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, I'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 October openings that are worth a visit:
Pok Pok (Chinatown): Andy Ricker's Pok Pok has finally landed in Chinatown, and after a visit last week, I've found that it's already living up to the hype. Order those famous wings, the Da Chom's Laap Meuang, the Pok Pok Affogato—even a cocktail, if you're in the mood for it. Pok Pok has a full liquor license, and an entire category called "Drinking Food." Just be sure to read up on their reservation system.
Button Mash (Echo Park): Whatever you want to call it—barcade, restaurant, bar—Button Mash has brought something entirely unique to Echo Park. The food, which comes from once-underground-restaurant Starry Kitchen, is fantastic (get the crispy tofu balls, of course); the selection of arcade games is impressive; and they have a wine called Malbec Invaders. Need I say more?
Viviane (Beverly Hills): Chef Michael Hung made a splash with Faith & Flower, but his latest project is just as vibrant: Viviane, a gorgeous, mid-century beauty inside the Avalon Hotel. Hung is offering up American and European cuisine with a California twist for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner—dine poolside to channel a true Beverly Hills vibe.
Southland Beer (Koreatown): Craft beer originating from the Southland—Southern California, that is—dominates the beer list at this new Koreatown beer bar, where breweries like Smog City, Monkish and Three Weavers make a regular appearance. Nestled into a strip mall, the bar might be a tad hard to find, but when you locate it you'll be rewarded with quality suds and, if you're in the mood for a bite, cheese and charcuterie boards.
Blue Star Donuts (Venice): Yet another PDX import landed in LA this month with the arrival of Blue Star Donuts. Portland's beloved donut shop has set up a brick and mortar in Venice, bringing its creative flavors like blueberry bourbon basil, hard apple cider fritters and piña colada to the Westside. LA-specific flavors will soon be sold: strawberry shortcake, grenache ganache and mimosa, because we all know how much Angelenos love boozy brunching.
The Fiscal Agent (Studio City): Julian Cox finally opened his first solo project, a gorgeous cocktail bar above Barrel & Ashes in Studio City. The drink menu is an homage to long-forgotten cocktails with a modern twist, and each visitor receives an amuse before their drink arrives. Food comes by way of chef Michael Kahikina from downstairs, with scallops and duck both making an appearance on the menu.
Maru (West LA): Chef Jason Park just opened Maru, a French-Japanese restaurant in West LA offering both omakase sushi and take-out sandwiches, along with cocktails from drink master Matt Biancaniello.
Trois Familia (Silver Lake): The long-awaited project from Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo has arrived in the form of Trois Familia, a French and Mexican café serving breakfast and lunch daily. Inside the Silver Lake eatery you'll find dishes like blueberry buttermilk pancakes, hash brown chilaquiles, double-decker potato tacos and avocado sushi rice—just be prepared for a wait.
Did you miss our favorite openings from September? Check out the list from last month.