The Hit List is our guide to the best new food and drink experiences in LA. We track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. While the Hit List is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have genuinely checked out.
Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself - inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
New to the Hit List (1/18): Cento Pasta Bar, Cobi’s, Yangban Society.
Few restaurants garnered the collective attention of the city like Cento when it first opened Downtown in 2015. The daytime-only pasta pop-up was a daily pilgrimage for nearby office workers, A-list celebrities, and anyone else who had enough time on their lunch hour. When it closed in 2020, we were devastated. Good news, Cento is back and it’s every bit as good—if not better—than the original. The new indoor/outdoor space in West Adams is certainly much bigger than the original location, but it still maintains the look and feel of a neighborhood wine and pasta bar. There’s a cozy front patio filled with string-lit trees and a bright interior with a large communal table perfect for groups intent on drinking a lot of natural wine. Our move, however, is to snag a seat at the bar where you get a front-row seat to the show: spicy pomodoro covered in basil, and the iconic beet spaghetti drenched in brown butter, whipped ricotta, and chives. Cento’s menu also has plenty of new dishes like a savory chicken liver crostini and banana pudding tiramisu that continues to dominate the conversation on our team’s Slack channel too, but the reason you come here is for the pasta, which is still among the best in the city.
Walking into Yangban Society in the Arts District for the first time is a little overwhelming. There’s a long glass case filled with dozens of Korean-style deli dishes, several refrigerators filled with wine, soju, and house cocktails, and a tiny minimart in the back where you can buy everything from baseball caps to shrimp crackers. There’s a lot happening, which is why we recommend grabbing a table and a round of drinks before making any sudden movements, and then heading back to the deli counter. This is where you’ll order everything from the deli case and the kitchen. Trays load up fast, and you can't go wrong. From spicy kimchi pozole and chilled acorn noodles in shirodashi vinaigrette, to warm, doughy potato bread, the food at Yangban is exceptional and unlike anything else you can really find in LA right now. They also open at 11:30am, making it a great solo lunch option if you’re in the neighborhood.
In most coming-of-age tropes, you can count on a new kid in town who has the confidence and maturity of Judge Judy even though they’re a barely pubescent 14-year-old wearing a leather jacket. Cobi’s is the cool new kid of Santa Monica. And as the stereotype goes, the Westside is gravitating to this Southeast Asian spot, packing into the maximalist space every night of the week. Whether you come with a date or group, any of the curry-forward dishes (like curry puffs whole branzino in yellow curry, and anything from the “curry” section of the menu) are bright and fresh, even when frying or cream is involved. Cobi’s did get its start as a curry pop-up after all. While the kitschy chandelier and wallpapered interior is cozy and vivacious, Cobi’s is also a great option for those who are only dining outdoors right now. The open-air patio is a garden party, with heat lamps, music pumping, and roses bigger than your head. Without a doubt, this is the most exciting new restaurant on the Westside.
While we were all busy nesting and drinking hot toddies in our bedrooms over the holiday break, one of the bigger restaurant openings in LA occurred: Mother Wolf. This massive Italian spot in Hollywood is the second restaurant from Evan Funke, the chef/owner of Venice’s Felix, and while that spot is known for its sexy exclusivity, Mother Wolf is much more of a party. The sprawling dining room is filled with big chandeliers, mirrored pillars, and giant pink booths full of groups of friends and coworkers knocking back one too many negronis. The tremendous menu includes plenty of classic Roman-style dishes like crispy margherita pizzas, perfectly al dente rigatoni all’amatriciana, and the best cacio e pepe we’ve eaten in Los Angeles. We’re anxious to get back and try some of the bigger meat dishes, but we’ve yet to eat anything here that we haven’t liked. There are a ton of new restaurants in Hollywood right now, but Mother Wolf is one you need to prioritize.
Kenbey is officially our favorite sushi restaurant in Silver Lake. Not that there’s much competition (sorry Gelson’s), but it’s not just the location—Kenbey would shine in any neighborhood. It’s the perfect balance of fancy, high-end sushi (think gorgeous omakases filled with silky toro and seared Wagyu beef) and the fun, casual dishes you always want to order, but get worried you’ll look like a novice. Green shishito peppers are roasted within an inch of their life, yellowtail sashimi comes jalapeno-flavored, and puffy rice squares are loaded with fresh tuna. Tables and bar seats are filled with couples on dates and rowdy groups drinking sake, where friends and their significant others sit on opposite sides as if they’re about to play dodgeball. It’s a fun time and you’ll eat impeccably made sushi—the kind of place the Eastside desperately needs.
Kinn defies all of the stereotypes about stuffy, overpriced tasting menu restaurants. This Koreatown spot is laidback and looks like a massive candlelit sauna. They’ve got a memorable R&B playlist and a concise wine list. For $67, you get six Korean courses that feel special and will leave you feeling full. On a recent visit, we had a spicy mulhoe overflowing with citrusy seafood and a briny fried nori taco. Kinn’s menu is risk-tasting, but nothing about the experience of dining here feels like an over-the-top production. So the next time you want to impress someone who hates white tablecloths or go all out on date night, you know where to do it.
Hollywood has a plethora of forgettable fast-casual options. Tacos Don Manolito is an exception. The sunny, order-at-the-counter taco shop on Sunset Blvd. comes via Mexico City, where it’s a popular chain. Our gut is telling us it could have similar success here. Early standouts on the menu include the maja, which is a griddled cheese crust that’s been rolled with your choice of protein (get the perfectly salty ribeye) and then wrapped in a soft, transculescent flour tortilla. Then there’s the costeño-campechano, a behemoth of a taco filled with a mix of cecina, homemade chorizo, and chicharron with chopped onions and jalapenos mixed in. It’s a perfect balance between sweet, savory, and spicy, and considering that two will easily fill you up, the $4.40 price point makes for a very affordable meal.
Superba in Venice has always been a nice fallback for chicken-pasta-salad brunches, lunches, and dinners, but the new location on Sunset in Hollywood is an absolute destination. The food is good—they’ve got vegetable-y breakfasts with eggs that let you know they’re fresh and baked goods that remind you why the restaurant’s full name is Superba Food + Bread. And later in the day you’ll find salads, hulking sandwiches, pastas, and meatier things—most of which come with generous sides. But the space! If we didn’t have anything better to do, we’d spend every morning for the rest of our lives on the patio, picking at olives and reading novels where not much happens. There are enough citrus trees and yellow-striped umbrellas to provide the illusion that you’re somewhere in the Mediterranean. Superba Hollywood will absolutely make our Patio Power Rankings this summer, but we wouldn’t mind sitting inside either, especially if we have a view of the oyster bar.
One of our favorite bakeries the entire world, Clark Street Bread took over the old 101 Coffee Shop space in Hollywood. You might remember it from an iconic Megan Thee Stallion music video. They’ve kept much of the interiors virtually the same, so you’ll still find vintage leather booths, a wraparound bar, and classic stone wall (you know, real old-school diner stuff) but have completely redone the menu. It’s a lot smaller than the old 101 one, but everything’s of higher quality—all the bread comes on their signature Clark Street baguettes and toasts, plus they have a fantastic patty melt loaded with freshly ground beef, swiss cheese, and a bit of grilled onions that we haven’t stop dreaming about since eating. Oh, and there’s a free parking lot. Open for breakfast and lunch.
De La Nonna used to be a roaming pizza pop-up at places like like Employees Only and Melody Wine Bar. Now, the team has brought the same menu of airy square pies to a permanent location in the Arts District. The thick, rectangular slices at De La Nonna walk the line between focaccia and pizza, with toppings like roasted fennel, dabs of creamy pesto, and more fresh-from-the-farmers market Italian goodies. Each pie is light enough that you can eat a whole one yourself. But we recommend getting a couple of these brown-edged, buttery beauties for the table, along with a bottle of natural wine and possibly even a half-dozen oysters from the raw bar. With red and white checkered floors inside and the string-lit patio out back, De La Nonna is the ideal place to kick back and spend a couple hours having an adult pizza party right now.
“What’s going on at Antico?” is a question we’ve asked ourselves many times over the past year. This rustic Italian spot in Beverly, located on that deserted stretch between Larchmont and Koreatown, has had many lives. At first, it was a perfectly fine restaurant, then a great to-go market selling focaccia and ice cream, and now, it’s become one of our favorite places to eat in the entire city. It’s Antico 2.0, and they’ve seemed to fix a lot of the things that kept it from becoming truly stellar in the before-times: the room is now soundproofed, the décor feels cozy and reminds us of the beginning of a European Hallmark movie, and there’s not a bad dish on the menu. The focaccia is still as thick as a mattress and drenched in olive oil, the home-style agnolotti are pillows filled with pan drippings that are pinched around the edges. Oh, and if you don’t order at least one of the ice creams at the end, you’ll have to make a return visit, ASAP.
Berbere fills a massive hole in LA’s Ethiopian restaurant scene. The BYOB counter-service spot in Santa Monica is run by a couple who used to operate the T&T Lifestyle pop-up at Smorgasburg, and it’s home to a bunch of incredible plant-based Ethiopian dishes that are easy for just about anyone to love. Yes, even your friend who’s built his entire personality around carne asada. We stopped in for a late lunch and tried the Eat The Rainbow combo, which came with four small bowls of legumes, vegetables, and a few rolls of injera. Both the red lentil and turmeric garbanzo stews were creamy and rich, while the purple cabbage with potatoes and sauteed greens smelled like a well-stocked spice cabinet. In addition to some classics, Berbere serves Ethiopian twists on tacos, sliders, and breakfast burritos that’ll make you want to show up about as often as a mama bird returns to its offspring’s nest. And you can, considering that the walk-in-only restaurant has tons of seating downstairs, plus a small loft-style dining room upstairs that’s just waiting to be claimed by a group of regulars.
One of the hottest - and most fun - brunch spots on the Eastside is Sazon, a Huntington Park restaurant specializing in Guerrerense and Yucatecán cooking. Run by a mother-and-daughter duo who’s spent years in Boyle Heights’ Mexican street food scene, they’re now slinging cochinita pibil, chilaquiles, and pozole verde - a bright, spicy stew that’s exactly what you want after a long night of [REDACTED]. The move is to come here on the weekends, when there’s live music ranging from queer Latinx dance sets to tropical house parties to, if you’re lucky, a Selena karaoke sing-along. So grab your most colorful outfit, a comfy pair of shoes, and get ready to double fist mimosas and chorizo-stuffed breakfast burritos.
The Pikey on Sunset in Hollywood was a place for the people. Even if the British pub took reservations, I never knew anyone to make one. Instead, you’d wander in for a drink and maybe a snack, and end up staying for dinner. So naturally, when it shut down for good last year, the neighborhood was left heartbroken, and territorial of their local hang. Now, Horses has moved in, and the Horses people understand that. Beyond the nod to the name, (The Pikey used to be called Ye Coach & Horses) Horses has preserved the dark and casual, anything-is-possible-tonight feel in the main dining room - where the same narrow red booths are already packed and the worn-in wooden bar practically asks you to please sit down and order a vesper. The food is not exactly as accessible as the setting, but that’s not a bad thing. On our first visit, the cornish hen with dandelion panzanella was so juicy and frankly adorable, that we picked up the bones and sucked every morsel of meat off the carcass. The braised cranberry beans and pork chop with baked peach were also tasty. With a $27 burger on the menu, Horses may not be a casual neighborhood hang I’d pop into without a reservation, but it’s absolutely one of the very best new restaurants of the year.
The stretch of Melrose between Fairfax and La Brea can be chaotic. Traffic is often at a standstill, lines snake out of sneaker stores and dispensaries, and the amount of people careening around on electric scooters seems to double by the month. And in the thick of it all, there’s a calm new Indian spot that smells sensational. Once inside Roots, you’ll find bright tapestries, both upright tables and cushion-on-the-floor seating, and thoughtful, delicious Indian food. The menu is full of dishes like clove-y lamb vindaloo, perfectly-marinated chicken tandoori, and butter chicken that more than lives up to its name. Everything can be ordered a la carte, but if you’re with someone else, go for a combo package. Ranging from $50-60, each one comes with three different entree dishes, plus samosas, raita, rice, naan (upgrade to onion if you like good things), and your choice of dessert. It’ll eliminate all arguing about what to order and also confirm what we have already decided - that this is the best Indian restaurant to open in the Melrose/Weho area in years.
Despite LA’s profoundly vast taco scene, tracking down a great migas taco can be surprisingly challenging. Yes, places like HomeState have been selling them for years, but the fact is this egg and tortilla Tex-Mex dish is still an underrated commodity here. We suspect that’s going to change with the arrival of Hot Tacos. The new taco truck at The Line in Ktown (it’s located in the front valet area) is from the same team behind Austin’s Veracruz All-Natural, one of the most revered taco trucks in Texas and home to the single greatest breakfast taco I’ve ever eaten. Is the migas at Hot Tacos as good as the one in Austin? Probably not, but it comes damn close and is already the best version you can get in LA. Plus, there are plenty of other highlights on the menu, like the citrusy cochinita pibil taco on a crispy grilled corn tortilla and a salty, perfectly-cheesy quesadilla filled with marinated steak that’s been grilled on the plancha. Right now, lines are still very reasonable, but if Hot Tacos becomes anything like its famous Austin sibling, that’s not going to last very long. Plan accordingly.