Our Los Angeles tours go by many a restaurant, but we’re not in the food business. Fortunately, so many in Los Angeles are and the folks at theinfactuation.com put together a great list of the top new L.A. eateries in 2023. We’re referencing their article here.
We checked out these new restaurants in LA and loved them.
Garrett Snyder, Brant Cox, Sylvio Martins, Nikko Duren & Arden Shore March 6, 2023
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The Hit List is our guide to the best new food and drink experiences in LA. We track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. While the Hit List is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have genuinely checked out.
Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself—inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at email@example.com.
New to the Hit List (3/6): Poltergeist, Corridor 109
Perfect For:Unique Dining ExperienceCasual Weeknight DinnerDate Night
1391 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
If a cross-cultural fusion restaurant that plays punk tracks inside a barcade sounds like fun, that’s because well, it is, and its name is Poltergeist. Located in Echo Park’s Button Mash, this oddball dinner spot serves in-your-face riffs on classics, like a caesar salad punched up with lemongrass and smoked anchovies and miso honey parker house rolls, plus dishes you didn’t know you needed, like battered honey walnut prawns paired with a silky horchata panna cotta and tingly mapo tofu cabbage rolls. The chef previously worked at Bestia, so don’t overlook the thick bucatino pasta in a tangy green curry with scallion confit and crunchy pistachio gremolata, either. Poltergeist is open late (until midnight on weekends), so if you’re waiting for a table to open up without a reservation, just show up early for draft beers and a few rounds of pinball.
Perfect For:Special Occasions
727 N Broadway, Los Angeles
If we were handing out Oscars this year, we’d give a nod to Corridor 109 in several categories, like Best Sardine Toast and Most Unique Fine Dining Experience. This tiny eight-seat restaurant in Chinatown is one of the toughest reservations in LA right now, but a meal here stands out from other tasting spots in the way it coaxes deep flavors from utterly gorgeous seafood using Japanese and Korean ingredients. It’s run by a chef who cooked in a bunch of award-winning kitchens before starting his own pop-up inside Kobawoo House, an iconic Koreatown restaurant run by his parents. Now he’s on the second floor of Far East Plaza in a bare-bones space serving nine courses of inventive dishes like a spot prawn and caviar tartlet, seared skipjack tuna with some very good pesto spaghetti, and a Hokkaido scallop in a herbaceous clam broth that will be memorialized in our hearts and minds for years to come. Dinner is a BYOB affair that costs $250 per person—if you want to book a seat, wait until tickets drop on Tock near the start of each month, then cross your fingers.
Perfect For:Pre-Theater EatsDate Night
37 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena
Pre-theater dinner spots can be a little boring—most are built to put chicken piccata in people’s stomachs before two-plus hours of David Mamet. But then there’s Bar Chelou, a French-ish bistro on the grounds of the Pasadena Playhouse where the food is special enough to be its own attraction, whether you have tickets to the show or not. The moody, dimly lit dining room buzzes into the night with dates sharing hearty, artfully plated dishes like snapped peas topped with smoky crumbled Spanish sausage and bluefin tuna in a celery root puree. And while a good chunk of the crowd inside Bar Chelou does have a performance to get to, it’s not like the place dies after showtime. People who are thankful their kids went to bed early swarm the bar area, sipping martinis and ordering lemon-chamomile semifreddo well past 10pm (not exactly late night, but pretty good for Pasadena).
Perfect For:Big GroupsUnique Dining Experience
1212 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia
Walking into Monarch, a Hong Kong-style cafe in Arcadia, feels like you accidentally crashed the Mad Hatter’s tea party. The maximalist dining room is a technicolored dreamscape with plush, tie-dye chairs, wavy blue wallpaper, and a waterfall mosaic created from thousands of glass beads. Even the monogrammed dinner plates with ethereal butterflies will have you pulling out your phone. The man behind the magic is Humberto Leon, fashion designer and owner of the equally maximalist Chifa in Eagle Rock. But just like its sister restaurant, Monarch is more than just aesthetics and vibes. The food is great, too. We love the salty, slippery egg crab fried fun and the curry noodle with briny squid ink noodles. Even simpler dishes like the steamed beet cake and spiced okra in Szechuan sauce pack flavor-heavy punches. We’ve never seen an upscale, party-like restaurant quite like this in the SGV, and Monarch pulls it off.
Perfect For:BreakfastQuick Eats
1614 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica
Layla is a welcome addition to LA’s bagel boom (thanks for starting it, Gjusta and Courage). But this Ocean Park bagel shop isn’t just part of a trend, it’s a lovely little counter service spot with great coffee and outrageously delicious bagels piled high with the freshest produce available. And while you can absolutely order crusty-on-the-outside, cushiony-on-the-inside loosies, you’d be missing out if you didn’t try some of the open-face bagel offerings. Toppings range from classics (cream cheese, tomatoes, herbs, smoked salmon, pickled onions) to less typical stuff (lemon zest, chili flakes, PB&J, avocado, hummus). The bagel with seasonal fruit—we got mandarin wedges—plus cream cheese and honey gives us goosebumps just thinking about it.
Perfect For:Big GroupsOutdoor/Patio Situation
5560 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles
With a kitschy interior and colorful Thai street food that looks straight out of a comic book, Farmhouse Kitchen is in a category by itself. This festive restaurant in West Adams is an import from the Bay Area, bringing over-the-top cocktails and group-sized entrees to a space decked out with artificial plants and bright pink flowers. R&B blasts inside and out at a confident-party-host volume. And the back patio is filled with people getting “content” while chomping on dishes that are tasty as they are theatrical, like overflowing volcano cup noodles and live lobster pad thai. If you’re looking for a slightly club-like night out filled with lots of standout Thai food, confidently book a table here.
Saucy Chick Rotisserie / The Goat Mafia
Perfect For:LunchCasual Weeknight DinnerSerious Take-Out Operation
8312 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
This casual Beverly Grove spot comes from two Smorgasburg vendors/self-professed besties: Saucy Chick Rotisserie and The Goat Mafia. And while it’s still uncertain what to call this place for short (SCR/TGM?), there’s no question that the options on their Mexican-Indian fusion menu are excellent. The breezy, pink subway-tiled restaurant offers traditional Jalisco-style birria and glossy rotisserie chickens as a base for all sorts of things, from tacos to chutney-doused nachos to bowls with jeera rice and fenugreek esquites. The flavors are big and bold, especially when you dab on their fantastic house sauces (get the tangy tamarind molasses and the garlicky GG sauce). And though this place does operate as a lightning-quick takeout operation, there’s also a nice outdoor patio where you can decompress over a satisfying lunch—one that’s way more interesting than other fast-casual chains in the neighborhood.
Perfect For:Pre-Theatre EatsEating At The Bar
1360 Vine St, Los Angeles
Taking over Los Balcones in Hollywood, Colibri is a new Peruvian spot from the chef behind Causita and Rosaliné. Yes, it’s technically a pop-up, but it’s destined to stick around for at least a year. And considering how good the food was on our visit, let’s hope it’s even longer than that. While the chef’s other spots focus mainly on Nikkei-style dishes and modern twists to Peruvian cooking, Colibi’s menu is all about the traditional classics. Think citrusy ceviche filled with sea bass and sweet potato, briny squid ink rice, and tallerines rojos, a ragu-based pasta topped with crispy chicken thigh and homemade cheese sauce—the highlight of our night. There’s also a fun drink menu filled with pisco sours, caipirinhas, and chilcanos. Given Colibri’s central location—within walking distance to all the big theaters and across the street from the Netflix campus—this is your new go-to pre-event dinner spot in Hollywood.
Perfect For:Impressing Out Of TownersSpecial Occasions
8615 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood
If you’re a Bostonian or have spent significant time in Boston in the past half-decade, you’ve probably heard about Saltie Girl. It’s one of that city’s most popular restaurants, and now is one of LA’s newest imports, with a location right on the Sunset Strip. The choice of venue is a little puzzling—show us an Angeleno who willingly eats on the Strip on a regular basis—but it’s clear that Saltie Girl is already one of the best restaurants in the area. Yes, the menu’s too big, with a few mediocre “California-inspired” dishes (you can find better sashimi, toasts, and salads elsewhere), but the things you expect to be good from a Boston restaurant are incredible. The buttery clam chowder and lobster roll overflow with tender chunks of meat. The thick, juicy burger comes topped with pork belly, avocado, and a savory house dressing. There’s even a tiny booklet detailing their massive tinned fish collection—don’t miss the Spanish sardines in hot sauce. Your selection arrives on a beautiful board filled with whipped butter, chutney, three kinds of salt, and crunchy house bread. It’s one of the many reasons we’ll stomach the Strip to eat here.
Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerBrunchLunchQuick Eats
112 W Main Street, Alhambra
First things first, Yang’s Kitchen is not a new restaurant. This casual Taiwanese spot in Alhambra opened in 2019 and made it on our list of Best New Restaurants that year. But after introducing a new dinner menu in late 2022, we can say with confidence that this is the most exciting iteration of Yang’s yet. If you’ve been during the day, you know how bright and breezy the space is—perfect for a quick lunch. At night, the lights are dimmed, the music’s a little louder, and friend groups huddle around tables ordering bottles of natural wine at leisure. While there are a few holdovers from the lunch menu available at dinner, like their fantastic creamy smoked fish dip and chilled tofu with roe, our suggestion is to concentrate on the “Larger Bites.” That’s where you’ll find a pepper-crusted hanger steak cooked a perfect medium-rare, peanut-y dan dan campanelle pasta, and a flaky Hainan fish rice with chili butter that has left us daydreaming for the better part of a month.
Howlin’ Ray’s Pasadena
Perfect For:Impressing Out Of TownersLunchOutdoor/Patio SituationSerious Take-Out Operation
800 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena
Admittedly, we weren’t rushing to try the new Howlin’ Ray’s. There’s just way too much hot chicken in these streets as it is. But considering they’re the original hot chicken torchbearer in LA, we decided to brave the crowds at their spacious new sit-down location in Pasadena. What we found was a surprisingly pleasant upgrade from their takeout-only spot in Chinatown: parking is a breeze with a huge lot around back, the upbeat staff (who can text you updated wait times) keeps the line moving quickly, and there’s a beer and wine menu that, combined with a blasting hip-hop playlist, make this a prime location for day drinking. As for the hot chicken? It’s as juicy and crispy (and spicy) as ever. Even if you end up standing in line for a bit, this place is worth planning your afternoon around.
Perfect For:Drinking Good CocktailsBig GroupsSpecial Occasions
1712 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Part Mexican restaurant, part multi-floor labyrinth, Mírate is a deceptively huge dinner spot in Los Feliz from the people behind Beverly Hills’ Mírame. The three-story space has more loungey spaces than we can keep track of: There’s an indoor bar area, an open-air courtyard, and even a top-floor terrace that overlooks the tree piercing the building’s center. It’s all very impressive, but it’s the food and cocktails we’re most excited about. Meant to be Mírame’s more casual sibling, Mírate still has plenty of flair, as seen in the gorgeous jicama aguachile swimming in a bright jamaica broth with gooseberries. We’re already big fans of the crackly lamb flautas with feta and roasted eggplant, the smoky octopus taco arabe with chorizo and chicharron, and any drink that comes from the bar—especially the floral bacanora sour or the caramely cold brew-spiked carajillo, which goes great with their corn churros.
Perfect For:Big GroupsLiterally EveryoneCasual Weeknight Dinner
4137 E Anaheim St, Long Beach
Have you ever gotten to know someone special and thought, “wow, I wish I had met them sooner?” Well, that’s how we feel about Selva, a Colombian restaurant in Long Beach that opened back in February. After our first visit, we thought it was really good, but we felt even more confident after our second: Selva is truly excellent. The fairly generic dining room is filled with dangling plants, lots of Colombian knick-knacks, and psychedelic jungle paintings that look like posters for an EDM festival. More to the point, though, everything we ate knocked us out, from pillowy, cheese-flavored buñuelos to the juicy beef skewers with warm arepas to a smoked chicken with crisp skin that seals in the juices like a Ziploc. Meals here are done family-style, which we love because there’s no shortage of delicious things to sample, including a chocolatey pudín de pan dessert that we’ll never leave without ordering. After dinner, head over to the busy bar that streams ’90s MTV skater videos and makes a fantastic pineapple pisco cocktail.
Perfect For:Business MealsCorporate CardsSpecial Occasions
738 E 3rd St, Los Angeles
There’s no lack of very expensive sushi restaurants in LA, and 715 is the latest addition to that list. This sleek, 10-seat omakase bar in the Arts District is $300 per person (before tax and tip), which is a serious financial undertaking for just about everyone. But if you’re looking for an upscale sushi experience, or just celebrating a recent Powerball win, 715 Sushi delivers something special and unique. For starters, the sushi is exceptional and handed to you by an Osaka-born chef who originally came to America to play basketball. The menu changes almost daily, but you can generally expect about ten meticulously built pieces of nigiri and ten small plates, which could include things like belt fish tempura or surf clams in a creamy miso sauce. Secondly, it’s fun here—compared to other high-end sushi spots, 715 feels like a breath of fresh air. All the staff are young, good-looking, and clearly enjoying themselves, delivering an experience that feels less like a high-end omakase temple and more like hanging with a group of friends who happen to make amazing sushi. Oh, and it’s currently BYOB (while they wait for their alcohol license to be approved).
Borekas Sephardic Pastries
Perfect For:Dining SoloQuick Eats
15030 Ventura Blvd Suite 25, Sherman Oaks
This new takeout window in Sherman Oaks serves nothing but perfectly decadent, foot-long bourekas, and that’s perfectly fine by us. This spot comes from the people behind Kosher burger restaurant PSY Street Kitchen, located in the same strip mall on Ventura Blvd. If you can’t find the place, just look for the massive line zig-zagging around the corner. You might wait as long as a half-hour for your order, but once you taste these crispy, cheese-stuffed pastries, none of that will matter. Each buttery slice starts with an audible crackle of crispy phyllo dough, followed by globs of creamy feta that ooze from inside. Four different filling options are available: feta and spinach, mushroom and truffles, ricotta and za’atar, and brown butter with potatoes. Don’t try to choose between them. For $12 each, you don’t have to. Just get here early, order a few before they sell out, and share the leftovers with a deserving friend.
If you’re coming for Los Angeles tours and want to try some great food afterwards, take a Star Track Tours tour and then try one of our new, spectacular restaurants!