Openings

25 New Restaurants to Try Around Los Angeles

By Lesley Balla
March 13, 2015
By Lesley Balla  |  March 13, 2015
Photo by: Lesley Balla

The seasons change, restaurants come and go, but the eternal question remains the same: where should we eat tonight? We're here to help answer that with a roundup of new and notable openings around LA over the last month, from Downtown LA to Burbank to the South Bay. This week: Brendan Collins opens a bistro in Hollywood,; New England lobster rolls roll into Silver Lake; and new beer and wine-focused spots 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 every week for the latest and greatest openings.

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Birch

    Chef Brendan Collins (Waterloo & City) opened his first solo project along the Cahuenga Corridor in Hollywood. With a few tables in the dining room, a small bar and a couple of communal tables, it's not a big space, but it is a lot brighter than many others along the corridor. The clean lines, whitewashed woods, gleaming marble and unpolished metals stand out among the bump-thumping spots of Hollywood. When weather permits, a garage door opens to the sidewalk and there are balcony barstools that jut outside, plus patio tables along the alley behind the restaurant. For any fans of Collins' menus at Waterloo, his dishes, from small plates to larger format offerings, will seem familiar, only with more LA influences. Here's a first look.

    1634 Cahuenga Blvd.; 323-960-3369

  • Public School 818

    Opening across from the Sherman Oaks Galleria, this new outpost of the school-themed restaurant and bar chain features favorites the other Public Schools are known for: bacon-and-cheddar tots, lamb burgers and brunch plates of eggs Benedict pizza, stuffed French toast and fried Jidori chicken and green chile cornbread waffles. What to drink: There are 24 taps rotating with seasonal, local and craft brews, and the weekday happy hour (Monday through Friday, 4-7 PM) is a great to try them.

    15300 Ventura Blvd.; 818-728-9818

  • Augustine

    The forces behind Bar Covell, Dustin Lancaster and Matthew Kaner, partnered with longtime friend and customer Dave Gibbs to open this charming little wine bar in Sherman Oaks. Full of vintage radios, a piano and other bric-a-brac, it's a slightly funky and fun spot, just the kind of place to stop for a glass of wine and a bite. The ambitious wine list includes up to 75 wines by the glass, including vintage selections from Gibbs' own private collection, so you might find something like an 1874 Chateau Lafite or 1934 Chateau Margaux, but also more familiar Pinot Noirs and rosés from the Central Coast or Italian vermentino, with prices ranging from $10-$100 per glass and bottles up to $1,000. If you ever wanted to drink your "birth year wine," this is probably the place. There are a few rare beers on tap and in the bottle, and a small-but-growing menu of wine-friendly food from new-to-LA chef Evan Algorr, things like root vegetable Caesar salad, with shaved raw and crispy carrots, beets and parsnips; braised octopus with chickpeas, chorizo and cotija-cilantro crema; and striped bass with fennel confit, tomato and saffron.

    13456 Ventura Blvd.; 818-990-0938

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Knuckle & Claw

    This chic Silver Lake shack from new restaurateurs Chloe Dahl and Nikki Booth is the first to bring a Martha's Vineyard vibe out west. Dahl — if the name sounds familiar, yes, her grandfather is beloved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl — grew up in LA, but summered on the Vineyard, so this her homage to both. Booth, a Northwest native who lived in Hawaii, is an island girl in her own right. The two created this fun little space for beach-y eats along Sunset Boulevard, including lobster rolls with whole claw and knuckle meat, and fresh blue crab rolls and shrimp rolls, all made with mayo on the bun and butter and secret spice on top. There are chowders, bisque and whoopie pie chocolate bars, as well. Here's everything you need to know.

    3112 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-407-6142

  • Photo by: Yelp

    Dune

    Everyone who has already discovered this little storefront in Atwater Village has gone crazy for the falafel sandwiches. With nothing more than a counter and a few stools, chef Scott Sweizen (formerly Elf Cafe) is serving falafel wraps on fresh made-to-order pita, placating just about every palate and diet — vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free (without pita). There’s also lamb for the carnivores. The falafel, which are big, crispy and soft inside, come with humms, herbs and pickles in the warm bread. Order at the counter to go, or take the sandwiches outside to sit at one of the neighborhood’s communal tables. Take note: the place is closed on Sundays, which we hangrily discovered one weekend.

    3143 Glendale Blvd.

  • Photo by: Ashland Hill

    Ashland Hill

    This new beer and wine garden in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood replaces the longstanding (for more than 40 years) Wildflour Pizza parlor. What’s in store now is a sleek space with a huge patio, many craft beers on tap and wines by the glass and bottle. Chef Brad Miller, who’s working with the FNA Hospitality Group on other concepts like Art’s Table on Montana Avenue, has created a menu of small plates with big flavor, things like red curry deviled eggs, lamb and pork meatballs, Niman Ranch pork belly tacos, chargrilled hangar steak with miso garlic butter, and fried cauliflower with salmariglio and saffron mayo. Brunch features egg-filled croissant sandwiches, omelettes, hash and cinnamon French toast with citrus cream cheese. Opens at 5 PM and closes at 10 PM during the weekend and midnight on weekends. Brunch is served from 10:30 AM-3 PM on Saturday and Sundays.

    2807 Main St.; 310-392-3300

  • Photo by: Gary Kruegar

    Continental

    This new restaurant from Jay Sadofsky and chef-partner Jesse Genovese opened a few blocks from Warner Bros. Studios, in a building that was once the original IHOP (build in 1958). The dining room and bar feel a little throwback to the golden days, with dark woods, low lights and a mural depicting Toluca Lake in the 1930s. The globetrotting menu features everything form Thai seafood bouillabaisse to Moroccan chicken with lentils and baked turkey Bolognese, with lunch leaning more toward the salad and sandwich crowd. A full bar features classic cocktails plus an extensive beer and wine list. The Continental is open daily for lunch and dinner, with earlier breakfast hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

    4301 W. Riverside Dr.; 818-845-3009

  • Mexicano and Flautus

    Jaime Del Campo and Ramior Arvizu, owners of Bell’s popular La Casita Mexicana, have finally debuted two spots in Baldwin Hills — Mexicano, a full-service restaurant, and Flautus, a flautos-only fast-casual restaurant in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. At Mexicano, which is located on the east side of the Cinemark Rave Theater, the wrought-iron entryway leads to the main dining room with turquoise and cream-colored floor tiles, stained wood and indigenous artwork from Jalisco. The menu features new twists on traditional dishes they’re known for, including moles, stuffed chiles and ceviches, along with a full bar and extensive list of agave spirits. Located inside the food court, Flautas serves the crispy rolled tacos with various salsas, sauces and moles.

    3650 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; 323-296-0798

  • Charcoal BBQ 

    From the same owners of Barbarella comes this Kansas City barbecue joint, complete with smoked meats, sweet tomato-and-molasses sauce and small-batch bourbons. The space is dark with black walls and pops or red and pigs (drawings), just the kind of place for pork back ribs, brisket, kelibasa and andouille sausages and other meats. There are also things like pulled pork banh mi and “buckets of bacon” on the menu. The bourbons come from more than 12 states, with more than 80 different kinds of brown spirits to try. Just not all at once.

    2611 N. Hyperion Ave.; 323-300-5500

  • Der Wolfskopf

    Ryan Sweeny, one of the masterminds behind excellent beer bars like the Surly Goat and whiskey dens like The Blind Donkey, debuts his German-style beer hall in Old Town Pasadena. The space is all communal tables and dark wood, with a long bar to belly up to for one of the 20 or so beers on tap, and a tree-lined patio. For food, beer-friendly bites like chicken or eggplant schnitzel, kielbasa and cheesy spaetzle. The bar opens daily at 5 PM.

    72 N. Fair Oaks Ave.; 626-219-6054

  • Salt

    Chef Mark Gold (Eva) makes a return to the scene to oversee the menus for the upgraded Marina del Rey Hotel restaurant. And as the first hotel in the marina, which opened in 1964, it was definitely time for a redo. Seating is better outside than in, with perfect views of boats bobbing in the water and sunsets. The menu is California-centric, with everything from steel cut oatmeal brulee and chilaquiles for breakfast to crab Louie and salmon with tarragon butter and potato emulsion for lunch and dinner. There are craft cocktails, beer and wine, all of which are discounted, along with bar snacks like fish tacos, meatballs and mini lobster rolls, during the daily happy hour (4-6:30 PM).

    13534 Bali Way; 310-301-1000

  • Fogo de Chao

    This is the second location of the AYCE Brazilian steakhouse for the LA area (the first opened in Beverly Hils in 2005). In addition to the unlimited trips to the salad station and as much Brazilian-style grilled meat as you can muster (before turning your disc from green to red to signify “please stop feeding me”), there’s a new light lunch option for those in a mid-day rush, plus a bar menu featuring smaller, sharable plates and cocktails. The restaurant opens for lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 AM-2:30 PM, and dinner nightly.

    800 S. Figueroa; 213-228-4300

  • Steak & Whiskey

    Chef Tin Vuong, Jed Sanford and the Blackhouse Hospitality group debuted their take on a modern chophouse in Hermosa Beach. There’s lots of brick, lots of wood beams and leather, but also pops of color and texture from the tile floor. There's a small bar area in front, which looks more like a home kitchen than bar area, booths and tables throughout the uniquely designed open space. Vuong along with executive chef John Shaw created a menu of American steakhouse classics with various cultural influences. Cocktails run the gamut from classics to seasonally influenced, and wines by the glass lean toward the more esoteric varietals. The restaurant opens daily at 5 PM. Read more here.

    117 Pier Ave.; 310-318-5555

  • The District by Hannah An

    Hannah An, one of the siblings from the famous family behind Crustacean Beverly Hills, debuted her solo project on West Third Street this week. Located in the former Duplex space (next to A.O.C.), the dining rooms have beautiful accents like wood-block walls, wood beams and some of the coolest light fixtures we’ve seen in a long time on the first floor, plus hand-carved tiles, open windows and sleek leather seats upstairs. The patio is the place to be even on cooler nights. An’s menu features Vietnamese staples recreated with a California sensibility, as well as locally driven dishes with Asian touches, like wok-fried lobster with springy handmade noodles, crab and kale salad with pomelo and crunchy quinoa, duck confit flatbread with watercress purée and arugula, and chicken with kale congee. The restaurant opens daily for dinner at 5 PM.

    8722 W. Third St.; 310-278-2345

  • Rocco's Tavern

    The Culver City Rocco’s is pretty popular for its happy hour, pizzas, burgers and fried-bar-food vibe, which is why it’s pretty fitting for Old Town Pasadena. Brick walls, lots of TVs, wings and two-for-one drinks at the almost-all-day social hour are all reasons why the casual tavern's a magnet for the suburban crowd.

    44 W. Green St.; 626-765-6810

  • Photo by: Verve

    Verve Coffee Roasters

    The Santa Cruz coffee outfit opened a gorgeous new coffee bar in the Fashion District, in the same neighborhood as Preux & Proper, Pattern Bar, Terroni and the Ace Hotel. Although you’ve already been drinking Verve at places like Republique and Superba Food & Bread, this is the first retail outpost for Southern California, with several more planned for L.A. Designed by Studio MAI, those responsible for the looks of Gjelina and Hinoki & the Bird, the space is chic and still welcoming — there are even some chairs with backs so you can linger past that last sip — with a great patio out front. For coffee geeks, the brewing apparatuses will make your head spin. Just know you’ll get a perfect cup, whether it’s a pour-over, espresso or cold brew. The very fashionable Juice Served Here shares the space for its Pantone-colored cold-pressed juices, smoothies and more, and there are grab-and-go sandwiches and pastries from Short Cake and Cafe Gratitude. Open 7 AM-7 PM daily.

    833 S. Spring St.; 213-455-5991

  • The Little Easy

    The former Gorbals space has been transformed into a hidden corner of New Orleans with this new restaurant and bar. With faux windows, wrought-iron accents and a fountain in the middle of the room, the dark, weathered-looking spot inside the Alexandria Hotel is a stand-in for the French Quarter. Look out for cocktails like the Vieux Carre, Sazerac and French 75, along with gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp and grits and more.

    216 5th St.; 213-628-3113

  • Photo by: The Independence

    The Independence

    Buddha’s Belly owner Jonathan Chu turned his Santa Monica location into a new gastropub and cocktail bar for the Third Street Promenade masses. The space got quite an upgrade, very open and airy with brightly colored murals splashed across gray walls. Food comes from Tom Block (BLT Steak, Beelman’s Pub), and there’s everything from burgers and chicken wings to dry-aged steaks. Barman Vincenzo Marianella (Copa d’Oro) is responsible for the cocktails, and there’s plenty of draft beer (10 taps) to choose from. Right now the joint opens at 5 PM, but will extend to all-day hours soon.

    205 Broadway; 310-458-2500

  • Photo by: Sweeney's Ale House

    Sweeney’s Ale House

    Drinking in the Valley just got infinitely better. One of the LA’s best beermen, Ryan Sweeney, of Surly Goat and Blind Donkey fame, opened a new brew-focused spot in Encino.  The place is pretty massive with slightly nautical theme (buoys on the walls and such), lots of leather banquettes and other seating. The beer list is a hop head’s dream, with things like Craftsman’s Angelino Weiss, an American wild ale, Smog City’s The Nothing, a double chocolate imperial stout, and Allagash Curieux, among others rotating on the many taps. There are also cocktails, plus a bar food menu with snacks like crispy quinoa avocado balls, prosciutto mac and cheese, short rib poutine, meatballs with mango barbecue sauce, queso with kale pita chips, and pork belly sliders.

    17337 Ventura Blvd.; 818-453-8245

  • Manichi Ramen

    Another day, another ramen shop in Little Tokyo. Bravely opening a few doors away from the always-busy Daikokuya, this is the first Manichi Ramen on the mainland — they already exist in Hawaii as well as Japan and Indonesia. Manichi specializes in the rich and porky tonkotsu broth with chewy noodles, as well as gyoza. The small shop hopes to become a spot for quick-hitting lunches (in and out in 30 minutes). As long as the lines don’t get as long as the older shops in the neighborhood, that could work. Now in a soft open phase, look for the grand debut on February 14.

    321 1/4 E 1st St.; 213-613-9888

  • 800 Degrees

    It’s like it was destiny. The latest 800 Degrees to sling Neapolitan-style pies is at the 800 Wilshire building in Downtown LA, just one of many new pizzerias to open around town. Chef Anthony Carron’s pizzeria continues to expand across the Southland, now open in Santa Monica, Old Town Pasadena and LAX, with a location for Playa Vista on the way. That just means more quick-fired pies for the masses. Tell the pizza makers what you want as you walk along the counter, and within minutes the pie is yours.

    800 Wilshire Blvd.; 213-542-3790

  • Simmzy’s Burbank

    A new outpost of the popular South Bay gastropub is now open near the Walt Disney Studios and NBC complex. It’s a new low-key spot for craft beers, many locally made, big burgers, salads, sandwiches and more. Cocktails include “build your own” mules and a brunch favorite, the tomatillo Bloody Simmzy. Open daily from 11 AM-midnight.

    3000 W. Olive Ave.; 818.962-91505

  • Tomato Pie Pizza Joint

    Known for thick, square slices of sauce-only pizza as well as regular pies, the Tomato Pie empire has expanded to South Pasadena (there are locations on Melrose and in Silver Lake). The full menu is available at the little shop (it used to be a furniture store), including the subs, salads and pasta dishes. Dine-in, take out and delivery are all available. The restaurant opens daily from 11 AM-10 PM.

    1130 Mission St.; 626-399-0459

  • Ramen Champ

    The Eggslut team — chefs Alvin Cailan and Johnny Lee, along with new partner Nathan Asamoto (Men Oh Takushima) — debuted their new ramen shop in Chinatown Far East Plaza. Located on the second floor of the complex, just above Roy Choi’s Chego, it’s a small space with about 20 seats and an open kitchen where the crew mans steaming pots of tonkotsu and chicken broth, vats of noodles, immersion circulators to sous vide thick slabs of pork belly, and more. Line up outside (this is Eggslut, after all; there’s always a line), order with the staffers before walking in, and once at your seat, big bowls of ramen show up miraculously. The menu is limited for now, just thee bowls of ramen, a few rice bowls and appetizers like fried mushrooms or chicken karaage, plus non-alcoholic drinks. Read and see more here.

    727 North Broadway; 213-316-8595

  • Lunasia Dim Sum House

    An outpost of the popular Alhambra dim sum house is now open in Pasadena near the Paseo Colorado (for anyone not familiar with Pasadena, that’s just a few blocks east of Old Town).  The restaurant serves dim sum every day (no waiting until the weekend), a full spectrum of dumplings, buns, har gow, chicken feet,  noodles and more, all ordered via a checklist menu. Formerlry Vol 94 wine bar, the two-level space is smaller than the original, but there are TVs for sports watching if you can’t miss that game but also feel the need for dim sum. Bonus: They take reservations. Open daily.

    239 E. Colorado Blvd.; 626-793-8822

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