Imagine: You're grazing on small plates from a selection of Los Angeles' best restaurants — wine, a cocktail or a craft beer in hand — taking in the views of the surrounding downtown skyline. This could be you at The Essentials, L.A. Weekly's annual food and wine event, returning for its eighth year on Feb. 20.

The Essentials will be an evening affair this year, running from 6 to 10 p.m. at the California Market Center and featuring dishes from more than 35 of the city's finest restaurants, chosen by our award-winning critic and food writers.

As usual, the event brings together a selection of restaurants from our 99 Essentials issue, which hits newsstands the same week. 

There is a mix of familiar and new names among the restaurants participating in the event: Animal, A.O.C., Baroo, Bestia, Beverly Soon Tofu, Broken Spanish, Cassia, Chengdu Taste, Chichen Itzá, Coni'Seafood, Crossroads, Guelaguetza, Guerrilla Tacos, ink., Jitlada, Jon & Vinny's, Kiriko Sushi, Kogi BBQ, La Casita Mexicana, Le Comptoir, Lucques, Luv2eat Thai Bistro, Mariscos Jalisco, Mélisse, Park's BBQ, Philippe the Original, Pot, Providence, Ración, RedBird, République, RiceBar, Rustic Canyon, Sotto, Spago, Sqirl, Szechuan Impression, Terrine, the Hungry Cat, Night + Market, Wexler's Deli and more to be announced soon. 

Tickets are $95 for VIP admission; general admission is $60. Both include unlimited food tastings and limited drink samples, while VIP admission gets you in at 5 p.m. for an additional hour of eating and drinking.

Tickets can be purchased online using the code THE99BLOG to unlock this exclusive presale. (Word to the wise: Last year VIP sold out within an hour.) Tickets will go on sale to the general public Monday.

Short rib wrapped in radish from Park's BBQ at the 2015 Essentials event; Credit: Anne Fishbein

Short rib wrapped in radish from Park's BBQ at the 2015 Essentials event; Credit: Anne Fishbein

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