Wondering where you should be eating in Los Angeles right now? You’re in the right place. The Infatuation Hit List is your guide to the city’s best new restaurants.
And when we say “best new restaurants,” we mean it. Because we’ve tried every single one of these places - and we’ve also left off countless spots that simply aren’t as worthy of your time and money.
The Hit List is our record of every restaurant that’s opened in the past year that we’d highly recommend you try. This guide is sorted chronologically, so at the top you’ll find our latest entries to this list (the newest spots), and as you keep scrolling you’ll find the places that are on the older side - but are great enough that we still haven’t stopped talking about them.
New to The Hit List (as of 12/17): Fiona
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. The Hit List is presented by the American Express ® Gold Card. Click here to learn more about the benefits and rewards you get from paying with the Amex Gold Card while dining out.
At first glance, Fiona looks like a pretty straightforward bakery. It's an order-at-the-counter set-up with pies and biscuits in a pastry case and a wall of bread. And while the rich, but somehow light chocolate chess pie and the perfect baguettes are fantastic, there's also a whole slew of savory Asian dishes that deserve your attention. For lunch, we like the chicken and cabbage salad, or the celery root pancake, but you should also come back at night when they transform into a table-service restaurant that serves bigger dishes like hangar steak and grilled pork shoulder.
This is a very good Southern spot in West Adams that serves cornbread you’ll want to take home by the loaf. The dishes are simple - the cornbread comes with a plate of very good homemade butter - and the portion sizes are gigantic, so you could easily split the fantastic and surprisingly light oxtails and rice between two people as an entree. Sit on the back patio, and you’ll most likely be surrounded by family dinners or casual dates having cocktails and black-eyed pea fritters, which are delicious and taste like hushpuppies that grew up to be falafels. Service can be a bit slow, but the food more than makes up for it.
If you live on the Westside, having a meal in the San Gabriel Valley is pretty much a day trip. And while day trips are fun, sometimes you want excellent Chinese food without sacrificing half of your Saturday. The second location of Szechuan Impression is here to change that. The popular SGV restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd. in West LA is Szechuan-style, so expect flavors to be spicy, intense, and worth every bit of the hour-long wait you just endured to get in. The two-story restaurant is massive with a party-like atmosphere and that can accommodate however many friends you roll in with tonight. Order the tea-rubbed ribs, mapo tofu, and wontons in chili sauce.
Roberta’s is an NYC pizza legend, known for thin, blistered pies as well as putting spicy honey on top of pizzas. After a couple of pop-ups in LA over the years, they’ve opened a permanent location at Platform in Culver City. It’s a big space, with an even bigger patio, and is already pretty slammed. There’s a big menu, but you should focus on the excellent pizza and the wine list (it’s got a bunch of unusual offerings). There are no reservations, so expect a wait - but there is full table service (unlike the frustrating order-at-the-counter situation at their pop-ups in the past).
Sushi Note won’t be your once-a-week sushi spot, but it’s a place where you’ll want to plan your next visit before you even leave. If we were only judging this tiny Sherman Oaks spot on its sushi, it would waltz onto the Hit List. But because this place also has incredible wine and a laid-back space that feels like a neighborhood bar, we’ve decided that Sushi Note is one of the most exciting places to open this year. We recommend going all-in on the omakase (which is a very fair $80 considering the amount of food you get). Drink-wise, the bottle list is extensive, and you should let the sommelier pair out a wine tasting with each course of sushi that hits the table.
Hilltop is a coffee shop and daytime hangout in View Park-Windsor Hills with truly great food. The space is big and open, and filled with people hanging out and doing work - or pretending they’re doing work when they’re really just Slacking gifs to their co-workers. The breakfast sandwich with lemon-chili mayo is fantastic, and if you add shrimp to the Soul Bowl, you’ll end up with a bowl of very good shrimp and grits. You should probably come up with an excuse to work remotely soon, so you can camp out here and eat your way through most of the menu throughout the day.
Solid new pizza places seem to open up every week in LA these days. Let us help you prioritize - go immediately to Ronan. This is the kind of restaurant where you’ll try to book another reservation for the following week on your way out. The casual Italian spot on Melrose has a full menu of excellent small and big dishes (including a plate of burrata that doubles as clinical therapy), but the pizzas are why you’re here. Whether you go for the margherita or the guanciale and honey-topped Sweet Cheeks, every pie at Ronan has perfectly charred, slightly chewy crust.
On a corner in Historic Filipinotown, Porridge & Puffs might look like any other daytime spot with minimalist decoration and lots of natural light. But you won’t find eggs on toast or kale salad here - just bowls of rice porridge, chewy bread puffs, and a few vegetable dishes. The porridges are fantastic, especially the one topped with five-spice braised short rib and another with Chinese sausage and black-eyed pea miso. It’s simple, confident food that you’ll want to keep coming back for, so we’re glad to hear they’ll be serving brunch and dinner soon.
Journeymen in Atwater Village was open for less than a year and never figured out what it wanted to be, but the same people have re-jiggered things and opened a very appropriately named pizza place called Hail Mary in the same spot. They’re focused on pizza, serving five-or-so pies a night, alongside salads, a few appetizers, and a small wine list. While the pizza is great, there are still some weird touches that don’t sit right (we don’t like raising our hands at the call of our name when the food is ready). But with families dropping in for early dinner, and younger locals lingering with bottles of gamay later in the night, Hail Mary seems to be a strong fit for the neighborhood.
If you’re anything like us, one of the highlights of your week used to be when the Guerrilla Tacos truck was even remotely close to your neighborhood. But the truck has recently retired, and now Guerrilla has a permanent restaurant in the Arts District where you can sit at a table (instead of the curb) while eating your sweet potato tacos. It’s an order-at-the-counter setup, with a way bigger menu (get the open-faced mushroom quesadilla), but the tacos are just like they’ve always been: impossible not to eat in under a minute. There’s also alcohol.
Walking into Dama in the Fashion District is like walking into an old colonial mansion in Cuba - there are tiled floors, wicker ceiling fans, and hanging plants in every direction. The menu is filled with exciting Latin, Caribbean, and Spanish dishes, like a whole soft shell crab taco, a clam & chorizo stew, and a bocadillo that’s essentially a calamari po’boy. We’ll tell you now that no matter how full you get, you’re probably not leaving here with any leftovers because the food is that good. They also have great cocktails and a large wrap-around bar ideal for after-work drinks.
In the same building as sibling-restaurant Triple Beam Pizza, Hippo is a new neighborhood hangout in Highland Park and also the newest reason why we’ve set up a 90042 Zillow alert. While it’s already busy, Hippo isn’t a scene - just full of people who live nearby and want to eat in a kind-of-fancy, but still laid-back restaurant. The big menu is full of things you want to eat right now - crudos, interesting vegetables, and pastas - so use the extremely friendly staff to help you figure out what dishes you’ll inevitably have to cut from your order.
Workshop Enoteca is a tiny Italian spot that serves lunch and dinner in an El Segundo strip mall. Its bright interior is more reminiscent of a Panera Bread than a legitimate Italian restaurant, but don’t let that fool you - this is the best pasta we’ve discovered since we first ate at Felix. Your ideal strategy is to come with a few people, order several pastas, and then fight about which one is the best. The beef cheek scarpinocc is our favorite at the moment (be sure to get the stracciatella on top), and the kale salad is great, too.
Bar Calo is a Mexican spot in an Echo Park strip mall that, when you first walk in, you could easily mistake for a bar. It’s slammed already, most people here are just drinking and snacking, and you’re going to have to fight to get a seat if you want to eat dinner. (That’s because there aren’t any real tables - the place is basically just one big red couch.) But we’re here to tell you that you should absolutely make that effort. All of the food here - like peanut chipotle salsa, hibiscus flower quesadilla, and Oaxacan hot chicken - is really good, and the place overall feels different.
This hummusiya (yes, a restaurant that specializes in hummus) run by the same people as Lodge Bread Co. combines many of our interests, like eating fantastic food and eating hummus. In a small space with an even smaller front patio in Pico-Robertson, they serve four different types of chickpea puree (the wild mushroom is the best), plus a couple of shakshukas, and some pita sandwiches. Get here for a fun lunch, a casual dinner, or really, whenever you can. You shouldn’t need an excuse to eat here.
Ma’am Sir is a modern Filipino restaurant that recently took over the Bar Angeles space in Silver Lake. The place is bright and colorful, with hanging vines from the ceiling (the Edison lights of 2018) and leafy wallpaper that makes you feel like you’re on vacation. You can’t go wrong with any of the food, but our early favorites are the longganisa (sweet sausage) sandwich, the whole milkfish, and a mango verrine dessert that’s basically the best parfait in existence. Definitely make a reservation as this place is already very crowded.
Highly Likely is owned by one of the people behind Cafe Gratitude and Juice Served Here, but luckily there are no kelp noodles or seitan bowls in sight. This is an all-day cafe on a quiet part of Jefferson in West Adams, where you can certainly take the healthy route with a Japanese grain bowl - but there’s also a breakfast burrito, a burger, a crispy fish sandwich, and a housemade hot sauce you’re going to want to put on everything. This neighborhood place is worth visiting even if you’re nowhere near the neighborhood.
All Time opened as a daytime-only spot on Hillhurst in Los Feliz in a neighborhood that never tires of daytime-only spots. But now they have stepped up their game with a new dinner menu (Thursday-Sunday only) that’s worth getting in your Honda and crossing the city for. The menu changes frequently, but if the good ass garden salad, the focaccia, or pork shoulder are on there, you should probably order them. They also have an extensive wine list and the kind of outdoor patio you’ll only want to tell people about if you like them.
Bavel is the new spot from the people behind Bestia and, as you’d suspect, it’s fantastic. Like the Arts District OG, it’s also in a converted warehouse and you’ll have a very hard time getting a primetime reservation, but unlike Bestia, the food here is Middle Eastern rather than Italian. And it’s fantastic. There really isn’t a miss on the menu - everything from the hummus to the flatbread to the grilled prawns to the enormous lamb shawarma is so good you’ll be instantly planning a return visit. This is a perfect spot for a celebratory dinner with a big group. Get here whenever you can.
La Morra Pizzeria isn’t really a restaurant - it’s a portable pizza oven, built on the back of a trailer, that shows up on Tuesdays at Hayden in Culver City, and Thursdays at Tabula Rasa in Hollywood. And this mobile pizza pop-up is worth making space in your calendar for. They serve only five or so pizzas a night, all with pretty simple toppings (Margherita, Funghi, something with salami), but they’re close to perfect, with charred and chewy dough. Plus, given that both locations are wine bars, your drinks will be good too.