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Our top 10 food and drink stories of 2018

Whether you were looking for the latest Disneyland dining news, the best new rooftops or how to try Dave Grohl's BBQ, you found it here

Photograph: Courtesy the Local Pizzaiolo
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Every year brings new L.A. festivals, restaurants, closures and other notable culinary news items, but 2018 was a nonstop whirlwind from start to finish. There were approximately 1,682 new pizza restaurants, an onslaught of Japanese fast-casual spots and we gained a food hall. We also lost a central member of the dining community, the immeasurably influential and iconic critic Jonathan Gold, our city’s guiding voice.

Here, we look back on the year by revisiting our biggest restaurants and bars stories—ranked in ascending order of reader popularity—and look forward to a few returns in 2019. May the New Year be just as delicious as this one was.

See Also: the Best New Bars of 2018, the Best L.A. Cookbooks of 2018, Restaurant Revamps We Loved This Year and the Best of 2018.

Take a walk down memory lane—then visit these spots:

10
Terra at Eataly
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo
News, Eating

Eataly’s gorgeous new rooftop restaurant and bar, Terra, opens tonight

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.

9
Sugarfish new Trust Me menu Don't Think Just Eat secret menu
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo
News, Eating

Sugarfish just added a secret ‘Trust Me’ menu

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.

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8
Funnel cake and new food value menu at the L.A. County Fair 2018
Photograph: Courtesy L.A. County Fair
News, Eating

The L.A. County Fair unveiled a great value menu, so you can stuff yourself with even more insane food

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.

7
Hidden Japanese-inspired hi-fi record and cocktail bar In Sheep's Clothing in Lupetti Pizza
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo
News, Drinking

There’s a hidden cocktail bar and hi-fi lounge in this Arts District pizza parlor

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.

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6
Rendering: Courtesy Disney
News, Eating

Disneyland’s adding a new market and restaurant, the Tropical Hideaway, in Adventureland

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. 

5
The Secret Rosé Garden rooftop pop-up at the Beverly Wilshire
Photograph: Courtesy the Beverly Wilshire
News, Drinking

The Beverly Wilshire Hotel just launched a rosé garden on its rooftop

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.

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4
Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters
Photograph: Courtesy RCA Records/Brantley Gutierrez
News, Eating

Studio City will get a new food fair, complete with Dave Grohl slinging BBQ

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.

3
Photograph: Courtesy the Local Pizzaiolo
News, Eating

There’s a new pizza festival coming to L.A. this summer

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.

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2
Milk Bar Los Angeles Christina Tosi's bakery on Melrose
Photograph: Courtesy Milk Bar
News, Eating

Take a peek inside L.A.’s first Milk Bar, which boasts cakes, classes and an experimental bakery

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.)

1
Tramp Stamp Granny's piano bar in Hollywood
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo
News, Drinking

Darren Criss opened a piano bar with his fiancée and it’s called Tramp Stamp Granny’s. Yes, really.

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.)

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