Five Restaurants to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles

by Bob Taylor Properties, Inc. on August 11, 2017

Visit EATER Los Angeles to discover great restuarants in and around Highland Park.

Every Friday, Eater editors share their suggestions

You probably think of the same question every weekend: where should I eat? Well, every week Eater LA will compile a handy dandy set of recommendations right here to answer that very question. Here now, five places to try this weekend in Los Angeles. (And if you need some ideas on where to drink, check out the weekend bar guide):

August 18, 2017

For an outstanding meal, every time: Republique

Republique

There are only a handful of splurge restaurants I find myself returning to over and over again. Republique is chief among them. From memorable conversations with new wine director Maria Garcia, who may direct you to a funky bottle of sparkling to pair with caviar and potato mousseline, to seasonal agnolotti and impeccable Dover Sole à la meunière that can render tears, there are few other places the mantra #treatyoself comes into such full effect. 624 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles. — Crystal Coser

For a meat experience to not be missed: RBTA

Highland Park newcomer RBTA is really turning up the heat lately. The place is already packed most nights with dinners eager for different experiences. Want a beer and some fire-licked meat skewers? Easy. Want a big, full meal with friends that hits a lot of different sweet and salty spots at once? Come on it. RBTA is the place to make just about anything happen. 5629 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park. — Farley Elliott

For a quality meal so cheap it's hard to comprehend: Mh Zh

 Erika Gable/Instagram

Israeli-leaning Silver Lake restaurant Mh Zh doesn't make sense from basically any angle. The open, tight kitchen, the open sidewalk seating and none-too-subtle BYOB policy, the fact that most shared dishes are presented on paper bags or little slips of cardboard. It's all delicious though, and carries with it a sizable weekend wait (it's worth it). The most beguiling of all? Just how inexpensive the place remains, despite cooking this great. 3536 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. — Farley Elliott

For Michael Voltaggio’s latest creative endeavor: Ink.well

ink.well Michael Voltaggio

Michael Voltaggio transformed the expansive Hutchinson space within a matter of ten days, apparently with help from the service and back of house staff at Ink, who chipped in to help paint and move equipment over to Ink.Well, his new restaurant along La Cienega Blvd.

The new menu incorporates some classic dishes from ink, and most of the new dishes take the same modernist approach to dishes. But the flavors veer toward comfort more than mind-bending theatrics. It’s a nicer, more approachable ink and the crowds have already kind of figured that out, with a packed dining room late on Thursday evening. Still, plates like the dungeness crab pasta or the lamb belly covered with pine nut cassoulet show one thing very clearly — that few chefs in LA are able to capture the essence of modern Los Angeles cooking more than Michael Voltaggio. 826 N. La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood. —Matthew Kang

For a new school take on the classic seafood shack: Son of a Gun

Ever the reliable seafood restaurant, Son of a Gun remains a stellar Los Angeles restaurant, offering seafood-shack style bites through an elevated approach. The lobster roll and shrimp toast are tiny, and that might upset some folks. But they’re delicious, and leave room for other plates like the country ham platter with warm hush puppies and whipped butter.

The fried chicken sandwich is a paragon of the dish, with a peppery crust and plush white bun. Like many of Animal’s new plates, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo take a kind of acid-laden flavoring to many dishes, with a dusting of spice, chili flake, and bread crumbs to tie it all together, giving everything a sheen of LA sensibility. 8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048 —Matthew Kang

August 11, 2017

For a sidewalk experience unlike any other: The Blvd

The Blvd, Beverly Hills
The Blvd, Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills restaurant The Blvd doesn't get the acclaim that its sister site CUT does, and that's a shame. The gorgeous eatery inside the tony Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons hotel caters to upscale guests and locals, but also a fair bit of passersby who happen to know where the good stuff is. Either way, sitting out front with a barrel view of Rodeo Drive makes for fantastic summer people-watching. 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. — Farley Elliott

For a classic Highland Park time: Huarache Azteca

Local hit Huarache Azteca has continued to thrive while the rest of York Boulevard changes massively around them. The small, colorful shop known for their outsized huaraches continues to fire up the griddle daily to turn out some of the best and least expensive food for miles around. Stop in for a table with friends, pile it high with quality food, and have a blast in Highland Park. 5225 York Blvd., Highland Park. — Farley Elliott

For the perfect answer to Korean cravings in the South Bay: Heung Nam Myun Ok

Heung Nam Myun Ok Crystal Coser

South Bay locals don’t have to drive all the way to Koreatown to get homey bowls of soups and stews thanks to Torrance go-to Heung Nam Myun Ok. The extensive menu offers something for everyone, but in the summertime, it’s all about the restaurant’s standout naengmyun, or cold buckwheat noodles. 2748 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance. — Crystal Coser

For a fresh take on a standard-issue salad: Tender Greens

 Matthew Kang
Tender Green Santa Monica

Tender Greens has an all new look and a revamped menu with some new items to go along with a striking (if odd-looking) new logo. The overall look and feel gives it something a little cleaner, and perhaps updated like sweetgreen but not too far beyond that it’s a lifestyle brand. A tasty new fried chicken sandwich dons the menu while a shrimp bowl and other non-salads give omnivores a bit more to work with. The new Italian-style chopped salad makes for a great solid option that employs quality aged salumi. The salad portion of the menu is now less than half of what they offer, and the rotating set of chef’s specials are a compelling way to try an affordable, but thoughtful plate. The other Tender Greens locations will slowly make the switch in look and feel, but for now Santa Monica is the frontrunner. 201 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401 —Matthew Kang

For homey Taiwanese fare in Chinatown: Lao Tao

Inside Chinatown's New Taiwanese Street Food Specialist Wonho Frank Lee
Lao Tao, Chinatown

The pork belly rice bowl at Lao Tao comes chock full of tender pork covered in a sweet soy glaze that runs over the steamed white rice. It’s a comforting bowl that feels fresher with the addition of sliced scallions and some robust shiitake mushrooms. This tiny Taiwanese snack spot is a nice escape from the greasy kung pao and slippery shrimp offered in another Chinatown restaurants. And they just launched a very affordable brunch on weekends, in case the brunch crew is tired to eggs benedict. 727 N Broadway #207, Los Angeles, CA 90012 —Matthew Kang

August 4, 2017

For a night out with Danny Trejo: Trejo's Cantina

Trejo’s Farley Elliott

The Pasadena outlet of Trejo's Cantina is now up and running smoothly, and they just launched a fully revitalized dinner menu. That means more than just tacos and tequila; there are full combo plates here with enchiladas and rice and beans, plus hearty steaks and big, satisfying sides. Stop in before or after a show at the attached playhouse for maximum effect. 37 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. — Farley Elliott

For some Southern California burger bliss: Capitol Burger

Capitol Burger Noam Bleiweiss

Mid-City's Capitol Burger is a true stalwart, having helped anchor its stretch of Pico Boulevard for more than half a century. The burgers and fries haven't changed much since then, and that's largely by design because they're already delicious. Stop in (bring cash) for a burger, a big box of perfectly greasy fries, and a sit at one of the few outdoor tables available. Capitol Burger is a perfect summer weekend meal. 4301 W. Pico Blvd., Mid-City. — Farley Elliott

For an affordable lunchtime gem in Torrance: Little Shop of Mary

Little Shop of Mary	Crystal Coser

Drive too fast, and you might miss the tiny storefront that is Little Shop of Mary. The banh mi shop offers a variety of the Vietnamese sandwiches on a crusty French baguette, ranging from the popular roasted pork with pickled vegetables to lemongrass chicken and vegetarian varieties. The best part? Nothing runs over $7.50, and no one leaves hungry. 2205 Torrance Blvd, Los Angeles — Crystal Coser

For LA’s best diner experience: Cassell’s

Cassell's

David Chang recently expressed his love for the perfect patty melt at Koreatown’s Cassell’s. But we already knew Christian Page’s revamp of the 1948 diner is probably the best taste of LA nostalgia, what with those nicely charred, house-ground burgers and decadent slices of banana dulce de leche pie. 3600 W 6th St, Los Angeles. — Crystal Coser

For some authentic aguas frescas: Jugos Aztecas

Jugos Aztecas Yelp

A fixture on Highland Park’s York Blvd for over eight years, Jugos Aztecas offers more than their namesake. Many of their jugos, aka juices, are organic, and their 32 ounce Super Green drink for only $7 dollars. Jugos Aztecas is owned by the same family that owns Huaraches Azteca, which sits on the same block. A visit to Jugos Aztecas often results in the owner Efrain Peña offering a sample of their aguas frescas, lovingly retrieved from one of the giant containers on the cashier stand. But the magic of Jugos Aztecas is their compact kitchen, churning out flavorful Mexican sandwiches (tortas), overflowing quesadillas, house made made tamales, and an ideal LA summer meal option: the ceviche tostada. 5213 York Blvd., Los Angeles — Mona Holmes

July 28, 2017

For a Highland Park charmer: Cafe Birdie

Cafe Birdie Yelp

When it opened nearly a year ago, Cafe Birdie felt like the true turning point for Highland Park. A soaring, candlelit storefront that offered share plates and wine, the place seemed to be meant for all the newcomers that have taken up residence in the historic neighborhood these past few years. While that has certainly come to pass, plenty of locals are also enjoying the space, thanks to chef Joey Booterbaugh's effortless cooking (and a bar that's perfect for date night). 5631 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park. — Farley Elliott

For a breakfast burrito breakthrough: Lucky Boy

 Farley Elliott

Pasadena's Lucky Boy is the stuff of breakfast burrito legend. The decades-old space on Arroyo Parkway continues to turn out hundreds of burritos daily to passersby and those with an addition to the stuff. It's not hard to see why: Laced with meat, potatoes, egg, and cheese, these finely grilled handhelds are the sort of thing that make any weekend better. 640 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena. — Farley Elliott

For a look back at one of LA's most influential restaurant in the past decade: Animal

Animal Matthew Kang

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo truly changed the LA dining scene forever when they opened Animal nine years ago on a stretch of Fairfax Avenue. With a stark, minimalist interior and a brazen approach to flavor, the stylized New Los Angeles cuisine has matured to great form these days, with a heavy incorporation of Asian ingredients and techniques of late. Consider the congee, laden with chili oil and lush tomatoes for a sweet kick while classics like the chicken liver toast are as good as ever. If it's been a while since Animal has been in one's restaurant rotation, it's due time to book another table. 435 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

For some of LA's most unsung tacos: Loteria Grill

Loteria Matthew Kang

Yes, the Original Farmer's Market is tenuously upgrading some longtime vendors, likely a reaction to the incredible attention that Grand Central Market has received over the years. And while the former greasy taco joint that Loteria Grill is no longer there, Jimmy Shaw's Mexico City-style stand is as good as ever. The guisados here are a bit better than to the stewed tacos at the eponymously named restaurant, with better balance and thinner tortillas that do a nice job of craddling in the stews. Prices are high, sure, but three tacos should fill someone nicely. Try the deshebrada, stringy beef, and the chicken tinga. 6333 W. 3rd Street. —Matthew Kang

For a new take on classic double-patty burgers: HiHo Cheeseburger

 Matthew Kang

It's not every day that someone tries to mess with the burger formula, but HiHo, which takes a lot of elements from its Ojai original, has opened one of the most compelling new fast casual burger places in the heart of Santa Monica. Using specially sourced Wagyu beef from a single New Zealand ranch, the seared patties are really great, especially for the reasonable price of $9.75 (including fries). The white buns almost disintegrate toward the end, leaving just meat, cheese, and a squirt of ketchup, plus whatever lettuce made it to the last few bites. Cap a meal off with a tart key lime pie slice. Shake Shack should have a reason to worry if this ever becomes a city-wide chain. 1320 2nd St. B, Santa Monica, CA —Matthew Kang

July 21, 2017

For healthy eating in Atwater Village: Palette Food & Juice

Palette Food & Juice

Locals are loving the new-ish Palette Food & Juice on Glendale Boulevard lately. The simple storefront offers a common promise: healthy food for relatively cheap, with quality produce and delicious sauces — all done DIY like a Chipotle. Step up, pick your fill, and enjoy the healthy ride. 3193 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village. — Farley Elliott

For some Texas-style brisket and a beer: Moo's Craft Barbecue at Indie Brewing

Moo’s Craft BBQ Clay Larsen

East LA upstart Moo's Craft Barbecue is doing something rather unique, operating illegally from a backyard in one of the densest street food sections of greater Los Angeles. Now the husband and wife team is branching out with a one-day pop-up at Indie Brewing on Saturday, starting at 4 p.m. No tickets, not DM'ing for details, just show up and enjoy. 2350 Sunrise St., Boyle Heights. — Farley Elliott

For a seafood feast perched above Third Street: C.O.D.

C.O.D C.O.D.

C.O.D. has made a strong showing on Instagram these days, and it’s no mystery why, as the restaurant’s indulgent uni truffle pasta is the highest form of conspicuous consumption. But damn, that pasta is delicious, as are the pristine raw bar gems that can commence the meal. Head upstairs for outdoor seating ideal during these long summer days. 8408 W 3rd St., Los Angeles — Crystal Coser

For deliciously fun Filipino cooking at Grand Central Market: Sari Sari Store

Sari Sari

Margarita Manzke’s take on Filipino rice bowls has one real requirement: a love of eggs. Everything here basically sports a fried egg, which makes it terrific casual versions of sisig, pork belly adobo, barbecue pork ribs, and breakfast sandwiches to a bustling crowd. While Rice Bar shot the first bow across LA’s gussied up Filipino landscape in this area, places like Lasa and Sari Sari Store are evidence that the rabid food fans of LA just can’t get enough from this cuisine. Grand Central Market, DTLA. —Matthew Kang

For a new take on sushi omakase in the Valley: Phillip Frankland Lee’s Sushi Spot

 Matthew Kang

It’s pretty easy for someone to be skeptical about Phillip Frankland Lee’s eight-seat sushi counter tucked deep into his trio of restaurants at the second story of an Encino strip mall complex. He hasn’t trained anywhere specifically to be able to earn the kind of stripes to do this level of food, but that has never stopped Lee from trying to do something (like doing house-made cheese and charcuterie). Despite this, the evidence on the countertop is pretty good, for the most part. The seafood is pristine and well-sliced.

The flavors are mostly quite delicious or at least aim to please palates, though most folks won’t be in love with the course that involves snotty grated mountain yam and lobster innards (this writer didn’t think it was half bad). Where Lee’s approach does possibly raise caution is the rice: the ratios are off and the construction isn’t as good as one might expect at a $100+ omakase situation, but perhaps it’ll improve in time. Also, Lee’s insistence that diners only use fingertips to eat the courses doesn’t always work when said courses fall apart upon getting picked up. Walk-ins only, no reservations, sign up at The Woodley Proper for a seat. 16101 Ventura Blvd Suite 242, Encino, CA —Matthew Kang

July 14, 2017

For a truly outstanding modern churrasco meal: Odys + Penelope

 Elizabeth Daniels

I’ll admit it: I slept on Odys + Penelope. And for no good reason, as sister restaurant Sycamore Kitchen is my Mid-City go-to for an afternoon salad with a brown butter bundt cake to top it off.

At Quinn and Karen Hatfield’s two-year old grillhouse, consider starting with what is perhaps the best iteration of pao de queijo in the city before moving to a gorgeous shared plate of Argentinian white prawns. But of course, the real magic takes place in the brasero, which turns out a four-hour smoked Mary’s chicken that drips with juice the second the skin is pierced, and maple rosemary glaze pork ribs that put some of the city’s best barbecue joints to shame. And yes, you should definitely order the chocolate rye pie. 127 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles. — Crystal Coser

For a delightfully grown up meal in Beverly Hills: South Beverly Grill

South Beverly Grill Yelp

There's a lot of respect thrown toward the Hillstone Group and their collection of restaurants strewn across LA. Places like Houston's and Bandera come to mind, along with the namesake Hillstone in Santa Monica and R&D Kitchen. One of the group's more enduring places is South Beverly Grill, which holds court just south of Wilshire in Beverly Hills along Beverly Drive. The place feels like a time capsule from the late nineties, with large graphic artwork, exposed brick walls, and fantastically flattering light schemes that make it ride the balance between date spot and business dinner. To eat, the campfire ribeye comes encrusted with heavy spices, and comes perfectly medium rare while the ribs are another table favorite. Just try not to scrap off the last bites of the spinach-artichoke dip, which seems to be engineered to create addicts. 122 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA —Matthew Kang

For a throwback power lunch in the heart of the Golden Triangle: The Grill on the Alley

The Grill on the Alley Yelp

When seated at one of the banquettes at this legendary power lunch spot in Beverly Hills, the service staff will open by offering a strawberry lemonade or Arnold Palmer. Perhaps a stiff martini is in order. The white-coated servers beam while talking about the specials of the day, and can name off the entire vegetable side dishes like a savant. The crab and shrimp louie salad is pricey but chock full of great shellfish while the New York steak is tender and flavorful. The table will appreciate an order of achingly fresh heirloom tomatoes, which come topped with onions and blue cheese. DineLA starts this Friday so the special $49 dinner menu will offer a very good set of dishes at a reasonable price. Otherwise, make sure someone with the expense account is picking up the tab. 9560 Dayton Way, Beverly Hills —Matthew Kang

For a Romanian feast in Highland Park: Parsnip

Parsnip Farley Elliott

Colorful newcomer Parsnip is making waves in Highland Park, just up from the main party drag along York. That's where you'll find the bright storefront, across the street from El Super and littered with sidewalk seating. Inside the tight kitchen turns out big bowls of goulash and paprikash and Eastern European fried dumplings, all hearty stuff that can be made surprisingly vegan in places. It makes sense for the neighborhood now, even if the food feels unfamiliar at first. 5623 York Blvd., Highland Park. — Farley Elliott

For an aviation geek's dream: The Proud Bird

 The Proud Bird

The food court-esque remodel of The Proud Bird near LAX is now complete, transforming the once staid restaurant into something big and open and dynamic. That's a smart move given the proximity of landing jumbo jets and the field of decommissioned planes beyond the bar, but it also helps draw light inward to a wrapping counter that serves everything from burgers to fried chicken to pizza to Bludso's barbecue. That lets customers meander through the full menu, pulling onto their tray this or that, before heading to the bar for some libations and sightseeing. 11022 Aviation Blvd., Los Angeles. — Farley Elliott

This article appears on EATER Los Angeles. Visit EATER Los Angeles to discover great restuarants in and around Highland Park.

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