Home Best of LA: 2012 Best of LA 2012: Eat

Best of LA 2012: Eat

Animal

435 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90036

323-782-9225

At their still-unmarked Fairfax enclave, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo have maintained—even honed—their knack for rejiggering comfort food into balanced, thoughtful dishes that leap with spurts of acid and fat.

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Baco Mercat

408 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA, 90013

213-687-8808

Josef Centeno’s umlaut-bedecked flagship has all the Moroccan bistilla and Provençal brandade you could want, and the menu weds Catalan, Italian, and Abkhazian ingredients.

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Bea’s Bakery

18450 Clark St., Los Angeles, CA, 91356

818-344-0100

Part cookie, part cake; sort of Jewish but kind of Italian—the black and white is a New York deli favorite that has enthusiastic fans in the west.

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Bottega Louie

700 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90017

213-802-1470

Downtown’s most popular breakfast, lunch, and dinner destination is an Italian restaurant, high-end patisserie, and cocktail dispensary rolled into one.

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Carousel

5112 Hollywood Blvd # 107, Los Angeles, CA, 90027

(323) 660-8060

Only at the original Carousel will you find such an authentic take on this Middle Eastern salad—a mélange of snappy vegetables and fried pita bread.

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Chili John’s

2018 W. Burbank Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 91506

818-846-3611

At Burbank’s family-run Chili John’s, the generous bowls of red are of the most elemental Texas variety: nothin’ but high-quality beef suet, garlic, and a proprietary spice blend that favors cayenne’s stiff kick.

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Eagle Rock Brewery

3056 Roswell St., Los Angeles, CA, 90065

760-471-4999

We’re pleased as pilsner that we can grab beer on the go from a bevy of local craft beer makers. Eagle Rock Brewery elevates the growler experience to an art.

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El Rocoto

11433 South Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90703

(562) 924-1919

At El Rocoto, Inca-worthy recipes use traditional tubers, Andean grains, and the fragrant lúcuma fruit, while standards including ceviche, lomo saltado, and papas huancaina are artfully executed.

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Falafel Arax

5101 Santa Monica Blvd # 2, Los Angeles, CA, 90029

(323) 663-9687

The unsung gem at this wee spot is the hummus, which the owners will describe only as a blend of garbanzos and olive oil. Unlike the bland, gummy, or overly acidic versions found in tubs at your grocer, this one—creamy, with a sprinkle of ground red pepper—has a devilishly satisfying finish.

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Fat Dog

801 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90046

(323) 951-0030

No doggie? Adopt one at Tailwaggers, located next door to the Fat Dog gastropub, then spoil your new friend (and yourself) at brunch. He gets a choice of three bowl sizes for water; you get a farmers’ market frittata and a craft beer.

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Got Kosher?

8914 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90035

310-858-1920

From Thursday afternoon through closing time Friday, customers file steadily into Got Kosher?, stopping at the racks where shiny two-pound pretzel challahs are on display.

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Huntington Meats

6333 W 3rd St # 350, Los Angeles, CA, 90036

(323) 933-8577

Sausage is having a moment. On display at Huntington Meats is a rotating selection of more than 20 pork, lamb, and chicken links free of nitrates and preservatives.

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Jongewaard’s Bake-N-Broil

3697 Atlantic Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90807

(562) 595-0396

A flaky crust, the dense sweetness of vanilla pudding, a billowing crown of whipped cream, and the rush of tropical fruit come together in the banana cream pie at Jongewaard’s Bake-N-Broil in Long Beach.

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LAMILL Coffee

1636 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90026

323-663-4441

LaMill is still the only place in town to enjoy siphon-brewed estate-grown coffee while sitting on a faux crocodile-skin chair.

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Le Petit Bistro

631 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90069

310-289-9797

Step off La Cienega into this red-walled cocoon and through the smoke haze of the enclosed patio, and you’ll feel a lot closer to Paris.

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Little Dom’s

2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90027

323-661-0055

At this spin-off of the West Hollywood fixture Dominick’s, Los Feliz locals come for high-end basics with northern Italian and California influences.

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Santa Monica Seafood

1000 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90401

(310) 393-5244

Santa Monica Seafood is an official partner of Seafood for the Future, the Aquarium of the Pacific’s sustainability program.

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Scoops

712 North Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90029

(323) 906-2649

Life’s tough when you’re a kid who can’t have milk. The original Scoops gets it, dishing out a funky array of ice cream flavors that are lactose free and delightful like Oreo, salty chocolate, Cracker Jack, and more.

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