Welcome to The Infatuation Hit List, 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 worth 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 see places that are on the older side - but are great enough that we still haven’t stopped talking about them.
And if you’re looking for the best new places to drink in LA, we’ve got that covered, too - check out our Bar Hit List.
New to The Hit List (as of 3/11): Pearl River Deli, Burgers 99
It might take a little bit of physical force, but once you wade through the perpetually long lines at Howlin’ Rays, you’ll find Pearl River Deli, an order-at-the-counter Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza. Located in a bare-bones space, this former pop-up’s menu changes regularly, but what’s consistent is their modern take on Chinese food. There’s a Macau-style bone-in pork chop served on a pineapple bun, and a silky shrimp-and-egg scramble that kind of tastes like a deconstructed version of siu mai. But if you’re just getting one thing, make sure it’s the soy sauce chicken. Much like the Hainanese food the chef makes at his other venue, Side Chick, it comes with tender, steamed chicken topped with minced garlic, ginger, and choy sum, and is served over rice. When it’s all combined, it creates a deeply aromatic, balanced dish, and is exactly what we want to be eating whenever we have a rough week at work, or finally accept that we will never, ever spell “broccoli” correctly on the first try.
A fast food-style joint on La Brea from the brothers behind Badmaash, Burgers 99 serves - you guessed it - burgers. But unlike some other new burger spots in town, these are burgers we’d go out of our way for. The classic cheeseburger ($6 for a single, $9 for a double) is good - it involves Thousand Island dressing made with cumin, peppers, and coriander - but our favorite is the American. It’s their take on a Quarter Pounder, and it’s much-improved on the inspiration. The fries aren’t fast food-style, but they are thick, crispy, and perfect for dipping in one of their milkshakes - or an off-menu orange soda float. There’s also a semi-secret back patio where you can spread out and scarf it all down.
There are already enough secrets in the world: Secret bars, secret plots to steal the Declaration of Independence, secret machinations by your roommate to kick you off the lease (probably). But we’re telling you to make room for one more - Jeff’s Table, the sorta-but-not-really secret deli in Highland Park (they’re in the back of Flask, a package store that’s great in its own right). Their sandwiches are all totally one-of-a-kind, and all worthy of attention. The Dirty Baby is a turkey melt in name, but in reality it’s a beautiful mess of chopped turkey, melted toma and smoked cheddar, crispy shallots, and pickled onions on buttered and grilled challah. We also love the Jeff’s Special - a pastrami Reuben with melted comte and a mass of grilled Piave cheese that’s like the best parmesan crisp ever. If that all sounds a bit too heavy, get the Yuzu Kosho Turkey, a simple cold sandwich with avocado and arugula, and be sure to add on the snap peas, which are tossed in everything seasoning. And get there early - sometimes they sell out before their 3pm closing time.
The latest restaurant that urges you to seize the fish (a school of thought known as carp-e diem) is Sōgo, a new hand roll bar in Los Feliz. They’re in the same vein as spots like KazuNori or The HRB Experience, but what separates Sōgo from their competitors is a combo of higher-quality fish and unique, creative rolls. Which should come as no surprise, given that they’re owned and operated by the team behind Sushi Note, a wine bar/sushi restaurant in Sherman Oaks that is one of the best raw fish-experiences in Los Angeles. We recommend ordering the six-roll set, which is the perfect size for lunch, and includes the best and most interesting cuts of fish, like fatty bluefin toro, brandy-soaked albacore, and snapper served with a perfectly light yuzu ponzu sauce.
You can find quality hot chicken all over LA these days, but make no mistake, Hotville is an extremely big deal. For one, the Crenshaw restaurant is owned and operated by a member of the family behind Nashville’s iconic Prince’s Hot Chicken. Secondly, the chicken itself is incredible - the skin is crunchy, crimson, and super-hot - and identical to the quality you’d get in Tennessee. But for us, the most exciting (and unexpected) element of Hotville is how tremendous everything else on the menu is. From a fried fish sandwich and banana cream pudding to the best mac and cheese we’ve eaten in LA in a long time - Hotville is much more than just a Nashville chicken spot, it’s a full restaurant that everyone needs to be eating at right now.
The more casual cousin of Los Feliz spot Kismet (which we love), Kismet Rotisserie serves roast chicken, pitas, and salads that you eat on the sidewalk along Hollywood. Which is good, because you’re probably not going to make it to your car before diving head-first into their crispy-skinned chicken. Focus on that chicken - and douse it with the accompanying garlic sauce and chili oil - and the vegetable sides, especially the cauliflower, cabbage, and roasted Schmaltzy Potatoes. Skip the pita sandwiches, though - there’s too much arugula, not enough chicken, and even less flavor.
If the words “Coastal Mediterranean cuisine” make your brain hurt, you’re not alone. But don’t overlook Marco Polo, a Silver Lake spot specializing in that particular brand of seafood-y Italian. The Calabrian baked clams are a good bet, and you get a massive plateful for $16 during dinner. Their chicken crostone is another one of our favorites: It’s moist and full of olives, and the crispy bread is flavored with delicious chicken drippings. Located at the new Silver Lake Pool & Inn, Marco Polo also benefits from having the one thing most good Eastside restaurants don’t: A great patio. We envision ourselves spending a lot of Saturday afternoons here, pretending we’re in Sorrento, ordering some pasta, and chugging a gallon of Aperol spritz.
For all the excellent ramen spots in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills, good soba is a far tougher to come across - and that’s exactly why we’re so excited about Kazan. Located right on La Cienega’s restaurant row, this tiny noodle shop is from the Tatsu Ramen people, and the first thing you need to know about it is you’re going to be paying La Cienega prices. But if you can get over the initial sticker shock (bowls generally run between $25-30), you’ll be treated to some truly tremendous soba. Right now, the #1, which comes in a clear soy-based broth and is filled with chasu pork and homemade wontons, is our favorite. The noodles and fillings are all very good, but it’s the broth that steals the show. Rich, salty, and extremely truffle-y, this is what we’ll be eating every time the thermometer dares to dip below 70 degrees. If you’re looking for something with a kick, try the #7 “Lamb in Lava.”
Bar Avalon is a wine bar/coffee shop in Echo Park that quietly started serving dinner back in October. So we’ll say this as loudly as possible - you need to be eating here. At first glance, the menu at this casual spot appears to be your typical array of seasonal vegetables and big plates of meat, but there’s a lot more going on here. From blue prawns covered in n’duja and the best half chicken we’ve eaten in a restaurant in years to a warm carrot halwa dessert, the food at Bar Avalon is delicious, interesting, and - with most items falling well under $20 - also pretty affordable. And that’s to say nothing of the equally tremendous and well-priced wine list, which features South and North American wines listed by latitude (alcohol and geography is always a beautiful combination). Bar Avalon is still in its early days, but there’s something very special happening here - so experience it now, before everyone else catches on, too.
We’ve had biscuits as breakfast sandwiches, and biscuits smothered with jam, but we’ve never had a biscuit breakfast sandwich smothered with jam - until we went to All Day Baby. That’s the kind of hearty, inventive food you’ll find at this new cafe and bar in the big red building on Sunset in Silver Lake. That sweet, salty, and definitely strawberry-y breakfast sandwich is a great way to start your meal here, but you’ll also want to save room for another kind of sandwich. Specifically, the smoked beef and cheese, which is loaded with tender beef, creamy cheese sauce, and horseradish mayo on a soft brioche roll. This place is only open until 3pm right now (so they’re more of a Most Of The Day Baby), but we’re excited for their forthcoming dinner hours, when it’s more appropriate to get involved with their inventive cocktails.
This sort-of-Austrian spot on Sunset in Silver Lake is all over the place - in the best way possible. They serve tiny, buttery tuna and kanpachi melt sandwiches, grilled chicken wings doused salsa macha, and glazed cod with roasted turnips and a scallion oil you’ll be licking off the plate. Despite packing a lot of seats into a small space, it’s still nice and quiet inside, which makes it ideal for a date. It might seem like the kind of place where you’d grab some wine (they’ve got a mostly Austrian list) and a couple small plates, but the food is so good that we recommend sticking around for the whole meal. And don’t leave without getting the knödel - a potato dumpling dessert, covered in brown butter and stuffed with an entire poached pluot. It’s a unique dish that’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t like overly sweet desserts.
As you can probably guess from the name, Found Oyster is a spot in East Hollywood where you’ll sit at a bar and eat oysters - specifically, ones found on (OK, more like “sourced from”) the owner’s family farm on Cape Cod. The opening menu is tiny, but there isn’t a weak spot on it - the oysters are served raw on the half shell, fried with tartar sauce, and broiled with Espelette butter, a spicy, fruity French-pepper butter that melts over the oysters and is absolutely addictive. The steamers frites are also highly worth your time; the excellent littleneck clams are sweet and salty, and you’ll be drinking the broth out of the bowl by the end of your meal.
M. Georgina is the latest spot to open in the Row DTLA complex, and another very solid addition to what’s basically become Downtown Disney for chefs from other cities. The menu, created by the chef behind San Francisco’s Frances and Octavia, is a mix of things you can find in restaurants all over town (including the Row) - crudo, fresh vegetables, a few big plates of meat - but everything tastes great, so it’s hard to complain. The spicy baked clam diavolo and sourdough ice cream with cinnamon are early stand-outs, and even though the open, industrial space looks identical to every other restaurant in the Row, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering how comfortable a meal is here.
It’d be difficult to find a restaurant name with better SEO than Bar Restaurant (go ahead and Google it), the new spot on Sunset in Silver Lake. But nothing about this place seems calculated - if anything, the menu feels more like organized chaos, a collection of unique, imaginative, and genuinely weird food that’s highly worth seeking out. For example, the moules frites features very good mussels in a dijon broth, but incredible curly fry “frites” that will instantly remind you of late-night fast food runs (in the best possible way). The bright, fresh, barely cooked Brussels sprouts are covered with crispy kabocha chips and a dollop of labneh, creating a dish that surprisingly tastes like a Caesar salad. The octopus is also great - it’s a single giant tentacle that’s crunchy, moist, and not even a tiny bit chewy, served with a perfectly garlicky pumpkin seed mojo.
The second you walk into Yang’s Kitchen and spot the line snaking away from the counter, you realize there’s something special going on at this modern Taiwanese spot in Alhambra. Then the food arrives and you understand why everyone is here - these aren’t just some of the best Taiwanese dishes in the SGV, they’re also some of the most interesting. Whether it’s a beef roll served on a giant whole grain scallion pancake and eaten like taco, or pork rice braised in onions and apples, the food is what makes Yang’s one of the most exciting new restaurants to open in Alhambra in years.
Located on the ground floor of the massive Ava apartment complex in Little Tokyo, Yapa is a new restaurant specializing in Nikkei cuisine (Japanese-Peruvian), and the results are tremendous. As one might expect, there is no shortage of ceviche and tiradito on the menu, and while both are very good, the real highlights come from lesser-known dishes like tacu tacu, a traditional Andean rice-and-bean pancake, and korokke, a Japanese-style croquette stuffed with Peruvian corn. The space is definitely upscale, but if you show up in jeans and a t-shirt on a midweek first date, you’ll be more than comfortable. If you’re rolling in with a big group, the leafy side patio is ideal.
Pasjoli is a new French restaurant in Santa Monica and one of the most exciting places to open on Main St. in years. It’s from the same people who brought us Dialogue, but instead of a hyper-minimalist setting and a $230-per-person tasting menu, Pasjoli has the look and feel of a casual bistro on the backstreets of Paris. You’re definitely still going to spend a lot of money here (entrees run in the $40-50 range), but whether it’s a caramelized onion tart, chicken liver brioche, or a clam and spot prawn bisque we’d buy in bulk, this is the kind of rich, over-the-top food you wake up texting your friends about. If you’re feeling particularly extravagant, the $165 whole duck (complete with a tableside pressing demonstration) is an absolute must.
Mogu Mogu is a noodle spot in West LA that requires a bit of effort on your part. They specialize in mazemen - brothless ramen - though if that wasn’t clear, the very specific instructions on the wall should clue you in. You combine your bowl of thick noodles with a variety of toppings (including a poached egg, chives, and spicy minced pork) “for about 30 seconds,” and add their Umami Vinegar midway through (and not before) to create a rich sauce. It may be a meticulous way to approach a meal, but the result is a complex bowl full of chewy noodles, flavors like briny fish powder and bright chives, and a savory sauce. You’ll probably even break a sweat, but when you’re working your way through something as satisfying as Mogu Mogu’s mazemen, it’s worth the effort.
Broad Street Oyster Co. is always popping up around LA (right now, they’re at Smorgasburg, the Hollywood Night Market, and Santa Barbara’s MUNI Wine every week), and they’ve just opened a brick-and-mortar location in a Malibu shopping center. But you wouldn’t know you’re right next to a SoulCycle - they’ve got fresh seafood from tons of nearby places, like Channel Islands box crab, Morro Bay oysters, and Santa Barbara uni. Order at the counter, get a glass of wine, and find a seat by the window for great views of the Malibu Lagoon next door.
After a few years as a food truck, Spoon & Pork has opened a brick-and-mortar on Sunset in Silver Lake. And the change has been great for them - this is excellent, interesting, and affordable Filipino comfort food. Like the name suggests, there’s a lot of pig-based things on the menu, specifically pork belly, served as nigiri, on French bread as a sandwich, or deep-fried in a rice bowl. Our favorites, though, are the chorizo burger, and the massive, fantastic patita, a slow-cooked-then-deep-fried pork shank served with chili vinegar garlic sauce. It’s a very special dish, and at $22, is roughly one-fifth of what you’d pay for the exact same dish at a bigger-deal restaurant.
Venice is always in need of more great, low-key neighborhood restaurants - and Dudley Market is back to fill that void. This iconic seafood spot, which had closed in 2017, is less than a block from the Boardwalk, and despite that, somehow remains tourist-free. It’s a fantastic place to just have oysters and some natural wine, but if that’s all you do, you’ll be missing out on the full menu of excellent seafood caught that day. Don’t leave without getting the pork belly and clam toast, and if it’s on the menu, you need to order the rockfish - an excellent whole-fried fish with sambal. The servers will treat you like you’ve lived next to them on the Canals for 15 years, and the sommelier might come by with another glass of wine he thinks you’d enjoy, just because.