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collage of food photographs from the last month of stories

Where to eat and drink in L.A. right now, according to our food writers

2023 is zooming by, and somehow, L.A.’s food scene is keeping pace. As usual, our writers are trailing not too far behind, braving slick streets to share little-known gems such as a historic Irish pub that claims the best — you guessed it — Irish coffee around, a guaranteed mood booster on a dreary afternoon. Our critic marked spring’s subtle arrival with a Persian pop-up feast that showcased California’s seasonality in dishes far beyond the usual kebabs. As another beloved neighborhood haunt shuttered, decorated journalist Linda Deutsch mused on what it feels like to lose a restaurant that feels like home.

In theme with the blooming season, there is reason to be hopeful, if only because you’re now stocked with 19 of the best and most exciting restaurant openings from the last month, spanning a hand-roll counter in Culver City, an heirloom pizzeria in the Original Farmers Market and a river-adjacent dining room that feels both new and nostalgic. That’s not counting drinking dens that range from a queer bar residency in East Hollywood to a surprisingly approachable wine bar in Beverly Hills. Here are the coolest spots to put on your dining agenda this month:

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An overhead photo of slices of cured ham, a dish of green olives, and a plate with sliced baguette and cheese
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Barra Santos

Cypress Park Portuguese $$
From Last Word Hospitality, this tiny bar in Cypress Park sports exposed brick and tile walls with a menu of Portuguese snacks, including garlicky head-on prawns in vinho verde and cod fritters, as well as entrees like spicy piri piri chicken. With small groups encouraged, Barra Santos presents an intimate date-night idea with a lengthy list of Portuguese and Spanish wines that’s ripe for exploration.
Grab Portuguese snacks and wine in Cypress Park.
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A tableful of Italian dishes and glasses of wine at La Dolce Vita
(Shelby Moore / La Dolce Vita)

La Dolce Vita

Beverly Hills Italian American $$$
With Frank Sinatra as an early investor, red-sauce and red-leather-boothed La Dolce Vita was a cherished, in-the-know hot spot until it closed in 2020. Luckily, a new generation can now get acquainted with the legendary restaurant, thanks to Marc Rose and Med Abrous of the L.A.-based group Call Mom behind Genghis Cohen and the Spare Room. Hearty Italian American plates like veal Parmesan and meatballs still grace the menu, in addition to recipes inspired by executive chef Nick Russo’s Calabrian background. The bar pays homage to classic cocktails like martinis with sidecars, aperitivi and a selection of Negronis, including dramatic tableside presentations.
Check out Frank Sinatra’s old hangout.
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An overhead photo of kanpachi crudo in olive oil and calamansi vinegar on marble with a glass of white wine to the side
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Sur le Vert

Beverly Hills Wine Bars $$
Anchoring the first floor of Tommy’s Beverly Hills is this verdant all-day wine bar across the street from the Beverly Canon Gardens that’s owned by Nicole Dougherty and Zach Negin of Tabula Rasa bar and shop (in Los Feliz and North Hollywood, respectively). With cheese and charcuterie plates, crudos, salads and main courses like a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup and 25-day-aged New York strip, you’ll find an apt food pairing for every wine on the California- and European-favoring list.
Read about Beverly Hills’ snazzy new wine bar.
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An overhead photo of a small plate of merguez-stuffed fried olives garnished with celery leaves and yellow flowers
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


Venice French $$
Jesse and Hayley Feldman first opened Chez Tex, a French-inspired restaurant on Venice’s Main Street, in 2016. When it shuttered earlier this year, they opened Coucou, a playful French-California cafe with elevated snacks like zucchini beignets, house caviar service and a “L’Haute Dog” with a Peads & Barnetts pork sausage, pepperocini, cheese fondue, French onion marmalade and spicy mustard. The same inventive attitude is evident across the beverage program, which features highlights such as a French 76 with vodka, vermouth, pear jus, Champagne and luxardo cherry.
Read about the new French spot in Venice.
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An overhead photo of four slices of pizza on two paper plates: To the left are two white slices, to the right, red slices.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Friends & Family Pizza Co.

Fairfax Pizza Sandwich Shop $$
A new pizzeria and sandwich shop focused on whole, heirloom grains has opened in the Original Farmers Market courtesy of Roxana Jullapat and Daniel Mattern, who are behind the East Hollywood bakery of the same name. The thin-crust, sourdough pizzas are offered by the slice and whole, with classic toppings like pepperoni, as well as creative combinations like a sausage and fennel-rich pie and a white pizza with four types of fungi. There’s also a selection of salads, hot and cold sandwiches, and apps including spiced meatballs in tomato sauce and fried calamari.
Get a slice at a new pizzeria in the Original Farmers Market.
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A photo of the restaurant's exterior: Muted green with wooden angled planks; to the left is a bike path and the L.A. River.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Lingua Franca

Elysian Valley Californian $$
The L.A. river is running more fiercely than ever, thanks to recent rainstorms, and this new restaurant from the Wax Paper team gives you a front-row seat, paired with a menu of new Californian cuisine. Let Lingua Franca’s neon-lit sign of a bowing river crane guide you as you stroll along the bike path to the moss-green restaurant. Inside, you’ll find soothing warm tones and mismatched decor that complement the seasonal menu, including a grilled salad with chopped citrus and root-beer-braised beef cheek.
Read about the new riverside restaurant.
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Hot pot with skewers of meat and shrimp alongside a plate of heart-shaped house-made Spam from Ma Lu Bian Bian in Tustin
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Ma Lu Bian Bian

Orange Chinese $$
Spring showers are apparently a thing that happens in L.A. now, so why not embrace the weather with a new hot-pot spot in Tustin? The dining room is bright with primary colors and animated murals, including one that offers ingredient and measurement suggestions for those who are new to hot pot. Columnist Jenn Harris reports that the soup bases are piping-hot and the spicy options contain enough heat to elicit beads of sweat over the course of your meal. Protein options range from wagyu beef and New Zealand lamb to fresh frog, house-made Spam and plenty of veggie options like tofu and enoki mushroom.
Read about composing the perfect hot pot.
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A cheeseburger, bag of chicken nuggets, bag of fries and glass of red wine on a black table
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Love Hour Bar

Koreatown Bar Bites Wine Bars $
The smashburger pop-up that operates out of a Koreatown takeout window, as well as at Sunday‘s Smorgasburg, has opened a cozy wine and beer haunt in the adjacent space formerly occupied by Beer Belly. Stop by for California-sourced natural wine and a craft beer list with L.A. heavyweights, in addition to the beloved burgers, chicken nuggets and fries, with more nostalgia-inducing menu items coming soon.
Read about Koreatown’s new natural wine bar.
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A photo of two hand rolls, lean tuna and fatty tuna, on the counter atop brown paper featuring a line sketch of a fish.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


Culver City Seafood $
Culver City’s Citizen Public Market food hall keeps turning heads with each new stall addition. Liwei Liao, of the Sherman Oaks fish market and seafood counter the Joint, opened Uoichiba at the beginning of March, where he drills into his expertise of dry-aged fish. Chef Hiroo Nagahara of Silver Paper is behind the menu and hand-roll program, which includes soups, sashimi bento boxes and three- to six-roll temaki tasting sets with fillings like ginger-marinated prawns and fatty tuna coupled with rice that’s cooked in small batches all day long. Ask about the chirashi bowls if you spot Liao behind the counter.
Read about the new hand-roll stall at Citizen Public Market.
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The dining room of Long Beach's Bar Envie, with green chairs at tables, orange chairs at the bar, and a playful mural
(Oscar Zagal)

Bar Envie

Long Beach Southern $$
This colorful, New Orleans-themed lounge opened in Long Beach with craft cocktails and a menu of Southern bites, including a build-your-own float menu where you can pair your favorite spirit with soda and vanilla, chocolate or coffee ice cream. Chef Carlos Jurado of nearby modern Colombian restaurant Selva is helming the food program, which includes classics like shrimp and grits and a cold muffaletta sandwich, plus fun options like spicy frog legs and a smoked bologna sandwich on classic white bread.
Read about the bar that’s bringing the Big Easy to Long Beach.
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Hot fried sea bass collars from Angler
(Jakob Layman)


Beverly Grove Seafood $$$
San Francisco-born Angler has reopened with a new design and reimagined menu, including a hot fried sea bass collar prepared in the style of Nashville hot chicken and addictive cheesy bread that you’ll want to keep refilling for the table. Fresh seafood is featured throughout cold and hot plates, including cockles in green sambal, embered oysters and swordfish coated in al pastor seasoning. The cocktail menu features simple creations that reference the sea, like the Landing Net, with tequila, pineapple and guajillo aperitivo.
Read about the hot fried sea bass collar at Angler.
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An overhead photo of two burritos in a takeout container with two peppers and red salsa atop a green tabletop
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Burritos La Palma

Highland Park Mexican $
Zacatecan burrito specialist Albert Bañuelos has expanded into a new Highland Park outpost, offering the same straightforward menu that’s available at the El Monte location, including burritos stuffed with birria; chicharrones; shredded beef and green chiles; chicken tinga and potatoes; refried beans and cheese; or “con todo” with birria, refried beans and cheese, all wrapped in a house-made flour tortilla. A selection of quesadillas and a plate complete with two birria burritos covered in green chile pork sauce and cheese, with refried beans and rice served on the side, are also available.
Read about the new burrito stand in Highland Park.
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A margherita flatbread and Farmers Market flatbread at Neighborhood Grill
(Oscar Mendoza / Los Angeles Times)

Neighborhood Grill

Exposition Park Californian Southern $
Natural History Museum’s Butterfly Pavilion is open for spring, and so is Neighborhood Grill, a new casual restaurant from John and Roni Cleveland of Baldwin Hills’ Post & Beam. Grab a seat overlooking the garden, and order from a menu of California soul dishes like a pastrami sandwich with collard kraut on marble rye bread, street tacos with fillings like braised short rib and jerk-spiced wild mushroom, and a flatbread with farmers market veggies. If you’re in a hurry, pick up something from the curated grab-and-go counter that highlights local Black-owned businesses like Hotville Chicken, Prins Wellness and Southern Girl Desserts.
Read about the Natural History Museum’s new, locals-driven food program.
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The colorful interior of Honey's at Star Love, L.A.'s newest LGBTQ bar
(Ben Bassu)

Honey's at Star Love

East Hollywood Bar/Nightclub $$
L.A. went from having zero lesbian bars to getting two in quick succession. Honey’s at Star Love bills itself as a queer bar residency, offering live music and a community space, including a full bar with cocktails, wine, beer and nonalcoholic options and frequent food pop-ups. The East Hollywood lounge kicked off its opening weekend with live DJ sets and has since hosted a queer night market and weekend drag brunch.
Read about East Hollywood’s new queer bar residency.
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A chocolate creme brulee from Toothsome
(Universal Studios Hollywood)

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

Studio City Global Confections $$
A new themed restaurant opened in Universal CityWalk, perhaps an indication of a resurfaced trend around theatrical dining. The steampunk-inspired Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen is staffed by robots in addition to actors who share the tale of Professor Dr. Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome, a world traveler who’s hoping to entice her missing family into visiting one of her chocolate-themed restaurants. The menu is a puzzle of global cuisines, ranging from kid-friendly sandwiches, burgers and flatbreads to main courses like short rib with aged cheddar grits and teriyaki-grilled salmon with jasmine rice. Chocolate is featured across savory and sweet dishes like chocolate-crusted pork tenderloin, a chocolate-stout-glazed brisket burger, French chocolate mousse and s’mores.
Read about the return of themed restaurants.
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Two trays of burgers and fries in front of a wall that reads "Irv's Burgers since 1946"
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Irv's Burgers

Mid-Wilshire American $
The revived roadside burger joint first opened a location in West Hollywood before expanding to a second in Mid-Wilshire off La Brea in the former Top Round space. The menu remains built for convenience and value, with burgers, melts, chili-topped hot dogs and milkshakes. While the simply described “just a well-made cheeseburger” inspired by “The Menu” is only available by request, the Big Irv, with a burger patty, pastrami, halved hot dogs, chili and cheese sauce, presents a tempting, if slightly more indulgent, option.
Read about the new Irv’s Burgers on La Brea.
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Bourekas from Borekas Sephardic Pastries in Sherman Oaks
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Borekas Sephardic Pastries

Sherman Oaks Israeli $
Columnist Jenn Harris made the trek out to Sherman Oaks to try the Israeli pastries that have been blowing the minds of TikTokers and fellow food writers. The bustling takeout stand offers flaky bourekas made with filo dough that come stuffed with spinach and feta, potatoes and brown butter, sliced mushrooms and truffle, za’atar and a creamy house-made cheese, or chocolate, with dipping sauces on the side. A steady line flows from the pickup window whenever it’s open, even holding steady in the rain. Harris recommends calling and ordering ahead to avoid a wait.
Read all about Sherman Oaks’ influencer-approved bourekas.
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Hummus masabacha, olives and pita at Bavel
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)


Downtown L.A. Middle Eastern $$$
Actor Theo Rossi led columnist Jenn Harris on a vegan-leaning food crawl, beginning at Bavel in the Arts District, where he describes the fresh, hot pita bread as “outrageous” and suggests pairing it with the “incredible” hummus masabacha. Olives, tabouleh, cauliflower with tahini and an oyster mushroom kebab round out the spread, with Rossi even drinking the tahini straight from the bowl. If you’re not against ordering meat, you might also try the hummus duck ‘nduja or steamed clams that come with squid-ink-fried pita bread. Landing at No. 9 on our 101 list, Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’ follow-up to the lauded Bestia is one of the easier fine-dining reservations in the neighborhood to snag at the last minute.
Read about Theo Rossi’s almost-vegan food crawl.
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The grilled cheese and tomato soup from Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen

Downtown L.A. Breakfast/Brunch Coffee
Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen expanded to a spacious, light-filled location in downtown on Hill Street, offering plenty of space for remote workers across the patio and interior, in addition to a full coffee bar and comforting breakfast and lunch options like toasts loaded with avocado and smoked salmon, beignets, salads and bowls. Weekend brunch is exclusive to the downtown location, with new menu items like steak and eggs, a salmon benedict and fried chicken with a waffle, plus mimosas. Expect additional programming like film screenings and live music performances to debut in the coming months.
Read about the new Hilltop location on Hill Street.
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