majordōmo, Naud Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
David Chang’s LA restaurant Majordomo is located in Chinatown, an area that’s definitely on the foodie up. Like most of Chang’s places the food IS Asian-influenced with fresh bing breads, noodles and THAT whole plate short rib for a casual 190 dollars. It’s reputation preceded itself and we heard rumours of 2 hour wait lists and 3 month advanced rezzies. Luckily whilst planning our 5pm arrival, 30 mins prior to opening, we were told that actually turning up at 8:30pm was the best bet. It was, and we were escorted straight to the chef’s counter.
Every dish was a hit, in fact we’d go as far as saying it was the best meal we’ve had in LA. Don’t miss the spicy lamb served with oven fresh bing bread, the lightly tempured peppers stuffed with juicy sausage and the mouth rave inducing cherry tomatoes with tofu, shisho & yuzu. BIG flavours, great service, an innovative menu, insta gold (hello racelette shaved at the table over chuck short rib) and great wines means there’s more than a few reasons to make sure Majordomo is on your map.
Animal, North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Dynamic duo Jon and Vinny run some of LA’s best restaurants – Jon & Vinny’s, Kismet, and Son of a Gun to name a few. Of all of them, Animal might just be our favourite, with a menu that (as the name suggests) is heavy on the meat and offal. It’s a cool little space on Fairfax with pretty minimal decor – white walls, plain wood tables) – which just further emphasises that food is the star of the show here. There’s a huge variety of things on offer but some of our favourites include the poutine with oxtail gravy; the crispy pig head with marinated onion; the rabbit larb with herbs and Thai chilli; and the quail fry with grits and maple bacon. There are some fish dishes too but really it’s all about going all out meat here, which is all sourced from local, organic farms.
Howlin' Ray's, North Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Nashville fried chicken is the name of the game at this small spot in Chinatown. Originally a food van, Howlin’ Rays is the only spot to score proper Nashville fried chicken in LA. The small menu features fried chicken served a number of ways, solo, in a sando or with waffles and a bunch of sides. No matter what you order you’ll need to decide on your level of spice… and F*CKING HELL, hot means HOT. We queued for over an hour to get our greasy fingers on this fried goodness – don’t worry it’s all natural chicken fried in peanut oil so it’s *technically* healthy… right? The sando is a butter bun filled with fried chicken breast, slaw, pickles and come back sauce. It brought tears to our eyes, no really. Like we said hot is HOT & when you touch your face with your hot seasoned fingers there ain’t no pickle juice that’s gonna save you. Do order the pickles though, and the fries. Be sure to sit inside too and enjoy the banging Hip Hop tunes and attractive male staff who are clearly having a great time serving the birds (aspiring actors apparently). Well worth the wait.
SON OF A GUN
Son of a Gun, West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Part of the Jon & Vinny restaurant group, Sun of a Gun specializes in seafood and like all of their other restaurants, it’s on point. We’ve worked our way through the whole menu – not a dud dish on there, but take our advice and order the uni, burrata, button mushroom and yuzu from the raw bar, load with Tabasco and let the flavour party begin. Other highlights include the yellowfin tuna, leche de tigre, avocado, tortilla which comes in a weird looking ball shape, and the shrimp toast sandwich. Decent cocktails and crisp wines make this a must visit.
Little Sister Downtown, 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Vietnamese joint Little Sister now has three locations in LA. The menu is a mash up of authentic Vietnamese dishes with on trend modern ingredients or “east-meets-west” as they call it. We haven’t had a bad dish but our highlights are the pork, shrimp and crab dumplings, the punchy Asian salads and the pho banh cuon rice rolls filled with thinly sliced beef and pickled onions. A decent soundtrack, 80s movies playing behind the bar add to the hipster appeal. Book or expect to queue.
Bavel, Mateo Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Bavel is the new Middle Eastern restauratn from the guys behind Bestia, which is often named the top Italian restaurant in LA, although we personally weren’t so impressed. Bavel however was pretty epic. Ndjua duck hummus, flat bread with chicken liver and an entree of perfectly cooked slow roasted lamb neck shawarma full of intense meaty flavour and bread soaked in meat fat finished us off. Go hungry or with a crowd if you want to try a few things as the dishes although meant for sharing are massive for two people.
Ricebar, 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
This tiny rice bar in DTLA is the perfect place for a cheap, fast lunch or dinner. The menu is centred around the rice bowls which come with the choice of 3 different rices, 8 toppings including our fave the lechon kawali AKA belly pork with crackling and housemade longganisa sausage, plus 4 add on toppings . There’s a couple of snacks too – don’t miss the shrimp and uni potstickers for 5 dollars they’re a steal!
Rossoblu, San Julian Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
This new Italian turned up in a fair few of the emails we set around asking for recs before our trip to the sunshine state. Located downtown, in the old fashion district with not much else around it’s a bit of a strange destination. It’s a big space, like many restaurants in LA, and on our trip it was jam packed. The food focuses on the Bologna region of Italy. We ate pillow light gnocchi fritti, alongside a board of delicious cured Italian meats and cheeses, followed by Nonna’s tagliatelle al ragu bolognese and sausage ragu pappardelle washed down with negronis. When in Rosso! Definitely worth scouting out.
Gjusta, Sunset Avenue, Venice, CA, USA
This restaurant is an LA staple that appears on many a recommendation list. Set in a huge warehouse space, Gjusta is a bakery come deli come restaurant that serves up everything from freshly baked goods to homecured meats and smoked fish, fresh pasta and all kinds of take home pickles, condiments, cheeses et al. It’s the kinda place you could easily blow a months wages in one go. It’s dangerous. Grab a seat on the terrace out back, order some of their incredible pasta, charcuterie boards and massive slices of freshly made pies. No booze though but man, this place is good.
LASA, North Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Hipster Filipino joint Lasa is located in an old mall in Chinatown, an area that’s becoming a bit of a foodie hub. The restaurant offers a small menu of seasonal Filipino-American dishes based around the owner’s upbringing. Think flat-iron steak tartare with patis aioli with salt & vinegar taro chips and Lumpia Sariwa which are Filipino rice rolls. It’s a great introduction to Filipino food if you’ve never tried it before and something a little different to the other places around town. It’s BYOB.
POLO LOUNGE @ THE BEVERLY HILL HOTEL
9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, United States
The iconic signage has lit up the Beverly Hills Hotel for generations. It is an old Hollywood classic, the inspiration for The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’, and a hangout for the rich and famous, where you are likely to spot a celeb or two. The hotel’s restaurant The Polo Lounge is the place to be seen, but it does come with a big price tag (not that that’s an issue for most people that come here). The decor is amazing, with rich green and white stripes, pristine white table cloths and outside space that is like a magical garden. You don’t necessarily come here for the food, but it is solid enough – the rigatoni bolognese is a veal and beef ragu that is deeply rich and satisfying. The crispy skin seabass, with summer squash, leeks and romesco sauce is a fairly light and healthy option, and the fried chicken comes with rainbow chard, homemade biscuit and hot sauce: be warned, this is damn hot so if you can handle your spice, then dive on in.
GRAND CENTRAL MARKET
Grand Central Market, South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, USA
As one of the oldest food markets in LA it’s impressive that Grand Central Market is still standing, having been around since 1917. The indoor streetfood market features an epic selection of traders, nearly 40, with everything from noodles to tacos and seafood to ice-cream . We went a fair few times and our highlights include EGGSLUT, the purveyors of the best egg sandwiches in the city, BBQ chicken, rice and papaya salad from Sticky Rice and all the ice-creams from McConnell’s. Go morning, noon or night (it’s open from 10am – 10pm) and there’s usually a good amount of vibes thrown in too.
Broken Shaker, West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Located on the roof of the Freehand hotel, Broken Shaker can get crazy busy, especially on Friday or Saturday night. It brings beach vibes around the pool with plastic furniture, funky tablecloths and a slightly DIY decor. Cocktails are punchy and you’ll even find one with CBD oil in it. Even without the added highs, two bad boys off the menu and you’re well on your way to jolly. There’s some decent food on the menu too, although that’s pretty punchy too – price wise. Service can be a little slow at busy times but it’s worth the wait.
THE LINE HOTEL
The LINE Los Angeles, Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, USA
There’s a lot of hotels in LA but one of our faves is The Line located in Korea Town. Whilst that might seem like a random location it’s actually opposite the subway line which is super effecient and clean – hooray for not sitting on the freeway in traffic. There’s also some incredible Korean resturatn’s such as Park’s BBQ close by. The rooms all have floor to ceiling windows so feel massive even though they are pretty compact and minimal, albiet filled with the essentials and plenty of quirky touches. There’s a decent pool, The Commisionary, a super instagrammable greenhouse restaurant and a hidden club behind a vending machine. Be sure to ask for a view of the Hollywood Hills!