One thing’s for sure about Los Angeles: no matter where you’re from originally, you can find an excellent meal here that reminds you of home. Known for restaurants that fuse diverse international cuisines together, this West Coast metropolis is a culinary melting pot — and a host of new eateries are only adding to the stew.
From highly lauded chef Ricardo Zarate, Rosaliné is a homecoming of sorts. After a two-year absence from the L.A. food scene, Zarate opened a modern Peruvian restaurant on Melrose Avenue in 2017, paying homage to his mom’s old-fashioned cooking and even naming the eatery after her. Locals couldn’t be happier with the result — scrumptious eats and a hopping vibe.
That said, reservations are tough to score. When you do book a spot, request a seat facing the open kitchen, especially if you enjoy watching the culinary magic unfold before your eyes.
Start your meal with a pisco-centric cocktail designed by Jeremy Lake — one of L.A.’s most talented bartenders — and served in a beautiful handmade ceramic glass.
Nibble on small plates like pan andino (housemade quinoa bread) before dining on more exotic fare, from whole fish preparations (usually one of the specials) to arroz con mariscos (similar to a creamy risotto topped with exotic sea urchin and scallops) and lomo saltado (Zarate’s version of this Peruvian classic includes filet mignon, an egg and soy dressing).
With its kitchen entrance, unique reservation system (there is none; just arrive as early as 3 p.m. to put your name on the board for the 5, 7 or 9 p.m. seating) and tiny eight-seat space, Sushi Bar feels like something you’d find in Soho or London’s trendy Clapton neighborhood. But when you sit down in front of chef and owner Phillip Frankland Lee and his talented team at this Encino eatery, you’ll find that the omakase delights are straight out of Japan.
Made with precision and whimsical creativity, the 17 bite-sized courses are beautifully arresting and, most importantly, delicious. Imagine fresh oysters topped with sturgeon roe and yuzu foam or even grilled kobe beef sushi.
It’s an immersive experience for all the senses — including touch. You eat with only your hands.
Don’t miss the equally dazzling cocktail pairings. In keeping with the cuisine, each sip is usually sake- or soju-based. It may seem strange to pair cocktails with sushi, but chef Lee excels at breaking from tradition to offer you an unforgettable dining experience.
Owner of the beloved Corazon de Tierra (in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico) and a pioneer of the modern Mexican food movement, chef Diego Hernandez graces Los Angeles with his first stateside eatery, Verlaine.
Situated in West Hollywood, the Baja-style spot features a seafood-centric menu that proudly represents the cuisine’s coastal culture. Perfectly grilled oysters, shrimp aguachile, octopus ceviche and sorrel tamal are just a few dishes to sample. These may sound familiar, but with chef Hernandez’s creative twist, each bite is an enlightened experience.
Be sure to stop by for weekend brunch, too, and dine on fresh oysters, huevos rancheros and buttermilk corn pancakes.
Hopping from fine dining at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air to opening Komodo, a food truck and two café concepts serving modern Asian fusion (the “phorrito” was invented here), chef Erwin Tjahyadi knows how to impress diners with his culinary prowess.
His latest endeavor is Bone Kettle, an Indonesian-inspired restaurant in Old Town Pasadena that continues his legacy for the unexpected. Although there are small plates on the menu, such as gado gado and steak tartare, the star is the offal-rich broth, which is served as a hot, steamy bowl of goodness with various vegetables or meat.
The restaurant’s vibe is casual, yet sophisticated with its Nordic-style interiors. It’s ideal for date night or a laid-back meal with friends.
Inspired by chef Steve Samson’s time in Bologna, Rossoblu is a bit of a departure from his beloved Sotto near Beverly Hills. The new restaurant occupies a huge, light-filled Downtown L.A. warehouse-turned-chic-eatery — and there’s not a pizza in sight.
Instead of a wood-fired oven, the hearth of the kitchen is an open grill. Put the massive piece of cooking equipment to work by ordering the Bolognese-style whole cod seasoned with fresh herbs and capers or spit-roasted sucking pig.
Another unique feature of this downtown eatery is the huge beer-garden-style patio. Grab a table outside and sample a lambrusco (an Italian red sparkling wine from the Emilia-Romagna region) from the drink menu. Pair this effervescent sip with a basket of fresh baked bread and that’s amore, indeed.