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Broad Street Oyster Co.'s horizontal seafood tower
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

The 32 best restaurants in Los Angeles you need to try

Modern steakhouses, seafood stands, stellar tasting menus and the city’s top pasta—we present the best restaurants in Los Angeles

By Stephanie Breijo and Time Out contributors

Despite the ups and downs of our city’s dining regulations, L.A. is still home to one of the most exciting restaurant scenes in the country: a collection of restaurants and pop-ups and vendors with a reputation built on incredible food trucks and off-the-beaten-path tacos just as much as tasting menus and farmers’ market produce.

At its core, L.A. thrives on its diverse blend of genre-bending formats and cuisines, which creates some of the world’s best omakase restaurants, fine-dining institutions and French-bistro gems tucked into strip malls. Our experts scour the city for great eats and great insider info. We value fun, flavor, freshness—and value at every price point. We update the EAT List regularly, and if it’s on the list, we think it’s awesome—and we bet you will, too. 

June 2021: With California’s full reopening slated for June 15, you’ll find more of our favorite spots are returning to dine-in service, such as n/naka and Mélisse, especially when it comes to indoor dining; that’s not to say some of the best fun still isn’t had outside. New to the list is Anajak Thai Cuisine, a 40-year-old restaurant whose culinary innovations, collaborations and weekly events helped the Valley stalwart reimagine itself over the past year—though the classics are still always worth an order, too. Some of the most fun to be had there is in the alleyway, where Thai tacos and tasting menus under bulb lights provde some of the most memorable nights any L.A. restaurants have to offer.

Up to our number one spot is Broad Street Oyster Co., our favorite destination on a hot summer day. Hit PCH or one of the canyons and head to the modern Malibu seafood shack for lobster rolls, Florida stone crab claws, cheffy daily specials like sautéed razor clams and a bottle of natural wine, for best results this season.

Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList. Plus, find out more about how we decide what makes the list.

L.A.’s 32 best restaurants, ranked

Broad Street Oyster Co lobster roll in Malibu Los Angeles
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

1. Broad Street Oyster Company

Restaurants Seafood Malibu

What is it? A little bit coastal and a whole lot of a party, this pop-up turned permanent is exactly the kind of refreshing, modern take on a seafood shack that L.A. needed.

Why we love it: Where to even begin? Broad Street is serving the city’s best lobster rolls, which can come served New England-style or warm and buttered, plus loaded with caviar and uni add-ons. They’ve got steamed mussels and fried clam strips and all the other requisites, but the natural wine, cheap beer, daily specials and copious caviar make the meal fun—and manage to turn a corner of a high-end strip mall into a surfy destination.

Time Out tip: Order ahead for pickup to beat the lines, especially on weekends. If you want to splurge, go for the “horizontal seafood tower,” which offers up oysters, in-shell uni, ceviche, caviar, peeled shrimp and crab claws for casual decadence—or just order multiple lobster rolls for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Republique brunch short rib kimchi bowl
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

2. République

Restaurants French La Brea

What is it? An all-day café where it is, quite seriously, impossible to leave unhappy, where old meets new in L.A. dining history, and where the buzz of thrilled diners is electric from morning to night.

Why we love it: Margarita Manzke’s fresh pastries in the case are some of the finest in L.A., while Walter Manzke’s worldly bistro-meets-Californian-cuisine dishes leave us lapping up roast chicken, lobster mafaldine, and beef short rib kimchi fried rice. The love and care this husband-and-wife team puts into République is palpable, filling the gothic-style building—one that was once home to Charlie Chaplin’s film studio, as well as Nancy Silverton’s and Mark Peel’s groundbreaking Campanile.

Time Out tip: Arrive as early as you can so you’ll have first pick of the pastry case’s croissants, baguettes, tarts, cakes and cookies; once they sell out for the day, they’re gone.

Agnolotii at Bestia
Photograph: Becky Reams

3. Bestia

Restaurants Italian Downtown Arts District

What is it? A refined, multi-regional tour through Italy via the mind of one of L.A.’s best chefs. Always in style—and always full of stylish and chic clientele—Bestia still requires reservations, and for good reason.

Why we love it: Nearly a decade in and chef and co-owner Ori Menashe’s menu highlights (now modern icons of L.A.’s dining scene) still manage to wow, no matter how many times we’ve ordered them. The Spaghetti Rustichella, for instance—a small pyramid of noodles under dungeness crab, citrus, Calabrian chili, Thai basil and onion seed—is alarmingly simplistic but still shockingly good. Paired with the industrial-modern digs and the sleek ambiance, it’s a place we always want to linger.

Time Out tip: Order your own dessert. Pastry chef and co-owner Genevieve Gergis’s sweets are all equally iconic, and god help anyone who tries to get in between us and a forkful of chocolate budino tart.

Orsa and Winston seafood porridge
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

4. Orsa & Winston

Restaurants Contemporary Asian Downtown Historic Core

What is it? Chef Josef Centeno’s Michelin-starred, Japanese-meets-Italian restaurant that’s renowned for its tasting menu but just as beloved for its casual à la carte katsu sandwiches and grain bowls.

Why we love it: Centeno’s hyper-creative, genre-bending dishes might see scallops and uni in a flower-dotted rice porridge, or some wagyu floating in donabe pots brimming with locally farmed sprouting cauliflower. There’s L.A. love, global inflection and a deep understanding of balance in these dishes that make every meal enjoyable, brunch or evening.

Time Out tip: In addition to dine-in, you can currently you can find select items and a weekly tasting menu to-go, along with more casual à la carte items such as the classic grain bowl, the seafood-packed satsuki porridge, and a few of Centeno’s katsu sandos.

Japanese bento box at Hayato in ROW DTLA
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

5. Hayato

Restaurants Japanese Downtown Arts District

What is it? An exquisite kaiseki dinner that feels like more of a transportive experience than a meal, with a lunch-only bento whose aesthetics are only rivaled by its attention method. (NOTE: To focus on the return of kaiseki, Hayato won't be offering any bento in June.)

Why we love it: The space is intimate, the ceramics are handcrafted and imported from Japan, service is respectful and dilligent, and chef-owner Brandon Go’s precision and technique come by way of training in Japan for years. There is something almost criminally understated here; Hayato’s delicate flavors could lead Angelenos to overlook some of the most beautiful cooking happening in the city. We hope they don’t. They’d be missing out on steamed abalone with an unctuous liver sauce; an owan course of delicate crab meatball soup; and fresh fruit coated in a salted sake jelly. Go has truly built something beautiful with Hayato.

Time Out tip: Lunch bento orders are released at the top of each month, with the exception of June 2021, and sell out almost immediately for the entire month. Set an alarm to remind yourself to order. It’s worth it.

The Poseidon at Mariscos Jalisco
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

6. Mariscos Jalisco

Restaurants Trucks Boyle Heights

What is it? A fleet of trucks slinging Jalisco-style seafood. It’s one of L.A.’s most old-school taco players, and known for its deep-fried shrimp tacos, but Mariscos Jalisco also serves fresh-to-death ceviches, toastadas and oysters on the half shell. 

Why we love it: In essence, everything is good. Their signature tacos dorado de camaron live up to the hype, with flavorful and fresh shrimp folded into a corn tortilla that’s then fried to a golden brown and topped with thick slices of avocado and a vibrant and complex salsa roja. You’ll also want to save room for their legendary tostadas such as the Poseidon, which comes topped with shrimp ceviche, octopus and a fiery red aguachile of shrimp.

Time Out tip: This spot is cash-only, so come prepared. Speaking of prepared, if you’re eating then and there you can request the tacos be fully loaded on the truck for you; if they need to travel, assemble the components yourself so the taco shells stay perfectly crunchy until they’re ready to be eaten.

Photograph: Jesse Hsu

7. Bavel

Restaurants Israeli Downtown Arts District

What is it? A flavorful culinary jaunt through Israel, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey from Bestia’s Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, complete with fire-roasted meats, handmade couscous, perhaps the best pita in all of L.A., and, like its Italian counterpart, fantastic desserts.

Why we love it: They redefined modern Italian food with Bestia, but at Bavel it’s even more personal. They’re drawing on their familial and cultural heritage, as well as their modern-kitchen savvy, to bring us some of the best hummus we’ve ever tasted, wholly unique treats such as spiced Persian ice cream, and must-order plates for the table, like the crunchy, spicy harissa prawns. 

Time Out tips: Wish you could always have Bavel on hand? Even though the restaurant is open for dine-in again, you can grab select items to-go à la carte, too (the farm cheese is a must).

Photograph: Noé Montes

8. Providence

Restaurants Seafood Hollywood

What is it? One of the city’s bastions of fine dining and the freshest seafood available, currently enjoyed as an artful eight-course dinner tasting menu (lunch service to resume in the not-too-distant future). This is Michelin-starred luxury done the Michael Cimarusti way.

Why we love it: For serving a city next to the Pacific, Providence somehow still manages to surprise and reinterpret seafood. Cimarusti’s mostly-aquatic menus deftly showcase the bounty of the West Coast, as well as the globe: Big Island abalone, Santa Barbara spot prawns and steelhead trout from the Quinault River in Washington can appear among the varied choices, depending on seasonality. His knack for finding the best product will make you focus on the perfect bite hanging from your fork, and nothing else. 

Time Out tip: You’ll absolutely need a reservation—and plan ahead, as reservations tend to book weeks in advance.

Sonoratown Restaurant Los Angeles DTLA
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

9. Sonoratown

Restaurants Mexican Downtown Fashion District

What is it? Sonoratown is a casual taqueria that specializes in—you guessed it—Sonora-style fare, which means tacos, quesadillas and chivis (think: soft chimichangas oozing cheese) all packed with fresh-from-the grill ingredients that will have you planning a Northern Mexico vacation with every bite.

Why we love it: This spot is so much of a welcoming cornerstone of our dining scene, it feels like home the second you walk through the door. Well, that, or a party. The staff are lively, open and fun-loving, and their mood is infectious. Patrons from all walks smile, laugh and even dance, all to the scent of chargrilled meats that get slid into handmade award-winning flour tortillas. Dishes get brightened by cabbage and a rainbow of house salsas, and topped by entire strands of grilled green onions. Everything is fresh and fun—the people and the cuisine especially.

Time Out tip: Ask the staff if they have any tortillas for sale—you’re going to want to stock up on those gorgeous and pliant flour tortillas, and they often sell them when they’ve got extra at the ready.

n/naka restaurant los angeles Niki Nakayama
Photograph: Zen Sekizawa

10. n/naka

Restaurants Japanese Palms

What is it? A two-Michelin–starred kaiseki spot in Palms from chef-owner Niki Nakayama, a protégé of the legendary Morihiro Onodera and one of the stars of the Netflix documentary Chef’s Table.

Why we love it: Nakayama focuses her talent on kaiseki: a classical style of Japanese cooking that dictates a specific progression of textures, temperatures, tastes and seasonal ingredients. À la carte is not an option, and when every dish is this good, that’s OK by us. n/naka typically offers a 13-course tasting menu (with a vegetarian option, too), and it all resumes on June 16 when dine-in returns to the restaurant.

Time Out tip: Years in, these are still some of the hardest reservations to land in all of Los Angeles. Best to follow along on Instagram for announcements and watch n/naka's Tock page like a hawk. Its new sibling concept, n/soto, offers takeout bento while it readies its full-service izakaya setup, which sells through its own Tock page. (Careful, the bento reservations disappear quickly, too.)

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