Despite the depressed state of the economy, one look at the Los Angeles food scene this year testifies that restaurants are booming. And for the past 12 months, Chowhounds were busy reporting on which new kitchens were worth a visit. Here, in alphabetical order, are 11 new restaurants we couldn’t stop talking about.
1. ALMA RESTAURANT
952 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
Chef Ari Taymor arranged beautiful, textured plates of seasonal fare at his brick-and-mortar shop downtown. Both Chowhounds and Jonathan Gold fell in love.
2. EMPEROR NOODLE
800 W. Las Tunas Drive #300, San Gabriel
This Shanghainese outpost served some seriously tasty dishes, like shen jian bao and yellow fish noodles.
3. FREDDY SMALLS BAR + KITCHEN
11520 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles
The Brussels sprouts with cider glaze and smoked goat cheese were the year’s must-try. We stuck around to throw back some of the great spirits, cocktails, and tap beers.
4. NONG LA
2055 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles
We were thrilled when this Vietnamese place opened its doors in West LA, making authentic and delicious bun, pho (pictured above), and banh mi, without making us drive miles and miles from LA.
6. ROC STAR DUMPLING HOUSE
2049 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles
When this dumpling house opened, word spread quickly that serious scallion pancakes, rice cake, glass noodles, and xiao long bao had finally arrived on the Westside.
9. TASTY DINING
301 W. Valley Boulevard, Suite 101, San Gabriel
This place treated us to traditional dishes from Wuhan, China. We loved the hot-dry noodles, fish hot pot, and, yep, even the griddled bullfrog.
10. YOJISAN SUSHI
260 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
We were skeptical, but this upscale restaurant created incredible Italian-Japanese fusion dishes, including hotaru iku and uni risotto.
Editor’s note: The original version of this post included Ratata, which is now closed.
Photo from Nong La