It’s almost here, that bi-annual time when most of L.A.’s best eateries offer special prix-fixe menus that include one-off dishes and imaginative lunches as part of Los Angeles' expansive restaurant week, aka dineLA. Menus at more than 360 restaurants across the county are priced so reasonably that every hungry diner has an excuse to cross off a few more items on their restaurant bucket list. From January 19 to February 1, participating restaurants will be offering $15, $20 or $25 lunch menus and $30, $40 or $50 three-course dinner menus.
But in case the low prices or the overwhelming number of restaurants participating aren’t reason enough to get out and eat these next two weeks, this year chefs are creating exclusive dishes to be served only during the 14 days of DineLA. These 11 mouth-watering creations are so L.A., they'll have you booking a table pronto.
11. Potato tartine with morbier, black truffle and mushroom vinegar at Cliff’s Edge
One of Silverlake’s most beloved restaurants will be serving a three-course prix-fixe dinner for $50 per person during dineLA. Enjoy chef Vartan Abgaryan’s dishes on arguably the most romantic patio in Los Angeles. 3626 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-666-6116, cliffsedgecafe.com.
10. Pesce Spada — swordfish with purple fingerlings, pearl onion lyonnaise, crispy pork belly and caviar cream at Culina, Modern Italian
The stylish Italian restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills is making the most of dineLA. Its menus for lunch and dinner are comprised entirely of exclusive dishes for the occasion. Just $25 will treat you to a two-course prix-fixe lunch, but if you want to sample the Pesce Spada you’ll have to splurge on the $50 three-course dinner. 300 S. Doheny Drive; Beverly Hills; (310) 860-4000, culinarestaurant.com.
9. Winter empanadas with roasted root vegetables, kale, tomato habanero jam, cilantro tamarind chutney and cumin lentils at Gracias Madre
If you’re even the slightest bit afraid of seeing foie gras on your plate during dineLA (or simply don’t feel like talking about it anymore), vegan Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre is for you. Also, sometimes heavy prix-fixe menus leave us feeling remorseful from the glut. This won’t apply here, as all courses in your dineLA meal will be 100 percent plant-based. The restaurant will be serving a two-course lunch for $20 and a three-course dinner for $30. The dineLA-exclusive winter empanadas will be available at both meal times. 8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 978-2170, graciasmadreweho.com.
8. The Resolved — Hoppin John Southern black-eyed peas, sprouted pro-biotic brown rice, pureed garnet yams and citrus collards at Cafe Gratitude
Appropriately named for diners resolving to eat healthy food in 2015, The Resolved is an entree for dineLA eaters hungry for another vegan option. The special dish is offered at both locations of the popular cafe, and will be served for both lunch and dinner. Enjoy their two-course prix-fixe lunch for $20 and three-course dinner for $30. Multiple locations, cafegratitude.com.
7. Crispy-skin duck breast with slow-cooked black kale, curry butternut squash purée and roasted onion duck jus at Butchers and Barbers
Unlike a lot of the older restaurants participating in in dineLA for promotional reasons, Butchers and Barbers is brand new and already getting a lot of buzz. Because of this, it’s one of the most exciting restaurants to see on the list this year. Also, the dineLA-exclusive crispy-skin duck breast, which will be available on their three-course $40 prix-fixe dinner, sounds incredible. 6531 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 461-1464, butchersandbarbers.com.
6. Crab roll with Georges Bank crab meat served on a hoagie roll at Blue Plate Oysterette
Sometimes it is the simplest dish executed to perfection that's the most tempting. For this, head to Blue Plate Oysterette. The famous oyster shop in Santa Monica (and its newer outpost on West Third Street) are shipping in the best crab meat from Boston for some extra special crab rolls. Please note, these babies will only be served on their $25 lunch prix-fixe. But the $50 three-course dineLA dinner menu is pretty mouthwatering too. Multiple locations, blueplatesantamonica.com.
5. Goat meatloaf with harissa-ketchup glaze, served with rutabaga mash and goat creamed goat creamed greens at Plan Check Kitchen + Bar
Chef Ernesto Uchimura is known for putting a modern twist on American classics. Never has that been so apparent than with the goat meatloaf he’ll be dishing up at Plan Check's Fairfax and downtown locations during dineLA. Enjoy it with the $20 three-course meal during lunch only. Multiple locations, plancheck.com.
4. Sandwich de bifteck at L’Assiette Steak Frites
The West Hollywood brasserie serves its signature dish, steak frites, this time served open face on a baguette with pommes frites. The restaurant is also participating with a $15 lunch and $30 three-course dinner, but you’ll have stop in for lunch to enjoy the special sandwich. 7166 Melrose Ave Los Angeles; (323) 274-2319, lassiettesteakfrites.com.
3. Niman Ranch lamb spezzatino with Grist and Toll polenta at Sotto
What better way to celebrate winter than with a hearty bowl of lamb stew? While you’re at it, enjoy two additional courses at one of L.A.’s best restaurants for only $40. 9575 West Pico Blvd. Los Angeles; (310) 277-0210, sottorestaurant.com.
2. Beef carpaccio with bone marrow vinaigrette, crispy pulled beef, arancini and horseradish at Acabar
Enjoy chef Kevin Luzande's thinly sliced raw beef topped with black truffle-stuffed fried rice balls, exotic flammable cocktails while surround by ornate Moroccan decor. $40 will get you a three-course dinner during dineLA. 1510 N. Stanley Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 876-1400, acabar-la.com.
1. Yum Som Oh Boran at Night + Market
This pomelo salad in the style of ayutthaya consists of wok-roasted coconut shards, fried shallots, peanuts, dried shrimp from samut sakhorn, onion, cilantro, chile, lime, garlic, and fish sauce and comes medium-spicy. The authentic Thai restaurant in West Hollywood is offering a three-course dinner for $40 during dineLA. Please note the Silverlake outpost, Night + Market Song, will not be participating. 9043 Sunset Boulevard. West Hollywood; (310) 275-9724, nightmarketsong.com/nm-weho.