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.
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.
2. 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.
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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
8. 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.
9. Prime Pizza
The team behind Cofax Coffee, Golden State, and Bludso’s Bar & Que have expanded into the world of NY-style pizzas. Their quaint little tiled-lined take-out spot on Fairfax serves slices, whole pies, salads and already-famous garlic knots with marinara.
10. 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.