Los Angeles James Beard Nominees 2018

Get a meal in now before the finalists are announced

Los Angeles's restaurant renaissance is far from over, and this year's batch of James Beard Award semifinalists are all the proof you need. But with just a few weeks left until the final short list is revealed, the clock is ticking for you to get yourself to these five restaurants nominated for an Oscar of the food world—before the rest of Southern California does.

Kismet: Best New Restaurant

Since its opening early last year, it's been hard not to hear people talk about this all-day restaurant from Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson. But all that chatter is well deserved, thanks to the California-inspired, Mediterranean menu of hits like lamb belly with roast cabbage and a dome of crispy jeweled rice hiding a soft egg yolk.

n/naka: Outstanding Service

In a spare gray building behind sliding bamboo doors, Niki Nakayama of Chef's Table fame (and is nominated herself in the category of Best Chef: West), is one of the few female chefs in the world serving diners a kaiseki, the seasonally focused, carefully orchestrated Japanese tasting menu.

Michael Cimarusti: Best Chef, West

Any sentence involving the words fine dining and Los Angeles will most likely include a mention of Providence, Cimarusti's seafood-focused restaurant. Go for broke with the Chef's Tasting Menu, which takes you through the best of the California coast, from Santa Barbara spot prawns with prawn roe to sweet spiny lobster paired with foie gras.

Bar Clacson: Outstanding Bar Program

Just down the block from Grand Central Market is this cozy haunt dedicated to perfecting the classics. The Aperol Spritz is improved with fresh lemon juice and white wine syrup, while the Negroni comes with the option to add absinthe to turn it into an extra-spirituous Quill cocktail.

Margarita Manzke: Outstanding Pastry Chef

Half the reason one heads to République is to take a look at Manzke's enormous display of pastries, where blood orange coconut cake, savory brioche bread, and matcha and white chocolate pound cake are just the start.