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The 50 Finest

What's happening on the always-hot Los Angeles wining and dining scene? Chefs across the city are bringing exciting new flavors to the table... A fresh crop of mixologists are shaking up classic cocktails... Vegan fare rocks... Decadent desserts tempt... Here, we dish on of-the-moment culinarians, restaurants, menus and cocktails redefining the City of Angels.

MELTING POT
Chef Bryant Ng draws on his diverse Singaporean, Chinese and Vietnamese backgrounds for his dishes at Cassia.

 

10 MOST EXCITING NEW RESTAURANTS

The Arthur J
Filled with vintage light fixtures, big comfy booths, blonde woods and a mid-century modern vibe, David LeFevre’s mod spot is perfect for its seaside neighborhood. The dining room is built for lavish feasts—steaks and chops grilled over white oak, alder or applewood; super buttery whipped potatoes and red cabbage.
Power Move Look for the nightly specials, like grilled Duroc pork porterhouse ($25) on Tuesdays and classic prime rib ($35) on Saturdays. 903 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, 310.878.9620

The Bellwether
This chic, convivial Studio City dining room, overseen by Father’s Office alums Ted Hopson and Ann-Marie Verdi, is a go-to for seasonal small plates, house-infused cocktails, California wines and elevated twists on classics, like bigeye tuna crudo with raw puttanesca-style sauce, fennel confit and Calabrian chile ($13).
Power Move Try the eggs Benedict with honey biscuits ($14) at the outstanding weekend brunch. 13251 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818.285.8184

Broken Spanish
For his contemporary downtown Mexican restaurant, chef Ray Garcia finds inspiration in the traditional food he grew up eating at family dinners in L.A. Refined dishes include soulful roasted pork belly served with citrusy mojo ($39) and the best masa in the city stuffed with braised lamb meat ($16). Cocktails driven by mezcal and tequila are equally unique and exciting.
Power Move It’s a hop and a skip from the Staples Center, making pre-game and post-show dinners and drinks much more interesting here than at the chains inside the complex. 1050 S. Flower St., L.A., 213.749.1460

CLASSIC COMFORT
Officine Brera's risotto Milanese ($22) with saffron, Lodigrana cheese and roasted bone marrow

Cassia
Two culinary power couples—Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb (owners of the Rustic Canyon family of restaurants) and chef Bryant Ng and wife Kim (known for their beloved Spice Table in Little Tokyo)—joined forces on the ground floor of a historic art deco building to bring the 2016 James Beard Restaurant Award semifinalist to life. The enticing menu combines Ng’s Singaporean, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine with a French brasserie sensibility. Look for Vietnamese pot au feu with bird’s-eye chile sauce ($46) and garlicky, buttery chopped escargot in lemon grass butter and served with oven-hot naan ($18).
Power Move Grab a seat at the raw bar to see chefs craft fresh seafood dishes and shuck oysters. The experience pairs perfectly with a bottle of Vilmart & Cie champagne ($300). 1314 7th St., Santa Monica, 310.393.6699

Hatchet Hall
Locals are hungry for chef Brian Dunsmoor’s high-end Southern cooking: sliced pink country ham with grilled peaches ($15); piles of chopped chicken livers with sweet onion jam on brioche ($13); and long beans with bacon, sweet onion and sherry ($8). At this sizzling spot, he cooks comfort food with the heart, soul and deft hand of a Southern Californian chef.
Power Move Check out the hidden Old Man Bar, which mixes taxidermy decor, lo-fi vinyl sounds and spirit-forward cocktails. 12517 W. Washington Blvd., L.A., 310.391.4222

Kali
Chef Kevin Meehan believes that when you have something as fresh as a spot prawn from Santa Barbara, there's no need to over-embellish it. Here, he serves it raw, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and crushed pistachios ($14). This ultraseasonal resto, which he co-owns with Providence’s former wine guru Drew Langley, is a Hancock Park staple for tasting menus and surprising twists,
like meringue gelato with sweet, cured egg yolk ($10).
Power Move Let Langley select your wine, perhaps a gem from a California small-producer you won't find anywhere else. 5722 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.871.4160

Moruno
When Mozza alums David Rosoff and chef Christopher Feldmeier concepted their own restaurant, they opted out of rustic Italian. Instead, their Spanish, Moroccan and Northern African all-day restaurant and bar is packing in crowds at the Original Farmers Market. Feldmeier's menu features dishes like half cabbage cooked on the rotisserie, sweet inside, charred outside, smothered in tangy yogurt sauce ($12) and butterflied whole fish a la plancha with paper-thin crisp skin ($28).
Power Move Rosoff is out to make vermouth a "thing," with an extensive selection including exclusive house brand Vermino. 6333 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323.372.1251

Officine Brera
There’s genuine excitement about pushing the boundaries of regional Italian fare at this stunning Arts District follow-up to Factory Kitchen. Chef Angelo Auriana’s menu takes a turn to lusty, rustic Northern Italian dishes, especially handmade potato gnocchi ($25) and wood-grilled swordfish steak ($27). With original industrial design elements like brick walls, heavy steel and glass windows, and high warehouse ceilings, plus warm amber-colored lights, tawny leather chairs and dark woods, the sexy setting fits the fare.
Power Move Imbibe on an extensive selection of amari ($10 to $18), the bitter Italian digestif, including Santa Maria al Monte from Liguria. 1331 E. 6th St., L.A., 213.553.8006

Otium
The menu at chef Timothy Hollingsworth's outpost beside the Broad museum is on trend, but decidedly original. The French Laundry alum's memorable fare includes spinach fusilli pasta smothered in egg, bacon and creme fraiche ($22); and fried funnel cake topped with foie gras mousse and strawberries ($26).
Power Move Don’t want to commit to a full meal? There’s a small Otium-run kiosk at the front of the park for daytime snacks, pastries and coffee. 222 S. Hope Street, Downtown, 213.935.8500

Rose Café-Restaurant
Serving breakfast through dinner, this hangout for creative types has been reborn with a chic, boho look, insanely good fresh-baked pastries, breads and sweets, plus wood-fired pizzas, smoked bucatini carbonara ($23), whole lavender and honey-glazed rotisserie chicken ($52) and other rustic fare from chef Jason Neroni.
Power Move Sit at the chef's table for a tasting menu and a show (it's nearly in the kitchen). 220 Rose Ave., Venice, 310.399.0711

5 HOT HOTEL DINING SPOTS

Avec Nous
With its upgrade, the restaurant at L’Ermitage now has a Riviera-meets-Hollywood glam vibe, complete with plush seating; a pewter bar; and black, ivory and brass accents throughout. Whether sitting on the leafy patio or in the swank dining room, savor chef Olivier Quignon’s French fare: twists on the salade nicoise ($14), charcuterie ($29) and escargots ($17). Tableside serving carts are not to be missed here, especially the one filled with Sugarfina candies for dessert. 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, 310.860.8660

The Belvedere
The Peninsula Hotel’s refreshed main dining room and new outdoor terrace takes a trip through the Mediterranean with its California-meets-French country look, fresh seasonal cocktails and Executive Chef David Codney’s contemporary menu. Among the Parisian blues and crisp whites, and the contemporary art collection, the tony crowd dines on dishes such as shakshuka ($18) for breakfast, and lamb tagine with couscous and golden raisins ($45) at dinner. Don’t miss the extended wine collection with vintage pours by the glass. 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.788.2396

Georgie and The Garden Bar
The Montage in Beverly Hills swapped out Scarpetta for this new concept from renowned New York chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian. The entire space emulates a private garden setting: sage greens, caramel velvets and rich blues mingle with hanging planters and fig trees, all spilling into the patio, which overlooks the adjacent park. The lightness fits Zakarian’s menu, which features contemporary American fare with ultraseasonal ingredients from local foragers and farms, such as the white gazpacho with sheep's milk ricotta and Persian cucumbers ($15), kampachi tartare with pickled ramps ($19), and roasted diver scallops with grilled leeks and chanterelles ($36). 225 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 310.860.7970

Ivory on Sunset
In the former Herringbone space at the Mondrian Hotel, this new indoor-outdoor Brian Malarkey restaurant has a sprawling patio filled with rustic-chic tables and chairs, sofas, multiple bars and greenery-covered walls. The new menu is farm-to-table, with dishes like roasted artichoke and sun-dried tomato flatbread ($17), ahi tuna tartare spiced with sambal, ginger and black garlic ($17), and the very sharable tomahawk rib-eye with brown butter bearnaise ($120), plus cocktails made with in-house spirits like lemon grass- and clove-infused vodka. What also hasn’t changed: the city lights tumbling down the hill below. 8440 Sunset Blvd.,
West Hollywood, 323.848.6000

Mama Shelter
This hip hotel import from Paris adds an eponymous funky, casual restaurant, bar and colorful rooftop lounge to Hollywood, with "mama"-themed drinks, seasonal breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch. The menus are fitting for both local and tourist crowds, with comfort-food staples like fried chicken ($18), meatballs in marinara ($15) and kale salad ($14). Upstairs, mezze like cauliflower hummus and pita ($7) and grilled lamb brochettes ($8) come with a view of the hills, sunsets and stars (the twinkling kind). 6500 Selma Ave., L.A., 323.785.6666

3 TRENDS DEFINING LOS ANGELES

Big Cuts of Meat
It’s not just petite filets on the plate anymore; now it’s all about huge wood-fired, smoked and rotisserie cuts of meat on menus all over town. Faves include the massive 48-ounce tomahawk steak ($150) at Culver City’s Hanjip (3829 Main St., Culver City, 323.720.8804), which goes beyond traditional Korean barbecue offerings—the beef is seared tableside and finished in the oven to a perfect medium rare, then served with foie gras butter. At Josiah Citrin’s grillcentric Charcoal (425 Washington Blvd., Venice, 310.751.6794) in Venice, dry-aged beef or Niman Ranch pork porterhouse steaks ($32), boneless half chickens ($29) and half ducks ($48), and other group-friendly dishes are cooked over wood-stoked fires. The smoky, tender beef short ribs ($27) at Culver City’s superb Maple Block Meat Co. (3973 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, 310.313.6328) are mammoth, and the meat is so good, no sauce is needed.

Wine to Go
If you like what you’re sipping at lunch or dinner, take home your favorite bottles from these restos with adjacent or in-house wine shops. Everything on the wine list served at Esters (1314 7th St., Santa Monica, 310.899.6900), the snazzy wine bar next to Cassia in Santa Monica, also lines the floor-to-ceiling shelves, along with gourmet goods, gifts and picnic staples. Thank Helen Johannesen for the expertly chosen wines at Jon & Vinny’s, the hip Italian spot from Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. Buy what you love at Helen’s (412 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A., 323.334.3369), her little, enclosed retail corner at the back of the restaurant. Psst: They also deliver. Wally’s Beverly Hills (447 Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 310.475.3540) is equal parts wine bar, restaurant and shop. Walls are lined with everything from what’s in your glass while nibbling on chef David Feau’s fare to a must-have-in-your-cellar Bordeaux.

Elevated Street Snacks
At Sambar (9531 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 310.558.8800), Akasha Richmond translates her love of regional Indian cuisine into dishes like kati rolls ($10 to $14)—a traditional street food from Kolkata—and goat curry tacos folded in roti instead of tortillas ($12). Madcapra (317 S. Broadway, L.A., 213.357.2412), chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson’s chic counter at the Grand Central Market, brings wildly flavorful farmers market flair to the humble falafel ($11 to $13). And while shawarma may be known to some as budget backpacker fare, new chef Yousef Ghalaini at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows' Fig (101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310.319.3111) luxes up the dish by serving it with free-range chicken, pickles and garlic sauce ($16).

5 BEST NEW BRUNCHES

Dudley Market
The shelves at this all-day spot near the Venice boardwalk are stocked with a wide array of items from Sfoglini pasta to sunscreen. It’s hard to resist celebrating any morning—brunch is served daily—with things like oysters and Champagne mignonette ($20), blueberry pancakes with lemon curd ($14), and espresso and mimosas on the side. 9 Dudley Ave., Venice, 424.744.8060

Nobu Malibu
At this beachfront address, get brunch favorites Jidori chicken and waffles ($24), 48-hour short rib steak and eggs ($34), and Japanese-inspired bloody marys ($14) every day from noon to 3pm, plus weekend specialties like caviar hot pots ($21) at the new weekend breakfast, served Friday through Sunday from 9am to noon. All with a side of crashing waves. 22706 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, 310.317.9140

Redbird
If there was ever a patio for Sunday brunching, it’s Neal and Amy Knoll Fraser’s open-air (via retractable roof) beauty adjacent to the Vibiana downtown. Designed to blur the lines between casual and refined, the menu matches the decor with equal parts decadence and whimsy, with elevated riffs on classics like biscuits with red-eye rabbit sausage and gravy ($18), and a foie gras torchon English muffin with marmalade ($19). Cocktails follow suit. 114 E. 2nd St., L.A., 213.788.1191

Salt’s Cure
When Chris Phelps and Zak Walters decided to move their popular West Hollywood spot to bigger, splashier digs in Hollywood, all anyone wanted to know was: Will the 2x2x2 breakfast return? Indeed, the plate of house-cured slab bacon, sausage patties, farm-fresh eggs and warm, buttery biscuits ($15) is on the menu, along with so much more. Brunch is bigger now and resplendent with floor-to-ceilings open to the patio, plus bloody marys and cocktails to boot. 1155 N. Highland Ave., L.A., 323.465.7258

Trois Familia
Proving they continue to have the magic touch, chefs Ludovic Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo have another hit on their hands with this laid-back and colorful daily brunch spot. Silver Lakers will wait in line for a spot at communal tables for French-Mexican mashups like crispy hash brown chilaquiles with sunny side up eggs and cotija cheese ($10), supple and sugary churro French toast ($10), and silky poached omelette burritos ($11). Servers spin vinyl to keep the party going. 3510 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 323.725.7800

5 CHEFS TO WATCH

1. Nyesha Arrington at Leona
Having worked with Josiah Citrin and Joël Robuchon, Arrington is a rising star with a penchant for progressive California cuisine. Now, finally landing her own solo restaurant in Venice, the Southern California native may use ingredients with health benefits, like turmeric and ginger, but she isn’t afraid of butter and cream. Her culinary style is modern and contemporary yet rooted in classic approaches, and Californian through and through, from lamb belly wontons with seasonal market ingredients ($24) to local black cod with sweet onion jus ($30). 123 Washington Blvd., Venice, 310.822.5379

2. Bruce Kalman at Knead & Co.
Pasta Bar + Market It takes a lot of power to churn out the amount of pasta Kalman does at Knead. It helps to have a custom extruder, which creates endless shapes and colors to use in dishes like ricotta and kale ravioli ($13) at the Grand Central Market stand as well as his popular Pasadena restaurant, Union. The chef has always used the best seasonal ingredients possible, does his own butchery and makes everything in-house, like pickles and charcuterie, which are all hallmarks in his kitchens. Next up: He and business partner Marie Petulla will open a third restaurant in the Helms Bakery complex in Culver City. 317 S. Broadway, L.A., 213.223.7592

3. Tin Vuong at Little Sister DTLA
With the personal approach Vuong takes with his menu at this Southeast Asian shophouse downtown, you’d think this was his only restaurant. In reality, he oversees an empire for the Blackhouse Hospitality group, which has popular concepts peppered throughout the South Bay and Culver City, including a steakhouse, Italian spot and gastropubs. At Little Sister, the aromas of garlic and chiles waft into the street, enticing hungry diners waiting outside. The salt-and-pepper lobster is the one to go for ($38), especially since servers whisk away the shell and bring back the meat in a plate of lobster fried rice. 523 W. 7th St., L.A., 213.628.3146

4. Marcel Vigneron at Wolf
Having made a name for himself as a runner-up on Top Chef and a mastermind of molecular gastronomy, Vigneron has turned to a more simplified way of cooking, where top-notch ingredients fuse with exacting technique. It’s best shown with the humble potato, here transformed into crisp, golden cubes that are as fluffy as air inside ($10). They’re perfect with black cod and white miso ($32) or lamb with vadouvan and labneh ($34). We can’t wait to see what he does with more vegetables at Beefsteak, his plant-based eatery opening next to Wolf. 7661 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.424.7735

5. Louis Tikaram at E.P. & L.P.
With two culinary spaces to command in West Hollywood—the second-floor dining room, with its copper tones and “young and free” pink neon; and the rooftop lounge with its views of the hills and surrounding city—Tikaram has a chance to show both his haute and casual culinary sides. Influenced by his diverse heritage (Fijian, Chinese, Indian and Australian), his travels throughout Southeast Asia and his SoCal lifestyle, he presents dishes like seaweed ceviche with fresh coconut milk and lime ($11), soft shell crab bao ($10), and wood-grilled prime rib-eye for two ($56). 603 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310.855.9955

3 HIGHLY ANTICIPATED RESTOS

Gwen
Curtis Stone and his brother, Luke, joined forces for this follow-up to Maude, which takes over a massive space in Hollywood for a European-style retail butcher and chef-driven restaurant. The seasonal, ever-changing menu will feature housemade charcuterie and fire-based cooking, craft cocktails and an impressive wine program when it opens later this year. 6600 Sunset Blvd., L.A.

Jean-Georges at Waldorf-Astoria Beverly Hills
Famed New York-based French chef and Michelin-starred restaurateur Jean-George Vongerichten will take up residence at the new Waldorf-Astoria Hotel when it debuts in 2017. The still-unnamed project is his first for the West Coast, and will include a luxe ground-floor dining room, rooftop space and seasonal, local influences. 9860 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills

Petit Trois, Valley Edition
Chef Ludovic Lefebvre and partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo will bring a splash of French bistro fare over the hill sometime within the next year. Lefebvre, who will star in an upcoming season of Mind of a Chef, adds his Boursin-filled omelet, steak frites, burger and more to the burgeoning dining scene in Sherman Oaks. 13705 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks

3 IMPORTS MAKING A SPLASH IN L.A.

Aburiya Raku
For anyone who has spent time dining off-strip in Las Vegas, chances are this izakaya, a popular hang for Japanophiles, chefs, and bona fide food obsessives, was at the top of the list. Now cozily housed in West Hollywood, the lively late-night vibe is reminiscent of Tokyo’s Omoide Yokocho district, from the tame Kobe beef filet and wasabi ($14) to the adventurous Kurobuta pork cheek ($5). Don’t miss dishes made with the fresh tofu, prepared daily in-house. 521 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 213.308.9393

Tempura Endo
Hailing from Kyoto, this Beverly Hills tempura house is defying preconceptions about fried food. An almost operatic tasting menu ($180 to $280) highlights delicately cooked morsels from land (Miyazaki A5 wagyu beef) and sea (king crab, uni), each of which is given a specific salt (yuzu-laced, truffle, sansho pepper) for personalized seasoning to taste. The ultra-authentic dining experience is completed with a traditional tea ceremony—the closest to the real deal you’ll find outside Gion. 9777 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.274.2201

Shake Shack
Angelenos no longer have to wait for a layover at JFK for a taste of Danny Meyers’ famous burgers, fries and shakes. Though the first L.A. outpost opened a few months back, lines are still out the door, and one bite of the Shackburger ($6) or one lick of the SoCal-specific custard with Compartes dark chocolate chunks and Larder brownie bits ($5 to $7) explains why. This truly is the only fast-food joint that could give our native In-N-Out a run for its money; more locations are already on the way. 8520 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323.488.3010

3 NEW VEGAN HOT SPOTS

The Butcher’s Daughter
While technically vegetarian, this stunning and mostly vegan cafe and juice bar from New York City fits perfectly into this little pocket of Venice and is bringing cool vibes to Abbot Kinney. It's supercommunal both inside and out, offering space for all-day eats such as morning smoothies and fresh-baked pastries, and plant-based twists on dishes, like cauliflower T-bone ($20), stone-oven margherita pizzas with dairy-free mozzarella ($18), and spaghetti squash carbonara ($18). 1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310.981.3004

Little Pine
Musician and producer Moby only eats organic vegan food at home, so why would he serve anything else at his chic Silver Lake restaurant? Having a hand in everything from the design to the carefully curated art and books in the retail shop, he makes sure the Cal-Med menu, featuring broccoli arancini ($9) and cassoulet with housemade Italian sausage ($18), is all plant-based and earth-friendly. And showing his altruistic side, all profits go directly to animal welfare organizations. 2870 Rowena Ave., L.A., 323.741.8148

Ramen Hood
Top Chef winner Ilan Hall and chef Rahul Khopkar make everything from scratch for their ramen menu at the Grand Central Market stall, from the sunflower seed broth to the faux eggs made of soy (they look like the real thing). Settle in the counter seating around the kitchen and try versions ranging from spicy ramen with king oyster mushrooms ($10) to cold noodles with black garlic oil ($10). Extras include banh mi poutine and pickle plates—all plant-based, of course. 317 S. Broadway, L.A., 213.265.7331

3 CHICLY CREATIVE DESSERTS

Cioccolato at Osteria Mozza
The beauty of everything that Dahlia Narvaez creates for the Mozza family of restaurants, including Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza and chi SPACCA, is that she makes it all so gloriously simple. At least, it looks that way on the plate. But every chef knows simple isn’t easy. In her deft hands, the cioccolato ($12), a minimalist slice of bittersweet chocolate cake surrounded by gorgeous handmade candies—like honeycomb enrobed in dark chocolate; cocoa-dusted almonds; and nougat studded with nuts—is truly exquisite. The James Beard Awards don’t lie—Narvaez took home an Outstanding Pastry Chef Award this year. 6602 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.297.0100

Nage de Supreme d’Orange at Spring
Many desserts at Yassmin Sarmadi and chef Tony Esnault’s gorgeous downtown French spot are almost like air, which fits the light aesthetic of both the room and southern French menu. The Nage de Supreme d’Orange ($11) is a study of citrus and contrast, with bright and juicy cara cara oranges, white chocolate, ethereal meringue, marshmallow and a fresh fruit consomme. 257 S. Spring St., L.A., 213.372.5189

Pretty & Pink at THE Blvd
If dessert shots are enough to tingle your sweet tooth, check out the Instagram feed of Executive Pastry Chef Chris Ford (@butterloveandhardwork) of Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel. Sweets like the Pretty & Pink ($12) taste as sinful as they look: layers of raspberry mousse, whipped cream, raspberry pate de fruit, fresh fruit, glazed pink sucre cookie and caramelized puff pastry. Ford took four of his favorite classic pastries—St. Honoré, mille-feuille, the doughnut, and Paris-Brest—and combined them to create this decadent dream. 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.385.3901

4 PLACES TO SEE AND BE SEEN

Au Fudge
This restaurant-creative space, co-owned by Jessica Biel, has become an Instagram darling for voguish fashion bloggers, as well as celebs and their very well-dressed children. With a swagged-out playroom and a menu that offers truffled grilled cheese sticks ($12), no wonder the bright, airy cafe has seen the likes of Rachel Zoe and Alessandra Ambrosio dropping by for story time at this kiddy-friendly clubhouse.
Power Move Check the calendar for daily workshops, like modern calligraphy, cake decorating and more. 9010 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 424.204.9228

Estrella
Emma Roberts, Taylor Lautner and Luke Wilson have all been spotted dining at this boho-chic spot on Sunset Strip. While the weekdays tend to be mellow, things really pop on the patio for weekend brunch. Perch yourself in one of the high-backed rattan chairs, sip a Forgotten Evergreen cocktail ($15; vodka, basil, lemon grass honey, yellow Chartreuse and lemon), and prepare for great people-watching.
Power Move Call ahead to reserve a booth for your squad and be sure to order the weekends-only Rolling Stone ($16), a baked egg placed inside a whole avocado wrapped in bacon. 8800 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310.652.6613

Norah
Designed by Thomas Schoos, this is a seamless blend of Southern California sensibility and Southern comfort. Chef Mike Williams (formerly of
The Tasting Kitchen) utilizes the wood-burning grill to cook cast iron cornbread ($8), a perfect starter before tucking into his heritage pork chop with cider glaze, creamed turnips and purple potatoes ($29).
Power Move Save room for the vegan sweet corn ice cream topped with coconut caramel, almond crunch and a faint hint of sea salt. 8279 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323.450.4211

Winsome
Further solidifying Echo Park as one of the city’s hippest ’hoods, this midcentury-mod diner specializes in upscale American classics like a grilled corned beef sandwich ($14), spiked black garlic and cabbage slaw, and buckwheat semolina pancakes ($11) served with seasonal market preserves and chestnut honey. It’s the ultimate hang for Eastside dwelling musicians and actors.
Power Move The weekends bring crowds, so opt for grab-and-go sweet and savory pastries and coffee if pressed for time. 1115 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, 213.415.1818

3 TOP MIXOLOGISTS & THEIR SIGNATURE DRINKS

Chris Amirault, The Fiscal Agent
Tucked above Barrel & Ashes in Studio City, this hidden cocktail lounge has taken a turn toward more everyday sipping, thanks to newly minted bar manager Amirault. His tenure at places like Eveleigh and Harlowe has awarded the dapper barman numerous accolades and awards, where he gained attention for simplified but sturdy drinks. His cheekily named D’Angelo ($13) is the perfect example. Although it's made with two kinds of rum, pineapple, brown sugar cordial and Campari, it’s a classic drink at heart. 11801 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818.623.8088

Gaby Mlynarczyk, Birch
Everything Mlynarczyk puts in a glass at the Hollywood hot spot is superseasonal, creative and sippable. Taking a more modernist approach to cocktails, she often raids chefs’ kitchens for her food-friendly drinks and uses unorthodox and savory ingredients, like animal stock and garam masala. The #8 ($14), a bourbon-based concoction layered with brown butter, caraway, marmalade and drunken cherry, has been on the Birch menu since it opened. 1634 N. Cahuenga Blvd., L.A., 323.960.3369

Ryan Wainwright, Terrine
Having taken on the role of director of bar programs for the Bombet Hospitality Group, Wainright oversees cocktail menus for new restaurants Viviane and Hanjip, but also Faith & Flower and his baby, Terrine. He honed his style at the Beverly Grove spot, creating clean and classic drinks like the Stylus ($13), a smooth and elegant sipper made with Bombay Sapphire gin, dry vermouth, Carpano vermouth, Cocchi Chinato and sherry. 8265 Beverly Blvd., L.A., 323.746.5130

3 BEST DESIGN-DRIVEN RESTAURANTS

Herringbone
Brian Malarkey’s Westside outpost of his ocean-to-table restaurant carries a vibe suitable for its Santa Monica environs. Nautical without being overly so, raw lightbulbs are entangled by sailors’ rope and weathered wooden details fill the space. A plant-covered living wall lends a grounded, terrestrial touchstone. The spacious patio is a highlight, which heats up—in more ways than one—when that pesky marine layer just won’t burn off. 1755 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310.971.4460

Paley
Old Hollywood glam is alive and well at this stunning midcentury-modern homage housed in a 1930s landmark building that was once CBS Studios. The golden hour lives up to its name with sunshine or lights from the glittery boulevard bathing brass accents in a warm, glow, lending the room a gilded hue. Plush black leather banquettes on the fringe of the dining area offer just enough privacy for big deals to be cut, while tables in the center are flanked with egg yolk-colored arm chairs that set a tone of celebration. 6115 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 323.544.9430

Viviane
There’s no more beautiful place to brunch than poolside at the Kelly Wearstler-designed spot at the Avalon Hotel, which recently received a total makeover. The midcentury-modern dining room and pool area are delightfully breezy yet decidedly chic. Accented with authentic 1950s and 1960s furnishings, the turquoise, gold and neutral palette includes wood and brass chairs by era designer Dan Johnson. 9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.407.7791