The 100 best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles 2014: Entrées

The year's best entrées range from pasta to seafood to stews, but they all have one thing in common: five-star status.

For the main event—the entrée—we thought long and hard about the best bowls of pasta, plates of fish and pizza rounds we've had in 2014. Dishes came from fine-dining restaurants and seafood spots, meat-heavy establishments and a vegan newcomer. The takeaway? LA has some world-class dishes that truly steal the show.

RECOMMENDED: More best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Bugsy at Hollywood Pies

Oh, how you play with our hearts, Hollywood Pies. First you close your pick-up only location, then reopen as a brick and mortar. Then you close your store, and we think we've lost you for good. When you came back, it was kind of like magic—and also like taking a big bite of your Bugsy pie, stuffed with mozzarella and sausage and pepperoni: pure bliss. $15-$26. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Wok charred oxtail at East Borough

Think: bucatini noodles coated in a hoisin and sriracha sauce. Tender oxtail, bean sprouts, onions, Thai basil and cilantro. A crispy poached egg perched on top. Serious comfort food at its finest. $17. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Dylan + Jeni

Tortellini in brodo at Alimento

It seemed like everyone was talking about Alimento's tortellini in brodo this year, and with good reason. There the tortellini sits, looking like a regular ol' bowl of pasta in a cream sauce, until you bite into it and the salty, clear soup broth held inside explodes in your mouth—an outstanding mix of textures and flavors. $14. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Tiradito at Nobu Malibu

We're still a little uneasy spending $24 for sushi, but all that tension melts away as soon as this ethereal plate of whitefish hits the tongue. $24. - Jakob N. Layman

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Cassoleta di fedeua negra at smoke.oil.salt

If you can’t visit smoke.oil.salt on a Sunday, when Chef Rocher’s famed paella is on the menu, this dish is a happy compromise. The short pasta is submerged in a deep pot of squid ink broth, along with mussels, shrimp, chanterelle mushrooms and spoonfuls of honey aioli that sweeten each bite. $32. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Mushroom with sweet potato at The Gadarene Swine

You won't even miss the meat at this new veggie-centric (it's vegan, but don't call it that) spot in Studio City, where a mushroom plate featuring rich chunks of fungi is covered with enoci mushrooms and peas in a buttery, alfredo-esque sauce. $14. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Becky Reams

Tonkatsu spicy ramen at Silver Lake Ramen

The tonaktsu ramen with its 16-hour broth and fatty, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly—not to mention gargantuan portions and fast, friendly service—in this strip mall gem is one of our favorite soups in the city. $8.95. - Kate Wertheimer

Photograph: Victor Leung

Scallops at Little Sister

It's hard not to order these scallops at every visit to Little Sister. Spoon the seafood over red cargo rice and top with a chutney relish, then wait for the flavors to hit you one at a time: the salty meat of each tender scallop, the thick sweetness of the curry, the crunch of long beans, the grainy rice that holds onto every spice and herb and tangle of water spinach. $24. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Pork belly at Wolvesmouth

Our dinner at Wolvesmouth, Chef Craig Thornton's weekly multi-course feast held in his Downtown loft, was pretty much perfection from beginning to end. There was this pork belly dish with pickled strawberries and a fried squash blossom, along with squid ink-dressed halibut and the most phenomenal dessert made from dehydrated strawberries and panna cotta. It's almost criminal how good his food is, and we can't wait to go back for another round. Dinner prices vary. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Spaghetti alla chitarra at Bucato

Be transported to Italy with Chef Evan Funke's spaghetti alla chitarra, his version of the traditional cacio e pepe. The simple dish—handmade pasta, butter, pecorino Romano and pepper—may be one of the closest meals you will have to eating in a Roman café without leaving LA. $15. - Ramona Saviss

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Branzino at Scopa Italian Roots

This fish was so creamy that it almost disintegrated under our forks. Dressed in little else besides lemon and a smattering of herbs, the whole branzino's flavor comes through without any unecessary fuss. $32. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Courtesy Erin Kuschner

Burrata and squash blossoms pizza at Wildcraft

Wildcraft may have completely revamped their concept from a pizza restaurant to a modern Italian tavern, but thankfully, they've kept their burrata and squash blossoms pie. Along with huge dollops of burrata, it's sprinkled with pistachios and fried rosemary so, you know, it's healthy...right? $16. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Beef rendang at Hutchinson Cocktails & Grill

When preparing both the beef rendang sliders and main entrée, Chef Trees braises the meat in coconut milk for three and a half hours, then keeps it on the line at a precise 120 degrees. The result is phenomenally tender beef that almost dissolves with each bite. $13-$36. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Courtesy Rivabella

Truffle risotto at RivaBella

This dish seemed to make at an appearance at every food festival in 2014, and thank the food gods it did. Copious amounts of freshly shaved truffles over creamy risotto pretty much prompted an o-face from everyone who tried it. $52. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Courtesy Night + Market Song

Moo sadoong at Night + Market Song

Want to light your mouth on fire? The moo sadoong can do that for you. There are almost as many herbs on the plate as there is grilled pork, and the generous dusting of chile peppers leave you panting after each bite. But, you know, in a good way. $9. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Beef noodle soup at Pine & Crane

The new Pine & Crane is becoming a Silver Lake mainstay, and we don't doubt that the beef noodle soup has something to do with it. Packed with thick udon noodles, bright green stalks of bok choy, slivers of beef and mustard greens, this is the soup you need on a chilly LA afternoon. $9. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Courtesy Mo-Chica

Estofado de alpaca at Mo-Chica

If you've never tried alpaca, this is the perfect dish to expand your horizons. A tangle of tagliatelle is topped with rich, shredded alpaca meat in a creamy aji amarillo sauce, with a fried egg as the cherry on top. $15. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Victor Leung

Boiled fish fillets at Szechuan Impression

If you can handle the sweat-inducing chili sauce that the fish is stewed in, you'll be just fine, kid. Sweet, tender and flaky, these fillets are definitely worth the drive to Alhambra. $9.99. - Erin Kuschner

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

BLT scallops at The Hook & Plow

At The Hook & Plow, a row of expertly seared scallops and fatty pork belly is interspered with truffle chips and bookended by frisée. It's the perfect marriage of land and sea, and thoroughly indulgent without being too much to handle. $27. - Erin Kuschner