Los Angeles went through a lot this past year, with multiple shutdowns that included outdoor dining at restaurants. Now that restaurant dining is gloriously back, it’s time to get to know the new hotspots in town. From launches of famed multi-city restaurant names to trendy hotel establishments — here are the six must-book restaurants in LA right now.
Chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke of beloved French restaurant République are back with their rendition of a quintessential Parisian bistro rooted in their experiences cooking and dining in France. Californian ingredients infused with French cuisine take shape in the form of escargots en croute, yellowfin tuna tartare, and beef short rib à la bourguignonne. The downstairs bistro, opened in June, is cozy and down-to-earth, while the upstairs, tasting-menu restaurant will debut later this fall. In the words of the Manzkes, Bicyclette Bistro is a love letter to Paris.
Girl & the Goat L.A. (Arts District)
This transplant from the Windy City is already winning the hearts of diners since its opening in July with eclectic small plates such as goat liver mousse, sautéed green beans, and pan-seared opah. Chef Stephanie Izard’s creations have taken her far since her Top Chef days — you may remember her as the show’s first female winner — and she now has five Chicago-based restaurants to show for it. At this LA debut, farm-fresh produce is served in breezy, sunny quarters, while staying true to Girl & the Goat’s Chicago roots. Expect buzzy brunches and shared plates paired with inventive cocktails such as the “goat fashioned” (brown butter-washed bourbon, salted vanilla syrup, bitters) or the “watermelon, sugar, hops!” (vodka, watermelon citra hop, sparkling rosé).
Ardor (West Hollywood)
This summer saw the reopening of acclaimed chef John Fraser’s vegetable-forward Ardor at The West Hollywood EDITION hotel. Local ingredients appear in dishes such as tandoor carrots cured for 24-hours and served on a bed of creamy hummus topped with fried eggplant as well as arugula farro risotto finished with a kombu parmesan broth. Diners also see the return of favorites like sweet potato curry with puffed rice and raw cauliflower cacio e pepe, all served amid a lush green oasis that will have you feeling like you’re on a tropical escapade. Top it off with cocktails named after their colors, such as “green” with vodka, chartreuse, avocado, and lime, or “black” with tequila, amaro, coffee liqueur, and bitters.
Soulmate (West Hollywood)
Spanish Mediterranean food comes alive at Soulmate, West Hollywood’s trendiest open-air patio from SoCal native chef Rudy Lopez, who’s cooking up a storm of dishes from the earth, land, and sea. Think fire roasted sweet peppers and snap peas, kanpachi ceviche with cucumber leche de tigre, and chorizo cavatelli. Herbs and fruits take center stage in the drinks category, as well as a sparkling wine list from vintage Champagnes to up-and-coming winemakers. Eater LA calls Soulmate “one of West Hollywood’s most anticipated restaurants of 2021,” and it’s easy to see why. The restaurant, opened in May, can seat 200 people with 75 on its patio surrounding an olive tree and eucalyptus plants. The indoor is complete with geometric wood beams and pops of color in yellow booths.
Merois (West Hollywood)
An April opening in the Pendry West Hollywood hotel from the iconic Wolfgang Puck, Merois is where Asian fusion meets French Californian fare. The menu includes summer corn with togarashi lime butter, black bass with yuzu ponzu, and bincho-grilled skewers such as sake-soy meatballs and spicy miso wagyu. Desserts here are a showstopper — airy vegan pavlova is topped with fresh berries and a quenelle of sorbet, while the dark chocolate soufflé is drizzled with chocolate sauce and balanced with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The expansive and stylish restaurant features views over Downtown LA and Sunset Boulevard.
LA Cha Cha Chá (Arts District)
Hailing from Mexico City, LA Cha Cha Chá is a rooftop gem in the heart of the Arts District serving up Mexican fare with Californian flair since March. Must-try tacos come in the form of hongos, pollo, chorizo, or asada, while heftier mains range from pork shoulder confit with pico de gallo to strip steaks with red wine salsa. Chef Alejandro Guzman, formerly the sous chef at Le Comptoir, imbues recipes from his early childhood in Mexico City with his Los Angeles upbringing to create a menu that is unique to LA Cha Cha Chá. A stunning 150 plants line the outdoor patio as well as partition private areas on the rooftop for intimate parties.
Tried them all? Check out other options here.