Sure, it’s a bit of a production just for lunch. Bento orders must be placed at least 24 hours in advance, only 16 of them are made each day, and chef Brandon Go toils for hours on end, but when you finally lift the lid off of this traditional Japanese meal, you’ll see what all the fuss is about. The chef, who trained in Michelin-starred kitchens, painstakingly, artfully rolls, folds or delicately tweezers each of your 15 to 19 items into one of his high-end bento boxes, where nothing is an afterthought. Cubes of fried, house-made crab tofu sit snugly against tender agedashi eggplant, while the caramelized, two-day-marinated saikyo yaki black cod outshines Nobu’s famed version. Even the rice, which could easily be mundane, gains flavor from vegetable stock, mitsuba and burdock root—lest you think this bento is filler, not killer. Talk about a power lunch. $46. —Stephanie Breijo
It’s been a big year for restaurant openings and amazing new bars in Los Angeles, which means it’s been a huge year for new dishes and cocktails. Cheeseburger dumplings? Large-format steaks? The best burrata salad of your life? Twenty new kinds of pizza? Before you get so overwhelmed that you stay home and order takeout from the same place you’ve been eating three times a week for the last six years, read our guide to the absolute best of the latest, then use it as a checklist and try something new—whether it's new-new, or just new to you. No matter your neighborhood or budget—and regardless of traffic—you need to try these buzzy dishes and drinks right now. Here are the best things we ate this year.
See Also: the Best New Restaurants of 2018, the Best New Bars of 2018, the Best L.A. Cookbooks of 2018, Restaurant Revamps We Loved This Year, Our Top 10 Food and Drink Stories of 2018 and the Best of 2018.