Los Angeles Restaurants
633 W. 5th St., Downtown
This new destination dining spot on the 71st floor of the US Bank building downtown is, unsurprisingly, best known for its breathtaking 365-degree views of the city. Dinner is a three-course pre-fixe menu for $70 but, if you’re in the market for drinks and snacks, the lounge offers excellent cocktails and small à la carte menu. This place is busy, so be sure to make a reservation in advance and consider paying the extra fee for a window seat.
12565 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City
This space is just that: An open A-Frame, dotted with communal picnic tables lined with flimsy paper napkins and a smattering of condiments. The menu is modern, Asian-inflected comfort food, and it's all intended to be shared: Beer can chicken (complete with Kimchi) and Kitchen Fries (made from Korean sweet potatoes) are must-orders as is a punch bowl (not to be attempted alone).
507 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
This is the kind of slightly elevated, but not too stuffy neighborhood spot that’s been missing in this little corner of Santa Monica. The bar is just as great for catching up with a pal over a craft cocktail as it is for dining solo, while the dining room can easily accommodate groups large and small (we like to grab a table with views of the open kitchen). The menu is rife with approachable, hearty dishes—handmade pastas, veggie-packed quinoa bowls, steak frites—that make both celebratory occasions and weeknights when you don’t feel like cooking extra-special. The recently introduced Sunday Italian Suppers get you a three-course meal and dessert for $45.
1710 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake
LA local Zach Pollack split his culinary education between Italy—he fell in love with Italian food while studying (architecture) abroad—and the west coast, eventually teaming up with Chef Steve Samson to open the Italian restaurant Sotto in LA. And then in 2014, Pollack opened his own: Alimento in Silver Lake, which serves outstanding pastas (including a most notable tortellini), good wine, and a chopped salad that GP loves. It is small—and busy—so make a reservation or go early/late to avoid a long wait.
3280 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village
The wood-fired pizza at this Atwater Village spot is on par with Pizzeria Mozza, Milo & Olive, and Bestia—which says a lot. It also has a late-night menu, which is kind of key if you're looking for a good option after a Dodgers game.
7313 Beverly Blvd., Hancock Park
This place is always busy, and for good reason: The vibe is unpretentious, and the food is delicious, homey, and simple, from the pastas, (like the insane Lasagne Verde and the creamy risottos), to a whole branzino baked in salt.
435 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood
Animal is dedicated to well-prepared, seasonal food, with a focus on unique meat-heavy small plates. Run by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, the food manages to be inventive while classic, like the outrageously refreshing hamachi tostada and the foie gras biscuit with maple sausage gravy. The space is cool and minimal and fills up almost every night of the week. Bring your meat-loving friends and prepare to share.
8700 W 3rd St., West Hollywood
When it comes to easy, seasonal California cuisine, Suzanne Goin has a pretty spotless track record (see: Lucques, Tavern, The Hungry Cat). While it's impossible to pinpoint which one is best, if we had to play favorites, A.O.C. would be it. So good is A.O.C.'s offering of shareable veggie, grain, and very thoughtfully selected meat dishes, that it inspired a cookbook of the same name. The interior is simple and beautiful, and for private gatherings, the clubby Wine Room can accommodate up to 40 guests. Downstairs, the outdoor garden—one of the prettiest open-air setups in the city—can seat 70.
11941 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
This might just take the cake for the least spectacular strip mall exterior: Funny, because it belies the cozy décor and Michelin-starred sushi and small plates inside. It's all exquisite, whether you order from the menu or opt for one of the three omakase menus. "A", "B", and "C", range from expensive to extravagant, but they're all worthwhile treats. It's possible to walk-in (and wait) on a week-night, but reservations are essential on weekends.
9010 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
Just-opened Au Fudge is experimenting with a novel idea for dinner with kids. Here, they're totally welcome, either at the table (where there's not a kids menu, but an entire menu that everyone can happily eat off of) or in a playspace, where au pairs will entertain them with endless games and a super-cool treehouse while the adults finish dinner. The front of the restaurant features an adorable shop, where parents can stock up on last-minute birthday gifts, rainbow-colored sweets, snacks, and coffee.
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