The recent boom of exceptional new restaurants in L.A. has given visitors even more reasons to head to the city. In fact, the dining revolution has been so commanding with crowd-pleasing, award-winning restaurants that it’s rooted L.A. as a significant food republic in our country. 2015 alone has been a banner year as emerging and seasoned chefs alike have opened dozens of notable places – from DTLA to Beverly Hills. It wasn’t easy, but we whittled down the best restaurant openings to our top six new favorite hotspots that truly leave lasting impressions. Bon Appetit!
Iconic Sunset Boulevard is chockablock with storied bars and nightclubs legendary for pandering to distinguished rock stars and celebrities on wild nights out. But a slew of recently opened, contemporary-cool restaurants is giving The Strip a new kind of fame, one where the dining scene is taken seriously. Among the standouts is Estrella, helmed by former Top Chef contestant Dakota Weiss. Inspired by the bohemian bungalow culture of Laurel Canyon in the 1960s and ’70s, Estrella was designed by LA-based firm Studio Collective, and is all about recreating the spirit of the feel-good era with seamless coexistence of food, music, artistry and community under one canopy. As they say in L.A., it has “good energy.” Of course, Weiss’ inventive California-coastal creations are the fuel for peace, love and happiness. Open all day long, diners can expect signature dishes like house-made yogurt bowl (with rosehip and pistachio granola) in the morning and caramelized John Dory with lobster mushroom and lobster egg cream at night. With intimate outdoor and indoor seating and a private event space tucked behind the kitchen, Estrella has become the essential, retro-meets-modern hideaway in the tradition of the Sunset Strip.
8800 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069. Tel: +1 310 652-6613
Jon & Vinny’s
In order to dine at Jon and Vinny’s, you must love eating your heart out (and rubbing elbows with celebrities). One of the most anticipated openings of the year, Jon & Vinny’s is the latest buzzing restaurant from the chefs of notable hot spots Son of a Gun and Animal. Right on historic Fairfax, Jon & Vinny’s offers traditional Italian cuisine with a casual, modern approach, mostly prepared for sharing (in the tradition of family-style Italian dining). House-made pastas are simple and rich, like the spaghetti with six-hour bolognese, and there is a surprisingly extensive array of fresh market salads and vegetarian options. The claim to fame is the pizza, with a 48-hour rested dough that has the perfect chew and mild sweetness. It’s a family-friendly restaurant (with kid’s menu to boot), and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are highly recommended (you must call the restaurant) but you can always take your chances with the bar seats in front of the chefs—just expect a long wait.
412 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles Tel: +1 323 334-3369
EP & LP
In West Hollywood, dining trends come and go, but a huge movement right now is the tide of Aussie chefs opening notable restaurants like EP & LP. The multi-level, ultra-modern dining house is practically a showcase for next-level, contemporary Southeast Asian cuisine, thanks to award-winning chef Louis Tikaram. His background in Australian kitchens and Fijan-Chinese heritage influences the unique dishes like Chiang Mai larb (spiced salmon, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, Vietnamese mint), Lou Dogg’s crispy skin chicken (with black vinegar, chile and lemon) and any of the rich curry dishes. While the second-floor main dining room is an eyeful, the rooftop sports breathtaking, 360-degree views of the city, including the Hollywood Hills. It’s the perfect social spot for craft cocktails next to fire pits or at the sexy, 21-foot bar.
603 N La Cienega Boulevard (cross-street: Melrose Ave), West Hollywood. Tel: +1 310 855-9955
With its recent renaissance, Downtown LA has become the new frontier for food culture. In fact, no one can argue that the burgeoning restaurant scene is what truly put DLTA on the map as America’s Next Best City. Although it’s not strictly new (the DTLA branch opened in 2010), Chaya is one of the places leading the pack with its unique Euro-Asian concept. On a quiet street, Chaya has become a preferred lunch spot for business professionals thanks to its casual atmosphere, but the restaurant doesn’t get into its signature groove until after the sun sets. Here, diners experience executive chef Shigefumi Tachibe’s ambitious creations, including tuna tartare (which he is credited for inventing some 25 years ago), prepared tableside. In a menu teeming with seafood options, the fresh catch of the day is notable with elegant presentations you can’t usually find this side of the 405. Of course, it’s not a true Chaya night out without classics like lobster and rock shrimp ravioli (basil-pesto cream sauce and tomato coulis) and lobster enchiladas.
525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles. Tel: +1 213 236-9577
When executive chef Michael Hung left Faith & Flower (voted best new restaurant by Esquire and Los Angeles Magazine when it opened two years ago), it was a huge blow to his faithful fan base of discerning diners. They finally rejoiced when he announced he was taking charge at the brand-new Viviane at historic Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills. With his background at James-Beard-Award-winning and Michelin-starred restaurants, Hung presents his interpretation of the continental cuisine with classic flavors in technique-driven seasonal fare in both an elegant poolside setting and lively, small indoor restaurant. Small bites like Deviled Eggs (brown butter, pickled mustard seeds and parsley) are perfect for elevated snacking, but bigger plates like crispy pork belly with brussels sprouts kraut and handmade linguine with marinated geoduck clams and Chardonnay sauce are masterpieces.
9400 West Olympic Blvd, Beverly Hills. Tel: +1 310 407-7791
Baltaire has given diners every reason to visit the tony city of Brentwood (a residential area between Santa Monica and Beverly Hills). Open since March, the sophisticated steakhouse is exactly what the highbrow community needed, and it’s been the go-to for romance-seeking A-list couples like Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann and Fergie and Josh Duhamel ever since. The intimate dining room is flooded with natural light from the skylight ceiling, and midcentury modern-inspired design (French-oak flooring with brass-foot chairs and custom copper hoods suspended over white marble countertops) sets the elegant mood. Executive chef Travis Strickland has an extensive background including Cut in Chicago and Blackberry Farms in Tennessee. Aside from the top-notch prime steaks and Wagyu, diners can expect beautiful dishes like Dover sole prepared table-side.
11647 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles. +1 424 273-1660