8 Iconic L.A. Dishes That Have Stood the Test of Time

From bacon-wrapped dates to a simple roasted chicken

We live in an age of menus that change with the seasons, but these iconic dishes have kept pleasing us through the years.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates at A.O.C


Like the West 3rd Street restaurant itself, Suzanne Goin’s version of the classic Devils on Horseback feels both quintessentially Californian and totally exotic all at once. Sweet California- grown dates are stuffed with a nugget of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, wrapped in bacon, and roasted to sweet-salty-smoky perfection. What to drink with them? Anything restaurateur Caroline Styne recommends from her award- winning wine list. 8700 W. 3rd St., Beverly Grove, 310- 859-9859

Black Cod with Miso at Matsuhisa

The fish that launched a restaurant empire is usually associated with Nobu, and it’s the one thing you must get no matter the location. But in truth, Nobu Matsuhisa tinkered with an age-old Japanese recipe at his flagship Matsuhisa restaurant in Beverly Hills before unleashing it to the world. The now-famous iteration—the fish sits in a salty-sweet marinade for three days before being broiled to a meltingly silky texture—tastes best from the original kitchen. 129 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-659-9639

Cavatelli alla Norcina at Bestia

Chef Ori Menashe takes cues from the seasons for his menu at the Arts District hot spot. The menu is ever-changing, but he’d cause a revolt if he removed these ricotta dumplings studded with house-made sausage and black truffles. Comforting in its simplicity, the dish packs a subtle power that helps define the restaurant itself. 2121 E. 7th Pl., downtown, 213-514- 5724

Pozole Verde at Rustic Canyon

After moving south from the Bay Area, Jeremy Fox found his footing when he joined this Santa Monica restaurant five years ago, creating ultraseasonal menus that have a strong vegetable focus without forsaking animal protein. A dish he’s been featuring from the start, his bright green pozole is laden with plump hominy, shellfish, and a tangle of shredded tortillas on top. 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-393- 7050

The Ugly Bunch at Providence

Accolades have poured in for Michael Cimarusti’s seafood restaurant for many reasons. Here’s a big one: the chef’s devotion to using sustainably raised and caught seafood, including “ugly” delicacies like abalone, sea urchin, salmon eggs, giant clam, and razor clam. Together they become a thing of beauty atop smoked crème fraîche panna cotta and garnished with herbs and flowers. 5955 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, 323-460- 4170

Loco Moco at Animal

When Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo opened their restaurant on Fairfax, they wanted to make some serious noise, and this dish made their intentions clear. With foie gras, Spam, a beefy burger, and a poached quail egg, plus house-made sriracha and teriyaki sauce, the Loco Moco captures the chefs’ uncanny knack for mixing highbrow and lowbrow. 435 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax District, 323-782-9225

Smoked Salmon Pizza at Spago

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No matter how many iterations Wolfgang Puck’s menu goes through, there will always be this haute mash-up of caviar, house-smoked fish, and dill crème fraîche on crisp-edged flatbread. The pizza is no longer on the dinner menu at the Beverly Hills flagship, but ask for it and it will miraculously appear. 176 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-385-0880

Roasted Chicken at Republique

A simple, classic dish in the hands of a master becomes almost ethereal. Walter Manzke’s organic chicken is turned over a fiery spit until it’s exceptionally juicy with a gorgeous bronzed skin. Fingerling potatoes, roasted in chicken fat, are just as good. The entire dish, especially with wine, begs to be shared and followed by chocolate caramel cake from Manzke’s wife, Margarita. 624 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park, 310-362-6115

This article was featured in our 2018 Dining L.A. Guide

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