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 12/11): Freedman’s and X’tiosu Kitchen.
Freedman’s calls itself a modern Jewish deli, but it’s not really a deli at all. It’s a sit-down restaurant that serves fantastic Jewish deli-type dishes that work just as well for a hungover meal by yourself on a Saturday morning as they do for a Tuesday date night. The reuben sandwich and potato latke (which comes out as a waffle) are musts, and the smoked fish plate is probably the best thing on the menu. The space feels like a classic restaurant you’d be more likely to find on the Lower East Side than in an aqua-colored stripmall along Sunset. And maybe that’s because Freedman’s itself might very well become a classic.
X’tiosu Kitchen is an order-at-the-window spot in Boyle Heights that serves fantastic Mediterranean/Mexican fusion food perfect for a quick lunch or low-key weekday dinner. Your first order of business needs to be the chicken shawarma tacos, but the chorizo kebab plate (with some really excellent hummus) also needs to hit the table. Plus, there’s a cute little front patio to sit and enjoy it all in. Just make sure you put their garlicky Toum sauce on absolutely everything.
You might know Dominique Ansel as the person responsible for the time your ex-best friend made you stand in a two-hour line for a cronut a few years ago. He clearly got some weird advice and has opened an LA location at The Grove, only instead of a bakery this is a sit-down restaurant. Despite its location, it turns out that this place is pretty great. The food is fantastic and inventive - sweet corn “elotes” come as bread filled with corn pudding, a giant hen of the woods mushroom is covered in a cacio e pepe sauce, and the desserts are unsurprisingly excellent too. It’s probably too pricey to be in your regular rotation (see also: the location), but when you want food that’s creative in a beautifully-designed space, 189 is a great choice. Oh, and you can order a cocktail made with a bourbon-injected grapefruit that they’ll burn with a blowtorch right in front of you. Which is reason enough to suffer through The Grove parking lot.
All-day hotel restaurants aren’t usually something to get too excited about, but when it involves the chef from one of the best seafood restaurants in LA, Providence, you probably should pay attention. Best Girl took over the old ground floor LA Chapter space at the downtown Ace Hotel, and though they didn’t really change much of the interior, the menu is entirely different, and also excellent. The daily crudo is fresh and fantastic and the burger is one of the best new burgers you’ll find downtown. Ideal for a non-stuffy client lunch or a quick dinner before seeing a show.
The idea of a 21-course tasting menu restaurant, with only a handful of seats, hidden deep inside a food court on the Third Street Promenade sounds questionable at best. But stick with us. Dialogue is a tiny windowless room where you’ll likely sit opposite the chefs, who’ll explain the thinking behind every course on the season-themed menu. More importantly, though, all 21 courses of the meal we had here were fantastic. Short ribs come with a blackberry vinegar, crab and popcorn come on the same dish, and there’s a dessert course in the middle of dinner. It’s $210 for the meal and $125 for the wine pairing, and the two work together so well that we’d suggest you go for the whole thing. Although you should also know that they will give you an “abbreviated” wine pairing if you ask for it. This is extreme special occasion dining, but it’s a pretty incredible experience.
Oriel is a new spot in Chinatown from the people behind Bar Covell, serving a wine list that includes bottles even your most wine-snobby friend won’t have heard of. They also serve excellent French bistro food in the modern, low-lit space (with a little patio to the side), and the friendly staff will help you pick the exact wine you want. The food sticks to the classics - cheese and charcuterie boards, frisee salads, croque monsieurs, and a truly great bavette steak. Get here for a relaxed date or a solo meal at the bar.
Located in a quiet part of Highland Park, Partido is a pop-up that happens every Thursday through Sunday inside El Arco Iris, a neighborhood Mexican restaurant on York Blvd. This is a no-frills space serving some of the best Filipino comfort food we’ve tried in LA. There are traditional dishes like lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) and rice noodles, alongside fusion dishes like the longanisa (sweet sausage) poutine that we would get on a plane for.
Broken Mouth is located in the middle of the Fashion District chaos, but it’s the kind of calm, high-quality lunch spot this part of downtown could use more of. You’re coming here for fantastic Hawaiian and Filipino food - the shrimp fritter plate is simple, buttery goodness, the spicy chicken sandwich is huge and actually spicy, and the bread pudding is worth saving room for. Plus, everything falls either at or below the $10 mark, so you won’t even feel guilty when you overorder. Broken Mouth offers full sit-down service, but the place is quite small, so full team lunch outing this is not - use it for takeout or a solo meal.
It seems Silver Lake has another restaurant opening every day, but its more low-key neighbor to the East, Atwater Village, has been far slower to get onboard. But that just changed with the opening of Journeymen. They’ve taken over the old Canele space, and food is flat-out some of the best we’ve had all year. It’s Spanish/California seasonal whatever food, but in a small plate/pintxo style that’s all ordered off chit sheets from your table. Think eggplant relish with goat cheese, heirloom corn and leeks, and Spanish mackerel with pimento salsa. Go now before lines are out the door.
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.
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.
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.
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.