L.A. Times restaurant reviews

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Din Tai Fung's dumplings hit the mall

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Din Tai Fung, home of the perfectly crafted soup dumpling, now at the Americana mall in Glendale

Formal Italian meets friendly arts district at the Factory Kitchen

Counter Intelligence: Angelo Auriana and Matteo Ferdinandi have opened an easygoing trattoria that produces composed and careful formal northern Italian cooking.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: The Church Key's future comes on carts

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews the Church Key, where a retro-future dining adventure on the Sunset Strip comes along on carts.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Colonia Taco Lounge is a new jewel in the crown

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Colonia Taco Lounge in La Puente. Ricardo Diaz's new restaurant confirms we're living in the golden age of the taco in L.A.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Mari Vanna is poetic Russian

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Mari Vanna. The new branch in Los Angeles spikes simple Russian cooking with perfection.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Purist omakase sushi at Zo

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Zo. Keizo Seki's downtown L.A. restaurant serves one meal: the $145

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Girasol reflects Chris Jacobson's journey

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Girasol. The Studio City restaurant by Chris Jacobson benefits from his travels abroad and his Southern California roots.

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Terroni downtown

Terroni in downtown L.A. is a more gilt setting than the pizzeria on Beverly, Jonathan Gold writes, and its cooking has solid virtues.

Jonathan Gold | Restaurant review: Fishing With Dynamite blows away seafood lovers

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Fishing With Dynamite. The wait can be daunting at David LeFevre's newish Manhattan Beach eatery Fishing With Dynamite, but it's also worth it.

Jonathan Gold | Culver City restaurant review: At Bucato, stop for a snack, stay for pasta

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Bucato. Chef Evan Funke combines strong pungencies and seasonal vegetables with fresh pasta at his restaurant in Culver City's Helms complex.

Wine shops can be your best buyer guides

Across the Table: You don't have to be a wine know-it-all if you have a reliable wine shop nearby to help you make an informed choice.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: At Willie Jane, a local phenom refined

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Willie Jane.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Marugame Monzo is all about udon

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Marugame Monzo. The Little Tokyo noodle house is at its best with its traditional udon dishes. Its more modern varieties miss the point.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Allumette is haute cuisine with Etsy sensibility

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Allumette. The Echo Park restaurant is chef Miles Thompson's follow-up to his pop-up Vagrancy Project.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Chengdu Taste serves down-home Sichuan

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Chengdu Taste. Along with the Sichuan restaurant's many unique dishes, the menu now features Diced Rabbit With Younger Sister's Secret Recipe.

Jonathan Gold | Restaurant review: Connie and Ted's, a clam shack extraordinaire

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Connie and Ted's. The West Hollywood clam shack conjures Rhode Island on the West Coast, be it with clams of all kinds, lobster cooked just right or oysters treated with reverence.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Petty Cash takes taco culture to high-toque status

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Petty Cash, chef Walter Manzke's new taco restaurant, where the guacamole is made with sea urchin and the crickets are toasted.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Paiche dips Asian influences into the Amazon

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Paiche. Ricardo Zarate's Marina del Rey restaurant brings the flavors of the Upper Amazon, tinged with Asian influences, to the Westside.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Barnyard's deceptive simplicity

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Barnyard. The Venice restaurant offers fresh ingredients, grilled breads and delicious assemblages.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Chego the sequel opens with familiar pan-Asian flavors

Jonathan Gold restaurant review: Roy Choi's rice bowl joint Chego has moved from Palms to downtown's Chinatown and offers an almost user-friendly attitude in its new home, along with its usual elevated street food.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Bludso's Bar & Que mixes smoke and swank

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Bludso's Bar & Que, where great barbecue goes Hollywood.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Trois Mec is a coveted ticket to cutting edge

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Trois Mec. Ludovic Lefebvre's new restaurant is a collection of small revelations. The trick is getting in.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: AOC in new digs with familiar tastes

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews AOC. At the new AOC, chef Suzanne Goin's menu is still recognizable with its delicious tastes of Italy, France, Spain and North Africa, whether you order meat dishes or just the vegetables. But the larger space and big platters are a new experience.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: RivaBella makes ordinary Italian perfect

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews RivaBella. Gino Angelini's new, enormous restaurant RivaBella on the Sunset Strip has grand ambitions and occasional flashes of brilliance, serving precise versions of his Italian dishes in a streamlined international style.

Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Corazón y Miel satisfies heart's desires

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Corazón y Miel in Bell. Corazón y Miel lets Salvadoran chef Eduardo Ruiz, formerly of Animal, pursue his heart's desire. With transformative food, terrific cocktails and must-have desserts, it's an Eastside destination.

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Littlefork takes a big-eats turn north

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Littlefork. Full flavors of New England and Montreal (yes, lots of maple), combined with a Chicagoan's cocktail magic, and all for a few Yankee dollars.

Jonathan Gold | Restaurant review: Hunan Mao for fish heads and fire

Counter Intelligence: Jonathan Gold reviews Hunan Mao in Rosemead: Fiery chiles and giant steamed fish heads are on the authentically Hunanese menu. The heat is on.

Counter Intelligence: Stylish, deluxe Japan-inspired cuisine at Hinoki & the Bird

Hinoki & the Bird is a modern, luxuriously designed Century City restaurant from David Myers that is part Bond-villain lair, part garden party. Jonathan Gold reviews its pan-Asian cooking and finds its high-end ingredients leave an impression.

Counter Intelligence: The Hart & the Hunter makes angelic biscuits

The Hart & the Hunter in the Palihotel on Melrose makes angelic biscuits. Jonathan Gold reviews Kris Tominaga and Brian Dunsmoor's restaurant, which specializes in Southern food.

Counter Intelligence: Hostaria del Piccolo lives the fantasy — almost — in Venice

Review: Hostaria del Piccolo near Venice Beach gets some things very right (the costicine). Jonathan Gold finds consistency is an issue, though.

Counter Intelligence: Le Ka's a bit of this and that, for the beautiful people

Restaurant review: Le Ka is a bit like L.A. itself: a mix of this and that, but centered on the beautiful people

Counter Intelligence: A little taste of Cortez

Cortez in Echo Park is a small-plates restaurant that may divide diners, and its dishes, some delicious, may be difficult to divide among diners.

Counter Intelligence: Josef Centeno gives Tex-Mex a twist at Bar Amá

Bar Amá restaurant review: Josef Centeno's new Tex-Mex cantina does Tex-Mex its own way, queso included. Jonathan Gold checks it out for Counter Intelligence.

Counter Intelligence: The just-right cooking at Bestia

Jonathan Gold reviews Bestia, an Italian restaurant on the edge of downtown L.A. that knows how to not go too far our.

Counter Intelligence: Storefront Deli in Los Feliz

Jonathan Gold reviews Storefront Deli in Los Feliz

Counter Intelligence: Spago makeover smooths aging star's wrinkles

The newly redesigned Spago in Beverly Hills modernizes the dining room and brings a fresh take on Japanese cooking as it plays down its tasting menu in favor of an Italian-style menu structure.

Counter Intelligence: Ari Taymor's Alma stands apart in L.A.

Chef Ari Taymor is cooking like no one else in L.A. at his downtown restaurant Alma, which started in pop-ups. And, oh, those butter-soaked carrots.

Counter Intelligence: Tasty Dining in San Gabriel brings the heat of Wuhan

Tasty Dining in San Gabriel can bring tears to the eyes. That's what you get for ordering the chicken wing griddle 'very' spicy. The restaurant serves Chinese food from Wuhan, a culinary center in Hubei province.

Counter Intelligence: At MessHall in Los Feliz, fall in for fun

MessHall restaurant review: It might not be a destination restaurant, but its glammed up dinner-party food and summer camp theme set the stage for a good time.

Counter Intelligence: The basics of life at Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong

Jonathan Gold reviews Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong in Koreatown, a barbecue restaurant that understands the basics of food and drink.

Counter Intelligence: Laurel Hardware nearly nails it

At Laurel Hardware, chef Mario Alberto, lately of Lazy Ox and Chimu, brings an inventiveness to this late-night haven that sometimes nails it, sometimes doesn't quite.

Counter Intelligence: Tom Bergin's Tavern, reinvented

Tom Bergin's Tavern on Fairfax is fascinating since Brandon Boudet took over, with rethought Irish American bar food and, if you're lucky, a killer jambalaya.

Counter Intelligence: Plan Check, where food meets the future

Plan Check Kitchen and Bar has a modernist take on the classic burger, engineering it to a different level. Other items on the menu are a mix of good and bad.

Counter Intelligence: Starry Kitchen breaks hearts with cult dish

With its pan-Asian dishes that include the popular Singaporean chili crab, Starry Kitchen has set up shop as an evening pop-up shop at Tiara in the fashion district in downtown Los Angeles.

Counter intelligence: Superba Snack Bar in Venice

At Superba Snack Bar, the cauliflower T-bone grabs attention, but the playful cooking hews Italian. Jason Neroni and Pitfire's Paul Hibler are behind it.

Counter Intelligence: Hannosuke and Ramen Iroha arrive in U.S.

Hannosuke and Ramen Iroha, popular populist restaurants from Japan, open locations in Mitsuwa and Marukai supermarket food courts.

Counter Intelligence: Thou shalt not make substitutions at the Parish

Casey Lane's no-substitutions gastropub in L.A. offers fish and chips, burgers, locally brewed ale, pan-fried chicken and more.

Counter Intelligence: Casual crazy vibe at Sycamore Kitchen

The atmosphere at Sycamore Kitchen is relaxed, but make no mistake: The husband-and-wife team behind the restaurant obsesses over every detail of every dish.

Counter Intelligence: Hui Tou Xiang Noodles House has a star dish

Hui Tou Xiang Noodles House in San Gabriel done a lot of things just fine, but the reason to go is in the name.

Counter Intelligence: Red Hill brings a folky modernism to Echo Park

Red Hill is the latest step in the Brooklynization of Echo Park, a modern restaurant to go with the vintage clothing stores and well-frequented boutiques. Jonathan Gold reviews.

Counter Intelligence: Next Door by Josie

Next Door by Josie in Santa Monica brings a lot of what's great at Josie Le Balch's main restaurant to a smaller, more relaxed scale.

Counter Intelligence: At modern Mo-Chica, the alpaca question

Counter Intelligence: The Pikey, simply a pub with better food

The Pikey isn't a gastropub. It's just a pub. It's got three beers on tap, food kicked up a notch with market-fresh ingredients and a little imagination, and an atmosphere even an Iron Maiden roadie could appreciate.

Counter Intelligence: Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades

At Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades, the croissants are as good if not better than ones you'd eat in Paris. Alain Giraud may be the last true French chef standing in Los Angeles.

Review: True Italian finds a home at Gusto

At Gusto, a cozy new restaurant on West Third Street, chef Victor Casanova is turning out some of the best Italian food in Los Angeles.

Counter Intelligence: Bizarra Capital, a dreamland Mexican-style gastropub

Bizarra Capital in Whittier is a Mexican-flavored gastropub, the newest project of Ricardo Diaz, who is also behind Cooks Tortas and Dorados in Monterey Park and Guisados in Boyle Heights. Featured dishes are

The Review: Black Hogg is a beguiling entry on Silver Lake scene

Silver Lake gastropub Black Hogg is a beguiling new entry on the neighborhood's scene, Los Angeles Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila says in her review.

Counter Intelligence: Ración is Basque country

Txakolinas and Basque tapas in Pasadena? Ración is a revelation — some of its nibbles come close to those in San Sebastian, and that's a good thing.

The Review: Water Grill gets back to the seafood basics

Downtown L.A. restaurant reopened in January after a $1.5 million redo with a new look, menu and chef. Highlights include the raw bar, fish 'n' chips, Dungeness crab.

Counter Intelligence: Umamicatessen in downtown L.A.

At Umamicatessen in downtown, L.A., a wealth of imagination is on the menu at the multi-kitchen restaurant: Rethink that pastrami sandwich, a bourbon cocktail, the PB&J.

Counter Intelligence: A little crunch with your Chianti at Tar & Roses

Wine is important at Andrew Kirschner's new restaurant, but so is the food, starting with the lardon- and chile-laced popcorn appetizer. From there, it's a serious but playful mix of wood-fired small-plate temptations.

The Review: A1 Cucina Italiana in Beverly Hills

A1 Cucina Italiana in Beverly Hills has assembled some of the team that once made Alto Palato special, including Danilo Terribili and Fredy Escobar. In the old Il Buco space, the Italian restaurant has a revamped menu of solid Italian food in an intimate setting with a contemporary, smart look.

Review: BierBeisl, a modern Austrian for Southern California

BierBeisl, a modern Austrian restaurant in Beverly Hills, richly fills a vacancy for the cuisine in Los Angeles.

Counter Intelligence: At Rocio's in Sun Valley, moles reign

Rocio's Mole de los Dioses, near the airport in Burbank, is a garden of Eden for moles.

Restaurant review: Aw shucks, it's pure bliss at L&E Oyster Bar

Raw, fried or grilled, oysters from all over are the specialty of the house at the tiny eatery. But wait — you don't like oysters? The menu takes care of you too.

Counter Intelligence: 800 Degrees in Westwood

800 Degrees in Westwood has a soda machine like a fast car and a fast-food pizza assembly line like the epitome of culinary efficiency. From the man who brought you Umami Burger.

Restaurant review: Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air gives the hotel a serious restaurant and the chef an ideal California spot: restaurant review.

The Review: Bäco Mercat makes it easy to get carried away

At Bäco Mercat in downtown Los Angeles, Josef Centeno's ever-changing menu makes it easy to get carried away: restaurant review.

Restaurant review: Short Order

The new restaurant Short Order has it all: a burger joint with frills, including a full bar, fresh-baked cookies, a retro soundtrack and an outdoor terrace.

The Review: Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach

With the success of Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich try for a repeat in Newport Beach. The food succeeds, but the atmosphere, well...

Restaurant review: The Strand House in Manhattan Beach

The Strand House in Manhattan Beach aspires to inject Hollywood hip into the laid-back beach culture of the South Bay.

Restaurant review: Pizzeria il Fico

Pizzeria il Fico: Nicola Mastronardi of Vincenti in Brentwood branches out with a location near the Beverly Center in L.A. Its ambitous menu includes pizza, antipasti and pasta dishes with a southern Italian accent.

The Review: L'Epicerie Market in Culver City

Thierry Perez's L'Epicerie Market in Culver City started uncertain of itself but has gotten reinforcements of late with the addition of Sébastien Archambault and his flavorful, casual southwest French cooking.

The Review: Picca

Picca, chef Ricardo Zarate's latest, boasts innovative, robust Peruvian food and a lively atmosphere to match.

Restaurant review: Ombra Ristorante in Studio City

Chef-owner Michael J. Young's Ombra goes beyond being just another neighborhood Italian restaurant with authentic dishes, including excellent pastas, and a personable atmosphere.

The Review: Hungry Cat Santa Monica Canyon

The latest version of Hungry Cat, in Santa Monica Canyon, has excellent seafood in a simply designed space and ocean views.

Good things come on small plates at Mezze

Chef Micah Wexler has created a smart and sophisticated menu emphasizing small plates of the Middle East at the former Sona's space on La Cienega.

Dining: Cafe Gratitude in L.A., for the vegan Stuart Smalleys of the world

The vegan and raw Café Gratitude in L.A. sends out lots of good vibrations with its positivity campaign that extends to menu entry names and questions of the day. Even if that's not your cup of tea, the food is inventive, delicious and wholesome.

Restaurants: Más Malo in downtown Los Angeles

Más Malo restaurant in downtown Los Angeles is the worthy sequel to Malo taqueria in Silver Lake. It specializes in an unsubtle version of Mexican food.

The Review: Sotto

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack's southern Italian restaurant Sotto could break the mold for L.A. Italian cuisine. It's strong in pizza and regional meat dishes, but the pasta and dessert offerings need some work.

The Review: Son of a Gun on 3rd Street

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal open Son of a Gun, a friendly, inexpensive seafood joint on 3rd Street.

The Review: The Spice Table in Little Tokyo

The new Spice Table in Little Tokyo weaves the vivid flavors of Vietnamese and Singaporean cuisine into a delightful menu that gets just about everything right.

The Review: Ray's and Stark Bar at LACMA

Museums aren't generally known for harboring distinguished restaurants. And the original one at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was never much more than adequate. But Ray's and Stark Bar have more ambition and are actually pulling it off.

Public Kitchen & Bar in Hollywood Roosevelt

Tim Goodell's Public Kitchen & Bar in the Hollywood Roosevelt offers laid-back, classic American fare with bright flavors in an unpretentious setting with a bit of Hollywood glamour.

The Review: Playa

Restaurant review: John Sedlar is pushing the envelope again, this time at Playa, with a menu that focuses on inventive bites from the urban Latin landscape and artful presentation.

The Review: Aburiya Toranoko in Little Tokyo

Aburiya Toranoko in Little Tokyo, from Michael Cardenas and Hisaharu Kawabe, does

The Review: London's St. John Hotel with chef Fergus Henderson and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

London restaurant reviews: St. John Hotel is a carnivore's haven, with some succulent twists. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal offers playful reinterpretations of English dishes savored through the centuries. Together, they make London the world's most exciting place to eat.

The Review: Lukshon

Lukshon in Culver City from Father's Office chef-owner Sang Yoon does some things right (short ribs) but needs to improve on others (rice, noodles).

The Review: Julienne in Santa Barbara

Julienne in Santa Barbara is a small, progressive American bistro with house-made charcuterie and pasta and other delicious dishes. The service is skillful too.

The Review: Craig's

Craig Susser ensures that visitors famous and otherwise feel comfortable at the old-school-style party he's throwing at his new restaurant. But where's the attention to the food?

The Review: Ecco in Costa Mesa

There's an authentic vibe to Ecco in Costa Mesa, which serves up such well-executed Italian cuisine as Neapolitan pizzas in a small and friendly space.

The Review: Firefly in Studio City

Veteran chef Jason Travi has been enlisted to make the restaurant side of the operation as alluring as the bar scene, but his menu tweaks are still a work in progress.

The Review: Hostaria del Piccolo in Santa Monica

Hostaria del Piccolo in Santa Monica: The décor evokes a contemporary Italian restaurant in the mountains. The food passes the exacting standards of an Italian native.

The Review: The Royce

Restaurant review: At the Royce at the Langham hotel in Pasadena, Patina alum David Féau turns out delicious food in a new dining room with a bright look.

The Review: Fraîche in Culver City

Fraîche chef Ben Bailly hasn't yet made the menu at this Culver City restaurant his own.

The Review: Beechwood restaurant

'Top Chef' alum Jamie Lauren has helped the Venice eatery regain its panache by giving laid-back locals and beachy young trendies what they want — and more.

The Review: Petrossian

Petrossian, a West Hollywood outpost of the caviar purveyor, boasts casually elegant French food and Giselle Wellman's poised cooking.

The Review: The Old Place

The Old Place restaurant nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura Hills is a memorable stop for hearty food like chicken dumpling soup and well-priced steaks.

The Review: A-Frame

Roy Choi, who dreamed up the popular Kogi Korean BBQ truck, also has A-Frame, a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Culver City that channels the modern picnic. S. Irene Virbila reviews it.

The Review: Chaya Brasserie

The 27-year-old French-Japanese restaurant has a fresh interior and a new chef, Harutaka Kishi. Now is a good time to rediscover this reliable brasserie on Alden Drive.