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The most exciting restaurant and bar openings of July 2016

Here's Looking at You
Photograph: Courtesy Here's Looking at You

It's hard to keep up with all the restaurant and bar openings, closings, chef swaps and revamps that happen every day in this city. What's worth spending your money on and what's all just hype? We're here to help you out with that. At the end of each month, we'll give a recap of the most exciting additions to enter LA's dining and drinking scene, whether it's a new ice cream shop or a creative cocktail bar. Here are a few July openings that are worth a visit.

Citizen (Beverly Hills): Chef Scott Howard has brought a choose-your-own-adventure experience to Citizen in Beverly Hills, where diners are encouraged to select from table snacks, raw, vegetable, seafood and meat plates in a communal setting. Nibble on Pacific oysters, Sonoma lamb meatballs and buttermilk biscuits while waiting for larger plates of Spanish octopus and smoked short ribs. Citizen's happy hour—4 to 7pm, Monday through Friday—features seven dishes and drinks at $7 a pop. 

Pico House (Various locations): We first tried Pico House at the latest LA Food Fest, and became immediate fans. It's no wonder: the roving food truck has some serious culinary heavyweights behind its standout grain bowls; the three founding chefs have worked at esteemed restaurants like Blue Hill, Bestia and Sullivan Street Bakery. Here you'll find bowls filled with barley, farro, rye and more, crafted into winning combinations named after Los Angeles neighborhoods: Robertson short rib, Crenshaw meatballs, Union lamb. Find them by following the Pico House schedule on Twitter.

Belle's Bagels (Highland Park): Belle's Bagels is back in business after a lengthy hiatus with a new takeaway window, this time at the Hi Hat in Highland Park. Rolled by hand, the goods are made fresh daily, and include traditional picks such as sesame, plain, poppy and everything, along with delicious bagel sandwiches like the Loxsmith: lox, salmon skin, dill and beet cream cheese. Be sure to get there early on the weekends since they sell out pretty quickly.

Here's Looking at You (Koreatown): Chef Jonathan Whitener (Animal) and co-owner Lien Ta have opened a casual, progressive restaurant in Koreatown, a space where diners can indulge in hearty plates of Scottish salmon, Japanese saba, heritage pork chops and heirloom tomatoes. Desserts take the form of unique flavor combinations (think: bubble gum ice cream or yuzu tarts), while a fun cocktail menu offers 13 drinks—each with their own creative backstory. 

El Tejano (North Hollywood): There is Mexican food, and then there is Tex-Mex, where everything is supposed to be bigger and better. El Tejano is a Tex-Mex restaurant that opened in the heart of North Hollywood, featuring an extensive menu that includes speciality tacos, salsas, Frito pie, craft beer and, of course, tequila. One huge draw: The restaurant has happy hour all day, every day.

Erven (Santa Monica): Chef Nick Erven's namesake restaurant boasts plant-based food for even the most meat-loving omnivores among us. The marketplace and eatery is housed in a modern, airy space, and offers dishes like sunchoke bread pudding, a beer battered tofu sandwich and scallion pancakes. If you're looking for something on the go, the marketplace offers prepared salads, pastries and sandwiches for lunch. 

71Above (Downtown): Situated high atop the US Bank Tower—71 floors, to be exact—71Above dazzled diners this month with a stunning view of Los Angeles to accompany modern American fare from chef Vartan Abgaryan (Cliff's Edge). Prix-fixed meals can be had in either the dining room or at the bar, with dishes like poached oysters, agnolotti, steak tartar and scallops gracing the menu. The Skylounge allows visitors to enjoy cocktails, beer and wine while taking in the sights. 

Did you miss our favorite openings from June? Check out the list from last month