Best Of Food & Drink

  • Best Salad

    Jitlada

    A trip to Jitlada is for many Angelenos a kind of pilgrimage. If you love Thai food, particularly Southern Thai in its many degrees of spiciness, from pleasant to outrageous, you come for the curries that Suthiporn (Tui) Sungkamee makes from scratch in the back, curries that date from when...

  • Best British-Style Fish and Chips

    Hot Red Bus

    While fish and chips are served at many places around Los Angeles, there hasn't been a true British-style chip shop until the 2012 opening of Hot Red Bus in downtown Alhambra. Billing itself as L.A.'s first British Indian chip shop, it's run by an expat Brit of Indian descent who...

  • Best Menu

    Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village

    No, we're not talking about the best selection of dishes; it's the actual physical menu at Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village that impresses. The spot's food list is pretty much a coffee-table book: a massive, glossy tome with huge, gorgeous photos of each dish that wouldn't be out of place...

  • Best Vegan Restaurant

    Crossroads

    There aren't many vegan restaurants where you could take omnivores and reasonably hope that they won't notice the absence of meat and dairy, but Crossroads is just such a place. As swank as any other West Hollywood hot spot, its plush, red velvet booths and soft, yellow orb lighting betrays...

  • Best Biryani

    Bangla Bazar & Restaurant

    Forget about paella and risotto. There's a much more exciting rice dish at Bangla Bazar & Restaurant on West Third Street in the strip known as Little Bangladesh. It's goat biryani, spicy rice studded with gamey-tasting, bony pieces of goat. The rice is like a spice market on a plate,...

  • Best Grocery Delivery

    Good Eggs

    Grocery delivery has been gaining popularity in L.A., but no service is as good as Good Eggs, a San Francisco–based company that recently laid down roots in L.A. with a new "food hub" in the old Hostess factory in Elysian Valley near Glendale. The well-designed website lets you choose from...

  • Best New Sichuan Restaurant

    Szechuan Impression

    Alhambra city planners probably should think about installing a trolley route along the western section of Valley Boulevard, just for all the people waiting in restaurant lines. First, last summer, came the justly lauded Chengdu Taste, possibly the best Sichuan restaurant to open in the San Gabriel Valley in years...

  • Best Pastry Chef

    Margarita Manzke

    There are myriad things to adore about République, the soaring, ambitious restaurant in the old Campanile space from Bill Chait and chef/couple Walter and Margarita Manzke. The space, the sommelier and the food all excel. But what we love most at République are the offerings of Margarita Manzke in her...

  • Best Cheap Beer on Draft

    Philippe the Original

    Established in 1908, Philippe the Original is one of Los Angeles' oldest restaurants, made famous by the French-dipped sandwich it claims to have invented. The average tourist knows to order a juicy beef sandwich with a crisp pickle and a scoop of macaroni or potato salad, but the locals know...

  • Best Kabobs

    Bibi Sara

    Tucked in a strip mall in Woodland Hills, just before you make the trip through Topanga Canyon on your way to the ocean, sits Bibi Sara. The name means "grandma's house" in Farsi, and the warmth of chef-owner Mostafa Motlagh, who is there cooking every day, makes you feel like...

  • Best Vegan Pizza

    Cruzer Pizza

    There aren't many places to sit at Cruzer Pizza, which might be a good thing, because the longer you stay at the all-vegan Los Feliz restaurant, the more you want to order. Should you get the Philly cheese steak or the spicy Indian Kima with herbs and jalapeños? What's better...

  • Best Restaurant Bar

    Eveleigh

    The word oasis comes to mind when contemplating the back room at Eveleigh, with its barnlike, open-air patio, pillowed booths and soft breezes. The fact that there is a bar — and a superb one at that — is almost a side note, except, of course, that it's the reason...

  • Best Cookie

    POT

    Located in the trendy Line Hotel, POT and its many components can be a little overwhelming. There's the restaurant, with its hot pots and flowery aprons (in lieu of napkins) and chef Roy Choi's take on Korean food. There's the bar in the lobby, with its fuzzy navels and white...

  • Best Amuses

    Providence

    Although Providence, Michael Cimarusti's opulent ode to seafood, recently underwent a redesign, the soul of the place remains the same. There's some new art on the walls, and some of the walls are now art installations themselves, with clusters of shells scattered across the surface looking like drifts of flowers...

  • Best Modern Cocktail Bar

    Melrose Umbrella Company

    With its everything-old-is-new-again décor and drinks philosophy, Melrose Umbrella Company offers itself up as a quirky glimpse into a post-Prohibition bar — with a newfangled view of cocktail fun. The menu features a stable of classic drinks for those who like to swig it old-school. But it's with the modern...

  • Best Restaurant

    Trois Mec

    It’s a brilliant thing chef Ludo Lefebvre and partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo have done at Trois Mec: They’ve managed to make dining at the highest level fun again. How? By stripping away most of what’s intimidating about fancy restaurants. Step through the doors of what used to be...

  • Best Stoner Pizza

    Pizza of Venice

    Is there any pizza that isn't, in some way, stoner pizza? Perhaps not. Yet Pizza of Venice has turned the stoner pie into particularly awesome art, beginning with free-form crust ("Each pizza is like a snowflake") and extending to the toppings, which range from "expected" to "off-the-wall." Once you get...

  • Best BBQ Not Made by Kevin Bludsoe

    Robert Earl's BBQ

    For years, Robert Earl has been mesquite-smoking his meats in a hand-welded, four-barrel cooker hitched to the back of a miniature ice cream truck, which doubles as a catering van. On the back, a painted warning says, "BBQ so good make you slap mama." Maybe so, when you're talking about...

  • Best Coffee Shop in the SFV

    Compañía de Café

    Compañía de Café is a sprawling specialty coffee shop quite unlike any other. Surely the colors tell you as much: The wall behind the register is a shade of pink that would not be out of place in an episode of Jem; the butter cookies and other house-made pastries are...

  • Best Diner With a Full Bar

    Conrad's

    It's 1 a.m. and your crew can't decide between another bourbon or a stack of pancakes. Conrad's in Glendale will never force you into a Saturday night Sophie's Choice. Enter to the left, past the lineup of pies daring you to eat a slice, and you'll think you simply wandered...

  • Best Self-Churned Ice Cream

    Peddler's Creamery

    The grassroots, Kickstarter-funded operation Peddler's Creamery may have started as just a boy and his bike — but it's now a DTLA neighborhood favorite. Owner Edward Belden fused his passions for sustainability, cycling and ice cream into a one-of-a-kind business that celebrates the creative, community-minded foodie culture of L.A. There's...

  • Best Burmese Food

    Yoma Myanmar

    There are certain restaurants in L.A. that seem as if they were lifted from their country of origin and casually planted in a random Southern California suburb. Yoma Myanmar is one of them, as the restaurant could as soon be a neighborhood spot in Yangon as in Monterey Park. This...

  • Best Reason to Head to Upland

    Ashirwad the Blessings

    If you were to drive far enough along the 10 East, toward the edges of the Los Angeles sprawl, eventually you would reach Upland. It's an area perhaps best known for the Claremont Colleges, where 19-year-olds are aggressively being taught to interpret Kant, but it's also where you'll find Ashirwad...

  • Best Danish Pastry Shop

    Copenhagen Pastry

    Copenhagen Pastry, in full disclosure, is walking distance from the L.A. Weekly offices, but its arrival in 2012 single-handedly made our location seem like a privileged one, rather than the highway-abutting, gourmet-deficient stretch it has historically been. Among the items in the pastry case, the Copenhagen is the show-off, wearing...

  • Best Restaurant Near the Beach

    Little Sister

    So you're going to the beach for the day. And you want a fun meal after all that sand and sun. Sure, we know you probably have seafood in mind, another overpriced lobster roll perhaps? Let us steer you in a different direction, to Little Sister in Manhattan Beach. Chef...

  • Best Burrito

    Al & Bea's

    FiveThirtyEight's search for the best burrito in America via a Burrito Bracket has a number of flaws, but it did, at least, get one thing right in ranking Al & Bea's burritos among the very best in the country. For the uninitiated, Al & Bea's, opened in 1966, is a...

  • Best Duck on a Grill

    Sun Ha Jang

    A daunting number of Korean barbecue restaurants exist in L.A.'s Koreatown, from which you can order ribs and slabs of beef and all manner of pork belly, cooked to smoky, Hite-fueled perfection at your table. But if that seems passé by now, you might try the duck palace on Olympic...

  • Best Use of a Vintage Airstream

    LuckDish

    In the town that invented the modern food truck, it has becomes difficult to distinguish one truck from another — not only because we now have a citywide fleet of them but also because L.A. just has too much vehicular traffic in the first place. Hiro Seo, who goes by...

  • Best Hunan Fish Head

    Hunan Mao

    You can order many glorious things at a good Hunan restaurant, but the sine qua non is doubtless the fish head. This is the signature Hunan dish, and it's big and shareable and insanely tasty. It's also both an Instagram favorite and an enjoyable way to unsettle any less-than-adventurous members...

  • Best Breakfast

    KTCHN

    For those of us who spend our lives seeking out fabulous meals, the unremarkable roster of $14 egg dishes that many restaurants call a breakfast menu can get incredibly tiresome. But with chef Felix Barron's masterful, creative breakfast and brunch dishes, KTCHN offers a welcome respite from egg fatigue. The...

  • Best Late-Night Dining

    Red Medicine

    Los Angeles is famously not a late-night town. Restaurants clear out incredibly early; true late-night options are scarce. Which is why it's extra exciting that Red Medicine serves its full menu until 2 a.m. every night. Not only can you satiate your late-night hunger pangs, you can satiate them with...

  • Best Unusual Pan Dulce

    La Mascota Bakery

    A "dirty face" is a good thing if it's a chorreada from La Mascota Bakery in East Los Angeles. This slangy Spanish name describes a large, round, slightly sweet, whole wheat bun crusted with dark brown sugar so that it resembles a spotted face. The only clean-up is the money...

  • Best Taco

    Mariscos Jalisco

    Every single day of the year, including holidays, you can find Mariscos Jalisco parked on the eastern stretch of Olympic Boulevard; thus every day of the year, especially holidays, you'll find folks from as far away as San Diego in line for the truck's near-legendary taco dorados de camaron. This...

  • Best Old-School Chili Dog Stand

    Art's Chili Dog Stand

    No doubt the first place that comes to mind when you think of longtime L.A. chili dog stands is Pink's, the permanently crowded stand on La Brea. Perfectly understandable. But Art's Chili Dog Stand should come to mind almost as quickly. Opened by ex–New Yorker Art Elkind in the late...

  • Best Deer Noodle Soup

    Ha Tien Quan

    If you love Vietnamese cuisine but want to go beyond pho and bánh mì, you might want to try a bowl of deer noodle soup. And for this terrific dish, you'll have to go to a small San Gabriel plaza. At Ha Tien Quan, the regional cuisine comes from Ha...

  • Best Brownie

    Huckleberry

    Zoe Nathan and her crew at Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe in Santa Monica make so many amazing things — green eggs & ham, raw kale salad, ratatouille tartine, blueberry-cornmeal cake, all those stunning pastries — that you'll be forgiven for ignoring something as basic and, well, boring as the chocolate...

  • Best Sri Lankan Food

    Apey Kade

    Considering that the number of restaurants serving Sri Lankan curries can be counted on one hand, it would be fair to assume that L.A.'s Best Sri Lankan is a pretty empty title. You would be wrong. Because Apey Kade, a small Muslim Sri Lankan joint located in a tiny strip...

  • Best Dairy Queen Alternative

    Foster's Freeze

    Hand-churned ice cream made from organic dairy with fennel and bee pollen is all well and good, but the madeleine that takes us back to childhood bliss is a far less complicated proposition: a Blizzard from Dairy Queen. Or at least it ought to be less complicated. While gourmet ice...

  • Best Kaiseki

    n/naka

    The Wall Street Journal recently featured chef Niki Nakayama and her restaurant n/naka in a lengthy profile, claiming she may be the only female kaiseki chef in the world. She may also be the only chef in L.A. doing proper kaiseki, the formal, paced Japanese tasting menus based around the...

  • Best Oyster Bar

    Connie & Ted's

    Michael Cimarusti's sprawling seafood restaurant Connie & Ted's sates all kinds of oceanic cravings: Lobster rolls, chowders, steamers and beautifully grilled fish all hit exactly the right pleasure and nostalgia receptors in our seafood-loving brains. But the reason we most often find ourselves stopping by the huge swoosh of a...

  • Best Secret Chorizo

    Humberto Raygoza

    This city consumes massive amounts of chorizo, in breakfast burritos and late-night tacos across the Southland. So why does so much of it suck? Humberto Raygoza, also known as the Choriman, is working to change that, slowly building accounts for his house-made chorizo via social media, word-of-mouth and this year's...

  • Best Outdoor Dining

    A.O.C.

    The fact that we have restaurants in Malibu that are perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean makes the competition for best view when dining outdoors a little unfair. If you want the most stunning view in town, go to Nobu Malibu. But if you want the best food...

  • Best Farmers Market

    Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market

    Decades before farmers markets were held every day, and in practically every neighborhood in Los Angeles, before they became as hip and ubiquitous (and necessary) as iPhones, the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market was quietly setting up produce stalls. The market started in 1981, before you could even get fresh...

  • Best Old-School Doughnuts

    Spudnuts

    With all the buzz about the return of Dunkin' Donuts to Los Angeles, it's easy to forget that the first national doughnut chain actually survives, scattered around Greater Los Angeles. Dating to the 1940s, Spudnuts uses a potato flour blend for some of its doughnuts — hence the name. Fans...

  • Best American Regional Food Truck

    Steel City Sandwich Truck

    When it comes to American regional comfort food, Southern barbecue tends to hog all the glory. But there is no comfort food more satisfying than a fully loaded, Pittsburgh-style sandwich. At the Steel City Sandwich truck, they serve up several variations of this blue-collar beast, all piled high with crisp...

  • Best Burger

    Plan Check Kitchen & Bar

    As hard as it is to believe, chef Ernesto Uchimura's burgers just keep getting better. After the initial media sonar wave surrounding his dehydrated ketchup leather at Plan Check Kitchen & Bar died down, Uchimura was forced back into doing what he does best: Cook comfort food with a serious...

  • Prettiest Restaurant

    Republique

    When Walter and Margarita Manzke and business partner Bill Chait took over the Campanile space to open République, it seemed that all of L.A. held its breath to see what would happen. Would the food be as good as it was in Campanile's heyday? And would the gorgeous building (interior...

  • Best South L.A. Cafe

    3 Worlds Cafe

    3 Worlds Cafe originated at South L.A.'s Jefferson High School as a way for teens to learn healthful eating habits while concocting fruit smoothies sweetened with agave and coconut milk. Soon enough, they were selling up to 200 smoothies a day under the guidance of chef Roy Choi (Kogi, POT,...

  • Best Restaurant Design

    Malibu Pier Restaurant

    Having the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop is almost cheating when it comes to building a beautiful restaurant. The folks who designed Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar had an even bigger advantage: The raw material they were working with was the gorgeous, vintage building that sits on the 109-year-old Malibu...

  • Best New Restaurant

    Maude

    Who'd have thought that the best new restaurant of the year would come from a TV personality who makes most of his money as the face of a supermarket chain in his home country of Australia? Yet that's what Curtis Stone has delivered in Maude, his tiny Beverly Hills restaurant,...

  • Best Barbacoa

    Gish Bac

    There are many reasons to trek to Gish Bac, the Oaxacan restaurant David Padilla and Maria Ramos opened in 2010 in Arlington Heights. It's a modest and cheery place, with big tables and great service, and the owners probably will serve you themselves, chatting as if you were in their...

  • Best Food in a Thrift Store

    Cafe G

    The new Lincoln Heights Goodwill, near Atwater Village, is remarkable for a few reasons. It's huge, encompassing two stores and a community center. The walls are covered in murals by local artists, and the store itself is one of the cleanest, best organized thrift stores we've ever set foot in...

  • Best Seven-Course Beef Dinner

    Thien An Bo 7 Mon

    Vietnam probably is best known in the world's culinary sphere for its street food: simple in its preparation, stellar in its use of fresh ingredients. Less well known is Vietnam's haute cuisine, which is at times appropriately extravagant and served at weddings or banquets. One of the most common wedding...

  • Best Taco Truck

    Guerrilla Tacos

    Slap the title of Best Taco Truck on a lonchero helmed by a former Alain Ducasse disciple who slings upscale tacos from the sidewalk of a third-wave coffee shop in the Arts District, and you can hear the pitchforks being sharpened. Those naysayers simply haven't had the pleasure of dining...

  • Best Classic Cocktail Bar

    Musso & Frank

    If the rich mahogany bar and somewhat dour, jacketed bartenders (who have a collective 90-plus years of experience) weren't enough of a tell, then the classic martinis delivered with aplomb would cue you in to the fact that Musso & Frank is a Los Angeles booze landmark. A dining landmark,...

  • Best Jambon Beurre

    Petit Trois

    A timeless combination of good bread, good ham and good butter, jambon beurre is cropping up in more and more versions in L.A. these days. The classic French sandwich is hard to mess up — it's as if anyone smart enough to want to serve the thing must also be...

  • Best Fast-Casual Restaurant

    Lemonade

    Cheerfully stylish, determinedly Californian in both ingredients and outlook, Lemonade has been taking the state by storm. From the original West Hollywood outpost, chef Alan Jackson has grown his empire to 17 outlets — with the chain's first international locations recently opening in Dubai. It's easy to see the appeal:...

  • Best Toast

    Sqirl

    "Artisan toast" is the stuff of parody, the punchline to a plethora of jokes about foodies and their ridiculous proclivities. But if it's the thing that gave us Sqirl, we're all for it. When chef-owner Jessica Koslow opened this small cafe on Virgil Avenue, it was at first a way...

  • Highest Cafe

    The Cosmic Cafe

    The Cosmic Cafe sits more than 5,700 feet above sea level. Thus you can dine on sandwiches, chili dogs, salads, soups and bottled drinks as you enjoy the effects of slight oxygen deprivation. We're not talking about haute cuisine, of course, but this kind of comfort food tastes pretty heavenly...

  • Best Chef

    Suzanne Goin

    Over the last seven years, Suzanne Goin has been nominated six times as an outstanding chef in the national James Beard Awards. She has yet to win — usually the award goes to someone a little flashier, a little more of the moment. But that's what we love about Goin,...

  • Best Extravagant Tasting Menu

    Saam

    If José Andrés is the Willy Wonka of molecular gastronomists — and any man who freezes popcorn with liquid nitrogen and calls it Dragon's Breath is worthy of the title — then the opulent tasting menu at Saam is his Everlasting Gobstopper. The menu varies but typically features at least...

  • Best Gluten-Free Potstickers

    Peking Tavern

    For those who can no longer enjoy the gluten-full xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung — or anywhere else, for that matter — Peking Tavern is here to help.. The hip, underground, Beijing-style gastropub boasts a jovial vibe, exotic cocktails, hearty Chinese street food and the best gluten-free potstickers...

  • Best Affogato

    Bucato

    Among the many excellent mash-ups in the food world, one of the simplest and most blissful is the affogato, the marriage of two of Italy's finest exports, espresso and gelato. The word comes from the Italian affogare, meaning "to drown," and it's a pretty accurate summation of the dish, in...

  • Best Butter Coffee

    Erewhon Natural Foods Market

    Many Angelenos are adding butter to their coffee — the saturated fat is supposed to assist with everything from mental clarity to weight loss. This year Erewhon Natural Foods Market, one of L.A.'s oldest organic grocery stores, was the first place in the nation to offer the Bulletproof brand of...

  • Best Place to Eat at LAX

    ink.sack

    LAX is fast becoming an actual dining destination, though you have to have a ticket to ride in order to dine. The swankest dining is at the newly renovated Tom Bradley International terminal, which offers everything from a Petrossian caviar and Champagne bar to Panda Express. There's a lot in...

  • Best Working Breakfast

    Superba Food + Bread

    In any city, certain local bakeries and coffee shops operate as a network of anti-Starbucks places where people hook up to Wi-Fi and order a coffee and a pastry and literally plug in. In Los Angeles, a city that runs on freelancers and writers (your screenplay, my food blog), there...

  • Best Free Greens

    Amy's Farm

    "Free kale." If those two words don't get you to Amy's Farm, you must be one of those people who still thinks kale is so yucky they can't give it away — or someone who has been living hipster-free for the last year. Obviously they can give it away, because...

  • Best Organic Gluten-Free Bakery in the Valley

    Buttercelli Bakeshop

    Who says you can't please everyone all the time? Buttercelli's Bakeshop describes itself as "a small-batch, classic Americana bakery" — which these days means being a one-stop treat shop with something for everyone in the growing population of food sensitivities. Co-owner Val Whalin started out selling her organic baked goods...

  • Best New Production Brewery

    MacLeod Ale Brewing Co.

    In the last year alone, Los Angeles County has become home to at least half a dozen new breweries, all trying to set themselves apart from those that came before in the hopes of earning a share of the region's increasing craft beer market. Of them, MacLeod Ale Brewing Co...

  • Best Ramen

    Tsujita L.A.

    Since Tsujita L.A. opened, in the summer of 2011, seemingly permanent lines have formed outside the little shop on Sawtelle Boulevard, and for very good reason. The Tokyo-based company makes what most people consider L.A.'s best ramen, purist iterations of Hakata-style noodles that have engendered not only crowds and accolades...

  • Best Hong Kong–Style Breakfast

    Delicious Food Corner

    Weekend mornings outside Delicious Food Corner often mean long lines and a chaotic parking lot. Inside, a bustling, noisy room is packed with diners while others wait, despite a recent expansion into two adjacent spaces. What are they there for? At this small Monterey Park diner, it's all about the...

  • Best Tableside Dinner Preparation

    RivaBella

    West Hollywood's RivaBella has always been short on understatement. The restaurant makes a startling showcase of its impressive indoor-outdoor space, which is among the best in Los Angeles, but when the risotto cart emerges from the kitchen, it galvanizes the room. Entire tables crane their necks to get a look...

  • Best San Fernando Valley Burger Stand

    Bill and Hiroko's

    Burger stands abound in the San Fernando Valley, thanks to the simultaneous expansion of L.A.'s suburbs and its fast-casual hamburger culture in the 1950s. None, though, is as prolific as Bill and Hiroko's in Van Nuys, which has been griddling up cheeseburgers since the 1960s. While they're absolutely worth the...

  • Best Tuna Sandwich

    Sopressata at Black Hogg

    The humble tuna sandwich rarely gets its due. It's one of those foodstuffs we take for granted, in part because even the mediocre ones are pretty good. But what about a great tuna sandwich, one you might crave even in the dead of night? That's what they serve at Sopressata...

  • Best Moroccan Restaurant in the Valley

    Simon's Cafe

    Chef Simon Elmaleh learned to cook at his mother's knee in Morocco, honed his skills alongside a French chef at Club Med in Israel and then, for almost two decades, ran Japan's only Moroccan restaurant. He settled in L.A. a dozen years ago, bringing his mixed cooking heritage into a...

  • Best Sushi

    Shunji

    You can tell a lot about Shunji, the Westside fish palace, from the vantage of its parking lot. There are no shiny valet stands, just a small, grungy lot next to the edifice that houses this phenomenal 2-year-old sushi restaurant — which itself is shaped like a chili bowl, thanks...

  • Best Tequila Program

    Rivera

    Chef John Sedlar's love affair with tequila is on steroid-amped display at Rivera, his downtown pan-Latin restaurant. To allow his guests to savor their agave spirits in grand style, Sedlar had special Captain Kirk–esque leather chairs installed, replete with custom-built attached serving trays. To highlight the intricacies of tequila, he...

  • Best Wine Bar

    Bar Covell

    A wine bar, at its best, is buoyed by the quality of its conversation as much as its wine selection. That's part of what we love about Bar Covell, the Los Feliz wine bar run by Dustin Lancaster and Matthew Kaner. There's no menu — when you belly up, the...

  • Best Ice Cream Shop

    Bulgarini Gelato

    When Leo Bulgarini opened Bulgarini Gelato in the spring of 2007, in the back of an enormous parking lot in the upper atmosphere of Altadena, the little gelateria felt like a secret-handshake society. For Westsiders, it may as well have been on Mars; even for locals, it was hard to...

  • Best Bornean Food

    Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine

    In L.A,'s assuredly vast history of secret menus, it seems likely that none has been more interesting than the one that was available at the former Little London Fish & Chips, which, for a number of years, covertly served Bornean food. For perspective, the food being served was specifically Chinese-Indonesian,...

  • Best Russian Food

    Mari Vanna

    How did an international chain restaurant make it onto this list? By being so much damn fun. Because whatever you say about Mari Vanna, the outrageous Russian restaurant in the Beverly Hills house that once was Bastide, you'd have to be a Scrooge of epic bitterness to miss the fun...

  • Best Vegan Milkshakes

    The Punchbowl

    Vegan milkshakes can be difficult to find, particularly 100 percent raw vegan milkshakes. But the Punchbowl in Los Feliz has 10 of them. If you like date shakes (a regional favorite), there's one made with not only dates but bananas, house-made cashew milk and vanilla beans, plus a pinch of...

  • Best Free Kids' Meal

    M Street Kitchen

    M Street Kitchen, on Santa Monica's Main Street, makes it easy to eat out when you're dining with the short set. The free kids meal for those 8 and under — which is served from 4 to 6:30 p.m. — offers a choice of mac and cheese, quesadillas (with a...

  • Best Breakfast Tacos

    HomeState

    If you're an Austin-area transplant looking to replicate the breakfasts of your stoner youth, look no further than HomeState, the Los Feliz storefront that does a bang-up job of the Texas breakfast taco. There's a handful of choices, from the spartan (beans, cheese) to the relatively complex (eggs, bacon, potatoes...

  • Best Cheap Indian Food

    Streets of India

    First let's talk about the mango souffle at Streets of India in Encino. Light as air, rich as cream, pure mango flavor from the pulverized fresh mango and coconut milk — for $2.75. During the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet ($8.75 on weekdays) or the insane early-bird special (11 a.m. to noon...

  • Cutest Espresso Shot

    Zia Valentina

    You may be forgiven for having missed the opening, one year ago, of Zia Valentina, a tiny granita bar in the Original Farmers Market. So many other food stalls crowd the venerable 80-year-old market that it's easy to overlook the small counter, even with its pretty vegan pastries and back...

  • Best Food Court

    Mitsuwa Marketplace

    Little Tokyo may be more hip, but for total immersion in Japanese culture, there's no better spot than the Mitsuwa Marketplace food court in Torrance. All the Japanese foods you love — ramen, onigiri, curry rice — and even the ones you may not be as sure about — say,...

  • Best Afternoon Tea

    Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

    The tea service at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino has always beat out all others because of one key factor: an all-you-can-eat buffet. However, they've really stepped up their game recently, with the addition of several new salads to the classic finger sandwiches (seven...

  • Best Brunch

    Cooks County

    What do we want from brunch? We don't want to wait on the sidewalk for a table forever. Rather, we want comfort food that's slightly more complex or elevated than what we'd make for ourselves at home. We want something that might tame a hangover — maybe served with something...

  • Best Upscale Lunch

    Lukshon

    Honestly, we're more $3 lunch types (tacos, anyone?), but on the occasions where a nicer midday meal is called for, there's no better place in L.A. to plunk down your cash than chef Sang Yoon's Lukshon. The patio is gorgeous and comfortable, the drinks are fantastic — we especially appreciate...

  • Best Khao Soi

    Pailin

    In Chiang Mai, khao soi borders on being a religious symbol. There's a family there that has been making the stuff for more than 70 years, and, although their eatery could easily be described as a hole in the wall, they have served multiple members of the Thai royal family...

  • Best Sour Beers

    Craftsman Brewing Company

    Sour beers are hard to make, especially since you're basically infecting your beer with normally no-no bacteria until you get to a tartness that's so bad it's good again. Not unlike firefighters working on a controlled burn, many of the world's best sour brewers know how to balance the base...

  • Best Food Truck

    CVT Soft Serve

    If necessity is the mother of invention, Joe Nicchi's ice cream truck, CVT Soft Serve, was born from L.A.'s hot summer doldrums. Lacking quality options citywide, the upstate New York transplant pulled together enough cash — and lucked into a 1961 Mr. Softee truck, lovingly named Charlie — to start...

  • Best Pizza

    Mother Dough

    Don't let Nancy Silverton's puffy-edged pies at Mozza sway you: The city's best wood-fired pizza may well be across town at Mother Dough in Los Feliz. At the least, the tiny brick storefront space along Hollywood Boulevard has more soul than perhaps any other pizza place in Los Angeles, thanks...