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LA

Guide

The LA Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Los Angeles

Whether you’re looking for takeout, delivery, or outdoor dining, the Hit List is here to help you find a great new spot to support.

23 Spots
Launch Map
23 Spots
Launch Map
Updated March 2nd, 2021

It’s been a tough year for restaurants and bars, but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that LA establishments are resilient and resourceful - they’ve been pivoting, popping up, collaborating, and banding together to support their communities since the shutdown first hit back in March.

Supporting these spots is more important than ever, which is why we’ve brought back The Hit List - our guide to the best new food and drink experiences in LA. We track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. While the Hit List is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have genuinely checked out.

Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself - inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at losangeles@theinfatuation.com

And if you’re interested in The Best Things We Ate This Week, well, we’ve got that, too.

New to the Hit List (2/22): Naemo, Happy Mediums, Thanks Pizza.

THE SPOTS

Naemo

$$$$
$$$$

Open for takeout.

I haven’t had many new experiences in quarantine (unless you count the time I, in a moment in pandemic-related boredom, washed all of my loose change by hand), which is why Naemo feels like such a welcome breath of fresh air. Created by Korean-American restaurant vets, Ki Kim and Arnold Byun (who cut their teeth at big-deal fine dining NYC restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park and Blanca), the Korean flavors are nostalgic and familiar, but everything is prepared with an extravagant twist. Once a month, the two create a unique dosirak meal - sometimes by themselves, other times, with a partner (like February’s Hanchic), to be picked up at a TBD location. Takeout boxes come wrapped in a beautiful, gauze-y cloak. Grilled mackerel rests on charred, smokey confit mushrooms, and raw flounder is dressed in a bright gochujang vinaigrette that leaves a tangy taste on the tongue. It’s an experience that’s new, exciting, and completely novel - like the time we spent an afternoon scrubbing our loose change, but in a good way.

-Kat Hong, Staff Writer

Kat Hong

Open for takeout.

From giant rounds of focaccia studded with rosemary to bacon-wrapped pâté and bright pink beet and cannellini dip - eating a meal from Happy Mediums is like attending a picnic put on by your closest friends. That is, if your friends were, like, really good at cooking. Run by partners Bonnie Hernandez and Shea Montanez, this new, cute pop-up drops a menu of deli-style offerings each week, including plant-based cherry ice cream, butternut squash soup, and grilled achiote chicken thighs covered in a charred pasilla sauce. Although the offerings seem relatively simple - they’re the kinds of shareable, finger foods you’d want spread out on a blanket at the park or on the beach - from the rich, salty pork sugo to a super cauliflower soup that’s heavily scented with dill, everything here is made with extreme care and perfect for almost any occasion. Even if that occasion is just finally finishing The Sopranos on HBO. Let’s talk about that ending? DM me.

-KH

Jakob Layman

Thanks Pizza

$$$$
Pizza  in  Koreatown
$$$$ 450 S. Western Ave #305 FC-1

Open for takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining.

Before I get into my full thoughts about Thanks Pizza, I’d like to shout out @koreatown for bringing this new Ktown pizza shop to my attention. (Michael Pak is a must-follow for all LA humor and food news.) This order-at-the-counter spot in the third-floor food court above California Marketplace isn’t trying to do anything fancy with their pies. While other spots around town are busy perfecting their wood-fired, bubbly-crusted craftsmanship, Thanks’ pizza reminds me of what I devoured as a kid growing up at skate rink birthday parties - affordable, well-built pie with outside-the-box toppings that taste incredible. The garlic chicken pizza is a little spicy with a sweet, pungent kick from the blue cheese, but the mascarpone pizza might be my favorite pizza I’ve eaten all year. Topped with basil pesto, mozzarella, cream cheese, and mascarpone, this pie sent shockwaves of childhood bliss through my body. It’s sweet, tangy, and herbaceous, both nostalgic and novel. Each pizza is available in two sizes, 9 or 12-inch, and everything on the menu falls under $16.

-Brant Cox, Editorial Lead

Lasita

$$$$
$$$$ 727 N. Broadway

Open for takeout only.

In the midst of … ~ gestures towards everything ~ , LASA, the family-run Filipino spot in Chinatown, has pivoted to a new takeout rotisserie concept called Lasita. The streamlined menu focuses primarily on brined meat like pork belly lechon, but after a recent visit, the star of the show was without question the inasal. Lasita’s version of this rotisserie chicken dish is stuffed with lemongrass and garlic, giving it sweet and citrusy notes, with an acidic bite at the end. I would say you don’t even need the garlic vinegar and spicy birds eye salsita that comes on the side, but you actually do - they take the already fragrant flavors of the chicken and crank it up a notch. All that said, do not under any circumstance leave Lasita without one of their turon cream pies in your bag. Filled with banana confit, jackfruit, and brown sugar whip, this is the type of dessert that makes you keep rechecking your refrigerator for leftovers when you know damn well you finished it on the way home.

-BC

Falafel Chee

$$$$ 10817 Venice Blvd

Open for takeout only

Good things come in small packages. It can be said about jewelry, it can be said about the cowboy boot keychain I bought at a Montana airport in 2014, and it can be said about Falafel Chee. This weekend-only lunch stand in Culver City’s West LA International Market is no wider than its owner’s wingspan, and the falafel he fries up are stunners. There are only two options on the menu - platter or pita wrap. I opted for the platter, which came with falafel, homemade hummus, and tahini, as well as mango and tamarind sauces that Iraqi owner Manaf Alsudaney ships in from the Middle East. Unlike Israeli falafel, these Iraqi ones are made from a pure garbanzo mix - without any additional herbs or spices. The outcome is crispy, but fluffy so that they absorb the sauces and maintain their crunch, but are also easy to chew. Next time, I’ll be opting for the pita wrap instead of the platter, so that all of the sauces, pickled turnip, and crunchy falafel can get to know each other even better. Even though you’ll likely end up eating in your car, Falafel Chee deserves a spot on your weekend lunch rotation.

-Arden Shore, Senior Staff Editor

Jakob Layman

Oste

$$$$
$$$$ 8142 W. 3rd Street

Available for outdoor dining and takeout.

There’s a lot of new pizza in LA right now. Like, a lot a lot. And the good news is that most of it is pretty good. That said, if you’re looking for a change of pace from the many wood-fired and Detroit-style shops popping up around town, head to Oste. This new Italian spot in Beverly Grove specializes in pinsa, a Roman-style flatbread that’s unlike anything you can really find in LA. On my most recent takeout order, I ordered the Calabrese with mozzarella and n’duja, the potato and rosemary-topped Patate, and the Viva l’Italia, which comes with pesto, goat cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Each one needs to be on your dinner table by next weekend. I’m not usually a potatoes-on-pizza person, but Oste has made me convert. The thin, round slices give the pie a softer texture with the rosemary providing a much-needed punch of aromatics. Plus, the light, crunchy crust that comes on each one makes it so you can have several pieces of each kind without paying the price later on the couch. It’s important to note that their takeout menu is currently pinsa-only (which is what I did), but if you opt to dine-in on their patio, you’ll find an expanded menu complete with appetizers, pasta, and big plates of meat.

-BC

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Jonathan Chu

Devastated by the overwhelming number of restaurant closures due to the pandemic, Jared Jue and Alice Han teamed up with fellow marketing experts and creatives Jonathon Chu, Andy Lam, and Geng Wang to put their love for LA immigrant food culture into action. And thus, Mama’s Drive-By Kitchen was born. Equal parts charity initiative, restaurant pop-up, and revolutionary delivery platform, this mega-hybrid distributes dish pairings from two separate mom-and-pop restaurants to convenient pick-up points in West LA, Koreatown, and the San Gabriel Valley. Past collaborations have included Boyle Heights shop Las Flautas + Colombian Korean-owned Escala, the legendary Brodard Restaurant paired with Ktown institution, Hwang Hae Do, plus a Gamboge + Medan Kitchen crossover that might just have been LA Senior Editor, Arden Shore’s favorite meal of the year. Presales tend to sell out quickly, so make sure to keep an eye on Mama’s Drive By Kitchen’s Instagram for all the latest updates.

-KH

LA

Guide:

The Best Pop-Ups Of 2020

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Medan Kitchen

$$$$ 8518 Valley Blvd Ste 102

Open for takeout only

Thanks to Mama’s Drive-By Kitchen, I got to try two dishes from Rosemead’s Medan Kitchen without leaving West LA. But now that I’ve gotten a taste of what this new Indonesian spot is cooking up, I plan to get over to the SGV to try more of the menu as soon as possible. Both the nasi bungkus and nasi padang came wrapped in a banana leaf satchel, which insulates the fragrant brick of protein-loaded rice inside. If I had to pick, I’d prioritize the bungkus, with turmeric rice, tender beef rendang, boiled egg, fried chicken, and spicy potato with anchovy and peanuts. The dish is sweet, salty, crunchy, and most importantly, funky, and I don’t understand why any engaged couple in their right mind wouldn’t add this banana leaf-wrapped present to their wedding registry.

-Arden Shore, Senior Staff Editor

Jakob Layman

Yess Aquatic

$$$$ 2001 E 7th St

Open for takeout only.

Yess Aquatic is a new seafood truck in the Arts District that’s a preview for a full restaurant and wine bar that will be debuting in the neighborhood later this year. But there’s no need to wait for the main event. Run by famed London chef Junya Namasaki, the mantra of Yess Aquatic is essentially to serve whatever is fresh from the ocean that day, and that means a constantly changing menu filled with some of the freshest fish you’ll find Downtown. The ridgeback prawn bánh mì is an absolute standout, and after one bite, I was texting every one of my sandwich friends (yes, that’s a category) to haul ass to the orange truck on the corner of Mateo and 7th St. The Nashville-style hot shark sandwich is spicy, meaty, and stands out from the thousands of other Nashville-style dishes you can find around town. But if you want to appreciate the true technique and care that goes into everything at Yess Aquatic, grab one of the plates that comes with a simply sauteed fish and served with a bouillabaisse-style curry.

-BC

Jakob Layman

Shiku

$$$$
$$$$ 317 S. Broadway

Open for takeout and delivery.

Outside of the Christmas On The Square Netflix premiere back in November, there have been very few dates I’ve considered important recently. The opening of Shiku in Grand Central Market is one of them. The new Korean spot comes from the team behind Baroo and Baroo Canteen, two of The Infatuation’s favorite restaurants to open (and close) in LA over the last half-decade. After one meal at Shiku, I’m confident Chef Kwang Uh’s fermentation skills have only continued to improve over the years. Right now, the tight menu focuses mainly on dosirak boxes featuring proteins like galbi and perfectly-marinated maekjuk chicken, but no meal here is complete without raiding the daily banchan case. From the spicy musaengchae to the refreshing mu namal (braised radish with perilla dressing), these are among the most complex banchan I’ve ever eaten in LA - or anywhere in the world for that matter. Lines and wait times are pretty high at the moment, so just stay patient and daydream about the incredible meal that awaits you.

-BC

La Sorted's Pizzeria

La Sorted's Pizzeria

$$$$
$$$$ 7953 Santa Monica Blvd.

Open for takeout and outdoor dining.

LaSorted’s Pizza is one of several vendors taking part in the Summer Social Club, an outdoor dining series hosted by Employees Only. You can find everything from Filipino rice bowls to table plants here throughout the week, but the absolute star is LaSorted’s. Named after the legendary Dodgers manager (R.I.P.), this tiny pop-up is cranking out tremendous wood-fired pizza with chewy, bubbly crust and toppings that range from burrata to artichoke pesto. There isn’t a bad pizza on the menu, but the pepperoni and honey-topped “Spicy, But Oh, So Sweet Boy” should be a priority.

-BC

Katrina Fredericks

Fellow Traveler

$$$$
$$$$ 631 N La Cienega Blvd

Open for takeout & delivery.

Anyone who lives near West Hollywood and drinks natural wine (see: me) knows you generally have to leave the neighborhood to buy it. The opening of Fellow Traveler in November changed that in a big way. Run by sommelier Rick Arlene (formerly of Auburn), the wines at Fellow Traveler are fresh, funky, and, frankly, unlike anything you can get for miles. That said, the food might be even better. On paper, Fellow Traveler’s menu reads mostly like snacks you’d eat while drinking wine (and to be sure, that is the goal here), but the fact is, this is food worthy of its own order. The charcuterie board is balanced and interesting, I could drink the truffle porcini dip from a Yeti, and the smoked paprika aioli burger is easily one of the best new burgers in town.

-BC

Josh Telles

Adrift Burger Bar

$$$$
Burgers  in  Venice
$$$$ 1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Open for takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining.

It’s the Return of the (Burger) King: New to Abbot Kinney is Adrift, the brainchild of David Myers, formerly of LA’s Comme Ça (the now-closed home of a burger once declared “perfect” by The New York Times). And it’s a fitting addition to his legacy. There are only three burgers on the menu, which is a good thing, because you should definitely order them all. The 1940s Classic is an old-school option, with appropriately old-school toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickles, etc), while the DM (with aged Vermont cheddar and “secret sauce”) and the Adrift (kicked up with tomato-and-Indian-ajowan jam, pickled jalapeños, and a pair of cheeses) push things forward, and though the latter was my favorite, they’re all worth your time. Throw in amazing shakes, curry leaf fries, and must-order fried button mushrooms, and you’ve got a spot so good, it’ll leave you bowing in reverence.

- James Montgomery, LA Editor

Jakob Layman

Holy Basil

$$$$
Thai  in  Downtown LA
$$$$ 718 S Los Angeles St.

Open for takeout & delivery.

I’m not going to mince words - Holy Basil is making the most exciting Thai food in LA. Located in a Downtown food court, the menu is in stark contrast to Yum, the tremendous dinner series chef Deau hosts every month in the same location (it’s also on our Hit List, btw). Where Yum’s menu highlights Bangkok-style street food such as raw blue crab and fermented branzino, Holy Basil’s menu is filled with pad Thai, green curry, and tom yum soup. These are dishes I’ve eaten a thousand times, and yet, at Holy Basil, it’s like I’m eating them all for the first time ever. The tom yum soup, in particular, is the best I’ve had. So come hungry and order as much as you possibly can - there’s not a single weak spot on the menu.

- BC

Today Starts Here

$$$$
$$$$ 935 Mei Ling Way

Open for takeout & delivery.

Today Starts Here is a new spot in Chinatown, and there may not be a more aptly-named restaurant in town. Because every day should start here. My favorite thing at this Taiwanese breakfast operation (from the people behind Joy) is the dan bing, an excellent layered crepe that is rolled with scrambled eggs, corn, and scallions. I also love the mushroom-heavy daikon rice cakes, and the savory soy milk, a porridge made from their house-made soy milk, with pork floss, preserved vegetables, and youtiao (deep-fried dough). They’ve also got a great selection of teas - we recommend the Dong Ding, a roasty, toasty oolong from Nantou County in Taiwan.

- Brett Keating, Staff Writer

Chifa

$$$$
$$$$ 4374 Eagle Rock Blvd

Available for outdoor dining, delivery, and pick-up.

Chifa is a Cantonese-Peruvian restaurant in Eagle Rock and the kind of place that, in the midst of our 100th lockdown, is a much-needed breath of fresh air. The menu is inspired by the owner’s original Chifa restaurant in Lima, Peru, and features dishes like pollo ala brasa, mapo tofu, and traditional zongzi, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf and filled with Chinese sausage, pork belly, and mushroom. I particularly loved the spicy beef noodle soup and si yao chicken, but whatever you do, make sure you save room for a few black sesame cheesecake tarts at the end - they’re excellent.

-BC

Brett Keating

Walking Spanish

$$$$
$$$$ W. Mission St.

Open for takeout every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

I know why this pop-up shares its name with a Tom Waits song about a death row inmate’s last meal - I can die happy after eating here. René Alesandro Coreas, who also cooks at Petit Trois, began selling his innovative Salvadoran food out of an apartment complex in Alhambra early in the fall. His pupusas are pillow-soft and very good - my favorites are the smoked chicken with nopal and the revuelta (chicharrón and cheese). The fried chicken sandwich here is also a game-changer - inspired by pan con pollo, this hunk of fried dark meat is served on brioche with tons of curtido (vinegar-heavy slaw), cucumbers, and tomato, and is an absolutely gorgeous mess. DM to order.

- BK

Jakob Layman

Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Company

$$$$
$$$$ 2706 E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue

Available for takeout & delivery.

I absolutely love the wood-fired pizzas coming out of Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. in Boyle Heights. The pies are probably closest to Neapolitan-style, with blistered, perfectly chewy crusts, and while you can certainly get a traditional margherita, chef Mario Christerna (a Boyle Heights native himself) has added items to reflect and honor the surrounding neighborhood. Think fries topped with beef chorizo and queso fresco, elote Old Fashioneds (they have a full list of to-go cocktails, beer, and wine), and a mole pizza I’ve eaten twice this week. If good pizza and booze isn’t enough of a selling point for you, Brooklyn Ave. also does extensive charity work, working closely with the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory and C-Cap a nonprofit that empowers underserved youth through the culinary arts.

-BC

Go Go Bird

$$$$
$$$$ 1550 N EL CENTRO AVE

Open for takeout & delivery.

There’s a lot of new fried chicken in town, but the spot I’ve been most impressed with recently is Go Go Bird, a Hollywood pop-up run by Brandon Kida, the chef at Hinoki + The Bird. The chicken really is the star of the show here - it’s brined in white soy, paprika, and a spice blend involving kombu, shiitake, and bonito powder - then fried in Szechuan chili oil (which you should also order a jar of on the side). This bird is taken to a new level with both hot and numbing spices, and it’s extremely umami-forward. As far as sides, the mashed potatoes and curry gravy and the fries doused with furikake are both winners, and the cheddar biscuits with honey miso butter are absolutely tremendous. I highly recommend this place go(go)ing straight to the top of your personal takeout hit list.

- BK

Ditroit Facebook

Ditroit

$$$$
$$$$ 2117 Violet St

Open for takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining.

This takeout-only taco spot, run by the team behind the excellent, high-end Mexican restaurant Damian, wasn’t supposed to open yet. But when Damian - which only offered patio dining - was forced to temporarily close due to LA County’s outdoor-dining ban, it quickly became Ditroit’s time to shine. Got it? Good. Let’s talk about those tacos - and everything else on the excellent menu. The suadero tacos, with brisket and top round beef, crisped and topped with raw onions, are my favorite so far, but the esquites with chicatana (ant) mayonnaise, and the meaty, moist swordfish flautas are also great. They also have a market of salsas and moles, and desserts like Oaxacan fudge paletas, too.

- BK

L Fish

$$$$
TacosMexican  in  East LA
$$$$ 4153 Whittier Blvd

Open for takeout.

Whenever I drive to Ensenada - which, before the pandemic hit, was approximately once every four months - my first stop is always Tacos Fenix, an incredible fish and shrimp taco stand that popularized the now-ubiquitous Baja-style taco. And L Fish, a new-ish (they recently reopened after a two-year absence) taco stand in East LA, uses the exact recipe as Tacos Fenix. Like the original, there are two options - fish and shrimp. I slightly prefer the latter over the former, but in both I was deeply impressed with the remarkably herb-y batter, which gives the taco a deep, bread-y crunch. They’re served undressed on a corn tortilla, with plenty of topping options - I go for finely chopped cabbage, pico de gallo, cilantro crema, and habañero salsa, with a heavy hit of lime.

- BK

Courage Bagels

Courage Bagels

$$$$
$$$$ 777 N. Virgil Ave

Open for takeout.

Gather ’round, boys and girls, because Courage Bagels is teaching a MasterClass® in opening a restaurant in Los Angeles. First off, the menu: As you approach their storefront in Virgil Village, you’ll immediately notice that their menus are translated in both English and Spanish - which is especially important, considering their location in a historically Central American neighborhood with a large Latinx population. Second, the bagels: They’re Montreal-style - slightly smaller, thinner, and sweeter than the New York-style bagels found at places like Maury’s, Brooklyn Bagels, and Hank’s. Toppings include thick, hand-sliced smoked salmon paired with cream cheese, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, dill, pepper, and drizzles of olive oil - which makes for a thoroughly well-seasoned bagel you might not be used to. The pan dulce on the menu is quite good as well, including pastries like the traditional and sweet concha, or slightly tart empanadas de pina. Oh, and they also carry some of the best merch in town. Like I said earlier, MasterClass®.

-KH

Jakob Layman

Angry Egret Dinette

$$$$
$$$$ 970 N Broadway Ste 114

Open for takeout and outdoor dining.

The sandwiches being sold out of the window at Angry Egret in Chinatown are some of the most interesting tortas in LA. The Torta Au Pied De Cochon involves pork shoulder rolled in a deboned pig’s foot, served with habañero mustard - the ground pork patty is salty and tender, with just a bit of gaminess. There’s also a (slightly) more traditional brisket sandwich, with avocado, queso fresco, and horseradish cream. No matter which torta you pick, be sure to add in a machaca flauta, a heavily spiced beef flauta topped with very spicy red and green salsas. The operation was started by Wes Avila, who founded Guerrilla Tacos, the food-car-turned-truck-turned-big-deal Arts District restaurant. In some ways, Angry Egret reminds me of the early(ish) days of Guerrilla, when they were a truck outside of Silverlake Wines - innovative, fun, and sort of throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. And when you’re a chef as talented as Avila, the answer is: a lot.

- BK

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