By The Editors By The Editors | September 29, 2022 | Food & Drink Migration
Boasting international influences, world-renowned hospitality groups and star culinary talent, Los Angeles’ dining scene is hotter than ever. Here are 25 of the city’s most notable new entrants.
Alma is the first U.S. restaurant from Mexico’s Grupo Hunan PHOTO BY: WONHO FRANK LEE
ALMA COCINA DE MEXICO
Beverly Grove, 323.879.9596, alma.mx
The cuisine: Elevated Mexican
The ambiance: The first-floor taqueria, cocktail bar and market is trendy-casual, while the second floor provides an elevated, lively fine dining atmosphere.
The team: Founded by Pepe Cuaik in 1993, Mexico’s Grupo Hunan is an award-winning, family-owned hospitality group that owns and operates 26 restaurants throughout Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas.
Why it stands out: Alma—translating to “soul” in Spanish—Grupo Hunan’s first SoCal project, is a multiconcept dining experience on a coveted corner of The Grove. The multilevel space offers tacos, cocktails, and imported Mexican goods and novelties at the tiendita on the first floor, as well as an upstairs fine dining concept celebrating Mexico’s rich culinary history and showcasing the evolution of the cuisine in Los Angeles.
Must-order dishes: Barbacoa, ceviche, aguachile, pollo con mole poblano; pescado a la Veracruzana
What to sip: Housemade mezcal and tequila cocktails
Insider tip: Request a table on the secondfloor terrace for a view overlooking the famed fountain at The Grove. Also, try Alma’s equally delicious weekend brunch.
Angelini Ristorante & Bar’s lasagna verde PHOTO BY: DYLAN JENI
Linguini ricci di mare and spaghetti alla nerano. PHOTO BY: DYLAN JENI
ANGELINI RISTORANTE & BAR
Pacific Palisades, 424.238.5870, angelinipalisades.com
The cuisine: Classic interpretations of Italian favorites
The ambiance: The inviting Palisades Village neighborhood favorite is a flowing elegant space that complements the aesthetic of the coastal community while also incorporating traditional Italian design details.
The team: Angelini Ristorante & Bar is an elevated expansion of the existing Angelini portfolio (Osteria, Alimentari) from chef Gino Angelini and Tancredi DeLuca (owner of Amici Brentwood, Trattoria Amici) helmed by executive chef Matthew Weinberg (Angelini Osteria, Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura).
Why it stands out: With a seasonal menu that reflects Italian tradition, Angelini Ristorante offers both a daily lunch—a more casual, breezy affair, where guests can enjoy antipasti and pizzas on the expansive patio—and dinner, featuring secondi options in the dining room.
Must-order dishes: Known for his pasta creations, try chef Angelini’s classics like his lasagna verde “Nonna Elvira,” tagliolini limone and linguine with Santa Barbara sea urchin— followed by the famed tiramisu.
What to sip: Try the Spanish Style G & T and other classic cocktails from the bar, which features an extensive amaro and grappa collection, as well as old-world wines.
Insider tip: Take in celebrity sightings and ocean breezes from the intimate patio.
The daiquiri at chef Ray Garcia’s asterid PHOTO: BY WONHO FRANK LEE
DTLA, 213.972.3535, asteridla.com
The cuisine: California-inspired
The ambiance: Sleek and sophisticated, yet warm and familiar
The team: Award-winning executive chef Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish, BS Taqueria) and bar director Chris Chernock
Why it stands out: Located in front of one of Los Angeles’ most iconic cultural and architectural landmarks, The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, asterid’s menus inspire curiosity and reflect the independent spirit and diversity of cultures in chef Garcia’s native Los Angeles.
Must-order dishes: Caviar, beef tartare, maitake mushrooms, prawns
What to sip: Tequila & Passion Fruit, Vodka & Juice
Insider tip: While diners are drawn to the sexy indoor dining room, one of the best seats in the house is on asterid’s stunning outdoor patio, where guests can enjoy the energy and glow of Downtown Los Angeles.
Camphor serves French dishes with an Indian twist, like chicken with spiced jus PHOTO: BY JOSH TELLES
DTLA’s Arts District, 213.626.8888, camphor.la
The cuisine: French with an Indian twist
The ambiance: Light, bright and elevated, with an industrial-meets-clean modern and minimalist aesthetic that allows the culinary experience to take center stage
The team: Owner Cyrus Batchan and co-executive chefs Max Boonthanakit and Lijo George
Why it stands out: At this refreshingly progressive French-meets-Indian culinary gem, two former Alain Ducasse vets (chef duo Boonthanakit and George, both in their early 30s) reinvent the modern French bistro experience with unexpected hints of Indian flavor and spice, influenced by George’s roots in Kerala, India.
Must-order dishes: Chicken, pommes Anna, baby shrimp with “gunpowder,” kiwi with cardamom and mint, chocolate hazelnut dessert
What to sip: The Provence Martini with French olive oil-washed vodka infused with herbes de Provence, served with a sidecar and martini accoutrements
Insider tip: Grab a seat at the bar to try Camphor’s brand-new bar menu, featuring hearty dishes such as stuffed rigatoni and an A5 wagyu croque-monsieur.
End with the cookies and cream baked Alaska at Catch Steak LA, whose sprawling dining room nods to nature. PHOTO: COURTESY OF CATCHRESTAURANTS.COM
CATCH STEAK LA
West Hollywood, 323.507.0101, catchrestaurants.com
The cuisine: A curated collection of the world’s best steak cuts along with staple CATCH dishes
The ambiance: An intimate indoor-outdoor restaurant with garden-like spaces spread across two levels, CATCH Steak LA is a classic steakhouse with an energetic vibe.
The team: Catch Hospitality Group partners Tilman J. Fertitta, Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm; corporate chef Michael Vignola; and culinary director John Beatty are also behind neighboring hot spot CATCH LA and the original locations in New York.
Why it stands out: One of the few restaurants nationally to have an official Kobe license from Japan, CATCH Steak LA’s stellar steak and ambiance have found fans in Bruno Mars, Kylie Jenner, Jamie Foxx and Hailee Steinfeld.
Must-order dishes: The tableside beef sommelier experience with the “Flight of Three” offering, 8-ounce imperial wagyu filet, 40-ounce prime tomahawk, and CATCH classics like potato croquettes with creme fraiche and Osetra caviar, and bluefin tuna tartare
What to sip: The All Bark, A Little Bite, CATCH’s take on a spicy paloma, or superpremium wines poured tableside via Coravin
Insider tip: Order off-the-menu items such as a 50-day dry-aged bone-in Kobe strip and a next-level a vocado caviar rice cake.
The nasi goreng, a Southeast Asian fried rice dish, at Cobi’s. PHOTO: BY KATRINA FREDERICK STUDIO
Santa Monica, 424.238.5195, cobis.la
The cuisine: Southeast Asian
The ambiance: A maximalist aesthetic— with retro jewel-toned upholstery and floral wallpaper—conjures a charming home setting, and serves as the backdrop for a spirited, indoor-outdoor dining experience.
The team: Owner Cobi Marsh and chef Gary Ly
Why it stands out: Though born in Australia, Marsh’s upbringing in Indonesia and her world travels inspired the eclectic menu, which features bright flavors and ingredients of Southeast Asia—from Indonesia and Vietnam to Thailand.
Must-order dishes: Dinner favorites include kanpachi with green chilies and coconut dressing, pork dumplings with chili crunch and beef fendang, with Thai tea pudding for a sweet finish. For brunch, try Hainan rice congee or Ly’s habanero-brined fried chicken.
What to sip: Pair dinner dishes with the Spring Watermelon draft cocktail or a glass of bubbly, biodynamic viognier, and for brunch, try the Pink Guava Frosé made with soju.
Insider tip: The new popular weekend brunch features an entirely new selection of dishes, inspired by street food fare across Southeast Asia. Spice fans can order the nasi goreng with extra Thai chiles for an added kick, or tack on a chile plate with house-made sambals.
The flaming Pompeii drink at Ella Beverly Hills PHOTO: BY WONHO FRANK LEE
ELLA BEVERLY HILLS
Beverly Hills, 310.388.6860, ellabeverlyhills.com
The cuisine: Executive chef Brian Min celebrates the Mediterranean, Asian and Italian flavors found in the city’s backyard.
The ambiance: Located on the ground level of SIXTY Beverly Hills, Ella is a relaxed coffee bar by day, but transitions into an energetic, New Yorkand Europe-inspired bistro boasting live DJs, jazz and vinyl.
The team: Umbrella Hospitality Group cofounders Austin Melrose and Zach Patterson (of Melrose Umbrella Co.) in partnership with SIXTY Hotels founder Jason Pomeranc
Why it stands out: This homey, nostalgic eatery allows guests to literally watch the sun rise and set—whether with a coffee or a nightcap.
Must-order dishes: Sourdough focaccia, crispy glazed duck wings, bucatini pomodoro, grilled branzino, the Ella burger, and pizzas like the Ella Maggie and spicy pepperoni
What to sip: Patterson and mixologist Dorian De Tappan’s expert cocktail concoctions employ sonic bath aging, sous vide infusions and milk punch clarification, or opt for a bottle from the in-house bottle shop.
Insider tip: Come on Tuesdays for a comedy night featuring new weekly headliners, or visit for brunch and, afterward, head up to the swanky Umbrella Swim Club rooftop cocktail lounge.
Grandmaster Recorders serves modern Italian Australian cuisine PHOTO: COURTESY OF GRANDMASTER RECORDERS
Hollywood’s Vinyl District, 323.963.7800, grandmasterrecorders.com
The cuisine: Modern Italian Australian
The ambiance: Housed in a historic recording studio, the sprawling 15,000-square-foot multilevel venue includes a restaurant, sexy lounge and stunning rooftop bar.
The team: Grandmaster Recorders is the latest brainchild of Botanical Hospitality Group—the Australian duo (Grant Smillie and David Combes) behind E.P. & L.P. and Strings of Life (S.O.L.).
Why it stands out: This storied music venue located in the heart of the music industry—where legends from David Bowie to Stevie Wonder recorded—honors its rock roots with a music program, complemented by elevated coastal Italian and Australian-inspired cuisine.
Must-order dishes: Caviar cannoli, ink cavatelli, clam pie, fried stuffed olives, tiramisu
What to sip: The Cheap Trick, a mix of vodka, simple syrup made with farmers market ingredients, clarified lemon and Champagne; and Queens of the Old Fashioned, a quince-tinged nod to Queens of the Stone Age, who recorded here
Insider tip: Try the exclusive drinks offered by each space, and come for the Aperitivo Party, a weekly happy hour every Sunday to Friday from 4 to 6PM on the rooftop.
The tagliarini with clams at Hollywood favorite Horses PHOTO BY: LUCKY TENSON
Hollywood, 323.450.9177, horsesla.com
The cuisine: A California restaurant and drinkery with a nod to the European bistro
The ambiance: Quickly garnering a following for its refined food and classic bistro atmosphere with a jovial spirit, Horses pays homage to the Hollywood of yesteryear.
The team: Chefs Will Aghajanian (New York’s Per Se) and Liz Johnson (Freedman’s), who worked together at New York’s MIMI and Nashville’s The Catbird Seat
Why it stands out: The pair sought to create something festive in the Ye Coach & Horses space, while preserving the millwork and Spanish-style columns of the historic Hollywood hangout frequented by celebs like Quentin Tarantino and Tim Roth—who met in the red booths. Enjoy sophisticated but unfussy small bites and mains, and accompany minimally garnished cocktails, in three hip rooms.
Must-order dishes: Smoked salmon lavash, Cornish game hen
What to sip: Horses’ take on the spritz featuring Umeshu tonic with Peychaud’s; and Horses’ Vesper, gin infused with fig leaf, vodka and Lillet Blanc
Insider tip: Pasta aficionados will want to request off-menu stunner The Herman.
The showstopping grilled whole fish at KA’TEEN. PHOTO BY: ANDREA D’AGOSTO
Hollywood, 323.410.6360, kateenla.com
The cuisine: Coastal Mexican inspired by the Yucatán Peninsula
The ambiance: A custom reeded tunnel opens to reveal a vibrant oasis with lush greenery, basket chandeliers and handwoven seating. The fully outdoor dining space originally designed by Studio Collective and styled by creative director Bernadette Blanc draws inspiration from the jungles of the Yucatán and the Mayan Riviera, as well as Avila’s cuisine.
The team: Executive chef and partner Wes Avila and Ten Five Hospitality
Why it stands out: Chef Avila showcases a new vernacular in Alta California cuisine, drawing on flavors and techniques absorbed from his frequent trips to the Yucatán Peninsula and recontextualizing them through local ingredients and his experience as a native Angeleno.
Must-order dishes: Potato taquitos with avocado salsa and queso fresco; striped bass ceviche; grilled whole fish
What to sip: The Wes Colada with tequila, coconut, pineapple gomme, lime and cinnamon; or the Witch Doctor with mezcal, peach, lime and sage
Insider tip: Add the “la monarcha” to your margarita and it will be served with a vial of butterfly pea flower-infused orange liqueur. Pour it in and watch your drink turn from a deep purple to a soft pink color.
Chef Yoya Takahashi puts a spin on native Kyoto cuisine at Kodo
A selection of nigiri PHOTO BY: GRY SPACE
DTLA’s Arts District, 213.302.8010, kodo.la
The cuisine: Japanese
The ambiance: Minimalistic Japanese design, boasting a serene yet lively atmosphere
The team: Executive chef Yoya Takahashi, head sushi chef Alex Kohsuke, chef de cuisine Jaehee Lee, beverage director Chris Gomez and bar manager Will Henry
Why it stands out: Chef Takahashi’s inventive take on native Kyoto cuisine has transformed the historic Engine Company 17 firehouse, built in 1927, into an authentic sushi and izakaya restaurant celebrating sushi, robata and izakaya favorites. Kensho Group also opened rykn café in the space, and a ryokan-style boutique hotel c alled rykn is coming this fall.
Must-order dishes: Gobo chips, tsukune, shrimp zume and sushi omakase at the sushi bar
What to sip: The Bara-Bara Strawberry, Black Sesame-Colada and Yuzu “Margarita” with mezcal
Insider tip: Kodō recently launched a sushi omakase menu at the sushi bar, for which reservations are available on Resy.
LAVO Ristorante’s black truffle pizza PHOTO: BY ASHLEY RANDALL
West Hollywood, 310.817.6441, taogroup.com
The cuisine: Coastal Southern Italian influenced by Southern California produce, while paying homage to LAVO’s signature Italian classics and chef Ralph Scamardella’s Italian American background
The ambiance: Alfresco Southern California ambiance influenced by Italian architecture
The team: Tao Group Hospitality’s chief culinary officer, chef Scamardella, and VP of beverage, West region, Craig Schoettler
Why it stands out: Following the success of the New York location, LAVO Ristorante boasts elevated indoor and outdoor seating in a spacious sundrenched dining room that features triple-height ceilings with a fully retractable roof and luxurious Italian furnishings.
Must-order dishes: The 1-pound wagyu meatball, yellowfin tuna tartare, black truffle pizza and salt-baked Mediterranean sea bass
What to sip: The Buona Notte, Vecchia Fiamma or Lavo-lini
Insider tip: LAVO Ristorante’s recently launched weekend brunch puts a Southern Italian twist on classics, with dishes such as zucchini blossom torta, nizzarda salad with grilled tuna and baby lettuces, and a prime burger with burrata and Calabrian chile passata. In addition to brunch cocktails, guests can enjoy coffee service from Lamill, and playful touches like custom latte art and a tableside sfogliatelle cart with freshly squeezed juices and Italian pastries.
Manzke is above Parisian bistro Bicyclette PHOTO: BY KRISTIN TEIG
Beverlywood, 424.500.9575, manzkerestaurant.com
The cuisine: Inspired by the rich and diverse cultures of Los Angeles
The ambiance: The Manzkes, the husband-and-wife chef duo behind République, Petty Cash Taqueria and Sari Sari Store, sought to create a warm, welcoming and unpretentious environment that felt as if they were welcoming guests into their own home. They designed Manzke, located above their Parisian bistro, Bicyclette, in collaboration with Larawan Inc., utilizing materials from the Philippines.
The team: Chefs-owners Walter Manzke and Margarita Manzke, chef de cuisine Joe Garcia, wine director Sarah Clarke, bar director Shawn Lickliter and general manager Patrick Freitas
Why it stands out: Ingredients reflect their intimate, decades-long relationships with purveyors, and are interpreted through their creative lens in a tasting menu.
Must-order dishes: The set prix fixe featuring hyperseasonal local produce constantly evolves.
What to sip: Wine pairings curated for each course by Clarke, in “classic” and “reserve” options, take the experience to the next level. Cocktail fans won’t want to miss Lickliter’s creations, using vintage spirits from the 1930s to 1990s.
Insider tip: Manzke also offers reservation-only bar seating, where guests will have a frontrow seat as the team crafts inventive cocktails.
The signature butter cake at the new DTLA Mastro’s Ocean Club PHOTO: COURTESY OF FERTITTA ENTERTAINMENT
MASTRO’S OCEAN CLUB IN DOWNTOWN LA
DTLA, 213.204.6842, mastrosrestaurants.com
The cuisine: Mastro’s is known for its highest-quality USDA prime steaks with 16 different cuts of meat, but Ocean Club is renowned for its fresh seafood, raw bar offerings and creative sushi selections by internationally famed sushi chef Angel Carbajal of Cabo San Lucas’ Niksan.
The ambiance: The 14,000-square-foot space features a swanky main dining room with more than 7,000 wine bottles lining the restaurant walls. The vibe is sexy, lively and decadent, and it always feels like a celebration.
The team: The owner of parent company Landry’s, Inc. and also the NBA’s Houston Rockets, billionaire entrepreneur Tilman Fertitta, with executive chef Marcus Andrade
Why it stands out: For downtown concertand theatergoers, this location is literally steps from Crypto.com Arena and L.A. Live. The high-end food and ambiance also attract many celebrity athletes, musicians and actors.
Must-order dishes: The 2-foot-tall seafood tower, lobster mashed potatoes and signature award-winning warm butter cake
What to sip: Mastro’s signature smoking lemon drop and cosmo martinis, and its perfect Manhattan
Insider tip: Hear live music seven nights a week beginning at 5PM, and pick a seat on the outdoor terrace for views of the DTLA skyline.
Elvira Buffoni and son Gianni Vietina prepare food at Madeo Ristorante. PHOTO: BY BILL BENNETT
West Hollywood, 310.859.4903, madeoristorante.com
The cuisine: Italian
The ambiance: Madeo values timeless comfort over contemporary trends. Set against brass and dark wood accents are classic striped booths, as well as relics from Italy and the Vietina family’s heritage. In the spirit of gathering, the restaurant features a semi-open kitchen with a sprawling mahogany wood bar. Outside, the patio sparkles with string lights and glass table lamps in a green oasis overlooking Los Angeles.
The team: Owner Alfio Vietina; his wife, Elvira Buffoni; and their two sons, Gianni and Nicola Vietina
Why it stands out: A celebrity favorite that recently reopened in a new location, Madeo is founded on an unwavering devotion to the Vietina family recipes and service excellence in a scenery that speaks to tradition and elegance while evolving timelessly.
Must-order dishes: Milanese, penne Madeo, spaghetti all’ aragosta, branzino al vino bianco, spaghetti alla Bolognese
What to sip: Vino. Madeo boasts a wine list of over 1,250 selections from regions around the world.
Insider tip: Despite that he almost exclusively speaks Italian, Alfio doesn’t see language as a barrier and enjoys coming by tables to get to know his guests. Take a moment to say “buonasera” and introduce yourself!
Meteora is a holistic restaurant inspired by nature PHOTO: BY IRINA LOGRA
Melrose Arts District, 323.403.4311, meteora.la
The cuisine: New California
The ambiance: Hip, lively and restorative
The team: Chef and owner Jordan Kahn (two-Michelin-starred Vespertine) collaborated with designers Roth Architecture, OV and Co., and environmental artist Dave Lovejoy.
Why it stands out: A transporting dining experience that is inventive and warm in design, hospitality and cuisine. Named after the rock formations in the mountains of Central Greece, which hold the oldest human construction on Earth, Meteora is a holistic restaurant inspired by nature, ancestral wisdom and its impact on our future. The multisensory concept encompasses gastronomy, hospitality, art, design and sound.
Must-order dishes: Golden tomatoes, caramelized lobster rice and smoked beef rib
What to sip: Market-driven cocktails like the Ossum, which is made with cherry-stone kombucha, white nectarine, sweet woodruff and aged apple spirit
Insider tip: Both the food and beverage menu are hyperseasonal and change often, so if there’s anything you have your eye on, come try it now before it’s gone. Also, many of the cocktails can be enjoyed nonalcoholic upon request.
The roasted pasture chicken at Mes Amis PHOTO: BY WONHO FRANK LEE
Hollywood, 323.410.6200, mesamisla.com
The cuisine: New-generation French-inspired brasserie, rooted in French style and technique and brought to life through local ingredients and purveyors from around the world
The ambiance: Designed in collaboration with Martin Brudnizki Design Studio and creative director Bernadette Blanc, the 6,000-square-foot brasserie blends traditional elements of Parisian design with a modern California airiness.
The team: Executive chef and partner Lincoln Carson and Ten Five Hospitality
Why it stands out: The restaurant draws inspiration from the golden era of Hollywood and evokes the neighborhood spirit of bustling cafes, bistros and brasseries from Paris to Lyon. The chic yet relaxed atmosphere encourages friends to gather.
Must-order dishes: Prime Creekstone steak tartare, black truffle risotto with Ibérico ham and black trumpets, and a French onion burger— with chocolate souffle for dessert
What to sip: The Love Hangover with El Tesoro blanco tequila, calamansi, lime, sumac and rose; or the Some Like It Hot with Bombay Sapphire London dry gin, lemon, strawberry and Lo-Fi dry
Insider tip: Order a glass or a bottle of bubbly off Mes Amis’ custom roving Champagne cart, or snag a table on a Friday or Saturday evening and you may receive a complimentary portrait from the restaurant’s live illustrator.
The elegant dining room at Mother Tongue is designed by Martin Brudnizki and housed at private members club HEIMAT. PHOTO: BY ANGELO CLINTON
Hollywood, 213.319.7850, hellomothertongue.com
The cuisine: Global fare with vibrant and clean ingredients that nourish the body and mind
The ambiance: Striking design with art deco vibes and a “see and be seen” feel, perfect for a night out, sunset cocktails or a power lunch
The team: Chef Michael Mina (whose MINA Group operates over 40 restaurants worldwide, including namesakes in San Diego and Las Vegas) and chef Fernando Darin
Why it stands out: Housed in new private members club HEIMAT, Mother Tongue is not your standard fitness club restaurant. Flavorful, global fare from award-winning chef Mina is plant-forward and celebrates clean ingredients and wellness in a stunning dining room designed by Martin Brudnizki.
Must-order dishes: Spreads and spelt flatbread; shiitake mushroom larb; steak with Girl & Dug oca “bravas,” walnuts and chimichurri; and Pacifico striped bass “Moqueca Baiana.” For dessert, don’t skip the plant-based matcha and EVOO soft-serve sundaes.
What to sip: Natural wines and vibrant cocktails
Insider tip: Ask for a table on the patio to enjoy great views of the city over lunch, cocktails or dinner.
Chef Evan Funke’s Mother Wolf features classic Italian design details PHOTO BY: ERIC WOLFINGER
Hollywood Vinyl District, 323.410.6060, motherwolfla.com
The cuisine: Roman Italian
The ambiance: Housed in Hollywood’s historic Citizen News building, Mother Wolf’s art deco exterior is enhanced by classic Italian design details—exuding glamour while melding the modern with the Old World. The interior features Murano light fixtures, antiqued mirrors, Siena marble tabletops, Gio Ponti-inspired chairs, bar detailing inspired by Carlo Scarpa and red mosaic ceramic tiles. For playfulness, faux plaster relief work on the walls portrays a feast and wolf heads.
The team: Chef Evan Funke (Felix Trattoria) and Ten Five Hospitality
Why it stands out: A celebrity favorite, the restaurant is grand in scale and scope. Rome is the singular inspiration for Mother Wolf, and Funke’s rich and soulful cooking is a mosaic of the ancient, pastoral and urban culinary heritage of la cucina Romana.
Must-order dishes: Blue prawns in salsa verde; squash blossoms, La Mortazza pizza with mortadella bologna; rigatoncini alla vaccinara, with oxtail ragu; spaghetti all’arrabbiata; grilled whole branzino; New Zealand lamb belly
What to sip: The Negroni Della Casa and S.P.Q.R. classic cocktails; the Il Ragazzo “The Dude,” a sweet riff on a White Russian; or selections from the robust wine list
Insider tip: Don’t miss the amaro cart after dinner.
Traditional sashimi shines at n/soto. PHOTO BY: WONHO PHOTO
West Adams, 323.879.9455, n-soto.com
The cuisine: Upscale izakaya-inspired Japanese dishes dictated by the seasons of California
The ambiance: N/soto’s interior takes cues from Japanese minimalism and redefines the traditional Japanese izakaya. The restaurant is intimate and relaxing, boisterous and fun, with a large garden patio.
The team: Chefs-owners Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama (of two-Michelin-starred n/naka), executive chef Yoji Tajima and beverage director Jason Lee
Why it stands out: Translating to “outside” in Japanese, “soto” refers both to the pandemic that closed people off from the outside world, as well as the menu’s exploration of Japanese cuisine as interpreted throughout Los Angeles. The large menu of shareable dishes, wide selection of beverages and relaxing atmosphere encourage diners to celebrate being together.
Must-order dishes: Carrot and fennel tartare; Brussels sprouts and salmon skin salad; Hokkaido scallop sashimi; agedashi mochi with shrimp, shiso and wood ear mushroom; and miso baked bone marrow
What to sip: Sake, beer, wine and low- ABV cocktails by Lee, such as the Garibaldi with Lo-Fi gentian and fluffy mikan ice, or the Tepache, with kimoto sake
Insider tip: The serene heated patio is perfect for outdoor dining. The full menu is also available at the bar.
Pizzeria Bianco’s beloved green pizza with spinach-cream sauce PHOTO BY: ASHLEY RANDALL
PIZZERIA BIANCO LOS ANGELES
DTLA’s Arts District, 213.372.5155, pizzeriabianco.com
The cuisine: Seasonal Italian and pizza
The ambiance: Casual and convivial. The space is an adaptive reuse of the 100-year-old industrial Terminal Market, but has been softened with rustic antiques and paintings by the chef’s father throughout.
The team: Chef Chris Bianco is an icon in the pizza world and was recently named Outstanding Restaurateur by the James Beard Foundation.
Why it stands out: After over 30 years of creating cultworthy pizza and Italian food in Phoenix, chef Bianco finally realized his dream to bring the award-winning Pizzeria Bianco to Los Angeles. Angelenos can now enjoy the signature wood-fired pizzas and seasonal Italian-inspired cooking for which Bianco is known.
Must-order dishes: The Rosa pizza (with red onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosemary and California pistachios) and Sonny Boy pizza (with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, salami and Gaeta olives)—both available for dinner only
Insider tip: Order anything featuring fresh, local produce from the Santa Monica Farmers Market, and keep your eye out for daily specials like a meatball hero made from the chef’s mom’s recipe.
Saffy’s rich bergamot chocolate cake with rose ganache PHOTO BY: JOSEPH WEAVER
Hermosa Beach, 424.247.9881, eatryla.com
The cuisine: Modern Cal-Asian
The ambiance: Blending modern Japanese design elements with midcentury architecture, Ryla is dimly lit, sexy and boisterously lively.
The team: Executive chef Ray Hayashi (of David LeFevre’s M.B Post, Fishing With Dynamite), chef de cuisine Cynthia Hetlinger (Michael Cimarusti’s Providence), general manager David Ruivo, pastry chef Cathy Ayara and mixologist Justin Kato
Why it stands out: RYLA is a chef-driven restaurant in coastal Hermosa Beach celebrating modern California Asian cuisine from husband-and-wife team Hayashi and Hetlinger.
Must-order dishes: Hokkaido milk bread, black truffle fried rice, hot chicken Karaage, New Zealand Tai snapper, Flannery steak, ox tongue curry rice, Japanese pancake and matcha tiramisu
What to sip: Grandma’s Cigarettes, Herb y Hancock, Sichuan Opera, Best Mai Tai on the Island and RYLA’s Remedy
Insider tip: Ask about the sashimi specials flown in directly from Japan and paired with fresh wasabi. Head to the bar for daily specials and tasty bar bites, such as gochujang-glazed spare ribs, skewers and grilled Taiwanese sausage.
Workshop Kitchen & Bar boasts a classic Brutalist design. PHOTO BY: AUDREY MA
East Hollywood, 424.699.4845, saffysla.com
The cuisine: Middle Eastern
The ambiance: An intimate neighborhood restaurant where you’ll be greeted by warm and energetic hospitality and transported to late 1960s/ early ’70s Morocco with a feast of colors, textures and finishes layered over the building’s original art deco architecture
The team: Husband-and- wife chef team Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis (Bestia, Bavel)
Why it stands out: Putting a modern spin on Middle Eastern flavors and named after the founders’ daughter, Saffy’s utilizes one of the few wood-burning shawarma rotisseries in the U.S. Walk into the inviting space for a meal at the bar, grab a coffee or pastry next door, or come with a group to celebrate a big occasion.
Must-order dishes: Roasted carrots, wood-fired shawarma, skewers What to sip: One of the playful and refreshing cocktails, such as the Cherry Limeade (made with tequila, calamansi, cherry-lime soda, lime sherbet and a cherry on top) or one of the coastal Mediterranean island wines that focus on small grower producers committed to healthy agriculture
Insider tip: Stop by Saffy’s Coffee & Tea (open weekly from 8AM to 3PM Wednesday to Sunday) next door to Saffy’s for coffee, tea, housemade breads and baked goods.
Chefs Ray Hayashi and Cynthia Hetlinger serve modern Cal-Asian dishes, like Kusshi oysters, at RYLA PHOTO BY: DYLAN J. HO
WORKSHOP KITCHEN & BAR
Fairfax District, 323.413.2255, workshopkitchenbar.com
The cuisine: Market-driven dishes prepared with traditional European-style techniques
The ambiance: Inspired by 1920s architecture, Workshop boasts an elegant, modern aesthetic. Drawing on classic Brutalist design, the dining room contains eight massive, 14-foot concrete dining cocoons, replacing traditional booth seating, which enable guests to dine inside a free-standing art installation.
The team: Executive chef and owner Michael Beckman, general manager and sommelier Vincent Samarco, chef de cuisine Vinson Ching and lead bartender Jessi Lorraine
Why it stands out: Beckman, also behind Palm Springs cocktail bar Truss & Twine and the Palm Springs location of Workshop, brings his French-inspired eatery to his hometown.
Must-order dishes: Two versions of a five-course tasting menu (one plant-based) feature dishes exclusive to L.A., such as halibut with sauce bouillabaisse, Masami Ranch hanger steak and cauliflower mousse. Or, try a la carte favorites like oyster mushrooms, braised artichokes and gnocchi, and creative Neapolitan-style pizzas.
What to sip: Quirky cocktails like the Kitchen Sink Martini, the Queen of Hearts and the Walk of Fame, or wine from the list of 240 selections
Insider tip: For dessert, try the traveling cheese chart that offers a variety of local cheeses served alongside homemade bread, shaved truffles and vintage dessert wines.