It's been almost exactly a year since Curtis Stone opened his tiny Beverly Hills restaurant, Maude, and surprised everyone by delivering a gorgeous, intimate dining experience, one so impressive it earned our Best New Restaurant of 2014 accolade.
Today, Stone reopens Maude for the first day of the restaurant's second year, with January's seasonal monthly menu centered around pomegranates. To celebrate the milestone of a year in business, we thought we'd ask Stone how he likes to eat in L.A., his adopted hometown. Here are his 10 favorites.
10. Chaumont Bakery and Café
"This little bakery on South Beverly Drive, located dangerously close to my restaurant, Maude, offers a stellar assortment of flaky, buttery French pastries. I can’t go past their pain au chocolat, c’est parfait!"
9. Larry’s Venice
"Great pizza, house-made charcuterie and a relaxed beach vibe make Larry’s the ultimate Venice hangout for locals and tourists alike – and it doesn’t hurt that they have 26 draft brews on offer, either."
8. The Hart and the Hunter
"The seasonal produce used to make the Californian cuisine here is vibrant, locally sourced and super fresh. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it’s their brunch menu that excites me most. They get it right every time, from their kale salad with seasonal fruits, pecans, sheep’s cheese and walnut vinaigrette right through to their heart-stopping croque-madame with country ham."
7. The Oaks Gourmet
"When it comes to Sunday and Monday (my days out of the restaurant), I loved being cooked for, and it's especially so when it comes to breakfast. The brekky burrito at the Oaks Gourmet is pretty insane, especially when slathered in hot sauce."
"An authentic Oaxacan restaurant located in the heart of Koreatown; this is my favorite place for mole."
5. El Carmen
"Given the proximity to Mexico, L.A. has great Mexican eateries in every pocket of town. I find myself going again and again to El Carmen in West Hollywood to wash down a round of tacos with their sought-after spicy margarita."
"You basically have to sell something before you can pull up a seat at the sushi bar here, but it’s well worth every penny. The space is intimate and exclusive, with approximately 10 seats, and head chef Hiroyuki Urasawa is a true master of his craft; an exquisite dining experience."
3. Sushi Park
"On the other hand, you don’t have to sell something to dine at this little eatery located on the second floor of a nondescript strip mall on Sunset Strip. They serve some of the most authentic sushi in the city – just don’t ask for a Californian roll, because you’re not going to get it here."
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2. Chung Ki Wa
"For super tasty and old-school Korean BBQ, Chung Ki Wa hits the nail on the head. I’m usually the only non-Korean person in the restaurant each time I go here, so you know the BBQ is the real deal." 3545 W. Olympic Blvd., Koreatown.
1. Din Tai Fung
"Originating in Taiwan, this restaurant specializes in juicy soup dumplings. Lucky for Angelenos, Din Tai Fung also has branches in Arcadia and Glendale, which is a bit of a drive for me, but that doesn't turn me away. The dumplings are addictive."