LA's food scene, once dismal, has come of age in a big way over the last couple of years and now rates in the first rank of American cities. Or near it, anyway. To take its measure, you'll want to go to these restaurants, the best it has to offer.
Suzanne Goin's elegant, seminal LA restaurant dispenses the kind of impeccably sourced, seasonal, deceptively simple food once called "California Cuisine" and now understood as the way all the best chefs cook from coast to coast.
LA's top sushi destination is expensive, demanding, and hard to get into, and there's a reason: the sushi here is so sublime, so incredibly sourced, and so explosive in its effects, that it's hard to find a skeptic.
Everyone has their favorite Korean place in LA, and this BBQ is mine. You get all the intense seasoning and searing of the most authentic Korean grills, but with a much better level of meat. The combination is pure nitro!
A lot of LA chefs talk the seasonal / local game, and why shouldn't they? California is a food paradise. But few have the art, originality, and sophisticaton of Quinn Hatfield, the brilliant chef behind Hatfield's.
A joint venture between Italian superchef Mario Batali and bread whiz Nancy Silverton, Mozza has become one of the shining stars of LA's dining scene, largely on the strength of its pastas and very fine pizza.
Jon Snook and Vinnie Dotolo created a cult with this humble meatery, the first truly hardcore snout-to-tail such operation in town. The cool factor and rocking attitude helped, but the food is also very original and very good, which is what mattered most.
If pressed for my favorite LA restaurant, I always come up with this West Hollywood meatery, in which the chefs do very little other than salt and grill some of the best small-farm meat in America. The breakfast program is outrageous too.
Michael Volttaggio's LA modernist restaurant is no regular tweezer restaurant: the chef has a powerful vision and and the technical mastery to express it with immense force and singularity. This is one of the best restaurants in America.
Wolfgang Puck's signature restaurant is often alluded to slightingly, as if its patronage by Hollywood players in the 80s and 90s somehow discredited it. In fact it's superb, up-to-date, and continues to help define the way chefs have learned to foreground great ingredients without giving up great technique.
The successor to the much-loved Oxtail Canteen has come a huge hit, thanks to its eclectic and robust small plates menu -- and in particular its ballsy, intense vegetable dishes.