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Shaherzad Restaurant

WHY A fun and affordable choice for Westwood Village dining. Just don’t fill up on that amazing bread. WHAT The only restaurant around that serves you hot flatbread straight from the tandoor-style oven, Shaherzad is a good place for kebabs, fluffy Persian rice, beef barg and traditional stews. WHO Middle Eastern UCLA students and Iranian [...]

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Birrieria Jalisco

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WHY This 35-year-old institution turns out Southern California’s most refined birria. WHAT Unlike most birrierías specializing in Guadalajara’s famous roasted kid specialty, birria, this place doesn’t hedge its bets by serving combination plates or other entrées. The drill is simple: You pile soft shreds of the sweet roasted meat onto a fresh tortilla and moisten [...]

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Torafuku

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WHY Very good, close-to-the-earth country-style meals you might expect at a ryokan, or Japanese country inn. WHAT Locavores will love the ingredients—organic vegetables, local free-range chicken and eggs, Santa Barbara prawns, grass-fed beef—that chef Tetsuya Harikawa sources for his simply cooked meals. For rice connoisseurs, the star of the show is the early-crop rice cooked [...]

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Komatsu Tempura Bar

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WHY For exquisitely made tempura and high-caliber izakaya-style little dishes. WHAT If there were a Tempura Olympics, chef Hiroshi Komatsu would surely get the gold. He plucks your tempura from his proprietary blend of scalding oil and serves the lacy, crackle-crusted fish and vegetables one piece at a time so they never cool and wilt. [...]

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Springbok Bar & Grill

WHY Well-executed versions of South Africa’s culinary hits: curries, chile sauces, meaty barbecues, a subtly spicy Naidoo’s Durban curry, and tasty kebabs called sosaties. WHAT Because this is L.A.’s only South African restaurant, you might envision a modest, family-owned spot where you could sample a few of those wonderful South African wines and explore a [...]

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El Caserio

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WHY A pretty place to explore the cuisine of South America. WHAT This dramatically enhanced sibling to William Velasco’s revered 25-year-old restaurant has the mood of a gracious old hacienda, and the food is less Ecuatoriano and more contemporary pan-South American. The libations match luscious tropical fruits with appropriately flavored alcohol: bright citrusy naranjilla (fruitier [...]

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Yuzu Torrance

WHY It brings the spirit of washoku—the revival of traditional Japanese flavors and methods updated with today’s artisanal ingredients—from Japan to California. WHAT The two bars, a wine bar, an open robata-style kitchen, tatami rooms and outdoor seating add up to a luxe, sexy environment to indulge in some elegant and traditional Japanese fare: sashimi [...]

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Mei Long Village

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WHY Go for the Shanghai-style dumplings filled with crab and pork and the light, pastry-style dumplings filled with sautéed leeks—but also try the Shanghai spareribs and the jade shrimp with a spinach purée. WHAT Originally known as Dragon Villages, this was one of the first formal restaurants to introduce Shanghai-style cooking to Los Angeles. The [...]

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Wang Jia

WHY Fine home-style cooking for a bargain tariff. WHAT This spot’s spartan white room is as brightly lighted as any hospital operating room; it’s the varied crowds that give the room its color. Following Shanghai custom, meals begin with small eats: roasted peanuts flecked with herb-like dry seaweed, seasoned jelly fish strips with scallions or [...]

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J & J Restaurant

EatLA-559

WHY Soup noodle dumplings, scallion pancakes, Shanghai fried noodles and other such comfort food. WHAT The mini-mall storefront offers a selection of traditional eastern Chinese breakfast items on the weekends and good and inexpensive noodle soups, dumplings and traditional northern and Shanghai dishes all the time. WHO Noodle and dumpling lovers on a budget who [...]

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