Dining in Los Angeles
Nobody saw a cheffy Indian sports bar in a Silver Lake strip mall coming, until it arrived and almost immediately hit the ball out of the park. Since opening this past summer, Pijja Palace has become one of the hottest tables in town, and for good reason: the food is thoroughly inventive and downright delicious, and the dining room is vivacious, too (in part due to the many TVs livestreaming a multitude of sports). Once you’re in, get the malai rigatoni, but also try the dosa-battered onion rings, green wings, and lamb nihari and shells. Throw in a pijja, of course, too. Look out for lunch hours in 2023.
2711 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
When a team of seasoned industry vets come together to revive a beloved past project, chances are high that it will succeed. And operator and wine expert David Rosoff and the chef Chris Feldmeier have success with Bar Moruno 2.0, their Spanish-ish Silver Lake stunner. Dave Kupchinsky is the bar manager here, and his cocktail program — think salmon martinis and Iberico old fashioneds — is a huge draw. As for food, don’t miss the pan con tomate, candied olives and almonds, or the tortilla española, among other larger format treats.
3705 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
It’s no surprise that Evan Funke’s lavish Hollywood debut is a hit. After all, his other pasta temple — Felix, in Venice — remains wildly popular at five years old. For Mother Wolf, Funke and his team pull out all of the stops with a dining room awash in marble, brass, and shades of red, and an amaro cart that’s wheeled around as a complement to dessert. Come for the pastas (particularly the spaghetti all’arrabbiata), stay for another Negroni, and be sure to slip in an order of the pizza rossa — and the stuffed and fried squash blossoms, too.
1545 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Anajak is not at all new. In fact, this Thai staple has been slinging stir-fried noodles and spicy curries in Sherman Oaks since the early ‘80s. But this year, a few seasons after chef Justin Pichetrungsi took over from his father Ricky, Anajak hit it big. And rightfully so: after instating a killer natural wine list, collaborative Thai Taco Tuesday nights, and omakase meals while also keeping the classics up to speed, the younger Pichentrungsi is getting the credit he deserves. Set some Notifys, and get over there.
14704 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
This year, Kato came back, bigger and better than ever before. Now in an airy, tranquil setting in the Arts District, chef Jon Yao crafts his ambitious Taiwanese-influenced tasting menus five nights a week for significantly more diners than his original West L.A. location could fit. The cocktail program is new at Kato 2.0, too, and has plenty to offer, including a milk punch made with boniato yam shoyu, an umami-loaded byproduct of the kitchen’s yam miso production. If you’re someone who has yet to try what Kato has to offer, consider treating yourself to find out.
777 South Alameda Street, Building 1, Suite 114, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Cobi’s opened late last year and has since become the rare West side restaurant that East siders will travel for. Why? For one, the Southeast Asian menu is unlike anything else in town, with highlights ranging from raw kanpachi in a pool of finger lime, green chile, and coconut dressing to beef rendang topped with crispy shallots and complemented by gulai sauce and spicy sambal. The vibe, too, which is lively and decidedly floral (wallpaper, chandeliers, and mismatched dishware, and all), is a major draw, no matter where you’re coming from.
2104 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
The Garden at Horses
Now well over a year old, Horses remains L.A.’s ultimate see-and-be-seen hangout, so long as you can nab a table. It’s where in-the-know out-of-towners want to go when they visit, and it’s a prized pick for birthday dinners. Luckily for everyone who can’t get enough, the team unveiled a new outdoor dining room this past fall, with a fresh menu to boot. The cuisine is in the same vein, but instead of pasta there are pizzettes, plus warm dates stuffed with soppressata, and a beef carpaccio-topped lavash that might just exceed the salmon version served indoors.
7617 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
With Saffy’s, Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis of Bestia and Bavel have expanded their empire outside of the Downtown area to great success. Now in East Hollywood, the accomplished couple are dishing out next-level hummus, shawarma, kebab, and bergamot chocolate cake with rose ganache nightly, in addition to pastries and coffee in the mornings at the attached next-door café. The latest addition to the Saffy’s universe is an Arabic breakfast spread, served at the latter, on weekend mornings, when you’ll have an easier chance at walking in.
4845 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029
After opening its flagship Chinatown brewery and taproom in the summer of 2021, Homage added a top-notch food menu to the mix at the beginning of this year. Between the kitchen — which is helmed by chef Jasmine Ramirez and serves scallop crudo, masa-battered fried chicken sandwiches, and an excellent cheese plate — the ever-evolving beer lineup, the selection of natural wines, and the regular DJ nights, it’s a hot spot that deserves to be even hotter this year.
New Chinatown, 281 S. Thomas St. #101, Pomona, CA 91766
Great White is a casual all-day cafe with a focus on fresh, local cuisine paired with great coffee & drinks. With three different locations in Los Angeles, this restaurant blends laid-back Australian café culture with the West Coast Californian lifestyle.
8917 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood