Wondering where you should be eating in Los Angeles right now? You’re in the right place. The Infatuation Hit List is your guide to the city’s best new restaurants.
And when we say “best new restaurants,” we mean it. Because we’ve tried every single one of these places - and we’ve also left off countless spots that simply aren’t as worthy of your time and money.
The Hit List is our record of every restaurant that’s opened in the past year that we’d highly recommend you try. This guide is sorted chronologically, so at the top you’ll find our latest entries to this list (the newest spots), and as you keep scrolling you’ll find the places that are on the older side - but are great enough that we still haven’t stopped talking about them.
New to The Hit List (as of 8/14): Tintorera, Mtn, Hiho Cheeseburgers, Isaan Classic, Sari Sari Store.
Not since we walked into Salazar’s outdoor taco paradise in 2016 have we been so truly taken by a restaurant space. Tintorera is incredible. Their massive outdoor patio looks like it’s from a movie, but the kind of sunny indie movie that did well at Sundance where the youthful main characters deal with the lessons of first love. And yet, this modern Mexican restaurant in Silver Lake isn’t just a pretty space. The seafood-based menu is also excellent. The red snapper aguachile is rich and spicy and the tuna tartare is one of the best tartares we’ve had in recent memory. Come ready to drink as well - you’ll want to try every cocktail on the list.
Another year, another restaurant from the Gjelina crew with a name that takes a minute to figure out how to pronounce (it’s “Mountain”). For their fourth Venice restaurant, they’ve opened a walk-in only izakaya also on Abbot Kinney. Everything from the dumpling wrappers to the ramen broth and noodles is made in house, and most dishes have something added that make them fancier (and more expensive) than your standard Japanese pub food. The tomato salad has a bit of wasabi, a plate of mushrooms comes roasted in yuzu butter, and the ramen that everyone is ordering comes with a pile of clams. In a surprise twist, there’s also none of the usual Gjelina attitude here - service is friendly and helpful, and you’ll be able to hear your friends when they talk. Just be prepared to wait for your table for a while - some things haven’t completely changed.
We’d deal with a lot worse than the downtown Santa Monica insanity for one of Hi Ho’s excellent burgers. Hi Ho was, until recently, a burger stand in Ojai, but after a couple years up there, decided to pack things up and head to the big city. The office workers of Santa Monica are definitely pleased about this, and so are we. The burgers are simple (similar to In-N-Out style) and light enough that you will actually be able to go back to your desk when you’re finished. Unless you also get the key lime pie. Which you should.
If you’re in search of the best new Thai restaurant in Los Angeles, look no further than Isaan Classic. Located on the ground floor of a Comfort Inn on Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake, Isaan’s space is bare bones, but the food is fantastic. This is Isaan-style Thai food (from the northeastern region of the country), and while they serve some classics like Pad Thai, you should focus on the more unique stuff like fermented Isaan sausage and green curry with vermicelli noodles. Also, they deliver.
When one of our Greatest Hits opens another spot, we’re probably going to be excited about it. And when that restaurant is Republique, that’s definitely the case. The better news here is that Sari Sari store, their new Filipino rice bowl stand in Grand Central Market, lives up to our expectations. If you’re here in the morning, the Filipino breakfast sandwich is one of the best breakfast sandwiches around, and at lunch go for the lechon manok bowl, with garlicky rice and incredible rotisserie chicken. Whatever you do though, save room for the buko pie. It’s like a coconut pie, turned up to a hundred.
LA can never have enough neighborhood pizzerias, and we just got a great one in Cosa Buona, the new place from the people behind Alimento. Located in Echo Park at Sunset and Alvarado, Cosa Buona is full of locals who take over the giant booths for group catch-ups, and grab spots at the bar for low-key dates (although we suspect the walking in without a wait part won’t last long). And while the pizza itself is good (get the sausage), the real standouts are their appetizers: burrata-stuffed meatballs, chopped salad, and housemade mozzarella sticks that will take you on a sparkly unicorn ride back to childhood glory.
Rosaliné is the new Peruvian restaurant that, after what seemed like a three-year build-out, finally opened inside the old Comme Ca space on Melrose. But now we know why it took so long - this space is incredible, especially the entirely glass-covered back patio. And while the service needs some fine-tuning (we couldn’t get anyone to make recommendations), the food is good and unique enough that we’re willing to be patient while they sort that part out. Rosaliné is best done with a big group and lots of shared plates (the ceviches are a highlight, and the paella is a giant pot of magic) - just know that it can all add up quickly.
Add The Exchange to your ever-expanding list of DTLA lunch options. The Israeli-leaning spot is trying a little too hard to get you to point your phone at it (the crochet coasters and giant light fixtures that look like cubby houses are a lot), but that hasn’t stopped a mix of creative downtown people, office-workers, and tourists staying in the hotel from hanging out here at all hours of the day. Lunch involves the best tuna sandwich we’ve ever had, and should definitely be accompanied by a couple of dips and salads. Come here for an actually-cool business lunch or a dinner of everything from burgers to chraime, a North African fish stew.
It might not officially be summer yet, but we’ve already found our summer HQ. Tallula’s, just off PCH in Santa Monica, is from the people behind Rustic Canyon, Cassia, Milo & Olive, and Huckleberry (so, many of our Westside favorites), and is serving Mexican food like yellowtail ceviche, duck chilaquiles, and some very tasty fish tacos. The space is bright, giant, and loud, and is the kind of not-too-casual, not-too-fancy Mexican spot the area has needed for a while. We’ll see you there every weekend between now and Labor Day.
Rossoblu is a massive restaurant - both in size and in the sense that this town has seemingly been waiting for this place to open for years (they did a pop-up at Coachella in 2016). It’s operated by the Sotto people (still one of our favorite Italian restaurants in LA), but here they’ve replaced the pizzas with pastas and meats in an industrial space (that’s located in a new development in the Fashion District you didn’t know existed). Even though this place just opened, it already feels like a well-oiled machine. Get the salumi, the pork belly chop, and as many of the pastas as you can handle.
Another month, another great new restaurant opening in Silver Lake. This time around it’s Botanica, a bright and airy all-day spot on Silver Lake Blvd. Eating here will make you feel like a cooler person - there are pastel walls and plants and string lights everywhere, and all the food is healthy-looking. The more important news is that it tastes good too. The Turkish eggs (poached with fancy butter, garlicky yogurt, charred scallions, cornmeal focaccia, and a great pile of green things) are excellent, and even better when you get a side of the house-cured bacon to go with them. The shaded back patio is waiting for you to drink bottles of rosé on it.
We were skeptical about Pizzana. It’s a pizza place in Brentwood, opened by the people behind Sprinkles cupcakes, and somehow Chris O’Donnell (or, as we will always know him, Robin from the Batman movies) is involved too. But Pizzana has won us (and Brentwood locals) over. It’s a small, modern space, but the neighborhood is clearly excited given the hour-long waits they’re willing to endure for the truly excellent Neapolitan pizza and the only kind-of-cool spot along San Vicente. Get here for a family dinner that won’t be as boring as usual, or a casual catch-up with those friends who moved to Brentwood because they had a kid. Either way, make sure you get the chicken liver paté.
This place just gets it right. Friends & Family is bright, comfortable, and full of delicious food you want to be eating in the middle of the day. There’s a full line-up of sandwiches (get the lamb merguez baguette), a bunch of salads (including the best egg salad we’ve had in awhile), and excellent pastries you’ll pretend to share with your co-workers but actually just finish yourself. It’s order-at-the-counter, but the big dining room makes it ideal for posting up in all day. The new East Hollywood all-day hangout spot has arrived.
Salt’s Cure moved from Weho to Hollywood a few years back, but now they’re using their original space for a breakfast-only spot. Here they’re serving a simplified version of their main location’s full breakfast menu, so expect those ridiculously delicious oatmeal griddlecakes, a few sides, and some coffee. This is an order-at-the-counter situation, but to get a $10 breakfast of this caliber in under a half hour in West Hollywood is a miracle.
Anyone who’s walked around Beverly Blvd. and Orlando over the last year probably noticed a scratched-up neon yellow “Uncle Paulie’s Coming Soon” window display and assumed it was a front for something. But out of the blue, the sign finally came down and behind it was the kind of cool, low-key deli this salad-worshipping neighborhood needed. There’s no shtick here, it’s just a casual spot to pick up a deli sandwich during your lunch hour or a lazy Sunday afternoon when last night’s tequila shots are still making themselves known. Our favorites right now are the Italian combo or the artichoke caprese (add hot peppers), but don’t even think about leaving without getting one of their housemade cookies as well.
Wax Paper is not a particularly new restaurant. In fact, it’s been around since 2015. But it’s time this tiny sandwich shop inside a shipping container a block off LA river gets the attention it deserves, because you’ll be hard-pressed to find better sandwiches than the behemoths coming out of this place. From the Larry Mantle to the Ira Glass to the Steve Julian (yes, they’re all named after NPR hosts), these are deli sandwiches worth driving all the way to the LA river for.
Don’t look now, but while you were texting your friends about wanting to try Kismet, another modern Mediterranean/Middle Eastern spot opened up on the Eastside and it’s every bit as good as its much-hyped neighbor. Scratch that - it’s better. Mh Zh isn’t big, but the low-key Sunset Junction space is where we’ll want to be every night this summer. You can snag a counter seat by the kitchen, but our move is to head outside to one of the tables along Sunset, take in the neighborhood, and eat some of the most delicious (and beautiful) food we’ve eaten this year. Get the cauliflower and lamb ragoooo. Yes, with four o’s.
Just when you thought you had mapped out all the places you still need to try in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, here’s another one to add to your list. Lasa is actually one of Far East’s OG spots - long before Howlin’ Rays and Baohaus appeared, this Filipino restaurant was popping up at Unit 120 on weekends. Now, 120 is no more and Lasa has taken over permanently - a development we’re pretty excited about. If you’ve never eaten Filipino food before, the extremely friendly staff will happily talk you through modern takes on dishes like lumpia, arroz caldo, and inasal skewers (chicken gizzards on sticks), and it’s the kind of place that works equally well on a fun date or with a rowdy group of friends. Make sure you save room for the condensed milk ice cream.
Venice locals have been doing the same Gjelina-Tasting Kitchen-Salt Air rotation on Abbot Kinney for a while now, so unsurprisingly, the entire neighborhood seems to be pretty pumped about Felix opening down the street. But it’s not just busy because people are excited about something new - the Italian food here is actually great. Don’t skip the pork meatballs to start, get a thin and chewy pizza to share, but really, you’re here for the pasta. It’s made fresh every day in a climate-controlled room that is also the centerpiece of the dining room. Yes, this sounds like a gimmick, but then you get to watch your spaghetti being made in front of you, and you wonder why all restaurants can’t be like this. And that’s before the excellent cacio e pepe even lands on your table.
Feeling bored with your DTLA lunch routine these days? So Long, Hi is the fun, laid-back Thai spot of your daytime dreams. Opened by the Sticky Rice guys, So Long, Hi doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside you’ll find a surprisingly massive space (there’s even a hidden poké bar), a great back patio, a cool crowd, and some of the better Thai food you’ll find downtown. It’s also open till midnight on the weekends if you’re bar hopping around and need some Pad Thai nourishment.
This new spot, next door to The Black Cat in Silver Lake, is the kind of place you could spend an entire day. Show up for breakfast and grab a pastry (if you can resist the English muffin breakfast sandwiches) before sitting down at the bar to get work done. Head out to the patio to eat your mushroom toast and have your lunch meeting, and round out the day with pizza for dinner. Mixed Company is laid-back, relaxed, and not trying too hard - more like a Westside all-day spot than an ultra-cool Eastside joint. Silver Lake residents, we’ve found your new hangout.
Despite being opened by a former Nobu chef in a prime new space along Melrose, people don’t really know about Umeda. But that’s about to change. This Japanese/sushi spot is definitely going to set you back a few Benjamins, but with a menu full of interesting dishes (try the daily specials) alongside some old favorites from Nobu, it’s worth the hefty pricetag. And we haven’t even gotten to the space: complete with a river you walk over when you enter, light-wooden walls, and absolutely nothing playing over the sound system, the whole thing feels more like an Swedish spa than a sushi restaurant. And it’s actually awesome. If you’re looking for your next impressive date night idea, Umeda is your spot.
Nearly two years ago, Lodge Bread opened up as a bakery in that random part of west Culver City that nobody realizes is Culver City and became the area’s go-to for bread that didn’t come from Ralph’s. Fast forward to now (and one bulldozed wall later), and Lodge Bread is twice the size and pretty much a full restaurant. And a fantastic one at that. Everything from their salads to their vegetable sandwich to their white pie (easily the best new pizza on the Westside) is outstanding. And now that it’s open from 8am - 10pm every day, you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy it.
Walk into DTLA Ramen and you’ll immediately sense things are being done a little differently here. For one, you order and pay with the hostess the minute you walk in. Secondly, the modern space is pretty much one big room with an open kitchen, so you can watch (and smell) your food as it’s being made. As for the ramen itself, it’s different because it’s better than most other places - including in nearby Little Tokyo. You’re going to want the spicy miso ramen with a soy-sauce injected egg, but if you’re not a meat person this week, their vegan ramen is also fantastic. Bonus: They serve free black and green tea for your much-needed midday pick-me-up.
Holbox is a brand new food stall inside downtown’s Mercado La Paloma (that food hall you’ve always wanted to go to) serving out some absurdly fresh Mexican seafood. The place looks and functions essentially as a raw bar, but their full menu includes everything from ceviche tostadas, to chile rellenos stuffed with yellowtail, to a lobster taco that’s worth getting into your car and driving to. Right now.
Tsubaki quietly opened in the former Kush space in Echo Park, and we’ll tell you right now - this place is big time. There’s plenty of good izakaya in LA, but Tsubaki already feels a grade above the rest. From the trout ceviche to the chicken meatballs to the curry soba noodles, this menu is absolutely stacked and surprisingly affordable as well. Our move is to sit at the bar and strike up a conversation with the fantastic staff who will no doubt tell you about personal trips to Japan and proceed to get you very drunk on shochu. Tsubaki might be pretty new, but our money’s on it being around for a very long time.
Hollywood Blvd. in Los Feliz already had a killer daytime game (see: Homestate and Go Get ’Em Tiger), but things have gotten completely out of hand with the arrival of Kismet. This day-to-night spot is brought you by the teams behind Madcapra and Animal, and has a vegetable-focused, Middle Eastern-inspired menu that’s full of everything we want to eat right now. The broccoli toast will make you forget about avocado toast altogether, and if you don’t order the flaky bread you’ve made a grave mistake. While lunch is our favorite time of day to be in this light-filled spot, dinner involves a rabbit feast for two that shouldn’t be written off. You need to be eating here.