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Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

The best new restaurants in Los Angeles to try right now

Gold-flaked dumplings, one of the world's most famous chefs and more—here are L.A.’s best new restaurants this month

By Stephanie Breijo

If you’re the type who’s already eaten through L.A.’s best restaurants and keeps an eye on the top bars around town, you’re probably the kind of Angeleno who’s always looking for what’s next. You’re your friend group’s go-to when it comes to dining advice, and while you can appreciate the oldies-but-goodies, you’re constantly on the hunt for the newest must-try—a huge feat, considering a restaurant, coffee shop or bar seems to open every day. Fortunately, we’re here to help with the top of the latest and greatest spots that’ve opened within the last month or two. Here’s our guide to the restaurants you need to try in March, so you can always stay ahead of the curve.

Looking for what’s newest? Our March additions include the first U.S. restaurant from one of the world’s most famous Italian chefs; an all-new concept from the legendary Josiah Citrin; the upscale dim sum joint of your gold-flake dreams and more.

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

Lost Spirits Distillery tasting menu Fish or Flesh Los Angeles Arts District
Photograph: Jesse Hsu

1. Fish or Flesh

Restaurants American creative Downtown Arts District

You’re in the jungle and draped in furs, sipping vintage champagne from dainty teacups. You’re also in a former parking lot in the center of the Arts District. Fish or Flesh is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and that’s because the minds who created the city’s most whimsical distillery tour just gave us L.A.’s most immersive, mystifying and primal new tasting menu: That’s right, the team behind Lost Spirits Distillery—they who built a sailable river through their booze factory—now own a restaurant. A 10-or-so-course procession of dishes inspired by The Island of Doctor Moreau arrives on swords, in ceramic animals, or carried on wooden planks to the sound of dramatic drums. It’s beautiful, it’s creative, it’s an unreal experience, and it’s helmed by Taylor Persh, a Trois Mec vet who works culinary magic to turn cocktails into fried doughnuts and a whole pig’s head into delicate, elegant morsels. The meal runs two hours, but also includes an additional two-hour tour of the distillery—which you don’t want to miss—so grab some friends, take a seat at the long wooden table under banana trees and chandeliers, and spend a night reveling in this weirdness. Find more on the insanity here.

Melisse tasting menu Santa Monica
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

2. Mélisse

Restaurants French Santa Monica

Josiah Citrin renovated and reimagined his Santa Monica stalwart—a long-time high watermark in L.A. tasting menus—and we’re pleased to report that it feels just as special as the original Mélisse, but with entirely new flavor. Of course, there’s also a new setting, a more private vibe and that entirely new menu (don’t worry, you can still find some of the chef’s trademarks next door at the adjoining spot, Citrin), giving us a familiar fine-dining experience with a little freshening up. Now cordoned off in a near-hidden alcove within the greater Citrin space, Mélisse seats only 14 and delivers exquisite and detail-oriented dishes: caviar in chawanamushi with Hokkaido uni; spiny lobster whose sauce has been pressed via antique contraption; delicate wagyu strip loin with anchovy and shallots; a rich chestnut soup with even richer truffle foam. It’s good to have you back, Mélisse, and you were more than worth the wait.

Kismet Rotisserie chicken Los Feliz restaurant
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

3. Kismet Rotisserie

Restaurants Californian Los Feliz

Fill ’er up: Kismet’s long-anticipated rotisserie is finally here, and our plastic yellow trays runneth over. The California-Mediterranean go-to launched its casual and stylish roast-chicken shack just down the block, and it’s just as charming and modern as its full-service counterpart. Order succulent quarter, half and whole chicken with salads, hummus and sides like schmaltz potatoes or yogurt-and-fennel cabbage, all while sipping house carrot gingerade and other breezy, so-L.A. concoctions. The plates here can add up fast—though there’s enough to feed multiple people, and with the extra sides, for multiple meals—while solo diners might want to dive into the refreshing pita sandwiches. No matter which route you choose, just be sure to finish with a halva pudding cup.

Pearl River Delta Chinatown restaurant
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

4. Pearl River Deli

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

One of L.A.’s best pop-ups found a permanent home in one of our favorite food destinations. Johnny Lee is the underground king of char siu, and after a stint in Chicago, the pop-up chef returned and reprised his Cantonese comfort-food concept, Pearl River Deli (formerly Pearl River Delta)—and now, you can always find it in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza. Sitting pretty in the former Baohaus stall, PRD also sells a rotation of hits such as gorgeously lacquered char siu, Hainan chicken, Typhoon-shelter shrimp, the occasional leaf-wrapped rice zhong (made by Lee’s own mother), Hong Kong-style beef curry, a Macau-style fried pork chop sandwich, and an absurdly delicious scrambled egg sandwich studded with bits of char siu, with the option to upgrade a pineapple bolo roll as the bun. Welcome home, Johnny Lee. 

Gucci Osteria in Beverly Hills Massimo Borruta
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

5. Gucci Osteria

Restaurants Italian Beverly Hills

Save your pennies, because this is some haute cuisine. At the intersection of fashion and food is Gucci Osteria, Florence’s Michelin-starred restaurant from Gucci—yes, that Gucci—and world-famous chef Massimo Bottura. It’s fitting that our location sits above Rodeo Drive, where you can dive into tortellini and insalata di mare while watching the stylish masses come and go, and after, do a bit of shopping yourself. The Italian cuisine here isn’t inexpensive, but it’s certainly special: The burger alone runs $35—but is made from ingredients almost entirely sourced from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy—while Bottura’s famous tortellini will set you back $40 for a small bowl. This is a destination, and when paired with the alfresco setting, is well worth diverting for, even if just to say you’ve dined at Massimo Bottura’s first U.S. restaurant.

Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

6. Chef Tony Dim Sum

Restaurants Chinese Old Pasadena

For shrimp-stuffed Chinese doughnuts and the kind of garlicky har gow we’ll be thinking about for days, you’re going to need to see Tony. Chef Tony He’s Canada-based dim sum has headed south, landing in Pasadena with Cantonese congee and other staples, plus lobster noodles, gold-leaf–topped shrimp dumplings, pandan pork buns, and truffled roast chicken from day into night. Don’t look for the rolling carts; instead, servers hand-ferry upscale dumplings and classics alike, with many options available by individual piece so you can really get to tasting your way through the menu. There’s gold flake on the squid ink dumplings and truffle on the Chinese broccoli, adding a little extravagance to the dim sum experience, but don’t think that means your wallet’s going to need a break: Most dim sum here can be found for around $7 per plate, while individual pieces go for as little as $1.80.

Maude Curtis Stone South Australia tasting menu Beverly Hills
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

7. Maude

Restaurants Contemporary European Beverly Hills

OK, so we’re cheating on this one: Maude isn’t a new restaurant, but its new quarterly wine region menu is only available through March, it’s truly fantastic, and it entirely benefits a great cause—so you’ve got one month to taste Curtis Stone’s imaginative journey through South Australia and help aid bushfire victims. Together with executive chef Chris Flint and wine director Andrey Tolmachyov, Stone mingles spanner crab gelée with trout roe and indigenous flora such as lemon myrtle, while even comfort foods appear with the fine-dining touch: Aussie hand pies, but filled with with celery root and rutabaga, for instance, or a “tea service” of pheasant broth with fresh bread whose accompanying butter spread is swirled with a luscious house-made black-sesame vegemite. To sweeten the deal, Maude is donating 100 percent of its profits from this menu to Drought Angels, a nonprofit for Australian farmers impacted by this winter’s fires. Find more on the South Australia menu here.

Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

8. Citrin

Restaurants Contemporary American Santa Monica

When Josiah Citrin revamped his stalwart tasting-menu concept (see above), the menu wasn’t the only thing that changed. By carving out a smaller corner of his Mélisse space for a more intimate experience, he created room for Citrin: an all-new and more casual restaurant. This is the kind of place with comforting but wholly gourmet takes on classics we could eat every night: pitch-perfect roast chicken coated in garlic and breadcrumbs; refreshing oysters under sorrel and cucumber; and, of course, Josiah Citrin’s cult-classic lobster bolognese under truffle foam, which can also be found at the bar during happy hour (note: now one of the best happy hours on the Westside).

Sogo Restaurant hand roll bar Los Feliz
Photograph: Courtesy Sōgo Roll Bar/Ren Fuller

9. Sōgo Roll Bar

Restaurants Japanese Los Feliz

Like a Voltron of great ideas, the teams behind Sushi Note and a collective of some of the city’s best concepts (including Bar Covell, Augustine Wine Bar and Oriel) joined forces for a charming and casual new hand-roll bar in the heart of Los Feliz’s buzzy and buzzing Hollywood Boulevard stretch. Sushi Note’s Kiminobu Saito shapes the program of straightforward and high-quality hand rolls, and adds in a few of his reimagined Sherman Oaks classics: At Sushi Note, for instance, his house gravlax nigiri comes dabbed with sour cream, while at Sōgo, you’ll find it packed into a hand roll and coated in the flavorful and refreshing cream sauce. This is a no-reservations restaurant, so be sure to snag a spot early.

Hotville Nashville Hot Chicken Crenshaw Los Angeles
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

10. Hotville Chicken

Restaurants Soul and southern American Baldwin Hills

All hail Kim Prince, descendant and torch carrier of Nashville’s iconic (and first) hot chicken restaurant. The hot-chicken royal family has been running the country’s premier spicy-bird shack since 1936, and now Los Angeles has a permanent taste. Kim Prince first launched Hotville Chicken as a pop-up, and as of last month, after years of bringing some of the best fried chicken in town to breweries and events, she finally opened her first brick-and-mortar restaurant. Hotville’s recipe diverts slightly from her family’s founding bird, but the spirit—and much of the flavor, and all of the heat—is still there. Now, you can find Kim Prince’s bird by the piece or in sandwich form ranging from West Coast Plain to Cali Mild to the hotter Music City Medium, and then things get unbelievably spicy with Nashville Hot and an even hotter off-menu option. She’s also added a fish sandwich, plus plenty of cakes and othern Southern desserts and sides, with service that feels like family. Whatever spice you go for, don’t skip that smoky mac and cheese. 

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