The 20 Essential New American Restaurants in Los Angeles

Duck breast, carrots, honey, lavender at Kali
Duck breast, carrots, honey, lavender at Kali
Anne Fishbein

Kali

At Kali, which comes to us courtesy of former Patina chef Kevin Meehan and former Providence wine director Drew Langley, part of the conceit is that the restaurant features only ingredients sourced from California. As you'd imagine from a kitchen whose boundaries lie at the state line, Kali's roster of dishes changes often. If you were to judge it from your Instagram feed alone, Meehan's cooking would seem more avant-garde than it actually is — much of the food here aims for comfort rather than shock. —G.S.

Read Kali's full listing on the Freshmen 15 list.

Bone marrow at Love & Salt
Bone marrow at Love & Salt
Anne Fishbein

Love & Salt

In the two years since Love & Salt opened in the old Cafe Pierre space in Manhattan Beach, chef Michael Fiorelli’s modern Italian restaurant has become a beacon for the neighborhood, serving truly exciting food in a beautiful room that feels fun in a way that’s utterly appropriate to its upscale beachy location. It’s true that you can order a whole pig’s head here (with 48 hours’ advance notice), which comes with condiments and toast, but to me, the value lies in the menu’s slightly less confronting pleasures. —B.R.

Read Love & Salt's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Interior of MB PostEXPAND
Interior of MB Post
Anne Fishbein

MB Post

MB Post, David LeFevre’s large, loud, perpetually packed New American restaurant, went a long way toward redefining the center of Manhattan Beach when it opened in 2011. Six years later, with two sister restaurants now open on the same strip, MB Post feels as if it is the center of Manhattan Beach, its high ceiling and long wooden communal tables serving as the new, youthful soul of this neighborhood. The menu is an international hodgepodge, with everything from charcuterie to barbecued Moroccan lamb belly to tuna tataki with leche de tigre. —B.R.

Read M.B Post's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Chef Miles Thompson at Michael's in Santa Monica
Chef Miles Thompson at Michael's in Santa Monica
Anne Fishbein

Michael's

The radical reinvention of this 38-year-old restaurant rests mainly on the hiring of Miles Thompson, the young chef who used to run Allumette in Echo Park and then left town for a couple of years. Thompson's cooking was always assertively modern, but in the time he's been gone from L.A. it's also become more refined, more clever and more umami-driven. This is food that's cool to look at (in some cases for reasons that are almost subversive), but it isn't so cerebral that it becomes a killjoy. —B.R.

Read the full Michael's listing on the Freshmen 15 list.

Avocado salad at Redbird
Avocado salad at Redbird
Anne Fishbein

Redbird

When Redbird opened in December 2014, it felt like a necessary addition; downtown needed a major shiny new restaurant to anchor its burgeoning dining scene. It needed a place where the well-heeled would be happy to flock pre-theater, a restaurant for business or pleasure, a one-stop-pleases-all kind of place that nonetheless feels special. A couple of years later, Redbird is still a restaurant for when the mood strikes to live high on the hog, a place for eating in a decadent but sturdy fashion. —B.R.

Read Redbird's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Exterior of République
Exterior of République
Anne Fishbein

République

If you were to ask about our favorite restaurant in Los Angeles, République might not be top of mind. Yet it’s amazing how many smaller “favorites” are wrapped up in the layers of this place. Favorite room? Absolutely — carved from the courtyard and façade of the castlelike historic building once owned by Charlie Chaplin, the Moroccan-tiled space is breathtaking in its beauty. Favorite wine list? It’s certainly up there. Favorite croissants, favorite bread accompaniment (in the form of pan drippings served in a cast-iron pot), favorite place to linger at the table on a weekday afternoon over a burger and a glass of wine? Check, check, check. —B.R.

Read République's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Rose Cafe

The Rose Cafe, which had been a Venice staple since 1979, reopened its doors in November 2015 after a revamp by Sprout restaurant group, which included bringing on Jason Neroni as chef. The new Rose is a breezy fantasy of California living and eating: a bakery and café and bar and restaurant with multiple seating areas and patios. It all feels effortless and beautiful and so very, very Venice. (New Venice, that is.) As for Neroni, the Rose is more evidence of his talent as a chef, which we already knew about thanks to his time at Superba Snack Bar just up the street. —B.R.

Read Rose Cafe's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Roasted sugarsnaps at Rustic CanyonEXPAND
Roasted sugarsnaps at Rustic Canyon
Anne Fishbein

Rustic Canyon

Jeremy Fox is one of those chefs whom other chefs gush about, and Rustic Canyon is the restaurant where you’ll find many of those other chefs when there’s cause for celebration or need for inspiration. Since Fox teamed with Rustic Canyon’s owners Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb in 2013, the restaurant has just gotten better and better, and Fox’s ideas seem to be more distilled than ever. With each new visit you’re bound to find something that spends only a few days on the menu and is as delightful as it is fleeting. —B.R.

Read Rustic Canyon's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Windrose lamb tartare with egg yolk and chips at Salt's Cure
Windrose lamb tartare with egg yolk and chips at Salt's Cure
Anne Fishbein

Salt's Cure

The original Salt’s Cure in West Hollywood was an odd kind of restaurant, one that tended to slip your mind when recalling favorite places to eat but one that — if you did happen to find yourself there — made you wonder why you didn’t think of it more often. The sparse restaurant from chefs Chris Phelps and Zak Walters never lost the feel that it could just up and vanish one day, despite its status as a trendsetter in a number of realms (restaurants built around the idea of butchery; natural wines). Rather than vanish, Salt’s Cure moved a few miles east in 2015, into a more conventional space with a bar and a proper dining room and about double the seating capacity —B.R.

Read Salts Cure's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Sunchoke hash with young onion, cheddar and duck egg at Sqirl.
Sunchoke hash with young onion, cheddar and duck egg at Sqirl.
Anne Fishbein

Sqirl

The story of Sqirl has been told so many times over, its little-toast-shop-that-could narrative is practically a fable these days. Articles have been written that make Jessica Koslow’s East Hollywood cafe a symbol for the entire L.A. lifestyle, a place where beautiful people eat beautiful things out of bowls in the white sunlight. In fact, if you focus on what Sqirl has come to represent rather than what Sqirl actually is, you might forget the fact that Koslow and crew are still cooking some of the city’s most delicious food. —B.R.

Read Sqirl's full 99 Essentials listing here.



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