Where Hollywood Eats: L.A.'s 20 Hottest Restaurants Right Now (July 2018)

6:00 AM 5/16/2018

by Gary Baum

THR ranks the town's buzziest dining spots — from Elephante to Tesse — for the month of July.

Tuck Restaurant
Tuck Restaurant
Courtesy of Emi Kitawaki

Though few things are more fickle than the entertainment business, the foodie-focused dining scene that serves it surely fits the bill. Restaurants debut every week, yet their moment in the spotlight often is brutish and short. The Hollywood Reporter ranks the hottest Los Angeles spots on a monthly basis as these dining stars shine and dim.

In July, say hello to Elephante, Bavel, Puntas Cabras and Tesse. Freedman's,189 by Dominique Ansel, The Exchange and Best Girl have fallen off the chart.

Note: While this list considers the traditional core dining metrics (food, service, value and atmosphere) of the best restaurants, great weight is placed on an ephemeral quality that the entertainment industry treasures: the buzz factor. Think of it as an edible heat index.

  1. 20
    20

    Triple Beam Pizza

    5918 N. Figueroa (Last month: No. 17)

    Courtesy of Dustin Rasmussen

    QUICK PITCH L.A.'s sainted dough dame Nancy Silverton (Mozza, La Brea Bakery) is at it again, this time heading to the Eastside with Silverlake Wine owner Randy Clement and Everson Royce Bar chef Matt Molina on a pay-by-the-ounce, Roman-style pizza concept in Highland Park. Ruth Reichl has already stopped in, ordering the nettle and borage pie.

    INSIDE DISH Molina made his name working under Silverton as the executive chef at both Osteria and Pizzeria Mozza.

  2. 19
    20

    Pizzana

    11712 San Vicente Blvd. (Last month: No. 14)

    QUICK PITCH Candace Nelson and her husband, Charles, the duo behind Sprinkles Cupcakes, have turned their attention to pies — the savory kind — in Brentwood. Naples-born chef Daniele Uditi specializes in neo-Neopolitan thin-crusts, utilizing his unique "slow dough" fermented for two days. (Order the Amatriciana with crispy prosciutto crudo.) The menu’s secret star, though, is the artichoke starter: charred sliced hearts covered in fried leaves, toasted pine nuts, parmigiana and lemon citronette.

    INSIDE DISH Pizzana arose out of Sunday night dinners at the home of actor Chris O'Donnell, now a partner. The Nelsons were guests and Uditi was in charge of the backyard pizza oven.

  3. 18
    20

    Rossoblu

    1124 San Julian St. (Last month: No. 7)

    Courtesy of Ed Anderson

    QUICK PITCH Bestia's in the Arts District. Drago Centro's in the Financial District. Now chef Steve Samson — who made his mark with Sotto — has bowed his own Italian valentine, postmarked from Bologna, in another downtown L.A. quarter, this one a freshly gentrifying southeastern warehouse corridor. Handmade pastas and meats butchered in-house (order the Ilario's Grigliata, with its belly-on pork chop) arrive in a big booming room.

    INSIDE DISH Rossoblu's new upstairs neighbor is the production company of Joe and Anthony Russo, the blockbuster-directing brothers whose next project is Avengers: Infinity War.

  4. 17
    20

    The Henry

    120 Robertson Blvd. (Last month: No. 13)

    Courtesy of Elizabeth Daniels Photography

    QUICK PITCH Sam Fox, the national restaurateur behind True Food Kitchen, has taken over the former Newsroom on Robertson Blvd. with an accessible, vegan-friendly concept similar to its predecessor. (There’s also a wall of magazines as an apparent homage.) The asparagus Caesar with Little Gem romaine and toasted torn bread is destined to be the go-to order.

    INSIDE DISH The restaurant’s opening is part of a larger overhaul of the midcentury Robertson Plaza, including the additions of Blue Bottle Coffee and the cocktail bar Bibo Ergo Sum.

  5. 16
    20

    Kismet

    4648 Hollywood Blvd. (Last month: No. 12)

    QUICK PITCH Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson, Brooklyn transplants (they made their names at Glasserie) who first opened the new-school falafel stand Madcapra at the revivified Grand Central Market, have stepped up their game with this avant-garde Mediterranean mash-up in Los Feliz. The Instagram force is strong with this one. (That jewel-box white-on-light dining room helps.) Romantic, layered dishes incorporating shaved kohlrabi, Persian cucumbers and labneh target everyone with a well-worn copy of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi's Jerusalem cookbook.

    INSIDE DISH Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, responsible for several other restaurants currently on this list, are management partners in the endeavor.

  6. 15
    20

    Viale dei Romani

    627 N. La Peer Dr. (Last month: No. 6)

    Courtesy of Antonio Diaz

    QUICK PITCH West Hollywood's new Kimpton La Peer hotel has put Cecconi's on notice with this similarly stylish and buoyant coastal Italian dining room engineered for the urges of its high-powered patrons. Chef Casey Lane of Venice's well-regarded The Tasting Kitchen is responsible for the menu, sending out an often lemon-accented array of pastas, crudos, salads and pizzas.

    INSIDE DISH Busy Lane, a James Beard Award nominee, is also behind the Catalan-leaning Breva, which recently bowed at the revamped Hotel Figueroa in downtown L.A.

  7. 14
    20

    Felix

    1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd. (Last month: No. 9)

    QUICK PITCH Evan Funke, who made his name with a porchetta truck, then polished it with Culver City's short-lived if acclaimed Bucato, has taken over the longtime Joe's in Venice. The exactingly handmade pastas are the kitchen's focus, drawing a fizzy crowd with a zeal last seen when Gjelina opened up the street nearly a decade ago. A not-so-secret stunner is the focaccia siciliana with sea salt and rosemary.

    INSIDE DISH The chef's father is Alex Funke, the veteran, Oscar-winning special effects director of photography best known for his work on The Lord of the Rings.

  8. 13
    20

    Bavel

    500 Mateo St.

    DYLAN + JENI

    QUICK PITCH Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, the married chef-owners behind Italian phenomenon Bestia in downtown L.A.'s Arts District, have replicated its high-energy, flirty vibe a few blocks away — but switched to flat-breads, spreads (don't miss the foie gras halva) and all manner of other updated Middle Eastern offerings, including a lamb neck shawarma.

    INSIDE DISH Kanye West was an early arrival. Now dudes dressed in Yeezy are packing tables.

  9. 12
    20

    The NoMad's Mezzanine

    649 S. Olive St. (Last month: No. 8)

    Courtesy of Benoit Linero

    QUICK PITCH Daniel Humm and Will Guidara (of NYC's officially designated "World's Best Restaurant" Eleven Madison Park) are responsible for all of the dining options at the new downtown L.A. outpost of the stylish NoMad Hotel. Fanciest fare is at the Mezzanine, where for $98 guests can try the duo's signature black truffle roast chicken for two with brioche stuffing.

    INSIDE DISH Clearly intent on attaining a certain social stratum in town, the hotel poached Phil Pavel as its managing director after a two-decade stint as the well-connected, celebrity-mingling prince of the Chateau Marmont.

  10. 11
    20

    Crustacean

    9646 S. Santa Monica Blvd. (Last month: No. 4)

    Courtesy of Wonho Frank Lee

    QUICK PITCH Helene An's two-decade-old Vietnamese cuisine showcase in Beverly Hills is abuzz again after a $10 million renovation and a relaunch marked by its hosting of Women In Film's pre-Oscar party. Chef Tony Nguyen displays an imaginative levity — think: tuna "cigars" featuring tobiko caviar at their tips — but also plays the hits. (Don't worry, the legendary garlic noodles and out-of-shell crab dish is still available.)

    INSIDE DISH An is set to open a separate upstairs restaurant, Da Lat Rose (named in homage to a provincial Vietnamese town), this fall.

  11. 10
    20

    Dialogue

    1315 3rd St. Promenade

    Lisa Aileen Dragani

    QUICK PITCH Forget back alleys, private homes, decrepit warehouses and tents in the wilderness. For many snooty Angelenos, the most mind-boggling place to come upon exquisite, elaborate tasting menu fine dining — the molecular gastronomy kind — would be along Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade. And that's just where chef Dave Beran, who spent a decade at Chicago's esteemed Alinea and Next, has opened this tiny, reserve-long-in-advance stunner.

    INSIDE DISH Yes, you're paying hundreds of dollars per person to eat at a mall, but you're no mall rat. There's a special passcode to keep out the riffraff.

  12. 9
    20

    Jaffa

    8048 W. 3rd St. (Last month: No. 15)

    Courtesy of Nicole Iizuka

    QUICK PITCH The vogue in New Israeli cuisine hits Beverly Grove at this high-spirited ode to the revived port town adjoining Tel Aviv. Chef Anne Conness doles out Niman Ranch lamb couscous and turmeric pickles. The place's essence can be found in its desserts, especially the poppy-and-almond frangipane hamantaschen.

    INSIDE DISH Aly Iwamoto, previously of the acclaimed downtown mixology mecca The Varnish, is responsible for a cocktail program notably as inventive in its non-alcoholic options as its liquored libations.

  13. 8
    20

    Petit Trois Le Valley

    13705 Ventura Blvd. (Last month: No. 3)

    Courtesy of Lucy Lean

    QUICK PITCH The impossibly tiny Highland Ave. location of Ludo Lefebvre's loving homage to both the fare and fanfare of traditional French bistros has been a magnet for the likes of Jimmy Kimmel and Jeffrey Katzenberg since it opened in 2014. Now the chef has opened a far larger edition a baguette's toss from his Sherman Oaks home. It boasts a comparatively expansive menu, including a killer trout almondine.

    INSIDE DISH If all goes well, the space next door may become a Petit Trois bakery and market.

  14. 7
    20

    Majordomo

    1725 Naud St. (Last month: No. 2)

    Rachel Murray/Getty Images

     

    QUICK PITCH David Chang, the man behind the global Momofuku empire and Netflix’s new doc series Ugly Delicious, has elected to open a concept indigenous to L.A. — unlike many Manhattan chefs who simply seek to play their hits for the local audience. His in-your-face yet highly technical cooking is in dialogue with the hardcore flavors of the nearby Koreatown scene.

    INSIDE DISH Brian Grazer, Jon Favreau and Nick Kroll are early arrivals. Bill Simmons can’t stop ordering the smoked bone-in short ribs.

  15. 6
    20

    Barbette

    7511 Santa Monica Blvd. (New to the list)

    Rob Stark

    QUICK PITCH Sean MacPherson and Jared Meisler — the hospitality duo behind Bar Lubitsch, The Roger Room and The Pikey — crank the charm up to 11 at this studiously stylish Cal-French bistro in WeHo. Menu items run from moules mariniere and steak frites to black cod and crab rice.

    INSIDE DISH Barbette originally was conceived as an oyster bar. But development took so long, and the bivalve trend gew so crazed, that the shellfish numbers no longer penciled out.

  16. 5
    20

    Avra Beverly Hills

    233 N. Beverly Drive (New to the list)

    Courtesy of subject

    QUICK PITCH Midtown Manhattan’s A-lister Acropolis of high-gloss Greek cuisine has bowed a West Coast outpost at the former Hakkasan address in the heart of Beverly Hills. It’s attracting a Bravo-watching and -appearing demo, seemingly each ordering the signature towers of crispy zucchini and eggplant chips to dip in tzatziki sauce.

    INSIDE DISH David Rockwell, the Manhattan-based architect and designer behind the glitzy-airy space, has won a Tony for Best Scenic Design and twice was entrusted with executing Academy Awards ceremony stage sets.

  17. 4
    20

    Punta Cabras

    930 Broadway (New to the list)

    Wonho Frank Lee

    QUICK PITCH Escape south of the border at this Baja-inspired SaMo spot. Chef Daniel Snukal (Urusawa, LudoBites) is at the helm with a menu that boasts all things seafood. Order the suffed baked crab and costras — tacos made of crispy melted cheese ‚ plus libations from aguas fescas to the cheeky "Doves Cry" cocktail, featured a Prince mug.

    INSIDE DISH The concept began as a buzzy taco shop a few miles away known for its Baja fish tacos, which are still available by request. — Ramona Saviss

  18. 3
    20

    APL Restaurant

    1680 Vine St. (Last month: No. 1)

    Josh Telles

    QUICK PITCH Barbecue master Adam Perry Land reigns at this Parisian bistro-inspired Hollywood steakhouse with high ceilings and brown leather booths. The pedigreed chef (Le Cirque, Daniel, Guy Savoy) flaunts his knife skills with 100-day dry-aged cuts kept in an underground environmental chamber that houses 14,000 pounds of m eat. Try the French onion soup, signature short ribs served with a pickle salad, and updated accoutrements from creamed spinach to duck fat fries.

    INSIDE DISH A long-time friend and supporter, Jimmy Kimmel hosted Perry Lang's backlot barbecue pop-up series a few blocks away from the restaurant at Jimmy Kimmel Live! in anticipation of the carnivorous mecca. — Ramona Saviss

     

  19. 2
    20

    Tesse Restaurant

    8500 Sunset Blvd. (New to the list)

    Wonho Frank Lee

    QUICK PITCH Restaurateur Bill Chait (Republique, Bestia) returns to L.A. with his latest Francophile endeavor. The sleep Sunset Strip spot sits adjacent to Fred Segal, with the retailer's president, John Frierson — a CAA alum — at the helm. Try the charcuterie, followed by the Blue Crab Simplissime with whipped potatoes, tarragon and cognac, a recipe inspired by chef Raphael Francois grandmother.

    INSIDE DISH The wine program is run by managing partner Jordan Ogron, who sourced exclusive bottles for the dining den and its whine shop. Save room for the dessert wine flight. — Ramona Saviss

     

  20. 1
    20

    Elephante

    1332 Second St. (New to the list)

    Stewart Uy

    QUICK PITCH Santa Monica's desire for a rooftop hangout has been fulfilled with Elephante, a spacious restaurant bar helmed by owner Nick Mathers (Eveleigh, Goldie's) and general manager Jake Rose, formerly of EP/LP. The airy space stuns with sleek decor and a Southern Italy-inspired menu. Order pizza and the branzino, but stay for the ocean views.

    INSIDE DISH Mathers, who counts DJ Steve Aoki as an investor, designs all his restaurants and selects residential projects, including Jimmy Kimmel's Hollywood Hills home. — Ramona Saviss

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