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A rib-eye Korean barbecue spread at Daedo Sikdang, including four house sauces and green onion salad.
Photograph: Courtesy Skoop Marketing

The best new restaurants in Los Angeles to try right now

L.A.’s best new restaurants this September run the gamut from traditional French bistro fare to celebration-worthy pan-Asian plates.

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 super glad to have had the chance to dine out and drink again this summer. With only so many weekends in one season, however, you’re likely to have missed out on some of the city’s most notable restaurant openings amid reopening–and oh man, thanks to a year and a half of the pandemic, were there a lot of them.

Even if you’re already your friends’ go-to person for dining recommendations, it doesn’t hurt to get a helping hand sometimes. That’s where we at Time Out come in. Checking out this summer’s latest, hottest restaurant openings, we’ve trimmed down our best new restaurants list, separating true quality (in both food and overall experience) from just pure Insta-worthy social media hype. The city is buzzing again with new spots to try–and here’s the top of the top to keep you ahead of the L.A. dining curve as fall begins to set in.

September 2021: Looking for what’s new? Following a post-vax summer of reopening and possibly premature optimism, Los Angeles has entered the second fall of the global Covid-19 pandemic. After a summer chock full of delayed restaurant openings, we’ve narrowed our list to the ones that stood out, like an Art Deco lounge in K-town and a Chicago favorite from a Top Chef alum in the Arts District. Watch this space as we make our way through even more of L.A.’s late summer and upcoming fall openings in the next month.

Gotta try ’em all: The best new restaurants in L.A.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 3 of 4

The downstairs portion of a two-tier restaurant duo, Bicyclette’s polished wood interior and French wines by the half glass make you feel like you’ve stepped into an old-school Parisian bistro. With a rotating menu full of classics like escargots en croûte and bouillabaisse, as well as seasonal dishes like soft-shell crab à la grenobloise, veteran chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke bring traditional French flavor to this busy stretch of Pico Boulevard. The ambience is buzzing and warm, and feels a bit more intimate than the chef-couple’s other ventures, especially at the wood-paneled bar, (reserved for walk-ins). On the drinks front, Bicyclette’s whimsical cocktail zine offers new delights alongside a hefty, imported wine list. Don’t forget about dessert either: Margarita’s James Beard-nominated tarts and pastries are unforgettable.

  • Restaurants
  • Pan-Asian
  • West Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

Following an interior design overhaul, Doheny Room’s clubstaurant has relaunched as Sa’Moto, a pan-Asian restaurant and lounge. Started by Iron Chef Morimoto with SBE’s Disruptive Restaurant Group, the food at Sa’Moto is excellent enough to justify starting your WeHo night out a few hours earlier than your friends who always lag. The pan-Asian menu, including Morimoto’s signature Buri Bop—prepared tableside in a sizzling hot stone pot—is wide-ranging enough to please the pre-night out crowd, with enough nuanced flavor and careful execution to satisfy even those with more epicurean tastes. Their tuna pizza, which comes drizzled in anchovy aioli, offers a refreshing take on the typical upscale tuna tostada dish, while the ceviche prepared three ways inspires double-takes when it arrives tableside, clouds of dry ice smoke billowing from each glass.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Culver City
  • price 3 of 4

Located in the new Shay Hotel complex in Culver City, Etta is the first West Coast outpost of an Italian-ish Chicago restaurant known for its housemade pasta, large-format roasted meats and, last but not least, its noteworthy “porron and a Polaroid.” Using a Spanish-style wine decanter, diners can spend an entire evening pouring wine down each others’ throats while snapping photos with a provided Fujifilm Instax Mini—the ultimate way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or job promotion. With Brad Ray (of Antico and L.A.’s Nomad) on hand as executive chef, the party keeps going all the way through the dessert menu, which includes a vegan-friendly coconut sorbet or their mint chip semifreddo, a grown-ups’ version of grasshopper pie, the frozen mid-century treat.

  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Koreatown
  • price 3 of 4

Originally from Seoul, Daedo Sikdang is a pared-down tribute to South Korea’s hanu beef. Having drawn crowds since its soft opening, this experience is upscale Korean barbecue minimalism at its finest. Unlike other KBBQ spots that put the diner in the driver’s seat, the staff at Daedo plays chauffeur, expertly cutting your rib-eye and ensuring each diner gets perfectly grilled bite-sized pieces of meat. Although wait times can stretch into the hour-plus range, a round of soju-based mojitos at Daedo’s stunning bar makes that time disappear into thin air. To round out your meal, order their signature fried rice, meant to be eaten after you finish grilling. Made with imported South Korean kkakdugi, or fermented radish, it’s a perfect penultimate course when topped with a fried egg, all before ending with their refreshingly mild soft-serve ice cream for dessert.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 2 of 4

Another high-profile Midwestern import, this time from Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard, Girl & the Goat opened with all-around high praise in the Arts District this summer with its long-awaited, pandemic-delayed L.A. debut. Bringing some of the restaurant’s signature dishes from Chicago, like goat empanadas and sautéed green beans with fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews, Izard’s new L.A. location has also made quick work of Southern California’s abundant high-quality produce, including seasonal berries on the summer menu. Against the 200-seat restaurant’s airy, plant-heavy backdrop, located just down the street from Mediterranean hotspot Bavel, a meal at Girl & the Goat is the pinnacle of the bustling, buzzy dine-in restaurant experience we’ve missed for so much of the last 18 months. 

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Koreatown
  • price 3 of 4

With Art Deco design flourishes, high ceilings and chandeliers, Intercrew is a glamorous New (Asian) American homage to an early aughts Koreatown nightclub by the same name. Run by a culinary team that includes Otium and Bestia alums, Intercrew’s dinner menu features premium delights like A5 Japanese Wagyu, served with yuzukosho chili paste, and a dry-aged duck breast that marries the signature crisp of Peking duck to a richer traditional French preparation. For dessert, a burnt Basque cheesecake topped with strawberries and floral garnishes steals the show. Hosting live music and DJs Thursday through Sunday, as well as a cocktail menu by Julian Cox, Intercrew shines at dinner hour and beyond with its excellent food menu and moody late-night lounge vibes.

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

The Tokyo-founded ramen chain known for its yuzu shio broth has landed in the Arts District with a sleek, modern ramen-ya that features a full bar, indoor and outdoor seating, and even touch screen ordering systems. Afuri offers its own special take on classic broths, blending shio and tonkotsu together in one bowl, and crafting a tantanmen with hazelnut in another. Our tip: Opt for one of the varieties topped with tart yuzu oil, which cuts through some of the broths’ creaminess in a pleasant and balanced fashion. Order your ramen in broth or tsukemen-style, and add a side of house-made dumplings, which can come steamed or fried (there’s even a vegan version, made with cashews and kimchi). Small plates such as soft-shell crab buns and classic karaage round out the menu, but trust us: the star is the ramen.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Koreatown
  • price 1 of 4

With its rainbow hue umbrellas and a similarly brightly-colored interior, you’d find it hard to miss Gogo’s from the road. The third restaurant of Brittney Valles, who runs Guerilla Tacos and Hollywood’s Tiago Coffee Bar + Kitchen, Gogo’s Tacos in Rampart Village is a colorful, affordable and mission-driven restaurant that keeps the local community in mind. Serving customizable tacos, burritos and quesadillas that hover around the $10 mark, 20 percent of the proceeds from Gogo’s Tacos go to the Juan Carlos Cantoni Foundation, a nonprofit Valles operates to support local at-risk emerging adults in L.A. through job opportunities and mental health resources. Valles’s tacos, ordered Gogo’s style, can come with melted cheese and an irresistible kewpie mayo-based sauce, or topped with the usual salsa, cilantro and onions.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 3 of 4

From the same team behind Sugarfish, Uovo and HiHo Cheeseburger comes Matū, an upscale Beverly Hills steakhouse whose interior design hovers somewhere between classic American steakhouse and a Eurocentric Lost in Translation-style idea of a Japanese cocktail bar. With its laser focus on different preparations of grass-fed Wagyu beef, Matū’s tasting menu offerings are a boon for high quality red meat lovers. Given its rotating, solid array of side dishes and desserts, including yuzu salt-spiked bone broth and braised beef cheeks atop a celeriac puree, we consider Matū a refreshingly minimalist tasting menu addition to L.A.’s wide-ranging steakhouse scene. Tip: Although they also offer dishes à la carte, the $78 per person tasting menu is the best way to go for first-time visitors.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Larchmont Village
  • price 2 of 4

Venice Beach’s favorite Australian inspired all-day eatery just opened its second location in Larchmont Village, featuring the breezy cafe’s same top-notch pizzas, grain bowls and breakfast favorites that have made it a hit closer to the Pacific Ocean. Like its original location, Great White’s Larchmont outpost features floor-to-ceiling windows and expanded outdoor seating perfect for a quick weekday lunch catch-up with a friend or coworker. With a laid-back ambience, tasteful khaki-colored interior and excellent food, it’s likely to become a neighborhood spot for locals. In the future, the culinary team plans to add Larchmont-specific dishes; for now, enjoy its deceptively simple brunch offerings and small but mighty wine list.

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  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Culver City

Housed in the former Bacoshop/Amacita space in Culver City, Wise Sons Jewish Deli is the first L.A. area location of a popular San Francisco deli chain. Started by Ventura native Evan Bloom and his brother, Ari, this prime corner spot now serves a solid array of latkes, bagels, pastrami sandwiches and other Jewish deli favorites to a neighborhood crowd hungry for a decent brunch-time nosh. Wise Sons’ menu also pays homage to Langer’s with a No. 19 pastrami sandwich, as well as offering sweeter dishes like challah French toast and à la carte sides of babka and rugelach. Don’t miss out on their latkes: Ordered by the piece, they come with a side of sour cream and a smooth, chutney-like applesauce.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • West Adams
  • price 2 of 4

Mala – the unique numbing and spicy quality of Sichuan peppers – remains the name of the game at Mian, the second noodle-focused restaurant from Tony Xu and Sean Xie, the partners behind Chengdu Taste, L.A.’s first Sichuan breakout sensation that opened in 2013. With beer and wine offerings, similar to Mian’s location in Artesia that opened earlier this year, Mian’s easily decodable menu (for both mala and spice level) ensures the heat-averse can rest easy each time they order a bowl of Chongqing-style noodles or pick from the restaurant’s varied selection of hot and cold Chinese appetizers. To make sure you can still feel the bottom half of your face, order their iced mung bean tea, a sweet, slightly earthy drink that plays well with the heat of Sichuan cuisine.

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