Against all odds, L.A.’s vibrant dining scene continues to diversify, innovate, and strive forward. Discover 25 notable restaurants that debuted in recent months



Walter Manzke and wife Margarita co-founded République, a globally minded Mid-City juggernaut, and also run Petty Cash Taqueria and Sari Sari Store. Bicyclette debuted in June with a more pronounced French focus. The Manzkes transformed Sotto’s subterranean space into a stylish bistro with green and wood color scheme and open kitchen. Refined interpretations of French classics include bouillabaisse, beef short rib a la Bourguignonne and mussels a la Marinière. They also tweak recognizable dishes, serving Burgundy escargots in ramekins with garlic parsley butter beneath puff pastry lids and topping savory tarte tatin with caramelized onion. Later this year, Bicyclette plans to debut an upstairs tasting menu experience in Picca’s former home.


A.O.C. Brentwood

Chef Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne replaced Tavern and Larder Baking Co. with a second branch of their share-friendly Mediterranean concept. In their redesigned space, three interconnected environments flow from a stately bar area with cushioned banquettes to a room that feels alive thanks to all the sun and green wallpaper. Wraparound sidewalk tables join potted plants under umbrellas in front of the building’s summery white façade. A.O.C.’s menu features seasonal flourishes and flaunts selections that might involve hand-cut noodles with Dungeness crab, wood roasted clams with sherry, and sour cream cheesecake with fruit, black pepper crumble, and mint. Don’t fear; A.O.C. signatures like bacon-stuffed dates, focaccia and Spanish fried chicken remain.


Philip Camino turned to chefs David Schlosser (Shibumi) and David Wilcox to help deliver modern Japanese dining to Brentwood’s western border.  Imari is a higher end, but approachable izakaya that serves small plates like grilled fish and sashimi “of the moment” and creamy chilled hiyayakko (“basket tofu”) topped with seasonal produce like okra and grapes from the sea and land. Imari is not a sushi bar, though they do serve compact hand rolls with combos like hirame (halibut) with sesame and yuzu; and shrimp with spicy mentaiko (cod roe).


Full Proof Pizza

Lodge Bread Company founders Or Amsalam and Alexander Phaneuf launched this naturally leavened, New York style pizzeria within their bakery-café and plan to spin off the brand into Beverly Hills and Brentwood. People can enjoy pizzas on the covered patio and umbrella-shaded picnic tables. Pizzas range from timeless Margherita and pepperoni to versions with wild mushrooms and atypical combos like pesto with peas and crumbled sausage. Full Proof also serves salads with herbaceous twists like Italian chop and seasonal melon & prosciutto.

Louella’s Cali Soul Kitchen

Chef Keith Corbin and Alta Adams partner Daniel Patterson expanded west to Citizen Public Market, where this fast casual restaurant honors Corbin’s grandmother with modern soul food. Smoked brisket, chicken and tofu are all available in sandwiches and on plates. Louella’s also serves exemplary fried chicken and fish. Globally influences factor into dishes like purple sweet potato coconut milk soup and market salad with honey berbere dressing.



This modern Brazilian restaurant from Sao Paulo chef Rodrigo Oliveira (Mocotó) and Victor Vasconcellos replaces Arts District trailblazer Church & State. Caboco is a term that describes Brazil’s multi-cultural backgrounds, which the owners reflect on their menu. Many ingredients may be new to Angelenos, including ora-pro-nobis (a leafy green vegetable) and tucupi (manioc sauce). Caboco divides their menu into comidinhas (small bites) and compartilhe (to share), including kampachi ceviche with graviola (soursop) sauce and peixe grelhado (black cod cooked in banana leaves). The bar program emphasizes Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça, distilled from sugar cane juice and used in cocktails like the caipirinha.

Girl & The Goat

Popular Chicago chef Stephanie Izard recently replicated her first (and most famous) restaurant in a new Arts District development. Planters and natural light invigorate an airy brick and glass-fronted building. Girl & The Goat’s menu draws from the global flavor palette they constructed in Chicago and filtered through a market-driven California prism. The restaurant’s spirit animal doesn’t just appear in a cute sign. Izard also serves goat liver mousse with crumpets and pairs goat curry with masa chips. Goat’s milk yogurt also complements an Indian-inspired chickpea preparation. The balanced menu also draws from the ocean and soil for bold veggie dishes and salads and incorporates a multi-cultural bread program.

LA Cha Cha Chá

This Mexico City import provides panoramic views from an Arts District rooftop that features succulent filled planters and geometric accents. Chef Alejandro Guzman brings L.A. insights to dishes that deliver bright colors and bold flavors. Modern tacos and tostadas predominate, though they also serve whole grilled huachinango (red snapper) with charred lettuces and steak with red wine salsa. A linger-friendly scene like this clearly encourages drinking, and LA Cha Cha Chá obliges with wine and cocktails like red pepper mezcal Negroni.

Moon Rabbit

David Tewasart flipped Sticky Rice’s back bar at Grand Central Market into a sandwich and tea drink hub. Banh mi are historically Vietnamese, but in this case star Thai-style proteins like grilled pork, chicken, and turmeric lemongrass roasted wild mushrooms with classic accompaniments in baguettes. Katsu sandos team fried, panko-crusted chicken thighs or beef patties with shredded cabbage, sesame dressing and tonkatsu sauce in pillowy Japanese milk bread. Boba drinks like Thai green tea and sea salt coconut are also unusual.

Rumba Kitchen

Omayra Dakis recently built on the success of her Triple Threat Truck by opening her first restaurant in Little Tokyo’s Weller Court, where she works on “bringing the full sensory experience of Puerto Rico to Los Angeles.” The bright space delivers tropical flavor, including a lifelike mural of Puerto Rico, but food is the star. Mofongo, the garlicky fried plantain preparation mashed with pork skins, is available toppable with choices like lechon (roast pork) and marinated shrimp with garlic truffle sauce. Chuleta can-can is a photogenic tomahawk pork chop served with the serrated belly attached. Triple Threat fans will be pleased to see the Tripleta, a substantial chicken, steak and pork sandwich.

Yess Aquatic

Chef Junya Yamasaki, Giles Clark, and Jacob Himmel run this bright orange and blue “experimental seafood truck” outside the future home for YESS Restaurant and YESS Café and Wine Bar. The partners wear playful outfits inspired by “Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” and serve sustainable seafood in sandwiches and on plates. Depending on the season, you might find a banh mi inspired ridgeback prawn sandwich or spicy fried shark sandwich. Panko-crusted fish katsu sandwich features a flaky fillet with tartar sauce, nori, bonito flakes, pickled cucumbers and shaved cucumbers on a soft bun made using fermented potato and saltwater their fisherman collects from near the Channel Islands.


Slammers Cafe

Chef Jesse Furman teamed with Kelly B and Brain Dead Studios on a shady back patio café behind the company’s clothing store and movie theatre. Slammers serves a small but memorable Asian inspired menu that includes a roasted mushroom rice bowl with spicy miso and jammy egg, pork belly banh mi on custom Clark Street baguette, and spicy tuna onigiri shaped like Braid Dead’s heady logo. Furman runs specials like veggie green curry and grilled chicken thighs. Pastry chef Catalina Flores contributes, cookies, cakes, and pies. Slammers also runs a strong coffee program and provides food on movie nights.


The Golden State’s founders partnered with chefs Keisuke Akabori and Chris Ono to redo their burger spot on one of L.A.’s trendiest stretches into a modern donburi (Japanese rice bowl) restaurant. Sake-don stars broiled, koji marinated Ora King salmon. Kaisen Deluxe features gem-like seafood like uni (sea urchin), cured salmon, Dungeness crab, kanpachi and ikura (salmon roe). Okinawa taco rice is an herbaceous taco salad made with Impossible meat. Market driven vegetable plates, sake, and Kyoto matcha IPA help round out the experience.


Daedo Sikdang

This revered Korean barbecue house has stood out in Seoul since 1964 and recently touched down in K-Town. Prime beef cooks on cast-iron grills, including signature cuts like ribeye rolls, caps, and strips. The owners import banchan (complimentary side dishes) from back home. Meals end on a sweet note with pure milk ice cream garnished with a brown and white rice cereal crisp.


Coffee Coffee

Considering how lowkey the first Coffee Coffee is on Fairfax, the Larchmont Village spinoff took many people by surprise. Chef Adrian Castro, previously with nearby Kali, makes nearly everything in-house, including Japanese milk bread for toasts and sandwiches, pasteis de nata (Portuguese egg tarts) and chocolate chip cookies. Exquisite bowls come dressed with herbs and flowers, including lentil risotto and omelette rice that resembles a swirling tornado. Given their name and track record, Coffee Coffee’s strong coffee program is no surprise.


Moo’s Craft Barbecue

Michelle Muñoz and husband Andrew started by cooking “smoked meats with a CaliMex twist” in their East Los Angeles backyard and graduated to a restaurant by the 5 freeway. Their space touts exposed beams, light strung patio, and Eric Junker murals depicting the couple, a cow, smokers and wood. The couple piles brisket, ribs and pulled pork on paper-lined trays. Mexican influence permeates foods like house-made pork verde sausage and esquites (street corn). Moo’s also runs specials like smoked beef cheek tacos with fire-roasted salsa and pork belly burnt ends. Their rotating craft beer selection is also worth a detour.


Esperanza Cocina de la Playa

Chef Ray Alvarez reteamed with Ron Newman and son Greg Newman on this sleek beach-friendly Mexican restaurant. They found inspiration for Esperanza Cocina de la Playa in places like Cabo San Lucas, Mexico City, and Sonora. The restaurant delivers sweeping curves, elaborate chandeliers and sumptuous seating. The ambitiousmenu goes well beyond ceviche and tacos served on house-made corn tortillas to include dishes like pollo en mole blanco (chicken in white mole) and seared scallops Cozumel with chipotle mojo and jalapeño crema. They also fire up a mesquite grill for proteins like steak and lobster tail.



Chad Colby builds on Antico Nuevo’s success with this share-friendly Italian restaurant on West 3rd Street. He named Bari for the capital in Puglia, the heel-shaped region in boot-shaped Italy. A wood grill boosts proteins like merluzzo nero (black cod), bistecca (hanger steak) and salsiccia Nostrano (house-made pork and fennel sausage). Colby also excels with house-made pasta, salumi (cured meats) and focaccia, and they’re all here, along with soft serve ice cream.


Ceci’s Gastronomia

Italian couple Francesca Pistorio and Francesco Lucatorto operated Ceci’s Oven pop-up during the pandemic from their Echo Park home and recently surfaced with this casual pasta and focaccia-focused restaurant. The tiny space is designed for grab-and-go service, with assorted focaccia slices in a countertop case. House-made pasta fuels options like pesto lasagna slabs and rigatoni with beef Bolognese. Focaccina are focaccia sandwiches filled with ingredients like farmers’ market frittata, fried eggplant, and nonna’s meatballs.


“Top Chef” Season 12 champion Mei Lin has excelled with higher end Asian fare at Nightshade in the DTLA Arts District and went fast casual at this strip mall spot. Her signature Szechwan hot chicken sando features crunchy thigh meat seasoned with chile oil and varying spice mixes that inform the heat level. Chicken joins crunchy slaw with pickled chilies between soft buns. Lin also serves tenders and fries that benefit from daybird sauce, habanero ranch, and hot honey. To drink, she brews Hong Kong milk tea and seasonal lemonade.

El Ruso

Skilled taquero Walter Soto capitalized on Boyle Heights popularity by opening a truck on a high traffic corner next to All Day Baby. He makes flour tortillas that hold up to luscious fillings like birria de res, carne en chile Colorado, and chorizo. Sobaquera is a massive burrito featuring a flour tortilla, melted cheese, and choice of meat, beans, onion, cilantro, salsa and guacamole. Weekends bring two specialties: birria consommé and aguja (beef rib) plates.


Jonah Freedman swapped Jewish comfort food for summery Greek fare and built an inviting patio in the strip mall parking lot where it’s now possible to have a “souvlaki party” with char-grilled skewers spearing ingredients like oyster mushrooms, ribeye, and prawns. Vibrant dips and sides complement plates like lemony grilled octopus and lamb chops with tangy tzatziki and salted cucumber.



Chengdu native Tony Xu’s noodle focused Sichuan-style concept brings a rarity to the Westside: good Chinese food. The space at the base of a new residential building also has style, including Eric Junker’s cartoon murals depicting dragons, a bounding rabbit and a woman eating a noodle bowl. This is Mian’s most ambitious menu yet, including 15 different noodle preparations, lobster fried rice and a mung bean horchata cocktail served with boba at the bottom.


Skinny Dave’s

David Kuo from Little Fatty and Formosa Café brings hefty sandwiches to his eponymous restaurant near LAX. A skeleton logo holding a substantial sandwich signals your arrival at this tiny side street shop. Kuo offers high-quality versions of sandwiches like a banh mi, Cubano, and Italian, plus original creations like the Short Cheek made with braised beef cheek & short rib, horseradish mustard, and cheddar sauce. Bold sides include mac & cheese folded with Cabot 18-month cheddar and broccoli salad folded with crème fraiche and pickled sultanas.


The Window @ Seoul Sausage

Brothers Ted and Yong Kim received a boost from their recent finals appearance on the Food Network show “The Great Food Truck Race: All-Stars.” Seoul Sausage subsequently launched a bright yellow and blue takeout window near DTLA featuring a sunburst pattern on the door and Korean fusion comfort food. They recently introduced doshiraks, compartmentalized Korean lunch boxes with a choice of proteins like kalbi pork sausage, Korean fried chicken, and smoked pork belly. White rice, macaroni salad, kimchi, fried veggie dumplings, K-Town salad, jalapeño soy sauce and frozen grapes round out these meals.


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