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.
1. Love & Salt
Chef Michael Fiorelli (formerly of Terranea Resort) is at the helm of Manhattan Beach’s new Cal-Italian restaurant which takes over the Cafe Pierre space. On the menu: corned lamb tongue panini, crispy chicken skins, whole roasted glazed pig head, kale pizzas, and more.
2. Eagle Rock Public House
Eagle Rock Brewery’s new pub is much more than a beer bar thanks to Jerry Su, the former sous chef at Son of a Gun who is behind the pass at this neighborhood-friendly restaurant located in the former Fatty’s space. Enjoy oysters, smoked fish dip, potted pork, and pork cheek with brussel sprouts along with a pint of craft beer.
3. Barrel & Ashes
Two Thomas Keller veterans (chefs Tim Hollingsworth and Rory Herrmann) are behind this ambitious barbecue hangout from Bill Chait, which specializes in smoke-kissed brisket and exceptionally tender racks of ribs. Don’t overlook stellar sides like butter-glazed hoe cakes and pork belly baked beans. At the bar, try one of Julian Cox’s easy-drinking, food-friendly cocktails.
Atwater Village has been dying for a charming Italian restaurant, and this new trattoria along Glendale Blvd. fits the bill perfectly. Look for Neapolitan style pizza from a wood-fire oven as well as pastas, salumi platters and a intriguing yet affordable wine list.
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.
Chef Kris Tominaga’s stylish new restaurant in Santa Monica combines French and California-style cooking with a selection of tartines, wood-grilled meats, and updated takes on classic dishes like onion soup and beef tartare. Each table receives a spread of “table fare” with their entrees, recalling a European riff on traditional Korean banchan.
7. Butchers & Barbers
After years of opening bars in Hollywood, The Houston Brother’s first foray into the restaurant world is off to a strong start thanks to chef Luke Reyes (The Corner Door). His menu of updated American fare includes house-made charcuterie and oysters set in a charmingly retro space. And of course, expect a list of killer cocktails.
8. Gjusta Bakery
Gjusta, the brand new bakery and deli from the people behind Gjelina, is a bonafide game changer for Venice. Find made-from-scratch everything, including fresh breads, fruit pies, bialys, croissants, quiches, porridge, granola, smoked and cured meats and fish, sandwiches, salads, and soups. The only caveat? There’s currently not much in the way of seating.
9. Stir Market
This multi-faceted food hall and market, which counts Jet Tila as one of its chefs, offers a wide selection of dishes and take-away snacks for lunch, breakfast, and dinner. The big star is the kitchen’s rotisserie grill, which puts our juicy grilled chicken and porchetta. Stop by during earlier in the day to enjoy house-baked pastries and breads from the bakery.
Modernized Mexican is the focus at this Toluca Lake catina from Sweetsalt owner and Top Chef alum Alex Eusebio. Start with antojitos like smoked bacon guacamole and crispy lobster tacos before moving on to the decadent short mole with fresh tortillas.