You spent your 2019 eating your way through L.A.’s best restaurants and keeping your eye on the best bars around town. In 2020, get a jump on the scene with the a pair of pizza spots, a hot chicken newcomer and a modern diner. 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 whatever’s next—a huge feat, considering a restaurant, coffee shop or bar seems to open every day here in Los Angeles, and this year, there’s no sign of slowing down. 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 January, so you can always stay ahead of the curve.
Looking for what’s newest? Our top-of-2020 additions include the first L.A. restaurant from a Michelin-starred San Francisco chef, a buzzy arcade bar and slice shop, an Eagle Rock favorite returns, and hot chicken from Nashville’s famed Prince’s family.
Gotta try them all: The best new restaurants in L.A.
The team who brought us Here’s Looking At You just opened the modern diner of our dreams, following up their wildly successful first spot with All Day Baby: Silver Lake’s new restaurant and bar serving fresh pastries, fluffy pancakes, shrimp-bolognese grits and boozy coffee cocktails well into the evening. The Americana flair continues with ADB’s more dinner-friendly fare, such as the premium house-smoked meats and hearty burgers and fried-chicken sandwiches, and soon, you’ll be able to pick up whole roast chickens and other smoker meats to-go. Creative concoctions dot every section of the menu, whether it’s a negroni float cocktail or gourmet conchas in the bakery case. Current hours run 8am to 3pm but next month should expand into dinner and late-night. It’s a good thing this spot will be open all day because, quite honestly, we never want to leave.
One of Eagle Rock's most romantic and creative charmers headed Downtown, and now you can find Red Herring with a refreshed menu and a glowing bar—and its first ever cocktail list. The modern-American plates from Dave Woodall include a few of his hits (namely that silky house-cured pork with his grandmother's cornbread recipe), with enough new and colorful dishes to keep you full and adventuring through multiple visits (see also: roast duck scallion flatbread; miso-butter clams). The belle of the ball/it all is owner Alexis Woodall, who keeps the hospitality on point and conversation in the lively dining room humming as you feast on grilled pork chops, smoky eggplant dip, crab cakes and some of the thickest and most downright American apple pie to be had.
San Francisco star chef Melissa Perello landed in Los Angeles with a wood-fired ode to California cuisine and a low-lit space that waits at the center of ROW DTLA. At M.Georgina, Perello continues the locally-sourced ethos that made her famous at her Michelin-starred spots in NorCal, and with a few unique dishes that already feel like signatures. There's a midnight-black squid-ink pita, stuffed with smoked-oyster aioli and briny trout roe; an erbette-forward saag, blending Indian and L.A. flavor, studded with house-made feta; and even a sweet-savory sourdough ice cream for dessert, so you can begin and end your meal with Perello's advanced bread service. This is thoughtful, clean, creative food ideal for sharing and devoting an entire evening to.
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.
Dave Beran already wowed us with his tasting menu at Dialogue, and for his next trick, the former Alinea chef brings us even more of his attention to detail and technique with a charming nouveau French bistro. Pasjoli is replete with velvet seating areas, marble countertops, nuanced cocktails and some incredibly refined cuisine that knows when to play the understated card (a classic French omelet) and when to get showy (tableside pressed duck). While not as much of a splurge as Dialogue, Pasjoli certainly is a night-out affair—so welcome to your favorite new date-night destination.
Sleek and elegant but still approachable, the aptly named Bar Restaurant—split down the middle as half bar, half restaurant—is the contemporary bistro Silver Lake never knew it needed. Chef Douglas Rankin’s cooking is restrained but untamed: French technique lends itself well to sauces like tomato bordelaise, which smothers a tender dry-aged New York strip steak, while his creativity runs free on dishes like the moules frites where the potatoes get the curly-fries treatment. European classics get a California spin here, with hyper-seasonal produce and sentiment, but more to the point, they get the Rankin treatment, which makes Bar Restaurant even more of a gem.
Follow the soft glow of blue and purple neon and you’ll eventually wind up in Game Over Pizza, Hollywood’s new fun and funky throwback. The vibe here is both energetic and casual, a perfect spot for starting—or ending—your night with natural wine and a New York-style slice or a thick square of pizza from a former Brooklynite. But Game Over, also from the team behind next door’s Adults Only bar, isn’t just a pizza spot: It’s also an arcade stocked with ’80s and ’90s classics like NBA Jam and Ms. Pac-Man, and it runs way late into the night (er, morning) on weekends. Settle into a swivel stool at the bar or a plush booth, get your name on the high scores, and pretend you’re the king of the mall in 1992—but, you know, with great alcohol.
Helene An’s Vietnamese tasting-menu concept is built—literally—on the foundation of her career. You can find Dà Lat Rose above Crustacean, her seafood restaurant and claim to fame, but at Dà Lat Rose, each course corresponds to a time or event in the chef’s life for a wild ride through marriages, daring escapes and new-world dreams told via artful Vietnamese dishes. You begin in the Beverly Hills take on a Vietnamese beer bar, where An’s childhood classics include tableside grilled razor clams and street food done up with escargot, tallow and butter candles. In the main dining room, the whimsy continues with more tableside flourishes and some truly throughful and reflective dishes meant to celebrate the life of the Vietnamese-food trailblazer, as well as look to the future of Crustacean and her family’s legacy. (And yes, you’ll still get her famous garlic noodles—here, they’re just done up with truffle and 24k gold flake.)
Breezy, vibrant and finally here, the long-awaited project from two of the most influential chefs in the world is but a few weeks old and already climbing its way to L.A.-restaurant stardom. Jessica Koslow of Sqirl and Gabriela Cámara of Contramar joined forces for the modern-Mexican concept, a marriage of L.A. and Mexico City cuisines so exciting and hyped and intriguing (Turkey quesadillas? Masa-battered kelp?), that it’s no surprise the tables are always packed. Make a dinner res now to dine on Cámara and Koslow’s DIY tacos and sip from Onda’s mezcal-forward spirits menu, then drop by in January when the restaurant opens for all-day service. That, we can’t wait to see.
Fermented dough, pickled goods and natural, minimalist vibes are all on the menu of HiFi’s Grá, the low-lit pizza spot where a vinyl paylist and funky, unique spins on the classics keep the mood cool and the menu unexpected. The wine list skews natural, which makes perfect sense considering the natural-fermentation ethos to the whole restaurant: You can order seasonal fermented fruits, vegetables and salads, including the likes of grapes or spicy pear; sip from a gourmet-kombucha list; and even nosh on a fun and craveable kimchi pizza. The standards are all there, too, if you prefer something like a margherita, but why not dive into fermentation while you’re there?
Highland Park’s new deli is tucked away and keeping limited hours, but think of the chase as half the fun. The other half? Owner Jeff Strauss’s fabulous sandwiches and salads created in ode to the long-standing Jewish-Chinese food love affair. Sure, there’s a chicken salad sandwich, but it’s inspired by the classic Hainan chicken, poached with ginger, and topped with chili crisps. There’s cucumber salad, but you can add Strauss’s salty-peppery pastrami to it. There are shiitake mushrooms in the matzoh ball soup, and that perfect grilled cheese comes served on the pillowy “holla” bread, a mashup of challah and milk bread. Drop by every weekend in December between 11am and 3pm, then look for extended hours in 2020.
Downtown’s got its fair share of rooftop destinations, but few serve glamorous seafood towers and such sweeping views as the Hoxton hotel’s sky-high restaurant, Pilot. This chic seafood-forward new spot sports live-fire fare, including whole fish, grilled octopus and roasted seasonal vegetables done up with creative accoutrements. You’d be missing out if you skipped a spot–prawn–heavy seafood tower with a side of saffron aioli, though, or at least one of the fresh pastas on offer. (Our biggest tip though? Come during sundown for some true romance.) Head to the bar and lounge area on the other side of the pool for even more cocktails and fun programming.
Allen Yelent already stole our hearts by making one of our favorite burgers in the city during his Goldburger pop-ups, and fortunately, now we know where we can always find them—at least for the next few months. These hefty smashburgers, pressed perfectly along the edges for both a crust and a pink center, can now be found in Silver Lake every Saturday and Sunday from noon until Yelent and co. sell out (which, by the way, happens every weekend, so get there early). The lines form quickly at 3319 Sunset Boulevard, where Yelent’s set up a casual shack where blue plastic trays carry grass-fed double cheeseburgers (some with pastrami, some with American cheese and grilled onions), plus fries and bottles of Swell Soda to tables under a tin roof. Will Goldburger be here six months? A year? It’s unclear, so for now, we’re just happy we know where to find it.
Let’s get this out of the way: You’re going to want the pancakes. This modern diner within DTLA’s new Hoxton Hotel is, of course, a sibling (rival) restaurant, and talk about sibling rivalry: Its older sibling is none other than Sunday in Brooklyn, one of New York’s best brunch restaurants. Sibling Rival has its own thing going, though—modernized diner fare, L.A.-inspired cocktails and boozy shakes, a killer pastry program—and while it maintains its own identity, thankfully it brought Sunday in Brooklyn’s cult-classic pancakes along: cakey, fluffy disks absolutely smothered with a warm hazelnut-and-praline butter. They’ve got salads and sandwiches and a decent breakfast burrito, too, but do not leave without at least one (or three) of the pancakes.