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The 15 Hottest Restaurants Around LA

By Lesley Balla
October 13, 2014

Another month, another new group of culinary newcomers across the Southland. Here's the updated list of the 15 hottest restaurants on the scene right now, whether brand new or still worth the hype. The latest include a new Italian steakhouse on West Third Street and a West Third Street staple landing in the Valley. It's almost impossible to keep up, but consider this your checklist for tonight's dinner plans. Keep your eyes here and on the list of newest spots around town and check back often.

And bonus: peek inside a few of these tables up close and personal in our video below.

  • Photo by: Sushi Tsujita

    Sushi Tsujita

    Why It’s Hot: 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.

    Must-Order: Omakase, of course. Expect to see a sea of interesting fish, including longtooth grouper, blackthroat sea perch, mantis shrimp and grilled Taraba crab.

    Insider Tip: While a typical meal here could break the bank, you can get out there for a budget-friendly lunch; just stick with the $15 chirashi bowls: warm rice topped with a variety of sashimi pieces of the day.

    2006 Sawtelle Blvd.; 310-231-1177

  • Photo by: Joan's on Third

    Joan’s on Third Studio City

    Why It’s Hot: Not having to drive over the hill for Joan McNamara’s comfort-food classics, great cheese selection, picnic provisions and pastries is a boon for Valley dwellers. The new Joan’s on Third brings all the West Third Street staples to Studio City, including McNamara’s handpicked gourmet items, cookbooks and gift ideas. It’s where to stop for breakfast, lunch on the go or dinner at the communal tables or perfectly packaged for home.

    Must-Order: Of course the chicken Milanese, mac 'n' cheese, Chinese chicken salad and turkey meatloaf, all favorites at the original. But also the cheeseburger, now available Monday through Friday from 3 PM on. Read here for more menu ideas.

    Insider Tip: Breakfast is lovely here during weekdays when it’s a bit slower. Weekends are packed, especially on Sundays with the Studio City farmer's market just outside the front door.

    12059 Ventura Pl.; 323-655-1967

  • Photo by: Ryan Tanaka

    Alimento

    Why It’s Hot: Silver Lakers are flocking to chef Zach Pollack’s (Sotto) first solo effort. Situated near L&E Oyster Bar and LAMILL, the rustic Italian fare and accessible wine list is a nice addition to the neighborhood. Different regions of Italy as well as the tastes of LA inspire Pollack’s menu, so you’ll find small and large plates, seasonal salads and handmade pastas. Larger plates, like the hearty bone-in pork shank, are great for a group.

    Must-Order: The chopped salad with chickpea purée; tortellini that are like soup dumplings with prosciutto cream sauce; squid-ink radiatori with shellfish and summer vegetables; the budino.

    Insider Tip: The diminutive dining room gets full fast, and reservations are already tough to come by. Slip in on the earlier or later side and you can probably get a seat at the bar, which is reserved for walk-ins. Take a more in-depth look at some of the food here.

    1710 Silver Lake Blvd.; 323-928-2888

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Pistola

    Why It’s Hot: Chef Vic Casanova (Gusto) and managing partner Seth Glassman (RivaBella) have transformed the former A.O.C. space into a handsome Italian steakhouse for everything from meatballs and martinis to wood-fired steaks and more. 

    Must-Order: Lobster al forno, a whole wood-charred Maine lobster; grilled branzino; the hefty porterhouse with salsa verde; and any of the pastas, including the squid-ink agnolotti swimming in uni butter. Here's more from the First Look.

    Insider Tip: Dinner service begins at 6 PM, but the bar opens at 5:30 PM, the perfect time to saunter in for a martini. 

    8022 W. Third St.; 323-951-9800

  • Photo by: Brilliantshine

    Brilliantshine

    Why It’s Hot: This new spot from Julian Cox and Josh Goldman blurs the line of a good bar with great food and a good restaurant with exceptional drinks, but it’s definitely adding some cache to the ever-growing Westside cocktail scene. Tucked behind Tinga in the former Renee’s Courtyard space, with vintage accents, copper-topped tables and an upright piano, it’s 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.

    Must-Order: 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. Cocktails like the Red Light Special, served in a hollowed-out Edison bulb, are as clever as they are delicious.

    Insider Tip: It’s not just a nighttime hang — weekend brunch is pretty spiffy with spritzy cocktails and Peruvian pancakes.

    522 Wilshire Blvd.; 310-451-0045

  • Night + Market Song

    Why It’s Hot: Kris Yenbamroong’s follow-up to his popular Night + Market in West Hollywood (“song” means “two” in Thai), this colorful Silver Lake offshoot offers a similar menu of Thai street-food specialties, most topping the spice meter.

    Must-Order: The catfish tamale full of spice and herbs; "party wings," or sweet-and-spicy chicken wings; his housemade sausages like the sai uah, an herbed sausage, and the isaan sour sausage; the spicy salads, like chicken larb minced with chiles, a lot of red onion and cilantro; and stir-fries, including pad Thai but also the dynamite crab fried rice; anything Yenbamroong creates for a special.

    Insider Tip: The restaurant is still working on its beer and wine license, so there’s no booze and a strict no-BYO policy (otherwise it will jeopardize proceedings).

    3322 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-849-0223

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Petit Trois

    Why It’s Hot: 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. Like Trois Mec, the very classically French menu is handled more by Lefebvre, with Shook, Dotolo and their team handling the operational side of things.

    Must-Order: The menu is tres petit, so — everything. Jambon beurre, a ham and butter sandwich, and the pan bagnat at lunch; the Boursin-stuffed omelet; steak smothered in French onion sauce with perfect thin frites; mussels; the chicken leg with frisse; any dessert; and definitely the panache, a lemonade and beer concoction that goes down too easily. Here’s a closer look.

    Insider Tip:  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.

    718 N. Highland Ave.

  • Photo by: Audrey Ma

    Commissary

    Why It’s Hot: It has the Roy Choi touch. The chef’s fourth and final concept at Koreatown’s Line Hotel is more vegetable-focused than Pot or Cafe, and set in a greenhouse near the pool.

    Must-Order: Once you figure out the menu — there are cards with hand-drawn images of vegetables and details behind each dish; you match up the vegetable with the sauce, etc. — you’ll find things like grilled radicchio and romaine with bacon, avocado and peaches; grilled corn with crushed red chile pepper; radishes with butter; and even a rib-eye. Drinks are from Matt Biancaniello, and as with the Pot Bar, they look normal on paper but are full of oomph in the glass, like “gin and juice,” which is prepared with fresh beet, watermelon, apple or carrot juices.

    Insider Tip: Unlike Pot, Commissary takes reservations. It’s only for dinner now, but will soon debut breakfast and lunch.

    3515 Wilshire Blvd.

  • Photo by: Moretti Photo

    Tipple & Brine

    Why It’s Hot: Bringing a taste of the sea to the Valley, or at least a place for super-chilled oysters, an extensive whiskey list and a menu of seasonally charged small plates, Tipple & Brine has become a hotbed of activity. Chef Mike Williams has created a tantalizing menu, the oysters are great, and the energy is fun. By the looks of the Sherman Oaks crowds slurpping it all up, the place was much wanted and needed.

    Must-Order: Things like roasted cauliflower with currants, almonds and cauliflower cream; slabs of toast smothered in avocado mousse, briny slivers of uni and cool radishes; fried octopus with squid ink, charred shishito peppers and mojo; pork chop.

    Insider Tip: If you’re there on the weekend, checkout The Tunnel Bar down the alley. It's a speakeasy-ish spot with a more extensive cocktail menu and a stricter dress code.

    14633 Ventura Blvd.; 818-528-2550

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Superba Food & Bread

    Why It’s Hot: This everything restaurant is a welcome sight on a stretch of Lincoln Boulevard in Venice that really needed more great food options. It’s a coffee and wine bar, breakfast and dinner spot, a brunch powerhouse and bakery — and it all works. Fans have already picked favorites from chef Jason Travi's menu. They can't stop talking about croissants, desserts and breads from pastry chef Lincoln Carson and head baker Jonathan Eng.

    Must-Order: Breakfast pastries like pretzel croissants and currant scones; testa-covered toast with hot-pepper jelly; butter lettuce salads with colorful carrots; seared Arctic char covered with a tangle of pea tendrils; the rotisserie rib-eye that’s only available on Saturday nights.

    Insider Tip: Pay attention to the daily specials, which range from the Golden Arcs Burger (Mondays) to fried chicken with greens and biscuits (Sundays).

    1900 S. Lincoln Blvd.; 310-907-5075

  • Smoke.Oil.Salt.

    Why It’s Hot: Traditional Spanish cuisine full of all three — smoke, oil and salt — is what you'll find at this Melrose newcomer. Chef Perfecto Rocher is giving new life to the former Angeli Caffe space with a regular menu of specialties from Valencia, Spain and beyond, plus paella nights on Sundays and Mondays.

    Must-Order: Catalan tomato toast; cod croquetas; the oyster, mussel and octopus cocktail in tiger-nut milk; sea urchin flan; potatoes bravas with ham and a fried egg; grilled Iberico pork with smoked green onions; lots of wine.

    Insider Tip: Walk-ins are tight in this two-room space, but the wine bar in the second room is usually available if you forgot to make a reservation (you’ll need one).

    7274 Melrose Ave.; 323-930-7900

  • Playa Provisions

    Why It’s Hot: As a follow-up to The Tripel and Hudson House, Top Chef runner-up Brooke Williamson and husband (and co-chef) Nick Roberts unleash four concepts in one in Playa del Rey: an ice cream counter called Small Batch; a market for pastries, desserts, and grab-and-go salads, sandwiches and other treats at King Beach; a back-room whiskey bar, Grain; and Dockside, a full-service seafood restaurant, which is currently only open for weekend brunch.

    Must-Order: At Dockside, the breakfast sandwich with turkey, bacon sausage, Gruyère and a fried egg is turning heads. There are crab pops with Old Bay mayo, and whole pies served family-style with pints of ice cream at the table. Pastries and ice cream at Small Batch are perfect for the summer. 

    Insider Tip: With so many moving parts, it’s been a slow roll-out of all of the concepts, but the whiskey bar just recently started serving nightly (6 PM-2 AM).

    119 Culver Blvd.; 310-821-2119

  • Union

    Why It’s Hot: Bruce Kalman, the pickle king behind Bruce's Prime Pickle Co. and the former chef at places like The Churchill and The Misfit, brings seasonal everything to this Old Town bistro, plus handmade pastas, head-to-tail butchering and charcuterie. Think Northern Italian cuisine with a decidedly California edge. There's paper on the tables and foods that arrive on big slabs of wood for a rustic touch.

    Must-Order: Pork meatballs; cauliflower with capers, raisins, candied garlic and thyme; asparagus and artichoke salad with duck egg; spelt cavatelli; porchetta; spot prawns with treviso and Cara Cara oranges.

    Insider Tip: This is a great walk-in spot when Old Town surges with crowds. The bar makes a fine spot for a glass of wine and a few light bites.

    37 E. Union St., Pasadena; 626-795-5841

  • Faith & Flower

    Why It’s Hot: From the group behind Los Angeles Food & Wine and Pebble Beach Food & Wine, among other things, this swank new Downtown spot is more luxe than it has to be, but is still casual for lunch, brunch or late-night drinks. Chef Michael Hung’s menu is playful with twists on steakhouse and comfort-food classics. The cocktail program is fantastic, as is the ever-growing, eclectic wine list.

    Must-Order: Jidori deviled eggs topped with kimchi; oxtail agnolotti; the roast sturgeon; mushroom pizza (or just any pizza); rib-eye with oyster sauce; and absinthe after dinner, especially for the fiery show.

    Insider Tip: Love oysters? Hit happy hour for $1 oysters, $8 specialty cocktails and more at the bar, only from 5-6:30 PM Sunday through Thursday.

    705 W. Ninth St.; 213-239-0642

  • Republique

    Why It’s Hot: Walter and Margarita Manzke team up with restaurateur Bill Chait to open a gorgeous French-inspired restaurant in the former Campanile space. The old bones hold the new design well, bringing buzzy, fresh energy to this storied location.

    Must-Order: Bread with French butter; beef tartare ($18); buttery escargot topped with pastry puff pouffes ($12); charcuterie board of housemade terrines and pâtés ($24); Brussels sprouts with frisée, bacon and poached egg ($14); and chocolate cake.

    Insider Tip: For fewer crowds and more sunshine pouring in through the new wall of windows, check out breakfast — pastries, breads and Verve coffee — at the bakery.

    624 S. La Brea Ave.; 310-362-6115

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Places Mentioned

Republique

French • Hancock Park

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Faith & Flower

New American • Downtown

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smoke.oil.salt

Spanish • Fairfax

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Union

Pasadena

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Superba Food & Bread

American • Venice Beach

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Playa Provisions

Playa Del Rey

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Alimento

Silver Lake

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Sushi Tsujita

Japanese • West Los Angeles

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Pistola

Beverly Grove

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Brilliantshine

Santa Monica

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