The 100 best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles 2016: Entrées

When you're looking to seriously curb your appetite, it's all about the main meal. Check out our favorite entrées of 2016.
Spinach bucatini at Otium
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
By Erin Kuschner |
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Pasta. Fried chicken. All the ramen. The best entrées we tried this year were hefty, hearty and delicious, ranging from spaghetti decked out with uni to delicately plated sushi. Sure, some poké places popped up (oh hello again, 2015), but there were plenty of other dishes that far surpassed marinated cubes of tuna. Here are our favorite main courses we tried throughout the year—please, dig in.

RECOMMENDED: The best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles

L.A.'s best entrées of 2016

Robata JINYA
Photograph: Courtesy Robata JINYA
Restaurants, Japanese

Lobster ramen at Robata JINYA

icon-location-pin West Third Street

JINYA played around with a couple specialty ramen bowls this year, but the standout was the decadent Lobster Me Happy. The bowl starts off with a lobster, shrimp and pork broth, a medley of flavors that result in a rich, complex base. A layer of thick noodles is topped with sections of green onion, lobster and shrimp wontons, an egg and crispy Brussels sprouts, and a lobster head peeks out from the bowl—in case you had any doubts that the crustacean played an integral part of the dish. $18. - Erin Kuschner

Go's Mart
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Seafood

Sushi at Go's Mart

icon-location-pin Canoga Park

We ate a lot of sushi this year, but the sushi at Go's Mart was a true standout. It's hard to pick a favorite, so we won't. Plump tuna comes topped with gold flakes, Japanese eel is slick with sweet unagi sauce and slivers of lemon rind on top, and a cut of meaty butterfish is an ethereal bite decorated with truffle oil and a hint of spice. It's a beautiful thing to watch Go and his crew in action, and even more so when you taste the complex fruits of their labor. Prices vary. - Erin Kuschner

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Agnolotti at Kettle Black
Photograph: Rozette Rago
Restaurants, Italian

Zucchini pesto agnolotti at Kettle Black

icon-location-pin Silver Lake

It’s hard to go wrong with anything coming out of the kitchen at Kettle Black, but the handcrafted pastas are particularly delightful. The bright green agnolotti arrives scattered with yellow lemon zest, each tender little pasta pouch stuffed with fresh zucchini pesto, all coming together to be both zippy and rich in the same bite. $16. - Brittany Martin

Spinach bucatini at Otium
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, American

Spinach bucatini at Otium

icon-location-pin Downtown

The Broad received a fine-dining restaurant in the form of Otium this year, where chef Timothy Hollingsworth created this crowd favorite: the spinach bucatini, tangled and clinging to a savory bacon and clam cream sauce. A gently poached egg serves as the cherry on top; broken and tossed with the pasta, it makes the bucatini slip around the plate as you try to scoop up every mesmerizing bite. $22. - Erin Kuschner

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Dough Box
Photograph: Courtesy Dough Box
Restaurants, Pizza

The Hill at Dough Box

icon-location-pin East LA

Fans of Hollywood Pies' former business model know the deal at Dough Box: you place your order over the phone, drive to Dough Box's warehouse in Boyle Heights, and swap your cash (or card) through your car window for a steaming box of deep-dish pizza. We're huge fans of the Hill, which comes stuffed with mozzarella, house-made ricotta, garlic, spinach and Italian sausage. $10-$20. - Erin Kuschner

Baroo
Photograph: Erin Kuschner
Restaurants, Korean

Corn Corn Corn at Baroo

icon-location-pin Hollywood

Baroo has opened and closed, opened and closed this past year, toying with our hearts as we anxiously awaited whether they'd shutter for good. But they didn't, instead taking the time to add to their menu with fun dishes like the Corn Corn Corn, a wintry grain bowl with parmigiano, shiso, pine and yuzu. Oh yes, and delicate popped kernels of corn scattered on top. Take all the time off you need, Baroo, as long as you keep coming back with dishes like this one. - Erin Kuschner

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Chicas Tacos
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Mexican

Fish taco at Chicas Tacos

icon-location-pin Downtown

If you've ever ordered a salad when what you really wanted was tacos, Chicas’ fish taco gets you. For the oversized taco, they wrap a house-made tortilla around light, crispy beer-battered fish, and then toss three handfuls of Caesar salad on top. It's the best of both worlds. A little morita salsa and manchego cheese finish off the well-rounded, handheld meal. $4.95. - Brittany Martin

Spicy Miso Ramen at Ramen Room
Photograph: Rozette Rago
Restaurants, Japanese

Spicy miso ramen at Ramen Room

icon-location-pin Sherman Oaks

There were a lot of ramen restaurants that opened this year, but Ramen Room was definitely at the top of our list. The spicy miso ramen is tops here, made with spicy miso broth, ground pork, roasted chile, chashu pork belly and half of a soft boiled egg. $13.50. - Erin Kuschner

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Raclette at Milkfarm
Photograph: Michael Juliano
Shopping, Cheesemongers

Raclette at Milkfarm

icon-location-pin Eagle Rock

All of our cheesy dreams came true this year when Milkfarm launched Raclette First Fridays, offering the Swiss delicacy to customers once a month. Piping hot raclette is scraped onto twice-cooked fingerling potatoes, speck, arugula salad and cornichons, with a side of Dijon mustard for dipping. Mark your calendars, folks. $15. - Erin Kuschner

Sea Urchin Udon at Marugame Monzo
Photograph: Rozette Rago
Restaurants, Japanese

Sea urchin udon at Marugame Monzo

icon-location-pin Little Tokyo

Marugame Monzo bathes their fresh, thick udon noodles in an uni cream sauce topped with salmon eggs. It is rich, rich, rich—and delicious. The taste of uni is surprisingly not too strong, so even non-sea-urchin lovers would want to give this a go. $15.95. - Rozette Rago

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Restaurants, Filipino

Pork belly with rice at Amboy

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Alvin Cailan's Amboy may no longer be regularly operating out of Unit 120's takeout window in Far East Plaza, but the Filipino eatery is still doing occasional pop-ups. One of Cailan's original Amboy dishes, the pork belly with rice, is worthy of a comeback. Ensconced in a banana leaf and brown paper, the pork has a nice sear and a smoky aftertaste that rubs off onto the rice; one bite of meat, rice and cucumber salad is a testament to why these foods all arrive packaged together. $8. - Erin Kuschner

Smoked Duck Agnolotti at Knead & Co.
Photograph: Courtesy Knead & Co.
Restaurants, Italian

Smoked duck agnolotti at Knead & Co.

icon-location-pin Downtown

Adding some Italian-American flare to DTLA's Grand Central Market this year was chef Bruce Kalman and Marie Petulla's Knead & Co. Pasta Bar and Market. There are plenty of pasta options available at the vendor, but my favorite had to be the smoked duck agnolotti, a hearty dish on the initial menu that stuck to your bones with rich, shredded bits of duck and plump agnolotti. $15. - Erin Kuschner

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Squid Ink Spaghetti Carbonara at Ysabel
Photograph: Rozette Rago
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Squid ink spaghetti carbonara at Ysabel

icon-location-pin West Hollywood

Good-looking people, a beautiful atmosphere, gorgeously plated food: Ysabel is that woman you see on the street who straight-up stops you in your tracks. Chef Alison Trent makes a killer squid ink spaghetti carbonara here, with homemade pasta, pancetta and a fried egg. It's a little tangy, a little creamy, and tastes best when eaten with abandon under twinkling trees on the patio. $24. - Erin Kuschner

Rockfish Boil at Winsome
Photograph: Skandia Shafer
Restaurants, Californian

Rockfish Boil & Simmer at Winsome

icon-location-pin Echo Park

At Winsome, an Echo Park newcomer, a flaky cut of rockfish gets a decadent dressing with a creamy bouillabaisse broth and bacon oyster “crackers” (more like mini-biscuits), all atop a bed of toasted couscous and topped with Aleppo chili aioli. For such a sophisticated-looking dish, the flavor is sublimely reminiscent of a humble, well-baked casserole. $19. - Kate Wertheimer

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Creamy Dashi Broth Brown Rice Cheese Risotto at Izakaya & Bar Fu-ga
Photograph: Rozette Rago
Restaurants, Japanese

Parmesan risotto at Izakaya & Bar Fu-Ga

icon-location-pin Little Tokyo

Izakaya & Bar Fu-ga hit a home run with this generous serving of soft brown rice cooked in a creamy dashi broth, served piping hot table-side and mixed in with a block of Parmesan cheese. You're also given a small bowl of niboshi, which are dried infant sardines, to mix in as you please. $9. - Rozette Rago

Fried Chicken at Gus's Fried Chicken
Photograph: Troy Glasgow
Restaurants, Soul and southern American

Fried chicken at Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

icon-location-pin Mid City

Originally from Tennessee, Gus's was welcomed with open arms when it landed on Crenshaw Boulevard this year, bringing hot chicken to a town that had just started getting familiar with the regional food. While some have a fierce loyalty to Howlin' Ray's, we don't think there needs to be competition—the fried chicken at Gus's is damn good, with incredibly tender chicken in a bright, expertly seasoned skin that could only be made better by following it up with a slice of pecan pie. Prices vary. - Erin Kuschner

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Uni Spaghetti at Cento Pasta bar
Photograph: Rozette Rago
Bars, Wine bars

Uni spaghetti at Cento Pasta Bar

icon-location-pin Skid Row

Cento Pasta Bar first popped up in Mignon wine bar Downtown, and has since added lunch service to their repertoire at Birch in Hollywood. No matter where you find them, hope that chef Avner Levi is serving his uni spaghetti. It's creamy, decadent, and feels luxurious even at such an affordable price point. $14. - Erin Kuschner

Stinchetto de maiale at Officine Brera
Photograph: Courtesy Gina Cella
Restaurants, Italian

Roasted pork shank at Officine Brera

icon-location-pin Downtown Arts District

Officine Brera landed with an impact in the Arts District, a massive Italian restaurant from the minds behind the Factory Kitchen. The best thing on the menu here? The oven-roasted pork shank, a dish worthy of the Flintstones. With thick bones rising up to greet the diner, the pork falls apart swiftly into a robust, earthy jus. Swoon. $29. - Erin Kuschner

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