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The best places to eat and drink in L.A. this month, according to our food writers

After months of storms, we’re finally springing forward with longer days, blooming buds and, hopefully, warmer weather. It’s almost worth the lost hour of sleep, especially when you consider all that we have to look forward to here in L.A., such as buzzy restaurant patios, food festivals and, of course, plenty of seasonal produce.

In the event that our region is hit with more rainstorms, our food writers have you covered with guides directing you to the best hot pot, biang biang noodles and French onion soup. Or you could embrace the longer days with an excursion, perhaps to the bustling Mercado González in Costa Mesa or by exploring a new part of town, like Metro-friendly Crenshaw Boulevard that serves as the pulse of Black Los Angeles.

There are always more food cultures to discover in our region; last month, we spotlighted Black chefs who are putting a soulful California spin on tacos. Get familiar with the history behind long-standing spots like Sky’s Gourmet Tacos and Taco Pete’s and learn how this homey dish made its way into Black restaurant spaces. With spring teasing its arrival, perhaps it’s finally time to brave the wait at Worldwide Tacos, a Leimert Park window that gained national fame following a feature on HBO’s “Insecure” series from producer-actor Issa Rae.

Bookmark this list for even more dining ideas to propel you into spring, including the expansion of an Italian restaurant empire to a new location in Beverly Hills, a tableside roast duck presentation in Temple City and a long-running Cuban restaurant that was a favorite of the late Times critic Jonathan Gold.

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An overhead photo of a blue-rimmed bowl of tonkotsu ramen from Afuri Ramen.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Afuri

Culver City Japanese $$
The fast-casual ramen chain that hails from Japan has expanded to a new location in Culver City. Now open at the popular Culver Steps that also houses Salt & Straw and Pop’s Bagels, Afuri stands out with broths that use mountain water, as well as house-made dumplings and ramen that spans tonkotsu, shio and shoyu styles, with spicy miso and yuzu as optional add-ons.
Read about Afuri’s expansion to Culver City.
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The signature green onion sesame pie from Ahgoo's Kitchen in Temple City.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Ahgoo’s Kitchen

Temple City Taiwanese $
Chinese scallion pancakes — also known as Chinese scallion sesame bread, scallion sesame pancakes or green onion pie — are columnist Jenn Harris’ latest obsession and the star dish at Ahgoo’s Kitchen in Temple City. The scallion pancakes here are based on the ones that co-owner Lily Yeh learned to make as a child from her grandma and mother in northern China , though her husband and co-owner Thomas Yeh is also familiar with the process. Lily estimates she makes about 50 per day. Harris advises that two slices of the thick, golden-crusted pies can easily make a meal on their own.
Read about Jenn Harris’ favorite scallion pancakes.
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An array of dishes, including Peking duck and cold Shanghai-style river shrimp at Array 36.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Array 36

Temple City Chinese $$$
Array 36 is a palatial Chinese restaurant in Temple City that’s perfect for impressing a business colleague or celebrating a special occasion. The roast duck is the specialty here. With approximately 20 available per day, you’ll need to call in advance to reserve yours. It arrives before the table splayed and glazed before it’s set ablaze in a dramatic tableside presentation that captures the attention of the entire restaurant. To round out your meal, restaurant critic Bill Addison recommends braised meats, fresh seafood and seasonal greens, such as Cantonese-style turbot and snow pea leaves immersed in a garlicky broth. Reservations are recommended and can be made by phone.
Read Bill Addison’s review of Array 36.
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A vegan sandwich on a white plate at B&T's Deli.
(Chris Mortenson / B&T’s Deli)

B&T’s Deli

Santa Monica Vegan Deli $
Satisfy your sandwich craving at a new plant-based deli that’s now open on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. B&T’s Deli comes from husband and wife Terrence and Britt Caldwell, who were inspired by celebrated spots such as Bay Cities and Russ and Daughters. Most of the produce is sourced from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, and the menu spans house sandwiches, build-your-own options, sides and spreads. Some of the vegan takes include a “whitefish” sandwich with celery root salad, lemon, capers and dill; a “chicken” sandwich with chickpea salad; and an Italian sub with artichoke hearts, pepperoncini and roasted onion.
Read about the new vegan sandwich shop in Santa Monica.
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A diner cuts into burrata on a plate with tomatoes.
(Courtesy of Cipriani )

Cipriani

Beverly Hills Italian $$$
An upscale, Italy-founded brand has expanded to a sprawling location in Beverly Hills, complete with white tablecloths, velvet-backed chairs and a jazz cafe with a grand piano. The Cipriani chain began in 1931 when Giuseppe Cipriani Sr. opened Harry’s Bar in Venice, drawing artists and socialites such as Katharine Hepburn, Orson Welles and Frank Lloyd Wright. Many point to Cipriani Sr. as the creator of the bellini as well as the carpaccio — two signature items at Cipriani — and the founder, alongside his family, went on to expand the brand with hotels and multiple concepts around the world, including Las Vegas, New York City, Miami and Hong Kong. The menu at Beverly Hills is rounded out with classic and creative cocktails, a lengthy wine list and Italian-inspired plates such as house-made tagliolini.
Read about the Beverly Hills location of Cipriani.
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Pierna de puerco with a side of tostones at the Cuban restaurant El Colmao in Los Angeles.
(Laurie Ochoa / Los Angeles Times)

El Colmao

Pico-Union Cuban $$
The Cuban restaurant El Colmao, which has been attracting celebrities and garlic lovers since its 1969 opening, recently popped up in the news when embattled Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas talked about eating there during his childhood. Mayorkas also pointed out that El Colmao was a favorite of the late Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who always ordered pierna de puerco — pork leg infused with garlic and tossed with caramelized onion, as well as the restaurant’s avocado salad, dressed at the table, and tostones, fried slices of green plantains that you salt like French fries and eat like chips. The black beans are fantastic with plain white rice, but if you’re going for the full Gold experience, try moros y cristianos — rice and black beans sautéed, as he once wrote, “with enough fat pork to make you cry uncle.”
Read Laurie Ochoa on returning to El Colmao after years away from the restaurant.
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Diners fill  the restaurant Here's Looking at You.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Here's Looking at You

Koreatown New American $$
Jonathan Whitener, the trailblazing chef-partner at nationally acclaimed Koreatown restaurant Here’s Looking at You, died last month at age 36. Whitener ran two restaurants with Lien Ta, whom he met while working at Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s now-closed Animal restaurant. The chef was inspired by the breadth of Southern California cuisine, including his experiences growing up near Little Saigon in Orange County. You’ll find broad influence from Mexican, Vietnamese, Japanese and French cuisines on the menu at Here’s Looking at You, while Silver Lake’s All Day Baby puts a focus on American comfort and breakfast foods. Both restaurants, which were named two of L.A.’s best in the 2023 edition of the 101 Best Restaurants guide, remain open during regular business hours.
Read about the legacy of chef Jonathan Whitener.
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An overhead photo of a bowl of lemongrass mussels with red chopsticks on a red patterned tablecloth at Holy Basil Atwater
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Holy Basil

Atwater Village Thai $
One of the city’s best Thai outposts — and a 101 best restaurants awardee — has opened a second location in an Atwater Village shopping center that features an open kitchen and bar seating as well as a few tables across the interior and patio. Helmed by chef Wedchayan “Deau” Arpapornnopparat and co-owner Tongkamal “Joy” Yuon, the eatery offers many of the same dishes first introduced at the downtown location on the new menu, including several from Holy Basil’s weekend pop-up Yum, such as lemongrass mussels and wild shrimp aguachile. Arpapornnopparat and Yuon have plans to launch Southeast Asian brunch and breakfast items soon, including Chinese sausage with eggs and milk bread.
Read about the new Holy Basil location in Atwater Village.
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A plate of piled, deep-fried shrimp toast with dipping sauce at Jilli restaurant in Koreatown
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Jilli

Koreatown Korean $$
A modern sool jib has landed in Koreatown courtesy of the team behind Hanchic and Korean fried chicken favorite Chimmelier. The drinking den is already standing out in the neighborhood’s crowded restaurant scene, with a selection of soju, beer, wine and makgeolli that’s made locally. The food menu draws from owners Dustin Dong Kyuk Lee, Jeff Jun and Kevin Son’s other restaurants, including shrimp toast that recalls the version served at Hanchic and Chimmelier-inspired chicken wings, plus brand new items such as rigatoni in kimchi vodka sauce and baby back rib twigim. The trio has plans to extend to daytime hours with a menu from Chimmelier.
Read about Koreatown’s new drinking den.
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Oyster and shrimp perloo at Joyce Soul and Sea.
(Stephanie Shih / For The Times)

Joyce

Downtown L.A. Southern Seafood $$
Downtown diners who still mourn the pandemic-era loss of Preux & Proper can once again indulge in chef Sammy Monsoor’s seafood-driven Southern cuisine at Joyce, which he opened downtown last summer with husband-and-wife Prince and Athena Riley and bar director Kassady Wiggins, who is also his wife. In his restaurant review, critic Bill Addison recommends the perloo, a one-pot rice dish that hails from South Carolina Lowcountry and is not often seen on L.A. menus. Monsoor’s version features Spanish-style chorizo, oysters, shrimp and Carolina Gold rice and is a bit soupier than renditions that hail from the region but still a worthy main course, according to Addison. To round out your meal, there’s a raw bar, skilled-baked mac and cheese, braised kale, cornbread and crawfish hush puppies. The zero-footprint cocktail menu also hues Southern with an Old Fashioned that’s dashed with sassafras and sorghum bitters and the Florida Highwaymen with peach-washed whiskey.
Read about Joyce, a soulful seafood restaurant in downtown L.A.
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An overhead photo of five pieces of staggered caviar-topped tuna crispy rice with avocado.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Kakkoi and Niku Nashi

Sushi Vegan $$
Order fresh sushi delivered straight to your door with Kakkoi, a collaboration between executive chef Ole Tsoy, who previously ran a sushi restaurant in Barcelona, chef Niko Zaragoza (Kensho Vegan Sushi) and Brad Saltzman (Nancy’s Fancy gelato). The delivery service offers Instagrammable rose-shaped sashimi, plus hand rolls, crispy rice, seared nigiri and loaded rolls such as a signature lobster roll that’s wrapped in lavash bread. The delivery outfit also serves as the relaunch for Niku Nashi, a plant-based sushi spot from Zaragoza and Saltzman, as well as Monty’s Good Burger and Nic’s on Beverly restaurateur Nic Adler, which previously operated out of now-closed APB restaurant on Melrose Avenue. Niku Nashi’s vegan rolls and small plates such as tempura mushroom hand rolls are available on popular delivery apps via Kakkoi while the owners look for a new brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Read about the new sushi delivery service.
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The French onion soup from Le Champ in the Downtown L.A. Arts District.
(Jo Stougaard)

Le Champ

Downtown L.A. French $$
Le Champ opened late last year in a sprawling, string-lighted garden space in the Arts District and quickly became a favorite for well-executed French-inspired bites paired with an approachable selection of wine. If you spy French onion soup on the rapidly changing menu, columnist Jenn Harris encourages you to place an order for what she’s deemed the ultimate romantic dish. Le Champ’s version features a thick, crispy cheese top that resembles a pie crust, with caramelized Spanish onions, chardonnay and copious amounts of brandy hidden within. Chef Justin Hilbert anticipates that the restaurant will stop offering the soup when it warms up, so make it a point to visit before then.
Read about the French onion soup at Le Champ.
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A takeout order is prepared  at Meals by Genet.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Meals by Genet

Carthay Ethiopian $$
Critic Bill Addison hails the return of dinner service at Meals by Genet as a boon for L.A.’s restaurant scene, with diners lingering over cups of honey wine and platters with injera bread and scoops of saucy meats and marinated vegetables. Chef-owner Genet Agonafer pivoted to takeout during the pandemic but opted to reopen for dinner service Friday through Sunday at the start of the year. Fans of Agonafer’s precise cooking have responded in kind, and the chef told Addison that the restaurant is now booked 90% of the time, so reservations are recommended. The doro wat remains a must-order, as is Agonafer’s vegetable combination plate that includes turmeric-dyed cabbage and pureed lentils. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant directly.
Read about the resurgence of Meals by Genet.
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Nico’s Wines and Baby Battista

Atwater Village Wine Bars Wine Shop $$
Grab a bottle of wine to go or head downstairs for some on-site imbibing at Nico’s Wines, a new bottle shop in Atwater Village that also hosts Baby Battista, a basement wine bar. Both concepts come courtesy of Nicole Peltier, who previously ran the mobile wine outfit Nico’s Small Market. The new outpost places a similar focus on natural wines, with most bottles averaging $20 and by-the-glass options available in the subterranean section, along with bites such as tinned fish, bread and seaweed butter and build-your-own charcuterie and cheese plates.
Read about Atwater Village’s new bottle shop and wine bar.
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The interior of the OG  Cannabis Cafe.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

OG Cannabis Cafe

West Hollywood American $$
The OG Cannabis Cafe was the first place in California where cannabis consumers could publicly partake alongside a meal, and after an almost four-year hiatus spurred by the pandemic, the cafe has now reopened in West Hollywood. Senior Features writer Adam Tschorn reports that the cafe hasn’t changed much, even as similar spots have opened in the neighborhood. According to the cafe’s co-founder Sean Black, the OG Cannabis Cafe is meant to serve as a tourist destination for those who have never consumed the plant in public or perhaps at all. Customers can light up in the cafe and on the patio, and there’s a separate patio for wine and beer, with food (think pub grub such as truffle Parmesan fries, smashburgers and nachos) available throughout the space. The same server will take your order for food and flower, but be aware that due to federal banking laws, cannabis purchased on-site must be paid for with cash. Credit cards are accepted for food and drink purchases.
Read about the return of the OG Cannabis Cafe.
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A spread of Korean small plates with two glasses of wine from Red Room in Koreatown.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Red Room

Pico-Union Wine Bars $$
After hosting multiple pop-ups and events last year, Red Room has returned to Koreatown with natural wines and a permanent chef. Flipping the Coffee MCO space on Thursday through Saturday evenings, the wine bar now offers a changing menu with Korean small plates from chef Yoon Sung (Hanchic, Chimmelier), including bulgogi smashburger sliders, sardine jorim and potato jeons.
Read about the new natural wine bar in Koreatown.
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Highland Park's Arroyo Club, from the Good Housekeeping team, has taken over the former Birdie's space with cocktails and smashburgers.
(Robert Campbell / Arroyo Club)

The Arroyo Club

Highland Park Bar/Nightclub $$
A moody cocktail bar has debuted in Highland Park, in the space formerly occupied by the restaurant Birdie and from the same owners. The beverage program from Alejandro Santana includes cocktails priced at $16 apiece, wines by the glass, beer and nonalcoholic options. Have a Midnight Kiss with rice-washed tequila, cinnamon, cold brew, amaro angostura and chocolate or try a zero-proof Smooth Operator with verjus, orgeat, lime and rosewater. Bar nuts and kettle chips are available, or grab smashburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and fries from Hotline, the burger window next door.
Read about the new cocktail lounge in Highland Park.
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