The Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2014

Restaurant critic Patric Kuh crowns the year’s best new arrivals, plus insider tips from Dine editor Lesley Bargar Suter
10 Best New Restaurants
Smoke.Oil.Salt Pa AMB Tomaca-Catalan Tomato Toast

Photograph by Andrea Bricco

No. 3


7274 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323-930-7900

For all its robustness, Catalan cooking—and Perfecto Rocher’s is a preeminent example—requires serious finesse. A native of Spain’s Valencia region, Rocher finishes the pork fillet with a picadeta, heightening the garnish with chopped rosemary, garlic, and thyme. Made of ground almonds and hazelnuts, the salbitxada sauce perfectly accentuates a plate of grilled green calçot onions. For his cassoleta de fideua negra, he takes calamari, clams, mushrooms, and fideo noodles, cooking them down in squid ink for a dish that is dark as an oil slick and, because of the dollop of aioli, light as a cloud. The space is loud; tables are tight. With whole fish grilling over almond wood coals and chilled fino sherry frosting the glasses, the twin rooms have the vibe of a spot you might discover along a town square in Spain.

10 Best New Restaurants
Photograph courtesy

Editor’s Tips:

The Vibe: Hot, buzzy, happening—or whatever the word is that implies a bunch of people having a grand ol’ time, loudly.
The Crowd: A cultured crew flocks here for Catalonian favorites made with California ingredients. Very cosmopolitan.
The Must-Have Dishes: When gazpacho is in season, this version is the most gussied-up we’ve ever seen, with beet puree and a finishing dollop of caviar. The cassoleta de fideua negra, or squid ink pasta, comes with shrimp, chanterelle, and a honey aioli. Yum.
The Drinks: Spanish wines and beers fill the menu, but don’t overlook the Spanish-style dry ciders. They’re delicious with exactly this kind of grub.
Getting a Table: Sunday nights (see below) book up quick, but with a few days’ notice you should be able to get in with the help of OpenTable at a decent hour.
Insider Tip: Sunday is paella night, with a four-course prix-fixe paella menu. Snag a spot if you can!

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