LAGuide

LA’s New Restaurant Openings

All the LA restaurant openings you should know about.
Origin Korean BBQ Galbi Jjim

photo credit: Emily Ferreti

If you tried to keep track of every new restaurant and bar in LA, your head might spin. So just read this list instead. These are the openings that seem like they have the most potential. Although, keep in mind, we make no promises about the places we haven't visited yet. Go forth and be a pioneer—or just keep up with our Hit List to see which new restaurants we checked out and loved.

FEBRUARY

photo credit: Emily Ferreti

Origin Korean BBQ interior

Origin Korean BBQ

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Origin is from the same people behind Quarters, and we’re crossing our fingers that wait times will be shorter at their new spot (at least for a while). The retro-themed restaurant lets you order meats a la carte or as part of set menus, which go from $90 (feeds two) to $235 (feeds six). Expect the usual offerings like brisket and galbi, plus less common finds, like marinated short rib patties.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Pez Coastal Kitchen spread

Pez Coastal Kitchen

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Pez Coastal Kitchen is the more upscale, more seafood-forward sibling of Downtown’s Pez Cantina. The menu at this Old Town Pasadena restaurant is less heavy on Baja-style mariscos and leans Mediterranean, with a whole fried fish served in a piccata sauce, spaghetti alla chitarra tossed with manila clams, and bistro-y black mussels a la bouillabaisse. 

Pam’s Coffy

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Tarantino fans, movie nerds, or just anyone in Los Feliz who needs a coffee will enjoy this funky ‘70s-themed cafe. Pam’s Coffy is attached to the recently renovated Vista Theater (owned by Mr. Tarantino himself) and dedicated to the 1973 film Coffy (if the branded mugs didn’t give it away). You can drink a butterscotch cafe au lait out of a bright yellow diner mug, eat a $5 bowl of cereal, or sneak into the secluded movie nook to watch an old film.

For those who find art galleries a tad snoozy, here’s an excuse to go to one. Union is a modern Filipino restaurant inside the Compound creative space in Long Beach, and the menu is—wait for it—a union of many influences. There’s cassava patatas bravas, fried chicken bao buns, and pancit tossed in butter and black garlic.

photo credit: Tsujita

Tsujita Tsukemen

Tsujita Artisan Noodles

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This popular tsukemen spot on Sawtelle in West LA—synonymous with long lines and intense pork broth—now has a new location in the Arts District. Apart from Tsujita’s signature dip noodles with slices of char siu, the casual Japanese spot does ramen and fancy rice bowls adorned with thighs like pork belly, salmon roe, and runny eggs. 

photo credit: Kavahana

Matcha Kavahana

Kavahana

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Kavahana is a Smorgasburg vendor with a new brick-and-mortar in Santa Monica—arguably the perfect part of town for their concept. This bright green cafe whisks kava nectar, a frothy root drink that’s been consumed in Hawaii and the South Pacific for centuries and will reportedly help you chill out. You can order your nectar neat or mix it with matcha, ube, and fresh coconut water. 

photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee

33 Taps Interior

33 Taps

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33 Taps is one of our favorite sports bars in Los Angeles, and now, conveniently, there’s a new location just across the street from Crypto Arena in DTLA. It’s the biggest one so far, with fifty TVs and a three-sided jumbotron (in case the fifty TVs weren’t enough screens). Oh, there’s also a separate arcade room with pinball if you don’t care about the game. 

Fast-casual tahdig is something we can get behind. Kuku Cafe in Inglewood does just that, plus other Persian and Middle Eastern dishes like braised lamb shank on dill rice, falafel, and shawarma wraps. Their golden, chicken-filled tahdig comes as a perfect portion for one, seasoned with cinnamon and rosewater. Kuku is a walk-up window, so feel free to grab a Persian lunch to-go or enjoy it on their outside patio.

Roasted Duck By Pa Ord

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Thai Town’s Pa Ord has a spin-off concept called Roasted Duck by Pa Ord. (Can you guess what they sell?) This strip mall poultry shop on Hollywood Blvd. is a short walk away from the original Pa Ord and lets you enjoy duck in many ways: sliced and turned into a spicy salad, served over rice, or tossed with noodles. Or you can get a duck set for one to three people with a side of rice or egg noodles. Cash only.

photo credit: Shor

Shor spread

Shor

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Shor is a flashy new restaurant in Hawaiian Gardens with an upscale Indian–Pakistani-Afghan menu. Expect stylized versions of classics, like dahi puri, Afghan mantu in spiced yogurt sauce, and rolled dosa the size of your forearm. Shor is a halal restaurant, so it’s booze-free, but you can explore the exotic water menu, which features a $1000 bottle of rare Japanese H20.

If Liberace opened up a Miami Vice-themed lounge, it would probably look like Flamingo Bar. This very pink, very campy queer bar in the Arts District is complete with a disco ball, white tiger statue, and pink neon checkered tiles everywhere. If you’re looking for a dance, drink, and disco soundtrack in the area, look no further. 

photo credit: Bravo Toast

Bravo Toast avocado toast

Bravo Toast

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A cafe that specializes in avocado toast sounds like a skit out of The Californians, but Bravo Toast has loyal followers to back it up. This Weho spot has a new cafe space in Silver Lake with busy drinks like strawberry matcha and maple macadamia lattes. The food menu is where the excitement is, though, with a pancetta and egg scramble on toast and the green goddess avo with burrata.

This Koreatown spot specializes in yubuchobap—vinegared rice, meat, and seafood stuffed into fried bean curd pockets, which makes for a very portable lunch. Kingyubu fills its yubu pouches with things like tuna mayo, bulgogi, and eel—most cost around $6. There’s fusion-style sushi like caterpillar and rainbow rolls on the menu, too, if that’s your jam.

photo credit: Chris Mortenson

B & T Deli Old Sport

B & T Deli

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B & T Deli is so Santa Monica, but in a good way. This plant-based sandwich shop on Montana sources its ingredients from farmers market and turns them into very attractive subs, like the Wanda with roasted eggplant, horseradish aioli, and spicy calabrian chilis. You can build your own sandwich, too, and tack on one of their “scrumptious sides,” including celery root salad or tabouli.

Mamie is an Italian daytime counter spot in West Hollywood that bakes bread and pizza. If Panera tastes like cardboard to you, you can get your salad-sandwich fix here with prosciutto and fig jam paninis and arugula-tuna salads dressed in a dijon vinaigrette. Roman-style pizzas are also up for grabs. 

There’s a new fish fry in town called Hushpuppies and we’d like to get to know them. This Southern counter spot in Downtown serves hushpuppies (duh), as well as catfish, jumbo shrimp, and salmon nuggets. Sides include things like braised collard greens, parmesan truffle fries, and macaroni salad. 

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

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Afuri Ramen

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The Culver Steps looks like every other “mixed-use development” in the neighborhood, but we like its growing number of food options, including Afuri Ramen. We're fans of this Tokyo-based ramen chain (the original location is in the Arts District), especially for its light, acidic yuzu shio broth. Afuri also does a bunch of other things well, like crispy gyoza and spicy karaage.

Koreatown’s Sabores Oaxaqueños is one of the best Oaxacan restaurants in LA, and it now has a second location in Melrose Hill. For our emotional stability’s sake, we hope the parking situation is a lot better, but what you can certainly expect are Mexican breakfasts and Oaxacan staples like tlayudas mixtas, soft memelas, and whatever type of mole you’re feeling today.

Nice & Sweet is a short and sweet name for a bakery. Located in Hollywood, this bright and sunny shop offers a revolving menu of cakes, breads, and pastries, such as raspberry lemonade bars, coffee eclairs, and fresh baguettes they use for sandwiches. (We’re still waiting to see a sandwich menu.)

photo credit: Ashley Randall

Mideast Tacos quesadillas

Mideast Tacos

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The kabob wizards behind Mini Kabob now have a Mexican fusion restaurant in Silver Lake called Mideast Tacos. Located on Sunset, this fast-casual spot grills Armenian-style beef, chicken, and shrimp shish kabobs, which get stuffed into tacos, quesadillas, and hefty burritos. A lot is going on in these tacos, like the chicken option with sumac, thai basil, and creamy toum arból sauce. There’s also a falafel taco for the plant-based eaters out there. 

photo credit: Katherine Leon

Baby Battista interior

Baby Battista

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Nico’s is one of those cool, minimalist wine shops that looks like an art gallery, but this Atwater Village spot also has something else going on—a basement wine bar. Called Baby Battista, the dark bar pours natural wines, spritzes, and a short list of beers. Expect small plates and snacks, too, including Bub & Grandma’s baguettes with yuzu butter, tinned fish with a side of Ruffles, and a build-your-own charcuterie menu.

photo credit: Henry D. Nguyen

Nam Iced Coffee

Nam Coffee Shop

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For the coffee nerds reading this: Nam Coffee started as an Orange County-based roaster selling Vietnamese robusta beans. For those who just care about caffeine: They now have an East Hollywood cafe serving traditional Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, plus fun-sounding drinks like coconut ube lattes and salted cream iced tea.

photo credit: John Troxell

Zozo at Maison Midi Interior

Zozo at Maison Midi

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Zozo is a restaurant inside a furniture store (really). This Mid-City spot looks like a Parisian cafe sprouted up in the linens section of a Crate & Barrel, and it’s serving a one-of-a-kind menu with Mexican, French, and Native American influences. You can peruse fancy tablecloths from your seat and eat escargot with iberico jam, turkey meatballs in a red chile pepita sauce, and maize cakes topped with fish roe.

photo credit: Bitbokki

Bitbokki spread

Bitbokki

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To those who understand and/or care about cryptocurrency, this one’s for you. Bitbokki is a clubby pocha in Koreatown where you can earn Bitcoin while you eat. On orders of $100 or more, you earn 10% of the total bill in cryptocurrency, which is cool, we guess? We’re more interested in the food, though, which includes forearm-length Korean omelets, army stew, and many tteokbokki options.

photo credit: BBQ + Rice

BBQ + Rice Silver Lake Braised Galbi Bowl

BBQ + Rice

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We’re sad Silver Lake’s Needle is gone, but at least we like its replacement. BBQ + Rice is opening its fourth location in Sunset Junction, where you’ll find Korean fried chicken and rice bowls with bulgogi, spicy pork, galbi, and an optional fried egg. All of the bowls run between $11-12, so it could be a quick, affordable lunch option in the area.

Cardinale du Vin is going for the whole Euro bar-cafe thing, so you can “start with coffee, stay for wine” and maybe get a little work done on your laptop in between. Ooh la la. This minimalist, gray space in Pico-Robertson has an L-shaped bar to order French wines, oyster platters, and jambon beurre sandwiches.

photo credit: Chris Olsefsky

Suber Rad Sub Shops Subs

Super Rad Sub Shop

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Operating out of The Naughty Pig in Weho, Super Rad Sub Shop is a sandwich shop inspired by the bodegas and delis of Queens, New York. Mornings at this pop-up entail classic BECs and the Mini-Mart Special with housemade chorizo, cheese, and fried egg in a sesame bun. The lunch menu looks great, too, with a chopped cheese (naturally), chicken parm sandwich, and the cold cut-stuffed Greco sub.

JANUARY

photo credit: Stan Lee

Holy Basil's Moo Krob Pork Belly

Holy Basil

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Holy Basil took longer to open its second location than it takes most HBO shows to drop a second season, but alas, the wait is over. This Thai spot (which we love very much) has a spacious new location in Atwater Village where you can order tom yum prawn hot pot, Dungeness crab curry, and, on the weekends, a Thai-American breakfast set with eggs, toast, and Chinese sausage. 

Poke & More is a Hawaiian-Filipino spot in Long Beach that now has a second location in Lomita. As the name suggests, this strip mall spot’s menu offers much more than proper island-style poke bowls (which are quite good), like spam and beef moco loco, soy-glazed galbi, and tuna sisig.

photo credit: Thai-Mex Cocina

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Thai-Mex Cocina

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The Westfield Century City Mall has a new food option called Thai-Mex Cocina. Originally a food truck, this spot does offer both Mexican and Thai staples, like pad thai and quesadillas, but that’s the most unremarkable thing about this place. It’s the fusion-y stuff we’re interested in, like the soy-garlic shrimp burrito and chicken satay tacos with a big glob of peanut sauce on top.

photo credit: Robiee Ziegler

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Mars

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Mars is a hidden cocktail bar behind Hollywood’s Mother Wolf that’s red and mysterious like the planet. If the fancy $20 cocktails here—like the Belluci with mezcal, basil, and strawberry–black pepper syrup—aren’t enough of a splurge, Mars also gives you the option to purchase a “membership” for a measly $5,000 per year, which includes access to a private locker and the bar’s collection of rare spirits.

photo credit: Jilli

Jilli spread of food

Jilli

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Before we could finish saying our goodbyes to Kinn, a new spot has already taken its place in Koreatown (life’s like that sometimes). Meet Jilli, a Korean pub from the Chimmelier folks. Along with soju, beer, and makgeolli, expect natural wines and food options to soak up what you’re drinking. The menu is a mix of traditional dishes like chicken nurungji and fried tteokboki, plus fun riffs like rigatoni alla kimchi vodka.

photo credit: Prince Dumpling

Xiao Long Bao

Prince Dumpling

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Prince Dumpling in Rosemead has the charm of a generic hotel conference room, but that’s not where we’re focusing our attention. That would be the glass-enclosed kitchen where the kitchen staff makes everything on the long dumpling menu. Much like a certain famous dumpling restaurant (DTF), xiao long bao are the specialty here, which come filled with options like crab, lobster, and even cured serrano ham.

photo credit: @jdirector_ / @adcid.media

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Cafe Upper

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Caffeine is the only upper our legal team will let us talk about on this site, and you’ll find plenty of it at this new Koreatown shop. Cafe Upper is a big, industrial-looking cafe with cement walls, chrome tables, and a very long menu. This place goes bananas with drink flavors—matcha einspanners, lavender lattes, cookies and cream frappuccinos, and tomato basil tonics— plus there’s food like waffles, bagels, and apricot honey cakes.

photo credit: Kinrose Creamery

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Kinrose Creamery

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This Smorgasburg ice cream vendor now has a scoop shop in Old Town Pasadena. Kinrose Creamery specializes in Persian and Egyptian-inspired flavors, like flaky kanafeh, saffron-pistachio-rose, and sour cherry with a tiny cloud of Iranian cotton candy. They also plan to roll out our limited-time flavors for holidays like Ramadan and Nowruz.

Omakase Sakurako is a new omakase option in Little Tokyo from the same chef as Sushi Enya. This nine-seat bar (with more seating planned soon) offers a $250 per person menu that starts with a very fancy tableau appetizer of wagyu with egg yolk sauce, deep-fried crab, and pickled dry squid. The nigiri menu is seasonal, and the desserts, in particular, look incredible, including a honey kumquat mousse. 

photo credit: Simon Tchoukriel

Cipriani dining table

Cipriani Beverly Hills

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Cipriani: a nearly 100-year-old New York institution, celebrity favorite, and the supposed birthplace of carpaccio and the bellini. It also has multiple locations around the world, including the newest one in Beverly Hills. Located in the former Madeo Space, this massive Italian spot (complete with a jazz cafe) looks like a luxury cruise ship from the turn of the century. On the menu? Dishes like baked tagliolini, creamy baccala mantecado, and risotto primavera.

photo credit: Stan Lee

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The Arroyo Club

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Highland Park has a new bar in the old Cafe Birdie called The Arroyo Club, and it’s on the dark and moody side. This low-lit bar has exposed rafters, foliage dangling from the ceiling, and an illuminated bar pouring interesting cocktails. There’s the Midnight Kiss with rice-washed tequila, chocolate, and cold brew, and if you order the bourbon-spiked Tío Mio, your money goes to support historically Black colleges and universities.

photo credit: boh agency

Naughty Pie Nature Pizza

Naughty Pie Nature

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This Echo Park pop-up-turned-pizzeria is a Neapolitan-style specialist open from 4-10pm. Say its name three times fast, and maybe you’ll catch the 90s hip-hop reference. The “Original Pepperoni Pie” (O.P.P., get it?) comes with basil and optional jalapeños, or you can opt for the Hot-N-Cheesy with four cheeses and hot honey. There’s banana pudding for dessert, too.

photo credit: Norma

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Norma

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Norma is an art deco restaurant and bar that, according to them, aims to be “West Hollywood’s living room.” The sceney vibe and DJ booth don’t necessarily scream homey, but maybe it can be your temporary home on a Saturday night. Norma is currently serving dinner and Sunday brunch with a menu that’s a little all over the place. There’s everything from flatbreads to lamb meatballs to fried chicken with hot honey. 

photo credit: Rosella Pisano

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L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

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The newest location of Hollywood’s L’Antica takes up an 8,000-square-foot “Italian village” in Long Beach, where you can dine al fresco and eat their famous Neapolitan pies, which are some of the best in town. There’s also the first-ever Antico Cafe, where you can sip espresso in a courtyard with a pastry and breakfast sandwich.

photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee

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Lustig

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Here’s a cuisine you don’t hear much about in LA: Austrian. Located inside Culver City’s Helms Bakery building, Lustig is an industrial-looking space full of sharp lines and red, blue, and yellow accents (in case you forgot your primary colors). The menu is a modern approach to Alpine cuisine, which you might want during a chilly LA winter: Swiss raclette with potato confit, roasted beets with vanilla goat cheese, and a big ol’ wienerschnitzel.

photo credit: Stan Lee

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Stay

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"Dry January” is in full swing and zero-proof cocktails are very in. The latest non-alcoholic bar on the scene is Stay, a dark mocktail lounge inside Chinatown’s neon-lit Central Plaza that looks like stepping into a Wong Kar-wai film. A lot is going on in every drink, from an espresso “martini” with aquafaba and brown sugar brulee to The Dragon, which reads like a chili-infused green juice.

Miirch Social is a casual Indian spot in DTLA near L.A. Live where you can drink masala chai-infused cocktails and snack on tandoori chicken wings. Or you can order a full dinner because the menu covers a lot of ground. There’s a traditional section with staples like saag paneer and lamb biryani, as well as bar food items like kheema pav sliders and a chicken tikka pizza topped with cilantro-serrano sauce. 

photo credit: Ben Gibbs

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Salt & Pearl

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Anyone in Redondo Beach in need of a fancy cocktail and shellfish should head to Salt & Pearl. This Art Deco spot in the Riviera Village serves classic raw bar dishes like New England chowder and lobster rolls, plus some elaborate crudo: Peruvian scallops, littleneck clams with pear mignonette, and hamachi sashimi with a Thai chili situation.

photo credit: Prima Donna

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Prima Donna

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Taking over the old Etta space in Culver City is Prima Donna, a new Sicilian restaurant with an emphasis on pizza. The wood-fired pies come topped with bold-flavored things that make your breath equally bold, like anchovies, garlic crema, and linguiça (there’s also your standard margherita). Expect vegetable dishes, pasta, and big meat entrees, too. 

photo credit: Cristina Lee

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Slurp & Sip

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This Koreatown spot is LA’s first self-service ramen bar. That means you walk in, pick out a packet of instant noodles on the shelves, pour hot water on them, and add whatever toppings you like. Then, you slurp, sip, and carry on with your life. We do wish, however, that it was open later than 6pm.

photo credit: Flouring

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Flouring

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This popular cake pop-up now has a brick-and-mortar in Chinatown that’s single-handedly keeping the edible flower industry alive. That’s a joke, but these floral-studded cakes (available whole or by the slice) are seriously beautiful. There are also plenty of other sweets for sale, including pavlovas, cookies, and meringue-topped brownies.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

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Chiguacle

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Chiguacle, a Yucatecan spot from the San Fernando Valley that makes very good cochinita pibil, has a new location in Silver Lake. Like its predecessors, this Mexican restaurant is a great option for a mezcal cocktail and a delicious meal featuring grilled octopus, slow-cooked lamb, and handmade tortillas.

photo credit: Annie Lesser

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Dtown Pizzeria

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For years, Dtown was a popular Weho pop-up with excellent Detroit-style pan pizzas, then it disappeared. (Well, kind of disappeared. It opened a counter inside Topanga Social last year.) Dtown is finally back in Weho, though, with a proper brick-and-mortar. Expect a menu of crisp-edged square pies, like the Goomba Pepperoni and The 1946 with stripes of marinara on top.

Chulita has a new location in West Adams, and, yes, it falls into the Tulum-inspired genre. (Expect wicker lamps and sexy lighting.) Like the original Venice restaurant, this is a snacky bite and cocktail type of spot, with things like fish tacos, sweet potato taquitos, and hamachi ceviche on the menu. The cocktails are what speak to us the most (the ones at the Venice location are quite good), including the cucumber margarita with jalapeño-infused tequila. 

photo credit: Modern Bread & Bagel

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Modern Bread & Bagel

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Modern Bread & Bagel makes gluten-free treats, but you don’t have to be dough-intolerant to like this place. Originally from New York, Modern opened a Woodland Hills location last year before opening their latest shop in Santa Monica. We’re into their pastrami-crusted lox sandwiches with chive smear, as well as a moist cinnamon bun topped with cream cheese frosting. Coffee drinks, salads, and breakfast sandwiches are also up for grabs.

Christina Millian brought us the 2004 smash hit “Dip It Low” and now she’s dropping a dessert shop: Beignet Box. Originally a food truck, this fried pastry spot has a new home at Topanga Village. The menu is short and sweet (pun intended), with traditional NOLA-style beignets dusted in powdered sugar, smaller beignet bites, and a beignet sundae with two scoops of ice cream. 

photo credit: Betsy Martinez

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Fan Girl Cafe

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Fan Girl Cafe is a woman-owned, queer-owned, very-hot-pink coffee shop in West Hollywood that looks like a lot of fun. There’s a disco ball, pink tile floors, and karaoke nights for those with a burning desire to belt in front of strangers. There are standard espresso drinks, too, plus a few food options like fruit bowls and molletes.

DECEMBER

photo credit: The Win-Dow

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The Win-Dow

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The Win-Dow makes some of LA’s best burgers, and a single costs less than $5, so what's not to love? This fast-casual spot now has a new location in Long Beach’s Belmont Shore. Expect the usual hits, including their fried chicken sandwich, veggie burger, and, like the Silver Lake location, a full ice cream menu featuring shakes and dipped cones. 

photo credit: Brooke Olsen

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Crawford's Social

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To go with the “social” theme, every dish at this massive Westlake Village spot is shareable: sliders, sweet chili chicken wings, and Roman-style pizzas with soppressata. Still, cocktails are the main thing here. The specialty is the house margarita with pineapple and habanero, but other drinks that jump out are the London Made with gin, mint, and lime, and Cherry Paloma, which sounds like a tequila-spiked Shirley Temple. 

Joe’s Pizza is proof that regardless of how good pizza in LA is, people still love a New York-style slice. This NYC-inspired, LA-based chain opened its seventh location in Studio City, where you can get a foldable slice of pepperoni, a whole pie, and even a chicken parm cutlet stuffed into a hero. 

Yakiya is a modern Japanese BBQ spot in Pasadena (with another location in Hacienda Heights) that only offers tasting menus. The full experience costs $128 per person ($28 for kids) and includes courses like thinly sliced beef tongue, bluefin tuna tartlets topped with caviar, and bone marrow scooped onto kimchi fried rice.

photo credit: 111 Agency

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Amour

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Located in the old Dominick’s space in Weho, Amour is a French bistro with enough old-timey touches to make you feel like you’ve entered a wormhole and landed in the 1920s. There’s a warm glow from vintage lampshades, ornate wallpapers, and tall candles on white tablecloths. The menu is mostly French with some Japanese touches—gingery tartare de boeuf, crab-filled chawanmushi, and steak au poivre. 

This Beverly Hills spot is from the same people as Niku X, the upscale Japanese yakiniku restaurant in DTLA. Rather than wagyu beef sets with smoke effects, the specialty here is simple Japanese curry and tonkatsu. Besides the classic pork cutlet, there’s also chicken and mushroom options, plus a burger with lots of caramelized onions and curry aioli.

photo credit: Henry Tang

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Luka

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The folks behind popular daytime spot Bakers & Baristas now have Luka in Artesia, a nighttime option for wine and small plates. As with many small plate restaurants these days, they've things like marinated olives, crudos, natural wines, etc. There are also more substantial dishes, like a 20-ounce bone-in ribeye, a whole branzino with red harissa, and something called the “potato situation” with creme fraiche and chives.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

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Little Fish

Little Fish has evolved from weekly pop-ups to sold-out fish frys to a full-fledged restaurant—swim on, little one, you’re doing just fine. Located in Echo Park, their new casual spot serves a mix of fishy and non-fishy things, including cured trout tartines on rye, mushroom congee, and broccoli rabe melts with spicy provolone. And yes, the famous fish sandwich is on the menu. 

The chef behind Macheen has a new sandwich counter in Paramount called Birote Deli. It took roughly 0.5 seconds for their tortas to grab our attention. There’s a chicharron banh mi, a Oaxacan pastrami sandwich with quesillo and honey chipotle slaw, and crispy mushroom chorizo with caramelized onions and swiss. 

photo credit: Sweet Maple

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Sweet Maple

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Sweet Maple is a popular Bay Area brunch spot that just landed in Santa Monica. What makes it stand out from the bajillion other brunch options nearby? A creative Asian-leaning menu with things like bulgogi scrambles and souffleggs, similar to fluffy Korean steamed eggs. We should also point out Sweet Maple’s trademarked specialty, Millionaire Bacon— thick bacon slabs candied in brown sugar, cayenne, and pepper.

photo credit: Kanomwaan

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Kanomwaan

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Consider Kanomwaan a new Thai Town option if you want a little something sweet. From the Ruen Pair team, this East Hollywood shop gets creative with Thai and Southeast Asian desserts. Think sweet cream gelato with salted egg yolk, purple yam custard toast with a melty ice cream on top, and mango sticky rice shaved ice. They’ve also got drinks like Thai iced coffee, milk tea, and mango smoothies.

This Koreatown pork bone soup specialist now has a shiny third location on 8th Street. Head to this traditional, wood-clad Korean restaurant for bossam platters, braised pig feet with mustard sauce, kimchi stew with pork belly, and some very crispy-looking leek pancakes.

photo credit: Hoki Sushi

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Hoki Sushi

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There’s a new sushi option at the Original Farmers Market, and its name is Hoki Sushi. The stand is run by two Indonesian chefs who are doing fusiony riffs on poke bowls as well as  “elevated” spins on American sushi favorites like the dragon roll, topped with avocado and creamy sauces.

photo credit: Shelby Moore

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Uchi

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This isn’t Uchi’s first rodeo. (That’s a Texas joke because it’s a restaurant from Austin.) (Please laugh.) The modern Japanese spot opened its sixth location in West Hollywood, and a meal here can take various forms. There’s an a la carte menu with dishes like barbecued quail with fermented pineapple, a wagyu carpaccio topped with cured egg yolk, and tuna crudo kicked up with ají amarillo. There’s also a full sushi and sashimi menu, plus three omakase options, each listed at "market price." 

This Atwater Village spot used to be a Vietnamese restaurant called Blossom until it closed last month and reinvented itself as Spina. Now fully Italian (with a focus on pasta), this casual restaurant serves classics like cacio e pepe, calamari fritti, and polpette al sugo. The secondi section also offers bigger protein options, like a branzino and grilled tomahawk served with rapini.

Mama Lu’s Dumpling House

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Mama Lu’s, the dumpling mini-chain out of Monterey Park, now has a new location in Pasadena. There’s a lot to take in, like the decorative ceilings and crystal chandeliers, and that’s before you sift through the gargantuan menu. Expect classic dim sum options like siu mai and fried pork buns, plus fried rice, noodles, and pages of meat and fish dishes. 

You no longer have to deal with parking at Grand Central Market to get a Fat + Flour pie. This popular bake shop (and standby on our Best Bakeries guide) now has a Culver City location. You can order a whole pie for pick-up or come in to eat a slice of whatever’s available, including their chocolate chess, seasonal fruit, or key lime flavors. There’s also a small selection of paninis and salads, too.

photo credit: Brant Cox

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Ètra

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Maybe we’re rebelling against the maximalist decor you see in restaurants these days, but Ètra looks very cool. The lighting is warm, the (plywood?) walls are sparse, and the tile floors are shinier than Nicolas Cage’s veneers. That said, the Italian menu here also looks great: shrimp in spicy nduja butter, a chicory salad with anchovies, and orecchiette with garlic confit and pecorino are a few highlights. 

photo credit: Rden

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Rden

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Located in the Taft building across from the Pantages Theater, Rden is a shiny, old Hollywood-style spot where you can eat steak and sushi. Meat options range from an 8-ounce filet mignon to a 32-ounce wagyu tomahawk served with a wasabi steak sauce. The sushi menu is massive—there are nearly 30 rolls to choose from—including ones filled with snow crab, spicy tuna, and, “creamy salmon.” 

According to credible sources (the internet), maximalism is trending, and this Chinese fine dining spot in the SGV leans into that. Apart from the giant whale projected on the wall, this opulent restaurant goes all out with a menu that covers every regional cooking style in China, from roast duck smoked in a cloche tableside to Shanghai crab baked in a clay pot with roe. 

photo credit: 99 Food Court

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99 Ranch Market

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A new branch of 99 Ranch Market is always a newsworthy event, but the new location that just opened in Westwood is special: it’s got a food court. Vendors include a Japanese Peruvian sushi spot called Lima Nikkei Hand Rolls and an Asian-style fried chicken shop called The Coop. The food court is still in its soft-open phase, so expect more vendors to open in early 2024.

photo credit: Esme

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Esme

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Esme is an all-day spot in Culver City that serves a mix of Middle Eastern and Latin American dishes. That means lunch can start with hummus and pork belly chicharrón and end with chicken enmoladas and marinated short ribs with labneh. What a world.

photo credit: Emma Sanchez

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Mangette

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This Long Beach cafe from the Buvons wine people looks like a repurposed gallery space with white walls, cement floors, and oil paintings on display. Expect tea and coffee drinks on the menu, plus sweeter options like cream-topped viennois and affogatos, and substantial food options like jambon beurre, crispy broccoli and burrata sandwiches, and hunks of olive oil cake with chantilly cream.

Cookbook’s new Larchmont location has everything you need to pretend to be a farmers market snob any day of the week. There’s seasonal produce to “peruse,” a wine shop, a coffee counter with pastries on display, and a full-service cafe. The Jon & Vinny team is behind the all-day menu, which features buttermilk pancakes, herby soft scrambles, and cheese toasties with stuffed leeks and cornichons. Also, there’s a lovely outdoor patio. 

Shanghai No. 1 Street Food

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Shanghai No. 1 Street Food in Pasadena is a casual lunch and dinner spot that serves a short Shanghainese menu. Think pan-fried buns with a sesame crust, dim sum options like shao mai and egg tarts, and plump, broth-filled xiao long bao. 

photo credit: Sylvio Martins

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Mae Malai

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Mae Malai, the Thai boat noodle street stand that once opened next to Rad Na Silom, has upgraded to a brick-and-mortar space. That’s great news for them, but us, too, because we love that soup. Their sweat-spicy-tangy boat noodles with pork crackling and meatballs are still on the menu, plus other stuff like dry tom yum noodles and spicy northern Thai sausage.

If you’re cruising down Beverly Blvd and see a vintage gas station with “LOBSTER” in bright red letters, that’s Royal Lobster, a spot from Waikiki serving massive lobster rolls that just expanded to LA. We don’t usually think of lobsters when we think of Hawaii, but regardless, these sandwiches look good, overflowing with big lumps of meat, melted butter, and garlic mayo. 

photo credit: Chris Quinn

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Pop's Bagels

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You’ve probably heard of Pop’s Bagels—they’re everywhere these days. Now there’s a new location in Beverly Hills where you can grab a bagel for $2.50 ($3 for gluten-free options) in a variety of styles: toasted and smeared with buttermilk cream cheese, as an open-face lox sandwich, or as a B.A.C. (bacon, avocado, and cream cheese.) Also, there’s a weekend-only babka french toast.

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