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Scarpetta

EatLA-1738

WHY The pampering, the prestige and the people-watching. Also the spaghetti with tomato and basil, which is as good as its $24 price tag would suggest. WHAT Scott Conant’s unfussy Mediterranean fare appeals both to the conservative older crowd and the moneyed young bucks who frequent this deluxe hotel restaurant. The kitchen shines at pasta, [...]

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Picca

EatLA-1903

WHY Innovative creations from Ricardo Zarate, Food & Wine’s best New Los Angeles chef, 2011. WHAT The new descendant of Zarate’s ultra-modest Mo-Chica is a trend-setting cantina whose robata bar items look Japanese but taste Peruvian (skewered grilled scallops painted with aji amarillo pepper) and whose ceviche bar garnishes flash-marinated fish and sashimi-like tiradito with [...]

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Red Medicine

EatLA-1901

WHY Vietnamese fusion restaurants have exploded in recent years, but Red Medicine is no ordinary pho-taco joint. WHAT Jordan Kahn’s painterly riffs on Vietnamese flavors are under the radar—he’s doing some of the city’s most creative cooking right now. The chic, industrial polished-concrete space makes a neutral backdrop for eye-popping compositions. Unusual ingredients—rose marmalade, smoked [...]

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Craftbar

EatLA-1361

WHY An affordable version of Tom Colicchio’s terrific (and adjacent) Craft restaurant, a sleek brother to the New York original. WHAT Everything on the menu in the front lounge and patio at Craft is $5 to $12 and just as interesting: seafood pie, flatbread with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes, short-rib raviolis. WHO Junior ICM [...]

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John O’Groats

EatLA-203

WHY Corned beef hash, biscuits, thick-cut bacon and pumpkin or fresh-fruit-topped pancakes. WHAT Fans line up every weekend morning (and sometimes on weekdays) for a spot at a table or the counter in this rustic-charming diner named for a village in Scotland. The food isn’t authentically Scotch (a good thing, perhaps), but the breakfasts are [...]

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The Conservatory

EatLA-193

WHY Subtle, artful roasting in a low-key yet cool environment where the bean is king. Seriously good cocoa, too. WHAT The on-site roasting makes this a coffeehouse for aficionados. Fans sing the praises of the nuanced brews and drive happily from the Valley or beyond just to buy a pound. The location, across the street [...]

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The Ivy

EatLA-299

WHY To channel Danny DeVito in Get Shorty. WHAT There’s a white picket fence to keep the looky-loos out and the celebrities in, and the remarkable thing is how well it works. Movie and music stars really do come here, as do the agents, managers and publicists who feed off of them, and they’re all [...]

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The Stand

EatLA-468

WHY The ‘Loaded’ dog, or any of the specialty hot dogs, such as the Chicago and the Downtown L.A. WHAT An alternative to Century City’s pricey restaurants, the Stand has become a lunchtime mainstay for local office workers who appreciate a good hot dog. 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, 310.785.0400, thestandlink.com. B & [...]

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Lamonica’s NY Pizza

EatLA-470

WHY For downright delicious New York pizza, best eaten by the slice and immediately. The plain cheese is best. WHAT Your basic pizza dive with thin-crust pies that boast the proper balance of cheese to sauce to crust. Pizza heads argue constantly about whether this is proper New York pizza or not, but we don’t [...]

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X-Bar

EatLA-1360

WHY Because mall shopping requires constant refueling with mocha-espresso martinis and chile-lime crab cakes. WHAT Cocktails with cheesy names like the astrology-inspired Leo and Scorpio (which arrive tableside in the appropriate birthstone color) are actually pretty good, if overpriced and on the sweet side. Garlic fries with chipotle aioli will come to the rescue to [...]

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