Each Friday, the Digest surveys the burgeoning L.A. restaurant scene and compile this (highly unscientific) list of the most hyped and heralded restaurants in town this instant. Whether old or new, big or small, near or far, these are the restaurants that have people talking. Whatever that means. Anyway, we recommend getting a seat at these places while you still can.
4th and Main’s long-time café Pete’s has gotten a stylish menu makeover by Downtown chef impresario Josef Centeno. Try modern riffs on 1950s era dishes like shrimp Newburg with uni and chicken-fried veal with creamed spinach. During lunchtime, try the meaty version of the classic club sandwich amped up with pork belly, fried chicken skin, and American cheese.
2. Petit Trois
Ludo Leferve’s new French bar-bistro is on top of it’s game right now, having scored top marks from two of the city’s prominent restaurant critics. Offering just 24 bar stools and no reservations, the traditional Burgundy fare, like steak frites and chicken leg confit, is certainly worth the wait. Sip wines and cocktails at the long marble-top bar and pretend you’re chilling in Paris.
3. Sushi Tsujita
Tsujita is the gift that keeps on giving. After opening two ramen restaurants, the Japanese-based company has launched an elegant sushi bar just one block north along Sawtelle. The focus is on precise and intricate omakase meals at dinner—the most basic option starts at $120 per person—but lunch is far more affordable, including a great chirashi bowl deal studded with fresh sashimi.
Roy Choi’s rooftop greenhouse restaurant is open for business at Koreatown’s The Line Hotel. Serving vegetable-focused dishes and cocktails, Choi has dubbed the the poolside, garden-themed eatery as “a country club for the public.” The space should be a fine compliment to POT, Lobby Bar, and CaFe a.k.a. The Line’s other eclectic food and beverage outlets.
Sotto chef Zach Pollack is putting his own spin on Northern Italian cuisine at his long-awaited Silver Lake restaurant. If thick-cut mortadella sandwiches, mackerel conserva and biodynamic Nebbiolo are your jam, then this is your kind of place. As a bonus, expect brunch to debut in the next couple weeks.
6. Gardarene Swine
An all-vegetable restaurant in Studio City? Phillip Frankland Lee’s new restaurant isn’t being billed as a vegan, but the Scratch Bar chef has created a fixed menu of meat-free dishes that focus exclusively on the flavors of local produce. Housed in a rather intimate cottage, diners will have the option to enjoy a fixed-price omakase-style menu as well as soju cocktails made with fresh-pressed juice.
7. The Springs
Smack dab in the middle of the Arts District is a holistic living sanctuary which includes a yoga studio, “wellness” services, a fresh juice bar and a vegan-raw restaurant run by chefs Michael Falso and Ian Martin of Planet Raw and M.A.K.E. Cleanse those toxins and fill up on dishes like the seaweed Caesar salad, coconut wonton rangoons, mushroom-miso pho or morel pot pie tartlets.
8. The Roost at L.A. Farm
Craft veteran John Keenan has set up shop inside The Grove for his new restaurant The Roost at L.A. Farm. The fare is classic American bistro with upscale staples such as lobster spaghetti, scallops with corn and truffle, duck breast with figs, and dry-aged ribeye with shishito peppers.
9. Ceverteca DTLA
Venice’s popular Mexican hangout Oscar’s Ceverteca has opened in the Arts District with a slighty different concept that focuses more on raw bar and seafood preparations. Try the chipotle braised beer shrimp or mackerel ceviche with ginger and shiso, then wash it all down with a Tabasco-spiked michelada.
10. Cardamom Indian Cuisine
There’s a new player in L.A.’s Indian food scene thanks to U.K. chef Manju Choudhury. At his contemporary, pan-regional Indian restaurant on Beverly you’ll find dishes like jhinga patia, spicy-sour prawns favored by the Parsi religious sect, or shahee jhinga, lobster cooked in a creamy tomato-mushroom sauce typically reserved for royal members.