4 Restaurants to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles – Eater LA

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Every Friday our editors compile a trusty list of recommendations to answer the most pressing of questions: “Where should I eat?“ Here now are four places to check out this weekend in Los Angeles. And if you need some ideas on where to drink, check out our al fresco cocktails map for the latest.
Yes, Grá is a pizza restaurant — but as owner Michael McSharry explained to me during a recent visit, it’s actually a study in fermentation, from the sourdough starter he brought with him from Ireland for the pies to the natural wine list to starters like a pickled cucumber salad that gets a knockout punch of flavor from fish sauce, warmly spicy salsa macha, and crunchy peanuts. As for those pizzas, the fluffy, bubbly, blistered-in-the-wood-oven dough has just a whisper of tanginess (unlike other sourdough pizzas that have an in-your-face sourness). Even the toppings have fermented elements, from the fermented mustard seeds drizzled on the Banger, a red pie also topped with salami and nduja, to the pickled fresno peppers atop a recent special pie that paired sweet summer corn with unctuous taleggio cheese. The space itself is understatedly gorgeous, with high ceilings, exposed wood beams, and mid-century-learning furniture (McSharry did much of the work himself, from laying down the cobblestone floors to pouring cement over salvaged marble and stone pieces to create the top of a substantial bar in the back of the restaurant). From the sublime pizzas to its beautiful bones, Grá is easy to be smitten with. 1524 Pizzaro Street, Los Angeles. —Karen Palmer
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There’s a great vibe that runs through Echo Park’s Lonely Oyster. And from the feel of things, it seems like the neighborhood’s been pining for a casual-yet-modern seafood spot like this for a while now. Whether swinging in for brunch or dinner this weekend, start with an order of oysters (available by the half or full dozen) — the daily selection is scrawled on the dining room’s mirror. The tender Kusshis never fail to please, while the oceanic Miradas are perfect for those who embrace a briny rush. Also terrific: the Peruvian ceviche with a coconut-based leche de tigre and the crispy-skinned Lebanese branzino served with warm pita. 1320 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin
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Little Tokyo has immense charm in the early morning hours. It’s less congested and downright peaceful on the weekends, which makes Cafe Dulce the place to stop for hand-shaken coffee and house-made pastries. Walk in and just behind the display area and cashier is the bakery prep area where items like the red bean roti and Oreo doughnut are made. Opt for the Vietnamese coffee, blueberry matcha latte, or the wonderful espresso-filled Dulce latte before sitting down (and be sure to watch the staff place the iced variety in a cocktail shaker before pouring into a drinking vessel). It’s here where a swift serving of caffeine, carbs, and sugar come together, but with another bonus for the early arrivals: Ample outdoor seating. 134 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Building E, Little Tokyo. —Mona Holmes
Even as Los Angeles enters its delayed-release progression from summer to fall, Angelenos are beginning to crave heartier sustenance: soups and stews, gourds and spice-infused coffees. Over at ghost kitchen Culver City Cuisine, chef Simoni Siqueira is slinging Brazilian feijoada, her savory black bean stew that complements a substantial array of mains, including roasted chicken, sliced picanha (steak), and Texas-style beef chili. The delivery and pick-up operation is ideal for weekend nights in, when Siqueira’s beans (both the meaty and vegetarian iterations), Brazilian-style collards, sausage-studded farofa, and chimichurri sauce can brighten even the grayest days. 5660 Selmaraine Drive, Culver City. —Nicole Adlman
This summer I slowly crawled Santa Monica’s re-energized Main Street, visiting some old favorites and lingering in some new. Little Prince is in the former category, a restaurant that I consider “my restaurant” and one I tell people to go to when they’re looking for somewhere unexpected and understated to dine in Santa Monica. The outdoor patio is where I live, a well-lit beachwood parklet that livens at night and during its Sunday brunch hours. The last time I came for dinner, over Labor Day weekend, the heavy-hitters still hit: Kusshi oysters, topped this time with tomatillo cocktail granita and minced granny smith apple; creamy bone marrow swirls on honeyed brioche, served with a side of whipped marrow mousse; the cross-cultural dry-aged beef tartare tostada, reddened by Sichuan pepper and salsa aracardo. As always, the mains pleased, from pan-roasted salmon with crackly iridescent skin to a massive tomahawk pork chop bedded with charred sweet corn, fried corn silks, and still-in-season Jimmy Nardello peppers. The post-modern strawberry shortcake finishes the meal on a high note, especially for the reluctantly gluten-intolerant among us. 2424 Main Street, Santa Monica. —Nicole Adlman
Madre sits somewhere between LA’s beloved old-school sit-down Mexican restaurants and the more modern casual taco/bowl/burrito hybrids that have sprung up around town — and in a good way. The Oaxacan restaurant has a decade under its belt (and newer locations in Torrance and the Fairfax District), so it has the benefit of experience and knowledgeable servers who will take the time to, say, recommend the perfect mezcal flight from the restaurant’s impressive list. As for the food, don’t miss having house-made mole on something, like a giant plate of four enchiladas filled with four different meats and bathed in sauces that range from mole negro to salsa verde. Or opt for one of the generously portioned grilled meat platters, like carne asada served with a cheesecake-sized wedge of queso fresco, blistered grilled cactus and jalapeños, creamy black beans, and a choice of house-made corn or flour tortillas to wrap everything up in. With its vibrant tiled tables and comfortable outdoor patio, Madre is the type of place you’ll want to hang around for a while over a couple of margs. 12046 National Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Karen Palmer
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Southern California is massive, with over 25,000 restaurants in LA County alone. It’s impossible to stay on top of every spot, but when someone from another respected media outlet mentions a taco stand that makes a “brick-colored, Sonora-style trompo de adobada,” it’s best to get over there quickly. (Hat tip to L.A. Taco’s Memo Torres.) The story behind Rico Tacos Naomi is equally compelling: The husband and wife team met while working at the Kogi truck, fell in love, and branched out on their own in 2018. Go to Rico Tacos Naomi’s Instagram and scroll through photo after photo of tortas, mulitas, quesadillas, burritos, and those tacos with a slice of pineapple layered with salsas. Some of us will be heading to Rico Tacos Naomi as early as tonight, after figuring which of the 14 locations — from Long Beach to Palmdale — to visit. Check Rico Tacos Naomi’s Linktree for the full list. South La Brea Avenue and Obama Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Mona Holmes
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While it might be tough to score a seat at this Eagle Rock hot spot during prime reveling hours, stroll in at 2 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday for the choicest picks. The red booths inside the wood-paneled room are lovely for low-key folks, while the sunny seats lining Eagle Rock Boulevard suit those who desire to be seen. For the best of both worlds, the tables by the front window peer both inside and out. Spend the late afternoon sipping something slushy, like the frozen negroni, and watch the room gradually fill up. The fried pasta and risotto balls on the succinct food menu make for solid snacks to pair with all that booze. 4604 Eagle Rock Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin
Sometimes it pays to eat somewhere that is so endemic to the neighborhood it feels almost like artifact. Tar & Roses in downtown Santa Monica has a bustling dining room that speaks to its consistency and reliability over time (the whole-fried snapper, a menu staple for more than a decade, lands on about every other table on any given night). People who come here generally know what they are coming for: the soupy oxtail dumplings; some kind of charred salad; ridiculously cheesy mashed potatoes; a rice-flour-battered crispy whole-fried fish served with cold soba noodles and a chile-inflected dipping sauce. The familiarity of the order doesn’t make the experience feel any less worthwhile; and while the boisterous dining room often seems like the place to be, the outdoor parklet, with its low-slung lights and quieter atmosphere, makes for an ideal dinner night just a few blocks from the beach. 602 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica. —Nicole Adlman
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Eight years in, the OG location of chef Ludo Lefebvre’s compact French restaurant — which now has a handful of outdoor tables that spill out into the parking lot of the strip mall it calls home — is still the very definition of “solid.” The escargots are still bathed in an obscene amount of butter and garlic. The Big Mec is still a showstopping knife-and-fork burger. And the french fries are still some of the best in the city. On a recent visit (on the hottest weekend of the year, no less), my dining companions and I found warm-weather salvation in two Lefebvre’s cold salads: the chile-flecked, peanut-studded shredded carrot salad, his twist on the ubiquitous carrot salads found all over Paris and a dish that’s only available at this location, as well as the sherry vinaigrette-dressed Belgian endive salad, which piles leaves of the bitter green atop a treasure trove of walnuts, anchovy, and avocado. Petit Trois is the type of place where a diner can choose their own adventure — big, brash, and boldly French, or more vibrant, restrained, fresh flavors. Petit Trois L’Original will deliver, and then some, on both fronts. 718 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood. —Karen Palmer
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It’s nearly impossible to get a taste of Pijja Palace these days unless one is willing to closely monitor reservations on Resy or line-up before doors open, but ordering to-go on Toast or delivery through Caviar makes it possible for everyone’s Indian sports bar dreams to come true. The limited takeout menu is centered around DIY pan pizzas — hefty 9×13 rafts fit for toppings galore. Stinger chiles and spicy pepperoni bring the heat, while tandoori onions and paneer cheese quell the burning. And don’t forget an order of curry leaf ranch or yogurt stilton for all-important crust dipping. 2711 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin
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It’s always a breathtaking sight when walking into Cassia in Santa Monica — just look up at the high ceilings and bright minimal room. It’s almost as if they kept a simple interior to avoid distracting from the food, which can be a little challenging to categorize. There’s a lot to take in, so leave it to the expert staff to guide the experience. The raw bar includes oysters with a lime-pepper mignonette and spicy scallops with diced shrimp, ham, scallion, mint, and chile oil. Start with the kaya toast with coconut jam, butter, soft-boiled egg, then maneuver to one of the clay oven breads with spreads before ordering the wonderful spicy grilled okra or the charred Chinese broccoli. And if there’s any room left, try the whole grilled sea bass with turmeric and lime, or the wonderful beef rendang. Go with a group that likes sharing food. 1314 7th Street, Santa Monica. —Mona Holmes
There is absolutely nothing serious about the legendary Tail o’ the Pup, which reopened in West Hollywood in July: if the retro-inspired hot dog-shaped facade, diner-style red chairs and booths, and paper wiener serving boats with actual dog faces on the ends (making the hot dogs, when they’re served, actual “tails”) don’t make you crack a smile, well, I honestly don’t know what will. The offerings at Tail o’ the Pup range from, yes, a selection of hot dogs to burgers to soft serve to fries that can be topped with everything from chili to cheese. On a recent visit, a snappy Chicago-style dog came piled sky-high with all the requisite toppings, including sport peppers, a crunchy pickle spear, and a smattering of poppy seeds, and cheese fries arrived hot and crisp with a melty, nacho-style topping — perfect for plunging into a little serving cup of grainy mustard. A cool chocolate milkshake brought endless summer vibes. And speaking of the endless summer we seem to be having here in Los Angeles, while there’s plenty of outdoor seating behind the ordering stand, there are also a handful of tables inside the air-conditioned pick-up room in the back. 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood. —Karen Palmer
I always recommend Botanica Restaurant & Market for its ability to hit the right notes. Especially when LA’s weather is expected to take a massive turn with today’s 100-degree prediction shifting into rain showers on Saturday. Both conditions can be ideal at Botanica, with fans on the rear patio or the air-conditioned, comfortable interior. If it’s too hot, order the morning mezze with market vegetables, marinated beans, olives, a marinated egg, leafy greens, green tahini, and the house-made bread for sopping every bit on a plate. It might sound uninteresting, but it’s an ideal combination that works well with oppressive heat. If it’s raining outside, opt for the Combrillac Troc 2021 red wine with seared mushrooms and farro and watch the rain fall from the massive windows. Be sure to get a bottle from the market for later, and ask staff to assist in choosing the right one. 1620 Silver Lake Boulevard, Silver Lake. —Mona Holmes
Emmy Squared, a cult-favorite pizza chain with locations in New York and Nashville, among others, finally landed in Los Angeles in August, setting up shop at Santa Monica Brew Works on Colorado Avenue. The specialty here is compact Detroit-style pies with crispy edges, all customized in a range of quixotic toppings — from the Impossible Ang with its plant-based meatballs, vodka sauce, banana peppers, and fatty swipe of ricotta to the classic Colony with curled and blistered pepperoni cups, pickled jalapenos, drizzled honey, and two thick stripes of fresh tomato sauce. (Even better, any pie can be made gluten-free.) The indoor-outdoor brewery setting pairs well with Emmy’s menu, which also features elevated takes on bar favorites (think waffle fries smothered in a verdant ranch dressing, pimento cheese, and scallions) and behemoth burgers that require an entire box of napkins to dismantle. It’s a good spot for a late-afternoon weekend hang with friends or family, its outdoor picnic tables lined with number-specific QR codes so you can order and pay directly from where you sit and have your food brought out to you. Take it all down with an ice-cold beer while the last licks of Los Angeles’s early September heatwave still linger. 1920 Colorado Avenue, Suite C, Santa Monica. —Nicole Adlman
The DIY poke trend across Los Angeles in recent years was a real letdown for anyone who fell in love with Hawaiian-style poke. While mesclun greens, canned corn, and edamame are fine ingredients on their own, they have no place when it comes to poke bowls. Fortunately, Fish King in Glendale serves up poke bowls just like they do on the islands — with a variety of marinated seafood that’s displayed behind a glass case and heaped atop steamed white rice to order. From spicy tuna, scallops, and shrimp to soy-sesame yellowtail, octopus, and ahi, the poke at King Fish is fresh, flavorful, and highly capable of whisking tastebuds away to Hawaii, if only for an afternoon. 722 North Glendale Avenue, Glendale. —Cathy Chaplin
When seeking refuge from the Los Angeles heat, Downtown’s Ditroit is a great escape. The sleek area just behind Damian restaurant is lined with sprawling plants and feels like something of an oasis with it simple design and even simpler menu. Chefs Enrique Olvera and Jesús Cervantes — also of Damian — likely designed Ditroit for a summertime like this one. Start with the suadero, chile relleno tacos, flautas, or quesadillas. Churros with chocolate sauce are always best shared, and if a two-person michelada kit or margaritas are required, there’s that too. But let’s talk about those paletas. The kitchen gets inventive with these Mexican frozen treats. Ditroit has some of the most inventive ones in town; past flavors have included hoja santa with raspberry; mulberry; piña colada; and even a fantastic combination of nopal, cucumber, and lime. Last week, the staff announced a new paleta featuring jasmine rice with milk, white chocolate, and puffed rice. Everything — especially the frozen treats — are best eaten on the premises. The restaurant is usually open from noon to 7 p.m., but will be closing at 6 p.m. this weekend. 2117 Violet Street, Arts District. —Mona Holmes
As an Italian American and red sauce-loving East Coast transplant, I’m always on the hunt for my next great bowl of pasta. One of the best ones I’ve had recently is at Voodoo Vin, where chef Travis Hayden rolls out his pasta on the wine bar’s long, wood-topped communal tables. Hayden makes his own charcuterie, too, and naps perfectly cooked ribbons of fresh tagliatelle with a nduja Bolognese that packs some heat, thanks to the Calabrian chiles he mixes with Peads & Barnetts pork belly to make the cured Italian specialty. The sauce itself gets even more depth from a caramelized vegetable stock, cream, a little bit of tomato, and red wine, as well as coconut aminos and tamari. Once sauced, the entire bowl is showered in parmesan and grated cured egg yolk. All in all, it’s rich, unapologetically spicy, and the sort of pasta dish that I want to keep all to myself, if I’m being honest. If, for whatever reason, the idea of eating a warm bowl of pasta on what’s purported to be a scorching hot weekend isn’t appealing, dip into Hayden’s cooler dishes, like beef tartare, peach and burrata panzanella, and plates of charcuterie (I highly recommend the paper-thin slices of mortadella). Pair any and all of the above with a chilled glass of wine for maximum summertime enjoyment. 713 N. Virgil Avenue, Virgil Village. —Karen Palmer
The frozen banana-on-a-stick wars are really a thing on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. Multiple names lay claim as the inventor of the treat, made famous in part by the television show Arrested Development, though Sugar ’n Spice is likely the most recognizable of the possible contenders. Here, the sweet, surprisingly light treat can be topped with sprinkles or chocolate for easy portability, while the rest of the menu dives into scoops of ice cream, cheesecake-on-a-stick bars, and beyond. Go nuts with the additional toppings and drizzles, and be sure to snag some napkins because it’s going to be hot even along the ocean, and these things melt fast. 310 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island. —Farley Elliott
It’s probably not expected advice to steer people toward the Valley during what may be one of the hottest weekends in Los Angeles’s last waning weeks of summer. But still, when afternoons inevitably dip to evening, and it cools somewhat, and the 405’s traffic reduces to a simmer, there’s no better night to be had than at Anajak Thai. On a recent Sunday jaunt, the table nearest to me, a group of six, ordered not one, not two, not even just three plates of the restaurant’s folkloric Southern Thai fried chicken; the entire table, save for one person, ordered a fried chicken plate of their own. That’s the move here, if you’re in that mood, at least: claim a shattery, plump fried chicken for your own and eat it bathed in the nighttime glow of Anajak’s neon lights. The full dish is bolstered by sticky rice strewn with caramelized shallots (echoing the bird’s own shallot-heavy marinade) and a sweet-but-not-too-sweet nam jim seafood sauce that cuts through the salt of the chicken’s brine. Finally, sip to those last heady moments of summer with the restaurant’s impeccable selection of wines. 14704 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks. —Nicole Adlman
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Although it’s only been open on Melrose Avenue for four years, Ronan has already become a beloved staple in the neighborhood and beyond. Husband-and-wife team Daniel and Caitlin Cutler’s restaurant is mostly known its fluffy-chewy-charred wood-fired pizzas (Daniel’s a Sotto alum). But the amount of thought that goes into everything else on the menu — from the perfectly balanced cocktails served in mismatched vintage glasses to a housemade chicken liver pate that’s silkier than a Gucci scarf, to a dead-simple bowl of lettuces punched up with pickled fresnos and cucumber vinaigrette — is what makes this the type of place you want to visit again and again. Another case in point: the dish known as “spicy clams,” which may sound unassuming on the menu, but is actually a straight-up showstopper. The table is presented with a giant glass bowl filled with clams swimming in a heady broth bolstered by braised fennel, and topped with cut lemons for squeezing. Then the entire bowl is topped with “cheesy garlic bread,” or a perfectly cooked pizza crust laden with whole cloves of roasted garlic and melted Parmesan for sopping up all of that fragrant broth and the tender clams. As a native east coaster for whom clams are one of summer’s great treasures, this dish was a timely reminder that the season isn’t over, just yet. 7315 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles. —Karen Palmer
The chewy noodles are the get at Woon, the Temple Street Chinese spot that continues to buzz with evening activity. Most tables have some version of the thick, long, wok-fired noodles, meant to be shared amongst friends or slurped up solo while sitting on a low plastic stool. The vegetarian version is of particular interest for its heavy bok choy and mushroom hand, which only adds to the rich sense of umami in every bite. There are other hits here too, of course; the pork belly baos, the wings, but for pound for pound deliciousness, it’s all about the chewy noodles. 2920 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott
Sisters Morgan and Kelly Walsh, the third generation owners of Cupid’s, have been running the Winnetka hot dog stand with an iconic heart-shaped neon sign since 2009. The joint’s been around since 1946, though, and still serves a classic lineup of dogs, chips, and sodas, and not much else — but that’s part of its innate charm. Plus, the sisters are known to deliver orders on roller skates, and often host car shows and live music in the parking lot, so it really doesn’t get much more Americana than this. The namesake dog comes loaded with beefy chili, mustard, and onions, but while summer temperatures are blazing, opt for the Triangle, a snappy hot dog topped with a brighter trio of relish, onions, and mustard. Then pop open a Mexican coke and let the nostalgia wash over you. 20030 Vanowen Street, Winnetka. —Karen Palmer
A recent trip to the Tacos Tamix truck at the corner of Venice and Sepulveda served to remind that sometimes a plate of tacos is best had in front of teeming gas station, while sitting on a metal stool with paper plates spread over a folding table. The al pastor at Tamix is the main event, a near-neon reddish-orange from its marinade and sliced thinly over fresh-griddled corn tortillas. A hunk of pineapple, cut from the top spike of the spit, crowns the dish, as do Tamix’s salsas, pico de gallo, and radishes — all to be doled in an amount to taste from the truck’s counterside station. The pastor alambre is perhaps the best choice for sharing (ideal for, say, a quick pull-over on your way home from a Saturday or Sunday at the beach): a behemoth plate of glistening pastor meat, fatty bacon, and blistered peppers topped with molten cheese — all to be scooped with hot corn tortillas. 3801 S. Sepulveda Boulevard, Culver City. —Nicole Adlman
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Los Angeles is still in the thick of summer picnic season, be they picnics on the beach, at a park, or in a backyard. The sandwiches Sarah Fakhfouri makes at Monroe Place are simply made for outdoor summertime enjoyment: They’re hearty enough to withstand a little travel, stacked on good bread (either Bub & Grandma’s or Bakers Kneaded), and combine the thoughtful flavor and textural elements that make a truly spectacular sandwich. Take the Serenity Now, for instance. It elevates the humble turkey sandwich with the addition of high-quality feta, a zippy, spicy serrano spread (which I’m personally hoping they’ll jar and sell), and a crunchuy tomato-cucumber salad. Even though it’s not technically the weekend, the shop is running a Thursday special, the Dog Days of Summer, that’s a turkey BLAT with jazz hands: It’s got Kewpie mayo spiked with Zab’s St. Augustine-style hot sauce, herbed turkey, crunchy bacon, avocado, heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market, and romaine all piled on Bub’s focaccia. If ever there was a reason to cut out early, this might be it. 8541 Washington Boulevard, Culver City. —Karen Palmer
Chinatown’s Broadway Cuisine is the sort of sprawling restaurant that has fallen out of favor across much of Los Angeles in the past decade or so. There are exceptions (Mother Wolf is one) but mostly Angelenos find themselves dining in robust and often glittery modern dining rooms — occasionally with a warehouse-y affectation — or in small, dense spaces packed in with just the right amount of people and clutter. At Broadway Cuisine the room is brimming with round tables and multi-generational families; it feels close, personal, but far, far from tiny. The menu, too, is a mix of staples and musts and have-to-order hits that feel timeless and relevant, like the kung pao chicken, the shrimp with honey walnut sauce, and the spicy green beans. It’s all part of the party at Broadway Cuisine, where banquet feasting with friends never leaves the menu (even when picking up for takeout and dining at home). 913 N. Broadway, Chinatown. —Farley Elliott
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Main Street in Santa Monica might be newly reinvigorated thanks to a spate of recent restaurant openings, but a local favorite that shouldn’t be overlooked is omusubi specialist Sunny Blue, which has held court on the street since 2010 and has a newer location in Culver City. The soft handcrafted rice balls are made-to-order — it was actually the first made-to-order omusubi shop in the U.S. — and are filled with everything from chicken or pork curry, spicy cured salmon, or ume paste with pickled plum leaves, then wrapped in a sheet of nori. Grab a rice ball or two, as well as a side of crunchy kimchi or cucumber salad, and take your perfectly sized afternoon snack to-go. 2728 Main Street, Santa Monica. —Karen Palmer
Venture into Far East Plaza at any time, any day, and it’s always buzzing with action. In the daytime hours, people wait to pick up an order from Howlin’ Ray’s, and at night, they sit for dinner at Lasita. But from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., there’s the not-to-be-missed Amboy Quality Meats & Delicious Burgers. As a competitive burger town, LA restaurants are constantly trying to one-up each other, but chef Alvin Cailan’s Chinatown spot prepares a very tasty burger. This Filipino-American chef certainly has enough experience after hosting First We Feast’s The Burger Show, but he’s also well-versed in making some delicious food throughout the Southland. One can purchase a brisket or a whole tri-tip from Snake River Farms for home prep, but while there, order his simple, juicy, meaty patty layered with caramelized onions, American cheese, pickles, and sauce on a sesame brioche bun. Also excellent is the dry-aged DH burger that’s served medium-rare with provolone, garlic confit mayo, and the same onion. In all, it’s simply wonderful while always loud and festive. Far East Plaza at 727 N. Broadway, No. 117, Chinatown. —Mona Holmes
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Sandwiches are perhaps the most egalitarian food available. They’re for everyone, and can be scaled up or down with ingredients and culinary directions depending on the chef, the diner, or even the part of town one finds themselves eating in. In Orange County, Bronx Sandwich Co. is offering its own take on the timeless dish by skewing decidedly East Coast — think Italian sandwiches on long, soft baguettes, like a roast beef and Muenster cheese or the Boss, with capicola, salami, mortadella, provolone, and lots of olive spread. This being Southern California, there are also loaded fries, pastrami options, and lots of ways to add avocado, but at its heart, Bronx Sandwich Co. is precisely as its name suggests; a spot for all, with a workaday East Coast perspective. 13041 Newport Avenue, Tustin. —Farley Elliott
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Fans of Lodge Bread Co. in Culver City have been privy to the sourdough pizza made by Or Amsalam and Alex Phaneuf for quite some time, but Full Proof Pizza’s first standalone location in Beverly Hills opens up its sphere of pizza-influence. Housed in a former Domino’s, the takeout and delivery-only spot is decked out with retro ‘80s details, like a Stranger Things pinball machine and an E.T. doll perched on a shelf. Pizzas come in 12- or 18-inch sizes, and are thin enough to fold but with a nice amount of chew and a hint of that signature sourdough tartness. The beauty of Full Proof Pizza is that you can get a classic cheese or pepperoni pie, or explore more creative “signature” pizzas, which are given a lot of care. On a recent visit, a tomato-slathered pizza was topped with soft roasted eggplant, fiery housemade sambal, and a flurry of chopped cilantro. The heat slowly inched up with each crispy bite, securing its spot as one of my new favorite pies in town. 371 South Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills. —Karen Palmer
It’s been a little over a month since Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher & Deli opened in Highland Park and the interest in LA’s first-ever vegan butcher shop hasn’t let up. And for good reason — the sandwiches are seriously good. Swing by this weekend to see what the excitement is all about. The Reuben, with its ‘kraut, cheese, and pastrami filling, is hard to beat, but the jackfruit-based Flores packs some heat and gives it a run for its money. While lesser meatless sandwiches can be too flimsy to be filling, Maciel’s creations served on Rockwagner bread are generously stuffed with protein, chock-full of flavor, and can keep one satisfied for hours. 5933 York Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin
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If you’re like me, you can only take about 36 hours in Vegas, especially when staying on the Strip. My sensibilities go for the Red Rock Overlook, treks through the Neon Museum sign graveyard, and heading towards the suburbs for hidden eats. A friend recommended that I snag a table at Shang Mian, which resides in a nondescript shopping center about 20 minutes away from the casinos. Open since 2020, Shang Mian is a casual spot that cultivates food from Shanxi Province. It’s possible to watch staff carefully and meditatively knead and hand-pull dough into dishes that are simple and wonderful. While the beef pancakes are must-haves, the dish to order is the Shang beef noodle with brisket. This herby, deeply flavorful, gelatinous stock is the base for a stunner of a dish, complete with the noodles that maintain an ideal bite. You’ll pick up that bowl to get every bit of the stock, but only after finishing the tender pieces of braised brisket. It’s the kind of dish that’s got me wondering when I can head back there to try them again. It gets crowded on weekends, so either order to-go, or settle in to wait for a freshly prepared dish. 9882 South Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas. —Mona Holmes
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Mijares is the oldest Mexican restaurant in Pasadena, which makes it among the oldest restaurants in all of Los Angeles County. It’s hard not to be impressed with the staying power of this former boarding house and tortilla factory, particularly because of its location a few blocks south of the now-prominent Colorado Boulevard stretch with its chain restaurants and big retail stores. Locals still flock here for a mix of nostalgia, cheap drinks, and an unfussy patio that offers a bit of something for everyone. While there are better places to score an enchilada combo plate around greater Los Angeles, there are few more historic ones — and that, in an age of ghost kitchens and multi-million-dollar restaurant build-outs, is all the more meaningful. Stop by soon to see what has made Mijares the century-old legend it has become. 145 Palmetto Drive, Pasadena. —Farley Elliott
Tallula’s, a Rustic Canyon Group restaurant serving modern coastal Mexican dishes along the border of the Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica, never disappoints, especially around sunset time. Here, you can find the best nachos in Los Angeles in the restaurant’s arresting nachos sencillo dish, piled high with blistered cheese, black beans, cilantro, and spicy pickled chiles (and the achiote-rubbed chicken is a smart addition). The rest of the menu shines as well, from a kanpachi aguachile negro swimming in a stormy leche de tigre broth; street tacos with shrimp diablo or fried avocado; and its revelatory esquites, kicked up with a chipotle aioli that will make you hold tightly to your water glass while eating it. The service is warm and attentive, and the patio is extremely dog-friendly. Bring your pup for a night out. 118 Entrada Drive, Santa Monica. —Nicole Adlman
Plenty has already been said about Saffy’s, the new-ish East Hollywood shawarma and kebab destination from Bestia and Bavel’s Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis. But I’m here to say: Get the challah. Even if you don’t order something that comes with challah, request thick slabs of the fluffy, ever-so-gently sweet bread baked with a crunchy black sesame crust. Whether it’s the turmeric-laced coconut cream ladled over plump, juicy mussels, or a smoky eggplant puree hiding under a pile of cherry tomatoes and cilantro, the soft bread is a must to sop it all up. (I actually preferred the challah to the crisp toasted flatbread that comes with the mussels because it provides maximum sopping ability.) At a dinner this week, two slices of the challah came with a $5 up-charge, but it’s so worth it. 4845 Fountain Avenue, East Hollywood. —Karen Palmer
Brandon Kida last made his mark at the excellent Hinoki & the Bird, an arresting Century City restaurant that felt too good for a chef of his skills. Now Kida, along with a slew of Asian American cooks, has unleashed a variety of Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Chinese flavors at the tucked-away Gunsmoke in Hollywood. The warm cabbage salad is a napa cabbage ode to Caesar salad laced with tiny Korean smelts. It’s one of the best new salads in town. The soy garlic-butter faux escargot with shiitake mushrooms is triumphant — easily one of the best non-meat dishes I’ve had this year. And the shareable lamb sisig with a ssam-style accoutrement is a fusion I can get behind: the gamey but tender lamb swimming in fat and tossed egg yolk is contrasted by pickled green papaya and crisp mini lettuce. Gunsmoke is still fairly young, and will likely crystalize into better shape over the next few weeks, but so far it’s an exciting addition to the Hollywood scene. 1550 N. El Centro Avenue, Hollywood. —Matthew Kang
Ricardo Zarate knows his way around Peruvian food (see: Rosaline and countless other Peruvian places he’s opened in LA over the years). So it’s no surprise that his Silver Lake restaurant Causita delivers both maximum flavor and restrained balance in dishes like a bright, citrusy ceviche mixto, a rich kanpachi uni tiradito, and roasted whole branzino that combine Peruvian ingredients with Japanese technique (also known as the Nikkei style of cooking).
On a recent visit, I was also really taken with the cocktails, created by Ramsey Musk. I’d been a fan of his drinks over at the now-shuttered Filipino restaurant Ma’am Sir, and here at Causita, he’s playing with traditional Peruvian and Japanese spirits like pisco and whisky to create truly innovative cocktails like the Carrot (​​macchu pisco, Lo-Fi sweet vermouth, Hans Reisetbauer carrot eau de vie, carrot top oil) and Miami Vice milk punch (a clarified blend of rums, Remy 1738, pineapple, coconut, and spices paired with strawberry daiquiri dust). Add to all of the above a lush outdoor patio on which to sip said drinks, and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous Friday or Saturday night. 3709 Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake. — Karen Palmer
Tucked behind a solid jade-green door in the Arts District, La Cha Cha Chá — Los Angeles’s sister restaurant to Terraza Cha Cha Chá in Mexico City — offers casual but transportive rooftop dining just a story or two above ground level. Our corner table was soon decorated with the works from chef Paco Moran’s seafood-leaning menu: shallot-flecked guacamole drizzled with jalapeno oil; Baja bay scallops bathed in a yuzu salsa negra broth; blue fin tuna kicked up with crispy cilantro and chile morita aioli; an asada taco dripping in its marinade with salsa de arbol alongside a bright heirloom tomato and melon summer salad and elote-ified baby corn with grated parm and chapulines.
Main dishes are no slouch either: from the achiote-rubbed pollo a la brasas to a substantial carnitas platter brightened by kumquat juices and pico de gallo (all served with warm blue corn tortillas). As the sun sets over the city, shadows will begin to dance on the table as your last dish arrives: it might be the arroz con leche, with punchier notes from its coconut pudding base and mango passionfruit bits. This isn’t a weekend experience to miss this summer, so get it while you can. 812 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman
I’m always in favor of leaning on Mediterranean/Middle Eastern when the dinner situation is unclear. LA has a wealth of great Lebanese, but Hayat’s Kitchen is up there for me along with Skaf’s, conveniently located nearby a conference I was attending this week. Lebanese dishes have their own take on the canon, their own perspective kofta, hummus, and foul. The whole experience at Hayat’s does it for me, from the airy outdoor patio (with cigar smokers tucked to one side) to the sticky baklava that comes with the check. While the lamb kebabs were the best entree of the table, tender but gorgeously browned from the grill, our favorite dish might have been the stewed foul, sporting melt-away-tender garbanzo and other beans, plus a generous sprinkle of chopped parsley. It’s a dish for which I knew the recipe in order to impress my friends at home. 11009 Burbank Boulevard, Unit 117, North Hollywood. —Matthew Kang
Keen Little Tokyo dining fans might recall Toshi Sushi, which had served in the Downtown LA neighborhood for years. Now, chef Toshihiko Seki has landed in Gardena in the former Painter’s Tape space, refreshing the dining room to accommodate a wide swath of sushi and casual Japanese food fans. Toshi-san still stands behind the bar here, with all of his warmth and enthusiasm, slicing fish with incredible speed. The sushi plates are very good, with decently seasoned rice and good construction. The lunch sushi nigiri is satisfying enough, but more substantial eaters will want to order a tray of the Nagano-sourced soba noodles, which feature a deeper buckwheat flavor. Toshi Sushi might not be a destination sushi spot, but for South Bay locals, it’s a fine addition to the neighborhood. 1725 W Redondo Beach Boulevard, Gardena. —Matthew Kang
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With so many new restaurants opening in Los Angeles, and many of them following the same successful Cal-Ital formula, a restaurant like Hippo in Highland Park can get lost in the mix. But consider this a hearty recommendation to make time for this Northeast Los Angeles gem. After four years of business, the restaurant still slaps big time. Start with a strong cocktail and an order of the namesake rolls served hot from the oven with cinnamon-honey butter. The array of thoughtfully prepared vegetables makes for a fine foundation before diving into oodles of noodles. This time of year, it doesn’t get any better than the corn cappellacci — bite-sized parcels filled with summer’s sweetest ears. The ocean trout makes for a fine follow-up and of course, finish with the butterscotch budino. 5916 1/2 North Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin
There’s something about South LA icon Earle’s on Crenshaw that is intangible and profound: maybe its closeness to the community or the familiarity of a business that opened up shop at its current location more than 30 years ago. Also of note is the consistent goodness of the food, which I encountered this week after ordering a large to-go feast of hot dogs (a behemoth spicy beef and chicken link), chili-loaded fries studded with chopped red onion, Fritos smothered in vegan chili, and an assortment of mercilessly flaky Jamaican patties. The goodness comes from the quality ingredients and inclusive approach to comfort food: I could have my chicken link (decked with mustard, ketchup, “New York-style” grilled onions, relish, sauerkraut, and hot peppers) on a gluten-free bun; the somewhat sweet vegan chili was complemented by a nuttier non-dairy cheddar. If you’re in need of a great summer hot dog, Earle’s is the moment, and always has been for discerning Angelenos. 3864 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman
Arcadia seems to be the unofficial center of the Gansu region’s dedication to hand-pulled noodles, evidenced by multiple Lanzhou-style noodle restaurants. Lan Noodle along East Huntington might appropriately be considered the most popular spot, but this even humbler restaurant, dubbed 1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle for the year the spicy beef soup of this Chinese city was supposedly invented. With up to seven different kinds of noodle choices, from thin spaghetti-like strands to wide, flat pasta-level noodles, 1919 Lanzhou follows the typical formula of chile-topped broth, tender chunks of braised beef, and wonderfully hand-pulled carbs. For my visit, I opted for the middle-of-the-road noodle, a little thicker than bucatini without the filling pulled out. It was tender to the bite with just enough softness on the outside to pull up the soup’s flavor with every slurp. Another specialty of the shop is the beef roll, rolled into tight cylinders and sliced for ideal display. These scallion pancake marvels aren’t quite as impressive as the ones at 101 Noodle Express, but paired with the stellar noodle soups, this side dish plays for pure comfort. 148 East Duarte Road, Arcadia. —Matthew Kang
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A Highland Park institution, Mexican bakery Delicias started making its legendary sandwiches, salads, coffee, and juices back in 1990. This is where to go for pan dulce, egg bread, puerquitos, and conchas. There are two shelves dedicated to plant-based pan dulce, which is one of the many reasons why Delicias stands out. Staff will explain every ingredient and help select something appealing, but it’s impossible to find a bad meal or pastry. Get there early — especially on weekends — because the display case thins out substantially as the hours go by. Don’t leave without ordering the fantastic, reasonably priced coffee before exploring Figueroa Street by foot. 5567 North Figueroa Street, Highland Park. —Mona Holmes
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I love a pizza ranking just as much as the next slice-obsessed girl (and especially one that may raise a few eyebrows). As a Westsider who’s always on the hunt for a good pie, I’ve been thrilled to have Ghisallo close by — but one of the things I love about the place is that wood-fired and New York-style pizzas are the menu stars, yes, but everything else the restaurant makes is really, really good, so you can build a lingering Italian meal with or without the pizza. Cases in point: I’m obsessed with the arancini, fried rice balls flecked with saffron and served atop a hearty oxtail ragu. And the tender beef and pork meatballs, served with zippy pomodoro, a generous dollop of ricotta, and griddled garlic bread baked in-house, are a go-to as well. Add to all of the above solid pastas and chicken Parm, as well as a relaxing back garden with tons of greenery, and you’ve got yourself one delicious evening. 1622 Ocean Park Boulevard, Santa Monica. —Karen Palmer
Easily one of the most talented new chefs in town without a permanent position, Sunny Jang, who worked at New York City’s Atomix and San Francisco’s Quince, and arrived in LA to help set up the menu (that they’re still serving) at Tokki in Koreatown, is doing a pop-up in Koreatown for the rest of this month from Wednesday to Saturday evenings. The mostly counter experience is a peek into Jang’s modern Korean sensibility, from thinly sliced geoduck cold somen noodles and Korean fried quail to an epic braised pork belly ssam entree. The ambience is hip and raw, taking place inside a natural wine bar called All Good Things (the bubbly prosecco is a great way to start). The whole endeavor reminds me a lot of the early days of Ludo Lefebvre at Bread Bar, when the French chef started making ambitious fare in an unlikely location. Jang’s talents and attention to detail are far greater than this somewhat sleepy and strangely laid out strip mall, but there’s a thrill in getting an early look at food like this before it reaches a more mainstream audience. More information on Jang’s Instagram. 2748 W 8th Street, Unit 107, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang
Mother Tongue recently opened atop the Heimat fitness complex in Hollywood and in just a few short weeks, both the restaurant’s food and service seem to be hitting their stride. Book a table either inside or out — both areas are designed by Martin Brudnizki — and soak in one of the most well-appointed spaces in town. Sip a cocktail to start, the Deep Space is ideal for whiskey lovers, while nibbling on a trio of dips served with warm pita bread. The toasted walnut muhammara is terrific. From there, criss-cross the menu and order whatever fits the mood. The lumpiang sariwa with shaved vegetables and caramelized coconut sauce works for lighter eaters, while the moqueca (Brazilian-style seafood stew) and roasted Peking duck satisfies larger appetites. Everyone loves the soft serve for dessert. 960 North La Brea Avenue, 4th Floor, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin
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If the mercury reads below 90 degrees in July, it’s a good day to be out in Los Angeles. These conditions make it ideal to venture into Smorgasburg this Sunday, where the food vendors are plentiful. From the family-operated Bungkus Bagus making spice-filled Indonesian fare to Super Frites’ gargantuan triple-cooked, beef tallow fries with aioli, Smorgasburg is an assembly of LA’s best. Many are not brick-and-mortar businesses, so arrive curious, very hungry, and with a group to sample a bite from at least four or five vendors. But if the heat is too much, head to the Kinrose Creamery stand for a scoop of the creamy saffron pistachio rose. The ice cream maker starts a weekly residency at Smorgasburg starting Sunday until Labor Day. 777 South Alameda Street, Los Angeles. —Mona Holmes
It’s not unusual for decision fatigue to settle in after a long week of work and personal responsibilities. During moments like these, restaurant tasting menus are just the thing to leave me feeling pampered and refreshed. It’s kind of magical how the good food arrives, course by course, and I don’t have to make a single decision for a three hour period. For those feeling similarly inclined this weekend, book a table at Marché Moderne and leave everything in the hands of hospitality experts. The current tasting menu includes a Dungeness crab preparation served with bottarga brioche and a petite mug of the greatest bisque ever. Also on the menu is an impeccably seared scallop with a kumquat jam. 7862 Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach. —Cathy Chaplin
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Much of LA is on Team Smashburger, but I have an occasional hankering for a more substantial restaurant burger — especially paired with a Hendricks martini (up with a twist, thank you very much). To satisfy that craving, I often find myself at old-school chophouse the Golden Bull in Santa Monica Canyon. There, a big, juicy patty is cloaked in melted smoked cheddar and topped with a slab of red onion, butter lettuce, tomato, pickles, and housemade “fancy” sauce. The sesame-dotted brioche bun is soft and sweet, the cheddar is just subtly smoky, and the kitchen gets your requested temperature on the patty correct (which I find essential when you’re ordering a larger burger like that). Yes, you should order a side of garlic and herb-dusted fries, served nice and hot, to go with it. And yes, you should have a martini, served ice-cold with a sidecar. I like to do all of the above in the bar, so I can have a view of the restaurant’s irreverent fish tank, but it’s an equally enjoyable burger-and-martini experience on the enclosed outdoor patio as well. 170 W. Channel Road, Santa Monica. —Karen Palmer
Sure, there are options for brunch all over Orange County. It’s the land of sun and surf and strip malls and easy eats, so brunch is a natural fit with the landscape. Still, few places are capable of turning an AM menu of avocado toast, chicken fried filet mignon, and duck fat gravy over tater tots into an experience. Here, weekend jazz helps to elevate the mood, fried chicken keeps people nibbling for hours, and a small, breezy patio keeps them comfortable. Paragon isn’t alone in what it’s trying to offer, but it is singular in its approach — and in a county with 8,000 other restaurants and only so much waterfront real estate, this laid-back spot with a full bar in Costa Mesa is doing more than enough. 33321-E Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa. — Farley Elliott
Smack in the middle of Silver Lake is De Buena Planta, the Northeast LA sister restaurant with the same name in Venice. The restaurant leans towards both vegan and vegetarian dishes, but if there’s anywhere to be on a warm summer weekend, it’s the patio. It’s massive and festive, feeling very much like a party with lo-fi, relaxing beats from actual DJs. Owner Heather Tierney launched brunch in May, so that stunner of an open space is ready for weekend daytime hangouts that includes an incredible fluffy pancake with piloncillo maple syrup. No one will ever know it’s gluten-free. Try the huevos divorciados or chef Chaza Smith’s delicious plant-based take on chicharrones with rice paper. Not to be overlooked is the mezcal collection and refreshing cocktails and inventive bar team lead by Lee Zaremba. Note: always ask Pip for a recommendation. Book a reservation asap, this place fills up quickly. 2815 Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake. —Mona Holmes
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