Five Restaurants to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles

Five Restaurants to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles

Burger at Cafe Birdie

Every Friday, Eater editors share their suggestions

You probably think of the same question every weekend: where should I eat? Well, every week Eater LA will compile a handy dandy set of recommendations right here to answer that very question. Here now, five places to try this weekend in Los Angeles. (And if you need some ideas on where to drink, check out the weekend bar guide):

September 28, 2018

For a near-seaside bit of relaxation: Massilia

Massilia
Massilia
Massilia

Santa Monica has a sunny new patio player: Massilia, the follow-up restaurant where Border Grill used to sit. The space is now open and bright and filled with greenery, with a charming front patio and tall bar inside. Step through for some casual coastal fare, from pasta to roasted red peppers to merguez sausage. 1445 4th St., Santa Monica. —Farley Elliott

For a meat-filled experience in Santa Monica: Meat On Ocean


Wonho Frank Lee
Meat on Ocean

Meat On Ocean is exactly as one would expect. With dry-aged rooms and a dedicated butcher on-site, the restaurant is a massive tribute to all-things carnivore. A raw oyster bar, seafood entrees, and specialty charcuterie are part of Meat On Ocean’s experience, as is the slightly elevated dining room, which makes for an impressive and improved view of the Pacific. 1501 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA —Mona Holmes

For a new chef and new energy: Cafe Birdie

Burger at Cafe Birdie
Farley Elliott
Burger at Cafe Birdie

Cafe Birdie’s new chef is Russell Victorioso, the former cook at Bucato, Odys & Penelope, and lead at The Mighty in Downtown. He’s been slowly revamping the Highland Park restaurant’s menu to be cool, casual, and just what much of the neighborhood is looking for. Here’s a tip: Don’t sleep on the rich burger available during happy hour at the bar. 5631 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park. —Farley Elliott

For a quick Japanese snack in a Gardena grocery store: Gindaco


Matthew Kang
Takoyaki from Gindaco

There’s small pockets of LA, or least the LA area, that feel like tiny pockets of another country, and the Tokyo Central market at Gardena feels like a slice of suburbia in Japan (despite the name). Walk right in to see Gindaco, a chain that makes excellent takoyaki, or octopus balls, cooks at a stall. Pick up an order to fried noodle yakisoba and an original version of the takoyaki, prepared the traditional way with a gooey center and a thick nugget of octopus for around $7. 1740 Artesia Blvd, Gardena, CA —Matthew Kang

For a pleasantly relaxing brunch in Echo Park: Triniti

Scrambled eggs and toast at Triniti
Matthew Kang
Scrambled eggs and toast at Triniti

It seems like the most obvious place to have brunch in Echo Park, but Triniti isn’t the busiest place on the Eastside for a weekend meal. It’s unclear why especially since the food is so inventive, well-executed, and delicious. The coffee’s terrific, the bean stew is great, and the toast with butter could be some of the best in LA. Perhaps the service could be warmer, a result of sometimes hurried counter service. Or perhaps it’s the minimalist furniture which doesn’t beg diners to stick around for too long. But every neighborhood wishes it had a place to eat this week before noon on weekends (or any day of the week). 1814 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

September 21, 2018

For a Hollywood sandwich with all the trimmings: Banh Oui

Banh Oui
Yelp

Former Smorgasburg sandwich stand Banh Oui is now entirely self-sufficient, having secured a spacious strip mall storefront just off Cahuenga. The former poutine shop is now lined with bright woods and one of LA’s most colorful murals, but the eyeballs are all on the menu board and the open kitchen here. Step up to the counter for a stuffed signature banh mi sandwich and a side of sticky sweet fried tofu, or opt for the nearly-overwhelming burger. 1552 N. Cahuenga, Hollywood. —Farley Elliott

For a Downtown classic that still charms: Philippe’s

Phillipe’s

Anything more than a century old in Los Angeles deserves to be celebrated, and that goes doubly so for restaurants. This year Philippe the Original turns a boast-able 110 years young, but one does not need to show up for the anniversary celebration to feel the nostalgia. Stop by any time for a famous French dip and a cold beer, best enjoyed one in each hand while sitting on a low, worn stool just a foot or so above a sawdust floor. Classics stick around for a reason. 1001 N. Alameda, Chinatown. —Farley Elliott

For a casual pizza party in the middle of Fashion District: Superfine

Pepperoni pizza from Superfine, Fashion District
Matthew Kang
Pepperoni pizza from Superfine, Fashion District

Steve Samson’s excellent New York-style pizza shop in Fashion District feels like a fish out of water since there aren’t many pedestrians on this side of the block. But it’s a bit of a gem, with a really great crust and the proper curling pepperoni that everyone loves. The prices aren’t necessarily cheap, with pies running around $25 a pop, but they’re easy to call in and share with a few people. Now that it’s open until 10 p.m., it’s a lot easier for folks who don’t work in the area to try the pizza. Sit out on one of the tables and soak in the last bit of summer evenings before the season turns. 1101 San Pedro St unit f, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

For a great large-group Korean barbecue party: Muldaepo

Meat array at Muldaepo
Meat array at Muldaepo

Finding the right balance of delicious Korean barbecue at reasonable prices is a bit of tough task these days in Koreatown. Sure there are AYCE spots slinging endless plates of chadolbaegi, and places like Park’s BBQ still bear the standards, but Muldaepo is a nice balance. It’s got quality and a fun, smoky ambiance to pair with prices that won’t break the bank. Order the big meat platter with multiple cuts of beef that’ll easily feed four people, possibly price, for around $150. 808 S Western Ave #207, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

For a remarkable noodle find in SGV: Chongqing Special Noodles

Dan dan noodles at Chongqing special noodles
Matthew Kang
Dan dan noodles at Chongqing special noodles

One of Jonathan Gold’s last reviews from SGV was this very humble noodle shop deep in the flats of San Gabriel Valley. It’s got a bit of a plain dining room, with little-to-no embellishment and rather straightforward service. But the stars are on the plate, with a delicious spice-laden cold sliced chicken appetizer followed but one of the area’s best dan dan mien. What’s good about the noodles here as that they’re more restrained with the peanut flavor, focusing on balance of meat, sauce, and carb. And prices couldn’t possibly any lower. 708 E Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA —Matthew Kang

September 14, 2018

For an Eastside good time: Lincoln Kitchen & Tap

Lincoln Kitchen & Tap
Lincoln Kitchen & Tap
Lincoln Kitchen & Tap

Lincoln Heights has seen plenty of growth in the past year or so, and the rising real estate market promises even more changes in the year to come. It’s this particular moment in time that makes Lincoln Kitchen & Tap so compelling; the casual bar and snack staple is more than cool enough to hang with the new kids while still feeling laid back and approachable for everyone else. And as of this weekend the restaurant is expanding into brunch (and lunch on Fridays) meaning there are now more reasons — and times — than ever to check the place out. 2118 N. Broadway, Lincoln Heights. — Farley Elliott

For a Hollywood neighborhood night: Electric Owl

Farley Elliott
Burger at Electric Owl

Hollywood’s Electric Owl has become a staple for its micro-neighborhood, set right on the edges of the Sunset Strip, Hollywood proper, and West Hollywood to the south. One could argue that success is due in large part to the inviting atmosphere, but that would be a criminal injustice to chef/owner Ernesto Uchimura. He Plan Check co-creator just knows flavor, and can effortlessly turn a simple dish (like his burgers, for example) into a true show-stopper. That’s the kind of dedication to craft that takes a place from “neighborhood gem” to citywide star. 1451 N. Gardner St., Hollywood. — Farley Elliott

For a polished homestyle meal up in Montecito: The Monarch

The Monarch in Montecito
Jakob Layman
The Monarch in Montecito

Earlier this summer, Phillip Frankland and Margarita Lee opened a restaurant in Montecito, a quiet but charming town next to Santa Barbara, they’re already lighting up the block with some of the best food in the area. Montecito’s a bit of a trek from LA, but the jaunt is worth it for anyone looking for a short getaway. The Lees have brought fine dining talent like chef de cuisine John Butler, who cooked with Daniel Boulud and David Bouley in New York City, serving a rustic but fanciful set of appetizers and shareable entrees in a nicely designed room at the ground floor of the Montecito Inn.

Start with an unexpected but satisfying plate of yogurt hummus with cucumbers and melon, and fight over who gets the last sliver of yellowtail crudo with passionfruit and finger lime. The fresh abalone comes slivered and covered with searing hot beef fat (Lee learned the preparation from Ekstedt in Stockholm) for a decadent mid course. The duck breast comes with a confit leg, and every main comes with included seasonal sides, which could be Japanese sweet potatoes one night and grilled broccolini on another. Don’t forget to finish with a hot fried brioche donut. 1295 Coast Village Road, Montecito, California —Matthew Kang

For a South LA sandwich standard: Mike’s Deli


There’s a lot of excitement in the neighborhood right now around Hilltop, Jason Fullilove’s new View Park cafe, and the hype is well deserved. But don’t sleep on Mike’s Deli, the unassuming Slauson staple that has been making mean sandwiches for 22 years. On warm weekend days en route to or from the beach, a stop a Mike’s for a stacked turkey sandwich is practically a must. 4859 W. Slauson, View Park. — Farley Elliott

For some of LA’s most underrated noodles and beef roll: 101 Noodle Express

101 Noodle Express
Lindsey Baruch

101 Noodle Express might be like an SGV version of a diner, with a huge menu and very low prices that belie many of the menu prices around LA these days. Order up the hand-torn dan dan mien and the nutty sauce comes around a bed of amazing noodles that might cost three times as much at a fancy Westside Cali-Italian restaurant. The beef roll, wound tightly but packed with beef, might be some of the best in San Gabriel Valley. The food comes out hot and quick too, which makes 101 Noodle Express one of the fastest meals in LA. Better to turn those tables. 1408 E Valley Boulevard, San Gabriel, CA. —Matthew Kang

September 7, 2018

For heat on a heater: Howlin’ Ray’s

Howlin’ Rays

Temperatures are expected to shoot back up this weekend only, which means there’s only one answer for beating the heat: more heat. For those in needs of the spice there’s Howlin’ Ray’s, the impossibly popular hot chicken specialist out of Chinatown that’s renowned for its quality service and its long lines. The wait is worth it though, as Johnny Ray Zone and crew serve up what has to be the best fried chicken sandwich in the city (and maybe the country). Talk about a pot of gold at the end of a very warm rainbow. 727 N. Broadway, Chinatown. — Farley Elliott

For charbroiled goodness in a historic umbrella-shaped burger joint: Brolly Hut


Brolly Hut [Official photo]
Brolly Hut

Throughout the 1960s, Los Angeles was filled with Googie-style burger stands shaped as umbrellas, and Brolly Hut is the last one standing on Crenshaw near the 105. Brolly Hut’s charbroiled burgers are respectable, as are the tacos. But Brolly’s clear winner is a heaping serving of chili cheese fries topped with pastrami, which should be shared. 11205 Crenshaw Blvd, Inglewood, CA — Mona Holmes

For a splashy dinner with the big wigs: Baltaire

Baltaire, Brentwood
Elizabeth Daniels
Baltaire, Brentwood

Brentwood’s Baltaire is more than a steakhouse. The place has become a community hub of sorts, a place where weekday lunchers descend to make deals, and where wealthy weekenders while away the evening hours with lots of wine and music. Despite its upscale appearance and sometimes hefty price tag, the restaurant maintains a kind of catch-all sensibility for the Westside, and has endured simply because it fills a very niche need for Brentwood, the surrounding neighborhoods, and anyone keen to find out what all the fuss is about. 11647 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood. — Farley Elliott

For one of LA’s best new tasting menu experiences: Somni

Somni SLS
Wonho Frank Lee
Somni, SLS

Sort of lost in the mix of all these new fine dining experiences is Somni, which goes into the former Saam space at the SLS hotel but features one of the most ambitious and best executed tasting menus in Los Angeles at the moment. Chef Aitor Zabala, who helmed the kitchen at Saam, rewrites the recipe of how to do a fun, relaxed, and ultimately flavorful experience without too much of the heft and formality of some other fine dining establishments.

Nearly every dish has something strong going for it, whether it’s the trompe l’eoil-style pan con tomate made with meringue instead of bread, or the fun-to-eat grilled Spanish turbot seasoned like a piece of Japanese robata. The 20-plus courses run just over two hours, which feels a bit hurried at times, but the service is gracious, kind, and professional without being overbearing. The music’s fun too, rocking indie bands like Spoon and The War on Drugs at a reasonable volume. 465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

For a quick but quality Italian sandwich: Pirolo’s Panino

Chicken parm from Pirolo’s Panino
Matthew Kang
Chicken parm from Pirolo’s Panino

It’s not everyone someone comes around to add pizzazz to the Italian deli sandwich but Pirolo’s Panino does just that in the former Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese slot along Melrose Avenue. The chicken parm, delicious and well made if a bit short on chicken portion, works well with a spoonful of giardinera. Even better might be the Godfather, a take on the endlessly imitated Godmother from Bay Cities that actually works with the hefty bread here. Will Pirolo’s replace the neighborhood Italian deli? Probably not, but it’s more than sufficient as a meal on-the-go. 7461 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

August 31, 2018

For inventive and flavorful vegan in the LBC: Seabirds Kitchen

Seabirds Kitchen
Seabirds Kitchen [Official photo]
Seabirds Kitchen

Seabirds Kitchen is a pleasant place inside and out, with cheery staff, smile-worthy beach decor, and truly delicious food. They’ve been cranking out avocado tacos and jackfruit sliders since the early food truck days, and fits nicely into this eastern part of Fourth Street, and at the Lab in Costa Mesa. 975 E. 4th St. Long Beach, CA — Mona Holmes

For a seafood feast of a fine dining meal: Providence

Providence bar

It’s important to remember, sometimes, that restaurants like Providence exist in Los Angeles. Chef Cimarusti has been earning accolades and crafting special nights out for loved ones and families for more than a decade, and the restaurant still shows no signs of slowing down. In a city overrun with “upscale casual” dining options, sometimes a white tablecloth goes a long way. 5955 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. — Farley Elliott

To remember an LA deli classic: Langer’s

#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
Wonho Frank Lee
#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli

The news this week that the building Langer’s occupies was going up for sale certainly hit some folks hard. There’s always the possibility with development deals like this that an icon for the city could get swept up in the chaos and lost forever. It’s worth noting, of course, that Norm Langer says he’s not the least bit worried about the impending sale around him, but still, better to remind oneself now of the gloriousness of the #19, just to be safe. 704 S. Alvarado St., Los Angeles. — Farley Elliott

For an inventive Korean-American adventure in a lovely Silver Lake bungalow: Wolfdown

Mushroom ssam at Wolfdown
Matthew Kang
Mushroom ssam at Wolfdown

This charming Silver Lake restaurant has taken a full turn toward a Korean-American menu with owners Jason Kim and Chrissy Kim throwing on a slew of dishes that feel like they’re riding the wave of modern Korean flavors hitting LA at seemingly the same time (think Majordomo and Makani). Fine dining vet Susan Yoon, who worked at 71Above and Orsa & Winston, brings a sense of refinement here with a delicate anchovy-broth sitting around a gorgeous seared seabass. The mushroom ssam, kissed with fire and arrayed like high quality meat, is a lighter way to start the meal. Sweet potatoes unfortunately aren’t as crispy as advertised, but the misugaru tiramisu reminds you that it’s due time that chefs use Korean flavors in a smart way. 2764 Rowena Ave, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

For massive portions of Oaxacan food in Palms: El Nopal/Madre

Alambres Oaxaqueña at El Nopal
Alambres Oaxaqueña at El Nopal

There’s something about the massive portions of guacamole and alambres at El Nopal that reflects the neighborhood: no fuss, reasonably priced, and casual. The new menus reveal that the ownership will likely change the name to Madre, a similarly fashioned mezcal and Oaxacan food restaurant in Torrance. The alambres oaxaqueña puts around two full pounds of veggies, chopped meats, and cheese on a sizzling platter, with a side of beans, rice, salad, and tortillas, for around $16, and it could easily feed two. 10426 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

August 24, 2018

For snacks that can turn into a meal: Bar Garcia


Bar Garcia [Official photo]
Bar Garcia

The quiet Tuck Hotel sits right next door to Preux & Proper in Downtown, just above South Park and adjacent to the Fashion District. It’s a busy part of the city that can feel full of hustle and bustle, until one steps into Bar Garcia for a drink and a bite. Inside, options range from reimagined falafel tacos to crispy rice socarrat with artichokes as a main. These are dishes best devoured in multiples, and with a drink readily at hand. 820 S. Spring St., Downtown. — Farley Elliott

For excellent, reasonably priced Indonesian fare in Palms: Mr. Sate


Mr. Sate
Mr. Sate

Palms has long been a gather place for the Westside Indonesian community but it was a blow when Indo Cafe closed years back. Simpang Asia still holds court on National, but Mr. Sate opened a block away specializing in grilled Indonesian skewers. The menu’s a lot smaller here, with some homestyle dishes like the intensely flavors chicken soto ayam soup that is a master class in stock-making. The grilled sate is almost like a sweeter, spicier yakitori with more reasonable prices. The meat gets either a nutty or spicy sambal glaze with a kiss of charcoal fire and char. Mr. Sate has a casual neighborhood vibe, but the place is dead serious about making tasty Indonesian cuisine. 3456 Motor Ave Unit 104, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

For classic soul food with massive portions: Dulan’s Soul Food

Dulan’s

Don’t panic if there’s a long line at Dulan’s Soul Food on Crenshaw. This cafeteria-style restaurant keeps everyone entertained as soul and R&B jam from the speakers while loyal, pleasant patrons wait to line their to-go containers with classics like black eyed peas, smothered or fried chicken, mac and cheese, oxtails, or collard greens. Dulan’s is a neighborhood joint where customers know one another, but out-of-towners also fill up the place, just as the employees fill up to-go containers with extra heaping piles of Dulan’s food. Don’t miss out on the underrated lemon icebox pie. 4859 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA — Mona Holmes

For pizza that shouldn’t be missed (anymore): Apollonia’s


Farley Elliott
Apollonia’s square pie

It’s easy to cruise right past Apollonia’s pizza shop on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile area. The restaurant is pushed into the middle of a set-back strip mall with a parking lot out front, and the whole building is overshadowed by Purple Line construction and mixed use developments nearby. Nevertheless, the sharp-eyed diner can expect to be rewarded with some of the best pizza in the city — especially when the square slices are running as a weekend special. 5175 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile. — Farley Elliott

For a French-ish dinner with excellent wine and cocktails in Sunset Strip: Tesse

Tesse, West Hollywood
Wonho Frank Lee
Pork chop at Tesse

There’s a lot to say about Tesse that can’t be fully encapsulated in a short blurb, but suffice to say that this well-designed, dimly-lit restaurant in West Hollywood takes a lot of cues from two places: Bestia and Republique. It’s not a bad formula to follow, with a wide menu of French country dishes that appeals the well-dressed crowd. Start with charcuterie and some of the fresh salads, mildly dressed and well composed despite their smallish size. The mid-sized apps might be the highlight of the menu, a squid ink acquarello rice topped with octopus and a deadly simple, but delicious, shrimp rigatoni.

The mains seem to have gotten more expensive and smaller since opening, but maybe the pork chop or special roast cote de boeuf could be the answer. Either way, expect a loud, raucous dining room, with fantastic wine by the glass and truly delicious cocktails along the way. Sunset Strip hasn’t had a better restaurant opening since Night + Market debuted years ago. 8500 Sunset Blvd ste b, West Hollywood, CA —Matthew Kang



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