These New Culinary Hotspots Are Lighting Up LA in the Best Way
In recent years, LA’s culinary scene has become an unstoppable force. A city that was once largely overlooked and underestimated for its breadth in cuisine is now a thriving global dining destination, with a rich cultural tapestry and an unparalleled culinary landscape, cementing its place as a worthy rival to more established markets. Offering residence to some of the most world-renowned chefs and creators, Los Angeles has been busy opening its doors to a fresh wave of eateries with a uniquely diverse array of cultural influences. From once-in-a-lifetime fine dining to humble snack spots, here are the top 11 new restaurants in Los Angeles we’re welcoming this year.
Still daydreaming about your summer Euro trip and the unforgettable collection of exotic culinary experiences that goes hand in hand with a trip abroad? Good news, amigos! There’s a new tapas spot in town. Even if you didn’t make it to Spain this year, a piece of the motherland has landed in Santa Monica with Xuntos—the perfect place to get your fix of small-plate dishes, served to sample and share in true Barcelonian style. Cozy up around a candlelit bistro table and uncork a bottle of regionally sourced northern vino—perfect to pair with a smorgasbord of seafood pintxos (small bites) and classic Catalonian cuisine, as conceived by owner and resident Chef Sandra Cordero.
Location: Santa Monica
When it comes time to indulge a comfort food craving (and we all know those can’t be denied), look no further than Donna’s—the newest addition to the Echo Park stretch of Sunset Boulevard—now serving up all the traditional Italian crowd pleasers and a plethora of primo pastas. While Donna (which literally means “woman” in Italian) is more a fictitious muse than a living person, perhaps that makes her the everywoman—kneading dough and tossing up meatballs, linguini, marsalas and piccatas for the people like it’s no big thing. Head over to this homey hideaway to hush those hunger pangs and sip on a Spritz or Negroni while awaiting your feast.
Location: Echo Park
If you haven’t yet experienced Dante—the veritable jewel box perched atop the Maybourne (formerly the Montage) Hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills—prepare to be dazzled. The West Coast incarnation of this New York City institution is truly a glamorous scene to behold. Dante is ritzy and glitzy, with elegant deep-blue plush velvet booths, a tastefully frescoed floral motif sprawled along the ceiling and a smooth stream of lively melodies—courtesy of the sleek white baby grand—the breathtaking city panorama alone is worth the ride up to the ninth floor. A summery selection of seasonal spritzes and elevated cocktails makes for a posh aperitivo (happy hour), with light and refreshing fare, featuring fresh peaches and heirloom tomatoes, burrata, oysters, and an array of pizzas and pasta dishes, before settling into a heartier main course.
Location: Beverly Hills
Here to rethink the structure and expectations of a traditional dining experience is Le Great Outdoor—a purposefully off-the-grid dining concept created by two culinary visionaries, one hailing from the vibrant community of São Paulo, Brazil, and the other from the Michelin kitchens of Paris who studied under the legendary Joel Robuchon. Setting up shop in Santa Monica’s arts district of Bergamot Station, this grill-centric spot eschews formality (as well as social media and financial investors) in an effort to create a simpler and more sustainable restaurant model. Thanks to a loyal fanbase of regulars and an eclectic fusion menu that blends Brazilian barbecue and traditionally French flavors, Le Great Outdoor is worth adding to your foodie bucket list.
Location: Santa Monica9/30
A self-proclaimed “tiny Portuguese restaurant in Cypress Park,” Barra Santos is a neighborhood nook with a small but mighty menu of mostly meats and fishes with a sprinkling of native flavors like piri piri sauce, aloreña olives and malvarosa cheese. Expect staples like tuna crudo and endive salad, alongside Lisboa specialties like bacalhau fritters and a bifana pork sandwich. A robust wine and spirits selection (as well as exactly one beer option) adds variety and a breadth of tastes to a pared down food menu, making this special spot truly shine.
Location: Cypress Park
Since going viral on TikTok for taking viewers on an immersive deep dive into the colorful and creative world of Vietnamese cuisine, Chef Tue Nguyen has brought DiDi to La Cienega in West Hollywood, putting her signature stamp on a flavor-filled menu. You’ll find staples like beef carpaccio, chicken wings, tiger prawns and tuna tartare, along with traditional tastes of Pho and Hoisin. Also expect traditional noodle and rice dishes, as well as classic rolls (of the much beloved spring, egg and vegetable variety). A fun collection of creative cocktails—like the Nguyen in Rome and Saigon Smash—also merges unexpected ingredients (bird’s eye chili, passion fruit and a carrot, anyone?) with whimsical presentations.
Location: West Hollywood
For a light lunch that’s heavy on flavor, this Frogtown spot knows how to get it done. The laid-back daytime vibe is both fast and casual, with a tight, seafood-loaded menu of Baja-seasoned specialties—think shrimp, calamari, yellowtail and ceviche—both hot and cold (calientes and frias). For a particularly unique munch, try the Frogtown Fries, topped with shrimp and lobster mayo, then garnished with cilantro and jalapeño for an extra kick. Adjacent to the LA River, take a sunny stroll and pop in for a snack that you’ll order at the takeout window and enjoy out on the sandy seating area—under the welcome shade of a patio umbrella.
Boasting a proud 200 square feet of operating space, Perilla is a cozy little cubby in Echo Park that’s both a local banchan store and a tiny eatery of South Korean persuasion. Chef Jihee Kim has brought a new influence to the Korean food scene and attracts viewers and diners to her takeout banchan boxes—which are also a feast for the ‘Gram feed. Choose your favorite flavors from the mini display inside—inspired by the shops of Kim’s hometown of Busan—and consume at a tiny table outside.
Location: Echo Park
Pizza lovers, get ready to discover your new favorite pie. Popping up at a thriving downtown shopping space, The Row DTLA, Chef and owner Chris Bianco is bringing an array of artisanal pizzas to the lunch crowd. Quick and breezy, the counter service offers classic New York-style slices as well as simple salads, burrata and mortadella sandwiches. Reservations aren’t accepted due to the casual dining experience, but grab your table at their nearby sister location, Pizzeria Bianco, for a full sit-down situation.
Say bonjour to Coucou (also a colloquial way to say “hi” in French) and the new face of the Francophile favorite on Main Street in Venice! Here, French classics like steak frites, mussels mariniere and the burger Americaine converge with decidedly LA fixtures like ceviche, fried olives and steak tartare. Whimsical touches to the neighborhood bistro menu include savory zucchini beignets and l’haute dog (spoiler alert: it’s a fancy hot dog). Full caviar service from Petrossian is also on hand (because why not?), available in two portion sizes and accompanied by chive chips and creme fraiche, of course. Don’t forget to try a traditional French aperitif like a Kir Royale or a serving of Parisian-preferred Pastis for some native points.
Newly nestled behind a striking art deco facade in the heart of Beverly Hills, Funke is a masterpiece—simultaneously a glamorous dining spectacle for the eyes and also the summer hotspot that rooftop dreams are made of. With a decidedly Euro-chic vibe up top, the alfresco ambiance features crisp white lounge seating and a stunning pink onyx bar as the visual pièce de résistance. Prepare to be transported to the Amalfi Coast with seaside offerings from the light Mediterranean menu, with the sweeping citywide views as a steady reminder that this is still LA, after all. Downstairs, the dining room wows with luxurious red velvet booths and marble top tables, elegant finishes and impressive artwork that includes Basquiats and Warhols gracing the walls—all surrounding the central glass fishbowl workspace where exquisite handmade pasta is created on display. It’s like a living culinary museum! With a sprawling menu of upscale Italian cuisine, Funke is a fashionable feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
Location: Beverly Hills
Based in Los Angeles, Kandace has spent the past ten years in the fashion and lifestyle space, and recently in entertainment at Sony Pictures Studios. She has a Masters in Journalism from Emerson College and has studied in Paris, Firenze, and Washington DC, beginning her career as a style editor and tastemaker for NBC. She is an internationally award-winning filmmaker, having studied screenwriting for film and television at UCLA, and her work has been celebrated around the world, in cities like London, Nice, New York, and Montréal. Paying homage to her French heritage, she is also the creator of The Chic American--a style and culture editorial destination for Francophiles, dedicated to the art of living an elevated, French-inspired lifestyle.