Jonathan Gold`s 101 Best Restaurants

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Jonathan Gold`s 101 Best Restaurants
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
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Jonathan
GOLD’S
101
High-end restaurants construct entrees out
of what used to be considered weeds. Uni
has replaced foie gras as the go-to luxury.
And when you ask a local food-obsessive
about her favorite restaurants, she is far
more likely to mention a Thai noodle shop
or a renegade taquero than she is anything
with a Michelin star. Welcome to the Los
Angeles restaurant scene, 2014.
— Jonathan Gold
(http://www.latimes.com/la-bio-jonathangold-staff.html)
BEST
Restaurants
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Page 1 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Christina House / For The Times)
101
Yes I've been
z
Starry Kitchen
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943 N. Broadway, Chinatown
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#101)
(213) 814-1123 (tel:+12138141123)
starrykitchen.com
(http://starrykitchen.com)
5 to 9:45 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays
$$
Full bar. Credit cards accepted.
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The restaurant has grown up, proprietor Nguyen Tran assures you. He
almost never wears his banana suit anymore. His kitchen crew doesn't
necessarily show up to events dressed as wookiees. And Thi Tran's
spicy-sweet Singapore chili crab, probably the only palatable version in
Southern California, still needs to be reserved a couple of days in
advance, because he has to order the plump creatures from a guy he
knows up north. In the last year, Starry Kitchen has transformed — but
it has transformed from a semi-permanent pan-Asian pop-up in a sleek
fashion district lunchroom into a semi-permanent pan-Asian pop-up
in an old-Chinatown dive, which means that the fried rice with pork
belly and dried seafood, the crunchy sea bass tails and the fried tofu
balls feel oddly consonant with the plastic chopsticks and the
bartenders whose idea of an old-fashioned includes half a dozen
maraschino cherries mashed into a crimson slurry. Do try the clay pot
sea bass cooked in a complex Vietnamese caramel sauce. And stick
around for the disco, if that's your thing.
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Page 2 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
100
Yes I've been
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Rocio's Mole de los Dioses
I want to go
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8255 Sunland Blvd., Sun Valley
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#100)
(818) 252-6415 (tel:+18182526415)
moleofthegods.com
(http://moleofthegods.com)
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.
Mondays to Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10
p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 9
p.m. Sundays
$$
Beer and wine. Credit cards accepted.
Also at 19321 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana,
(818) 457-4545.
When the subject of mole comes up in Los Angeles, and it comes up
more often than you might think, Rocio Camacho is always part of the
discussion. She has expanded beyond the traditional black mole and
even past Oaxaca's famous seven, to an almost infinite repertoire of the
complex, spicy sauce, including moles made with pistachios, with
toasted coffee beans and with cactus and mezcal. Is the mole made
with the mushroomy corn fungus huitlacoche really the Mole of the
Goddesses? That's up to you. But you can also get an oddly satisfying
bowl of cream of grasshopper soup.
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Page 3 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Kathy M.Y. Pyon / Los Angeles Times)
99
Kobawoo House
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698 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#99)
(213) 389-7300 (tel:+12133897300)
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
$$
Valet parking. Beer and wine. Credit
cards accepted.
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In Koreatown, the question is not what the best restaurant might be,
but what the best restaurant might be for the particular food you might
be craving at the moment: Jeon Ju for bibimbap, Soban for marinated
crab, Dae Bok for spicy blowfish soup, Bon Juk for abalone porridge.
In Koreatown, and in Korea, restaurants specialize. Which is why,
when you walk into Kobawoo, every table will be sporting an order of
bossam: a combination plate of boiled pork belly, turnip kimchi, sliced
chiles and fermented tiny fish, which you wrap into spicy cabbage-leaf
bundles. Kobawoo may be a great place to go for crisp seafood
pancakes, game hen stuffed with ginseng and sticky rice, and pig's feet
pressed into a cool, gelatinous terrine, but its bossam is unsurpassed.
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Page 4 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
98
Mexicali Taco & Co.
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702 N. Figueroa Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#98)
(213) 613-0416 (tel:+12136130416)
mexicalitaco.com
(http://mexicalitaco.com)
Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to
Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays
and Saturdays
$
Street parking. No alcohol. Cash only.
The Mexicali-style tacos are pretty spectacular at this tidy storefront
near Dodger Stadium, packed into the small, plump flour tortillas the
owners bring up from Baja a couple of times a week. You can even get a
vegan taco if that's your thing. You sprinkle them with pickled onions,
moisten them with fluid taquería guacamole and a spoonful of
habanero salsa, and you're good to go. But like everybody else, you will
probably end up with at least one vampiro, a large flour tortilla folded
over chorizo, chicken or charbroiled carne asada, maybe all three, as
well as a squirt or two of garlic sauce and what can technically be
described as a boatload of gooey, stretchy melted Mexican cheese.
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Page 5 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
97
Golden Deli
Yes I've been
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815 W. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#97)
(626) 308-0803 (tel:+16263080803)
goldendelirestaurant.com
(http://goldendelirestaurant.com)
9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays
and Thursdays; 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Fridays; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; 9
a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays
$
Lot parking. No alcohol. Credit cards
accepted.
A lot of the people I know have defected to the new Pho Filet in
Rosemead for its northern-style pho with filet mignon, and Pho Thanh
Lich in Little Saigon is probably worth an hour's drive from anywhere.
Why then does the line outside Golden Deli stretch halfway to infinity
on weekends? Because it always has; because the restaurant has set the
pho standard in the San Gabriel Valley since Duran Duran was at the
top of the charts; and because the cha gio, crackly skinned imperial
rolls stuffed with pork and crab among other things, are good on an
almost intergalactic level, even if the purists claim that they're a little
too big.
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Page 6 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
96
Nickel Diner
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524 S. Main St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#96)
(213) 623-8301 (tel:+12136238301)
nickeldiner.com (http://nickeldiner.com)
Breakfast and lunch, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Tuesdays to Sundays; dinner, 6-10 p.m.
Tuesdays to Saturdays
$
No alcohol. Street parking only (or
nearby paid lot). Credit cards accepted.
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"Polenta?" asked co-owner Kristen Trattner. "You're coming here and
you're ordering polenta?" Nickel Diner may attract more loft-dwellers
than artists these days, there are leeks and fontina in Monica May's
scrambled eggs, and pastry chef Emily Acevedo has been exploring the
universe beyond bacon-maple doughnuts, but this is still deep
downtown, a half block from the infamous stretch of 5th Street that
troubadours like Tom Waits used to sing about. Pancakes and thick-cut
bacon, fried catfish and corn cakes, Lowrider burgers and onion rings
— that's why you go to the Nickel, which caters as much to the local
street people as it does to the tax attorneys who roll in on skateboards.
I relent and get an order of biscuits and gravy, with a chicken-apple
sausage on the side. The polenta, by the way, is excellent.
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Page 7 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
95
Hunan Mao
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8728 Valley Blvd., Rosemead
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#95)
(626) 280-0588 (tel:+16262800588)
11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily
$
No alcohol. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
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Hunan cooking, which tends toward simmered organs, fermented
vegetables and oiliness, is not, at first encounter, the friendliest of
China's cuisines. At Hunan Mao, house-cured ham is forest-fire smoky,
like Memphis barbecue times 10, even when chopped and fried with
handfuls of dried long beans, a handful of garlic cloves, and the vivid
red and green chopped chiles that dominate almost everything here.
The giant steamed fish heads are comically large, frosted with the
chopped blend of dried, fresh and fermented chiles that give Hunanese
cooking its reputation for head-snapping heat. Mao's braised pork, a
sweet, slightly spicy clay-potful of thick-cut braised pork belly and
garlic named for Hunan's favorite son, is almost unbearably rich. And
the wall TV is occasionally tuned to things like a broadcast plenary of
the National People's Congress, which is distinctly not the Dodgers
game. Should you go anyway? You don't want to miss the cucumber
toss-fried with shiso.
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Page 8 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
94
Border Grill
Yes I've been
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I want to go
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1445 4th St., Santa Monica
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#94)
(310) 451-1655 (tel:+13104511655)
bordergrill.com (http://bordergrill.com)
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to
Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Fridays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays,
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays
$$
Full bar open to midnight. Takeout.
Street and valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
Mexican cooking in Los Angeles has changed a lot since Susan Feniger
and Mary Sue Milliken opened their first Border Grill in the 1980s, and
it is no longer unusual to find ingredients sourced from the Yucatan,
margaritas made with top-shelf tequila or standard dishes transformed
with expensive, organic ingredients. The restaurant, its chefs and its
cookbooks have been around so long that it is easy to take them for
granted, as breathtaking as its stuffed steak and pescado Veracruzano
were when we all first tasted them. But still, nobody has managed to
marry the freshness of the California kitchen with the deep, complex
flavors of Mexican cooking in quite the way that Feniger and Milliken
do, and if you ran across their ceviche, pork-steak carnitas or squash
tacos in an Eastside dive, you would be as happy as a lime-marinated
clam.
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Page 9 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
93
Bulgarini Gelato
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749 E. Altadena Drive, Altadena
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#93)
(626) 791-6174 (tel:+16267916174)
bulgarinigelato.com
(http://bulgarinigelato.com)
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to
Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Fridays
and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sundays
$
Lot parking. Also at 8686 Washington
Blvd., Culver City, (310) 815-1723. Credit
cards accepted.
The foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains are home to some of the
best ice cream in California, including the all-American Main Street
creaminess of Mother Moo in Sierra Madre and the farmers market
freshness of the original Carmela. But even the glories of Mother Moo's
three-milk ice cream fade in comparison with the gelati of Leo
Bulgarini, who is nearly as fanatical about his gelato as he is about his
hometown AS Roma soccer team; he is especially adept at capturing
the flavors of ripe, local fruit. It is hard to say what is better: his goat's
milk gelato with toasted cocoa nibs, the yogurt gelato with sea salt and
olive oil, the blood orange sorbetto or the gelato he makes with the
ultra-pricey Bronte pistachios he hand-carries from Sicily. House
policy at Bulgarini mandates a three-scoop minimum, at $2.50 per.
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Page 10 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
92
Musso & Frank Grill
Yes I've been
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I want to go
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6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#92)
(323) 467-7788 (tel:+13234677788)
mussoandfrank.com
(http://mussoandfrank.com)
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesdays to
Saturdays
$$
Full bar. Validated parking in rear. Credit
cards accepted.
If you are a certain kind of food guy, it is almost a sacred duty to
dismiss the Musso & Frank Grill, where a large part of the menu
remains largely unchanged from 1919 and where the avocado cocktail
and kidneys Turbigo could not be further from the kinds of things they
are serving at Red Medicine or Trois Mec. The steaks, chops and sand
dabs are fine, although you'd probably do better at Mastro's or even
Taylor's. Yet it is hard to imagine Hollywood without Musso's wooden
booths, Manny's martinis or the chicken pot pie on Thursdays. The
Welsh rarebit and shrimp Louie are unchanged from when you and
your grandfather were children, and the flannel cakes are still the best
consolation for late risers in town.
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Page 11 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)
91
Coni'Seafood
Yes I've been
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3544 W. Imperial Highway, Inglewood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#91)
(310) 672-2339 (tel:+13106722339)
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays,
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
$$
Beer and wine. Street parking. Credit
cards accepted.
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There are many ways to become famous in Los Angeles, but I'm
guessing Sergio Peñuelas may have been the very first chef to make his
reputation as a master of snook. Pescado zarandeado is an important
preparation in coastal Sinaloa, but the odd techniques involved, which
include smearing whole, butterflied snook with seasoned mayonnaise
and jiggling the fish over hot charcoal until the flesh caramelizes, are
not quite in the traditional poissonnière's repertoire — although once
you taste the snook, you may think they should be. Coni'Seafood may
also have a large menu of delicious seafood cocktails and shrimp
dishes, some made with seafood the restaurant brings up itself from
Mazatlan, but it is not the aguachile that has inspired a generation of
Angelenos to make sure Peñuelas is in the kitchen before they hop in
the car. The restaurant is fairly close to LAX and the Forum.
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Page 12 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
90
Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong
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3465 W. 6th St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#90)
(213) 384-9678 (tel:+12133849678)
11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
$$
In Chapman Market. Beer, wine and
soju. Valet parking in Chapman Plaza.
Credit cards accepted.
When you are up for Korean barbecue, you could choose the restaurant
that features Piedmontese beef, the restaurant that lets you cook over
coconut charcoal or one of the many, many places that specialize in allyou-can-eat volleys of charred beast. Or you could get in line and wait
for a table at Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong, where you will pass between
life-sized cardboard cutouts of Mr. Kang himself, sit around a tabletop
grill under a wrestling poster and eat ungodly amounts of barbecued
pork neck, bulgogi and pork belly, probably chosen from one of the two
set dinners. Oddly, Baekjeong may be your best option, if only for the
bottomless troughs of corn cheese and scrambled eggs set into the grill.
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Page 13 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Kathy M.Y. Pyon / Los Angeles Times)
89
Newport Tan Cang Seafood
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518 W. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#89)
(626) 289-5998 (tel:+16262895998)
11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays to
Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays
and Saturdays
$$$
Beer and wine. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
The typhoon-shelter crab at Seafood Village is good. The suckling pig
at Lunasia can be splendid. But while there may be a more festive
Chinese dish than the house special lobster at Newport, it is hard to
think of what it might be. The fearsome beasts, 5 pounds and up, fried
with fistfuls of chopped chiles, scallions and garlic, are more than a
match for any tableful of ravenous, nutcracker-armed souls. You will
almost certainly order the sweet-spicy Vietnamese-style "shaking
beef," the pea leaves sautéed with garlic and maybe the clams with
basil, but it is the lobster that will set you free.
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Page 14 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Los Angeles Times)
88
Chichén Itzá
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3655 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#88)
(213) 741-1075 (tel:+12137411075)
chichenitzarestaurant.com
(http://chichenitzarestaurant.com)
8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays,
8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
$
In Mercado La Paloma.
f t s m p
Each fall, Chichén Itzá's Gilberto Cetina junior and senior make it a
point to serve mucbi pollo, vast, rustic tamales made from special masa
that are crunchy where you would expect them to be moist and that are
at the center of the Yucatan's Day of the Dead feasts. It would be hard
to imagine a preparation more typically Yucatecan, almost Maya,
especially if you accompany it with a glass of agua de chaya, a sweeted
drink made from an old Maya herb. And it is hard to imagine a Los
Angeles restaurant more Yucatecan than Chichén Itzá, a lunch counter
in the La Paloma complex named for the vast temple complex north of
Cancún, whose menu is a living, habanero-intensive thesaurus of the
panuchos and codzitos, sopa de lima and papadzules, banana-leaf
tamales and shark casseroles that make up one of Mexico's spiciest
cuisines. Chichén Itzá could pass for one of the better market
restaurants in Mérida.
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Page 15 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times)
87
Patina
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141 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#87)
(213) 972-3331 (tel:+12139723331)
patinarestaurant.com
(http://patinarestaurant.com)
5-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, 4-9
p.m. Sundays
$$$$
Full bar. Valet parking and garage.
Credit cards accepted.
f t s m p
We have been enjoying Joachim Splichal's cooking for decades in Los
Angeles, from his earliest days at the Seventh Street Bistro, through
the brilliant Max au Triangle in Beverly Hills through the original
Patina on Melrose, which opened 25 years ago and launched a sleek,
new era of local cuisine. More great chefs may have passed through
Splichal's kitchens than any other in town — and it is hard to believe
that this grand, luxurious restaurant in Walt Disney Concert Hall is
itself 10 years old. Has Patina settled a bit into grande dame status
these days, perhaps more intent on getting its patrons out in time for
the symphony than in pushing the boundaries of cuisine? I suspect
even its most loyal customers might agree — except during game
season, when the notion of wood pigeon and hare tends to flush
gourmets from hiding.
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Page 16 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
86
Picca
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9575 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#86)
(310) 277-0133 (tel:+13102770133)
piccaperu.com (http://piccaperu.com)
6-11 p.m. Mondays to Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
Nobu Matsuhisa is a Japanese chef who formed his style at sushi bars
in Peru. Ricardo Zarate is a Peruvian chef who spent his formative
years working at sushi bars in London. Zarate's Picca is a look at the
mash-up of Peruvian flavors and Japanese techniques from the other
side of the divide, where the difference between yakitori and
anticuchos is a matter of semantics, where causa becomes sushi with
mashed potatoes in place of rice, and where the line between ceviches
and sashimi probably has more to do with the sweet potato on the side
than in the quality of preparation or the fish. Peruvian izakaya is a
concept whose time has come. The Julian Cox-designed Peruvian
cocktails are sublime.
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Page 17 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
85
Mariscos Jalisco
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3040 E. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#85)
(323) 528-6701 (tel:+13235286701)
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
$
No alcohol. Cash only.
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Specializing in seafood cocktails, ceviches of fish or shrimp marinated
in citrus, or aguachiles of raw seafood soaked in lime and puréed
chiles, the mariscos truck is as much a part of Eastside culture as the
murals, pan dulce and música norteña. Your favorite truck is as much a
part of your identity as your favorite ranchera singer. But first among
them is the Mariscos Jalisco truck in Boyle Heights, eternally parked in
front of a former wholesaler's office, where Raul Ortega also serves his
famous crunchy fried shrimp tacos in the style of San Juan de Los
Lagos, his Jalisco hometown. Ortega tends to sweep the field in streetfood competitions — if life were just, Ortega would be a wealthy man,
and you would see his face plastered on airport concessions, glossy
chain restaurants and cerveza ads.
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Page 18 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Bret Hartman / For The Times)
84
Park's Barbeque
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955 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#84)
(213) 380-1717 (tel:+12133801717)
parksbbq.com (http://parksbbq.com)
11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
You may prefer the posh of Chosun, the user-friendliness of Genwa or
the funk of Soot Bull Jeep. Nobody will look down on you if you yearn
for the sweet, cold noodles at the Corner Place as much as you do its
unmarinated galbi or pine for the all-you-can eat mayhem at Oo Kook.
But when your priorities in a Korean barbecue restaurant run more
toward high-grade meat than toward a particular ambience, you are
probably already a fan of Park's, where the pricey Wagyu boneless
short ribs, prime rib-eye and butter-soft beef tongue are of the highest
possible standard, and the stone-pot octopus and hand-chopped beef
tartare with pear and sesame oil are among the very best in town.
Places like Soowon and Star King are edging forward in Koreatown's
world of luxury meats, but Park's still has the top end of K-Town
barbecue to itself.
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Page 19 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
83
Superba Snack Bar
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533 Rose Ave., Venice
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#83)
(310) 399-6400 (tel:+13103996400)
superbasnackbar.com
(http://superbasnackbar.com)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Thursdays and Fridays; brunch, 10:30
a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Saturdays and
Sundays; dinner, 6-10:30 p.m. Mondays
to Thursdays, 5:30-11:30 p.m. Fridays to
Saturdays, 5:30-10 p.m. Sundays
$$
Limited reservations. Beer and wine.
Street parking only. Credit cards
accepted.
Do you like octopus bacon? Of course you like octopus bacon. It's
chewy, crisp and smoky, made with this year's it mollusk and comes
with both a bit of pine nut panna cotta and a sweet caper purée. You
could put a recipe for the dish into a time capsule and, 200 years from
now, it will still taste exactly like 2014, provided octopuses, capers and
pine trees still flourish on the Earth. Superba, Jason Neroni's open-air
restaurant in a neighborhood where the fixed-gear bicycles can
outnumber cars, serves what you might call abstracted Italian,
incorporating tastes and textures associated with Italian cooking into
dishes that would be unrecognizable in Rome: grilled cauliflower Tbones with puréed basil, citrus and olives; "porchetta di testa" cured to
resemble pastrami on rye; and cacio e pepe enhanced with miso. If the
restaurant has a specialty, it is probably the pastas: handmade, slightly
stiff and leaning toward excess. Bring a good book — there's going to
be a wait.
f t s m p
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Page 20 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
82
Mantee Cafe
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10962 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#82)
(818) 761-6565 (tel:+18187616565)
manteecafe.com (http://manteecafe.com)
11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays and
Tuesdays to Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10
p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
$$
No alcohol. Street parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
When people complain about the restaurants on Ventura Boulevard,
Mantee is probably the kind of place they have in mind. The main
dining room is as tchotchke-infested as your great-aunt's house, and
the dining patio feels like somebody's backyard. The menu is almost
identical to that of a dozen other Middle Eastern restaurants you've
been to, and whoever runs it is overly fond of the Gipsy Kings. Yet a
single bite of the suave, garlicky hummus, flaky cheese borek or the
impossibly thick drained yogurt called labneh is enough to let you
know you are at a different kind of Lebanese-Armenian restaurant
here, one related to one of the better-known Armenian restaurants in
Beirut. The kebab in sour cherry sauce, the purslane-intensive toastedpita salad fattoush and the namesake dish, a platter of tiny beef
dumplings sizzling in a bath of garlicky yogurt, are like nothing else in
Los Angeles.
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Page 21 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)
81
Meals by Genet
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1053 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#81)
(323) 938-9304 (tel:+13239389304)
mealsbygenet.com
(http://mealsbygenet.com)
5:30-10 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays,
5:30-9 p.m. Sundays
$$
Beer and wine. Catering. Street parking.
Credit cards accepted.
f t s m p
Ethiopian food should by all rights be the most exotic of world
cuisines, governed by an elaborate schedule of feasting and fasting,
scented with fiery aromatics that rarely make it out of the area and
based on a floppy, sour flatbread that looks, as Calvin Trillin once
wrote, as if it has a hundred industrial uses, not including being used
as food. The gift of Genet Agonafer is that she is able to weave
Ethiopian flavors into something as familiar as Sunday dinner at your
grandmother's house, at least if your grandmother was in the habit of
simmering the chicken for her doro wot with cloves and bishop's weed
for the better part of three days, arranging vegetarian stews around a
platter with an artist's aplomb or mincing raw beef for the spiced
tartare kitfo with the careful abandon that a Thai master shows his
larb. Looked at in isolation, Agonafer's cooking may be as wild as that
of her funkier Little Ethiopia neighbors, but the final impression is of a
genteel, old-fashioned bistro.
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Page 22 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
80
Sapp Coffee Shop
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5183 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#80)
(323) 665-1035 (tel:+13236651035)
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays to Tuesdays
(closed Wednesdays)
$
No alcohol. Takeout. Lot parking. Cash
only.
f t s m p
Sapp passed its first couple of decades as Thai Town's quiet
underachiever, a drowsy lunchroom where you found yourself because
the glamorous restaurants in the neighborhood never opened before
dark. Then everybody realized that Sapp's fragrant roast duck noodles,
jade noodles with Chinese barbecue and grilled sausage with peanuts
were what they wanted all along: Thai food cooked for people who ate
Thai food every day. The gray-looking nam sod, a ground-pork salad
spiked with slithery bits of pig's ear and a generous shot of lime, is the
sort of thing you find yourself craving the moment you step onto an
outbound plane. And in a part of town devoted to boat noodle soup,
the funky, spicy amalgamation of beef broth, ground blood and offal,
Sapp's version is the one you want to be facing down after a night of
excess.
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Page 23 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
79
Mayura
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10406 Venice Blvd., Culver City
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#79)
(310) 559-9644 (tel:+13105599644)
mayura-indian-restaurant.com
(http://mayura-indian-restaurant.com)
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays
$$
No alcohol. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
You've probably heard that the place to go for Indian food is the Little
India neighborhood in Artesia, and this isn't wrong. You can find a lot
of pleasure at the better regional restaurants on Pioneer Boulevard,
including Jay Bharat, Rajdhani, Woodlands and Mumbai Ki Galliyon
Si. But Mayura, just a block from the studios in Culver City, is the only
place in the Los Angeles area to specialize in the complex cooking of
Kerala, a largely vegetarian region on India's south coast, and if you
are adventurous enough to try the buttery cashew rice called ven
pongal instead of biryani, fermented-rice appam instead of roti, and
the coconut-zapped avial instead of almost anything, you will be
deliriously happy here. The dosas are pretty great too. Mayura has a
separate kitchen preparing halal meat dishes in the north Indian
mode, so if you're craving tandoori chicken or Pakistani-style nehari,
you'll be fine.
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Page 24 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
78
Cooks County
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8009 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#78)
(323) 653-8009 (tel:+13236538009)
cookscountyrestaurant.com
(http://cookscountyrestaurant.com)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays
to Fridays; brunch, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays; dinner, 6-10
p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 6-11 p.m.
Fridays, 5:30-11 p.m. Saturdays, 5:30-10
p.m. Sundays
$$
Beer and wine. Street parking. Credit
cards accepted.
Fried Chicken Monday — sure, there's Fried Chicken Monday. More
than one person we know likes to arrange her week around Daniel
Mattern's crackly pan-fried chicken and a cut of Roxana Jullapat's ice
cream pie. But if you are the kind of person who stops by a farmers
market twice a week, seeks out grass-fed lamb and daydreams about
selling jars of lemon curd on Etsy, the food at Cooks County is going to
seem pretty familiar. Mattern's cooking incorporates not just the
seasons but also the microseasons of Southern California produce so
that you can probably set your watch by the moment wild nettles join
the green garlic with the lamb. It's not a particular dish you fall in love
with here, it's the sensibility — and maybe the grilled seafood soup, the
asparagus fries and Jullapat's homey fruit desserts.
f t s m p
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Page 25 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
77
Guisados
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2100 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Boyle
Heights (http://guides.latimes.com/101best-restaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#77)
(323) 264-7201 (tel:+13232647201)
guisados.co (http://guisados.co)
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays,
10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays
$
No alcohol. Takeout. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
If you were going to design the perfect taquería, it might look a lot like
Armando De La Torre's original Guisados in Boyle Heights. The
tortillas are made from fresh nixtamal ground several times an hour at
the tortillería next door, and the fillings tend to be long-simmered
stews. Vegetarians are as happy with the stewed calabacita as
carnivores are with the cochinito pibil. And fire eaters take pleasure in
the chiles toreados, made from peppers De La Torre grows in his
backyard. I once heard a rumor that I was in the habit of eating three
chiles torreados tacos in a sitting, which I believe to be a physical
impossibility. But if you should ever be tempted to give it a try, you can
take comfort in knowing that the White Memorial emergency room is
just down the street.
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Page 26 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
76
Attari Sandwich Shop
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1388 Westwood Blvd., Westwood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#76)
(310) 441-5488 (tel:+13104415488)
atarisandwiches.info
(http://atarisandwiches.info)
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays
$
No alcohol. Street parking. Cash only.
f t s m p
The Westside Tehrangeles neighborhood is thick with Iranian
restaurants of every description, many of them plush dining rooms
with long menus of kebabs, thick stews and tanor bread made to order.
You'd probably choose Flame or Javan for a feast of fesenjan or grilled
lamb. But Attari is a slice of Tehran high society transplanted onto a
leafy Westwood patio, exquisitely tailored expats sipping tea and
eating the thick Iranian soup called osh or crisp French bread
sandwiches stuffed with slices of kuku, a bright-green frittata that is at
least half fresh herbs by weight. On Fridays, the mandatory order is
abgoosht, a complex, delicious stew of lamb and chickpeas mashed
into a thick, homogeneous paste with the texture of refried beans,
alongside a bowl of its expressed essence served as soup. The fullservice Attari Grill, with an extensive Persian menu, is next door, but
things always seem happier at the original sandwich shop.
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Page 27 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)
75
Ración
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119 W. Green St., Pasadena
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#75)
(626) 396-3090 (tel:+16263963090)
racionrestaurant.com/
(http://racionrestaurant.com/)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays to
Saturdays; dinner, 6-10 p.m. Mondays to
Thursdays, 6-11 p.m. Fridays, 5:30-11
p.m. Saturdays, 5:30-10 p.m. Sundays
$$$
Beer and wine. City lot parking around
the corner. Credit cards accepted.
When you wander into Ración after a movie in Old Town Pasadena,
you may be expecting the basic tapas you find everywhere in Los
Angeles. Instead, there are crisp, gooey chicken croquettes, grilled
leeks with smoked olive oil, lamb meatballs, duck sausage-stuffed
squid and pintxos (bruschetta, more or less) of crab salad accented
with anchovy, squid griddled with lemon and onions, or sliced tongue
with pickled scallions. Loretta Peng and chef Teresa Montano are
serving their version of Basque-style tapas, the stuff of San Sebastian's
back alleys, inspired by rather than exactly duplicating Basque flavors.
Montano's cooking is becoming more assured by the month. The wine
list includes not one but three Txakolinas, as well as Basque ciders and
the hard-to-find Rueda from Belondrade y Lurton, which is among the
most delicious of all Spanish whites.
f t s m p
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Page 28 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
74
Mo-Chica
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514 W. 7th St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#74)
(213) 622-3744 (tel:+12136223744)
mo-chica.com (http://mo-chica.com)
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays to
Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.,
Fridays and Saturdays
$$
Full bar. Valet parking after 7 p.m. Credit
cards accepted.
Do we mourn the original Mo-Chica in the La Paloma complex two
miles south? Indeed we do. The vortex of Peruvian flavors, sushiquality seafood, skilled chef and working-class customers marked a
special moment in the democratization of cuisine. But Ricardo Zarate
is building a restaurant empire now. And the food at this Mo-Chica is
really good, mostly Peruvian classics reinterpreted as cocktail snacks,
which is to say papas a la huancaina, carapulcra, tiradito and lomo
saltado reduced in size, zapped with Peruvian chiles and served with
Pisco sours and Peruvian beer. If you've been yearning to try an alpaca
burger, at Mo-Chica you have your chance.
f t s m p
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Page 29 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
73
The Sycamore Kitchen
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143 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#73)
(323) 939-0151 (tel:+13239390151)
thesycamorekitchen.com
(http://thesycamorekitchen.com)
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
$$
No alcohol. Street parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
Many people come here for the sticky pecan rolls, the walnut galettes
or the chewy peanut-coconut bars, and it is hard to blame them. The
Sycamore is the breakfast-lunch restaurant of Quinn and Karen
Hatfield, and it is a chance to taste Karen's pastries without the
expense or trouble of the tasting menu at their restaurant Hatfields.
There are salads too, big ones with perfect greens and tiny sparks of
things like hazelnuts and blue cheese; bruschetta topped with things
like homemade ricotta and a mosaic of citrus fruit; and sandwiches
stuffed with turkey, cherry mostarda and just-ripe Camembert. The
BLTs are enhanced with oozing slabs of pork belly. The potato chips
are disks of the purest crunch. And if you get there before they sell out,
you should also get the pastry called kouign amann, a.k.a. buttercup,
whose perfect caramelization should be taught at every cooking school
in the world.
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Page 30 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
72
Taco María
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3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#72)
(714) 538-8444 (tel:+17145388444)
tacomaria.com (http://tacomaria.com)
Lunch, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays to
Saturdays; dinner, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Wednesdays to Saturdays
$$
In the OC Mix complex.
f t s m p
The first thing you should know about Taco María is that it doesn't
serve tacos, not at dinner anyway. It's a prix-fixe tasting menu
restaurant from Carlos Salgado, who used to cook at highbrow places
like Coi and Commis in the Bay Area, and now runs this tiny dining
patio in the new OC Mix design center. Four courses, plated as
beautifully as anything you'll see at Alma or Providence, run $52,
which is not expensive for this level of cooking. Salgado calls what he
does "Chicano cuisine," which also may not prepare you for dishes like
his delicate asparagus velouté with Meyer lemon zest, spring garlic and
warm curls of chicharrones; roast guinea fowl with mole; or his trompe
l'oeil chorizo made with spiced mushrooms instead of meat. Then
again, if he sold his fiery kanpachi aguachile from the window of a
truck parked in Santa Ana, he might have a line of mariscos-crazed
regulars stretched around the block.
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Page 31 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
71
Plan Check
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1800 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#71)
(310) 288-6500 (tel:+13102886500)
plancheck.com (http://plancheck.com)
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays to
Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to midnight
Fridays and Saturdays
$$
Full bar. Credit cards accepted.
Recreational space travel may be some years in the future, and none of
us is yet commuting in flying cars, but at least we can all experience the
burger of the future, warmed in a high-tech oven before it is seared on
the griddle, frosted with seaweed-enhanced cheese, flavored with a
translucent square of ketchup leather and tucked into an otherworldly
crunch bun. Ernesto Uchimura's creation is a burger, except that it's
not quite a burger, except that it really might be, like the re-engineered
sports cars that drive better than the real thing. Anyway, there is
Japanese whiskey to drink with it, if you're into that sort of thing,
homemade sodas and French fries sizzled in rendered suet. Awesome.
f t s m p
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Page 32 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Los Angeles Times)
70
The Grill on the Alley
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9560 Dayton Way, Beverly Hills
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#70)
(310) 276-0615 (tel:+13102760615)
thegrill.com (http://thegrill.com)
11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, 11:30
a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays,
11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays to
Saturdays, 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking after 6 p.m. Credit
cards accepted.
It is hard to believe that the Grill on the Alley is turning 30 this year,
its upscale homage to places like Musso's and San Francisco's Tadich
Grill nearly as ancient, at least in Hollywood terms, as its inspirations.
If it is possible to measure out one's life in whiskey sours, cowboy ribeyes and Caesar salad, then many of us have done that here, although I
suspect some of the Hollywood players who populate the restaurant at
lunchtime may just be pushing their Cobb salads or whitefish around
their plates. (Perhaps, if fashions were otherwise, they might have
ordered the corned beef hash well done.) But everybody looks good at
the Grill, which is lighted as carefully as a George Hurrell photograph.
f t s m p
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Page 33 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
69
Corazón y Miel
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6626 Atlantic Ave., Bell
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#69)
(323) 560-1776 (tel:+13235601776)
corazonymiel.com
(http://corazonymiel.com)
5 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays. Bar
open late Thursdays to Saturdays
$
Full bar. Credit cards accepted.
It still feels odd to spill through the doors of this former cocktail
lounge, and you might want to temper your enthusiasm for sangritabacked tequila shots if you're the one driving home from Bell. But
Eduardo Ruiz's wonderland of chopped-and-channeled street food and
cheesy Mexican booze has mellowed into a pretty serious restaurant,
the slithery pigskin salad and giant turkey legs tempered by longroasted pork shoulder, braised Argentine short ribs and wild-boar
chilaquiles. Open your mind: That carnitas terrine with Coca-Cola
gelee may be exactly what you crave.
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Page 34 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)
68
La Casita Mexicana
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4030 E. Gage Ave., Bell
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#68)
(323) 773-1898 (tel:+13237731898)
casitamex.com (http://casitamex.com)
9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays
$$
Beer and wine. Street parking. Credit
cards accepted.
La Casita is twice the size it used to be, you'll be happy to hear. You can
get a glass of wine now (although you'll still want the alfalfa drink), and
you can call for a reservation if you want one. Jaime Martin del Campo
and Ramiro Arvisu's modest cenaduría has evolved into the showcase
it has always deserved to be, the place to go for lengthy Lenten meals
or a quick plate of morning chilaquiles, lavish feasts of vegetables
pulled from nearby community gardens or straightforward plates of
carne asada, fish grilled in hoja santa leaves or an improbably good
version of chiles en nogada, the meat-stuffed chile lavished with
pomegranate seeds and sweet cream that is Mexico's national dish.
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
67
Gjelina
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1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#67)
(310) 450-1429 (tel:+13104501429)
gjelina.com (http://gjelina.com)
11:30 a.m. to midnight Mondays to
Fridays, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturdays
and Sundays
$$$
Full bar. City lot behind restaurant. Credit
cards accepted.
It is a cool night, and you have made it past the throng at the bar, and
you are out on the patio at Gjelina, not far from the fire pit,
contemplating the wonder of a crisp little pizza with shaved asparagus
and egg, or fennel salami and caramelized fennel, or eggplant, green
zebra tomato, garlic and parmesan, or maybe a plate of grilled pork
collar with house-made kimchi. There are a lot of vegetables here —
Travis Lett's vaguely Italian cooking has what you might call a codependent relationship with the farmers market. The scene, heavily
populated with actors, may be as crunchy as the wood-fired pizza crust.
Gjelina is everything that might persuade a snowbound New Yorker to
change coasts.
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Page 36 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
66
Langer's
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704 S. Alvarado St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#66)
(213) 483-8050 (tel:+12134838050)
langersdeli.com (http://langersdeli.com)
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays
$
Beer and wine. Curbside service (call
ahead). Validated lot parking (at
Westlake Avenue and 7th Street). Credit
cards accepted.
f t s m p
Everyone knows that Langer's serves the best pastrami sandwich in
Los Angeles. Guidebooks say so. National magazines say so. The MTA
Red Line disgorges so many Langer's-bound fressers that it has
sometimes been called the Pastrami Express. Distinguished chefs
flirting with putting pastrami on their menus rarely do so without at
least a nod to the noble deli masters of Westlake. Still, if you haven't
been to Langer's in a few years, you might be surprised to see the long
lines outside the delicatessen on a Saturday afternoon, supplicants
waiting for their shot at the No. 19, a baroque concoction of hand-cut
pastrami, Swiss cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing on doublebaked rye bread. The Westlake neighborhood may have lost its last
vestiges of Jewishness sometime before the Vietnam War, but the
pleasures of pastrami will not be denied.
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Playground)
65
Playground
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220 E. 4th St., Santa Ana
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#65)
(714) 560-4444 (tel:+17145604444)
playgrounddtsa.com
(http://playgrounddtsa.com)
Dinner, 5-10 p.m. Tuesdays to
Thursdays; 5 p.m. to midnight Fridays
and Saturdays; Sunday brunch, 11 a.m.
to 3 p.m. Sunday supper (reservations
only) 5-9 p.m.
$$
Beer and wine. Street parking. Credit
cards accepted.
Is the most attitudinous gastropub in Los Angeles located in Echo
Park? It is not. Playground is in downtown Santa Ana, which may be
the few blocks of Orange County that most bring to mind the words
"urban grit." You will have heard of maybe two or three of the beers on
their lengthy tap list, you will wonder how Lime Truck vet Jason Quinn
managed to score A5 Miyazaki rib-eye cap to grill and you will wonder
why he serves his grilled octopus with pickled pig's tongue. Did all the
good new chefs in Orange County come from the world of food trucks?
It is beginning to seem that way.
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Page 38 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
64
Bucato
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3280 Helms Ave., Culver City
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#64)
(310) 876-0286 (tel:+13108760286)
bucatola.com (http://bucatola.com)
Dinner, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Sundays and
Tuesdays to Thursdays, 5 to 11:30 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays; brunch, 10 a.m.
to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
$$$
Beer and wine. Lot parking in Helms
complex. Credit cards accepted.
f t s m p
Bucato's mission, broadly defined, is to combine strong pungencies
and seasonal vegetables with the suppleness of fresh, well-cooked
pasta — mixed by hand, rolled out by hand and shaped by hand. Evan
Funke's Italian training came in Emilia-Romagna, home to eggenriched pasta, but the noodles he prefers are made with only flour,
water and salt: hand-rolled pici, like thick, Tuscan spaghetti, with a
long-cooked rabbit sauce; corzetti, flexible pasta coins from Liguria,
with a mortar-ground walnut sauce; or a delicious but anti-Roman
cacio e pepe that breaks every known rule. Bucato is a great place to
stop into for a glass of Vermentino and a snack of fried squash
blossoms stuffed with goat ricotta. And on the patio on a warm night, it
is easy to imagine that you are on the terrace of an Italian country
restaurant instead of outside a former industrial laundry in downtown
Culver City.
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Page 39 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
63
Little Sister
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1131 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#63)
(310) 545-2096 (tel:+13105452096)
littlesistermb.com
(http://littlesistermb.com)
Dinner from 5 p.m. nightly.
$$
Credit cards accepted. Beer and wine.
Valet parking.
f t s m p
The latest hero on the anti-fusion block is Tin Vuong, chef and owner
of the Manhattan Beach restaurant Little Sister. Vuong grew up in the
San Gabriel Valley, worked his way up through grand hotel kitchens
and has spent the last couple of years as chef at the Hermosa Beach
gastropub Abigaile. His beef tartare melds Korean raw-beef dish yuk
hwe, Sichuan peppercorns, French bone-marrow paste, Vietnamese
herbs and Indonesian-style cassava chips. His salt-and-pepper lobster
comes straight out of Hong Kong too, but its fragrance hints at the
lush, tropical flavors of southeast Asia. And the takes on nem nuong,
banh xeo and chao tom come straight out of Little Saigon. There has
always been a dark vein of anarchy just beneath the beachy surface in
the South Bay, and in his own quiet way, Vuong wants to blow your
mind.
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
62
The Hart & the Hunter
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7950 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#62)
(323) 424-3055 (tel:+13234243055)
thehartandthehunter.com
(http://thehartandthehunter.com)
Breakfast, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays to
Saturdays; brunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sundays; lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Tuesdays to Saturdays; dinner, 5:30 to
10 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays, 5:30 to
11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 5:30 to 9
p.m. Sundays
$$
In the Palihotel.
Whatever cultural tide it was that brought us gourmet pimento cheese,
garage sale crockery in expensive restaurants and French wine
decanted into jelly jars has probably passed. But it can't be denied:
However ironically the Southern grandma-cooking revival may have
been, the food was pretty good. It turns out that you don't have to have
skinny jeans and interesting facial hair to enjoy fried chicken skin with
homemade Tabasco sauce, crab dip or lemon ice box pie. And when
you're ready for cheese grits, hushpuppies or feather-light angel
biscuits with blackberry preserves, the Hart & the Hunter will be
waiting for you.
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Page 41 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
61
Matsuhisa
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129 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#61)
(310) 659-9639 (tel:+13106599639)
nobumatsuhisa.com
(http://nobumatsuhisa.com)
Lunch, 11:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Mondays
to Fridays; dinner, 5:45 to 10:15 p.m.
Mondays to Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
There may not be another Los Angeles chef whose name is invoked as
frequently as that of Nobu Matsuhisa, whose introduction of the sushi
chef into the traditional restaurant line may have been one of the most
important innovations since Escoffier and whose marriage of Latin
flavors with modern Japanese technique sometimes seems to have
inspired half the restaurants in Los Angeles. And as flashy as his Nobu
restaurants can be, as vast as his global empire has become, the heart
of Matsuhisa's cooking still seems to be in his modest original sushi
bar, the place where new-style sashimi with heated olive oil, turbocharged ceviche and Ferrari-sleek tiradito first learned to speak
Japanese.
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Page 42 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Bret Hartman / For The Times)
60
Marouch
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4905 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#60)
(323) 662-9325 (tel:+13236629325)
marouchrestaurant.com
(http://marouchrestaurant.com)
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays to
Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays
$
Beer and wine. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
The Lebanese kitchen is at the center of Middle Eastern assimilation,
the place where flavors from the Mediterranean and central Asia,
Europe and the Levant come together into a cuisine as shimmeringly
multicultural as that of Los Angeles itself. And at the center of
Lebanese cooking here are Serge and Sosi Brady, whose splendid array
of the garlicky small dishes called mezze, their roast chicken and
barbecued quail, fried sardines and grilled sausages, Lebanese wine
and house-made jallab have defined the local Lebanese-Armenian
kitchen in Hollywood for more than 25 years. The photomurals of the
Cedars of Lebanon have become a bit tattered, but the cooking
becomes more vibrant year after year.
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Page 43 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
59
Colonia Taco Lounge
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13030 Valley Blvd., La Puente
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#59)
(626) 363-4691 (tel:+16263634691)
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays to
Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays
and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sundays
$
Full bar. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
Your table is covered two-deep with tiny plastic plates. You have seen
the bottom of a michelada or two. You are at Colonia Taco Lounge, the
newest and possibly most consequential restaurant from Guisados
founder Ricardo Diaz, a land of horchata-battered shrimp tacos, lamb
barbacoa tacos, cheese and chayote tacos and tacos made with chicken
tesmole, an herb-intensive Oaxacan preparation thickened with corn.
The best tacos in the house may be the ones made with florets of
battered, fried cauliflower — crunchy, soft and then crunchy again; the
sulfurous funkiness of the vegetable mellowed and made soulful by the
sharpness of the capers in the salsa and the merest touch of cream. Are
we living in the golden age of the California taco? We may be.
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Page 44 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Los Angeles Times)
58
Din Tai Fung
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177 Caruso Ave., Glendale
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#58)
(818) 551-5561 (tel:+18185515561)
dintaifungusa.com
(http://dintaifungusa.com)
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Fridays,
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m. to
9 p.m. Sundays
$$
Full bar. Valet and validated lot parking.
Credit cards accepted. Also in Arcadia at
1088 S. Baldwin Ave., (626) 446-8588,
and 1108 Baldwin Ave., (626) 574-7068.
The Din Tai Fung experience, it could be argued, is essentially that of
waiting in line; the keen anticipation of xiao long bao, Shanghai-style
soup dumplings, drawn out into a soft note of purest longing. The
miracle is that when you finally pop the plump, round dumpling into
your mouth, searing the top of your mouth when it bursts into a flood
of fragrant broth, the moment is as exquisite as you'd dreamed it might
be, although the flavor melts away far more quickly than the pain. XLB
is a fixture on the menu of every restaurant that even pretends to serve
Shanghai-style cooking in the San Gabriel Valley, but the version at
Din Tai Fung, the first U.S. branch of the most famous dumpling parlor
in Taipei, is on a level by itself. If you're into that sort of thing, note
that the new Glendale location also offers XLB with truffles.
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ó
2014/05/21 9:57
1:56
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)
57
Sqirl
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720 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#57)
(213) 394-6526 (tel:+12133946526)
sqirlla.com (http://sqirlla.com)
6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays;
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
$
No alcohol. Takeout and retail. Street
parking. Credit cards accepted.
f t s m p
Last year, when the crafty do-it-yourself aesthetic seemed poised to
overtake the Earth, Jessica Koslow's tiny Virgil Village cafe seemed like
the most important restaurant in town for a few minutes, the
embodiment of a subculture that held coffee, well-made jam and
impeccably grilled toast as proxies for the small things that could be
controlled in a world controlled by huge corporations. An individual
couldn't do much to combat global warming, but she could make sure
that the apricot preserves she consumed were made with ripe,
sustainably grown fruit; that her rice was seasoned with organic yogurt
and local sorrel, and that her fried eggs, sourced from pastured hens,
were splashed with house-fermented hot sauce. A year later, doubled
in size and splashed with paint, Sqirl is just a really good place to have
lunch. And somehow, that's OK.
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Page 46 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
56
Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village
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250 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#56)
(626) 282-1777 (tel:+16262821777)
10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. daily
$$$
Beer and wine. Underground lot parking.
Credit cards accepted.
f t s m p
A lot of local restaurants serve Shanghainese food, which is
understandable. Eastern China has one of the great culinary traditions
of the world. But Shanghai No. 1 is a full-on Shanghainese restaurant,
in the sense of being a bit of Shanghai transplanted directly to Los
Angeles, a branch of a small Shanghai-based chain, down to the
rhinestone-studded velvet banquettes, the lacquered walls, the massive
chandeliers and the thick, glossy, full-color menu with nearly the
weight of a September Town & Country. You could browse for hours,
but the waiters know that you are going to get the braised Old Alley
pork, the crab with garlic, the stone pot fried rice, maybe the steamed
chicken with scallion oil and the shen jian bao, which are slightly
doughy soup dumplings whose bottoms are pan-fried to a crisp.
Lunchtime dim sum is much better than you might expect — the
morning crew unexpectedly speaks Cantonese among themselves.
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Page 47 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
55
The Hungry Cat
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1535 N. Vine St., Hollywood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#55)
(323) 462-2155 (tel:+13234622155)
thehungrycat.com
(http://thehungrycat.com)
Lunch, noon to 3 p.m. Mondays to
Fridays; brunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays; dinner, 5-10
p.m. Sundays, 5:30-10 p.m. Mondays to
Wednesdays, 5:30-11 p.m. Thursdays to
Saturdays
$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted. Also at 100 W. Channel Road,
Santa Monica Canyon, (310) 459-3337.
Where should I go before a play at the Pantages? Where should I go
after the Hollywood Bowl? What's good for oysters near the Cinerama
Dome? Some weeks it seems that every question that pops up in my
email box can be answered with a referral to Suzanne Goin and David
Lentz's seafood-intensive Hungry Cat, whose cocktails are as assured
as the langoustines and sea urchin from the raw bar, whose first wild
salmon and halibut of the season tends to show up before it makes it
anywhere else, and whose takes on Maine-style lobster rolls and clam
chowder are reliably delicious.
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Page 48 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
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54
Bludso's
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811 S. Long Beach Blvd., Compton
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#54)
(310) 637-1342 (tel:+13106371342)
bludsosbbq.com (http://bludsosbbq.com)
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays to
Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays, 12:30-7 p.m. Sundays
$
No alcohol. Limited lot parking. Takeout.
Credit cards accepted.
You would not be sad if your afternoon brought you to the uptown
Bludso's Bar & Que, which serves a pretty close approximation of
Kevin Bludso's Texas-style barbecue along with Pabst Blue Ribbon on
tap. But you might as well drive down to the original in Compton,
which shares a dining room with a storefront church and where the
brisket, coarse hot links and beef ribs are fever-dream good, all smoke,
animal and salt. Most of Bludso's barbecue is sold to go, but five will
get you ten that your order never makes it out of the parking lot.
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Page 49 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
53
Post & Beam
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3767 Santa Rosalia Drive, Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#53)
(323) 299-5599 (tel:+13232995599)
postandbeamla.com
(http://postandbeamla.com)
Noon to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and
Wednesdays, noon to 10 p.m. Thursdays
to Saturdays, 5:30-9 p.m. Sundays.
Brunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
If you follow restaurants in Los Angeles, you have known about Govind
Armstrong since he was a teenage prodigy on the line at the original
Spago. In Venice, his Willie Jane is the most accomplished Southern
dining room in town. But it is probably Post & Beam where you find
Armstrong at his best, a happy place of shrimp 'n' grits, buttermilkfried chicken and sweet potato pie that may be the most ambitious
restaurant ever to open in the Crenshaw district. If you want to
understand the power structure of South Los Angeles, you could do
worse than to eavesdrop over smoked-salmon hash and a bloody mary
at Post & Beam after church on a Sunday afternoon.
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Page 50 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
52
Chengdu Taste
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828 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#52)
(626) 588-2284 (tel:+16265882284)
11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Mondays to
Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Sundays
$
No alcohol. Street parking. Takeout.
Cash only.
f t s m p
If your experience of Sichuan food is mostly from the Chongqing-style
kitchens in the San Gabriel Valley, you will probably find Chengdustyle cooking lighter, cleaner and less likely to wake you up in the
middle of the night with chile-oil induced nightmares. The food is
flavored with a vast array of fresh, dried, pickled and ground chiles, but
the vivid scent of Sichuan peppercorn comes to the front, and the
sensation is of numbness rather than pain. Even a half-dozen visits
aren't quite enough to exhaust the menu here — as soon as you check
toothpick lamb, tea-smoked duck and garlic leeks sautéed with dense
house-cured bacon off your list, you still have sliced fish with tofu
pudding, flour-steamed pork and numb-taste wonton yet to try. It is
almost impossible to visit without a taste of boiled fish with green
pepper, a seriously addictive dish whose complex of chiles can make
your lips buzz like a Las Vegas marquee. The wait for a table will be
long.
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ó
2014/05/21 9:57
2:21
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51
Allumette
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1320 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#51)
(213) 935-8787 (tel:+12139358787)
allumettela.com (http://allumettela.com)
6-10 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays
$$$
Full bar. Street parking. (Nearby city lot
on Echo Park Avenue, south of Sunset
Boulevard.) Credit cards accepted.
f t s m p
American kids used to want to be astronauts or baseball players when
they grew up. These days, I suspect a fair number of them want to be
chefs at the kind of tasting-menu restaurants that serve spring peas
with juniper or gnocchi with wood pigeon. In his scant 18 months
behind the stoves, Miles Thompson has transformed Allumette from a
clubby beer-and-burger joint to a buzzy showplace for his vegetableintensive modernist cuisine. And you have left the world of kale salad
far behind — left it behind for the pleasures of poached monkfish liver
served with peeled sea grapes, turnips with rhubarb gel, suckling goat
with candied carrots and hops, or whatever else may show up on his
constantly shifting tasting menus. (The menus are reasonably priced at
$45 and $60, although that still makes Allumette the most expensive
restaurant in the history of Echo Park.) I'm not sure even Thompson
knows quite where his multi-layered conceptions are taking him, but it
is going to be an interesting ride.
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Page 52 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
50
Tar & Roses
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602 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#50)
(310) 587-0700 (tel:+13105870700)
tarandroses.com
(http://tarandroses.com)
5:30-10:30 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays,
5:30-9:30 p.m. Sundays
$$$
Beer and wine. Valet parking. Credit
cards accepted.
"Tar and roses" is the standard wine-geek description of the scent of
Barolo wine. Tar & Roses, on the other hand, smells a lot like the
smoldering oak that Andrew Kirschner passes most of his food
through, onto or around in what is probably the purest distillation of
the grill-centered small-plates fixation. Been a while since you've
encountered popcorn with bacon, roasted marrowbones with
sourdough or chicken oysters on a stick? You'll find them here, along
with kale salad, cauliflower steak and a dish of wood-roasted peas with
mint and sea salt that is among the most delicious things to come out
of this decade. In 2025, Tar & Roses is the restaurant we're all going to
be nostalgic for.
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Page 53 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
49
Drago Centro
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525 S. Flower St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#49)
(213) 228-8998 (tel:+12132288998)
dragocentro.com
(http://dragocentro.com)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays
to Fridays; dinner, 5-10 p.m. nightly
$$$
Full bar. Evening valet parking on
Figueroa Street between 5th and 6th
streets. Credit cards accepted.
Downtown is thick with experimental restaurants, funky restaurants,
cocktail-centered restaurants and representatives of national chains.
What seem to be missing from the area are grand restaurants, which is
where Drago Centro comes in. Because if there can be said to be
anything lacking in the seat of Celestino Drago's restaurant empire, it
is not a sense of occasion. It is thrilling to walk into the triple-height
dining room with its industrialist's view of downtown, to settle on a
bottle of Barbaresco and to have a meal of Ian Gresik's burrata with
favas, spaghetti Trapanese and duck breast with beets presented to you
as if they were great gifts. Game is especially wonderful in season, and
there are small bites at the bar up front.
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Page 54 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
48
Sea Harbour
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3939 Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#48)
(626) 288-3939 (tel:+16262883939)
Dim sum, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Mondays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays; dinner, 5-10
p.m. nightly
$$
Beer and wine. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
Sea Harbour is the best Hong Kong-style restaurant in the Los Angeles
area, a comfortable dining room with impeccable live seafood and deft
interpretations of Chinese luxury dishes. If you are looking for bird's
nest, braised sea cucumber or sun-dried abalone preparations, I would
recommend the restaurant without hesitation. You can blow thousands
of dollars, but if you stay away from the allure of the live tanks, you can
get away with spending very little. It also serves the best dim sum in
the San Gabriel Valley, the har gow, shiu mai and sugar-crusted
custard buns to which the other dim sum parlors aspire. Its rear dining
room is lined with signed photographs from the Hong Kong singers
and movie stars who frequent the place when they are in Los Angeles.
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Page 55 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Los Angeles Times)
47
Angelini Osteria
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7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#47)
(323) 297-0070 (tel:+13232970070)
angeliniosteria.com
(http://angeliniosteria.com)
Lunch, noon to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays to
Fridays; dinner, 5:30-10:30 p.m.
Tuesdays to Thursdays, 5:30-11 p.m.
Fridays, 5-11 p.m. Saturdays, 5-10:30
p.m. Sundays
$$
Beer and wine. Valet parking. Credit
cards accepted.
Gino Angelini is among the most skillful of the old-school Italian chefs
in town, renowned for his delicate fish dishes and his vegetablethickened sauces since the last days of Rex, and for his updates of the
classic dishes of his native Rimini. But while Angelini Osteria does not
feature Angelini's most refined cooking, it is everyone's favorite, an
informal room with well-designed trattoria cooking and a place to
settle into for a plate of bombolotti or oxtail on Wednesday, Grandma's
green lasagna or peppery pollo alla diavola — and where whatever diet
you happen to be on at the time will be accommodated without a fuss.
Some nights, it feels as if everybody in the room knows one another.
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Page 56 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
46
Salt's Cure
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7494 Santa Monica Blvd., West
Hollywood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#46)
(323) 850-7258 (tel:+13238507258)
saltscure.com (http://saltscure.com)
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
daily
$$
Beer and wine. Street parking. Credit
cards accepted.
f t s m p
When you get into the habit of visiting the Salt's Cure Facebook page, it
is really hard to stop. Each afternoon brings a photograph of that
evening's chalkboard menu, shot from an oddly low angle. Each photo
of the chalkboard inspires daydreams of Tamworth pork chops or
Hampshire pork chops, milk-braised pork shoulder or porter-braised
pork shoulder, creamed soup made with celery, asparagus or leeks.
You always kind of get the same thing there, sitting at the long counter
— meat or fish seared into rude deliciousness, a big plate of vegetables,
a bottle of rough red wine — but somehow it is always different,
depending on what kind of produce flows through the kitchen. And
even if you're not one of the people who show up here two or three
times a week, by the end of a meal, you kind of wish you were. Salt's
Cure is also notable for its weekend brunches of oatmeal pancakes,
house-cured bacon, grapefruit pie and hot biscuits with jam.
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Page 57 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times)
45
Manhattan Beach Post
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1142 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#45)
(310) 545-5405 (tel:+13105455405)
eatMBPost.com (http://eatMBPost.com)
5-10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 11:30
a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to
10:30 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sundays
$$
Full bar. Credit cards accepted.
In the last 10 years, Manhattan Beach has gone from a slouchy beach
town to an overheated destination, where the boutiques no longer
specialize in only costume jewelry and beachwear. And if any chef
could be said to be propelling condo prices in the neighborhood, it is
David LeFevre, whose Fishing With Dynamite is the superb raw bar
this neighborhood has always needed and whose Manhattan Beach
Post right next door is a redoubt of meaty, spicy, vegetable-intensive
gastropub cooking. With its barbecued lamb belly, grilled local sword
squid with lemon curd, bacon-cheddar biscuits and soft hunks of
braised hog jowl in Vietnamese-inspired fish-sauce caramel, MB Post
is exactly the restaurant you'd want to cater your tailgate party.
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Page 58 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Susannah Kay / Los Angeles Times)
44
Sotto
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9575 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#44)
(310) 277-0210 (tel:+13102770210)
sottorestaurant.com
(http://sottorestaurant.com)
From 5:30 p.m. nightly
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
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Sotto is a southern Italian place dedicated to local produce and
sustainable, artisanally produced meat; a shrine to the awesome heat
of its 15,000-pound oven insulated with imported Neapolitan dirt.
Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack come from Ortica, the South
Coast Plaza restaurant that redefined Orange County pizza, and the
pies emerging from the wood-burning Vesuvius are soft-centered,
elastic and leopard-spotted with character-building circles of char. If
you should happen across a special of lamb innards or fennel-crusted
pork chops, make sure to order it the second you sit down. Even the
pastas tend to be southern things we haven't seen locally, like fileja
Calabrese with sausage and greens or the twisted noodles here called
casarecce (which means nothing more than "homemade") with a thick
paste of simmered lamb thickened with egg yolk and sheep cheese. For
dessert — take the cannoli. We swear.
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Page 59 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Los Angeles Times)
43
Vincenti Ristorante
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11930 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#43)
(310) 207-0127 (tel:+13102070127)
vincentiristorante.com
(http://vincentiristorante.com)
Lunch, noon to 2 p.m. Fridays; dinner,
5:30-10 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
Brentwood must be the world capital of a certain kind of Italian
restaurant, the kind with carpaccio, tricolor salads and three kinds of
pasta with vegetables, chicken under a brick and tiramisu. Brentwood
is also where you will find Vincenti, which could pass as the go-to
businessmen's restaurant in a large Italian city, with Nicola
Mastronardi's superb roasted meats, pastas made with house-cured
guanciale and the grilled cuttlefish salad against which all others are
measured. Vincenti was born from the late Mauro Vincenti's Rex, the
restaurant that did more than any other to introduce Los Angeles to
sophisticated Italian cuisine.
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Page 60 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)
42
Guelaguetza
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3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#42)
(213) 427-0608 (tel:+12134270608)
ilovemole.com (http://ilovemole.com)
9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 8
a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 10
p.m. Sundays
$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
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Sometimes I'm not sure what Los Angeles would do without
Guelaguetza, which is practically the Oaxacan consulate in town; it's
the prime mover in the mole thing and the birthplace of the local craze
for mezcal. When you're in the mood for shared botana platters, you
can get vast piles of white Oaxacan cheese served with lard-soaked
memelas, the giant Oaxacan pizzas called tlayudas, heaps of fried
empanadas or mole-soaked enmoladas, or even a platter with chicken,
bowls of four kinds of mole sauce and the fresh tortillas to eat them
with. If you're drinking, the micheladas are excellent — chile-spiked
beers served in frozen, salt-rimmed mugs. After a few micheladas, you
may have the courage to tackle a plate of the fried grasshoppers with
chile and lime.
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Page 61 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
41
Kiriko
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11301 Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#41)
(310) 478-7769 (tel:+13104787769)
kirikosushi.com (http://kirikosushi.com)
Lunch, noon to 2:15 p.m. Tuesdays to
Fridays; dinner, 6-10 p.m. Tuesdays to
Sundays
$$$$
Beer and wine. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
Sushi has never been easier to find in Los Angeles. Great sushi whose
cost does not rival the price of an economy ticket to Narita is somewhat
more difficult to locate. Of the fine sushi bars in Los Angeles, Kiriko is
perhaps the least forbidding, a place where you know you can get
perfect shirako or sea snail but which still treats mackerel with great
respect; where the chef rejoices when bloody clams or baby octopus
comes into season and where the great specialty is actually
cherrywood-smoked salmon with mango, which you are unlikely to
taste at Zo or Q. And while great sushi is never cheap, Ken Namba's
traditional yet creative $80 omakase is almost a bargain.
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Page 62 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Bret Hartman / For The Times)
40
Fig
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101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#40)
(310) 319-3111 (tel:+13103193111)
figsantamonica.com
(http://figsantamonica.com)
Breakfast, 7-11 a.m. daily; lunch, 11 a.m.
to 2 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; dinner,
5-10 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays;
brunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays
$$$
In the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. Full bar.
Validated valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
If you follow local cooking events, you may know Ray Garcia as a hero
to the nose-to-tail crowd, apt to remake Mexican tamarind candy with
pig's blood or whip up offal-infused tamales that could make an
abuelita weep with joy. Fig, his restaurant in the Fairmont Miramar in
Santa Monica, is rather more sedate — a comfortable, airy farmers
market-driven restaurant that never takes its diners too far from a
comfort zone of baby kale salad, meatloaf, spinach-leaf lasagna, and
red quinoa with chard and apples, although his bacon-wrapped bacon
and veal tongue with tomatillo salsa have always had their fans. Will
this be the year Garcia's transgressive side shows up at Fig? There are
always the biscuits and gravy at breakfast.
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Page 63 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)
39
Kogi
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300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#39)
kogibbq.com/ (http://kogibbq.com/)
$
Several locations in Los AnFollowers
keep track of Kogi's whereabouts on its
frequently updated Twitter feed,
@kogibbq. No alcohol. Credit cards
accepted.
The Roy Choi phenomenon is worldwide by this point: the bestselling
gangsta-gangsta food memoir, the throngs that show up at book
signings and the patronage of Anthony Bourdain and David Chang,
among other things. Kogi is credited with hot-wiring the Twitterization
of American cooking, the food-truck craze, and the shotgun marriage
of Korean flavors and the L.A. street taco. So sometimes it is good to
step back a bit and realize that the miracle of Kogi lies chiefly in the
four trucks that cruise Southern California every night and that Korean
short-rib tacos, Kogi dogs and blackjack quesadillas taste really good,
even if you do have to wait 30 minutes in line for them.
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Page 64 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
38
Hatfield's
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6703 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#38)
(323) 935-2977 (tel:+13239352977)
hatfieldsrestaurant.com
(http://hatfieldsrestaurant.com)
6-10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 610:30 p.m. Fridays, 5:30-10:30 p.m.
Saturdays, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
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The Hatfield's of the mind is probably a stubbornly idiosyncratic bistro
in an off-center neighborhood, the kind of place you find pleasant and
odd on your honeymoon, and are happy to discover 20 years later that
it has remained exactly the same. Quinn and Karen Hatfield's elegant
restaurant isn't small — it occupies the former premises of Citrus, one
of the temples of California cuisine in the 1980s — and its
neighborhood is not obscure. The clientele tends to be less romantic
couples huddled over red wine-braised octopus and Champagne than
entire sitcom writing rooms out for a working dinner. The cooking is
still idiosyncratic and a bit more expensive than you think it is going to
be. Both the date-crusted lamb and the yellowtail-enhanced croque
madame are likely still to be on the menu in 2024. But it is possible to
spot the contours of a modern tasting-menu restaurant here, as
tempted as you may be to order the pork belly with lentils every time.
The menu performs the great trick of being simultaneously unchanging
and precisely seasonal. The Hatfields must do it with mirrors.
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Page 65 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
37
Barnyard
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1715 Pacific Ave., Venice
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#37)
(310) 581-1015 (tel:+13105811015)
barnyardvenice.com
(http://barnyardvenice.com)
5:30-10:30 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays,
noon to 4 p.m. for brunch Sundays
$$
Beer and wine. Valet parking. Credit
cards accepted.
f t s m p
Is Barnyard a major destination restaurant? Because if your idea of an
important meal involves sous-vide, a team of foragers and whole
Berkshire hogs purchased from a small farm in Vermont, you're
probably out of luck. Jesse Barber's gift is in his talent for deceptive
simplicity — you are fooled into thinking that this is food you could
prepare yourself if you had the time, that you are at Barnyard because
it is pleasant and because you forgot to go to Whole Foods last night.
This is an illusion. The menu at Barnyard, another one of those
Westside places connected by umbilical cord to the Santa Monica
farmers market, seems to change almost by the hour, but you can
usually count on finding excellent terrines, grilled half-chicken
brushed with reduced vin santo and crunchy, chewy risotto alla pilota.
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Page 66 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
36
Lukshon
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3239 Helms Ave., Culver City
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#36)
(310) 202-6808 (tel:+13102026808)
lukshon.com (http://lukshon.com)
Lunch, noon to 3 p.m. Tuesdays to
Fridays; dinner, 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesdays
to Thursdays, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Fridays
and Saturdays
$$$
Full bar. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
Do we have to talk about the no-ketchup thing? Because we can if you
want to. Sang Yoon started the no-substitutions thing at his gastropub
Father's Office, and you cannot get ketchup on your burger there. Yoon
likes to do things his way. He was also probably the first chef in town
to apply rigorous French technique to the Asian flavors he grew up
eating. The cooking at Lukshon resembles nothing you will encounter
in Taipei, Myanmar or Malaysia — his dan dan mian, tea-leaf salad and
crab fritters approach the originals in intent, but they're his. What
matters is that they taste good.
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Page 67 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
35
Girasol
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11334 Moorpark St., Studio City
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#35)
(818) 924-2323 (tel:+18189242323)
girasolrestaurant.com
(http://girasolrestaurant.com)
Dinner, 6-10 p.m. Sundays to
Wednesdays, 6-11 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays. Sunday brunch, 11 a.m. to 3
p.m.
$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
You've probably run into Chris "CJ" Jacobson at your farmers market.
He's the tall dude waving a jar of vinegar starter as if it were the keys to
a new Tesla or hugging a crate of mulberries to his chest as if they
might escape. A lot of chefs take produce seriously, but CJ seems to
regard it, especially the foraged produce, they way a lot of us regard
our pets. His Girasol in many ways is a typical Studio City restaurant,
as popular for its strawberry ricotta crepes at brunch as it is for its
fennel-crusted steelhead, but Jacobson's recent stay at Copenhagen's
Noma shows. His talent may lie less in expressing L.A.'s cultural
diversity than in layering the sunny fragrances of California onto what
might seem to be straightforward New American cooking: the branch
of yarrow with the meatballs, the cactus fruit in the mimosas and the
charred pine needles dusting the steak.
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Page 68 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Jar)
34
Jar
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8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#34)
(323) 655-6566 (tel:+13236556566)
thejar.com (http://thejar.com)
Dinner, 5:30-10 p.m. Sundays to
Thursdays, 5:30-11 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays; brunch, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
A dozen years in, it seems almost a little odd to see Suzanne Tracht at
her modern chophouse Jar, her ideas about Asian-inflected cooking
limited to a first-rate chashu pork chop and a bit of lemon grass with
the chicken; her mastery of the New American kitchen mostly directed
toward big chunks of meat. She should be winning national awards,
but she is content with making a great wedge salad and the best pot
roast in town. But she's not slumming. Jar, which looks like a set from
a Doris Day movie, is as timeless as a well-fitted A-line skirt. This is to
say your grandparents would have liked it, although they may not have
understood why the chicken was scented with kaffir lime leaf or why
they had just been served sautéed pea tendrils instead of actual peas.
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Page 69 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
33
Connie and Ted's
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8171 Santa Monica Blvd., West
Hollywood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#33)
(323) 848-2722 (tel:+13238482722)
connieandteds.com
(http://connieandteds.com)
5-11 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, noon
to 11 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
Michael Cimarusti, it must be conceded, knows how to cook a fish. And
while any New Englander worth her salt pork has remarkably specific
preferences about how lobster rolls, stuffies, steamed cherrystones and
clam chowder should be prepared, at his cavernous homage to Rhode
Island shore dinners, Cimarusti has his own. So of the clam chowders
on his menu, the one you want is the Rhode Island style, a grayish,
salty distillation of the sea. The crisp fried clams are served either with
or without their tender, juicy bellies. For the miracle known as stuffies,
chopped quahogs are mixed with bread crumbs, sausage and sweet
peppers, then stuffed back into their shells and baked until crisp. And
there may be no restaurant in Los Angeles that treats its oysters with
more reverence. Just to mix things up, Connie and Ted's also serves
one of the best burgers in town, lavishly greased with Hook's cheddar
and cooked to a bloody medium rare.
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Page 70 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
32
Bäco Mercat
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408 S. Main St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#32)
(213) 687-8808 (tel:+12136878808)
bacomercat.com (http://bacomercat.com)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays
to Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Fridays to Sundays; dinner, 5:30-11 p.m.
Mondays to Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. to
midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 5-10
p.m. Sundays
$$
Full bar. Street parking. Credit cards
accepted.
Josef Centeno's kitchens may have been where the local convergence of
haute cuisine and pub food began. His menu here reads almost like a
graduate exam in culinary post-structuralism, mixing flavors and
structures from Spain, France and western China, and Mexico and
Peru. His ideal customer might be someone who knows what the
Catalan almond sauce salbitxada is but who also doesn't get upset if
she accidentally splashes a little on her shirt. A bäco itself is Centeno's
invention, a kind of flatbread sandwich, halfway between a taco and a
pita construction, stuffed with chicken salad, fried veal tongue or a
complicated layering of that salbitxada, bits of pork belly and crunchy,
porous cubes of what Centeno calls beef carnitas. Will you want a bowl
of his noodle-enriched posole? You will, and some banana cream pie
for dessert.
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ó
2014/05/21 9:57
2:23
(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
31
Guerrilla Tacos
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826 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#31)
guerrillatacos.com
(http://guerrillatacos.com)
$
Find the latest hours and location at
guerrillatacos.com. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
An Alain Ducasse disciple quitting his job at an haute cuisine pop-up to
serve charred octopus tacos on a downtown street corner? It happens.
So while you can approach Wes Avila's Guerrilla Tacos as you would
any other truck, making a lunch of an overstuffed taco and a bottle of
Mexican pop, the tacos you get at Guerrilla, which parks outside a
downtown coffee bar a few days a week, are pretty much the ones he
decides to sell you, which are as likely to be stuffed with diver scallops,
Tuscan kale or even French black truffles as they are to be heaped with
shrimp or carnitas — carnitas Avila makes by slow-roasting Cook Pig
Ranch pork shoulder. His biggest fans know to get there early: The
lamb shoulder or sea urchin you've been craving may be sold out
within minutes.
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Page 72 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
30
Tsujita
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2057 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#30)
(310) 231-7373 (tel:+13102317373)
tsujita-la.com (http://tsujita-la.com)
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight
daily
$$
Beer and sake. Street parking. Cash
only.
f t s m p
Tsujita ramen is unbelievably good: gossamer noodles in a complex
broth made with chicken, Kurobuta pork and a bit of dried fish. The
burlier version called tsukemen, dip ramen, may be even better, served
with a reduced broth as a dipping sauce on the side. Even the
simmered egg, its yolk a vivid, reddish-yellow custard, is superb. But in
the restaurant's wisdom, the ramen and tsukemen are served only at
lunchtime — dinner sees a multi-course, if noodleless, izakaya menu.
The Tsujita Annex across the street serves ramen and tsukemen at
both lunch and dinner, but a somewhat different if equally porkintensive ramen, which might be delicious if you weren't thinking so
hard about the ramen that you should be eating instead.
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Page 73 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
29
Marché Moderne
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3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#29)
(714) 434-7900 (tel:+17144347900)
marchemoderne.net
(http://marchemoderne.net)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily;
dinner 5:30-9:30 p.m. Monday to
Saturday, 5:30-8 p.m. Sunday
$$$
In South Coast Plaza. Full bar. Credit
cards accepted.
Visitors to Los Angeles are always surprised by the great strip mall
restaurants here, by the unexpected discovery of transcendence in a
storefront between the dry cleaners and the 7-Eleven. Visitors to
Orange County, I suppose, are just as shocked to discover fine dining
in mega-malls, the spiritual home of Mrs. Fields and Hot Dog on a
Stick. But at the top of its escalator, Marché Moderne is an oasis of
calm, an unexpected place of guinea hen with calvados and scallops
with cauliflower mousseline, moules frites and bone marrow with
dense sauce bordelaise — classic French bistro cooking with just the
occasional modern hint of a chorizo emulsion or a yuzu gelee. The $25
prix-fixe lunch is one of the better bargains in Southern California.
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Page 74 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
28
Hinoki and the Bird
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10 W. Century Drive, Century City
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#28)
(310) 552-1200 (tel:+13105521200)
hinokiandthebird.com
(http://hinokiandthebird.com)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays
to Fridays; dinner, 5:30-10 p.m.
Tuesdays to Saturdays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
The morning after a meal at Hinoki and the Bird, your memories tend
to be complicated: steel-edged elegance and the fumbling of all the OK
Cupid dates going on around you; wisps of cauliflower shaved over a
coconut soup and the slightly gritty texture of the charcoal-infused
buns used to make the lobster roll; the ethereal scent of cedar smoke
on the salmon and the sour aftertaste of cocktailian overindulgence.
Chefs David Myers and Kuniko Yagi are obsessed with the complex
seasonal rhythms of kaiseki cooking. On the other hand, as the owner
of Comme Ça as well as a small chain of Tokyo cafes, Myers is also a
master of high-volume upscale dining. So is Hinoki and the Bird,
hidden under a Century City skyscraper, a boozy small-plates
restaurant reliant on luxury ingredients or an atmospheric Japanese
restaurant overlaid with American excess? Kind of both.
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Page 75 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
27
Son of a Gun
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8370 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#27)
(323) 782-9033 (tel:+13237829033)
sonofagunrestaurant.com
(http://sonofagunrestaurant.com)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays
to Fridays; dinner, 6-11 p.m. Sundays to
Thursdays, 6 p.m. to midnight Fridays
and Saturdays
$$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
Pig guts are manly, as Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo discovered at
Animal. Seafood can also be manly, as at their Son of a Gun, as long as
you get rid of the twee beurre blanc and court bouillon, concentrating
instead on plunking grouper into ham broth, serving shrimp
sandwiches on white bread and making sure that the amberjack
sashimi and lemonfish poke are at least as chile-smacked as a street
taco. Fried chicken sandwiches and big plates of Kentucky ham don't
hurt. They just got rid of the communal tables, so it is both a bit harder
to buttonhole your neighbor on the subject of hockey and to land a seat
on a Saturday night.
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Page 76 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)
26
Mélisse
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1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#26)
(310) 395-0881 (tel:+13103950881)
melisse.com (http://melisse.com)
6-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays, 610 p.m. Fridays, 5:45-10 p.m. Saturdays
$$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
If Angelenos are splashing three bills on dinner, they're probably going
for sushi. So it is almost by force of will that Josiah Citrin's very French
Mélisse, which is still the most formal restaurant to open in Los
Angeles since the 1980s, maintains its momentum — not to mention its
truffles, caviar, Wagyu beef and specially imported Uruguayan rice.
Actually, compared to an omakase at Q, the $125 prix fixe may even be
a bargain. There is an opulent vegetarian tasting menu these days, but
Citrin's customers still look like the parents of the people who go to
Animal.
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Page 77 of 103
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2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
25
The Factory Kitchen
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1300 Factory Place, Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#25)
(213) 996-6000 (tel:+12139966000)
thefactorykitchen.com
(http://thefactorykitchen.com)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays
to Fridays; dinner, 5:30-10 p.m. Sundays
and Mondays, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Tuesdays
to Thursdays, 5:30-11 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
The most sensational new pasta dish of the year was probably the
Factory Kitchen's mandilli — fragile handkerchief pasta crumpled over
an almond-thickened pesto, which essentially melts the second it hits
your tongue. Angelo Auriana's new restaurant is a compelling hybrid,
an informal trattoria with rather formal northern Italian cooking. The
dishes are composed and careful: sea robin roasted with olives and
cherry tomatoes, pancotto with fried duck eggs, and complex casonzei
pasta with browned butter and sage. Focaccina di Recco is a marvelous
thing, a kind of crisp, translucent Genoese version of a Lebanese borek
stuffed with herbs and milky Crescenza cheese.
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Page 78 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Night + Market)
24
Night + Market
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9041 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#24)
(310) 275-9724 (tel:+13102759724)
nightmarketla.com
(http://nightmarketla.com)
6-10:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays
$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
It may be an optical illusion, but Night + Market is looking more like a
rec room with every visit: bright colors, banners on the walls, china
made out of cheap tin. It's as if Talesai, on the other side of the wall, is
where the parents are having a sedate dinner, and Night + Market,
whose chef Kris Yenbamroong is actually the son of the Talesai owners,
is having a loud party for his friends. (Night + Market Song, the new
spinoff in Silver Lake, looks even more like an apartment building's
common room done up for a birthday party.) Yenbamroong is cooking
strong, unmodulated northern Thai dishes here: fiery nam priks,
grilled pig collar, steamed blood cakes, sour sausages and other
pungent drinking food from the countryside around Chiang Mai.
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Page 79 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
23
Pot
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3515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#23)
(213) 368-3030 (tel:+12133683030)
eatatpot.com (http://eatatpot.com)
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
$$
In the Line Hotel. Full bar. Valet parking.
Credit cards accepted.
f t s m p
To understand Roy Choi's new restaurant, you've probably got to
swallow a lot of haterade. Because the bareness of the hotel-lobby
restaurant, the pounding hip-hop and the menu of unreconstructed
Korean stews speaks to an extremely specific Koreatown experience
that many of Choi's contemporaries do not share. He charges a buck or
two for kimchi instead of giving it away, which may be the local
equivalent of spitting on the flag, and his newspaper-sized menu,
decorated with an enormous photograph of an elderly Burmese woman
smoking a cheroot, makes his customers order vast tureens of Boot
Knocker instead of budae jjigae, Jamaal Wilkes instead of soondubu
and Shorty instead of galbi jjim. The uni dynamite rice bowl, the
closest thing to a must order, is slicked with spicy sauce. The soju
cocktails are flavored with things like kimchi and curry. Somebody's
having a good time — everybody's having a good time — but it is
possible to find more fully realized versions of most of the dishes, even
the crisp, LP-sized potato pancakes, elsewhere in Koreatown. But this
is Choi's homage to the broad L.A. Korean American food universe in
which he was raised, and it is vital and engaging in a way that even the
best of the more sedate specialists in dak dori tang or eun daegu jorim
can never be. Pot isn't a careful re-creation of a Seoul buljip. It is a
raucous, sizzling, loving creature of Koreatown L.A.
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Page 80 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Bret Hartman / For The Times)
22
SAAM
A few years ago, most chefs associated with the movement popularly
z
known as molecular gastronomy, after the book by the same name by
French writer Hervé This, decided that they'd rather be known as
465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestmodernists. All food, they insisted, was made of molecules, and the
restaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#22)
hydrocolloidal magic tricks they performed were more or less
(310) 246-5545 (tel:+13102465545)
extensions of what chefs had been doing for centuries with egg whites
thebazaar.com (http://thebazaar.com)
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays to
and gelatins. But as with its counterpart in the art world, modernism
Sundays
turned out to be just another style. El Bulli's Ferran Adrià was a great
$$$$
chef, but his foams, gels, mists, snows and edible plastics were less the
In the SLS Hotel. Full bar. Credit cards
accepted. Valet parking.
end-point of culinary history than a scenic stop along the way. And
SAAM, the chef's tasting room within Bazaar, the restaurant by José
f t s m p
Andrés, Adria's most successful disciple, is no less than a museum of
modernist art. A (mandatory 22-course, $150) tasting menu may
include a cocktail crowned with a flowing head of truffled mist, a duck(HTTP://WWW.LATIMES.COM/) Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants
filled dumpling whose skin is fashioned from pale cotton candy, a
madeleine fashioned
from
chilled parmesan ganache, aged-rice risotto
Rank
Name
Price
The List (/lists/101-best-restaurants-jonathan-gold/)
My 101
The Map (http://guides.latimes.com/101-best-restaurants-map-jonathan-gold/)
enhanced with melted cheese, and a bit of uni with a mango pouch,
just because. The dishes are exquisitely constructed: An encapsulation
Photos (http://www.latimes.com/food/jonathan-gold/la-jonathan-gold-101-best-restaurants-2014-pg-photogallery.html)
of liquid cheese that might be bouncy and over-thick in Bazaar's main
Videos (http://www.latimes.com/la-jonathan-gold-101-video-playlist-premiumvideoplaylist.html)
dining room will be delicate at SAAM. You will encounter more edible
gold than you have ever seen in your life, including a gold-plated,
truffle-infused take on a Ferro Rocher candy. You will take a dozen
101 | $$ Starry Kitchen
Instagram photos. And as at a Buzzcocks reunion show or a Picasso
retrospective, you will become nostalgic for an era you may have never
known.
Yes I've been
I want to go
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The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
100 | $$ Rocio's Mole de los
Dioses
99 | $$ Kobawoo House
(Jo Stougaard)
21
Jitlada
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5233 1/2 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#21)
(323) 667-9809 (tel:+13236679809)
jitladala.wordpress.com
(http://jitladala.wordpress.com)
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m.
Tuesdays to Sundays
$$
Beer and wine. Lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
98 | $ Mexicali Taco & Co.
You could try to eat your way through the typed list of specials at the
back of Jitlada's menu, a roster of ferociously spicy southern Thai
dishes mostly unavailable outside Nakhon, but Suthiporn "Tui"
Sungkamee will make it pretty difficult for you to succeed. The list of
regional specials balloons by the week, beyond the acacia blossom
omelets, stuffed fish balls and beef with cassia buds to exotic curried
innards, eel with stinky sator beans, frog legs with turmeric and
hundreds of other things, in such profusion that most of us tend to end
up with the coco mango salad and the fried morning glory once again.
If you're lucky, Sungkamee's sister Sarintip "Jazz" Singsanong may
volunteer to make you one of her notorious Thai hamburgers.
97 | $ Golden Deli
96 | $ Nickel Diner
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Page 82 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
20
République
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624 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#20)
(310) 362-6115 (tel:+13103626115)
republiquela.com
(http://republiquela.com)
6-10 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays, 611 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
Your feelings about République may well depend on whether you mind
paying a $5 supplement for mind-blowing Normandy butter
("ordinary" butter is free), whether you would prefer pan drippings
and whether you consider an evening of cheese, duck-liver mousse and
Margarita Manzke's scorching-hot baguettes to be an evening well
spent. République occupies the former Campanile space, chopped and
channeled into an enormous bistro, and the chef is Walter Manzke,
whose suave, modern French cooking you may remember from Bastide
and Church & State. You find a lot of big-flavored bistro tropes here,
including cured headcheese with lentils, Alsatian tarte flambé, a wide
selection of oysters, steak frites, snails en croute and Santa Barbara
spot prawns Provençale. Manzke is very good at this stuff. There's also
a lot of the crunchy-groove cooking, the wood-roasted Brussels sprouts
and curried cauliflower, that the cool kids are all cooking now. Will
République grow to encompass Manzke's considerable skills with
haute cuisine, or will it remain populist and delicious? At this point, it's
hard to tell.
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Page 83 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)
19
Church & State
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1850 Industrial St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#19)
(213) 405-1434 (tel:+12134051434)
churchandstatebistro.com
(http://churchandstatebistro.com)
Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays
to Fridays; dinner 6-10 p.m. Mondays to
Thursdays, 6-11 p.m. Fridays, 5:30-11
p.m. Saturdays, 5:30-9 p.m. Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet and street parking. Credit
cards accepted.
You can find something like Church & State in every arty warehouse
district in America, a dim, loud bistro with industrial flooring and
skeins of Edison bulbs, serving familiar French dishes to a crowd
looking for its personal Montparnasse. The formula is so classic by now
that everyone has forgotten whether the snails under little caps of
pastry are supposed to be ironic or whether you're eating them because
the herbed garlic butter tastes so good, or whether that glass of
absinthe is louche or a little bit passé. What the rest of those
restaurants don't have, though, is Tony Esnault in the kitchen, a chef
long associated with Alain Ducasse whose sturdy terrines, burnished
meats and carefully composed vegetable dishes are remarkable in their
depth of flavor. You may never taste a better coq au vin, underpinned
with a deep bass note of thyme.
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Page 84 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
18
n/naka
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3455 S. Overland Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#18)
(310) 836-6252 (tel:+13108366252)
n-naka.com (http://n-naka.com)
6-9:15 p.m. (final seating) Tuesdays to
Fridays, 5:30-9:15 p.m. (final seating)
Saturdays
$$$$
Reservation only. Beer, wine and sake.
Limited lot parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
The ideal of Japanese kaiseki, multi-course feasts designed to express
the mood of a season, has quietly supplanted the more conventional
French model in ambitious California restaurants. But n/naka may be
the first dedicated kaiseki restaurant in Los Angeles, at least the first
outside the Japanese expatriate community, and the sheer level of
cooking in this modest bungalow eclipses what you find in most of the
city's grand dining rooms. Niki Nakayama, a veteran of both Mori
Sushi and kaiseki-oriented Japanese ryokan, grows the vegetables and
herbs for her restaurant in her Arcadia backyard, inflects the hairy crab
or madai with nasturtium petals and truffles as well as the expected
flourishes of yuzu or grilled maitake mushrooms, and isn't beyond
incorporating flavors from Italy or Hong Kong, although the soul of her
cooking remains wholly Japanese. It is occasionally difficult to
ascertain whether the most impressive bit of a dish is the chewy slab of
Japanese halibut fin or the thimble-sized cucumber used as garnish,
whose texture has been transformed into something almost luxurious
through a hundred tiny slashes of her knife. The restaurant is
expensive, serving only 13-course kaiseki meals at $165.
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Page 85 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
17
AOC
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8700 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#17)
(310) 859-9859 (tel:+13108599859)
aocwinebar.com (http://aocwinebar.com)
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays, 11:30
a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays, 10
a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10
p.m. Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
AOC has been an institution for so long that it seems almost odd to
settle into the Moorish patio at its new grown-up location. Ordering
the same old bacon-wrapped dates feels a bit awkward. But then you
settle in with a bowl of wood-oven clams with green garlic and a glass
of vinho verde, and it seems like old times. If you've been to Lucques or
Tavern, you know Suzanne Goin's style: strong flavors, puddles of
broth and extremely seasonal produce; slivers of lemon peel where
other chefs tend to use zest; lots of olives, fennel, thyme, chiles and
other hints of the Provencal palette even when the dish in question
comes from elsewhere. Duck confit or "Ode to Zuni" roast chicken you
expect; Balinese suckling pig you may not. But you could be happy here
ordering nothing but vegetables: black rice and chewy farro with pine
nuts; lightly curried cauliflower, or soft, almost soupy polenta with
spears of charred asparagus.
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Page 86 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
16
The Tasting Kitchen
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1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#16)
(310) 392-6644 (tel:+13103926644)
thetastingkitchen.com
(http://thetastingkitchen.com)
Dinner, 6-11 p.m. nightly; brunch, 10:30
a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
Casey Lane is the dark prince of "No Substitutions nor Modifications"
in Los Angeles, a chef who tacitly blurs the lines between restaurant
and art project, or did for years anyway, and maintains a menu that
seems to consist mostly of variations on pasta, salad, beans and toast.
It is delicious toast, of course, thick, made with great bread, and woodgrilled, served with things like soft butter, old balsamic, bone marrow,
house-made ricotta or goat cheese and figs. The basic impression is of
Italian cooking translated into an odd American dialect, in which
grilled anchovies are laid so beautifully on the plate that you rather
suspect there's an art director, and plates of asparagus with grapefruit
or garganelli with pickled chiles and the Italian bacon called tesa are
remarkable for their purity of flavor. The fairly expensive wine list is
impenetrable even to experts in Brunello and Chianti, but the staff is
well-versed in its intricacies. The brunches, which include things like
short-rib hash and bacon-stuffed waffles with fried chicken, are legend
even in brunch-obsessed Venice.
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Page 87 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
15
Rivera
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1050 S. Flower St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#15)
(213) 749-1460 (tel:+12137491460)
riverarestaurant.com
(http://riverarestaurant.com)
Lunch, noon to 2 p.m. Mondays to
Fridays; dinner, 5:30-10 p.m. Sundays to
Thursdays, 5:30-11 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
We should all be a little more obsessed with John Sedlar than we seem
to be at the moment, following his experiments with tamales,
modernist tortillas and dim sum-style lonchera carts with the raptness
we devote to gifted food-truck impresarios and tracking his flirtations
with Spanish, Soviet and pre-Columbian kitchens. He didn't singlehandedly invent new Southwestern cuisine, squirt-bottle saucing and
high-end pan-Latino cooking in the 1980s, although he might as well
have, and as chef of Rivera, the most ambitious Mexican restaurant in
the city at the moment, he has coaxed the old flavors into the context of
his sleek, modern cuisine. If a thing can be done with masa, wild
mushrooms or chiles, he has done it, probably twice, and in ways that
are occasionally difficult to comprehend. But his cooking is before all
delicious, and Julian Cox's Mexican-influenced cocktails are
mysterious, smoky and deep.
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Page 88 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
14
Bestia
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2121 E. 7th Place, Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#14)
(213) 514-5724 (tel:+12135145724)
bestiala.com (http://bestiala.com)
6-11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays, 6 p.m.
to midnight Fridays and Saturdays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
Bestia exemplifies the modern Italian restaurant in Los Angeles,
deeply invested in curing its own meats, preparing just enough offal to
satisfy the nose-to-tail crowd and not only making its pasta by hand
but also serving it a little underdone so that the fusilli in lamb sauce
almost hurts. Grass-fed beef heart tartare? Sea urchin crudo with
lardo? Veal tartare with tonnato sauce? Ori Menashe is right there with
you, even if you're just at Bestia for Genevieve Gergis' Carnaroli rice
pudding with fruit. If you have heard of one bottle in five on the rusticleaning list, you are probably studying for the master of wine exam. At
this point, Bestia may be best known as the downtown restaurant you
can't get into, so you should probably plan your next dinner there a
month in advance.
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Page 89 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
13
Red Medicine
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8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#13)
(323) 651-5500 (tel:+13236515500)
redmedicinela.com
(http://redmedicinela.com)
6 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
Red Medicine isn't a Vietnamese restaurant anymore — not that it ever
persuaded most people that it was one in the first place. The locavore
neo-Nordic principles always lurking beneath the spring rolls and
porridge have come to define Jordan Kahn's cuisine. You will scoop
English peas, unsweetened lemon custard and trout roe from the
bottom of goldfish bowls sealed with glaciers of frozen peapod juice,
and you will learn to appreciate burnt lettuce leaves as a condiment.
You will have waitresses treat you as a slow schoolchild when you don't
immediately grasp that the coal-like lumps in a crab dish are pickled
pioppini mushrooms rolled in coal ash. You will encounter as many
kinds of yarrow in a dish of uni with almond milk as exist on heaven
and on earth — they like to forage here — and you will encounter
sequoia shoots both as an herb and as the piney flavoring of a dessert.
There has always been something a little punk-rock about Red
Medicine, where the talents in the kitchen are sometimes offset by
spectacular PR missteps, but it has become hard to imagine the Los
Angeles restaurant scene without it.
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Page 90 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)
12
Alma
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952 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#12)
(213) 244-1422 (tel:+12132441422)
alma-la.com (http://alma-la.com)
6-10 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays
$$$$
Beer and wine. Lot parking just north of
restaurant. Credit cards accepted.
f t s m p
In the year since we last checked up on it, Alma was named as the best
new restaurant of 2013 by Bon Appetit, Food and Wine chose Ari
Taymor as a best new chef and the tiny restaurant, next to a taxi-dance
joint on South Broadway, decided to serve only a $95 tasting menu.
Taymor still uses his share of foraged chickweeds and oxalis blossoms,
but nearly all of the produce comes from Courtney Guerra's Flower
Avenue garden in Venice. You are just as likely to run into the tofuseaweed beignets, broken beets with apples, and frozen duck liver with
smoked maple and carrots, but it all seems a little more purposeful
these days, from the tiny English muffins served with uni to the
grapefruit with the Dungeness crab. Does Alma deserve the flood of
praise? A qualified yes: Taymor occasionally seems too interested in
aesthetic problem-solving, and his effects tend to be less than
grounded in anything beyond themselves. Still, dinner here is never
less than fascinating.
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Page 91 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)
11
Orsa & Winston
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122 W. 4th St., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#11)
(213) 687-0300 (tel:+12136870300)
orsaandwinston.com
(http://orsaandwinston.com)
6-11 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays
$$$
Beer and wine. Street or nearby lot
parking. Credit cards accepted.
f t s m p
What ties Josef Centeno's cooking together? What might a plate of
grilled greengage plums with fresh ricotta, rhubarb and tamarind have
in common with a Japanese egg custard flavored with sunchokes,
celtuce and smoky wild mushrooms? Why would a gifted chef spend
hours composing a dish expressing the various textures of a yellowtail
head? What is the point of sprinkling a savory panna cotta with
pungent cypress seeds? Centeno is obsessed with detail; the tweezerplaced herbs, the drops of exotic oil, and the miniature, perfected scale.
He uses local produce when relevant and global products when they're
not. He has the knowledge and will to mix traditions without losing
sight of the fact that they are traditions. The intimate omakase
restaurant Orsa & Winston is the showcase Centeno's followers have
been hoping for since he burst onto the scene a decade ago, and the
menu, which changes daily, is as multicultural as the city it serves.
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Page 92 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Los Angeles Times)
10
Cut
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9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#10)
(310) 276-8500 (tel:+13102768500)
wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/finedining/3789
(http://wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/finedining/3789)
6-10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 6-11
p.m. Fridays, 5:30-11 p.m. Saturdays
$$$$
In the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Full bar.
Valet parking off Rodeo Drive. Credit
cards accepted.
It is possible, I think, for a restaurant to be too good, to realize its given
task so efficiently that it basically renders itself obsolete. Much of what
we look for when we go out to good restaurants, after all, is the pursuit
of perfection — the idea that the next sip of Burgundy, the next
spoonful of crème brûlée, will finally be the one that approaches its
Platonic form. And while Wolfgang Puck's steakhouse Cut is admirable
in so many ways — its science-fiction-severe Richard Meier design, the
bone-marrow flan and the crisp little knishes that sometimes show up
as an amuse bouche — the Wagyu rib-eye imported from Japan is so
rich, so perfectly beefy, that it is unnecessary to eat more than a bite or
two. This is not a bad thing. It leaves room for chef Ari Rosenson's
truffled lobster, sliced tongue with salsa verde and lightly curried short
ribs.
f t s m p
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Page 93 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)
9
Animal
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435 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#9)
(323) 782-9225 (tel:+13237829225)
animalrestaurant.com
(http://animalrestaurant.com)
6-11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays, 6 p.m.
to midnight Fridays and Saturdays
$$$
Beer and wine. Valet parking. Credit
cards accepted.
f t s m p
Do you remember the first time you tasted a bacon dessert? Did you
notice the moment that every restaurant in town seemed to be serving
beef tendon puffed into airy snack crackers, and did you ever wonder
why? A visit to Animal can occasionally feel like a forced march
through an anatomy handbook, but Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo have
a gift for making curried brains, fried pig's ear, crunchy sweetbreads
and oxtail poutine seem as routine as steak and roast chicken, and by
the time you work your way to the smoked turkey legs and balsamicglazed country ribs, you may be wondering why you didn't order the
crispy pig's head or veal tongue instead. Animal is the kind of
restaurant that other chefs dream about, a kitchen that renders its
darkest, and happiest, thoughts in smoking, dripping flesh.
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Page 94 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
8
Trois Mec
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716 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#8)
(No phone.) (tel:+1Nophone.)
troismec.com (http://troismec.com)
Dinner, Mondays to Fridays
$$$$
Reservations only through online prepaid tickets. Beer and wine. Lot parking.
f t s m p
Ludovic Lefebvre is either the chef who saved French cooking in Los
Angeles or is the hell-born agent of its destruction. Personally, I think
he may be both. He is a protégé of Pierre Gagnaire, Marc Meneau and
Alain Passard who is perhaps best known for his fried-chicken truck
and his snarling Gallic presence on reality cooking shows. He
introduced the city to full-bore modernist cuisine and then kicked his
liquid nitrogen canister to the side of the road. He is a master of the
nuanced tasting menu who found his voice cooking at pop-ups in a
sandwich shop. Seats at his tiny restaurant, hidden in a former chain
pizzeria that still bears its sign, can be as hard to come by as courtside
seats at a Lakers game, and trying to land one can make a potential
diner yearn for a culinary Stub Hub. As good as his truffled grilled
cheese with buttermilk and honey or his potato pulp with bonito flakes
and Salers cheese may be, repeat visitors may wish that he would
occasionally change things up. But it is the possibility of surprise that
brings you back and back again, of experiencing what a supremely
gifted chef can do with rare Iberico pork, beef with smoked peanut
butter or sushi rice with brandade. He has made the grilled cabbage
leaf practically a sacrament, and not just because he dusts it with
crushed almond candy. For all of its maddening drawbacks, Trois Mec
is the closest thing in the United States to the ecstatic improvisational
cooking at Parisian bistronomy shrines such as Frenchie and Le
Chateaubriand.
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Page 95 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
7
Ink
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8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#7)
(323) 651-5866 (tel:+13236515866)
mvink.com (http://mvink.com)
6-11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays, 6 p.m.
to midnight Fridays and Saturdays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
If you cherish good reasons to hate a new restaurant, you will probably
find everything you're looking for at Ink. The walls of the dining room
look as if somebody rubbed them down with shoe polish, and the
music is unbearably loud. If you're down on celebrity chefs, you'll be
happy to learn that Michael Voltaggio is probably the Joe DiMaggio of
"Top Chef," a guy not beyond inflecting his steak tartare with
horseradish and liquid nitrogen, transforming naked egg yolks into
gnocchi or serving his Brussels sprouts with pig's ears and thin sheets
of lardo. That couple at the next table, the ones eating potato charcoal
with vinegar and braised beef cheeks with parsnip bark, look
altogether too pleased with themselves. But then you try the melty-soft
cuttlefish with toasted hazelnuts or the lamb belly with yogurt curds,
and you know. Voltaggio is as obsessed with that potato polenta with
bone marrow in front of you as you have ever been with anything in
your life.
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Page 96 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
6
Rustic Canyon
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1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#6)
(310) 393-7050 (tel:+13103937050)
rusticcanyonwinebar.com
(http://rusticcanyonwinebar.com)
5:30-10:30 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays,
5:30-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
$$$
f t s m p
If you are even remotely interested in the restaurant world, you
probably know the odd trajectory of Jeremy Fox, the former Manresa
chef who transformed Ubuntu, a yoga studio annex in Napa, Calif., into
the most important vegetarian restaurant in the United States. And
here he is at the wine bar Rustic Canyon, serving crisp little pig's foot
patties with yuzu-scented aioli, half-melted Raclette cheese with an
oniony chicken broth and tiny Jaime Farms radishes, leaves and all,
with a bit of lardo beaten until it resembles whipped cream. Fox is one
of the farmers market guys, but you wouldn't confuse Rustic Canyon
with a health food restaurant, especially after a bottle or two of
biodynamic Syrah. You will want the Castelvetrano olives jolted with
fennel and orange zest. Fox's odd composition of beets, smashed
berries and ripe avocado may be the first bowl of purple quinoa you
will ever eat with pleasure. Even the kale salad is delicious, thoroughly
massaged into submission and tossed with dates and Parmesan. If Fox
can make raw kale taste good, imagine what he can do with green
pozole spiked with mussels and clams.
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Page 97 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
ó
2014/05/21 9:57
2:03
(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
5
Lucques
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8474 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#5)
(323) 655-6277 (tel:+13236556277)
lucques.com (http://lucques.com)
Noon to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays to
Saturdays, 6-9:30 p.m. Mondays and
Tuesdays, 6-10 p.m. Wednesdays and
Thursdays, 6-10:30 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays, 5-9:30 p.m. Sundays
$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
When people chat about restaurant cooking, the conversation usually
flirts with ingredients, influences and technique. But when it comes to
the food at Lucques, the seat of Suzanne Goin's small but swelling
restaurant empire, discussion tends to come around to first principles:
the small but telling details that make each ingredient taste most fully
of itself; the essential qualities of the French-leaning panMediterranean food. I could probably go on for half an hour about a
recent citrus salad: the half-dozen varieties each at the peak of its
season; the way each fruit was sliced to accentuate its particular sweettartness or bitterness and presented at slightly different temperatures;
the bland smoothness of the fresh labneh cheese and the sharp
fragrance of the mint; the subtle, rubbery crunch of the chopped
pistachios. The short ribs, the ricotta dumplings with English peas and
the rabbit with noodles are detailed too. If you have cooked out of
Goin's "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" (or have eaten family supper at
Lucques on a Sunday), you know that behind her simplicity lies not
just the expected California farmers market fixation but also patience
and extraordinary rigor.
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Page 98 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
4
Shunji
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12244 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#4)
(310) 826-4737 (tel:+13108264737)
shunji-ns.com (http://shunji-ns.com)
Lunch, noon to 2 p.m. Mondays to
Fridays; dinner, 6-10 p.m. Mondays to
Thursdays, 6-10:30 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays
$$$$
Beer, wine and sake. Lot parking. Credit
cards accepted.
f t s m p
There has never been a better time to eat sushi in Los Angeles, whether
your tastes run toward the hot-rice school led by Nozawa, the
Peruvian-Japanese hybrid pioneered by Matsuhisa, or Hiroyuki
Naruke's purist edomae sushi at Q. But the most satisfying sushi meals
of all may issue from the chili-bowl-shaped sushi bar of Shunji Nakao,
who dances you across the Pacific, fish by fish, as suavely as Gene Kelly
skipping down the street. You may be served an impossibly luxurious
concoction of julienned raw squid, squid ink, sea urchin and black
truffles; freshly made sesame tofu with a crumpled sheet of yuba; or a
tangle of slivered sardines. The sushi is different every day, but the
omakase will invariably include a species or two new to you: needlefish
woven into a thick, fragrant braid, or even exquisite kohada, marinated
just long enough to soften its fishy edge. You will find a small but
beautifully composed list of the junmai daiginjo sakes that go so well
with Shunji's food.
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Page 99 of 103
The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
3
Mozzaplex
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641 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#3)
(323) 297-0101 (tel:+13232970101)
pizzeriamozza.com
(http://pizzeriamozza.com)
Noon to midnight daily
$$$
Pizzeria Mozza: Beer and wine. Osteria
Mozza: 6602 Melrose Ave., L.A., (323)
297-0100, osteriamozza.com. 5:30-11
p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 5-11 p.m.
Saturdays, 5 to 10 p.m. Sundays. Full
bar. Chi Spacca: 6610 Melrose Ave.,
L.A., (323) 297-1133, chispacca.com. 611 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 5-11 p.m.
Saturdays, 5-10 p.m. Sundays.
Mozza2Go: 6610 Melrose Ave., L.A.,
(323) 297-1130, mozza2go.com.
Delivery and takeout, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Mondays to Fridays, noon to 10 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays. Valet parking.
Credit cards accepted.
The consensus hit of L.A.'s meat world this year is probably Chad
Colby's tomahawk chop at Chi Spacca, a monumental cross-section of
pork rib, hefty as a squash racquet, rubbed with fennel pollen and
grilled slowly until it glows with flavor. And Colby's coppa and lardo
are the most carefully cured in town. Pizzeria Mozza is among the best
pizzerias in the United States, famous for its organic ingredients and a
risen, unconventionally fermented crust good enough to eat even
without the squash blossoms and burrata. The Pugliese-style focaccia
sold Mondays at Mozza2Go is formidable. Osteria Mozza goes from
strength to strength, from the northern Italian pastas to Matt Molina's
pungent roast guinea fowl, from the deep all-Italian wine list to the
encyclopedic mozzarella bar commanded by co-owner Nancy Silverton.
Any of the components of the sprawling Mozzaplex would be among
the better restaurants in town; together, they command L.A.'s universe
of urban rustic cuisine. (The usual disclosure applies here: Silverton,
who runs the complex under the distant supervision of Joe Bastianich
and Mario Batali, is a family friend.)
f t s m p
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The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
2014/05/21 9:57
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
2
Spago
Yes I've been
z
I want to go
View my list
176 N. Cañon Drive, Beverly Hills
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#2)
(310) 385-0880 (tel:+13103850880)
http://bit.ly/1e6ywyc
(http://http://bit.ly/1e6ywyc)
Lunch, noon-2:30 p.m. Tuesdays to
Saturdays; dinner, 6-10 p.m. Mondays to
Fridays, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Saturdays and
5:30-10 p.m. Sundays
$$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
You have to give it to Wolfgang Puck — he is really good at this
reinvention thing. So if you haven't been to Spago in a while, it may
seem odd to walk into the Minimalist-chic dining room with Ed
Ruscha prints on the walls, wine racks reaching halfway to space and a
tasting menu that has become newly locavore — all California, anyway
— with a rigor that even the hip downtown places aren't quite showing
at the moment. And while you may be eating Santa Barbara sea urchin
with freshly made tofu, bincho-grilled squab with charred maitake
mushrooms and Sonoma lamb smoked over the foraged herb called
rabbit tobacco, the table next to you may be enjoying Wiener schnitzel,
a giant côte de boeuf with cheesy pommes aligot, or agnolotti with
peas. Spago, the most famous restaurant in the observable universe,
might have coasted forever on its 1980s fame, but Puck and his chef
Tetsu Yahagi reinvented it for the second time, as a proto-modernist
restaurant on the international model. But you are still at Spago. Life is
good.
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The list: Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants - 2014 - Los Angeles Times
ó
2014/05/21 9:57
1:43
(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
1
Providence
Yes I've been
I want to go
z View my list
5955 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
(http://guides.latimes.com/101-bestrestaurants-map-jonathan-gold/#1)
(323) 460-4170 (tel:+13234604170)
providencela.com
(http://providencela.com)
Lunch, noon to 2 p.m. Fridays; dinner, 610 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 5:30-10
p.m. Saturdays, 5:30-9 p.m. Sundays
$$$$
Full bar. Valet parking. Credit cards
accepted.
f t s m p
Once again, the best restaurant in Los Angeles is Providence, that
refuge of fine dining just north of Hancock Park. Michael Cimarusti's
training is in haute French cuisine, but a broad streak of Japanese
kaiseki runs through his cooking. He uses only wild-caught fish (his
menus are 90% seafood) and refuses to serve species, such as
swordfish or bluefin tuna, considered threatened by environmental
watch groups. He promotes local farmers but does not hesitate to use
exotic seaweeds or imported calamansi limes when they suit a dish. He
is conversant with all the latest modernist techniques, but aside from
the occasional encapsulated daiquiri or sous-vide cephalopod, its use is
rarely apparent. When he devises a better way to make a clam chowder
or fold Santa Barbara uni into soft-scrambled eggs, he won't stop
serving it for frivolous reasons, but the menu is highly seasonal, and
every time you visit you are likely to encounter dishes you haven't yet
seen: a botanical fantasy of nasturtium leaves folded over minced
Japanese tai and garnished with its sesame-stuffed blossoms, a shot of
smoked halibut broth concealing tiny spring peas, or perhaps a barely
seared Santa Barbara spot prawn moistened with a sauce made from
the juices from its own head and Brittany salt butter. Cimarusti may be
a supremely creative chef, but his restaurant has many of the classic
virtues: crisp white tablecloths, a lovely but understated dining room, a
deep but surprisingly reasonable wine list and a staff intimately
acquainted with his cuisine.
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