Where to eat outside in L.A. right now
The scope of Los Angeles’ dining culture has never been simple to characterize — “diverse” doesn’t begin to describe its overlap of communities, cuisines, street foods and glittering rooms, triumphs and struggles — but it’s fair to say that things have never been more complex.
Nearly six months ago the city was the nation’s epicenter of the pandemic; in a remarkable turnaround, we entered the state’s yellow tier for reopening in early May. Restaurants can fill indoor spaces to 50% capacity. Bars can welcome back patrons. Health officials project that adults in California could reach herd immunity from the coronavirus by mid-July.
A whole lot of Angelenos have returned to restaurants: Big-name places are booked weeks and, in many cases, months ahead. Plenty of smaller neighborhood restaurants are still rebuilding their customer bases, or remain focused on takeout. No one overall narrative describes the recovering landscape.
Are you eating in the world again? To frame this moment of spring renewal we directed our appetites toward outdoor dining, with an emphasis on newer restaurants and some under-the-radar pearls we especially love. The roster includes tacos and tlayudas, sushi and ramen, dumplings and congee and beef noodle soup, the coolest hot chicken sandwich and a rooftop hot spot.
Looking for more dining inspiration? Check out The Times’ annual 101 restaurants guide for some of our favorite restaurants (and incredible pop-ups) across Los Angeles.