From Roy Choi to Ludo Lefebvre, and from Downtown to Venice, Los Angeles is flush with new restaurants to try this summer. We're crushing just as hard on Choi's latest venture, the unpretentious POT, as we are on the impressive rotating chef lineup at Fifty-Seven.
Here are ten noteworthy spots worth braving L.A.'s notorious traffic for:
L.A.'s culinary hero, Roy Choi, continues to make headway with his sixth brick and mortar inside the Line Hotel. The Korean restaurant/bar/cafe is all about casual, unpretentious and fun. Diners tie on floral-patterned bibs and dig into one-dish hot pots—try the Boot Knocker ($25 small, $45 medium, $56 large) or seafood-loaded Fisherman's Wharf ($39, $72, $96)—supplemented with more traditional dishes to share such as kimchi fried rice ($10). Bonus: The '90's soundtrack blares everything ffrom Boyz II Men to Bone Thugs.
Night + Market Song, Silverlake
Part two of Kris Yenbamroong's cult Thai hit, Night + Market. Here, the Northern Thai menu continues with classics such as sweet and spicy "party wings" and sour Isaan-style sausage. The family-style additions are just as spicy and bold: pork blood-flavored luu shuk ($10) soup topped with cracklings and crispy noodles; and Bangkok mall pasta ($14) charged with salted fish, garlic, bird's eye chile and green peppercorn.
Inside the old Heinz loading dock, the restaurant and downstairs bar is home to a rotating list of in-residence chefs. It's only been open since March, but this Arts District restaurant has already seen David Nayfeld of Eleven Madison Park and Thomas Keller-trained Joshua Drew at the helm. For the summer, Farmshop's former executive chef uses farmers' market ingredients in dishes like local, ink-braised squid with beet greens, green garlic aioli and puffed buckwheat ($14). (Look out for 15-year old wunderkind Flynn McGarry June 23, July 21 and August 11, when he'll be cooking a nine-course dinner, priced at $150 per person.)
Faith & Flower, Downtown
On the other side of Downtown, this glam restaurant's bar is a scene in and of itself. Suede banquettes and sleek touches pave the way for chef Michael Hung's menu of French-leaning dishes. Unexpected surprises like deviled eggs with kimchi ($6) and confit carnitas pizza ($17) keep things fresh, while an extensive list of cocktails keeps the night loose.
The old Campanile space returns to its roots as a fine dining destination, serving beautiful dinners at night and equally beautiful baked goods from the bakery. Stop in mornings for viennoiserie, tarts and dough baked, rolled, fried and sweet; and start dinner with housemade bread with salted Normandy butter ($5) or, better yet, wood oven pan drippings ($5). The rest of the menu reads like a French bistro's—escargots en croûte, steak frites—but with seasonal ingredients. It's all made by the talented Walter Manzke, formerly of Church & State and Bastide.
Superba Food + Bread, Venice
Superba Snack Bar expands its local approach to food, both in its ingredients and its devotion to Venice, with a restaurant-slash-bakery. The all-day menu options rotate from kaya toast and hotcakes for breakfast, subs and salads for lunch, a mid-afternoon selection of tartines, to a full menu of not-too-fussy large plates for dinner. Don't miss weekly specials like rotisserie half duck with duck fat-braised radish ($29), and, of course, try the bread and pastries.
Ladies Gunboat Society at Flores, West L.A.
Chef Brian Dunsmoor of The Hart and The Hunter brings his Southern roots to plates like chicken-fried rabbit ($29) with spiced local honey, cilantro and sesame seeds, and Sea Island red pea and Carolina gold rice-mixed Hoppin' John ($15). There's also a fried chicken plus beer combo for happy hour, and a roster of stick-to-your-bones comfort foods (beignets, cornmeal pancakes) for brunch.
Pine & Crane, Silverlake
Pine & Crane keeps it in the family by using produce sourced from the owners' own farm for its Taiwanese dishes. The service is fast-casual, which translates to unfussy food in a modest, minimalist setting. But the spot-on Chinese options mean legit dan dan noodles ($7.50) and pork dumplings ($5) without having to trek to the SGV.
Petit Trois, Mid-City
Trois Mec may be the hardest (ticketed) reservation in town, but come mid-summer, Angelenos can stop into its sister restaurant from Ludo LeFebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (the duo behind Animal and Son of a Gun). The theme is classic French, with options like croque monsieurs, escargots, steak tartare and crème caramel. The look? That of a brasserie outfitted with an open kitchen counter, checkered floors, etc.
Zach Pollack strikes out on his own from Sotto to the Eastside. Pollack sticks to what he knows best: handmade pastas, sugo and rustic Italian cooking. The indoor-outdoor space completes a nice trifecta of neighborhood food options—L&E Oysters and LAMILL are close by—come the end of June, when doors finally open.
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