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Kuya Lord's lucenachon and java garlic rice
Photograph: Courtesy Jakob N. LaymanKuya Lord

The best new L.A. restaurants of 2022

Eclectic, game-changing, fancy without even trying: Just a few of the ways we described L.A.’s most standout openings.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
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In 2022, Time Out checked out over 60 brand-new restaurants across greater Los Angeles, averaging at least five visits a month. Among them, we found great date night spots, plenty of solid neighborhood joints, a couple of duds and a handful of truly great places that we think might soon rank among the city’s very best. Along the way, we witnessed the surprising resurgence in Silver Lake’s dining scene, became parking whizzes in East Hollywood and even grew to enjoy visiting Hollywood a little (thank you, Evan Funke).

Though the coronavirus is now unfortunately a part of our everyday lives (just look at the county’s latest case counts), L.A.’s restaurant industry found a way this year to come back from the pandemic despite it all. Rising inflation and labor costs have cut into many restaurants’ overall bottom lines, but the city’s countless chefs, line cooks, managers, servers, hosts, bartenders, bussers and barbacks have still managed to deliver another great year of dining in Los Angeles. Hats off to you all, first and foremost.

After much consideration, we think these 14 newcomers in particular deserve special recognition for their exceptional—at times game-changing—cuisine alongside wonderful service and ambience. Among them, you’ll find some new Michelin stars, amazing pizza and Filipino food that began as a humble garage pop-up during quarantine. From top to bottom, every place on this list is worth visiting in the new year—or anytime, really. These are Time Out L.A.’s best new restaurants of 2022.

2022’s best new eateries, ranked

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4

Opened in: May

Taking over from Silver Lake's iconic Happy Foot/Sad Foot clinic, this Indian pizza parlor is a razor-sharp distillation of everything that's great about L.A.'s food scene. Over the summer, a steady stream of critical acclaim and celebrity appearances like Mindy Kaling have made reservations at Pijja Palace downright impossible, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Avish Naran's little sports bar that could is still one of the most delicious, new, game-changing ways to dine in L.A. Every simple-but-complex dish tastes fresh and exciting, from the vodka sauce-esque malai rigatoni to the newer pan-style pizzas. The minimalist bleached wood and white interiors add flair to the restaurant’s modern sports bars vibe, but the fun, South Asian-inspired drinks and even better cuisine ensure that casually dropping in to Pijja Palace to catch the latest game won’t be a likely possibility for a long, long time.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

Opened in: December

After a quiet debut just before New Year's, Felix chef Evan Funke's Hollywood stunner has come into its own as a high-profile culinary destination for celebrities and serious diners alike. The all-around glamorous dining room with chandeliers and red banquette seats is the perfect backdrop for enjoying Mother Wolf’s sprawling menu of Roman-style pane, pasta and pizza—even if you have to book right at midnight seven days before to snag the ideal table on Resy. A glittering amaro cart and an elevated approach to service round out an elegant evening meal that might include glistening gamberi in salsa verde, an amazing hand-thrown pizza and, of course, at least one plate of Funke's perfectly al dente strands of pasta.

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

Opened in: January

First open for lunch, then switching to dinner in July, Katianna and John Hong's critically acclaimed Korean-ish deli eatery has found its groove blending high-low culinary traditions by night in the Arts District. Like Pijja Palace, Yangban Society takes the dyed-in-the-wool definition of a particular Asian cuisine and shoves it, and that's exactly why we love the place. Early favorites like the congee pot pie and twice-fried chicken wings are fast becoming classics for devoted fans, and after initially shying away from tasting menus (the couple previously worked in Napa), the restaurant's Yangban-style spread has offered a gentle, and worthwhile, introduction to new-school Korean American cuisine. Within the bright blue walls of the stylish, industrially inflected dining room, there's always something new and interesting to try—and if you haven’t been to Yangban yet, now is a great time to dine.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Westside
  • price 2 of 4

Opened in: February

A spartan storefront along Pico Boulevard is an unlikely home for one of the city's best pizzas, but in a little under a year, husband-and-wife duo William Joo and Jennifer So have won over the city with their Tokyo-style Neapolitan pies made with high-quality ingredients and plenty of love and care. The dough's almost mochi-like consistency and the thin, beautifully blistered crusts add up to a beautiful, artisanal pizza that's light as air and better eaten with a fork and knife. Los Angeles might be in the middle of a pizza renaissance—with transplants like Pizzeria Bianco and Emmy Squared bringing plenty of friendly competition—but this L.A. original has already captivated us with a consistently delicious wood-fired product that’s always improving every single day.

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

Opened in: March

Despite opening just this year, Walter and Margarita Manzke's eponymous eatery above Bicyclette has quickly ascended the ranks—landing a spot on Time Out's best fine-dining list, earning a five-star review from us and most recently and unsurprisingly, snagging a Michelin star. The global recognition is well-deserved for the L.A. culinary veterans, whose $265 seafood-heavy tasting menu captures the spirit of Los Angeles in a French-leaning prix-fixe experience peppered with Mexican and Asian flavors. In addition to all the trappings of sophistication such high prices normally command, every major aspect—sheer variety, flavor, presentation and pure wow factor—at Manzke delivers, especially Margarita's beautiful assortment of desserts and mignardises. High-touch service and stellar cocktails gild the lily on dinner here, cementing Manzke as one of our favorite meals this year.

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

Opened in: February

In the span of nine and a half months, this Asian-inflected French bistro run by a pair of Alain Ducasse alums has gone from Arts District newcomer to receiving a Michelin star: an altogether impressive trajectory for up-and-coming head chefs Max Boonthanakit and Lijo George. Within its airy white and blue dining room, first-rate cocktails and even better desserts bookend a bill of fare that subtly nods to Asian cuisine. A delicate amuse bouche pays homage to the South Asian street snack pani puri, while the gunpowder anchovies call to mind the tiny, salty fried fish favored in the Philippines and South Korea. Though reservations will likely remain tough to snag in the new year, the effort here is worth the hassle.

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  • Restaurants
  • Filipino
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

Opened in: May

From La Cañada to East Hollywood, Lord Maynard Llera's former garage pop-up has quickly become one of the city’s best Filipino restaurants. Plus, the Bestia alum's fast-casual shop is adding fuel to the fire of the concept of "Melrose Hill" as a citywide dining destination—even if parking in the area is still a major hassle. Here, Llera adds a chef's twist to Filipino classics, from the lucenachon (lechon-style porchetta) to buttery pieces of grilled yellowtail collar served with housemade chili oil. The restaurant’s signature Kuya tray with lechon kawali was one of our favorite meals of 2022: a family-style spread of rice, twice-cooked pork belly, pancit chami and pickled vegetables. Though prices run somewhat high for a fast-casual meal, the quality—and flavor—of every dish makes sure a trip to Kuya Lord is worth every penny.

  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

Opened in: August

When Mr. T first debuted in Hollywood, we were dubious this Paris import inspired by international street food could be anything but boilerplate. Los Angeles already proudly touts its Korean tacos, salad-topped pizzas and plenty of other excellent genre-bending eateries—how could this brand new French-ish bistro compete? But after a few more meals here and a timely (and full disclosure, comped) visit to the Marais original, we now see why Mr. T's elegant, globally inspired bistro fare should be in any cosmopolitan diner's evening lineup. In the care of République alum Alisa Vannah, the menu seamlessly, deliciously blends the flavors of both world cities. Though the namesake mac and cheese—complete with tableside pyrotechnics—and the decadent uni rice starter remain standouts, even less showy dishes like the tuna crudo and cauliflower tikka masala offer ample pleasure. Add in the playful, well-made cocktails incorporating fruity popping boba and Tajín salted rims, and you've got one of the most stylish, flavorful meals we've had all year.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • East Hollywood

Opened in: June

One of the summer's hottest openings, Saffy's first delighted us with flavorful, juicy kebabs served right on the skewer and a tequila-spiked cherry limeade: the perfect adults-only ice cream float. When we returned in the fall, we found a restaurant that had doubled in size (courtesy of a built-out sidewalk patio), plus even more all-around amazing eats, including a fragrant red snapper tagine and ras el-hanout carrots in creamy labneh. No matter how or what you order, it's hard to be disappointed at Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’s newest eatery, and there's always plenty to look at, from the open kitchen to the perpetually stylish clientele. As with the couple's other restaurants, Bavel and Bestia, don't neglect dessert: The chocolate cake with rose ganache and rotating flavors of soft-serve are just about as unforgettable.

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

Opened in: December 2021

This former Downtown pasta pop-up went brick-and-mortar in West Adams late last year, quickly becoming one of L.A.'s most underrated Italian sit-down restaurants. At the marble-topped chef’s counter, Avner Levi's team churns out flavorful dishes with unexpected flourishes, from Cento's signature beet spaghetti to newer delights like the hamachi crudo with minced pear, lemongrass and coconut milk. While most people come for the pasta, the secondi and antipasti are compelling enough to merit return visits, as is the off-menu choco-taco crafted from a housemade pizzelle. Plus, Cento's charming patio with olive trees and string lights have made it one of our favorite low-key date night spots in the city this year.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Hermosa Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Opened in: February

With moody, dark interior design and excellent Japanese American cuisine, this Hermosa Beach stunner was the most exciting restaurant to open in the South Bay this year—and a worthy dining destination for all of L.A. At dinner, Ray Hayashi and Cynthia Hetlinger's dazzling menu offers standout versions of ramen and Hokkaido milk bread, while their more straightforward meat and seafood-focused mains please a hungry locals' crowd. Ryla's laidback beach vibes also play surprisingly well against well-balanced, cheeky cocktails like the Sichuan Opera and You Only Live Twice. During weekend brunch, the menu shines just as bright, with Sunday Funday-friendly dishes like Nashville hot chicken karaage, fluffy, soufflé-like Japanese pancakes and a polished loco moco incorporating mushroom demi-glace.

  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Koreatown
  • price 3 of 4

Opened in: December 2021

In an intimate Koreatown space, classically trained chef Ki Kim offers a unique, Korean-inflected fine dining experience that sparkles with creativity. Since debuting during last year's holiday season, Kinn has cultivated a well-earned, glowing reputation for its freewheeling tasting menu, which retains a playful quality not found at others around town. Over this year, Kim has offered his kitchen up to other staff members and even Pearl River Deli's Johnny Lee, but its regular prix-fixe offering, which changes on a quarterly basis, remains the primary reason to come. No matter the season, the elegant, minimalist preparations of gourmet ingredients like hen of the woods mushrooms and Jeju-style pork noodles are always memorable.

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

Opened in: November 2021

We know, we know: Last Thanksgiving might have been an eternity ago, but there’s no reason to leave out De La Nonna, a pandemic pop-up success story that was just getting into the swing of things around Time Out's best-of awards last year. In a year of mostly high-end openings and too many financially inaccessible tasting menus to count, the thought of a casual, more budget-friendly meal of De La Nonna's delicious, crispy-edged focaccia pies are what kept us going through it all. Paired with a glass of natural wine on the pizzeria’s string-lit patio, the craggy rectangles here feel fancy without even trying and the ever-changing market pizza remains a constant source of intrigue. In late Decmber, look out for the opening of the extremely on-trend Let’s Go! Disco in the adjacent bar and lounge space—Garibaldi spritzes, Bellini-style sofas and all.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

Opened in: June

Globally inspired wellness cuisine might be de rigueur by now (just look to the deli counter at any Erewhon), but this rooftop restaurant inside a luxury fitness club is elevating the genre with a colorful, Art Deco-inspired dining room, excellent service and eclectic, health-conscious dishes that never compromise on flavor. Vegan-friendly but not exclusively plant-based (just like your average Angeleno), Mother Tongue transcends green juice gimmicks to deliver a special-occasion dining experience that stands entirely on its own. The Mediterranean-inspired spreads, the shiitake mushroom larb, the rossejat de fideos (a pricey seafood vermicelli for two), the plant-based panna cotta and delicious soft-serve—all of it brings equal amounts nourishment and delight.

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