It’s the most wonderful time of the year — well, at least for local foodies.

DineL.A.’s summer restaurant week takes place July 18 through July 31 and includes a lineup of dozens of top L.A. restaurants, ranging from the classics to the brand-new. But it can be difficult to decide where to spend your prix fixe menu dollars, and to know which deals are actually, well, deals. To help you navigate the DineL.A. lineup, check out our top picks below.  

Best excuse to try a new restaurant: 1212

Recently opened on the Third Street Promenade, 1212 has quickly established itself as a major player in the citywide scene and a real contender for catalyzing a culinary renaissance on this touristy strip. There’s no better reason to get yourself to 1212 than its DineL.A. lunch and dinner menus, each three courses. The prix fixe menus feature many of the restaurant’s signature dishes. including the burger, topped with black truffle Gouda and bacon jam, and the pork belly play on “bacon and eggs.” 1212 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica; (310) 576-9996,

Best reason to brave DTLA traffic: Faith & Flower

For those of us who live on the Westside, it can be difficult to work up the physical and mental energy to travel to downtown L.A. for a meal — especially when there are plenty of restaurants worthy of patronage in every local neighborhood. But if you’ve been looking for an excuse to try one of DTLA's best eateries, then look no further than Faith & Flower’s DineL.A. menus. With both a $25 lunch and a $49 dinner menu on offer, you won’t have to break the budget to go big with this hot spot’s New American dishes, including the grilled Jidori hen breast, handmade pappardelle, and shellfish risotto. 705 W. Ninth St., Los Angeles; (213) 239-0642,

Gracias Madre; Credit: Anne Fishbein

Gracias Madre; Credit: Anne Fishbein

Most quintessentially L.A. menu: Gracias Madre 

Sometimes, the stereotypes of L.A. ring true — like the perception that we have some of the best vegan food in the world. We can, at least in part, thank Gracias Madre for this, as its inventive and flavorful dishes have consistently won over nonvegans and proved that healthy food doesn't have to mean raw veggies. The fresh and vibrant dishes on the DineL.A. menu, such as the grapefruit salad and cauliflower taco, might embody the stereotypes of the L.A. culinary scene, but nobody’s complaining. 8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 978-2170, 

Best lunch deal for $15: Hanjip Korean BBQ

In honor of DineL.A., Culver City’s Hanjip is offering something not usually found on its menu: all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ. For just $15, diners can cook their own brisket, pork belly and bulgogi on the table’s open grill — because there’s no better way to celebrate DineL.A. than with limitless meats. 3829 Main St., Culver City; (323) 720-8804,

Most DineL.A. exclusives: BOA

BOA Steakhouse’s Santa Monica and West Hollywood locations are both participating in DineL.A., each offering $25 lunch menus that feature the steakhouse’s signature dishes alongside some newcomers. At the Santa Monica location, executive chef Michael Neflas has created three exclusive offerings: the crispy calamari salad, grilled half-chicken and blackened salmon Caesar. The exclusives are equally tantalizing over in West Hollywood, where executive chef Jose Melendez has crafted a smoked American Kobe brisket sandwich and penne pasta specially for this promotion. 101 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 899-4466; 9200 Sunset Blvd., #650, West Hollywood; (310) 278-2050,

Best meal to pretend you’re on vacation: 1 Pico

Nothing says “I’m on vacation” quite like a delicious meal served oceanfront at one of L.A.’s most iconic (and luxury) hotels… and nobody offers this experience quite like 1 Pico, located at Shutters on the Beach. At 1 Pico, the DineL.A. lunch and dinner menus come with one important off-menu extra: beach views — a perk guaranteed to help you view L.A. through a tourist’s eyes, and remind you that we live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. 1 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 587-1717,

Hinoki and the Bird; Credit: Anne Fishbein

Hinoki and the Bird; Credit: Anne Fishbein

Most decadent desserts: Hinoki & the Bird

There’s a lot to love about critically acclaimed Hinoki & the Bird, but the spot’s desserts are definitely near the top of that list. The DineL.A. dinner menu offers two selections to choose from: the chocolate torte, an exercise in indulgence topped with dulce de leche, and the Hinoki donuts, in blueberry, miso and matcha flavors. 10 W. Century Drive, Los Angeles; (310) 552-1200,

Best place to drop $100 on dinner: Patina Restaurant

If you’re not a Kardashian, then it’s probably not every day that you’re willing to drop a Benjamin on dinner. But you deserve to #treatyourself every now and again, and if you’re going to go big, you’ll get your money’s worth during Dine L.A. Patina Restaurant’s prix fixe dinner menu includes five courses of decadent dishes including squid ink chitarra, Israeli couscous paella and quail in mole. Though the food is clearly the star of the show (as it should be), the setting shouldn’t be overlooked; Patina Restaurant’s fine-dining experience is tucked within the renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 141 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 972-3331,

Best seafood deal: Connie & Ted’s
Is it just us, or do you also feel the strong urge to purchase a boat every time you eat at Connie and Ted’s? While we won’t advise for spending your life savings on a food coma–inspired impulse purchase, we do advise dropping $25 for lunch or $39 for dinner at this classic restaurant. Both of the prix fixe menus feature three courses of seafood favorites, including chowder, oysters and a lobster roll, as well as a choice of beverage. 8171 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 848-2722,

Best bang for your buck: A-Frame

Roy Choi’s Culver City concept, A-Frame, is offering a three-course dinner menu that speaks to the restaurant’s Hawaiian roots — and its love for large portions. Guests can choose one selection from the appetizers (pupus) and desserts (pau), but the highlight of the meal is the entree “grindz” section. For the main course, DineL.A. patrons have the difficult choice of picking from a sunnyside egg–topped Hambagu steak, herb garlic marinated shrimp, veggie yakisoba noodles or — perhaps the dish that best embodies the biggest bang for your buck — the beer can chicken. 12565 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 398-7700,

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