It has been 17 years since I lived in LA so had to rely on Eater and Zagat for help on the top places to eat and drink.  Below are their recommendations.  Will be traveling there soon so hope to try them all out and update the list with my impressions.  Love doing research!

  • 71Above – 63 3 W 5th Street, Los Angeles, (213) 712-2683 – The restaurant is located on top of the US Bank Tower, with sweeping views of the city in all directions.  It has a lovely and modern dining room, a three-course dinner experience from chef Vartan Abgaryan (Cliff’s Edge) that caters to a wide variety of diners. Reservations a must.
  • Commerson – 788 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 813-3000 – Another  La Brea Avenue restaurant, but this one is a welcome addition to the neighborhood looking for something new.  Make sure you also try Republique and Odys, and Penelope right near by. Seasonal cooking from Balthazar and Pastis vet Sascha Lyon grounded in classic European techniques has been getting great reviews.
  • Felix – 1023 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, 424-387-8622 – A temperature-controlled and glass-enclosed pasta-rolling laboratory helms the center of this warm-wood and mid-century vintage-themed Italian trattoria from beloved chef Evan Funke, on hip Abbot Kinney in Venice. Pappardelle, rigatoni, orchiette and other hand-made noodles emerge as carefully plated yet rustic dishes, alongside a robust and traditional menu of antipasti, secondi and vegetable contorni—plus old school aperitivi and European beers.
  • Gwen – 6600 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, 323-946-7500 – Celebrity chef Curtis Stone and his brother Luke run this high-end, full-service restaurant and butcher shop. The retail shop features excellent cuts of chops, sausages, fowl, cured meats …  While the beautiful dining room, with a corner bar, and views into the hopping kitchen, is a perfect setting for the five-course dinner menus.   And oh so many wonderful cocktails.

  • Kismet – 4648 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, – Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson, who migrated to Los Angeles from Brooklyn and opened Madcapra inside Grand Central Market, have debuted their full feature restaurant inside a former pizzeria in Los Feliz. The sleek, bright space serves all day with market driven fare with a Middle Eastern bent.
  • Michael’s – 1147 3rd Street, Santa Monica, (310) 451-0843 – Talented young chef Miles Thompson has returned to LA to redo the menu at Michael’s, the iconic Santa Monica restaurant tucked away behind Wilshire Blvd. The classic menu get a minor refresh while Thompson brings a modern sensibility to the market-driven cooking.

  • Mikkeller Bar – 330 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles – Famed Danish brewery has its largest American outlet in the heart of Downtown, with some of the best craft beers in town, plus a reliable menu of bar bites.
  • Moma Lion –  601 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles, 213-377-5277 – A historic corner of Koreatown has been revamped by Faith & Flower former chef Michael Hung with this luxe supper club-themed destination outfitted with exposed brick walls, vintage glass chandeliers, and floor-length curtains covering the street-front windows for added privacy. The menu spans the globe with Asian, Italian, and New American influences, with the oversized bar at the center of the room crafting cocktails and the like.
  • Rossoblu – 1124 San Julian Street, Los Angeles, 213-749-1099 – Sotto’s Steve Samson makes a big statement with this glitzy, cavernous, and indoor-outdoor Italian enoteca in a formerly historic produce market complex in Downtown Los Angeles. The food is inspired by Samson’s Bolognese nonna—especially the handmade pasta—but the menu also includes a robust selection of cured and grilled meats, as well as a Pan-Italian list of wines, complimented by California vintages and craft cocktails as well.

  • Tallula’s – 118 Entrada Drive, Santa Monica, 310-526-0027 – Rustic Canyon duo Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb take on Mexican cuisine with this woodsy, turquoise and beachy cantina just off the PCH in Santa Monica, with Jeremy Fox at the helm. There are composed plates inspired by modern Mexican cuisine, as well as more traditional and casual dishes like tacos and enchiladas—with seasonal California produce appearing throughout.
  • Terra – 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles – The rooftop restaurant at the new Eately in LA.  It was inspired by earth, gin, and fire. It includes an outdoor terrace with an botanical garden, bar, and fire pit.  Eately’s  L.A. Executive Chef Eli Anderson, and Chef de Cuisine Matthew Smith, cook over a  wood-burning Italian grill using simple and seasonal California ingredients such as whole-grilled vegetables, rotisserie dishes.  And the drinks are centered around gins from around the world.

  • The Mar Vista – 12249 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles -This massive neighborhood restaurant has the makings of a serious operation, with an expansive, crowd-pleasing menu at reasonable prices. Mar Vista really seems to be coming up in the dining game thanks to this place and newcomer Little Fatty.
  • The Point Restaurante – 8265 West Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles 323-746-5130 – Celeb chef Scott Conant and Stephane Bombet team to transform this existing busy bistro into a trattoria, offering charcuterie, antipasti and pastas, plus roasted meats, vegetables and pizzas out of the wood-burning oven. A lively cocktail bar and inviting patio makes it a definite destination.
  • The Venue – 3470 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles – This slick Koreatown restaurant has everything you need for a night out: a meaty menu filled with steaks dreamt up by chef Kayson Chong, fine cocktails from barman Devon Espinosa, plus thirteen private karaoke spaces for singing and dancing until last call.

  • Verlaine – 8715 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, (424) 288-4621 – Chef Diego Hernandez of Baja California’s celebrated Corazon de Tierra has opened a restaurant in Dominick’s space in West Hollywood with the team from Hinterland. The results are gorgeous, and the cuisine is perhaps some of the most advanced modern Mexican you can find right now in Los Angeles.
  • Beauty and Essex – 1615 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles -The New York City transplant has finally arrived in Hollywood, and thankfully so. With a faux vintage store entrance, and two stories for glorious seating and lounge areas, it’s the best place to bring a crew and hang out for the night. And the food, approachable and easily shared, is pretty great too.

Downtown LA (recommendations thanks to Eater L.A.)

  • Broken Spanish – 1050 S. Flower St, (213) 749-1460 – B.S. Taqueria’s big sister restaurant has done the old Rivera space justice. Ray Garcia’s contribution to modern Mexican cuisine won him many accolades, and after nibbling on his elevated take on the classics, it’s easy to understand why.
  • The Exchange Restaurant – 416 W 8th St, (213) 395-9531 – Joining the massive Middle Eastern wave sweeping the city (Kismet, Mh Zh, Farida, upcoming Bavel, and even The Hearth & Hound), is Miami import The Exchange in Downtown’s new Freehand hotel. Expect Mexican-Chinese influences from chef Alex Chang and an exceptionally hip crowd.
  • Shibumi – 815 S Hill St, (323) 484-8915 – Shibumi quickly became Los Angeles’ critical darling when it opened in 2016. Widely considered one of the most impressive new restaurants that year, chef David Schlosser’s kappo-style concept showcases his background working at some of Japan’s finest restaurants. With an approach that is more relaxed than kaiseki dining, Shibumi feels right at home in the City of Angels.

  • BS Taqueria – 514 W 7th St, (213) 622-3744 – There has been much ado about B.S. Taqueria’s clam and lardo tacos, and for good reason, but there’s much more to Ray Garcia’s colorful eatery. The carnitas are juicy and slathered in a chili-speckled guacamole, the beet torta treats the vegetable with the respect of carnivorous counterparts, and the tres leches cake is a straightforward as a grandama’s, but (probably) tastes even better.
  • The NoMad – 649 S Olive St, (213) 358-0000 – The New York invasion of Los Angeles may be best represented with the glitzy opening of The NoMad Hotel this year. Taking over the lobby and first floors of the hotel, the namesake restaurant by Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm and Will Guidara offers elevated New American cuisine that comes by way of some of Los Angeles’ best waitstaff. Just expect to drop a pretty penny on such luxurious surrounds.
  • 71Above – 633 W 5th St, (213) 712-2683 – A strong contender for the most beautiful restaurants in all of LA, 71Above, perched on the top of the US Bank Tower, is Downtown’s undeniable dining destination. With gorgeous plates by chef Vartan Abgaryan that match the stunning 360-degree views, this is the sort of place for power lunches, expense accounts, and the ultimate date night.

  • Rossoblu – 1124 San Julian St, (213) 749-1099 – One of the city’s most talented Italian specialists, Steve Samson, finally debuted his massive City Market South project, Rossoblu. Inspired by the cuisine of Bologna, this is the place for long-simmered meat sauces that coat housemade noodles and beautifully executed grilled meats.
  • Otium – 222 S. Hope St., (213) 935-8500 – Arguably the biggest restaurant opening of 2015, Otium had all the makings of a blockbuster restaurant. Of course, there is that stunning design rife with a Damien Hirst mural fitting of its affiliation to The Broad. Most importantly though are the thoughtful dishes by decorated chef Timothy Hollingsworth showcasing the multicultural influences that define Los Angeles.

  • Grand Central Market – 317 S Broadway, (213) 624-2378 – Half this list could be taken up by the individual vendors within Grand Central Market. As a collective whole, the revitalized market offers outstanding variety and quality that can be found at few other places in the country. Standouts include Wexler’s, Sticky Rice, Madcapra, Horse Thief, and, of course, Eggslut, albeit the outrageous line.
  • Bar Ama – 118 W 4th St, (213) 687-8002 – There isn’t much in the way of Tex-Mex cooking in LA. Thankfully, Bar Ama takes the idea of Tex-Mex and elevates it far beyond platters of sizzling fajitas. Here a long list of small plates go down easy with nicely crafted cocktails that create a convivial atmosphere.
  • Spring – 257 S Spring St, (213) 372-5189 – Tony Esnault’s follow up to his French bistro Church & State, Spring, has somehow managed to fly under the radar albeit its stunning confines. And that’s a shame, because one would do well to enjoy a refined French meal in the beautiful courtyard space.

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