Los Angeles Restaurants
5916 1/2 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park
Hippo, with its flowery murals decorated with cartoonish animals, is playfully unserious; it’s just as much about a good time as it is about good food. The house-made noodles are the real deal. Go with a group and catch up over crudo and something grill-fired, or take the kids after practice for spaghetti on the patio.
1576 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock
Everyone’s here for the duck carnitas. Order a few tacos to go or settle in with a cocktail.
1991 Blake Ave., Frogtown
From the same people who started LA Cha Cha Chá in the Arts District, Loreto is a high-end seafood spot inspired by the bold, zingy flavors of the Baja peninsula. The space feels expansive, with a wide bar, several dining rooms, and a sandy patio. By day, they serve a separate lunch menu under the name Za Za Zá—still seafood-heavy, with agua frescas and micheladas to boot.
14704 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
Chef Justin Pichetrungsi received a James Beard award shortly after taking over his family’s Thai restaurant in Sherman Oaks. In a city full of great Thai spots, it’s one of the best. The à la carte menu is classic—chicken satay, drunken noodles, and curries, all present—with seasonal twists. Two special menus to consider: One weekend a month, Anajak Thai hosts a ticketed omakase-style dinner. And every Tuesday, they take walk-ins only for an unbelievably good taco night starring excellent ingredients like albacore, uni, and ikura.
1215 Cypress Ave., Cypress Park
For a (garlicky, lemony) taste of Lisbon summer, go to Barra Santos and order tuna crudo, sardine toasties, and the house vinho. They don’t take reservations—you can order a glass of wine to the sidewalk while you wait.
2855 W. Ave 35, Glassell Park
Chef Brian Dunsmoor’s successor to Hatchet Hall stakes itself as a new classic for smoky, cast-iron Americana. Opt for a hearty lamb shoulder or heritage Kentucky ham. They also have an astounding wine list.
2711 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake
In Silver Lake, locals line up well before first pitch to catch a table at Avish Naran’s James Beard Award-winning Indian sports bar. Naran and chef Miles Shorey have done away with the less desirable qualities of a sports bar situation—sticky floors and ranch dressing, begone—in favor of blonde wood and Indian twists on classic bar fare, like dosa onion rings and paneer pizzas. To skip the line, it’s well worth the small hassle of booking reservations, which release at midnight a week in advance.
1741 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica
Café Bolívar is our favorite establishment on this stretch of Ocean Park. It's been part of the neighborhood since 2002, and we like to think it has the power to transport you back to Santa Monica's erstwhile, laid-back early aughts vibe. Come for the arepas, which never disappoint. Their coffee is great, too—and always organic and fair-trade.
72 Market St., Venice
The pasta at Market Venice is great, and you should book a dinner reservation to dig into a bowl of cheesy, peppery bucatini. But the main event comes after the tables are cleared: The place stays open late as one of the best bars in this part of Venice. Make the last dinner reservation of the night and stay for espresso martinis and people-watching.
2309 Main St., Santa Monica
Alfalfa turns out really good salads, plus breakfast burritos, bone broth, and gluten-free doughnuts. They serve Intelligentsia coffee and tea from Kilogram, too.