Here Are the 10 Best Places to Eat During dineL.A. Restaurant Week

But more importantly, here’s exactly what you should be eating

It’s dineL.A. again folks, that week (January 13-27) when local restaurants lure us beyond our usual three haunts with discounted prix-fixe menus, all in the name of American Express. We scoured the massive list and picked out the 10 menus most worth trying—or at least the ones that feel like an actual deal. Avoid rookie moves (for god’s sake man don’t order the soup! Are you made of money?) and allow us order for you—it’s what we do.

Alimento ($39)

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Zach Pollack’s Italian restaurant (the city’s #1, infact) offers a three-course dinner for $39 with a starter, a choice of antipasto, and a main. We want to give a big squeezey hug to Pollack for a lot of reasons (that chicken sandwich, for one), but today it’s because he knows we all want another savory course more than some weird brownie dessert any day.

What you should eat:
1st: a smoky baccala dip with fried hunks of polenta and furikake
2nd: Beef tonnato with wagyu eye of round, caperberries, bonito
3rd: Have you seen the chicken parm sandwich? Get it. Skip the damn octopus and get it.

Café Birdie ($39)

Moroccan-spiced fried chicken with harissa

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Pretty much the perfect neighborhood restaurant, this Highland Park beaut is offering all of its greatest hits (and most generously sized dishes) on its three-course menu. That awesome back bar isn’t part of the deal, but we suggest starting there anyway.

What you should eat:
1st: Mushroom toast with chanterelles, crème fraiche, parsley, garlic, pecorino
2nd: Moroccan-spiced fried chicken with harissa aioli and lime
3rd: Mascarpone cheesecake with a pistachio crust and preserved blackberries

Connie & Ted’s ($39)

Michael Cimarusti’s highfalutin take on a seafood shack is pretty much the only place in West Hollywood we recommend anymore, so we’re going to do it again. We’d pay $39 for the blondie alone (this is one case where the dineLA dessert is a serious plus), but you’re also getting cushy stuff like oysters and lobsters. There’s some cocktail “Exclusive for dineLA” that’s an extra $10—we’re not sure what that’s about, but hey, booze.

What you should eat:
 1/2 dozen chef’s choice oysters
2nd: Lobster roll hot with drawn butter (they offer the cold too, but you want hot)
3rd: Blondie with caramelized chocolate, vanilla ice cream, and salted caramel sauce

Erven ($29)

Black garlic chickpea fritters
Black garlic chickpea fritters

Photograph courtesy Erven

Whats that you say? L.A.’s #1 Best New Restaurant is offering a sweet dineLA deal? How could this be? It’s happening people. All kinds of cheffy vegan goodness for just $29 clams—er, sham clams (TM pending).

What you should eat:
Black garlic chickpea fritters
2nd: Spaghetti with baby shitake mushrooms, brassicas, and yeast broth
3rd: Chocolate cookie and frozen cinnamon custard “sandwich”

Ink. ($95)

Steak at ink.
Steak at ink.

Photography by Andy Keilen

OK, yes, we’re suggesting you shell out nearly 100 bucks a person, but here’s why: A) Michael Voltaggio recently turned his fancy molecular-driven restaurant into more of a steak house, and you should be really curious about what happens to a classic format like that in the hands of a guy like him. Plus he’s probably feeling all reinvigorated after the switcheroo and cooking at his peak. Right? Right. B) It’s four-course a truffle menu. Considering those stinky lumps are among the priciest ingredients on earth, the whole $95 thing doesn’t sting so badly.

What you’re eating (there isn’t a choice here)
1st: Frisée salad, poached egg, chicken lardons, truffle
2nd: Truffle risotto, Carolina rice, truffle studded scallops
3rd: Tournedos Rossini, Holstein beef tenderloin, foie gras shavings, truffle gelee
4th: Chocolate “truffle”pave, coconut ice

Pok Pok LA ($20)

Khao soi at @pokpokla as part of a #dinela preview. Restaurant Week runs January 13-27.

A photo posted by Josh Lurie • Food GPS (@foodgps) on

Andy Ricker has a whole thing about people assuming Thai food should be cheap. I guess when you’re squeezing your own coconut milk, stuff’s gonna cost more. But not when it’s dineLA! Ricker and co. are offering a four-course menu of hyper-authentic drinking foods and one-plate meals for $20. Note: This is the one place we’re going to tell you to get the soup—if you can even call that creamy, crunchy bowl of eggy noodles known as khao soi soup.

What you should eat:
1st: Krabong Thawt, or deep-fried pumpkin with curry paste batter, served with sweet chile-crushed peanut sauce
2nd: Vegetarian Khao Soi, a northern Thai mild curry soup made with curry paste and house-pressed fresh coconut milk.
3rd: Khanom Pang Ai Tiim, or coconut-jackfruit ice cream served on a sweet bun with peanuts, sweet sticky rice, condensed milk, and chocolate syrup.

Redbird ($49)

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Neal Fraser’s a dineLA alum, and his menu this year reads fancy with impressive-sounding ingredients like “burgundy snails,” “bavette of beef,” and “greek yogurt verrine.” You’ll be eating all of that in an actual 19th Century cathedral—so yeah, fancy.

What you should eat:
1st: Sautéed skate with cauliflower flan, crispy capers, and brown butter
2nd: Veal short ribs with burgundy snails and pommes aligot
3rd: Greek yogurt verrine with citrus and blackberry sorbet

Hanjip ($29)

There are four little letters that get always get our heart a’ flutter: AYCE. Chris Oh’s “chef-driven” Korean BBQ spot started the all-you-can-eat format after last year’s dineLA success. So yes, you can get this deal all the time now, but not with a free beer or soju cocktail and dish of kimchi fried rice.

What you should eat:
ALL OF THE MEAT. But especially the pork belly, pork shoulder, spicy calamari, baby octopus, and beef tongue

Salt’s Cure ($39)

Chris Phelps and Zak Walters moved their locavore emporium to Hollywood last year, and the new digs (complete with full liquor license) round out what was already a reliably great restaurant. The dineLA spread skews meat-heavy, which we all know means the bang-for-buck factor is tops. The free glass of bubbly or rum punch is just gravy.

What you should eat:
1st: House-steamed cappicollo with pretzel bread
2nd: Beef pot roast with roasted root veggies or, if’ you’re feeling flush, the 16 oz Marin Sun pork chop with apple sauce and brown butter. Yes it’s extra, but it’s been called the best pork chop in the city
3rd: Jorge’s date bread pudding with toffee sauce

The Bellwether ($29)

Vigorous back-pats go to the team at one of our Valley favorites for not coursing this thing out. Instead, there’s a good-sized menu that includes everything from salads to steak to dessert, and you just pick three. Want extra savories? Great. Skewing veg? Hey, that’s your call. Have a thing for prunes? That’s weird bro, but there’s a dish for that.

What you should eat:
1: Crispy brussels sprouts with chili vinaigrette, Japanese pickles, and sesame seeds
2: Pork terrine with prunes, pistachios, and mustards
3: Strozzapreti pasta with braised short rib ragu, red wine, Parmigiano