The 100 best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles 2014: Appetizers, sides and small plates

The small plates trend may be wearing thin, but we still found some of our favorites in 2014—plus the best appetizers and sides in LA
By Time Out contributors |
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"All of our plates are meant to be shared." No restaurant phrase was uttered more often than this one in 2014, as small plates seemed to take over every dining establishment in the city. Fine-dining restaurants, brunch, casual lunch spots—it was hard to escape the enforced "sharing is caring" mantra. Among all those plates meant for four, here are the best of the bunch we ate this year (and were loath to share), as well as apps and side dishes we loved.

RECOMMENDED: More best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles

Duck liver mousse at République
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Duck liver mousse at République

In the words of one dinner companion on a visit to République: "This mousse is like crack." Sweet, indulgent and topped with pickled Asian pear, you're going to want to ask for extra bread to get the very last smear of mousse in the jar. $11. - Erin Kuschner
The Kush Salad at Pot at The Line Hotel
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Kush salad at POT

Of course, Roy Choi has a dish named the Kush salad. Packed with Asian greens, radish, sliced citrus, pine nuts, and drizzled with mustard dressing for a hint of heat, it's a dish we can't seem to stop ordering with every visit. $10. - Erin Kuschner
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Focaccina calda di recco al formaggio tradizionale at The Factory Kitchen
Photograph: Anthony Mongiello

Focaccina calda di recco at The Factory Kitchen

The best thing on the menu at The Factory Kitchen is this flatbread, though it feels like a disservice to call it just that. There are a few versions offered, but the tradizionale with crescenza pooled in the middle and a splash of olive oil is all you need to appreciate how melt-in-your-mouth amazing this bread is. $17. - Erin Kuschner
Burrata y tomate at Corazon Y Miel
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Burrata y tomate at Corazon y Miel

The burrata y tomate features some of the best burrata we've had in ages, coupled with a perfectly balanced salsa molcajete—the two sides of sweet and salty meeting each other in an unforgettable bite. $10. - Erin Kuschner
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Cheese plate at Lucky Duck
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Cheese plate at Lucky Duck

Spread out on a stone slab, smears of local sheep's milk and a creamy glacier goat brie lie on display alongside toasted artisan bread and the most addictive house-made butter. Oh and that honey? Killer. $15. - Erin Kuschner
Oyster luge at Tipple & Brine
Photograph: Alicia Cho

Oysters at Tipple & Brine

Sherman Oaks needed a place like this—a place where you can stop in for a casual dozen oysters and a cocktail, especially a place where the oysters are this good. And if you want to get all fancy, they have an oyster luge (Scotch paired with an oyster) to knock back. $3.50 per oyster. - Erin Kuschner
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Olive stuffed olives at The Gadarene Swine
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Olive stuffed olives at The Gadarene Swine

If you've ever wondered what an olive donut might taste like, this is it. The olive stuffed olives are deep fried, drizzled in honey and gone in two seconds. $6. - Erin Kuschner
DTLA_LA_Chapter_Amberjack_Crudo_Dylan_James_Ho
Photograph: Dylan & Jeni

Amberjack crudo at LA Chapter

We had a hard time falling for LA Chapter, Ace Hotel's restaurant, but we'd definitely return for their Amberjack crudo. This dish packs in some intense flavor combinations—salty crudo with spicy ginger, sweet green apple and pickled serrano, and a sprinkling of corn nuts. $13. - Erin Kuschner
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Pulled pork nachos at Gus's Barbeque
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Pulled pork nachos at Gus's BBQ

This meal-sized pile of nachos would be delicious with nothing but the familiar fixin’s, but succulent slabs of pulled pork and a BBQ drizzle elevate these tortilla chips to an essential table centerpiece. $12.95. - Michael Juliano
Photograph: Courtesy Fifty Seven

Aerated La Tur at Fifty Seven

We can't believe Fifty Seven closed after such a short stint, but when David Nayfeld served as the chef in residence, his ethereal plate of La Tur came with thinly sliced apples and leaves of radicchio, the aerated cheese dissolving with every blissful bite. It will live on in our hearts. $12. - Erin Kuschner
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Black rice salad at Superba Food & Bread
Photograph: Victor Leung

Black rice salad at Superba Food + Bread

One of the best dishes at Superba is their black rice salad, a unique medley of ingredients that taste just as fresh when pulled out of the fridge the next day. Thai basil, cashews and a healthy dose of grilled pineapple add contrasting textures to the rice, which already holds its own as a moist, flavorful base. $12. - Erin Kuschner
Steamed yucca with chicharrón at Jaragua
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Yucca con chicharrón at Jaragua

Not all chicharrón are fluffy and fried, and not all chicharrón are equal in the eyes of God. These contradictorily crispy yet supple chunks of pork served on a bed of steamed yucca remind us why we stopped keeping kosher all those years ago. $8.50. - Jakob N. Layman
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Brussels sprouts at Wood Handcrafted Pizza
Wood Handcrafted Pizza

Brussels sprouts at WOOD Handcrafted Pizza

These have to be some of the best Brussels sprouts we've ever eaten, bar none. Tossed in pomegranate molasses and a tangy balsamic glaze, the crispy caramelized veggies are downright irresistible. $7. - Erin Kuschner
Shrimp ceviche tostada at Via Mar
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Shrimp ceviche tostada at Via-Mar Seafood Restaurant

The tortilla in this tasty tostada stays crispy even under a heaping mound of fresh shrimp, kicky salsa, ripe avocado and just the right amount of citrus. Wash it down with some homemade horchata and you've had the perfect SoCal snack. $2.75. - Kate Wertheimer
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Garlic and ginger bok choy at Commissary
Photograph: Audrey Ma

Garlic and ginger bok choy at Commissary

Roy Choi went a little rogue this year with his vegetable-based restaurant, Commissary, on the rooftop of the Line Hotel. But we're not complaining because the garlic and ginger bok choy, which elicits a satisfying crunch with each bite, is positively addicting. $8. - Erin Kuschner
Short rib poutine at littlefork
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Short rib poutine at Littlefork

Is it good for you? Hell no. But this skillet piled high with fries, mushrooms, curds and onions, and drenched in the most savory bourgignon gravy, is something you might dream about for days afterward. So there's that. $14. - Erin Kuschner
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Brisket mulitas at Taco Zone
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Brisket mulitas at Taco Zone

We're almost a little offended that we have to describe Taco Zone. If you've been, you know why these decadent-for-late-night mini quesadillas are the perfect Eastside after-party; if you haven't been, you're out of the loop. $1.50. - Jakob N. Layman
Baked beans at Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas Barbeque
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Baked beans at Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ

What are they putting in these beans? We encourage you to order as much food as possible at this Van Nuys BBQ spot, but whatever you do, get the golden-hued baked beans as a side (and then maybe order a pint to take home). They're sweet, they're meaty, and they're all you could ask for in a cup of legumes. $2-$9. - Erin Kuschner
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Corn soup at Hinoki & the Bird
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Sweet corn soup at Hinoki & the Bird

We're fans of pretty much everything at this Century City power spot, but the sweet corn soup here is bananas. At once creamy and thick with clusters of corn kernels, the dish is accented with strips of hijiki that give it a boost of umami. $9. - Erin Kuschner
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