Besha Rodell

Credit: Frank Lee

Best Fast-Casual Restaurant

BäcoShop is restaurateur Josef Centeno's first foray beyond downtown, where his five other restaurants dominate the couple of blocks where Main and Fourth streets meet. It's based on the food item that defines Bäco Mercat, his original downtown restaurant, the bäco — a Centeno-invented folded flatbread that is part sandwich,......
N/naka chef Niki Nakayama; Credit: Courtesy n/naka

Best Restaurant

Sometimes I take notes on my phone while dining out, in order to remember later how something tasted or how it made me feel. From my last meal at n/naka, I have only one entry. It reads, "Sushi course: This is what fairies eat. On their birthday." In addition to......
Credit: Anne Fishbein

Best Instagrammable Restaurant

Even before Vespertine, chef Jordan Kahn was known for his visually stunning food, at Red Medicine (where dishes were as likely to turn up in goldfish bowls as on plates) but also prior to that, when he was Michael Mina's corporate pastry chef. That hasn't changed at his daytime place, Destroyer,......
Credit: Anne Fishbein

Best Restaurant in Silver Lake

The competition for the distinction of best restaurant in Silver Lake gets tougher all the time — great new restaurants are opening in the neighborhood practically weekly. But Alimento still holds the crown. Zach Pollack's Cali-Italian storefront spot is both a perfect neighborhood restaurant and a worthy destination eatery. It's......
Credit: Anne Fishbein

Best Affordable Hot Spot

Where to begin? The menu is scrawled in marker on greasy brown paper bags. It's BYOB. It has a phone number and a website, but neither is currently functional. Your server might not remember that he's already taken your order, but he will confer "blessings" upon you multiple times. The......
Credit: Anne Fishbein

Best Restaurant-as-Lifestyle

The decision to start a magazine and a restaurant that are based on one another speaks volumes about Botanica and its owners, food writers Heather Sperling and Emily Fiffer, and also about the state of restaurants in L.A. right now. This is an intellectual pursuit as well as an aspirational......
Credit: Anne Fishbein

Best New Italian-American Restaurant

Chef Zach Pollack has already helped to define L.A.'s Italian food scene, first at Sotto and then at Alimento, his fantastic restaurant in Silver Lake. Now at Cosa Buona he's helping to define the new school of Italian-American food, serving pizzas and classic pizza-parlor fare with a cheffy spin. That......
Credit: Anne Fishbein

Best New Izakaya

It's only its tiny size that keeps Tsubaki from being a drinks-first izakaya, because if people used this place even remotely like a bar, the economics of the enterprise would fail spectacularly. The drinks, however, are what make Tsubaki so exciting, thanks to sommelier Courtney Kaplan, who co-owns the restaurant......
Credit: B. Rodell

Best Mall Food

A giant shiny upscale American mall is probably the last place you'd expect to find fantastic food, but in recent years the Americana at Brand has made a vigorous push to change that. You can still eat at the Cheesecake Factory if you want to, but you also can eat......