Without a whole lot of fanfare, Cameron Slaugh slipped into the executive chef position at Osteria La Buca a few months back. This is usually a change that would be cause for great hype, given Slaugh's pedigree and ambition. The chef came from New York, where he'd been a sous chef at the highly acclaimed Eleven Madison Park, and he quickly made changes at La Buca, such as buying up a parcel of farm land in West L.A. where much of the restaurant's produce now comes from.
We wondered what a chef new to the city might love about eating in L.A. Here are his top 10 picks.
10. Tere's Mexican Grill
"This is one of my favorite breakfast burrito places. I love calling in on my way back from our farm and picking up a Machaca breakfast burrito; it never disappoints." 5870 Melrose Ave., Hancock Park. (323) 468-9345, teresmexicangrill.com.
9. Izakaya Honda-Ya
"This place will forever have a place in my heart. A lot of personal accomplishments have begun during dinners here. This is where the ideas for the gelato program at La Buca were born. It was one of the first restaurants Stephen, La Buca’s new owner, took me to when I arrived in L.A. I took my sous chef that I just promoted here for the first time. The list could go on and on. It's just constant good food. I always attack the yakatori and have a pitcher of beer or sake. It's a great place to just chill and have a good time." 333 S. Alameda St., downtown. (213) 625-1184, izakayahondaya.com.
8. Salt's Cure
"Always a top favorite to hang out with my wife and have a glass of wine and a few plates from their small daily menu, written on a tiny chalk board on the wall. Their breakfast and brunch are extremely satisfying. Try the griddle cakes." 7494 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood. (323) 850-7258, saltscure.com.
7. Larchmont Wine Shop
"Great easy sandwiches. They have maybe five or six sandwiches printed on a piece of paper. It's fast, fresh and decently priced. The #3 soppressata sandwich is always my go-to." 223 N. Larchmont Blvd., Windsor Square. (323) 856-8699, larchmontvillagewine.com.
6. Hama Sushi
The sushi here is very traditional. It's very small, 'no cell phones or photo' signs posted on the walls, which in todays Yelp and social media world is refreshing to see (and also makes me wish I could do the same). It’s just consistently good sushi." 347 E. Second St., downtown. (213) 680-3454.
"It's hard to think of a better Thai restaurant that has so much soul in the cooking. Curry is one of my favorite foods, and I would say their version definitely hits the mark. Their menu is also one of the biggest menus I have ever seen, you will definitely not have a problem finding something to eat." 5233 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 667-9809, jitladala.com.
4. Pine and Crane
"Love the Zhajiang noodles and the beef roll. The Taiwanese sticky rice is one of my favorites; it has some funk to it that just keeps me coming back for more." 1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Silver Lake. (323) 668-1128, pineandcrane.com.
"Without even meaning to do so, République and Buca have been sharing 'cooking culture' since they opened. We have shared many staff members, and I have worked with several of their staff back in New York. It's just great to see how small the cooking world is. I eat there whenever I’m in the area. I have enormous respect for Walter and Margarita [Manzke], for what they have built and what they continue to strive for. It might just be one of my favorite restaurants in the city." 624 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park. (310) 362-6115. republiquela.com.
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"A prix fixe-only restaurant at a great price, where the menu is aways different. Excellent food and good wine program. The owners are great, humble guys with a lot of passion." 6221 Franklin Ave., Hollywood. (323) 871-2026, papillesbistro.com.
1. Pizzeria Mozza
"They are always open late no matter the day of the week, serving awesome pizza with wine and beer only. The salame, mozzarella, tomato and fresno chile pie is my favorite. And they’re our neighbors! We often see their chefs and staff in our house, and vice versa." 641 Highland Ave., Hancock Park. (323) 297-0101, pizzeriamozza.com.