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 1/9): Terra Cotta, Wolfdown, Commerson, EAK Ramen, Di Alba, and Fat Dragon.
Silver Lake just got a brand new casual Chinese spot and it is absolutely excellent. There’s nothing special about the setup here - you order at the register, take a number, and wait for the food to come out. But this is exactly the kind of place every neighborhood in LA should have, but somehow doesn’t. And that’s what makes Fat Dragon special. The spicy wontons, dragon fried rice, and the eggplant are all musts.
There are parts of LA that seem to get all the good restaurants and parts that don’t. La Brea and Wilshire is definitely the latter. Plagued with never-ending subway construction, most LA drivers have detoured around the area for months now, but with the arrival of Commerson, it’s time to start heading back. The seafood-based restaurant has found the perfect balance between being an upscale destination restaurant and a place you can walk into for a quick bite on a Tuesday. The scallop dish and the poke appetizer are our current favorites, but we haven’t eaten anything that’s disappointed.
We didn’t know we needed a focaccia-by-the-slice spot in our lunch rotation, but Di Alba in the Arts District has shown us what we've been missing. This order at the counter place inside a Shinola store has five or so focaccias on the menu, as well as a few salads and vegetables to go with what are essentially thick slices of pizza. Toppings range from prosciutto and fior di latte to brussels sprouts, but our favorite is the breakfast focaccia with smoked salmon, hard boiled eggs, and pickled onion. The space is small, with only a handful of tables, so it's the kind of place where you can stop in and pick up lunch to go, or have a quick solo time out between meetings
Is this the fanciest restaurant in Koreatown? Yes, by a mile. The people behind Ktown’s most well-known BBQ spot (Kang Ho Baekjeong) rolled the dice in a big way and opened this massive, upscale restaurant next to a Denny’s on Wilshire. Guess what? It paid off. The Korean-American menu might not be cheap, but everything from the uni rice to the hamachi to the steak tartare is worth it. Also, the cocktail situation is strong (and there's a separate bar where you don't have to order food) in case you’re stopping by for a quick drink before a concert at the nearby Wiltern.
Silver Lake's new locals' hangout has arrived. Wolfdown is a more formal restaurant from the people behind neighborhood spot Forage - and by more formal we mostly mean you don't order at the counter here. The old bungalow space on Rowena is beautiful, and has a back patio you’ll be spending half your summer nights on. The menu is definitely eclectic - patatas bravas and Korean fried chicken are both present - but the food itself is tasty and unfussy, and the whole place feels like that one really fun friend's place you always end up at.
Attention everyone waiting in line at Tatsu on Melrose: there’s a brand new ramen spot down the street that’s just as good, with zero wait time. EAK took over the (very sadly) defunct Pingtung market, but has given the neighborhood another ramen joint it clearly needed. So what makes EAK different than the rest? It’s “lekei” style, which means much thicker noodles than you’re used to and a broth that’s noticeably saltier. Our move is the Oh So Spicy (because it’s actually spicy) and the ginger gyoza because you never don't order the gyoza.
And just like that, one of the more boring stretches of Hollywood got a new all-day spot you need to be very aware of. Located on Highland and Lexington, this neighborhood cantina is serving authentic Baja-style Mexican seafood in a cool, welcoming setting. Think shrimp ceviches, marlin tacos, and some sort of cheese-doused shrimp dish that sounds like a nightmare but is one of the best things we’ve eaten all year.
When one of LA’s great pasta spots (Angelini Osteria) opens up a new restaurant, you pay attention. When you find out it’s a casual all-day cafe, you rejoice. Located directly next to the original restaurant on Beverly, Alimentari is dishing out affordable sandwiches (get the meatball sub), salads, coffee, and Italian gelato for all your mid-afternoon needs. The excellent outdoor patio doesn’t hurt either.
P.Y.T.400 S Main Street
When all-day modern diner Ledlow decided to cut itself in half and turn into two separate restaurants, we were kind of bummed But then we actually ate at the new half, a mostly-vegetarian spot called P.Y.T., and now we’re happy again. The food is interesting, the service is so friendly you’ll wonder if they’re being condescending (they’re not), and even the cocktails have vegetables in them. Don’t miss the ricotta cavatelli with mushroom dashi, nori, pecorino, and yogurt. It's weird. But also excellent.
Right when you thought we’d reached peak poke, a brand new player has appeared in Playa Vista, and it might just be the best one yet. This little shop in an outdoor mall has truly excellent poke with both set bowls and a build-your-own option. But don’t stop at the poke - there’s also musubi (a kind of giant sushi except warm and cooked and with spam on top), and huge servings of shaved ice with an overwhelming amount of flavors to mix and match with.
Sometimes simpler is just better. That’s definitely the case down at Baohaus, the tiny new order-at-the-counter shop in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza. Serving only four different kinds of baos (fried chicken, pork belly, fish, and tofu) and taro root fries, you could order the entire menu here for under $20 for lunch and finish it all without feeling like you need to sleep for the rest of the day. The food is also all pretty fantastic, so order away without worry.
Destroyer is here from the future, to show you what a cafe looks like in 2050. Interiors are as minimal as it gets (bright white walls, the menu projected onto a wall), until you reach the built-in coffee machine that could possibly be launch control for a nuclear arsenal. The biggest surprise though is the food - it looks modern and interesting and tastes delicious. The raw oatmeal sounds like something a righteous vegan would eat, but it's way better than what a righteous vegan would eat.
For all the development reigning down on Highland Park right now, the northeast neighborhood still lacked that big signature restaurant you could force someone to drive across town for - but they just got one in Cafe Birdie. This is the kind of upscale, but laid-back restaurant that fits perfectly in the area. The service is excellent, the food is great (get the pork cheek ragu), and there's a secret detached bar in the back for more revelry afterwards.
Instagram-famous bakery Mr. Holmes has come down south from San Francisco, bringing its cruffins, churro croissants, and strawberry jalapeño bear claws with it. The stark white shop in Highland Park is social-media ready (you can't miss the “I got baked in Los Angeles” neon sign), and very busy - those cruffins can sell out within a couple of hours. More importantly, everything is actually really tasty.
Down in Chinatown's East China Plaza, Lao Tao brings modern Taiwanese street food to the lunch crowd masses and it's phenomenal. The order-at-the-counter spot is affordable, quick, and just the right amount of gluttony to leave you feeling satisfied but still able to get work done afterwards. The move is the beef ban mian (flat noodles in a bone marrow broth) and the best goddamn popcorn chicken we’ve had in LA.
You probably have never said the words “Let’s go have lunch on Cahuenga,” but now that Andare has appeared there's actually a reason to do so. It’s a bare-bones operation that takes over the dining room at Birch for weekday lunches, and they’re putting out some impressive Italian food. Definitely start with the chicken liver toast and then go straight for the pastas. The ricotta gnocchi with ‘nduja is a must.
There honestly might be too much to like about Daw Yee Myanmar Corner. The new outpost of a San Gabriel Valley favorite, Daw Yee serves Burmese food in a modern, cool Silver Lake strip mall location. The food is delicious, and the staff seems really excited to have you there.
Sure, you’ve been to strip malls for sushi, but for high-end tasting menus? Not so much (other than Trois Mec). Kato is here to change that, with a five-course Japanese and Taiwanese-inspired menu (a steal at $49). Expect things like hamachi with a charred scallion sauce or a sukiyaki-inspired soup. Whatever you do, definitely go for the pork belly rice add-on. They're still working on their liquor license, but you won't even notice the lack of booze when the food is this good.
Something big is happening, and it’s going down in Frogtown. No, that’s not the name of a section in Disneyland, it’s an actual LA neighborhood, and home to an extremely exciting new spot: Salazar. The massive space is almost entirely outdoors, with a menu featuring everything from a mesquite-grilled trout to carne asada quesadillas - but you're going to want to go heavy on the tacos, because they're incredible.
Tacos on the Westside can be a pretty hit-or-miss proposition. Loqui, the casual order-at-the-counter taco spot in the Culver City’s Platform development, is here to change that. The menu is limited - it’s either tacos (with house-made tortillas) or snazzy burrito bowls they call molcajetes, and you can’t go wrong with either. Scratch that - if you don’t sprinkle the dry salsa and chile on top of everything, you are wrong.
It comes as no surprise then that the opening of a second Wexler’s in the heart of Santa Monica has locals pretty damn excited. Staying faithful to the Grand Central Market original, there are bagels, lox, pastrami, and egg salad, with a mix of counter seating and tables. It’s also far enough from the Promenade to not be a total death trap - which wouldn’t stop us from visiting anyway.
With several excellent DTLA taco spots now open, it’s not easy to pick just one, but our favorite is definitely Sonoratown. This tiny, order-at-the-counter taco spot is a bit removed from the main downtown hustle, but it’s worth the extra few blocks walk. All the tortillas are made in-house and the carne asada is phenomenal. And it’s just nice to know $2 tacos still exist.
Nashville hot chicken food truck turned LA food cult Howlin Ray’s brick and mortar is open in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza and it’s an all-out blockbuster. But you’ve been warned: open only from 11pm-4pm daily, you’ll be greeted with an hour-long wait no matter when you go. That said, we would wait two. Everything about this place works, and despite the wait, it’s exceptionally well-run. As for the chicken? Incredible. Order it dark or white (or in a sandwich), pick your heat level, and enter into fried chicken nirvana.
Next door to Commissary and its hoards of struggling actors/writers/have-you-seen-my-webseries comedians is this part deli, part market, part gourmet fish shop that is so fantastic you should probably just drop everything and go right now. Want to pick up some fresh fish for dinner tonight? Cape Seafood has the highest quality east of the 405. What about a quick sandwich at lunch? Their smoked salmon sandwich and bagel and lox is the best we’ve had in a long time. Welcome to the neighborhood Cape Seafood, you’re going to be here awhile.
Attention Larchmont: there is a fantastic American restaurant in your midst and the time is now to be going. The modern, upscale spot also has an excellent full-service lunch (the wheat berry risotto is a must-order), giving all the stroller moms and nearby Paramount workers a tremendous new midday option.