Wondering where you should be eating in Los Angeles right now? You’re in the right place. The Infatuation Hit List is your guide to the city’s best new restaurants.
And when we say “best new restaurants,” we mean it. Because we’ve tried every single one of these places - and we’ve also left off countless spots that simply aren’t as worthy of your time and money.
The Hit List is our record of every restaurant that’s opened in the past year that we’d highly recommend you try. This guide is sorted chronologically, so at the top you’ll find our latest entries to this list (the newest spots), and as you keep scrolling you’ll find the places that are on the older side - but are great enough that we still haven’t stopped talking about them.
New to The Hit List (as of 9/12): Hot Gai Chicken, Hail Mary Pizza, Porridge And Puffs, Ronan
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. The Hit List is presented by the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Click here to learn more about the benefits you get from paying with a Premier Rewards Gold Card while dining out.
You can find solid new pizza places opening up all over LA these days. Let us help you prioritize - go immediately to Ronan. The casual Italian place on Melrose has a full menu of excellent small and big dishes (including a plate of burrata that doubles as clinical therapy), but the pizzas are why you’re here. Whether you go for the margherita or the guanciale and honey-topped sweet cheeks, every pie at Ronan has perfectly charred, slightly chewy crust. This is the kind of restaurant where you’ll book a reservation for the following week on your way out.
On a corner in Historic Filipinotown, Porridge & Puffs might look like any other daytime spot with minimalist decoration and lots of natural light. But you won’t find eggs on toast or kale salad here - just bowls of rice porridge, chewy bread puffs, and a few vegetable dishes. The people behind this place have been doing pop-ups around town for a few years now, and are now putting all that experience into practice in a permanent space. The porridges are fantastic, especially the one topped with five-spice braised short rib and another with Chinese sausage and black eyed pea miso. It’s simple, confident food that you’ll want to keep coming back for, so we’re glad to hear they’ll be serving brunch and dinner soon.
Journeymen was open for less than a year and never figured out what it wanted to be, but now the same people have re-jiggered things and opened the very appropriately named Hail Mary Pizza in the same spot. They’re focused on pizza, serving five-or-so pies a night alongside salads, a few appetizers, and a small wine list. While the pizzas are great, there are still some weird touches that don’t sit right (we’d much rather have table numbers than have to raise our hand when our name is called). But with families dropping in for early dinner, and younger locals lingering with bottles of gamay later in the night, Hail Mary seems to be a stronger fit for the neighborhood.
Hot Gai Chicken is a take-out window in Highland Park that’s serving some of our favorite Thai food in Northeast LA. Owned by the same people as Sticky Rice, the menu here is small and mostly focuses on Thai-style fried chicken, but the papaya salad and the phanaeng curry fries should also be ordered. While this place is definitely best as an affordable to-go situation (everything is under $10), there are a few small tables out front if you feel like sitting down and hanging out for a bit before seeing a concert at Hi Hat next door.
If you’re anything like us, one of the highlights of your week used to be when the Guerrilla Tacos truck was even remotely close to your neighborhood. But the truck has recently retired, and now Guerrilla has a permanent restaurant in the Arts District where you can sit at a table (instead of the curb) while eating your sweet potato tacos. It’s an order-at-the-counter setup, with a way bigger menu (get the open-faced mushroom quesadilla), but the tacos are just like they’ve always been: impossible not to eat in under a minute. There’s also alcohol.
The pizza at Lupetti is fine. The reason this bright and modern order-at-the-counter Arts District spot made the Hit List, however, is the chicken parm sandwich. This gigantic beauty is one of the best bites of food we’ve had in the last several months. It’s perfectly balanced with the exact right ratio of cheese to marinara sauce, crunchy bread that still soaks up all the sauce, and a breaded chicken breast that melts in your mouth. There’s also a great front patio to enjoy it all in.
If you want to observe celebrities in their natural habitat, you already know to go to Chateau Marmont. And now that an expensive new Japanese restaurant has opened in one of the bungalows on the property, your chance of seeing sitcom stars pretending to be regular people here is even more likely. More surprising, however, is the fact that the food and drinks at this place are great. Hanare serves a couple of kaiseki tasting menus (one of which is vegan), but we’d recommend ordering a bunch of stuff a la carte, especially the house-made soft tofu, the vegetable tempura, and one of the rice pots. Just know that you’re at the Chateau, so you probably need sitcom star-money to eat here.
Otono is a bright, casual Spanish restaurant in Highland Park that’s great for a quick dinner that doesn’t feel like a huge deal. What is a huge deal, however, is the food - it’s fantastic and perfect for sharing. We recommend sticking mostly to the tapas section and going all in on jamon croquetas, goat anchovy butter, and any dish that has shrimp in it. Definitely plan for a few cocktails - their gin and tonics are all good, and bourbon-based Rioja Sour is excellent.
Menya Musashi looks like lots of the other ramen places on Sawtelle - it’s a small space with some bar seats, a few tables, and a patio. But the toppings and broth here make Menya Musashi a standout. Order your tsukemen (dip ramen) nitin ichiryu style, and the ramen will come topped with pork belly, thin pork katsu, and a soft-boiled egg, alongside a bowl of thick fish-and-pork broth. The meat here is tender and the broth is thick, but not fatty or overpowering, like other soups we’ve tried nearby.
Walking into Dama in the Fashion District is like walking into an old colonial mansion in Cuba - there are tiled floors, wicker ceiling fans, and hanging plants in every direction. The menu is filled with exciting Latin, Caribbean, and Spanish dishes, like a whole soft shell crab taco, a clam & chorizo stew, and a bocadillo that’s essentially a calamari po’boy. We’ll tell you now that no matter how full you get, you’re probably not leaving here with any leftovers because the food is that good. They also have great cocktails and a large wrap-around bar ideal for after-work drinks.
In the same building as sibling-restaurant Triple Beam Pizza, Hippo is a new neighborhood hangout in Highland Park and also the newest reason why we’ve set up a 90042 Zillow alert. While it’s already busy, Hippo isn’t a scene - just full of people who live nearby and want to eat in a kind-of-fancy, but still laid-back restaurant. The big menu is full of things you want to eat right now - crudos, interesting vegetables, and pastas - so use the extremely friendly staff to help you figure out what dishes you’ll inevitably have to cut from your order.
Located directly behind Dama in the Fashion District, Superfine is a walk-up pizza window from the Rossoblu/Sotto crew. This is the kind of thin, crunchy Neapolitan-style pizza that you can eat several slices of and won’t feel weighed down. You can order here by the slice or by the pie, and there’s a five-seat counter if you want to eat on the spot. Our favorite pizzas right now are the escarole and red onion and the spicy salami with honey. Open weekdays from 11am-3pm, Superfine is where everybody who works downtown needs to be eating on their lunch hour.
Workshop Enoteca is a tiny Italian spot that serves lunch and dinner in an El Segundo strip mall. Its bright interior is more reminiscent of a Panera Bread than a legitimate Italian restaurant, but don’t let that fool you - this is the best pasta we’ve discovered since we first ate at Felix. Your ideal strategy is to come with a few people, order several pastas, and then fight about which one is the best. The beef cheek scarpinocc is our favorite at the moment (be sure to get the stracciatella on top), and the kale salad is great, too.
Bar Calo is a Mexican spot in an Echo Park strip mall that, when you first walk in, you could easily mistake for a bar. It’s slammed already, most people here are just drinking and snacking, and you’re going to have to fight to get a seat if you want to eat dinner. (That’s because there aren’t any real tables - the place is basically just one big red couch.) But we’re here to tell you that you should absolutely make that effort. All of the food here - like peanut chipotle salsa, hibiscus flower quesadilla, and Oaxacan hot chicken - is really good, and the place overall feels different.
This hummusiya (yes, a restaurant that specializes in hummus) run by the same people as Lodge Bread Co. combines many of our interests, like eating fantastic food and eating hummus. In a small space with an even smaller front patio in Pico-Robertson, they serve four different types of chickpea puree (the wild mushroom is the best), plus a couple of shakshukas, and some pita sandwiches. Get here for a fun lunch, a casual dinner, or really, whenever you can. You shouldn’t need an excuse to eat here.
Ma’am Sir is a modern Filipino restaurant that recently took over the Bar Angeles space in Silver Lake. The place is bright and colorful, with hanging vines from the ceiling (the Edison lights of 2018) and leafy wallpaper that makes you feel like you’re on vacation. You can’t go wrong with any of the food, but our early favorites are the longganisa (sweet sausage) sandwich, the whole milkfish, and a mango verrine dessert that’s basically the best parfait in existence. Definitely make a reservation as this place is already very crowded.
Fish Eight on Melrose is one of our favorite casual sushi restaurants to open in LA in a while. The place is owned by the same people behind Jinpachi, one of Weho’s best sushi spots, Jinpachi, so the fish is high-quality. But unlike Jinpachi, the prices are reasonable - most of their sushi is $5 for two pieces, and a few sashimi specials go up to $10. They’re still building out their menu and they don’t serve alcohol yet, but if you’re in the Melrose area looking for a quick sushi meal, Fish Eight should be perfect. Sit at the bar for the best experience.
The new Paramount Coffee Project in DTLA’s Row development doesn’t hit you over the head with an Australian theme or surfer-waiters who’ll call you mate five times too many. Like the first location on Fairfax, it’s just an excellent cafe on par with the daytime spots you’d find in Sydney and Melbourne. The space is huge, with big windows that open up onto the street, and the menu is a mix of breakfasty stuff like coconut oats and Dutch babies and lunch options like a tea leaf salad, a classic Australian sausage roll, and uni toast. But whatever time of day you’re here, make room for the breakfast sandwich with curried egg salad and house-cured ham. And obviously a flat white.
Highly Likely is owned by one of the people behind Cafe Gratitude and Juice Served Here, but luckily there are no kelp noodles or seitan bowls in sight. This is an all-day cafe on a quiet part of Jefferson in West Adams, where you can certainly take the healthy route with a Japanese grain bowl - but there’s also a breakfast burrito, a burger, a crispy fish sandwich, and a housemade hot sauce you’re going to want to put on everything. This neighborhood place is worth visiting even if you’re nowhere near the neighborhood.
All Time opened as a daytime-only spot on Hillhurst in Los Feliz in a neighborhood that never tires of daytime-only spots. But now they have stepped up their game with a new dinner menu (Thursday-Sunday only) that’s worth getting in your Honda and crossing the city for. The menu changes frequently, but if the good ass garden salad, the focaccia, or pork shoulder are on there, you should probably order them. They also have an extensive wine list and the kind of outdoor patio you’ll only want to tell people about if you like them.
Unless you’re seeing a musical at Pantages or got tricked into a dinner at Katsuya with your friend who still likes clubbing, there are few good reasons to be at Hollywood and Vine. Add APL to the good reason list. This is a fancy steakhouse that doesn’t feel like a typical fancy steakhouse: Jimi Hendrix is playing on the loudspeaker, the waitstaff isn’t taking things too seriously, and there’s something called Fuck Dat Fries on the menu that surprisingly doesn’t make you hate the place. You’re going to drop a lot money here (steaks generally fall in the $80 range), but if you’re in the market for a throw-down meal in Hollywood, APL will not disappoint.
Just in case you thought there were enough nicely-designed coffee shops for you to sit in and pretend you’re doing work, Doubting Thomas is another to add to your list. But it’s also way more interesting than your average cute cafe with plants in the corner. The coffee is good (try the house cappuccino catalana with cinnamon and orange peel syrup) and the food is even better - like the pork shoulder breakfast burrito and a truly excellent sausage breakfast sandwich on a biscuit. The pastries up front are as tasty as they look, too.
Petit Trois in Hollywood is a fantastic restaurant - except for the part where you’ll be eating at 5pm unless you want to spend two hours waiting in a strip mall parking lot. Good news: you no longer have to do that. The same team has opened a second location in Sherman Oaks, and just like everything else in the Valley, the Petit Trois over the hill is bigger in every way. It’s a much larger space, with actual tables and an expanded menu, and it’s open all day. The fantastic breakfast is reason enough for non-Valley people to sit on Laurel Canyon for 40 minutes - the croissants are perfect (which is good because they’re also $6), and the Mec Muffin breakfast sandwich is one of the best things we’ve eaten all year.
Bavel is the new spot from the people behind Bestia and, as you’d suspect, it’s fantastic. Like the Arts District OG, it’s also in a converted warehouse and you’ll have a very hard time getting a primetime reservation, but unlike Bestia, the food here is Middle Eastern rather than Italian. And it’s fantastic. There really isn’t a miss on the menu - everything from the hummus to the flatbread to the grilled prawns to the enormous lamb shawarma is so good you’ll be instantly planning a return visit. This is a perfect spot for a celebratory dinner with a big group. Get here whenever you can.
Kasih is a modern Indonesian restaurant, and though its bright space at the bottom of a giant mixed-user in Little Tokyo feels a bit corporate, the food is anything but. From the sambal platter (Indonesian chips and dips) to the vegetable curry to the spicy slaw, everything we’ve tried at Kasih is both interesting and delicious. It’s a casual place, with a huge front patio, making it an excellent choice for a big group dinner before a night out downtown.
La Morra Pizzeria isn’t really a restaurant - it’s a portable pizza oven, built on the back of a trailer, that shows up on Tuesdays at Hayden in Culver City, and Thursdays at Tabula Rasa in Hollywood. And this mobile pizza pop-up is worth making space in your calendar for. They serve only five or so pizzas a night, all with pretty simple toppings (Margherita, Funghi, something with salami), but they’re close to perfect, with charred and chewy dough. Plus, given that both locations are wine bars, your drinks will be good too.
Triple Beam is an order-at-the-counter pizza spot in Highland Park (opened by Nancy Silverton and the Everson Royce Bar people), and is serving some of the best new pizza LA has seen in a while. It’s Roman-style, meaning the pieces are rectangular and cut by scissors, everything is priced per ounce, and you dictate the size of your piece simply by holding up your hands. And since there are only five different pizzas, you can order the whole menu for under $30. There’s also a great back patio and plenty of wine, making this a great, low-key spot to grab a dinner with friends.
Majordomo is a new restaurant in Chinatown from the team behind Momofuku, the group of Korean-inspired restaurants born in NYC. Getting a table here is harder than getting tickets to Beyonce’s Coachella right now, but know that it’s worth the wait. The drinks are excellent, the service is already a well-oiled machine, and the menu, while a bit all over the place, is soul-curingly fantastic. Focus on the bing section (grilled bread and dips), the vegetables, and the section where everything is just massive cuts of meat that feed four to six people. Definitely come to Majordomo with a group.
The Mezzanine is the main restaurant at the new, just-arrived-from-NYC NoMad Hotel downtown, and it’s more than survived the journey. The menu is a combination of imports from the original (the very rich roast chicken for two with truffle stuffed under the skin), and new LA-specific dishes (fava bean hummus), and despite our coastal differences, it all works well together. The whole operation already feels like a well-oiled machine, with fantastic food, excellent service, and a crowd that runs from people doing after-work business drinks to dates sharing one of the cocktails for two that comes served in a giant rooster. It’s all as over-the-top as it sounds, but manages not to be particularly pretentious either.
We’re not going to complain about the arrival of another coffee shop with great food, and Triniti in Echo Park is the newest one to add to LA’s growing list. The whole place reminds us of Destroyer - similar minimalist menu, similar bowls containing hidden things, same coffee machine that looks like a spaceship - which makes sense since the chef here once worked there. But Triniti is doing its own thing, serving excellent coffee and a small menu of mostly salad-like things. The roasted potatoes with skordalia, greens, and a poached egg are hearty but still feel relatively healthy, and the little gem dish has an XO sauce dressing we’d eat all on its own. Despite the fancy-sounding (and looking) food, Triniti feels like a casual neighborhood hangout.