When it comes to food culture, Los Angeles can be tough to define.
New Orleans has Creole. Kansas City has barbecue. Charleston has Lowcountry. But there’s really no easy shorthand for Los Angeles cuisine.
It’s a great place to eat, of course, with its ocean-side location making it an easy access point for fresh ingredients. And as a major international cultural center – including high Korean, Mexican, and Pacific Island populations – some of the world’s greatest chefs call Los Angeles home.
In this year’s ranking of the 101 Best Restaurants in America, we surveyed hundreds of the nation’s leading culinary authorities, and 10 Los Angeles restaurants made it into our final ranking. Here are the top five best restaurants in Los Angeles.
#5 Hinoki and the Bird
It’s not easy to open an immensely successful restaurant from scratch in Los Angeles, but that’s exactly what chefs David Myers and Kuniko Yagi did when they opened this Century City hotspot in January 2013. The Silk Road-inspired restaurant is not only a great place to sip a craft cocktail and nosh on snacks like fried oysters and chili crab toast, it’s a treat for all your senses. Myers (who rose to fame with Comme Ça and the Michelin-starred Sona) traveled Japan extensively before opening the restaurant where he fused the finest attributes of Japanese dining (the room is scented with hinoki, a Japanese cedar, and the patio resembles a Japanese garden) with the most fun aspects of American dining. Several of the dishes, including the hinoki-scented black cod with sweet potato and pistachio, coconut-curried mussels with sausage and cauliflower, and lobster roll with green curry and Thai basil, are already signature menu items.
Chef Suzanne Goin was nominated for the James Beard Outstanding Chef of the Year Award every year from 2008 to 2013 for her first endeavor, Lucques, which opened in 1998 and remains as good as ever. The restaurant shines with a warm dining room, an enchanting patio, and a menu of bright, full-flavored food like beluga lentil salad with avocado, shaved beets, watercress, cumin and garlic labneh; pork scaloppini with sweet potato, dandelion, crushed pepitas, dates, and mascarpone; and other dishes based on raw materials from sources "guided by principles of sustainability."
#3 Osteria Mozza
Nancy Silverton, whose La Brea Bakery changed the game for artisanal bread in America, teams up here with New York-based Italian-food moguls Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich in this lively urban restaurant, complete with a mozzarella bar, unusual pasta (calf’s brain ravioli, spaghetti with marinated white anchovies), and main dishes ranging from grilled quail wrapped in pancetta to duck al mattone.
Under the direction of the ceaselessly inventive José Andrés, The Bazaar takes visitors on a wild culinary adventure, presenting old-world delicacies in a bold new way. Spanish food, either traditional or avant-garde, has no more fervent and eloquent champion in America than Andrés, proprietor of this multi-part restaurant and culinary theme park. Whether you choose the tasting menu at the semi-hidden SAAM, Ottoman carrot fritters or sea urchin and avocado steamed buns at Bar Centro, or the best jamón Ibérico in America at Rojo y Blanca — or, best of all, a combination of the traditional and the completely mad that is easily achieved here — you’ll have a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience.
At this ultimate haven for adventurous carnivores, chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo have won a host of awards for their hearty, straightforward, and innovative cooking. Dishes like crispy pig head with short-grain rice, bulldog sauce, and soy egg; marrow bone with chimichurri and caramelized onions; and crispy sweetbreads with black sriracha and finger lime keep chefs and civilians alike coming back for more. Animal may be small, loud, and perpetually crowded, but it sets the standard for uncompromising all-American (which of course means multi-accented) straightforward cooking in the 2010s.
5 Fieri-Approved Los Angeles Restaurants Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
For LA locals, nothing seems better than a day of Los Angeles food adventures with our best buddies. If you watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and love Guy Fieri as much as internet memes do, these spots are worth the road trip. No need to be indecisive because I handpicked these restaurants from the DDD list, each repping a different category: Gastropub, Hawaiian, Italian, Traditional American, and Mexican.
GIF courtesy of @digg on tumblr.com
1. Beer Belly
Photo courtesy of @beerbelly_la on Instagram
Located behind two cafés in the busy streets of Koreatown, Beer Belly serves up popular duck dishes like Death By Duck, which includes french fries fried in duck fat, duck skin cracklins, and duck confit. One of the “duck-a-licious” dishes Guy himself loved was The Duck French Dip along with their spicy chicken wings. Beer Belly is also known for their rotating craft beer selection. Make sure to check out their amazing Happy Hour deals.
2. Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe
Photo courtesy of foodnetwork.com
You know this place is worth trying when Gene Simmons from KISS comes in for a plate of Hawaiian Royale featuring teriyaki beef, bean sprouts and scrambled eggs all on a bed of white rice. Guy recommends the Laulau Plate, a blend of pork and butterfish wrapped in taro leaves. Serving the best of Hawaiian dishes in Los Angeles, locals frequent the business for the large portions and low prices.
3. Eastside Market Italian Deli
Photo courtesy of @eastsidedeli on Instagram
A perfect stop post-Dodgers game, Eastside has been serving “incomparable deliciousness” from hot to cold sandwiches, Tuesday and Thursday specials and Guy’s favorite, the D.A. Special. It’s a loaded sausage, meatball, roast beef, and pastrami sandwich. If that doesn’t make your mouth water, you should get your taste buds checked.
4. Tub’s Fine Chili
Photo courtesy of @tubschili on Instagram
Tub’s Fine Chili and Fancy Fixin’s is a Wild West-themed restaurant. Six varieties of chili are served in an individual toasted flatbread tub. If you would like, you can choose your own tub: baked potato, brown rice, greens, pasta, or cornbread. Guy recommends to try the Turkey Drive, a hearty chili with ground turkey seasoned with a generous amount of chili powder and Cajun spices. Other than the chili bowls, Tub’s offers chili dogs like the Double-Barrel Dingo Dog (YEE-HAW, sorry couldn’t resist) made with homemade corn bread, topped with fixins like cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, corn nuts, onions, and their own mashed mustard.
5. Mom’s Tamales
Photo courtesy of @hillaryswarrior on Instagram
Located in Pasadena, Mom’s homemade tamales taste like home away from home. Each tamale is made from scratch and steamed. Guy recommends the chicken molé, corn and cheese and beef tamales. Don’t forget to also try the queso fresco, sopes, stuffed peppers and asada. Mom’s also serves some delicious menudo, $6 burritos, and yummy taquitos. If you’re ever fixing for a tamale, buy in dozens for a great value.
1. LA Café
Address: 639 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
To begin this countdown of 24/7 LA restaurants, I present to you LA Café, a DTLA favorite for insomniacs, partygoers, and late-night snackers alike. LA Café is perfect if you're craving classic comfort foods like chili cheese fries and strawberry milkshakes or fancier fare like salmon tacos with mango salsa and falafel. An added bonus? They deliver. You don't even have to change out of your grease-stained pajamas for some greasy lobster grilled cheese (#score).
Top 10 dessert and sweet drink recipes from L.A.’s best restaurants
Both Bill Addison and Patricia I. Escárcega, our restaurant critics, care about sweets. As they should. As we all should.
The official L.A. Times list of the 101 best restaurants in Los Angeles, curated by our restaurant critics.
We should care about cookies. Like these great espresso macadamia nut cookies from Hans Röckenwagner and Josiah Citrin of Dear John’s and these shortbread with cardamom and mahleb from Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl. Just as easy to make is this hazelnut brown butter cake from Suzanne Goin’s Lucques.
For more ambitious dessert-makers, we have from-scratch ice cream: a honeycomb version from Jeremy Fox and a licorice ice cream recipe from Genevieve Gergis of Bestia.
Those excited to experiment with yeasted sweets should start with Margarita Manzke’s hot cross buns. And if you want to try your hand at confections, go for this panforte from Tartine’s Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt.
Some desserts can double as drinks. Case in point: horchata. The almond horchata from Gilberto Cetina of Chichén Itzá/Holbox gets extra sweetness from brown sugar, while the coconut mixed into the horchata at Sonoratown makes it extra creamy.
For the ultimate drink-as-dessert, make the atole from Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria. Thick with maize and sweet with charred strawberries, it’s the perfect way to end a meal.
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Genevieve Ko is the former cooking editor for the Los Angeles Times. She is a cookbook author and has been a food writer, editor and recipe developer for national food media outlets. Ko graduated from Yale after a childhood in Monterey Park.
3. Stuff I Eat
LA is known as the land of vegan food, and Stuff I Eat is the city’s black-owned vegan hotspot. The restaurant prides itself on using organic produce whenever possible and its dishes don’t contain any refined sugars, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
Chef B’s award-winning dishes have a large Tex-Mex influence, in addition to Southern comfort food, so you’ll find both burritos and enchiladas alongside candied yams and soul food platters. To satisfy the Mexican food cravings you’re sure to have in LA along with the desire to eat healthy, order the tofu tacos served with salsa, guacamole, and kale.
Where: 114 N Market St, Inglewood, CA 90301
Where to Eat Pizza in Los Angeles Right Now
L.A. has every style of pizza you love—and many you never even knew existed.
One thing about the excellent pizza in Los Angeles, like so much of the excellent food in Los Angeles, is that it shows up in unlikely places. It shows up in corners where you would never think to look, and it shows up in pockets that you look at all the time but dismiss.
So maybe you should start your quest for excellent L.A. pizza by heading to one of the city&aposs more touristy blocks. Seriously, go to the famous Venice sign at Pacific Avenue and Windward Avenue. You might not believe what you find.
Great White is a café where beach-loving entrepreneurs and a Goop-adjacent crowd eat avocado toast and tuna conserva salads right by the Venice sign. It&aposs also where talented Chilean chef Juan José Ferreiro has put together a wood-fired pizza menu with perfectly chewy thin-crust pies that fight back when you bite into them, but not too much.
Ospi, a short stroll from the Venice sign, is where pasta maestro Jackson Kalb worked with renowned dough doctor Noel Brohner to develop cracker-thin pizzas that are inspired by Rome but calibrated for the free spirit of Los Angeles. (Consider Ospi&aposs pizza with ground pepperoni, pineapple, and raw and pickled jalapeños as Exhibit A.) Brohner, meanwhile, also opened Hotel Erwin&aposs Venice Way Pizza, with square slices and pies a few steps from the Venice sign.
But maybe an even more unlikely place to find terrific pizza is your own driveway. Meet Speak Cheezy, a new L.A. pizza van from Jason Winters of Urban Pie. For a $250 minimum, Winters and his crew will show up at your home for a private party and make fantastic sourdough pizzas like the anchovy-forward Bon Chovie, which has the pleasantly intense flavors of puttanesca.
Los Angeles has every style of pizza you probably love, and also so many flavor combinations you probably never considered on pizza.
You can head to the San Fernando Valley for a legit New York-style slice at Pizza Wagon of Brooklyn, which has brought the flavors of Bay Ridge to Sherman Oaks. Studio City&aposs LBK is another Brooklyn-to-L.A. standout in the Valley. Meanwhile, downtown L.A.&aposs Superfine is where revered Rossoblu chef Steve Samson deftly weaves together New York and Neapolitan pizza influences to create his own style. (Hot tip: During the pandemic, Samson started serving Superfine pizzas at Rossoblu, and he plans to continue this.) For Detroit-style pizza, there&aposs on-the-rise DTown Pizzeria in West Hollywood and Long Beach. And is it any surprise that Naples mainstay L&aposAntica Pizzeria Da Michele (yes, the pizza place in Eat Pray Love) opened its first U.S. outpost in Hollywood?
In Rancho Palos Verdes, you&aposve got Burattino, where Korean-Angeleno proprietor Lee Kim has ultra-crunchy crusts and vibrant toppings that include both green and red chorizo from local sausage legend The Chori-Man. In Boyle Heights, chef Mario Christerna&aposs Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. is inspired by his Chicano roots, so he&aposs got a mole pie. Christerna also makes discada, a Mexican preparation of pork and beef, for his version of a meat lover&aposs pizza.
Best Chinatown restaurants and bars
1. Pearl River Deli
Johnny Lee is the underground king of char siu and chicken, and, if you can believe it, that&rsquos just a fraction of what makes Pearl River Deli one of our favorite restaurants. Lee&rsquos Cantonese comfort-food involves grilled and pached meats galore within Far East Plaza, but the techniques used to create them is painstaking and old-school: a labor of love and method that Lee devotes much of his time to perfecting. Head to this quick-and-casual stall for gorgeously lacquered char siu, special-order Hainan chicken, Typhoon-shelter shrimp, the occasional leaf-wrapped rice zhong (made by Lee&rsquos own mother), Hong Kong-style beef curry, a Macau-style fried pork chop sandwich, and an absurdly silken scrambled egg with shrimp. Keep your eye on the fridge near the front door to see what sauces and curries Lee might have for sale that day.
In early February, LASA announced it would pivot into Filipino rotisserie and natural wine spot Lasita. Since we haven&rsquot had a chance to try it yet, our original LASA write-up appears below&mdashbut we&rsquore sure you can expect nothing less than excellence from Lasita.
LASA began as a pop-up inside incubator Unit 120, and my, how it&rsquos grown. Through the years Filipino-American brothers Chad and Chase Valencia crafted a fantastic, nationally lauded restaurant with elevated dishes from their childhood, such as pancit, lumpia sariwa and crispy duck arroz caldo. During the daytime, drop by for familiar favorites&mdashlike the addictive coconut adobo chicken&mdashand at night, the menu flips to inventive, off-the-charts-creative composed plates, such as a Filipino take on surf and turf with octopus a la plancha, house-made longanisa, charred yu choy, tomatoes and calamansi. Don&rsquot skip the hand pies, always order a side of lumpia.
3. Philippe the Original
In business since 1908, Philippe the Original claims to have invented the French dip sandwich. Whether or not you believe them (Cole&rsquos will certainly contest this fact, claiming their own French dip version as the first), there&rsquos no denying the eatery has an exemplary sandwich. Savvy customers make their way across the sawdust-covered floor to select a lamb, roast beef, pastrami or turkey filling, then ask their server to double-dip the bread in the meaty juice add some of the sinus-clearing atomic mustard and you&rsquore golden. A bevy of sides includes coleslaw, macaroni and potato salad, hard-boiled eggs and pickles&mdashall to be eaten in the midst of friendly strangers you&rsquoll inevitably wind up talking to.
4. Howlin’ Ray’s
Holy hot chicken! The chef behind Howlin&rsquo Ray&rsquos, Johnny Zone, may have spent time in the kitchen with some of the world&rsquos best chefs, but he&rsquos really found his calling bringing Nashville hot chicken to Los Angeles. Head to his brick and mortar in Far East Plaza for a plate of chicken (white or dark) or a sandwich in whatever level of heat you can handle, from &ldquoCountry&rdquo to &ldquoHowlin&rsquo.&rdquo You&rsquore supposed to be sweating. You&rsquore supposed to get messy. You&rsquore supposed to be eating some of the best fried chicken in town. Of course, the fact that it&rsquos some of the best is no secret&mdashthough it&rsquos gone delivery-only for now, Angelenos and tourists would wait in lines that can take up to three hours long and snake their way through the plaza. (Our tip? Keep your eyes on this spot&rsquos social media for line updates, once in-person service resumes.)
David Chang&rsquos first flag planted in L.A. is inspired by the city&rsquos diversity, by Korean comfort food, by Chinese classics, by American sensibilities&mdashso it&rsquos unsurprising that the menu can feel overwhelming. The best bet is to bring a crew to tackle the large-format dishes (such as the Momofuku chef's famous ssäm) and mix and match the farmers' market-fresh vegetable small plates, the sausage-stuffed peppers, the noodles and of course the bing, a now-signature chickpea flatbread with a bevy of toppings available. Chang's West Coast foray is sleek, modern and always a lot of fun, albeit one of the neighborhood's priciest options.
6. Phoenix Inn
A Chinatown institution, this old-school haunt is almost identical to its 1965 self. There are now 14 restaurants in the Phoenix family, but we'll always be partial to the first: The menu's gotten longer and the décor's been updated slightly, but the Phoenix Inn that started it all is still the same as ever. Families and late-night diners stream in for fried whole fish, deep-fried intestine, Chinese-style omelets, and hog maw with ginger, all found alongside Chinese-American favorites such as beef with broccoli and sweet and sour pork. Whatever you're craving, there's almost definitely a dish to suit you.
7. Won Kok Restaurant
A no-frills mom-and pop-restaurant in the heart of Chinatown, Won Kok is a hidden gem that offers round-the-clock dim sum at hard-to-beat prices. Forget the grand banquet halls or extravagant chandeliers&mdashWon Kok is the quintessential hole in the wall for dim sum. Nosh on the glossy, soft and not-too-sweet baked char siu bao, and sip the complimentary pu-erh tea. While the dumplings are hit or miss, the addictive sesame ball with a smooth red bean center is a signature. Opt for baked goods&mdashwe love the baked coconut bun, rice cake, buttery almond cookies and delicate egg custards, which sell out daily.
Oriel is a must-visit for lovers of French wine and stylish places to perch. Follow the glow of soft pink neon to this cozy, comfortable wine bar that&rsquos as dotted with plants as it is solo imbibers, families and trendy denizens on dates. Tucked away from the neighborhood&rsquos main drags, this spot&rsquos almost hidden beneath the Chinatown Metro stop but manages to whisk you away to France with roughly 20 wines by the glass. The petite spot keeps a French focus not only on its vino, but its food: French onion soup, roasted bone marrow, escargots and gnocchi à la Parisienne all round out the menu of Paris-comfort classics.
9. Lao Tao
David Wang&rsquos 25-seat spot in Far East Plaza is an ode to Taiwanese street food with a few Western influences thrown in, making this Chinatown menu eclectic and one of a kind. You&rsquoll find Taiwan&rsquos national dish, a traditional beef ban mian&mdashflat noodles coated in a rich marrow sauce and topped with five-spice beef shank, Taiwanese napa cabbage and pickled veggies&mdashbut the specials are always worth ordering, especially the poutine, a Taiwanese-Canadian mashup that tops French fries with pork belly, gravy and scallions. Wash it all down with Taiwanese sodas, earl grey milk teas and ube iced coffees, and you&rsquoll be all set.
10. Katsu Sando
Smorgasburg&rsquos popular Japanese katsu sando slinger is now a brick-and-mortar sandwich shop, selling katsu and curry available hot from the kitchen or cold and to-go from the conbini-inspired refrigerated section. Look for traditional katsu such as chicken and pork, as well as a unique walnut shrimp katsu and the high-end wagyu splurge.
Pacific Plates: The Best Ocean-View Restaurants in Los Angeles
Take in the beauty and bounty of the West Coast at these Los Angeles restaurants with the best ocean views.
Photo By: Lisa Romerein ©Copyright Lisa Romerein
Photo By: [email protected]
Photo By: Herve Grison www.hervegrison.com ©herve grison 2008
Photo By: Ryan Tanaka ©2014 Ryan Tanaka
Malibu Farm, Malibu
It’s hard to imagine a better place to eat organic, local California cuisine than Malibu Farm. With a restaurant and a cafe on either side of the pier, Malibu Farm offers two options in one scenic setting. The restaurant, on the beach side of the pier, serves healthy fare for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Over the sea, at the pier’s end, Malibu Farm Pier Cafe serves lighter breakfast and lunch options, including quinoa oatmeal, farm-fresh scrambled eggs and kale Caesar salads.
Photography courtesy of Malibu Farm
Terrazza Lounge, Santa Monica
Located inside Santa Monica’s Casa del Mar hotel, Terrazza is a bastion of seaside salumi, serving enough prosciutto, pecorino and Grana Padano to seemingly transport diners to the Italian Riviera. The menu swerves back stateside with the well-rounded craft beer list and all-American brunch options like pastrami hash and buttermilk waffles.
Photography by Lisa Romerein courtesy of Hotel Casa Del Mar
The Strand House, Manhattan Beach
For a palm-fringed pierside pick, head to The Strand House across from the Manhattan Beach pier. In addition to contemporary Californian fare, the restaurant offers elevated takes on comfort classics, including mac ‘n’ cheese, pizza and glazed doughnuts. In addition to a beach-friendly cocktail menu, The Strand has a wine list full of formidable selections from around the globe. All are best enjoyed while overlooking the bright, sandy beach.
Photography courtesy of The Strand House
Celebrities and sushi come together at Malibu legend Nobu. The luxurious seaside haunt is beloved by rappers, actresses and power players alike, and has priceless views to satisfy the elite clientele. In addition to a fantastic sushi selection, Nobu offers culinary staples and innovations with its two menus, Nobu Classic and Nobu Now. Early risers should arrive in time for the Malibu Breakfast, which offers dishes like Shiso Santandagi, 48-Hour Braised Short Rib “Steak and Eggs” and Wagyu Fried Rice.
Photography by Henry Hargreaves courtesy of Nobu
Whiskey Red’s, Marina Del Rey
As its name suggests, Whiskey Red’s is a choice spot for sampling whiskey while enjoying a great view of the Marina del Rey’s calm waters. Grab a seat outside next to a fire pit to watch the sunset while sampling one of the infused seasonal whiskeys, like summer peach. If that doesn’t satisfy your whiskey tooth, order The Whiskey Burger with whiskey barbecue sauce.
Photography courtesy of Whiskey Red's
Venice Whaler, Venice Beach
Despite its prime spot next to the bustling Venice Fishing Pier, Venice Whaler is a laid-back, seemingly hidden gem. The upstairs deck has great views of the beach happenings, which are best observed with a cocktail in hand. The food menu covers a broad swath, including California classics like fish tacos and avocado toast, and pier-perfect fried fare, including fish and chips. Brunch is particularly popular, and many walk off their chicken and waffles with a stroll over to Muscle Beach.
Photography courtesy of Venice Whaler
The Penthouse, Santa Monica
Most of LA’s best ocean-view spots are at sea level, but The Penthouse restaurant in Santa Monica is a step — actually 18 stories — above the competition. The restaurant perches high atop the city on the penthouse level of the Huntley Hotel. Elegant and modern, The Penthouse lives up to its name with beautifully crafted food and 360-degree views of the ocean and the Los Angeles skyline.
Photography courtesy of The Huntley Hotel
Geoffrey’s Malibu, Malibu
Geoffrey’s Malibu is an approachable fine-dining destination with incredible sweeping views of the vast blue water. Located just off the Pacific Coast Highway, the Malibu restaurant arranges tables under outdoor patio umbrellas, which are the best seats in the house. Brunch service goes beyond basic with decadent orders of challah French toast, shiitake omelets and lobster quiche. The establishment dates back to 1948 and has hosted Old Hollywood royalty, including Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.
Photography courtesy of Geoffrey's Malibu
The Lobster, Santa Monica
At The Lobster, not only is the ocean in full view, but so is all of the fun on the Santa Monica Pier. Families will love the hearty seafood dishes and sandwiches as well as the giant Ferris wheel backdrop. This historic restaurant is a perfect place to refuel after a family excursion to the pier. Things may have changed quite a bit since dishwasher Mateo Castillo worked his way up to owning The Lobster in 1950, but diners can still count on massive hunks of the namesake lobster and a postcard-worthy view.
Photography courtesy of The Lobster
1 Pico, Santa Monica
Housed in the 5-star hotel Shutters on the Beach, 1 Pico is a beachside restaurant that draws diners beyond hotel guests with its sandy views and artful dishes. Like any good beach spot, 1 Pico serves an array of seafood in addition to other upscale internationally inspired plates like ricotta tortellacci pasta and New Zealand rack of lamb. Toast to good health with a cold-pressed juice or specialty cocktail.
Photography courtesy of Shutters on the Beach
Mar’sel, Rancho Palos Verdes
Terranea Resort offers an oceanside escape that feels worlds away, and rightfully so the sprawling 102-acre property sits removed from the chaos of Los Angeles in leafy, tranquil Palos Verdes. Terranea even maintains an herb garden yielding fresh ingredients for Mar’sel, the resort’s California-cuisine restaurant that overlooks a perfectly manicured lawn and the endless blue horizon of the Pacific Ocean. Perk up the patio dining with charcuterie and caviar, paired with a selection from the French and Californian wine list.
Photography courtesy of Terranea Resort
Cafe del Rey, Marina del Rey
Marina del Rey is home to thousands of boats and lots of great restaurants. While Cafe del Rey may not offer views of sandy shores, this dockside restaurant has a different ocean view worth noting: the marina. Cafe del Rey matches its surroundings with a nautical feel that pairs well with the California fare available for brunch, lunch and dinner. Sample fresh catches at the raw bar, then keep an eye out for seasonally driven desserts.
Photography courtesy of Cafe del Rey
Playa Provisions, Playa del Rey
Playa Provisions may be the most-fun ocean-view spot on our list. With multiple concepts under one roof, the Playa del Rey hot spot can cure your caffeine craving, impress whiskey connoisseurs and keep kids entertained with craft ice cream at its various spaces: King Beach, Grain, Dockside and Small Batch. Even without its beachside location, this place would be an ideal place to spend a beautiful day.
Union Pasadena packs a mighty punch in a small space, as this 50-seat Northern Italian restaurant in Old Pasadena serves up unexpected taste pairings as well as traditional favorites. With an ever-changing menu that sources seasonal, local ingredients, Chef Chris Keyser creates delicious dishes by leading a kitchen that does its own butchering, makes its own pasta and uses the freshest vegetables. The result features choices like perfectly charred octopus drizzled in a lobster jus and sparked with Fresno chili or luscious wild mushrooms sautéed with sherry vinegar. And that's just for starters. If you're lucky, you'll find the squid ink lumache, a house-made, black shell-shaped pasta enhanced with Maine lobster and truffle butter. Try main courses like pork chop peperonata or lamb al latte and be sure to ask for Italian wine-pairing suggestions, for Union has a fascinating list of choices sourced from many regions of La Bella Italia.
Recommended for Pasadena's Best Restaurants because: Creative tastes, an easygoing casual vibe and an eclectic, rotating menu make Union a culinary adventure on every visit.
Jenny's expert tip: Reserve the chef's table for two, a cozy spot facing the bar that makes you feel like you're in the kitchen's catbird seat.
CATCH LA is the newest outpost of the popular EMM Group seafood restaurant chain that began in New York and has now expanded to Los Angeles (actually West Hollywood), Dubai and Playa del Carmen, Mexico. CATCH LA combines a super-sexy scene � think famous actors, top athletes, Hollywood executives � with some of the most mouthwatering seafood concoctions you have ever tasted. Head upstairs to the indoor-outdoor space with a view of the Pacific Design Center next door, and choose the patio or the indoor section, which on a clear evening will have its roof retracted, revealing a moonlight view. Then try selections from the various menus sections: Raw Bar, Signature Cold, Cold, Skewers, Rolled, Hot and Signature Vegan and it is hard to go wrong. Pick Hamachi Spinach with its amazing ponzu sauce, go for the light Branzino in butter, and don't miss the Truffle Sashimi.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A hot social scene combined with world-class seafood and other dishes to be shared puts CATCH LA at the top of the Hollywood heap.
Jenny's expert tip: Order the "Signature Cold" dish of Truffle Sashimi and taste what just may be the most delicious seafood dish on the planet.