Three L.A. Restaurants Among Esquire’s Best Newbies


Esquire has released its list of the year’s best new restaurants, and a few Los Angeles spots made the cut. So, where can you “Eat Like A Man” in L.A.?

Esquire restaurant critic John Mariani likes that Casanova has “gone back to his roots, with authoritative renderings of Neapolitan pork braciola with a wine-dark rag — and bitter Swiss chard.”

Mariani notes that, with chef Bernhard Mairinger, you get more than just “wursts and some rare Austrian brews.” He awards bonus points for unexpected dishes like “käsekrainer sausage pumped up with oozy Emmentaler cheese and sharp pepper.”

Bäco Mercat
Mariani insists “It’s not about the sandwiches” at Josef Centeno’s spot, and praises the “deeply satisfying food, crunchy, tender, spicy, each item different and novel, like blistered okra with tomato, mint, and basil.”

Three cheers for the big winners! We gotta say, we stand by their picks—all three are heartfelt, chef-driven endeavors that are among our more frequented dining destinations, lately. Will they top our Best New Restaurants list in January? You’ll have to wait and see.

So, who’d they miss? We would have loved to see Tar & Roses, Cooks County, or Black Hogg make an appearance, but then again, we’re just fine keeping those gems all for ourselves.

Here’s the full list:

Restaurant of the Year: The Optimist, Atlanta, Georgia
Chef of the Year: Roberto Donna of Al Dente, Washington, DC
Design of the Year: Juvia, Miami Beach, Florida
Dish of the Year: The Roast Chicken at The NoMad, New York City
Restaurateur of the Year: Gabriel Stulman, Perla, New York City
The Fourth Annual Esquire Restaurant Hall of Fame Inductee: Drew Nieporent

The Other Best New Restaurants of 2012: 
Gusto, Los Angeles, California; 
Gwynnett St., Brooklyn; 
Sbraga, Philadelphia
; State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
; AQ, San Francisco
; Campo, Reno, Nevada
; Underbelly, Houston; 
ELM, New Canaan, Connecticut
; Carter’s Kitchen, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
; The Macintosh, Charleston, South Carolina; 
The Southern Steak & Oyster, Nashville Tennessee; 
Bäco Mercat, Los Angeles; 
Barrio Queen, Scottsdale, Arizona; 
Bierbeisl, Beverly Hills, California
; Sobou, New Orleans, Louisiana

Five New Chefs to Watch: 
Ryan Hildebrand, Triniti, Houston
; Ryan LaRoche, Nomi Kitchen, Chicago; Matthew Lightner, Atera, New York City; 
Adam Mali Brasserie S&P, San Francisco
; Joe Ng, Redfarm, New York City

Hostess of the Year: Kendall Morales, The Southern Steak & Oyster, Nashville, Tennessee