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.
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.
2. 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.
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.
4. 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.
5. Status Kuo
The rotisserie trend is red hot and the latest entrant is this Mar Vista neighborhood restaurant run by chef David Kuo. The star of the menu are plates of wood-roasted chicken, tri-tip or porchetta, but you’ll also find fried chicken with cole slaw or housemade noodles topped with “Taiwanese gravy” and pickled mustard greens. The casual all-day eatery aims to please local families too, with a selection of sides and salads ideal for a take-away meal at home.
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.
8. 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.
9. The Horn
Specializing in wild game meats, this new addition to the WeHo dining scene serves like stuffed boar chops and roasted fowl in gizzard sauce, cooked by a Craft alum. Don’t be turned off by stranger options thought (fried gator bites, anyone?) because you’ll still find comforting classics like pork belly chili with cornbread, fire-roasted artichokes and New York strip steaks with red wine sauce. Opt for a drink from the expansive craft cocktail list (vodka and cactus water, being one) or sample the slightly smaller list of beer and wine.
10. Prufrock Pizzeria
Downtown’s newest music venue, The Regent Theatre, comes complete with a brand new pizzeria and bar. Sample Neapolitan-style pies cooked in a 900-degree oven (they crisp up in about a minute) before the show starts, topped with salumi and roasted fennel, or try a gluten-free pie made with a special cauliflower crust. You’ll find Italian beer and wine on the menu, as well as classic cocktails from the adjacent bar.