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25 New Restaurants to Try Around Los Angeles

By Lesley Balla
September 12, 2014
Photo by: Holy Cow BBQ

Where and what do we eat tonight? That's the eternal question on everyone's mind. We're here to help answer it with a roundup of new and notable openings around LA in the past month, from Downtown LA to Burbank to the South Bay. This week: Holy Cow brings real bbq to the Santa Monica, a slick new boutique hotel restaurant opens in Pasadena, and Phillip Frankland Lee debuts his vegetable-focused Gadarene Swine in the Valley. Check them all out in the slide show below, starting with the most recent debuts at the top. And be sure to check back often for the latest.

  • Holy Cow BBQ

    Taking over the former Louise’s across from the Brentwood Country Mart is the new bbq joint from Rob Serritella and the Messhall Kitchen crew. With chef Michael Rosen (Zeke’s Smokehouse), there’s smoked and saucy meats in all their glory, from Texas-style brisket to Santa Maria-style tri-tip, Carolina pulled pork, baby back ribs, chicken and more. Sides include kettle beans, creamed greens, sweet potatoes and mac and cheese. There’s even an El Jefe, a Cuban-style sandwich named for, we guess, the fake El Jefe food truck from the movie Chef. Holy Cow goes full throttle on Saturday, September 13. The restaurant will open daily at 11 AM and close at 10 PM on the weekdays, and 11 PM on weekends.

    264 26th St.; 310-883-6269

  • Photo by: DusitD2


    This new restaurant and adjacent lobby lounge, d’bar, opened at the DusitD2 Constance Pasadena hotel, a boutique stay on Colorado Boulevard near Lake Avenue. This is the first U.S. hotel for the international brand, which has properties throughout the Middle East and Asia. Although the building was a decaying retirement community in recent years, it was originally built in 1926 as a resort hotel; nothing about it screams “old Pasadena" anymore, though. The decor is super mod and electric, with neon blues and purples in the lounge and pops of yellow everywhere. The ground floor D2 restaurant has a pretty limited right now, including some small bites like smoked shrimp cocktail, kale and quinoa bruschetta, and charcuterie, but chef Hansen Lee, who was most recently at The Langham nearby, will be adding dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner as things progress. There’s already a decent looking happy hour with a lot of $6.26 specials.

    928 E. Colorado Blvd.; 626-898-7900

  • Photo by: Stephen Zwick

    Gadarene Swine

    Chef Phillip Frankland Lee (Scratch|Bar) turns to the humble vegetable for his new Studio City restaurant. The concept is similar to his funky Beverly Hills spot, which features modern, innovative cuisine, only this one looks more like a Bavarian cottage (it was the old Eggplant space) with a white picket fence enclosing the front patio, rustic decor (think: wooden bowls, ceramic pots) and earthy vibe. The current menu highlights a vegetable, but there’s no real way of knowing how carrots, onions, cauliflower, and corn on the cob are prepared. Expect the unexpected. The name is a biblical reference to a time when Jesus cast demons into a herd of pig who jumped off a cliff and drowned. pigs = vegetarian.

    11266 Venture Blvd.; 818-508-5500

  • Salt & Straw

    The Portland ice cream shop lands on Larchmont on September 13 bringing all sorts of flavors from tomato water sherbet to sea salt with caramel ribbons, coffee with Compartes chocolate-covered peanuts, and freckled woodblock chocolate. Some new LA-specific flavors will include ingredients like organic peaches and Grand Poppy liqueur from Downtown LA's Greenbar Distillery. The shop will open daily from 10 AM-11 PM.

    240 N. Larchmont Blvd.

  • Photo by: Bacari PDR

    Bacari PDR

    From the guys behind USC wine bar Bacaro LA — brothers Robert Kronfli and Daniel Kronfli, and Chef Lior Hillel — comes a similar concept in the heart of Playa del Rey. Look for a constantly rotating list of esoteric wines, craft beers, cocktails by The Virgil’s Adam Sondroni, and cecchetti, or Italian small plates, like crab crostini, lamb burgers with the Konfli brothers’ own kale tahini sauce, roasted bone marrow, grilled pizza and more. To celebrate the opening, there’s happy hour everyday until September 24. Dishes are $6 with cocktail and sangria specials (5 PM-midnight).

    6805 Vista Del Mar Ln.; 310-439-2100

  • Olive & Thyme

    Melina and Christian Davies moved their popular Toluca Lake cafe and marketplace to bigger digs a couple blocks away. The menu is pretty much the same — salads, pastries, sandwiches, cheeses, those delicious puddings in a jar — but a new chef, Joe Marcos, who was last at The Spice Table, has taken charge. There’s also a wine bar menu with things like bacon-wrapped dates, charcuterie, fried chicken with harissa aioli and steak with roasted pepper salad. Hours are basically 8 AM-9 PM daily, except Saturday, when it’s open 9 AM-4 PM, and Sunday, when it’s closed.

    3821 Riverside Dr.; 818-557-1560

  • Photo by: Dunkin' Donuts

    Dunkin' Donuts

    You’d think it was the second coming the way people lined up for the first LA-area outpost of the mostly national chain. It’s been years since the rumors started, and all of those East Coast expats addicted to the mediocre donuts and coffee waiting in line, some overnight, to be the first to get their breakfast sandwiches, Munchkins and iced coffees. More are slated to open around the area, first in Whittier, Downey and Long Beach, with up to 200 more landing in the next few years.

    1132 Wilshire Blvd.; 310-576-9200

  • Photo by: The Nice Guy

    The Nice Guy

    The h.wood Group (Hooray Henry’s, Shore Bar, Bootsy Bellows) opened their first restaurant concept in the former Mezze space (and Sona before that). Think: swank Italian lounge with big booths, blue crab arancini, meatballs, pizza, Moscow Mules and, oh, live music throughout the evening.

    401 N. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-360-9500

  • Haché LA

    This new burger joint took over the former Tarascos space on Sunset Boulevard, just across the street from Night + Market Song. The specialty is sirloin burgers, real steak burgers, grilled and served on a cracked wheat bun. The menu is pretty limited right now with two kinds of burgers, fries, beer and wine, but will expand more to resember owner Michel Schepers’ menu at his Orange County spot, Mick’s Karma Bar. PS: There’s a great patio.

    3319 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-928-2963

  • Meat District Co.

    Adding more meat to an already meaty corner of Old Town Pasadena, this new spot from Australia's Platinum Restaurant Group opened in the former Xiomara space. Now more open with wood-slat walls covered in industrial cranks and wheels, Edison-bulb light fixtures, gleaming white subway tile, an open kitchen and big bar, the extensive menu offers everything from beet root fries to half-pound burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, wood-grilled steaks and chops, seafood and waffle desserts. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

    69 N. Raymond Ave.; 626-765-9902

  • Brilliantshine

    Adding to the ever-flowing cocktail scene is Brilliantshine, a newcomer from Julian Cox and Josh Goldman set in the former Renee's Courtyard (behind what's now Tinga). Because it's set back from the street, it feels a little bit like a speakeasy, with vintage accents throughout, like swinging saloon door at the entryway, copper-topped tables and a piano in the dining room. Exactly the kind of spot you want to seek out for outdoor sipping in the courtyard, or tucked into a corner in the cozy bar. On the food front, they have chef Richie Lopez (Paiche) creating unique bar eats with a Peruvian bent, things like sea urchin rice with lobster, pork belly hash with beets and poached eggs, and tai snapper crudo. The restaurant and bar open at 5 PM and close at 2 AM; it's closed on Mondays.

    522 Wilshire Blvd.; 310-451-0045

  • New Port Seafood

    A longstanding San Gabriel favorite for Southeast Asian (Cambodian, Thai and Vietnamese) and Chinese cuisine has opened much farther west in Beverly Hills. The menu isn’t as large as the original locations, and it will be easier to read, but a lot of the favorites will be served, including the sizzling chile lobster, salt and pepper crab, and beef dishes.

    50 N. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-855-0088

  • Wildcraft

    After a little more than a year in, Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza chef and owner Tin Vuong and owner Jed Sanford, who collectively also have Little Sister, Abigaile and Dia de Campo in the South Bay beach cities, have made some changes to the Culver City restaurant. Now called Wildcraft, the look and feel is more "Italian tavern," which translates to glossy black, smoke glass and brass accents, and the menu offers more than pizza and salads. Vuong brought in chef Bryant Wigger from Pasadena's Trattoria Neapolis as executive chef, to focus on a wider array of Northern Italian antipasti, handmade pastas, grilled meats and seafood. Check out some new dishes here.

    9725 Culver Blvd.; 310-815-8100

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla


    Armando De La Torre Sr. and his son Armando Jr. have officially debuted their third Guisados location in the Spring Arcade Building in Downtown LA. It's a little bit larger than the original Boyle Heights and Echo Park locations, with more dine-in space, and also big enough for higher turnover. We hope this alleviates the lines at either of the others, but it's too early to tell. While expansion is key to the family restaurant, don't expect the handmade tortillas, stewed meat tacos, cool aguas frescas and fiery hot habanero salsa to change. But there are new breakfast tacos and horchata spiked with Stumptown cold brew in the mornings, and beer and wine will be available once that license goes through. Guisados Downtown opens at 7:30 AM daily for breakfast and closes late.

    541 S. Spring St. # 101; 213-627-7656

  • Photo by: Sushi Tsujita

    Sushi Tsujita

    From the Tsujita ramen family, this sushi spot is now open in the former Orris space, a room with geometric bamboo panels lining the walls and ceiling, a few seats along the sushi bar, banquettes and a patio lounge for waits. This is edomae-style sushi, which means it’s simplicity at its best with top-notch ingredients, and omakase only, with menus priced $120, $150 and $180. It’s dinner only for now, with lunch coming on August 17. Read more here.

    2006 Sawtelle Blvd.; 310-231-1177

  • Photo by: Little Jewel

    The Little Jewel of New Orleans

    Adding to the eclectic mix of incoming restaurants and bars in Chinatown, this marketplace and counter is a New Orleans expat’s dream. The shelves are full of goods like cans of Cafe du Monde chicory coffee and Zatarain’s rice mixes, and you can order made-to-order, honest-to-goodness fried shrimp, oyster, roast beef and pork po’ boys on New Orleans’ own Leidenheimer Baking Co. bread. Chef-owner Marcus Christiana-Beniger is already working on housemade sausages, including hot links and boudin blanc.

    207 Ord St.; 213-620-0461

  • Photo by: Black Hogg

    ROOTS at Black Hogg

    After a brief hiatus, chef Eric Park rechristened his Silver Lake restaurant with a new name, menu and slight facelift. Going back to his Korean roots, Park is now serving things like aged bean curd, short rib cartilage and whole fried fish along with some of Black Hogg’s more popular items, like the bone marrow burger. Only ten of those are available each night, between 6 PM and 7 PM.

    2852 W Sunset Blvd.; 323-953-2820

  • Photo by: KazuNori


    After a sneak peek at Coachella this year, the group behind fast-casual sushi chain Sugarfish, Kazunori Nozawa and the Nozawa family, debuted their inaugural hand-roll bar in Downtown LA. Like Sugarfish, KazuNori serves fast and efficient sushi at an affordable price. But here it's all hand rolls, all the time, served as set meals for $10-$17. Kazunori Nozawa was a hand-roll pioneer at his original Sushi Nozawa, the beloved Studio City sushi bar he closed in 2012 after 25 years. So it all makes sense. 

    421 S. Main St.

  • Photo by: Audrey Ma


    Roy Choi has his sights set on making vegetables cool and "relevant" at his fourth concept at The Line Hotel, which is now open for dinner. Set in a greenhouse next to the hotel pool, there's everything from cold-pressed juices to salads, grilled vegetable dishes, new sauces and more. It’s a diversion from Pot and the Cafe, which feature heavier and meatier dishes, yet it fits right into Choi’s menagerie. Matt Biancaniello once again created cocktails, especially some “gin & juice,” made with fresh beet, watermelon or carrot juice. Breakfast is on the way. Read more here.

    3515 Wilshire Blvd.; 213-368-3030

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Petit Trois

    One of the biggest openings of the year comes in the most diminutive of spaces. Petit Trois is the sophomore effort for dream team Ludovic Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, who also own and operate Trois Mec next door. And like its sibling, there are rules: no reservations (no phone at all), no cash (credit card only) and the gratuity is already added to each check — whether it's for a glass of wine or a full meal. This is food Lefebvre was born to cook — the simple and more humble fare of his homeland in Burgundy. There's an amazing Boursin-filled omelet, steak frites, mussels and more. Here’s a first look.

    718 N. Highland Ave.

  • Ramen Burger

    If you're the imaginative sort, this creation looks exactly as it sounds — a ground beef patty sandwiched between two buns made of crispy ramen noodle cakes, with various sauces, vegetables and cheese. Ramen Burger is the brainchild of Keizo Shimamoto, who found a permanent home at the small take-out window next to the speakeasy Lock & Key in Koreatown. You can get the burger in various flavors, including the original beef version; one spiked with sriracha; a veggie ramen burger; and another made with a salmon patty. It's regularly open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 5 PM-midnight.

    239 S. Vermont Ave.

  • Tatsu Ramen

    From one of Sawtelle's more popular ramen shops, where you order and customize your Bold, Soul, Naked or Black ramen via a large iPad screen, comes this new offshoot on the corner of La Brea and Melrose. The space is open and mod, with lots of counter and communal seating, geometric shapes on the ceilings, blonde woods with pops of bold primary colors and a room where you can see the noodle-making process. Hours are limited for now: 11 AM-2 PM and 7-10 PM.

    7111 Melrose Ave.; 323-747-1388

  • Photo by: Modan Ramen

    Modan Artisanal Ramen

    Dangling light bulbs, slate gray metal chairs, different shades of polished woods — this ramen restaurant follows the design trends du jour. Tucked behind the Bristol Farms in South Pasadena, Modan serves twists on traditional tonkotsu, soy (shoyu), vegetarian and spicy ramen. Karrage wings, pork sliders and Brussels sprouts also make appearances on the small menu.

    700 Fair Oaks Ave.; 626-799-2878

  • Photo by: Burger Lounge

    Burger Lounge

    Swapping out one burger chain for another, the 13th outpost of Burger Lounge has debuted in the former Hamburger Hamlet Xpress spot in Larchmont Village. It's fitting: organic buckwheat salad, romaine and kale Ceasars, fresh strawberry milkshakes and organic burgers are more in line with the yoga/shopping/farmers market set. In addition to the grass-fed beef, seared albacore, turkey and housemade veggie burgers, there's now a limited edition fried chicken sandwich topped with avocado vinaigrette, roasted tomato, chayote-jicama slaw and cotija cheese. Hand-cut fries are an obvious choice for a side, although you'll also find light and crisp onion rings. The likes of lavender-mint lemonade, that aforementioned milkshake and fun craft sodas are officially fitting for summer. A beer and wine license is on the way.

     217 N. Larchmont Ave.; 323-462-2310

  • McConnell's Ice Cream

    Just one amazing new ice cream shop around town this summer, this third-generation family-owned Santa Barbara-based company sits in Grand Central Market. Known for super-creamy, indulgent ice creams made with local, sustainable and organic ingredients, the Hybrid French Pot churning process is one reason why there are no preservatives, fillers, additives or stabilizers here. Try things like Churro Con Leche ice cream, made with real churros, Eureka Lemon and Marionberries or our beloved Salted Caramel Chip. New flavors will make appearances as seasons dictate, like the Summer Fruit Cobbler with its bits of peaches, raspberry jam and sweet golden crumble mixed right in. Ice cream sandwiches with fresh-baked cookies, shakes and sundaes are also on offer.

    317 South Broadway; 213-346-9722

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