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 6/11): Highly Likely, Noree Thai, Punta Cabras
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. The Hit List is presented by the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Click here to learn more about the benefits you get from paying with a Premier Rewards Gold Card while dining out.
We almost feel sorry for the Westside, given the lack of great restaurants that have opened there in 2018. We say “almost,” because the new Punta Cabras in Santa Monica makes up for a lot. The original was a little taco counter (by the DMV), but this newer, bigger version (by Bay Cities) has two sections - an all-day taqueria and a dinner-only restaurant. And it’s great. The tacos are as good as ever (especially the fish), the purple paloma comes with a portrait of Prince clipped to it, and the new, larger dishes are fantastic. Sit at the bar where you can order off both menus, and know that you’ve beat everybody else to the area’s next great neighborhood spot.
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.
Noree Thai is the latest restaurant from the Luv2Eat people, and that alone should get you in the door. Their menu is fairly similar to the original Hollywood spot, with a few new items like massaman lamb chops and no-lae chicken (herb-rubbed in a sweet and sour sauce). The casual space is small, but you can still come here with a group, and there’s a tiny front patio if you feel like watching people spend $300 on groceries at Erewhon across the street. This is easily the best new Thai restaurant in the area - and probably the city.
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.
Unless you’re seeing a musical at Pantages or got tricked into a dinner at Katsuya with your friend who still likes clubbing, there are few good reasons to be at Hollywood and Vine. Add APL to the good reason list. This is a fancy steakhouse that doesn’t feel like a typical fancy steakhouse: Jimi Hendrix is playing on the loudspeaker, the waitstaff isn’t taking things too seriously, and there’s something called Fuck Dat Fries on the menu that surprisingly doesn’t make you hate the place. You’re going to drop a lot money here (steaks generally fall in the $80 range), but if you’re in the market for a throw-down meal in Hollywood, APL will not disappoint.
Just in case you thought there were enough nicely-designed coffee shops for you to sit in and pretend you’re doing work, Doubting Thomas is another to add to your list. But it’s also way more interesting than your average cute cafe with plants in the corner. The coffee is good (try the house cappuccino catalana with cinnamon and orange peel syrup) and the food is even better - like the pork shoulder breakfast burrito and a truly excellent sausage breakfast sandwich on a biscuit. The pastries up front are as tasty as they look, too.
Petit Trois in Hollywood is a fantastic restaurant - except for the part where you’ll be eating at 5pm unless you want to spend two hours waiting in a strip mall parking lot. Good news: you no longer have to do that. The same team has opened a second location in Sherman Oaks, and just like everything else in the Valley, the Petit Trois over the hill is bigger in every way. It’s a much larger space, with actual tables and an expanded menu, and it’s open all day. The fantastic breakfast is reason enough for non-Valley people to sit on Laurel Canyon for 40 minutes - the croissants are perfect (which is good because they’re also $6), and the Mec Muffin breakfast sandwich is one of the best things we’ve eaten all year.
Row DTLA, a.k.a. the old American Apparel factories, a.k.a. that big cluster of empty buildings where Smorgasburg happens, is starting to fill up with new businesses. And their newest tenant, Rappahannock Oyster Co., is where we want to be eating every day this summer. The industrial space has a huge patio and fresh oysters that are flown in daily from the Chesapeake Bay, but it’s the rest of the menu that really impressed us: lobster rolls, beet salads, trout dip, and an incredible oyster po’boy. Put Rappahannock immediately into your downtown lunch rotation.
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.
This modern Spanish restaurant in Redondo Beach just a few blocks from the water has a bright space, fantastic cocktails, and a menu full of Spanish food that feels different. The oxtail ragu comes on a bed of fried penne that might remind you of eating a bowl of French fries (this is a good thing), and the tortilla Espanola is a giant piece of potato cake that we can’t stop thinking about it. If you’re looking for a new date spot in the South Bay, Gabi James is a great option.
Kasih is a modern Indonesian restaurant, and though its bright space at the bottom of a giant mixed-user in Little Tokyo feels a bit corporate, the food is anything but. From the sambal platter (Indonesian chips and dips) to the vegetable curry to the spicy slaw, everything we’ve tried at Kasih is both interesting and delicious. It’s a casual place, with a huge front patio, making it an excellent choice for a big group dinner before a night out downtown.
Tumbi is a modern Indian restaurant right off the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. And despite being in an area of town not typically known for thrilling food options, it’s the most exciting new Indian restaurant to open in LA since Badmaash. The menu is fantastic and inventive, with everything from prawn masala to a pani puri that ends with you pouring tamarind-mint water into a chickpea-filled puff pastry. Get here now before everyone else does.
Located right on York Blvd. in Highland Park, Joy is an excellent fast-casual Taiwanese spot from the people behind another excellent fast-casual Taiwanese spot, Pine & Crane. While there is some menu crossover between the two places, Joy has plenty of great new dishes on its menu, like the chiayi chicken - their version of chicken rice, and our favorite thing here. The casual space is ideal for a solid lunch or a casual midweek dinner when you’re already sort of in pajamas.
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.
Mason’s Dumpling Shop has only been open for a month or so, but come any day for lunch, and expect to wait a half hour on the sidewalk. Everybody’s lining up because this order-at-the-counter strip mall spot is serving some incredible dumplings - as well as an excellent hanger steak bao sandwich and a spicy seaweed salad we’re still thinking about. Service is quick once you’re inside, prices are affordable, and there’s a serious to-go operation as well. We predict the lines at Mason’s are only going to get longer.
The original Pasta Sisters in Pico-Arlington is fantastic, but a meal there usually involves parking lot death matches and pointed stares from other customers wanting you to eat faster. Now there’s a second location in the Helms Bakery complex in Culver City, which solves both problems. Although they’ve added a ton of space (two patios plus a real dining room), they’ve kept both the order-at-the-counter setup and charm of the first location. And more importantly, the excellent pasta. There are also sandwiches, desserts, and a few new dishes for the Culver location, like a fantastic beef stew with polenta. Once their beer and wine license comes through, it’ll be a great spot for casual midweek dinners.
Triple Beam is an order-at-the-counter pizza spot in Highland Park (opened by Nancy Silverton and the Everson Royce Bar people), and is serving some of the best new pizza LA has seen in a while. It’s Roman-style, meaning the pieces are rectangular and cut by scissors, everything is priced per ounce, and you dictate the size of your piece simply by holding up your hands. And since there are only five different pizzas, you can order the whole menu for under $30. There’s also a great back patio and plenty of wine, making this a great, low-key spot to grab a dinner with friends.
Venice isn’t exactly a hotbed of quality Thai restaurants, so it’s a big deal that one of LA’s coolest Thai spots, Night + Market, opened their third location down near the beach. If you’ve been to one of their other restaurants, then you know the deal at Night + Market Sahm - great Thai food, occasionally with a modern twist (drunken noodles come with pastrami, and there’s personal-sized peking duck pizza). The bright space on Lincoln is already slammed, with hour plus waits on weekends, but once you do get seated, food comes out quickly (if occasionally in a random order), service is efficient but friendly, and there’s plenty of natural wine to drink. If you live in the area, this is about to be your regular spot.
Majordomo is a new restaurant in Chinatown from the team behind Momofuku, the group of Korean-inspired restaurants born in NYC. Getting a table here is harder than getting tickets to Beyonce’s Coachella right now, but know that it’s worth the wait. The drinks are excellent, the service is already a well-oiled machine, and the menu, while a bit all over the place, is soul-curingly fantastic. Focus on the bing section (grilled bread and dips), the vegetables, and the section where everything is just massive cuts of meat that feed four to six people. Definitely come to Majordomo with a group.
The Mezzanine is the main restaurant at the new, just-arrived-from-NYC NoMad Hotel downtown, and it’s more than survived the journey. The menu is a combination of imports from the original (the very rich roast chicken for two with truffle stuffed under the skin), and new LA-specific dishes (fava bean hummus), and despite our coastal differences, it all works well together. The whole operation already feels like a well-oiled machine, with fantastic food, excellent service, and a crowd that runs from people doing after-work business drinks to dates sharing one of the cocktails for two that comes served in a giant rooster. It’s all as over-the-top as it sounds, but manages not to be particularly pretentious either.
Rinjani is a new Glendale restaurant you should know about. It’s a casual space, just off Brand, doing pretty classic takes on Indonesian staples. Which means excellent satays, solid nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), and a beef rendang we’re still thinking about. It’s a friendly spot - the owner/chef will probably wave at you from the kitchen - and a great new option for lunch if you work in the area, or dinner when you’re looking for something different.
We’re not going to complain about the arrival of another coffee shop with great food, and Triniti in Echo Park is the newest one to add to LA’s growing list. The whole place reminds us of Destroyer - similar minimalist menu, similar bowls containing hidden things, same coffee machine that looks like a spaceship - which makes sense since the chef here once worked there. But Triniti is doing its own thing, serving excellent coffee and a small menu of mostly salad-like things. The roasted potatoes with skordalia, greens, and a poached egg are hearty but still feel relatively healthy, and the little gem dish has an XO sauce dressing we’d eat all on its own. Despite the fancy-sounding (and looking) food, Triniti feels like a casual neighborhood hangout.
Freedman’s calls itself a modern Jewish deli, but it’s not really a deli at all. It’s a sit-down restaurant that serves fantastic Jewish deli-type dishes that work just as well for a hungover meal by yourself on a Saturday morning as they do for a Tuesday date night. The reuben sandwich and potato latke (which comes out as a waffle) are musts, and the smoked fish plate is probably the best thing on the menu. The space feels like a classic restaurant you’d be more likely to find on the Lower East Side than in an aqua-colored stripmall along Sunset. And maybe that’s because Freedman’s itself might very well become a classic.
Oriel is a new spot in Chinatown from the people behind Bar Covell, serving a wine list that includes bottles even your most wine-snobby friend won’t have heard of. They also serve excellent French bistro food in the modern, low-lit space (with a little patio to the side), and the friendly staff will help you pick the exact wine you want. The food sticks to the classics - cheese and charcuterie boards, frisee salads, croque monsieurs, and a truly great bavette steak. Get here for a relaxed date or a solo meal at the bar.