Welcome to The Infatuation Hit List, 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 worth 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 see places that are on the older side - but are great enough that we still haven’t stopped talking about them.
And if you’re looking for the best new places to drink in LA, we’ve got that covered, too - check out our Bar Hit List.
New to The Hit List (as of 1/13): Marco Polo, Kazan
If the words “Coastal Mediterranean cuisine” make your brain hurt, you’re not alone. But don’t overlook Marco Polo, a Silver Lake spot specializing in that particular brand of seafood-y Italian. The Calabrian baked clams are a good bet, and you get a massive plateful for $16 during dinner. Their chicken crostone is another one of our favorites: It’s moist and full of olives, and the crispy bread is flavored with delicious chicken drippings. Located at the new Silver Lake Pool & Inn, Marco Polo also benefits from having the one thing most good Eastside restaurants don’t: A great patio. We envision ourselves spending a lot of Saturday afternoons here, pretending we’re in Sorrento, ordering some pasta, and chugging a gallon of Aperol spritz.
For all the excellent ramen spots in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills, good soba is a far tougher to come across - and that’s exactly why we’re so excited about Kazan. Located right on La Cienega’s restaurant row, this tiny noodle shop is from the Tatsu Ramen people, and the first thing you need to know about it is you’re going to be paying La Cienega prices. But if you can get over the initial sticker shock (bowls generally run between $25-30), you’ll be treated to some truly tremendous soba. Right now, the #1, which comes in a clear soy-based broth and is filled with chasu pork and homemade wontons, is our favorite. The noodles and fillings are all very good, but it’s the broth that steals the show. Rich, salty, and extremely truffle-y, this is what we’ll be eating every time the thermometer dares to dip below 70 degrees. If you’re looking for something with a kick, try the #7 “Lamb in Lava.”
Bar Avalon is a wine bar/coffee shop in Echo Park that quietly started serving dinner back in October. So we’ll say this as loudly as possible - you need to be eating here. At first glance, the menu at this casual spot appears to be your typical array of seasonal vegetables and big plates of meat, but there’s a lot more going on here. From blue prawns covered in n’duja and the best half chicken we’ve eaten in a restaurant in years to a warm carrot halwa dessert, the food at Bar Avalon is delicious, interesting, and - with most items falling well under $20 - also pretty affordable. And that’s to say nothing of the equally tremendous and well-priced wine list, which features South and North American wines listed by latitude (alcohol and geography is always a beautiful combination). Bar Avalon is still in its early days, but there’s something very special happening here - so experience it now, before everyone else catches on, too.
We’ve had biscuits as breakfast sandwiches, and biscuits smothered with jam, but we’ve never had a biscuit breakfast sandwich smothered with jam - until we went to All Day Baby. That’s the kind of hearty, inventive food you’ll find at this new cafe and bar in the big red building on Sunset in Silver Lake. That sweet, salty, and definitely strawberry-y breakfast sandwich is a great way to start your meal here, but you’ll also want to save room for another kind of sandwich. Specifically, the smoked beef and cheese, which is loaded with tender beef, creamy cheese sauce, and horseradish mayo on a soft brioche roll. This place is only open until 3pm right now (so they’re more of a Most Of The Day Baby), but we’re excited for their forthcoming dinner hours, when it’s more appropriate to get involved with their inventive cocktails.
This sort-of-Austrian spot on Sunset in Silver Lake is all over the place - in the best way possible. They serve tiny, buttery tuna and kanpachi melt sandwiches, grilled chicken wings doused salsa macha, and glazed cod with roasted turnips and a scallion oil you’ll be licking off the plate. Despite packing a lot of seats into a small space, it’s still nice and quiet inside, which makes it ideal for a date. It might seem like the kind of place where you’d grab some wine (they’ve got a mostly Austrian list) and a couple small plates, but the food is so good that we recommend sticking around for the whole meal. And don’t leave without getting the knödel - a potato dumpling dessert, covered in brown butter and stuffed with an entire poached pluot. It’s a unique dish that’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t like overly sweet desserts.
As you can probably guess from the name, Found Oyster is a spot in East Hollywood where you’ll sit at a bar and eat oysters - specifically, ones found on (OK, more like “sourced from”) the owner’s family farm on Cape Cod. The opening menu is tiny, but there isn’t a weak spot on it - the oysters are served raw on the half shell, fried with tartar sauce, and broiled with Espelette butter, a spicy, fruity French-pepper butter that melts over the oysters and is absolutely addictive. The steamers frites are also highly worth your time; the excellent littleneck clams are sweet and salty, and you’ll be drinking the broth out of the bowl by the end of your meal.
M. Georgina is the latest spot to open in the Row DTLA complex, and another very solid addition to what’s basically become Downtown Disney for chefs from other cities. The menu, created by the chef behind San Francisco’s Frances and Octavia, is a mix of things you can find in restaurants all over town (including the Row) - crudo, fresh vegetables, a few big plates of meat - but everything tastes great, so it’s hard to complain. The spicy baked clam diavolo and sourdough ice cream with cinnamon are early stand-outs, and even though the open, industrial space looks identical to every other restaurant in the Row, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering how comfortable a meal is here.
It’d be difficult to find a restaurant name with worse SEO than Bar Restaurant, the new spot on Sunset in Silver Lake. Nonetheless, this place has unique, imaginative, and genuinely weird food that’s highly worth seeking out (just not on Google). For example, the moules frites features very good mussels in a dijon broth, but incredible curly fry “frites” that will instantly remind you of late-night fast food runs (in the best possible way). The bright, fresh, barely cooked Brussels sprouts are covered with crispy kabocha chips and a dollop of labneh, creating a dish that surprisingly tastes like a Caesar salad. The octopus is also great - it’s a single giant tentacle that’s crunchy, moist, and not even a tiny bit chewy, served with a perfectly garlicky pumpkin seed mojo.
The second you walk into Yang’s Kitchen and spot the line snaking away from the counter, you realize there’s something special going on at this modern Taiwanese spot in Alhambra. Then the food arrives and you understand why everyone is here - these aren’t just some of the best Taiwanese dishes in the SGV, they’re also some of the most interesting. Whether it’s a beef roll served on a giant whole grain scallion pancake and eaten like taco, or pork rice braised in onions and apples, the food is what makes Yang’s one of the most exciting new restaurants to open in Alhambra in years.
Located on the ground floor of the massive Ava apartment complex in Little Tokyo, Yapa is a new restaurant specializing in Nikkei cuisine (Japanese-Peruvian), and the results are tremendous. As one might expect, there is no shortage of ceviche and tiradito on the menu, and while both are very good, the real highlights come from lesser-known dishes like tacu tacu, a traditional Andean rice-and-bean pancake, and korokke, a Japanese-style croquette stuffed with Peruvian corn. The space is definitely upscale, but if you show up in jeans and a t-shirt on a midweek first date, you’ll be more than comfortable. If you’re rolling in with a big group, the leafy side patio is ideal.
Pasjoli is a new French restaurant in Santa Monica and one of the most exciting places to open on Main St. in years. It’s from the same people who brought us Dialogue, but instead of a hyper-minimalist setting and a $230-per-person tasting menu, Pasjoli has the look and feel of a casual bistro on the backstreets of Paris. You’re definitely still going to spend a lot of money here (entrees run in the $40-50 range), but whether it’s a caramelized onion tart, chicken liver brioche, or a clam and spot prawn bisque we’d buy in bulk, this is the kind of rich, over-the-top food you wake up texting your friends about. If you’re feeling particularly extravagant, the $165 whole duck (complete with a tableside pressing demonstration) is an absolute must.
A new steakhouse on Rose in Venice, American Beauty is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a Venice steakhouse - in the best possible way. It feels like a brighter, less-smoky version of a family restaurant from the ’80s, the crowd is cool, and the seafood may actually be better than the steak. The scallop carpaccio and Monterrey squid appetizers are both perfectly prepared (and very fresh), and the whole-cooked orata with smoked eggplant and tomato might be the best thing here. The dry-aged ribeye - while tender, salty, and overall good - is a bit unevenly cooked. But the steakhouse burger is super juicy and flavorful, and topped with sweet caramelized onions and what seems like an entire block of Swiss cheese.
Mogu Mogu is a noodle spot in West LA that requires a bit of effort on your part. They specialize in mazemen - brothless ramen - though if that wasn’t clear, the very specific instructions on the wall should clue you in. You combine your bowl of thick noodles with a variety of toppings (including a poached egg, chives, and spicy minced pork) “for about 30 seconds,” and add their Umami Vinegar midway through (and not before) to create a rich sauce. It may be a meticulous way to approach a meal, but the result is a complex bowl full of chewy noodles, flavors like briny fish powder and bright chives, and a savory sauce. You’ll probably even break a sweat, but when you’re working your way through something as satisfying as Mogu Mogu’s mazemen, it’s worth the effort.
From the outside, Colapasta looks like a new Bank Of America branch, but inside, the massive photo of the kid with a colander on his head will tell you you’re in the right place for handmade pasta. On weekday afternoons, it’s packed with people eating excellent lasagna, bigoli aglio, and beet ravioli in brown butter. Everything’s under $14, so this is a great addition to your lunch routine, or solid go-to for a casual (and shockingly affordable) dinner in Santa Monica. They don’t have their liquor license yet, but they say it’s coming soon.
Broad Street Oyster Co. is always popping up around LA (right now, they’re at Smorgasburg, the Hollywood Night Market, and Santa Barbara’s MUNI Wine every week), and they’ve just opened a brick-and-mortar location in a Malibu shopping center. But you wouldn’t know you’re right next to a SoulCycle - they’ve got fresh seafood from tons of nearby places, like Channel Islands box crab, Morro Bay oysters, and Santa Barbara uni. Order at the counter, get a glass of wine, and find a seat by the window for great views of the Malibu Lagoon next door.
After a few years as a food truck, Spoon & Pork has opened a brick-and-mortar on Sunset in Silver Lake. And the change has been great for them - this is excellent, interesting, and affordable Filipino comfort food. Like the name suggests, there’s a lot of pig-based things on the menu, specifically pork belly, served as nigiri, on French bread as a sandwich, or deep-fried in a rice bowl. Our favorites, though, are the chorizo burger, and the massive, fantastic patita, a slow-cooked-then-deep-fried pork shank served with chili vinegar garlic sauce. It’s a very special dish, and at $22, is roughly one-fifth of what you’d pay for the exact same dish at a bigger-deal restaurant.
Venice is always in need of more great, low-key neighborhood restaurants - and Dudley Market is back to fill that void. This iconic seafood spot, which had closed in 2017, is less than a block from the Boardwalk, and despite that, somehow remains tourist-free. It’s a fantastic place to just have oysters and some natural wine, but if that’s all you do, you’ll be missing out on the full menu of excellent seafood caught that day. Don’t leave without getting the pork belly and clam toast, and if it’s on the menu, you need to order the rockfish - an excellent whole-fried fish with sambal. The servers will treat you like you’ve lived next to them on the Canals for 15 years, and the sommelier might come by with another glass of wine he thinks you’d enjoy, just because.
Birdie G’s industrial space in Santa Monica doesn’t look much different from other new restaurants in LA. There’s exposed air ducts, an open kitchen, and an eager waitstaff proudly proclaiming that everything’s meant to be shared. But once the food starts hitting the table, all those lingering “We’ve seen this before” thoughts quickly fade away. Whether it’s mustard-doused German potato salad, crab and prawn cakes, or sloppy joes on Texas toast, this is the kind of hearty, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that you just can’t find in this city. Also, it all tastes great. Birdie G’s is the most excited we’ve been about a Westside restaurant in over a year.
LA’s best new pizza spot is operating out of a liquor store parking lot in Silver Lake. Elio’s Wood Fire Pizza sets up shop in the same lot on Sunset every night, with some picnic tables, a mobile fridge full of toppings, and a wood-fired pizza oven in the back of an early-aughts Chevy Silverado. Their (very good) cheese pizza is $10, and you can build your own pie for $1 per topping - we recommend adding some sausage, pepperoni, or both. Plus, the dough, is springy, chewy, flavorful, and perfectly blistered in all the ways you want wood-fired pizza to be. Head here now before the line goes all the way to Echo Park.
Located on Sunset Blvd. in East Hollywood, Northern Thai Food Club is our favorite Thai restaurant to open in LA in a long time. The tiny strip mall spot only has about four tables to go around, so no matter when you come, expect to share table space with complete strangers. As far as the food goes, stick to the hot bar in the back, where you’ll find the daily soup specials, plus the best Thai sausage we’ve ever eaten. Throw in a sweet and savory khao soi and a spicy papaya salad from the regular menu and you’ve got one of the best meals in Thai Town right now.