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Photograph: Courtesy gry spce Kodo

The best new restaurants in Los Angeles to try right now

This May, check out West African fare Downtown, the return of a beloved Spanish eatery in Silver Lake and an upscale izakaya in the Arts District.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
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If you’ve already eaten through L.A.’s best restaurants and sipped cocktails at the hottest bars from the Westside to Downtown, you’re probably the type of person who loves checking out the city’s newest eateries, but hates spending money on overhyped duds. In 2022, we’re helping you decide where to head next with a vetted list of the best new kids on the block—since there’s nothing worse in the realm of leisure than wasting one’s precious, typically limited free time and entertainment budget.

Updated on a monthly basis, our best new restaurants list takes into account both the quality of cuisine and overall ambience. Our guide steers clear of the social media hype cycle, gives thoughtful ordering tips and lets you know exactly what to expect in terms of crowd, vibe and cuisine at upscale Hollywood hot spots, laidback fast-casual joints and everything in between. If necessary, we also make recommendations as to when, and how, to fit these new restaurants into your finite leisure time and budget—whether they’re worth driving out of your way for, or perhaps better suited for locals in the neighborhood.

In the interest of price transparency and reader convenience, we also strive to include valet costs and parking availability for every restaurant—further taking the headache out of your next great new meal in Los Angeles. 

May 2022: Looking for what’s new? We’ve wiped half the slate clean, including a few excellent major December openings: Mother Wolf, Ka'Teen and Kinn in Koreatown, and added eight buzzy (and delicious) new eateries, from two side-by-side sibling spots livening up Silver Lake's Sunset Junction to a vegetarian-focused strip mall gem in Koreatown. We've also included Manzke, which we previously reviewed shortly after it opened in March. Given the fact that masks are still “strongly recommended” by L.A. County public health officials, we’ve elected to continue including outdoor dining callouts on this month’s list for anyone wishing to dine en plein air.

Gotta try ’em all: Our favorite new restaurants in L.A.

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4

From start to finish, this newly opened French-leaning tasting menu concept above Bicyclette by Walter and Margarita Manzke encapsulates the best of L.A. fine dining. Consisting of a dozen or so seafood-centric courses, the $225 tasting menu available is absolutely worth it for anyone hoping to indulge for a special occasion. Those who shell out will experience the purest expression of the couple’s combined culinary mastery. In addition to all the trappings of sophistication such high prices normally command, every major aspect of the ample tasting menu delivers, for a dazzling, gourmand-style meal that fits right in among the likes of Providence and Mélisse. For more details, read our full review. $15 valet and street parking along Pico.

  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • Silver Lake
  • price 3 of 4

With a raucous, party-like atmosphere, excellent Spanish cuisine and an even better drink selection, the surprising return of Bar Moruno (formerly at the Original Farmers Market) has already taken Silver Lake by storm. Tables fill up nightly with diners feasting on imported Iberian fish—also available at its daytime-only shop Rápido—confit-style pan con tomate and a must-order tortilla española. Casual yet stylish, the restaurant knows its flighty target audience; as a result, you’d be equally happy whether stopping in for tapas at the walk-in-only bar or enjoying a multi-course dinner. Book ahead if you can, and make sure to splurge on the hefty, chorizo-filled Scotch egg. $9 valet across the street—look for the pet store Echo Bark—and limited street parking.

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  • Restaurants
  • Peruvian
  • Silver Lake
  • price 3 of 4

A couple yards over from Bar Moruno (and owned by the same hospitality group), this equally lively eatery by Rosaliné’s Ricardo Zarate offers the prolific L.A. chef’s take on nikkei, or Peruvian-Japanese cuisine. The restaurant’s minimalist dining room nods to both countries with art and design flourishes, but what truly steals the scene is Causita’s hidden patio out back, where wicker lamps overhead and lush greenery combine for a swoon-worthy backdrop perfect for dates or groups of friends. Zarate’s flavorful small plates meld perfectly with the restaurant’s wine, sake and cocktail program, which is just as impressive as its Spanish counterpart next door. Highlights include the lobster dumplings (pictured), nikkei-style nigiri and the sea bass tamale. Outdoor dining available. Shared $9 valet with Bar Moruno across the street and limited street parking.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 3 of 4

At Camphor, light-as-a-cloud French cuisine feels more than apt within the restaurant’s airy white and blue dining room, where old-school touches and a featherweight culinary approach combine in a stunning blend of elegant, yet nontraditional, fine dining. Inside the former Nightshade space, Alain Ducasse veterans Max Boonthanakit and Lijo George offer what looks like the usual French bill of fare, with one major twist: far, far less butter and oil. Combined with a few South Asian-inspired dishes—the must-order gunpowder baby shrimp among them—Camphor’s refined, slightly tweaked menu of classics puts the Arts District bistro in a class of its own. This extends to dessert, where a phenomenal savarin with passionfruit glaze and kiwi glacée hold their own next to a hot cocoa-inspired take on chocolate soufflé. $14 valet parking (with additional fees for credit cards) and limited street parking.

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  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 2 of 4

If Venice’s Gjusta introduced Angelenos to the beauty of a gourmet deli experience, Yangban Society in the Arts District is perfecting it. In the former Bon Temps space, Napa fine dining veterans Katianna and John Hong blend together Korean and Jewish culinary traditions with daily cold salads and pickled vegetables, excellent standalone dishes like jajang bolognese rice and downright delightful Girl & Dug ssam boxes. Full of perilla and lettuce leaves, they’re designed to ferry morsels of larger protein entrées. Yangban also features an inviting brick-lined patio space, a bright blue Super towards the back (where patrons can pick up drinks and assorted goods) and a new nightly family-style tasting menu for $50 per head. Outdoor dining available. $5 valet and limited street parking.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 3 of 4

L.A. is one upscale izakaya richer with Kodo, a minimalist Arts District bar-restaurant from the group behind Kensho. Located inside Rykn, a Japanese ryokan-style hotel opening this summer, the sleek indoor-outdoor space invites patrons to partake in glasses of sake, natural wine and breezy highballs alongside a five-section menu of traditional booze-complementing fare. Excellent nigiri and sashimi made with imported seafood make an appearance on every table, but Kodo’s izakaya, robata and more uncommon sushi items are where it truly stands out: Take the tsukune, a chicken patty topped with egg yolk and yakitori sauce, or the old-school saba bozushi, made with cured wild mackerel. There’s many ways to drink and dine at Kodo—from a few bites at the bar to a $120 per head omakase—and frankly, all of them would delight hardcore fans of Japanese cuisine. Outdoor dining available. $10 valet and limited street parking.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Westside
  • price 2 of 4

Inside a sparse Pico Boulevard pizzeria with limited seating, husband-and-wife duo William Joo and Jennifer So have one larger, quite lofty goal in mind: making the best pizza in Los Angeles. According to Joo, a veteran of Ronan and Pizzana, among other L.A. Italian spots, a Tokyo-style Neapolitan is the only best-in-town contender there is: a thin, blistered dough pie with highly pinched crusts, which results in an almost mochi-like consistency. The final product is simple, delicious and light. Is it the best pizza in town? It might very well be. While you’ll also find excellent salads and other small plates on Pizzeria Sei’s menu, the reason to make the drive here is the pizza, and plenty of people have already begun to figure it out. As of writing, this tiny, bootstrapped pizzeria is already selling out daily, so head there early if you'd like to try. Outdoor dining available; limited street parking.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

This sports bar and everyday eatery in Hollywood comes by way of pandemic popup Ronnie’s Kickin, whose gourmet fried chicken gained a cult following in quarantine. While you’ll still find lemon pepper tenders and luscious confit wings here, fine dining alum Ronnie Muñoz hopes to further broaden chef-driven comfort food horizons with offerings like a deep-fried “flowering” onion—wink, wink—infused with fennel, house-cured bacon and gravy poutine and a skillet cookie made with Callebaut chocolate. (Takeout window Besties next door brings the same approach to hamburgers and shakes.) The end result? A shoo-in lunch spot for nearby Netflix employees and a welcome antidote to all the ultra-fancy, ultra-expensive Hollywood restaurants opening nearby. Outdoor dining and limited street parking.

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 2 of 4

After years of planning, Downtown’s Gusto Green is now finally open. At this sleek ground floor eatery inside a cannabis industry incubator, chef Michael Magliano integrates the use of hemp leaves and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids on a largely plant-based menu. If this sounds gimmicky to you, you’re not the only one, but Gusto Green’s vegetable-driven fare surprisingly reads as fresh, flavorful and utterly delicious. The restaurant’s atrium, soon to be lined with plants, and relaxing color scheme also make for a stylish yet comfortable dining experience. Other menu standouts include the blood orange hamachi crudo, beet gnocchetti and the fudgy almond cake dusted with matcha powder. Of course, the painstakingly sourced chickpea-battered hemp leaves make an appearance on most tables. Outdoor dining available. Limited street parking and paid lots.

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Downtown
  • price 3 of 4

The Walt Disney Concert Hall’s upscale restaurant by Ray Garcia is now here, where the award-winning local chef sharply deviates from the influential Mexican American fare at Broken Spanish that made him famous. Instead, Asterid serves Garcia’s own take on hyper-seasonal California cuisine to pre-show diners in the bustling dining room and outside clientele relaxing on the former Patina space’s newly added outdoor patio. Though much the menu plays it safe for the Music Center’s older, show-going crowd, the chef’s unique touches still shine through in dishes like sunchoke rosti with berry-sweet pepper and a caviar- and crema-topped organic squash tamal—making it a worthwhile upscale dinner spot for those in the area and longtime fans of the chef’s genre-bending cuisine. Outdoor dining available. $15 valet, $9 self-parking at the Music Center and limited street parking.

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  • Restaurants
  • West African
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 2 of 4

The latest addition to L.A.’s fairly small African dining scene (beyond Little Ethiopia), this tiny Black-owned restaurant in Downtown L.A. serves an excellent dinnertime selection of West African dishes. While the must-order here is beef suya—a popular Nigerian street food covered in an addicting blend of spiced ground peanuts—every item on its small, vegetarian-friendly menu is flavorful, satisfying and deeply comforting, from the chicken wing stew served with plantains and jollof rice to the chef’s special stir-fried egg noodles. Combined with excellent service and hospitality (first-timers receive a glass of free wine), a meal at this cozy Downtown eatery is worth the trek for all current and future aficionados of West African cuisine. $10 private lot at 334 South Main Street and extremely limited metered parking.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Silver Lake

While the pizza at this strip mall spot is completely vegan (a boon for those who eat, or try to eat, fully plant-based), it’s also just damn good. Located in northern Silver Lake—close to Frogtown and Atwater Village—Hot Tongue offers delicious, freshly made pies both whole and by the slice. Pick from the eclectic neon pink shop’s thick Detroit-style squares, New York triangles and a gluten-free option, plus a small menu of salads and apps. All dishes are made with housemade plant-based cheese and toppings that lean more towards seasonal vegetables, rather than commercial faux-meats. Thus far, neighorhood locals and vegan Angelenos have already gravitated toward the place, and you should too—the next time you find yourself in the area. Strip mall and street parking.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • Koreatown
  • price 2 of 4

Led by former Gracias Madre head chef Mario Alberto, this adorable new strip mall eatery in Koreatown features Asian-inspired vegetarian cuisine and some of the best non-alcoholic drinks we’ve had this year. Craveworthy appetizers like fried olives in truffle honey and whipped nut-based ricotta and a funky cheese-and-banchan plate set the stage for heartier, veggie-focused entrées and wood-fired pizzas, where unique ingredients meld for dishes that pop with every bite. While Olivia’s charming interior feels worlds away from the urban sprawl outside, this scrappy neighborhood spot stands out thanks to culinary chops and thoughtful service (read: don’t expect an expansive, scene-y outdoor dining situation). Strip mall parking.

  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Koreatown
  • price 2 of 4

It’s all in the details at LA Tofu House, a strip mall gem on the eastern end of Koreatown giving a certain three-letter soondubu spot a run for its money. Whether opting for a standard tofu soup or their delicious octopus bibimbap, each dish supersedes others in quality by leaps and bounds, with a slight premium to match across the (still quite affordably priced) menu. Combined with all-day hours—which stretch to 3am on weekends—and easy $3 valet parking, this tiny restaurant on Vermont Avenue is a must-go for neighborhood residents, those who love homestyle Korean cuisine and night owls in search of a cozy afterhours meal. $3 valet and basically impossible street parking.

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Downtown Fashion District
  • price 3 of 4

The Hoxton’s new rooftop restaurant comes courtesy of Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat, which easily snagged a spot on our annual best new restaurant list last year. In similar Chicago-to-L.A. fashion, Downtown’s Cabra is the second location of the Top Chef winner’s Peruvian-inspired small plates concept, with Izard’s usual sharp, playful takes on dishes like striped bass ceviche and lomo saltado. From appetizers to dessert, there’s something memorable and delicious for everyone to love at Cabra. For us, the quinoa and tuna salad’s bright flavors and sweet potato doughnuts stood out above all else. Together with excellent cocktails and interior design chops, this breezy destination-worthy eatery is an obvious choice for your next big night out. Outdoor dining available; $15 hotel valet and limited street parking.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

The latest project from the nightlife-oriented Tao Group, Lavo Ristorante in West Hollywood thankfully dials way, way back on clubstaurant vibes. Instead, the stunning Italian restaurant—with a Vegas sister club—brings a glamorous lounge feel to the Sunset Strip, complete with a glittering bar, modern chandeliers and plenty of foliage in the dining room. The dinner menu and style of service is similarly showstopping, from the one-pound Wagyu meatball to your server offering plated slices of citrus for one’s water. Seasonal crudités drizzled in Brightland olive oil, a delightful assortment of Italian sweets and plenty of tableside fanfare make this glitzy spot an excellent choice for birthdays, date nights and any night intended to impress. $16 valet and extremely limited street parking.

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