The downtown explosion in Los Angeles has resulted in the biggest renaissance in local food yet, with scores of new chefs, restaurants and hotels. This wave continues to ripple through neighborhoods from Boyle Heights to Beverly Hills.
While we revere our local institutions — Lucques celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and Pann’s in Inglewood has been family-owned for 60 years — nothing is more exciting than covering new concepts, such as those from Dérive’s Loretta Peng and Luigi Fineo of Luigi al Teatro and Osteria Venice West.
Food concepts are getting bigger, offering foodies a Disneyland-type experience. Eataly in the renovated Westfield Century City shopping mall offers 67,000 square feet of culinary fantasy come true. Pedalers Fork, a cyclist’s rustic oasis in Calabasas, is known for its house-smoked meats, brunch, bar and bike shop. Playa Provisions at the beach also provides bike rentals and houses two bars, a casual market counter, an ice cream shop and an indoor/outdoor restaurant in 7,000 square feet.
I’ve been obsessed following Susan Feniger and her travels to China, which have been translated to her Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House at the historic Huntington Library — her pork and Napa cabbage water dumplings are a favorite. We love classics like Swork coffee bar in Eagle Rock and Sqirl in Silver Lake, which have helped bring their neighborhoods together, encouraging a new crop of restaurants to join them.
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Seventh Street downtown has become L.A.’s new restaurant row, with Ray Garcia’s B.S. Taqueria (the mushroom garlic tacos will bring you to tears) and the new NoMad Los Angeles Hotel a short walk from the Metro station.
So here is our list of L.A.’s 99 Essential Restaurants — some old, some new, but by definition necessary and indispensable. Our choices represent the diversity of our city, most of them rich with immigrant history inspired by generations of cooks and cuisine. The culinary landscape has changed and been elevated dramatically in Los Angeles from within, thanks to chefs like Evan Funke and Jill Davie.
Spring is bringing in a tidal wave of new restaurants that you will read about here moving forward; they’ll come to life in videos with chefs and mixologists who will share their secrets with us.
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SOURCE: (LA Weekly)