Each Friday, the Digest surveys the burgeoning L.A. restaurant scene and compiles 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. Odys + Penelope
Fresh off the closure of their acclaimed fine-dining restaurant Hatfield’s, husband-and-wife duo Quinn and Karen Hatfield wasted no time launching Odys + Penelope, a more casual, grill-centric restaurant that channels the type of cooking the Hatfields like to eat in their own home. There are Argentinian-style and Uruguyuan-style grills, offering different levels of char for meats and vegetables, along with a churrasco and a smoker. Don’t forget Karen’s renowned dessert items either.
After months of anticipation, chefs Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo’s Baldwin Hills restaurant is finally open. As promised, you’ll find a stunning variety of regional Mexican dishes, tamales steamed to order, and one of the most ambitious mezcal cocktail programs in the city.
3. Steak & Whisky
Chef Tin Vuong’s dominance of the South Bay dining scene continues with the opening of his new American-inspired steakhouse in Hermosa Beach. Expect riffs on classics like steak tartare with red curry, Kurobuta pork short rib with white polenta, and beef tendon gratin dauphinois. As the name implies, there is an ample selection of Japanese whiskies—as well as wine, beer, and seasonal cocktails.
4. Knuckle & Claw
Silver Lake is getting a dose of East Coast-style seafood with the arrival of Knuckle & Claw, a quaint Martha’s Vineyard-esque restaurant offering buttery lobster rolls (stuffed with a quarter-pound of Maine lobster), clam chowder, grilled cheese, whoopie pies, and more. Owners Nikki Booth and Chloe Dahl (granddaughter of British author Roald Dahl) hope to have their beer and wine license soon, but for now it’s Fentimans soda on the sunny patio.
5. Milo & Olive
The famously cramped quarters at Santa Monica’s popular Milo & Olive are now more reasonable, thanks to a well-deserved expansion by owners Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan, which has more than doubled the seating capacity in the dining room. Chef Erin Eastland’s new seasonal menu hones in on the kind of house-made pastas and pizzas for which the restaurant has become famous, including roasted potato pizza and sausage-kale lasagna.
6. The Lost Knight
High-end British pub fare is the latest eclectic addition to Echo Park’s growing restaurant scene. Nibble classic Brit dishes like steak pies or fish and chips, or try something lighter like the pastry crust-wrapped Beet “Wellington.” And because of course what would a pub be without beer, the Lost Knight offers an array of locally brewed, British-style lagers and ales on cask.
7. Der Wolfskopf
Surly Goat owner Ryan Sweeney has expanded his beer bar game to Pasadena with a massive German-style beer hall. Feast on sausages, schnitzel, and other Teutonic bar bites while enjoying craft beers from both German and local breweries.
8. New School Kitchen
Popular food truck The Dim Sum Truck has settled down with a brick-and-mortar on the Sawtelle strip. They’ve expanded their menu, steaming fresh dim sum, of course, along with traditional specials like Hainan chicken and pork belly bao. A great option for the ramen-weary luncher in Little Osaka.
The owners of popular vegan spot Elf Café have opened shop in Atwater Village, serving hot-from-the-fryer falafel on house-baked pita bread. There’s also beet and feta sandwiches, and–as a departure from the veg-only mantra–a lamb sandwich with yogurt. Stand inside at the small counter or grab a picnic bench along Glendale Boulevard and indulge in an updated take on one of the world’s oldest street foods.
10. Yakuza Sushi
The long vacant former Reservoir space in Silver Lake (situated near Alimento and L&E Oyster Bar) finally found a tenant: Yakuza Sushi, an agreeable neighborhood sushi bar that pairs well-dressed rolls with a selection of Japanese fusion dishes. For a stretch of Silver Lake Boulevard that is surprisingly starved for Asian cuisine, this mafia-named hangout is a nice option for locals.