Is this cheating? Probably. But Brandon Go’s masterful 10-course kaiseki menu is so flawless from start to finish, with each dish a seamless transition into the next, that it would be a crime to single out one bite in the three-hour procession. Last year we waxed on about the Hayato lunchtime bento box, but this year, we’re all in on its dinner: Less is more in this dive into Japanese fine dining, where Go coaxes out delicate flavors with traditional and technically stellar preparations. You’ll wind your way through the likes of an aromatic owan (bowl) soup course punctuated with a large and tender crab meatball; tender pieces of steamed abalone with a funky, unctuous abalone liver sauce; and a sushi course so fresh and bright you’ll spend the rest of the year hoping that Go might one day launch his own sushi restaurant. $240. —Stephanie Breijo
In addition to Michelin’s return and a sleek new bar popping up every other week, this was a year of great dining at every level: Some of L.A.’s best new dishes could be found for as little as $5, while others were worth the hundred-and-up–dollar splurge. We ate—and ate, and ate—our way through the best of them to close out the year with our guide to the best dishes we tasted this year. Whether they’re new or just new to you, here’s where to find some of L.A.’s best new dishes and drinks—at any price point.