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 4/24): Mh Zh, Lasa, Felix, So Long, Hi, Mixed Company, Umeda, and Verlaine.
Don’t look now, but while you were texting your friends about wanting to try Kismet, another modern Mediterranean/Middle Eastern spot opened up on the Eastside and it’s every bit as good as its much-hyped neighbor. Scratch that - it’s better. Mh Zh isn’t big, but the low-key Sunset Junction space is where we’ll want to be every night this summer. You can snag a counter seat by the kitchen, but our move is to head outside to one of the tables along Sunset, take in the neighborhood, and eat some of the most delicious (and beautiful) food we’ve eaten this year. Oh, and it’s BYO until they get their liquor license. Get the cauliflower and lamb ragoooo. Yes, with four o’s.
Just when you thought you had mapped out all the places you still need to try in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, here’s another one to add to your list. Lasa is actually one of Far East’s OG spots - long before Howlin’ Rays and Baohaus appeared, this Filipino restaurant was popping up at Unit 120 on weekends. Now, 120 is no more and Lasa has taken over permanently - a development we’re pretty excited about. If you’ve never eaten Filipino food before, the extremely friendly staff will happily talk you through modern takes on dishes like lumpia, arroz caldo, and inasal skewers (chicken gizzards on sticks), and it’s the kind of place that works equally well on a fun date or with a rowdy group of friends. Make sure you save room for the condensed milk ice cream.
Venice locals have been doing the same Gjelina-Tasting Kitchen-Salt Air rotation on Abbot Kinney for a while now, so unsurprisingly, the entire neighborhood seems to be pretty pumped about Felix opening down the street. But it’s not just busy because people are excited about something new - the Italian food here is actually great. Don’t skip the pork meatballs to start, get a thin and chewy pizza to share, but really, you’re here for the pasta. It’s made fresh every day in a climate-controlled room that is also the centerpiece of the dining room. Yes, this sounds like a gimmick, but then you get to watch your spaghetti being made in front of you, and you wonder why all restaurants can’t be like this. And that’s before the excellent cacio e pepe even lands on your table.
Feeling bored with your DTLA lunch routine these days? So Long, Hi is the fun, laid-back Thai spot of your daytime dreams. Opened by the Sticky Rice guys, So Long, Hi doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside you’ll find a surprisingly massive space (there’s even a hidden poké bar), a great back patio, a cool crowd, and some of the better Thai food you’ll find downtown. It’s also open till midnight on the weekends if you’re bar hopping around and need some Pad Thai nourishment.
This new spot, next door to The Black Cat in Silver Lake, is the kind of place you could spend an entire day. Show up for breakfast and grab a pastry (if you can resist the English muffin breakfast sandwiches) before sitting down at the bar to get work done. Head out to the patio to eat your mushroom toast and have your lunch meeting, and round out the day with pizza for dinner. Mixed Company is laid-back, relaxed, and not trying too hard - more like a Westside all-day spot than an ultra-cool Eastside joint. Silver Lake residents, we’ve found your new hangout.
Despite being opened by a former Nobu chef in a prime new space along Melrose, people don’t really know about Umeda. But that’s about to change. This Japanese/sushi spot is definitely going to set you back a few Benjamins, but with a menu full of interesting dishes (try the daily specials) alongside some old favorites from Nobu, it’s worth the hefty pricetag. And we haven’t even gotten to the space: complete with a river you walk over when you enter, light-wooden walls, and absolutely nothing playing over the sound system, the whole thing feels more like an Swedish spa than a sushi restaurant. And it’s actually awesome. If you’re looking for your next impressive date night idea, Umeda is your spot.
If you’ve ever been around the Beverly/Fairfax/Melrose area, you know there’s no shortage of family-owned kosher restaurants. That said, Fleishik’s feels like a game changer. The Jewish sandwich shop on Beverly (opened by the Mare people) has an interior that’s cool, modern, and set up perfectly for your lunch hour. As for the strictly-kosher food? Fantastic. The Zayde (with salami, housemade pickles, onions, and mustard) is a must, along with a side order of their kugel bites - which we’ll be back for twice a week.
Nearly two years ago, Lodge Bread opened up as a bakery in that random part of west Culver City that nobody realizes is Culver City and became the area’s go-to for bread that didn’t come from Ralph’s. Fast forward to now (and one bulldozed wall later), and Lodge Bread is twice the size and pretty much a full restaurant. And a fantastic one at that. Everything from their salads to their vegetable sandwich to their white pie (easily the best new pizza on the Westside) is outstanding. And now that it’s open from 8am - 10pm every day, you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy it.
Situated behind a well-known Elliott Smith mural on Sunset, Bar Angeles is a fantastic restaurant/bar whose laid-back, neighborhood vibe couldn’t fit more perfectly into Silver Lake. The waitstaff is ridiculously friendly, the cocktails are strong, and that cheeseburger might be our favorite we’ve had this year. This is the kind of place you come to on a Wednesday night with a few friends after you’ve already changed out of your work clothes and certainly aren’t putting anything nice on again.
Walk into DTLA Ramen and you’ll immediately sense things are being done a little differently here. For one, you order and pay with the hostess the minute you walk in. Secondly, the modern space is pretty much one big room with an open kitchen, so you can watch (and smell) your food as it’s being made. As for the ramen itself, it’s different because it’s better than most other places - including in nearby Little Tokyo. You’re going to want the spicy miso ramen with a soy-sauce injected egg, but if you’re not a meat person this week, their vegan ramen is also fantastic. Bonus: They serve free black and green tea for your much-needed midday pick-me-up.
Downtown Culver City has had a rough stretch of restaurant closings, but the addition of BacoShop pretty much wipes that all away. To put it simply, this place got it right. Opened by the Baco Mercat people, this spot in the heart of downtown Culver essentially serves as the fast-casual version of their original DTLA restaurant. Think: All those incredible baco sandwiches (basically a Mediterranean pita taco), now under $10 and created solely for your (Sony) lunch hour. Skipping carbs this week? Don’t worry, any baco can be made into a bowl, too. The chile shrimp baco is our favorite, but don’t leave without getting an order of those hash brown balls.
Holbox is a brand new food stall inside downtown’s Mercado La Paloma (that food hall you’ve always wanted to go to) serving out some absurdly fresh Mexican seafood. The place looks and functions essentially as a raw bar, but their full menu includes everything from ceviche tostadas, to chile rellenos stuffed with yellowtail, to a lobster taco that’s worth getting into your car and driving to. Right now.
Tsubaki quietly opened in the former Kush space in Echo Park, and we’ll tell you right now - this place is big time. There’s plenty of good izakaya in LA, but Tsubaki already feels a grade above the rest. From the trout ceviche to the chicken meatballs to the curry soba noodles, this menu is absolutely stacked and surprisingly affordable as well. Our move is to sit at the bar and strike up a conversation with the fantastic staff who will no doubt tell you about personal trips to Japan and proceed to get you very drunk on shochu. Tsubaki might be pretty new, but our money’s on it being around for a very long time.
Hollywood Blvd. in Los Feliz already had a killer daytime game (see: Homestate and Go Get ’Em Tiger), but things have gotten completely out of hand with the arrival of Kismet. This day-to-night spot is brought you by the teams behind Madcapra and Animal, and has a vegetable-focused, Middle Eastern-inspired menu that’s full of everything we want to eat right now. The broccoli toast will make you forget about avocado toast altogether, and if you don’t order the flaky bread you’ve made a grave mistake. While lunch is our favorite time of day to be in this light-filled spot, dinner involves a rabbit feast for two that shouldn’t be written off. You need to be eating here.
If you thought a speakeasy deli that requires a password to get into was the last thing you needed in your life right now - think again. Tinfoil Liquor & Grocery in Highland Park seems like just a regular corner convenience store until you realize that white door in the back leads to a secret deli serving some absolutely excellent on-the-go sandwiches. Our move is either the roasted turkey or corned beef with a side of their mac salad, all of which are made in-house. So what’s the secret password to get the door to buzz open? We’re not usually ones to give away any surprises, but ask the guy behind the register if they sell birthday candles.
The owners of one of the most criminally overlooked restaurants in the city - Bowery Bungalow - have opened up a new spot at Sunset and Vine, and given Hollywood a dinner spot that actually isn’t a total production to get into. Much like Bowery, Farida’s menu is a modern blend of Middle Eastern, North African, and Mediterranean dishes - all of which are excellent. Think everything from chicken shawarma sandwiches to tahini toast to a baghrir crepe (spongy Moroccan bread). The space is decently sized and extremely colorful, making it a perfect choice for a midweek dinner with friends or a not-predictable first date venue.
At this point, you can walk about two blocks in any direction in LA and find a solid ramen joint. But udon? Not so much. So rejoice, West Hollywood - a brand new little udon shop opened right under our noses on La Cienega, and it’s serving some fantastic thick-noodled soup. The mentai cream with red caviar is our early favorite, but don’t pass up on the traditional broth-based bowls like the niku udon with beef and onions either. The service is quick, the space is quiet and casual, and you just got your new rainy day lunch spot.
Mar Vista is one of those neighborhoods that has a lot of cute houses, but not a whole lot else. So the opening of The Mar Vista has made a lot of Mar Vistans (Mar Vistenos?) very happy. This big, bright space on Venice Boulevard has quickly become a neighborhood hangout, with tables that work for groups, and lots of space to drop in and grab a meal at the bar. The menu seems kind of all over the place as you read it - there’s everything from a fontina bacon crab melt and ceviche, to hot pots and a short rib ragu. But somehow it all works, and it turns out it’s a relief to read a menu on the Westside that doesn’t include the words “brussels sprouts.” Get the mushroom fundido.
Silver Lake just got a brand new casual Chinese spot and it is absolutely excellent. There’s nothing special about the setup here - you order at the register, take a number, and wait for the food to come out. But this is exactly the kind of place every neighborhood in LA should have, but somehow doesn’t. And that’s what makes Fat Dragon special. The spicy wontons, dragon fried rice, and the eggplant are all musts.
There are parts of LA that seem to get all the good restaurants and parts that don’t. La Brea and Wilshire is definitely the latter. Plagued with never-ending subway construction, most LA drivers have detoured around the area for months now, but with the arrival of Commerson, it’s time to start heading back. The seafood-based restaurant has found the perfect balance between being an upscale destination restaurant and a place you can walk into for a quick bite on a Tuesday. The scallop dish and the poke appetizer are our current favorites, but we haven’t eaten anything that’s disappointed.
Is this the fanciest restaurant in Koreatown? Yes, by a mile. The people behind Ktown’s most well-known BBQ spot (Kang Ho Baekjeong) rolled the dice in a big way and opened this massive, upscale restaurant next to a Denny’s on Wilshire. Guess what? It paid off. The Korean-American menu might not be cheap, but everything from the uni rice to the hamachi to the steak tartare is worth it. Also, the cocktail situation is strong (and there’s a separate bar where you don’t have to order food) in case you’re stopping by for a quick drink before a concert at the nearby Wiltern.
Silver Lake’s new locals’ hangout has arrived. Wolfdown is a more formal restaurant from the people behind neighborhood spot Forage - and by more formal we mostly mean you don’t order at the counter here. The old bungalow space on Rowena is beautiful, and has a back patio you’ll be spending half your summer nights on. The menu is definitely eclectic - patatas bravas and Korean fried chicken are both present - but the food itself is tasty and unfussy, and the whole place feels like that one really fun friend’s place you always end up at.
And just like that, one of the more boring stretches of Hollywood got a new all-day spot you need to be very aware of. Located on Highland and Lexington, this neighborhood cantina is serving authentic Baja-style Mexican seafood in a cool, welcoming setting. Think shrimp ceviches, marlin tacos, and some sort of cheese-doused shrimp dish that sounds like a nightmare but is one of the best things we’ve eaten all year.
When one of LA’s great pasta spots (Angelini Osteria) opens up a new restaurant, you pay attention. When you find out it’s a casual all-day cafe, you rejoice. Located directly next to the original restaurant on Beverly, Alimentari is dishing out affordable sandwiches (get the meatball sub), salads, coffee, and Italian gelato for all your mid-afternoon needs. The excellent outdoor patio doesn’t hurt either.
Destroyer is here from the future, to show you what a cafe looks like in 2050. Interiors are as minimal as it gets (bright white walls, the menu projected onto a wall), until you reach the built-in coffee machine that could possibly be launch control for a nuclear arsenal. The biggest surprise though is the food - it looks modern and interesting and tastes delicious. The raw oatmeal sounds like something a righteous vegan would eat, but it’s way better than what a righteous vegan would eat.
Something big is happening, and it’s going down in Frogtown. No, that’s not the name of a section in Disneyland, it’s an actual LA neighborhood, and home to an extremely exciting new spot: Salazar. The massive space is almost entirely outdoors, with a menu featuring everything from a mesquite-grilled trout to carne asada quesadillas - but you’re going to want to go heavy on the tacos, because they’re incredible.