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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Petit Trois
Ludo Leferve’s new French bar-bistro is finally open next door to Trois Mec, offering just 24 bar stools and no reservations. But the rich, traditional fare, like steak frites and chicken leg confit, is likely to be worth the wait. Sip wines and cocktails at the long marble-top bar and pretend you’re chilling in Paris.
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.
6. Saint Martha
Koreatown’s new wave of exciting restaurants continues with this subtle strip mall-enclosed wine bar on Western. On the ambitious menu from chef Nick Erven look for small plates like spot prawn tartare, sea urchin tataki with avocado and seaweed Doritos, and pecan-smoked brisket with hoisin.
Julian Cox and Josh Goldman’s new Santa Monica “coastal saloon” bar has got style to spare, slinging stylish cocktails made with things like “ginger air” and fig jam. But the food menu is an equal draw, with Paiche vet Richie Lopez offering red snapper crudo, lobster and uni rice, and pork belly beet hash.
8. The Anchor
Armed with truffle-topped lobster rolls, fresh oysters, and Basque-style braised mussels with chorizo, this nautical-themed bar and restaurant hopes to bring a dash of East Coast attitude to Venice’s Main Street. Grab a seat on the large outdoor patio, festooned with strings of lights, and enjoy a glass of wine and craft beer alongside laid-back locals.
9. Bacari PDR
Another entry in Playa Del Rey’s expanding dining scene, Bacari is the sibling to the perpetually underrated Bacaro LA, a cozy wine bar just south of Downtown. Like Bacaro, Bacari will serve cicchetti, or Italian-style small plates, such as charcuterie and cheese, roasted bone marrow, and a house burger. A deep wine list, craft beer, and sangria are also prominently featured.
10. Ike’s Place
The cult-favorite Bay Area sandwich shop is finally open in Westwood. With dozens of comically titled sandwich combos—many vegan—Ike’s should find a nice niche among the hungry UCLA crowd. Stop by this weekend for 50% off sandwiches to celebrate the outlet’s soft opening.