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
Kali’s beet tartare

Photograph by YASMIN ALISHAV

No. 2

Kali

5722 Melrose Ave., Larchmont Village, 323-871-4160

Chef Kevin Meehan and sommelier Drew Langley are veterans of pristine tablecloth-and-fluttered napkin dining. At Kali they use that background to fashion an elegantly casual restaurant that offers a new formulation of California cuisine. Things are kept simple in a cream-on-cream space where silver punch bowls laden with cooling wine bottles and turquoise kitchen heat lamps add pop. Meehan is an East Coaster who’s rapturous about the state’s bounty. Halves of charred Fuerte avocado take on a lush intensity when brushed with avocado honey, dusted with black garlic ash, and garnished with ribbons of kale and radish. Central Valley Fiscalini cheddar becomes a caramelized cap for a bowl of wheat berry “risotto.” Brown as a catcher’s mitt, the honey-glazed duck breast seems that much more potent cut into lengthwise slices rather than cross sections—the ideal match for the ruby wonder of a fairly priced Lompoc Wine Company pinot. —P.K.

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