Los Angeles Restaurants

Restaurant neighborhood
913 Vermont Ave., Koreatown
The soup known as al tang embodies so much of what we love about Korean food: hot and spicy; packed with paengi beoseot (long, delicate bunches of white mushrooms), tofu, daikon, generous heaps of fish eggs; and punched up with chili powder and garlic. The best version in Los Angeles is at A-Won, a low-key spot that also specializes in hwe dup bap (the Korean version of sashimi), which is really more like a poke bowl. It’s mixed with seaweed, watercress, sliced cucumber and carrots over rice, along with plenty of chili paste.
Aestus (Closed)
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.
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.
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