The Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016

These star newcomers represent L.A. at its no-limits finest. From a beachside vegan café to a strip mall destination in the South Bay to a rotating cast of concepts in a Chinatown shopping center, 2016 was a year of eating on the glorious edge
Vandouvian lamb rack with ratatouille and chickpea polenta at Wolf

Photograph by ANDREA D’AGOSTO

The single greatest thing about L.A.’s best restaurants is that they’re led by dreamers and risk-takers—chefs and owners who embrace change and dare to put it all out there, whether “it” means the obscurest Japanese delicacies or one man’s obsession with Nashville hot chicken. In 2016, they reshaped a landscape already stripped of fine dining’s trappings. We said our good-byes to white tablecloths long ago, but even by recent standards, the exceptional restaurants of the past year are a boundary-pushing bunch. Meat-eating chefs celebrated vegetable-based cooking without necessarily going vegetarian (then again, our favorite restaurant went vegan). A culinary incubator challenged the definition of a restaurant while bringing us exalted Chinese American food and introducing a broader audience to Filipino tasting menus. Even a quick-serve counter made our list with that spicy (we’re talking mouth-searing) fried chicken. Yeah, it’s freaking hot—like L.A.’s dining scene.

This way to the year’s best new restaurants…