If you’re a fanatic foodie, you only have one constant question — where should I eat next? In Los Angeles, where incredible restaurants by talented chefs pop up faster than new reality TV concepts, you’ll never run out of ideas to the above quandary.
Here are our picks for the seven best new restaurants of 2016 so far.
This former nightclub in West Hollywood has been transformed into a strikingly sexy space with black and white décor and rustic, rafter-exposed ceilings. Chef Mike Williams serves up Californian-meets-modern-American cuisine with a touch of Southern flair. Signatures include the cast iron cornbread appetizer, heritage pork and wild nettle gnocchi.
Kali is a stunning space serving equally impressive market-driven Californian cuisine by chef Kevin Meehan (formerly of L’Orangerie and Bastide). Although the dishes are creatively elevated, the ambience is casual. Try the vegan beet tartar; wheat berry risotto; duck breast with carrot and lavender; and the toasted meringue gelato with candied egg yolk for dessert.
The wine menu, designed by Drew Langley, former sommelier at award-winning Providence, is full of esoteric surprises and the cocktails feature California spirits exclusively.
Located in the Original Farmers Market, the Spanish tapas bar gleans inspiration from the pintxo bars of the Basque Country. Pairing an order of artichokes a la plancha or tortilla española with a glass of the house vermouth will have you channeling your inner Spaniard. Bar Vermouth, L.A.’s first vermouth-centric bar, will be opening soon upstairs.
The sprawling, sophisticated space in a former downtown L.A. factory is impressive, ideal for power lunches or a wow-factor date. But it’s Officine Brera’s (opened by the same owners and chef from Factory Kitchen) wood-roasted pork shank and bone marrow risotto that will really seal the deal — be it business or romance.
Also, it’s a popular spot for after-work drinks at the expansive bar. New playful cocktails (like the Sta’schise, a mezcal drink with rhubarb and Fresno chili) roll out regularly from Italian barkeep Luigi Capasso.
Top Chef alum Marcel Vigneron’s debut restaurant is a mix of high-concept techniques and rustic farmers-market driven dishes that have an emphasis on zero-waste cooking (think stem on charred carrots sitting atop dollops of macadamia nut-coconut cream). Other menu standouts include the shrimp dumplings with pork belly; braised beef cheek; white miso cod; and the elderflower soufflé.
Next door, Beefsteak, the chef’s completely veggie-centric restaurant is still in the works.
Although your eyes may be drawn upwards to peer at downtown skyscrapers looming overhead through the restaurant’s skylight, the modern California cuisine with Mediterranean inspiration will keep you focused. Go for the housemade charcuterie and fresh cavatelli or spaghetti on display at a pasta station.
Cocktail and whiskey fans, Miro might be your new favorite watering hole. There are two areas on the lower level: the Basement Bar for inventive craft cocktails and the Whiskey Room for rare pours.
On the more casual side of dining, Salazar is a Sonoran-Mexican inspired “taco stand” by chef Esdras Ochoa. The nearly all-outdoor restaurant was converted from a former auto repair shop. But it’s less about tacos and more about the barbecue here. Inventive tequila and mezcal cocktails from the talented Aaron Melendrez will keep you coming back as well. Order a mezcal old fashioned with a chargrilled rib eye with fresh tortillas and pork-laced refried beans for a perfecto pairing.