To the surprise of absolutely no one, it’s been another break-neck year of restaurant openings throughout Los Angeles. From new projects in beloved old spaces, big-time chefs expanding their empires, and under-the-radar spots that came out of nowhere, 2015 continued to build Los Angeles’s reputation of having some of the best restaurants in the country.
But which places really stood out? Who delivered on their sky-high expectations? Here is our list of the best restaurants that opened in Los Angeles in 2015.
When the guys behind Animal announced they were opening a casual Italian restaurant across the street from their red meat sanctuary, most of LA was put on high alert. And luckily, Jon and Vinny’s delivers on almost every level. The casual Italian menu is fantastic and while the interior looks more like an Icelandic steam sauna than a pizza/pasta joint, it’s all part of the allure that’s made Jon and Vinny’s an instant LA staple.
If you had told us in January one of our favorite new spots was going to be a BBQ joint on Sepulveda in Culver City, we would’ve laughed in your face. But here we are in December and we still can’t stop talking about Maple Block BBQ. The brisket is getting all the early deserved praise but we think it’s the rest of the menu that sets the place apart. Pimiento Cheese Sandwich, you have our heart.
When a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles makes a list like this one, it should not be taken lightly. But then again, Broken Spanish is no ordinary Mexican restaurant. This is Mexican cuisine from the future, with a menu drawing from both Latin and California influences and ingredients, all set in a sleek and stylish downtown space. Lamb neck tamales anyone?
It’s not particularly difficult to pinpoint the formula amongst Santa Monica’s most successful restaurants: Sleek, upscale-casual space serving familiar (and good) California cuisine. Enter Cassia, dropping down on a rather derelict stretch of downtown, serving delicious and relatively surprising Southeast Asian cuisine in a redone space that simply needs to be seen. Consider the mold broken.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Forma dropped down on Montana’s chardonnay-drenched sidewalks and gave the rather geriatric neighborhood a major helping of youth. That’s not to say Swedish House Mafia rolled into town though. Forma is an old-school Italian joint but with an immensely welcoming and unstuffy vibe. Take note, Westside. You just got yourselves a great new date spot.
On what’s slowly becoming Culver City’s restaurant row, LA waved good bye to Waterloo & City and said hello to Hatchet Hall, the beautiful Southern-tinged restaurant that made us quickly forget about the old standby it replaced. The food is a fantastic fusion of Southern comfort and modern Californian in large space (with a hidden back bar) that’s as eccentric as it is romantic.