L.A.’s Top 10 Hot Spots (August)

Labuca

Watermelon with goat cheese and salsa verde at Osteria La Buca

Where to eat now in Los Angeles!

“Hey Brad, where should we eat tonight?” People ask me that constantly. And this is the list I’m currently recommending. Wise-asses take note: This is not an up-to-the-minute accounting of the 10 newest restaurants to open in L.A. this week. Rather, think of it this way: If you were going to take me out to dinner tonight, these are the 10 places I am wholeheartedly recommending right now.

Osteria La Buca
5210 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.462.1900
When I first heard that Osteria La Buca had welcomed yet another new chef, I wasn’t very enthusiastic because I genuinely liked the previous chef and hated to see him go. And I wish him luck wherever he went. But, wow, the new chef, Jason Neroni (a protégé of Wolfang Puck, Alain Ducasse Juan Marie Arzak and Alice Waters) is easily one of L.A.’s best new chefs. Hurry and get there while watermelon is still in season, and corn, too. The corn agnolotti with crab is a perfect dish if there ever was one.

The Spice Table
114 S. Central Ave., L.A., 213.620.1840
Chef Bryant Ng has created this wonderful modern café in Little Tokyo that draws heavily from the flavors and tropical romance of Singapore and, to a lesser degree, Vietnam. Anything from the wood-fired grill is fantastic, especially the skewers of lamb belly or the spicy spot prawns. 

Picca
9575 W Pico Blvd., L.A., 310.277.0133
This is the new modern Peruvian restaurant from chef Ricardo Zarate that everyone’s been buzzing about. Frankly, I hated Zarate’s original effort downtown, a dumpy, grungy, forgettable little spot called Mo Chica. Thankfully, Picca is absolutely nothing like Mo Chica. Go straight for the classic ceviches and skirt steak with fried egg.

Manhattan Beach Post
1142 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, 310.545.5405
Chef David LeFebvre has created one of the most exciting gastropubs ever to open in greater L.A. The big, fat french fries are amazing, as is the chorizo lentil soup. Reservations are rather difficult, so be sure to plan ahead. 

Lukshon
3239 Helms Ave., Culver City, 310.202.6808
I don’t much care for chef/owner Sang Yoon’s “my way or the highway” attitude (no red wine by the glass?), but I absolutely adore his modern take on Asian cuisine. And I love the casual elegance of this place—plus right now is the perfect time of year to enjoy dinner on the patio. Favorite dish: rendang-inspired beef short ribs or the Szechwan-style dan dan noodles.

Son of a Gun
8370 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323.782.9033
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s follow-up to Animal, this place is an ode to all things aquatic, including alligator, which is transformed into a pleasantly delicious schnitzel. The lobster roll is fantastic, but it’s tiny, so make sure to order two. Or three.

L’Epicerie
9900 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 310.815.1600
When chef Sébastien Archambault was cooking at the Andaz in West Hollywood, I declared his duck confit to be the best in L.A., possibly the best in America. Well, he’s now cooking at Thierry Perez’s L’Epicerie in Culver City, and he’s brought that very same duck confit with him. And damn if it isn’t still the best duck confit in town. There are other great things on the bistro-style French menu, but why bother when the duck confit is this incredible.

Ray’s and Stark Bar at LACMA
5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., 323.857.6000
Hands-down the best pork belly in town at the moment! And the wood-roasted chile with chorizo, dates and goat cheese? Sublime. Chef Kris Morningstar has finally found his groove! I love this place. Great cocktails. Stellar wine list. Fun patio scene adjacent to the famous lamp post sculpture. It’s so L.A.

Night + Market
9041 Sunset Blvd, WeHo, 310.275.9724
Los Angeles has the best Thai food in America. Period. No other city even comes close. And my favorite Thai restaurant at the moment is Kris Yenbamroong’s hip, street-food-inspired offshoot adjacent to his family’s long-running Talesai. Go straight for the fermented pork sausages with tongue-blistering green chile relish. Plus the most authentic Bangkok-style pad Thai in town (yes, better than anything in Thai Town).

Hatfields
6703 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.935.2977
This is quite simply the best, most innovative restaurant in Los Angeles at the moment. The croque madame with hamachi and quail egg is rightfully legendary. Love the complimentary popcorn at the bar. And I don’t care if I do have to go to a pool party tomorrow in WeHo, there’s always room for Karen Hatfield’s exquisite desserts.

See also: 10 for All Time (Ten classic L.A. Restaurants everyone should know!)

 

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