Where to eat during Winter dineL.A.
One of dineL.A.’s best features is its accessibility to some of the city's hottest new restaurants, all at a fraction of the price you’d normally find. For those who haven’t yet checked out Cal Mare, now is the time. Michael Mina’s new Beverly Center restaurant is all about coastal Italian cuisine, and the dinner-only dineL.A. menu is fittingly full of fresh seafood (California squid in spicy tomato broth; sea urchin with cauliflower and guanciale; catch of the day with potatoes and botarga). What’s more, it comes at a huge discount: $49 for a four-course meal. There’s also carbonara pizza, brick-pressed chicken, and a focaccia bun with pesto and fonduta (one of our favorite appetizers of 2017). Finish with its fabulous house-made gelato and just try and argue there’s a sweeter ending imaginable.
Alimento’s younger sibling is offering both lunch and dinner for all your no-frills-Italian needs. During its $20 lunch, kick off with marinated olives, gratis, and your choice of green salad, pasta salad or broccolini before moving onto that chewy, fluffy-crusted pizza in either margherita or sausage (with mustard greens and chili) variety, or a turkey sandwich.
At dinner, $29 gets you a complimentary plate of salame, mozz and pickled veggies before you pick salad, chicken wings or the soup of the day. From there it’s either the pizzas, above, the chicken parm or the eggplant parm, all finished with cannoli, cheesecake or a cookies-and-cream semifreddo pie. It’s all pretty straightforward but definitely a steal, especially considering the fact that the sausage pizza alone is normally $17.
DineL.A. is not only about the city’s newest, hottest spots; you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you’re only targeting the new kids on the block. A number of L.A. stalwarts give you that chance to finally check out a spot you’ve always been meaning to hit—especially if it’s normally out of your price range. The return of the Amex “exclusive series” unlocks discounted menus at some of the city’s high-end restaurants, and at Wolfgang Puck's Beverly Hills steakhouse, CUT, find a $95 four-course menu that includes sautéed scallops with celery root and black truffle; little gem lettuce with persimmon and blue cheese; port-braised lamb with roasted vegetables; dry-aged New York steak; and chocolate cremeaux with passion fruit caramel. We’re giving it to you straight: This is one of the best high-end deals on offer this year, dollar-for-dollar outpacing Spago’s dineL.A. route, which only saves you $20 on Puck’s famed California Tasting Menu (which still looks delicious, let’s be real).
Seafood fans, this is the baller deal you’ve been waiting for. Chef David LeFevre’s $25 dineL.A. menu may be lunch-only, but it runs until 4:45pm each night. That gives you plenty of time to enjoy three courses of hamachi; rockfish and shrimp ceviche; a raw-bar platter; crab cake; grilled albacore; fish tacos; and Key lime parfait. The only trouble you’ll face—aside from a possible commute to Manhattan Beach—is picking your dishes.
Both lunch and dinner menus include a margarita, which makes this your go-to for a boozy daytime option. During your $25 lunch, start with a standard (“purista”) margarita, a virgin margarita or some almond horchata, and enjoy some chips and guac for the table. Then choose two items from a list that includes potato gorditas with cashew crema; sweet potato flautas; BBQ jackfruit carnitas; Mexican wedding cookies and more. During a $49 dinner you still kick off with a margarita and chips and guac, then move on to “crab” cakes; fried cauliflower with cashew nacho cheese; sopes with mango and a few other choice dishes, before finishing with Mexican wedding cookies or a chocolate brownie with mezcal caramel.
If $15 all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ sounds too good to be true, it normally is—but not during 2018’s winter dineL.A. Culver City’s Hanjip, from Seoul Sausage Co.’s Chris Oh, is offering an outrageous lunch deal: $15 gets you a starter of spam kimchi fried rice or fried chicken, plus unlimited marinated short rib, spicy chicken, pork belly, beef bulgogi, chicken bulgogi, spicy calamari, garlic beef, pork shoulder, vegetables, baby octopus and more, plus all the usual unlimited banchan. During its $29 dinner, get all of this plus rib-eye steak and three varieties of unlimited shrimp. What’s more, dinner is served until midnight, for all you nighthawks out there.
Take your dineL.A. experience not merely waterside but atop the waves with a dinner cruise around Marina del Rey while aboard a romantic luxury yacht. Hornblower’s two-and-a-half-hour evening cruises usually set you back around $90 per guest, but during dineL.A., you can snag this four-course dinner event for $49. Expect baguettes with cheese and cilantro pesto; panko-crusted salmon; short ribs; seasonal vegetables; and a chef-selected dessert. All aboard.
Looking for a Francophile feast? Le Petit Paris is sporting a très chic $25 lunch menu that begins with oxtail terrine or roasted vegetable gazpacho, then continues with grilled hanger steak with potatoes and wild mushrooms or linguine with clam sauce. (Tack on a tarte tatin or chocolate panna cotta for $5, if you’ve got an afternoon sweet tooth.) During the $49 three-course dinner, make your way through dishes such as 48-hour-braised lamb shank with couscous and poached pear; butternut velouté with crispy baguette; mackerel escabeche; and Provençal fish stew, not to mention poached pears in vanilla syrup or some crème brûlée with hazelnuts and mango.
If Suzanne Goin’s Lucques has fallen off your radar, it’s time to pay it another visit. The California-does-French-meets-Mediterranean L.A. stalwart is offering a mouthwatering $25 two-course lunch menu, with your choice of cheddar cauliflower soup or a winter salad, then your choice of falaffel burger or grilled market fish, which comes with white beans and pancetta. During its $49 three-course dinner, expect dishes such as steak tartare, citrus salad, and lamb neck ragu with ricotta gnocchi, among others, plus a classic tarte tatin or a praline crunch bar.
Please welcome Lunetta Dining Room & Bar to the dineL.A. roster. In its first year participating, this moody, modern bistro is serving a $49 dinner menu that runs the gamut. Begin with an amuse bouche of truffle mushroom capuccino (like you do), then move on to roasted organic beet salad; kona kanpachi; house-made meatballs with mascarpone polenta; or wood-grilled Spanish octopus with beans and charred tomatillo, each appetizer normally $18 apiece. It only gets better from there. Mains include crispy duck breast with quince and pistachios; spinach papardelle with farmers market vegetables; wood-grilled steak with tarragon crème fraîche; and pan-roasted halibut with kale caesar, normally averaging around $30. (See? You're already saving.) For dessert, finish with a pot du crème or some sticky toffee pudding and call it a night.