Take a walk down memory lane—then visit these spots:
There’s no denying that Angelenos love a rooftop bar, and while we know you also devoured the long-awaited unveiling of L.A.’s own Eataly, it was the opening of its rooftop restaurant and bar, Terra, that got all eyes on Century City in 2018. With 11,000 square feet of lounge, open-flame cooking, handmade pasta and botanical-forward cocktails, it’s still hogging attention in the neighborhood.
Considering Sugarfish and its fanatical following are the closest thing to a sushi cult we’ve ever seen, it’s easy to see why this story resonated with readers. Not only was 2018 the 10-year anniversary of Kazunori Nozawa’s beloved, streamlined sushi operation—the chain also launched a limited-run, secret “Trust Me” menu full of lobster hand rolls and a few other unique items. We miss it already.
There’s nothing sweeter than the scent of funnel cake, except, of course, that sweet feeling of knowing it’s funnel cake that costs next to nothing. This fall, the L.A. County Fair unleashed a Route 66-themed value menu unto us all, where more than 90 dishes and snacks cost only $6.60. Here’s hoping for another wallet-friendly menu in 2019.
We’ll be honest: We quite literally stumbled upon this story after getting a team lunch in the then-new Lupetti Pizzeria. It wasn’t until we ran into a few small signs and arrows pointing to the nondescript door in the corner that we found out about In Sheep’s Clothing, an impeccably designed, kissaten-inspired hi-fi bar attached to the restaurant. And we’re glad we did; we love this deliberate, thoughtful space so much, it’s one of our picks for Best New Bars of 2018.
Sure, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—complete with a cantina bar—is the big attraction hitting Disneyland soon, but this year, “the happiest place on Earth” announced something a little more old-school, and it’s a concept our readers savored. Adventureland’s new Tropical Hideaway restaurant and marketplace is set to open any time now, lighting up a bank of the Jungle Cruise ride with a large patio, tiki torches and talking birds—a nod to the neighboring Tiki Room attraction. The Polynesian-inspired cuisine is also a tribute; the new restaurant sits on the site of a former restaurant, Tahitian Terrace, and we can’t wait to see how else they might pay homage. If you want even more intel on the Tropical Hideaway, we’ve now got a few first-look photos of the space to tide you over until the restaurant’s opening.
Everything was coming up rosé this summer at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which flipped its rooftop terrace into a 6,000-square-foot “rosé garden” for the season. Modeled after the hotel’s original 1960s rooftop lounge, the retro-inspired pop-up involved bocce, floral installations and, of course, rosé galore. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for a 2019 return.
L.A. loves a good food hall, and we all know the city can’t get enough of Smorgasburg—but it was the launch of Valley Urban Market that got the 818 buzzing this fall. It might’ve had something to do with high-quality vendors like Sticky Rice and Lobsterdamus making their way to Studio City for the area’s much-demanded open-air food market, and it almost definitely had something to do with Dave Grohl slinging BBQ there for the first few weekends. We even caught up with Grohl to get some advice for attending VUM—“bring a hat”—and you can find it right over here.
Anyone even casually following the L.A. food scene in 2018 can tell you it’s been a big year for pizza: Between Triple Beam, Superfine, Hail Mary, Lupetti, Vito’s DTLA expansion, Luzzo’s BK, Roberta’s, Steve Aoki’s pizza delivery company and a greasy handful of others, it’s clear there’s a market for saucy pies in L.A. We love pizza so much, we got a new pizza festival—the California Pizza Festival—complete with Neapolitan, Sicilian and New York styles from more than 30 vendors, not to mention one pizzaiolo from L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele, founded in 1870 in Naples. For those who missed it this year, the California Pizza Festival is set to return in 2019, though dates are still TBA.
We waited, we hoped, we crossed our fingers and the cereal-milk goddess truly blessed us: Christina Tosi and her wildly successful Milk Bar empire finally landed in Los Angeles, and the massive 4,000-square-foot bakery, retail shop and cooking school was more than worth the wait. Our coverage went beyond the pastel-pink photos (though those are great, too) to let you know exactly what to expect—such as Tosi’s exclusive-to-L.A. take on Dole Whip—plus how to snag the limited-run, off-menu experimental items, and how to get in on Tosi’s cake classes. (By the way, have you taken one yet? We suggest you check those out.)
Here it is, our most popular story of the year: Take one part piano bar, one part celebrity and three parts glittery glam fun and you’ve got Tramp Stamp Granny’s, the irreverent Hollywood nightlife hub opened by Glee star Darren Criss, his fiancée, Mia Swier, and their friend and fellow musician, Danny Massare. We snapped some first-look photos and interviewed the founders for a story that not only resonated with you, our readers, but was also easily one of our most fun assignments of 2018. (And it’s one of our favorite new bars, too.)