stopped here on a random Friday, the dining room was buzzing, mezcal was flowing, and a whole giant fish found its way to our table. Encanto manages to walk the line between lots of energy, and enough room to feel comfortable—they have a huge indoor space on Hillhurst, but leave a ton of space between tables so you never feel too close to anyone. The menu is short and compact, full of crunchy caesar salads, lamb neck supplied by McCall’s Meat & Fish Co. next door, and sweet potatoes drenched in fermented hot sauce. Come here before a late-night showing at the Los Feliz 3, or stop in for a drink with a date or lover. It’s the kind of place that feels completely alive—a.k.a. exactly the kind of place Los Feliz needs.

The pasta to be prioritizing right now is at Cento. The former Downtown pasta pop-up is now operating in a new brick-and-mortar space in West Adams and is the perfect spot for a midweek date that still feels fresh and exciting. There’s a cozy front patio filled with stringlit trees and a bright interior with a large communal table perfect for groups intent on drinking lots of wine. Our move, however, is to snag a seat at the bar where you get a front row seat to the show: spicy pomodoro joining forces with liquid basil, and the iconic beet spaghetti becoming one with butter, whipped ricotta, and chives. Cento’s expanded menu has plenty of excellent new dishes, like savory chicken liver crostini and banana pudding tiramisu that will live in your subconscious for weeks, but at the end of the day, you’re here to eat some of the best pasta in the city.

The theme at this new-ish Southeast Asian place on Main Street in Santa Monica is decidedly floral—we clocked floral wallpaper, floral tableware, floral light fixtures, human-sized rose sculptures, dried flower installations—and we’re probably missing more. There’s nothing minimalist, stark, or cold about this place, which makes it a great option when other restaurants start shapeshifting together in your head. Use Cobi's for date night, a friend catch-up, or whenever beef rendang, roti, and reggae sound good. The maximalist space and soul music won’t let anyone take themselves too seriously, plus our curry-heavy dinner here was one of the best meals of 2022 thus far. 

From the thatched tunnel entrance and the ethereal club music to every server repeatedly reminding you that it’s “Tulum-themed,” there’s a lot going on at Ka’Teen. But if you’re looking to get dressed up and have a messy, over-the-top night out in Hollywood, Ka’Teen is where to be. The sprawling, mostly-outdoor space is great for big groups, there’s a $495 bottle of Dom Perignon on the menu (if that’s your energy), and as for the food, the Yucatan-style menu has several bright spots. The ceviches and aguachiles are fresh and citrusy, the mushrooms in mole verde have a rich, spicy kick, and the lamb barbacoa is the perfect thing to put on the table, because everyone can build their own taco. Sure, this place is loud, crowded, and clubby, but it’s also filled with people who want it that way. Make sure you’re one of them before going. 

While we were all busy nesting and drinking hot toddies in our bedrooms over the holiday break, one of the bigger restaurant openings in LA occurred: Mother Wolf. This massive Italian spot in Hollywood is the second restaurant from Evan Funke, the chef/owner of Venice’s Felix, and while that spot is known for its sexy exclusivity, Mother Wolf is much more of a party. The sprawling dining room is filled with big chandeliers, mirrored pillars, and giant pink booths full of groups of friends and coworkers knocking back one too many negronis. The tremendous menu includes plenty of classic Roman-style dishes like crispy margherita pizzas, perfectly al dente rigatoni all’amatriciana, and the best cacio e pepe we’ve eaten in Los Angeles. We’re anxious to get back and try some of the bigger meat dishes, but we’ve yet to eat anything here we haven’t liked. If you’re looking for a fancy, but fun dinner spot to kick off 2022, Mother Wolf is a great option.

“What’s going on at Antico?” is a question we’ve asked ourselves many times over the past year. Located in a random, semi-deserted stretch between Larchmont and Koreatown, this rustic Italian restaurant has gone through many phases. At first it was perfectly fine, then it became a really good to-go spot, and now it’s officially one of our favorite places to eat in the entire city. It’s Antico 2.0, and they seem to have fixed a lot of the things that kept it from becoming truly stellar in the before-times: the room is now soundproofed, the décor feels cozy and reminds us of the set of a Hallmark movie, and there’s not a bad dish on the menu. The focaccia is still as thick as a mattress and drenched in olive oil, and the home-style agnolotti are pillows filled with pan drippings that are pinched around the edges. Oh, and if you don’t order at least one of the ice creams at the end, you’ll have to make a return visit, ASAP.

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