We’re somehow over halfway through 2021, which is a fact that our brains and stomachs can’t quite believe. And as all the summer restaurant openings continue, well, opening, there is simply too much good food to eat right now in LA. Just take this guide as evidence. We ate Brazilian salgados, a deconstructed steak tartare, and more. Here are the best dishes we tried in June.
Culver City’s Cantinho Brasileiro has been preserving the Brazilian community’s love for salgados since opening in 2012. The small window is located in the back corner of El Camaguey Meat Market on Venice Blvd, and while the menu is relatively small, it’s filled with familiar favorites from Brazilian luncheonettes, starting with the coxinha with catupiry. This savory choux dough dumpling is stuffed with creamy cheese and shredded chicken before being breaded, fried, and topped with hot sauce.
Fried fish sandwich
If you’re not getting this sandwich from the Little Fish pop-up, you’re doing something wrong. No, seriously – how did you even put in an order? It’s literally the only thing on the menu. The fish has an almost-airy texture, having undergone a long process including koji-curing, a dip in their signature batter (made of beer, two types of flour, and vodka), then a vigorous deep fry. To not get the fried fish sandwich here is like telling your best friend that you’re going to their house, them getting really excited and cleaning the whole place for you, then just driving by and waving from your window. It’s not illegal, per se, but what the hell? Just order the sandwich.
Escargots en croute
No meal at Bicyclette, the new traditional French bistro, is complete without their escargots en croute – baked in a buttery, flaky pastry crust (which our server instructed us to delicately cut into, before flipping upside down and letting the escargot and its garlic/parsley/butter juices soak through it), it’s exactly what we want to be eating when our cooler, more-cultured alter ego takes over our body and demands nourishment.
You won’t find fresher shrimp than what’s being served at Coni’Seafood, so if you’re craving shrimp cocktail, this Mexican spot with locations in Inglewood and Del Rey needs to be at the top of your list. Here, the shrimp are served in a big bowl filled with a mild, salty broth and chopped cucumbers, onions, and tomato. Approximately 10 lime wedges line the side if you want to kick the citrus levels up a bit, and we recommend taking advantage of that option. But at the end of the day, what makes Coni’s version so special is the shrimp itself. They aren’t huge, but they’re slightly sweet and give off a tiny pop with each bite. Also, there are probably 15-20 of them floating around in the bowl, easily constituting an entree if you want it to be.
Say hello to our absolute favorite burger in Los Angeles right now. A perfectly-cooked Wagyu beef patty, cheddar cheese, dill aioli, fresh arugula, and a caramelized onion-bacon jam on a brioche bun - Dudley’s burger is special. It’s sweet and savory, briny and peppery, and something you’ll want to remember forever. You should absolutely come to this neighborhood Venice spot for the fresh seafood, but if you skip the burger, you’re living a lesser existence.
It’s rare that a steak tartare fully stops us in our tracks, but Barish’s version does. Made with buckwheat, mustard seeds, kohlrabi, and egg, it arrives at the table deconstructed with a separate plate of shiso leaves, nasturtiums, and more greens for constructing tiny wraps. This is our favorite dish on the menu right now.
Big Softee only opened in 2019, but already feels like an SGV mainstay. Located in Monterey Park, this tiny soft serve shop has made its mark by selling silky smooth soft serve with flavors inspired by both Hong Kong and America. The menu changes all the time, but expect everything from tofu flower to black sesame to Tahitian vanilla - and expect not to be able to pick a favorite. Check their Instagram for the flavors of the day.