Housed in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza—one of the most exciting places to eat in L.A.—the tiny, mighty Pearl River Deli has managed to take all the lemons from the last two years and make lemonade: The restaurant is currently closed as the team prepares to move to a larger Hill Street space nearby. This always excellent Cantonese takeout spot’s menu is constantly evolving, thus staying true to head chef Johnny Lee’s unapologetic founding ethos: “We cook whatever we want and feel like.” In the past, that’s meant a wide array of regional Chinese dishes, including a well-lacquered char siu pork and the shop’s perpetually sold-out Hainan chicken. More recent offerings have expanded beyond the culinary Sinosphere to include dishes like Hawaiian loco moco and nasi lemak, Singapore’s national dish. Though PRD’s limited availability might frustrate some diners, others readily accept the challenge of snagging a weekend-only special from social media. For those willing to watch (on Instagram) and wait (in Far East Plaza), the next iteration of Pearl River Deli is more than likely to deliver the goods in the new year. –Patricia Kelly Yeo
Like a typical marine layer morning, things started out a little gloomy in Los Angeles this year, but slowly and steadily the city we know and love started to shine through again. New restaurants continued to open, movie theaters and museums welcomed back visitors for the first time in a year and you could even have a drink at a bar again, regardless of whether it was an outdoor bar-classified-as-a-restaurant or just an actual indoor bar.
So for this year’s Best of the City Awards, our editors wanted to take a look back at the venues, events and people that really stuck out to us. California’s mid-June reopening more or less split the year into two chapters, and we’ve recognized favorites pulled from both timeframes, plus that messy period in between. Regardless of where they fall in L.A.’s reopening timeline, we’re proud to bestow all of these picks below with Best of the City Awards—and we hope you’ll be just as excited, too.
Disagree with our choices? You can still vote for your most beloved venues in our Love Local Awards.